The social medium known as Twitter has exposed the annual “Golden Fleece” awards dinner run by the downtown lobbying group calling itself the San Diego County Taxpayers Association to new online fame. The most recent shindig, held last month at the bayside Marriott hotel downtown, showcased a variety of grinning pols, reporters, editors, and government staffers who may or may not have been comped to the influence-peddlers’ ball by one special interest or the other.
One prominent official who says she plunked down her own hard-earned cash for the $225 admission was city ethics commission executive director Stacey Fulhorst, in charge of enforcing the lobbyists’ quarterly filings and their compliance with the law. “My board members say I should get out more,” she noted when reached by phone regarding her splash on Twitter.
Disclosure reports for this year’s freebies given by lobbyists to government workers and politicos aren’t due until early 2015; records show previous recipients of the gratis admissions have included then-city councilman Kevin Faulconer, who was admitted to the bash in 2011, thanks to utility giant Sempra Energy. His onetime chief of staff Katie Hansen, who has gone on to work for the Associated Builders and Contractors, an industry lobbying group, reported attending in 2012, courtesy of Bridgepoint Education. According to its most recently filed disclosure report, the taxpayers association has taken a special interest in global warming, advocating “Approval of a climate action plan that does not negatively affect taxpayers or job creation within the city.”