Ron Roberts skipped the slow boat to China in favor of business-class airfare courtesy of the Chinese government.
  • Ron Roberts skipped the slow boat to China in favor of business-class airfare courtesy of the Chinese government.
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Republican county supervisor Ron Roberts, who will finally be departing his job in two years because of term limits, has found another way to use leftover campaign cash from his last run for the board in 2014. The biggest expense billed to his supervisorial campaign committee during the first half of this year was $10,327 worth of Japan Airlines tickets to Tokyo and China for “candidate and staff” to attend something called Legislative Trip for Expanding Business, Tourism, and Academic Trade Opportunities.

Other costs of the journey, from May 14 through June 2, according to the disclosure, were payments by the campaign fund to Roberts aide Sal Giametta. He got a $400 reimbursement from the campaign committee for “China Trip Visas for Candidate and staff” and $195 for travel insurance.

In 2014, Roberts took off for the Far East as part of “a delegation to China at the invitation and sponsorship of the Shanghai Minhang District Government for meetings with Chinese government and industry leaders,” according to a travel disclosure. The Chinese picked up a tab of $6702 (“including business class airfare of $4602; hotel stays amounting to $2100; [and] Meals provided”).

This year Roberts also headed off for a “border conference” in El Paso, Texas, the latest filing reveals. The campaign came up with $338.98 for a March 31 Southwest Airlines ticket to the event. Then it forked over $879.40 for Roberts, a big baseball fan, to make the return trip reimbursement to the San Diego Padres, which maintains a farm club in El Paso called, appropriately enough, the Chihuahuas. In the non-travel category, $7000 of campaign funds were used to make a “Visit SD video.”

In all, the Roberts campaign spent $20,430, leaving the supervisor with $85,958 in the bank for future travel and amenities.

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Visduh Aug. 11, 2016 @ 1:07 p.m.

The old dude is amazing. He carries huge clout locally. I attend the meetings of a public agency where he sits as the representative of the board of supervisors. On more than one occasion other board members, who are political representatives in their own right, have had comments about some proposal, and sometimes strong opinions. But if and when old Ron cares enough, he'll state his reasons for his vote, and somehow all the objections of the others are swept away; the vote will be unanimous for his decision. Does that come because he's just persuasive? Or highly respected? Or better informed than all the others? Well, maybe. My take is that nobody wants to cross him or provoke him or even disappoint him, lest he take steps to get to them.

He'll have plenty of fun, and so will his staff, spending that balance of donated cash. That is unless he can pass it along to his anointed successor. Hey, is anyone wondering if his endorsement will really help the next supervisor from that district? It sure helped Dave Roberts when Pam Slater endorsed him to succeed her. Maybe this time some voters will decide to think for themselves.


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