Image and caption from Capitol Outdoor website
Retail giant Walmart, which is said to have big plans for its San Diego development portfolio, this Monday (Dec. 2) kicked in another $10,000 to the county Republican Party, according to a filing made yesterday with the California Secretary of State's office.
The GOP is expected to spend big to elect city councilman Kevin Faulconer for mayor.
Since 2007 through the end of last year, according to figures maintained online by the San Diego city clerk's office, the Bentonville, Arkansas, retailer spent a total of $1,484,137 on San Diego city politics.
Much of the cash went to successfully fending off a 2011 so-called "big-box ordinance" that would have restricted the company's development. Other big chunks of change were spent on the so-called pension-reform campaign of GOP then-mayor Jerry Sanders and ex-city councilman Carl DeMaio.
During this year's mayoral campaign, Walmart has been quietly but regularly pumping five-figure donations to forces backing Faulconer, including the GOP Lincoln Club. Last week the company gave $10,000 to county Republicans.
Meanwhile, Faulconer's Democratic foe in February’s runoff, councilman David Alvarez, has tapped into the city's billboard lobby, which has also given to Faulconer.
As previously reported here, on September 19, Christopher Tavarides, of Washington DC–based Capitol Outdoor, gave Alvarez $1000. The same day, another Capitol Outdoor executive and his wife, John and Stephanie Polis of Washington DC, contributed a total of $2000 to Faulconer.
Yesterday, according to a campaign disclosure filing posted online, another Capitol Outdoor employee, Peter Wallace of San Diego, gave the Alvarez campaign $1000. He had previously given Alvarez $1000 during the primary; he gave the same to Faulconer.
Pressure has been mounting on the city to modify its sign regulations to allow giant video billboards, as well as other changes. Among those pushing for billboards has been U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester, who has proposed putting a large video screen atop the newspaper's Mission Valley headquarters.
Manchester's contract lobbyist on other matters, Republican moneyman and attorney Paul Robinson, represents Capitol Outdoor. According to his lobbying disclosure statements, Robinson has been working on the company’s behalf for “inclusion of San Diego billboard properties in proposed San Diego Arts & Entertainment District.”
The disclosure shows that Robinson lobbied Alvarez on behalf of Capitol Outdoor during the second quarter of this year. The lobbyist reported receiving $5000 from the billboard firm.