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Pala Indians battle against Bill Horn

Gambling tribe fighting nearby trash dump has spent secretly in past

(from billhorn.com)
(from billhorn.com)

It's a strange-bedfellows tale of trash and casino chips.

The Pala Band of Mission Indians and their affiliated entity Pala Casino came up with $20,000 on April 23 for a campaign committee calling itself Citizens Against Career Inside Politician Bill Horn for Supervisor 2014, run by Service Employees International Union Local 221, representing county workers. Horn is running against Oceanside mayor and fellow Republican Jim Wood.

Nancy Chase

This isn't the first financial foray by the tribe into county politics, motivated by its number-one land-use cause: halting the Gregory Canyon solid waste facility, a massive landfill being developed by San Diego lobbyist Nancy Chase, widow of project originator Richard Chase.

In November 2012, a group called USA PAC out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, undertook a mysteriously funded $30,000 direct-mail campaign on behalf of then-candidate for county supervisor Dave Roberts.

Originally known as the Congressional Elections PAC, the political action committee had been linked by Mother Jones to conservative Texas construction giant Leo Linbeck, III. Earlier in 2012, the committee had backed Republican Tea Party candidates in Texas and Tennessee, raising questions about why it had chosen Roberts, a Democrat, for its political largesse.

It wasn't until November 20, after the campaign was over with Roberts the victor, that USA PAC was required by federal law to file a campaign disclosure statement. It showed the source of funds for the pro-Roberts mail campaign to be the Pala Band, though no one with the tribe would comment, and the PAC was closed-mouthed as well.

Pala had endorsed Roberts during the campaign, which he acknowledged in a statement, saying, “They are an extremely important part of our County’s history, and I look forward to having the honor of working with them.”

Over the years, Horn has taken stands on both sides of the landfill controversy; earlier this month he told a campaign audience he'd now like to see the property become a park, according to an account in the Coast News.

The Indians have been pitted against a formidable, if currently undercapitalized foe in lobbyist Chase, a former aide to fallen GOP San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock.

In 2012, Chase backed the mayoral bid of Democrat Bob Filner, who subsequently made her daughter Molly chief of protocol during his brief tenure in office last year.

In June 2004, San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins reported that Chase and her husband had split four years earlier, though they remained married and developing the controversial Gregory Canyon landfill together:

"With Richard as project manager and Nancy as the behind-the-scenes lobbyist and PR play-caller, the Gregory Canyon landfill pushed slowly through the environmental bureaucracy as the Chases fended off repeated political and legal ambushes."

After her husband's death in 2009 at 67, Chase took over the effort. Spotted earlier this year entering an exclusive, invitation-only inaugural party held by newly elected Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, Chase has subsequently struggled to get the landfill into the ground.

She and her partners in the trash venture filed for bankruptcy this February, but the case was dismissed last month because the developers had not filed the necessary paperwork, according to an account by U-T San Diego.

"Chase characterized the end of the case as a 'good thing,' " the paper reported, quoting the lobbyist as saying, "The dismissal of the bankruptcy means we’re working on new financing. We’re working on other opportunities.”

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(from billhorn.com)
(from billhorn.com)

It's a strange-bedfellows tale of trash and casino chips.

The Pala Band of Mission Indians and their affiliated entity Pala Casino came up with $20,000 on April 23 for a campaign committee calling itself Citizens Against Career Inside Politician Bill Horn for Supervisor 2014, run by Service Employees International Union Local 221, representing county workers. Horn is running against Oceanside mayor and fellow Republican Jim Wood.

Nancy Chase

This isn't the first financial foray by the tribe into county politics, motivated by its number-one land-use cause: halting the Gregory Canyon solid waste facility, a massive landfill being developed by San Diego lobbyist Nancy Chase, widow of project originator Richard Chase.

In November 2012, a group called USA PAC out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, undertook a mysteriously funded $30,000 direct-mail campaign on behalf of then-candidate for county supervisor Dave Roberts.

Originally known as the Congressional Elections PAC, the political action committee had been linked by Mother Jones to conservative Texas construction giant Leo Linbeck, III. Earlier in 2012, the committee had backed Republican Tea Party candidates in Texas and Tennessee, raising questions about why it had chosen Roberts, a Democrat, for its political largesse.

