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$1 million check cut in big-money sprawl war

Lilac Hills backers vow to crush enviros; Cushman kicks in $5000 against Chargers

Bill Horn, forced to recuse himself from votes
Bill Horn, forced to recuse himself from votes

Urban sprawl means big money these days in San Diego's North County, the once bucolic setting of pastoral ranches and organic food farms now set for uber-urbanization if voters approve proposition B on November's countywide ballot.

Based on their latest political disclosure filing, wealthy backers of the project, named Lilac Hills Ranch, are leaving nothing to chance in their pursuit of a generous piece of the region’s post-rural pie.

On August 29th, LHR Investment Company LLC cut a cool $1 million check for the Yes on B campaign to overturn the county's ban on building 1746 housing units and accompanying commercial development on about 610 acres near Valley Center.

Tom Shepard - "This is part of the conspiracy. Nancy Hoover was helping out two friends, Roger Hedgecock and Tom Shepard. As long as Roger Hedgecock rose and became successful, Tom Shepard would become the premier political consultant in San Diego."

The developers previously reported laying out a total of $1,158,105 through June to collect the 70,000-plus valid voter signatures countywide to put their referendum on the ballot, including $8922 paid to Tom Shepard, former political consultant to fallen San Diego mayors Roger Hedgecock and Bob Filner.

The Lilac Hills proponents — who were forced into the ballot war after key project proponent county supervisor Bill Horn had to recuse himself from voting on the plan because he was a nearby property owner — are expected by insiders to spend millions more.

The chairman of the committee backing the measure, calling itself San Diegans for Housing Opportunities, is listed on disclosures as Paul Schuman.

“My focus is Private money. I help both investors and people in need of cash," notes Schuman's LinkedIn page, which notes that he is a "chairman of special program" at Accretive Investments, the lead developer on the Lilac Hills project.

"If you are looking for a business loan, we can get lenders competing for your business because we identify those who specialize — whether you need an angel investor or a partner to flip a home."

Meanwhile, back in San Diego, more than a few dollars have been rolling into the campaign against the ballot effort of the Chargers to build a $1.8 billion stadium-and-meeting complex by hiking hotel taxes.

Mark Fabiani

On August 24, Republican Steve Cushman, who last year was singled out by Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani for an extra measure of opprobrium during the team's failed stadium talks with GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer, came up with a $5000 contribution for a committee calling itself "No Downtown Stadium — Jobs and Streets First!"

Said Fabiani in a January 2015 question-and-answer session posted on the team's website: "Over the entire time we have been working with Mayor Faulconer and his staff, we have only ever asked for one thing — and we asked for it at the very first meeting we had with the Mayor’s staff: ‘Please do not assign Steve Cushman to work on this issue; instead let’s try to find some new voices and fresh perspectives to add to this 13-year-long process.'"

Steve Cushman

Added Fabiani, "Again, this is the one and only request we’ve ever made of the Mayor. So hopefully the community will understand our disappointment when the one and only specific stadium initiative the Mayor announced in his State of the City speech was the appointment of Steve Cushman to be in charge of devising a financing plan."

Another recent establishment donor to the anti-Chargers effort is James M. Hall of Point Loma, with $1000 on August 29.

Hall is an old law-school chum of ex–San Diego mayor and later governor Pete Wilson, who appointed him to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

Casey Gwinn. Critics say his oft-times emotional support of the project has sometimes gotten in the way of his duties as city prosecutor.

In September of 1998, Hall was on the losing side of a commission vote that ultimately required members of the San Diego City Council and other officials to report as gifts the free food and drinks they received in the city box from then–Jack Murphy Stadium concessionaire Service America Corp.

Also contesting the gift-reporting requirement adopted by the commission was then–San Diego city attorney Casey Gwinn, who had argued that city officials, including himself, should be allowed to keep their freebies free of disclosure.

"The city attorney should have known better than to try and issue an opinion on this subject because of his own conflict of interest," said then councilman Bruce Henderson, who first raised the issue.

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Bill Horn, forced to recuse himself from votes
Bill Horn, forced to recuse himself from votes

Urban sprawl means big money these days in San Diego's North County, the once bucolic setting of pastoral ranches and organic food farms now set for uber-urbanization if voters approve proposition B on November's countywide ballot.

Based on their latest political disclosure filing, wealthy backers of the project, named Lilac Hills Ranch, are leaving nothing to chance in their pursuit of a generous piece of the region’s post-rural pie.

On August 29th, LHR Investment Company LLC cut a cool $1 million check for the Yes on B campaign to overturn the county's ban on building 1746 housing units and accompanying commercial development on about 610 acres near Valley Center.

