As the coming takeover of U-T San Diego by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing threatens to upend the city's old establishment order, a nonprofit corporation set up to advance the agenda of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to rake in cash from his longtime political stalwarts.
The latest donor, according to a May 6 disclosure statement filed by the mayor as required state law, is Walmart, the retail giant that has been expanding its reach into the same blue-collar neighborhoods targeted by Faulconer's One San Diego.
As first reported here in March, the charity’s president is lobbyist Tony Young, a former Democratic city councilman whose clients have included Mission Valley GOP mega-developer Tom Sudberry.
Another boardmember is Ruben Barrales, an ex–chamber of commerce honcho and former assistant to George W. Bush who currently runs Grow Elect, a political action committee to bolster Republican Latino candidates.
The Arkansas-based firm, which came up with $15,000 for the nonprofit on April 6, according to the filing, is a longtime financial supporter of the local Republican Party and the GOP Lincoln Club, which during 2013's mayoral campaign produced hit pieces against Faulconer Democratic foes Nathan Fletcher and David Alvarez.
The company gave $10,000 to the Lincoln Club, which failed in its effort to elect Dwayne Crenshaw to the city council over fellow Democrat Myrtle Cole, backed by unions that have long been Walmart's key opponents in its bid to widen its hold here.
From 2007 to the end of 2013, the firm had spent a total of $1,484,137 on San Diego city politics, a spreadsheet analysis of city disclosure data showed.
Faulconer's wife Katherine Stuart, who runs the couple's for-profit convention party planning business, has played a prominent role with One San Diego, acting as honorary chair and handing out large replica checks at public events.
Other city hall players contributing to One San Diego have included Cisterra Development, run by Steven L. Black, which won a controversial lease-purchase deal from Faulconer for city office space in Civic Center Plaza adjacent to city hall; Tom Sudberry's Sudberry Properties; and Pacifica Enterprises of Rancho Santa Fe, holder of a lucrative Belmont Park lease from the city.