Alan Ziegaus and Jonathan Heller: former newsmen turned city hall lobbyists
One local loser in the demise of San Diego’s redevelopment agency, if its demise actually comes to pass, could be the San Diego public relations and lobbying firm of Southwest Strategies, founded by onetime Evening Tribune reporter and city council aide Alan Ziegaus. According to its most recent quarterly disclosure report of April 29, the firm is working both sides of the redevelopment street. During the first three months of this year, it consulted for the City-owned Centre City Development Corporation, which paid Southwest $1250 for the services of staffer and ex–Union-Tribune reporter Jonathan Heller and two others to work on a “monthly newsletter; meeting coordination & community outreach” for the agency. And from the private sector, the company got $24,000 from the Westfield Corporation for lobbying for “City Council approval of Horton Plaza renovations,” a project backed by the Centre City Development Corporation.
On another planning-related front, Southwest was paid $13,000 by the Barrio Logan Smart Growth Coalition, a corporation formed by area businesses to lobby for continued industrial uses as part of the Barrio Logan community plan update. It also picked up $1500 from Pardee Homes for expediting “approval of entitlements for [a] community located north of Mast Blvd. & east of SR52 (Castle Rock)” and $24,000 from Protea Properties to ease passage of that developer’s controversial Flower Hill mall remodel on Via de la Valle near the Del Mar track.
Other clients included the Palomar Card Club, seeking to “amend card room regulations in [the] San Diego municipal code,” and Walmart, which opposed “legislation to create processing roadblocks for certain retail stores in San Diego as proposed by Council member Gloria.” On the privatization front, Southwest lobbied on a contingency basis for the Denver law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson in pursuit of a “potential opportunity to assist City with collection on delinquent accounts.” And on June 11, the firm filed an amendment revealing that it had lobbied for Enterprise Rent-a-Car in an attempt to obtain a sales and management agreement for the City’s vehicle fleet. Firm employees made only one reported campaign contribution: $250 by Clint Carney to GOP councilwoman Lorie Zapf.