It’s Chargers football season, time once again for San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders to quietly give close friends and political allies free tickets to premier seats at Qualcomm Stadium. For the October 15 game with Denver, the Republican mayor coughed up eight tickets said to be worth $98 each for use by the San Diego Sports Commission. The purpose of the gift, made possible by city taxpayers, was “promotion of local & regional business, econ. development, and tourism, including conventions and conferences,” said Sanders’s office.
The sports commission is a nonprofit booster group whose board comprises some of the city’s best-connected locals, including car dealer Steve Cushman, beer salesman Kurt Martin, San Diego Magazine publisher Jim Fitzpatrick, Donovan’s Steakhouse owner Dan Shea, La Jolla financier Ted Roth, beer distributor Steve Sourapas, basketball legend Bill Walton, and Padres co-owner and beer magnate Ron Fowler. Reached earlier this week by phone, sports commission sales chief Steve Schell explained that tickets from the mayor’s office are regularly used to entertain potential sponsors of future sports-themed events here — including football, basketball and golf tournaments — that contribute to local economic activity.... The controversial Walmart retail chain has done some charitable giving on behalf of Republican city councilwoman Lorie Zapf. On August 22, the corporation gave $1000 to Leez PJ’s 4 Kids in San Marcos to provide “clothing for foster children,” according to a behesting disclosure posted online by the city clerk. The same day, Walmart kicked in $6775 for a City-owned “portable swimming pool” in Linda Vista. The Republican city councilwoman has long been a sure council vote for Walmart and has often been featured in the firm’s promotional material. “As elected officials, we should do our part to promote business growth — not deter it,” she was quoted as saying in a Walmart news release in January of last year regarding the company’s ultimately victorious battle with labor unions over repeal of a law that would have limited the firm’s expansion in the city. “I look forward to helping these efforts get underway by voting to repeal the big box ordinance.”