It wasn't until November 20, after the campaign was over with Roberts the victor, that USA PAC was required by federal law to file a campaign disclosure statement. It showed the source of funds for the pro-Roberts mail campaign to be the Pala Band, though no one with the tribe would comment, and the PAC was closed-mouthed as well.

Pala had endorsed Roberts during the campaign, which he acknowledged in a statement, saying, “They are an extremely important part of our County’s history, and I look forward to having the honor of working with them.”

Over the years, Horn has taken stands on both sides of the landfill controversy; earlier this month he told a campaign audience he'd now like to see the property become a park, according to an account in the Coast News.

The Indians have been pitted against a formidable, if currently undercapitalized foe in lobbyist Chase, a former aide to fallen GOP San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock.

In 2012, Chase backed the mayoral bid of Democrat Bob Filner, who subsequently made her daughter Molly chief of protocol during his brief tenure in office last year.

In June 2004, San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins reported that Chase and her husband had split four years earlier, though they remained married and developing the controversial Gregory Canyon landfill together:

"With Richard as project manager and Nancy as the behind-the-scenes lobbyist and PR play-caller, the Gregory Canyon landfill pushed slowly through the environmental bureaucracy as the Chases fended off repeated political and legal ambushes."

After her husband's death in 2009 at 67, Chase took over the effort. Spotted earlier this year entering an exclusive, invitation-only inaugural party held by newly elected Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, Chase has subsequently struggled to get the landfill into the ground.

She and her partners in the trash venture filed for bankruptcy this February, but the case was dismissed last month because the developers had not filed the necessary paperwork, according to an account by U-T San Diego.

"Chase characterized the end of the case as a 'good thing,' " the paper reported, quoting the lobbyist as saying, "The dismissal of the bankruptcy means we’re working on new financing. We’re working on other opportunities.”

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Comments
4

While I have no sympathy for Horn at all, this whole thing has degenerated into "dueling dollars." Horn lost me a few years back when he had to proclaim that he was not only a Marine veteran, but that he had been a "combat Marine." Not being one, I can't say for sure, but I do think I know enough about the USMC to say that claim was over the top. All of those who served in that branch of the military see themselves as brothers, and generally make no such distinctions. And he was bragging when no such bragging was needed in any way.

As far as the Indian band goes, I don't recall there being anything heard from them in the earliest years of the dump proposal. The earliest opposition came from those downstream on the San Luis Rey river who feared water contamination. Much later on, the Pala band and others weighed in. It might be noted that the band had allowed sand and gravel mining for years on their reservation, and have wholeheartedly embraced "gaming" in the form of that casino/hotel complex on their land. Now, the Gregory Canyon area is sacred. Hmmm.

Horn has had at least one term too many. And now he wants the second (or third) term too many. Why? All we can assume is ego, but others think it is worse than that. But so far he hasn't been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

April 25, 2014

Very hard for Reader readers to follow the convoluted path outlined here. But it is a good description of the kind of inbred mostly-but-not-only GOP wheeling and dealing that makes San Diego such a special place.

Basically, it seems the Pala Band of Indians are covertly spending to support the opponent of way-too-long-a-Supervisor Bill Horn who is nearing what seems to be the century mark as a County officeholder.

Additionally, Pala Band has opposed for years the development of a landfill that is still being pushed by an aging widowed lobbyist who, with her late husband, has been tied to countless Republican politicians for more than a generation.

April 26, 2014

Generally you have a good take on the events. But your typical identification of these politicians as Republican accomplishes little. If the voter registration in the area were Democrat, many of these pols would have been Dems. There is a reason for the non-partisan nature of our local elections. National and state party identification has little to do with how they vote on local issues. Far more relevant is the identity of those who pay for the campaigns. Party labels, to belabor the point, don't explain much. "Bulldozer Bill" doesn't represent the thinking of many No County Republicans and conservatives.

April 27, 2014

Visduh, you are correct to say that political party identification in San Diego City or County stands for nothing. Along with notions of personal integrity or small-d democratic vision among most elected officials. Lamentable truths.

April 29, 2014

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