Tom Sudberry, Tony Young, Keith Solar
Back in January 2013, Democratic city councilman Tony Young resigned his seat in the midst of his term to take command of the regional Red Cross, after rumors circulated that he actually wanted to work for utility giant Sempra.
As it turned out, the Red Cross gig lasted little more than a year before Young quit in March of this year, to be replaced in the $185,000-a-year job by lawyer Bill Earley.
Young's abrupt and unexplained exit prompted a March editorial by U-T San Diego, owned by mega-developer and GOP kingpin Douglas Manchester, demanding to know more details.
"So far, the agency’s national office apparently won’t even adequately explain what’s going on to its local board, prompting three members to resign," noted the piece.
Since departing the Red Cross, Young has continued to turn up in public roles, most conspicuously as co-chairman of the "transition advisory team" of incoming GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The ex-councilmember has also taken to Twitter to express his differences with local Democrats, declaring on May 15, "I need the Democratic party to be more loyal to the issues of my community."
Now Young has surfaced as a full-time city hall influence-peddler, plying his trade on behalf of two big-name GOP clients, according to a lobbyist disclosure statement filed with the city clerk July 14 by his new firm, Civic Link Strategies.
The first client, Sudberry Properties, is the high-profile Mission Valley company run by developer Tom Sudberry, a major Republican contributor and past chairman of the Lincoln Club, the take-no-prisoners GOP group that savaged Democrats Nathan Fletcher and David Alvarez during their failed electoral battles with Faulconer.
Keith Solar Lincoln Club video
Number-two client is listed as the national law and lobbying firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. The outfit has a San Diego branch run by lawyer Keith Solar, another influential Lincoln Club member.
"My specialty is water law. I represent companies, public entities that buy and sell water rights, and real property where water is an associated component," Solar says on a Lincoln Club recruiting video, adding that he represented Carlsbad during the controversial development of a desalination plant there.
"I'm a member of the Lincoln Club because the Lincoln Club is the only San Diego County organization that's pro-prosperity, and let's face it, businesses have been much maligned lately."
Young’s lobbying disclosure says his mission for Solar's firm is to get it a contract to lobby the federal government on behalf of the city. As previously reported here, the mayor has issued requests for proposals for new Washington and Sacramento lobbyists.
The issue of who will get the lucrative lobbying gigs has long been a matter of under-the-radar controversy and contention at the city.
Fired by Democratic mayor Bob Filner, both incumbent firms, Sacramento's Sloat, Higgins, and Washington’s Patton, Boggs, were rehired following Filner's demise by interim-mayor Todd Gloria. Faulconer has kept both companies in place, pending the outcome of the current selection process.