Tom Shepard - "This is part of the conspiracy. Nancy Hoover was helping out two friends, Roger Hedgecock and Tom Shepard. As long as Roger Hedgecock rose and became successful, Tom Shepard would become the premier political consultant in San Diego."

The developers previously reported laying out a total of $1,158,105 through June to collect the 70,000-plus valid voter signatures countywide to put their referendum on the ballot, including $8922 paid to Tom Shepard, former political consultant to fallen San Diego mayors Roger Hedgecock and Bob Filner.

The Lilac Hills proponents — who were forced into the ballot war after key project proponent county supervisor Bill Horn had to recuse himself from voting on the plan because he was a nearby property owner — are expected by insiders to spend millions more.

The chairman of the committee backing the measure, calling itself San Diegans for Housing Opportunities, is listed on disclosures as Paul Schuman.

“My focus is Private money. I help both investors and people in need of cash," notes Schuman's LinkedIn page, which notes that he is a "chairman of special program" at Accretive Investments, the lead developer on the Lilac Hills project.

"If you are looking for a business loan, we can get lenders competing for your business because we identify those who specialize — whether you need an angel investor or a partner to flip a home."

Meanwhile, back in San Diego, more than a few dollars have been rolling into the campaign against the ballot effort of the Chargers to build a $1.8 billion stadium-and-meeting complex by hiking hotel taxes.

Mark Fabiani

On August 24, Republican Steve Cushman, who last year was singled out by Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani for an extra measure of opprobrium during the team's failed stadium talks with GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer, came up with a $5000 contribution for a committee calling itself "No Downtown Stadium — Jobs and Streets First!"

Said Fabiani in a January 2015 question-and-answer session posted on the team's website: "Over the entire time we have been working with Mayor Faulconer and his staff, we have only ever asked for one thing — and we asked for it at the very first meeting we had with the Mayor’s staff: ‘Please do not assign Steve Cushman to work on this issue; instead let’s try to find some new voices and fresh perspectives to add to this 13-year-long process.'"

Steve Cushman

Added Fabiani, "Again, this is the one and only request we’ve ever made of the Mayor. So hopefully the community will understand our disappointment when the one and only specific stadium initiative the Mayor announced in his State of the City speech was the appointment of Steve Cushman to be in charge of devising a financing plan."

Another recent establishment donor to the anti-Chargers effort is James M. Hall of Point Loma, with $1000 on August 29.

Hall is an old law-school chum of ex–San Diego mayor and later governor Pete Wilson, who appointed him to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

Casey Gwinn. Critics say his oft-times emotional support of the project has sometimes gotten in the way of his duties as city prosecutor.

In September of 1998, Hall was on the losing side of a commission vote that ultimately required members of the San Diego City Council and other officials to report as gifts the free food and drinks they received in the city box from then–Jack Murphy Stadium concessionaire Service America Corp.

Also contesting the gift-reporting requirement adopted by the commission was then–San Diego city attorney Casey Gwinn, who had argued that city officials, including himself, should be allowed to keep their freebies free of disclosure.

"The city attorney should have known better than to try and issue an opinion on this subject because of his own conflict of interest," said then councilman Bruce Henderson, who first raised the issue.

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Comments
5

Is Cushman doing the right thing here for the right reason, or for the wrong reason? Over time, he's been in the thick of establishment activity, supporting it to the hilt. Now he's opposing a giveaway. We can only hope that others will join him in opposition, and that they will also support spending funds to repair streets, water lines, sewers, parks, and libraries.

Aug. 30, 2016

Repairing streets, water lines, sewers, parks and libraries -- there's an idea whose time has come, over and over again.

But one caveat: the City contracts out (some, much, most, all?) this work to private vendors who then become fully liable for mistakes or damage caused to private property. When the private property owner files a claim for damages done by the City contractor, one is told weeks later to get in touch with the private company who did the work.

I know, because today the City just kissed off my claim for $1000+ in damages done my lawn and underground sprinkler system last spring by a private company re-doing handicapped access corners adjacent to my house. I'm hoping the company's insurer is good for it.

Aug. 30, 2016

Well, at least you are, at long last, getting those corners installed. The law that mandated them was signed by Poppy Bush when he was Prez. That was a long time ago, a very long time ago.

Aug. 30, 2016

I am not particularly grateful, as never in 21 years' residence have I seen a blind person in my neighborhood or on this block. Plus, existing sloped corners for handicapped access already existed. Contractor never notified residents in advance that there would be 7 a.m. pile drivers to destroy existing handicapped corners -- window frames rattled, stucco fell, pictures on interior walls shifted. It sounded like barrel bombs over Aleppo. Then they chewed up three feet of my front yard, paved over the broken underground pipes and slapped ugly bumpy yellow plates into fresh concrete at the corners. When I shouted over the din what the hell are you doing, a worker told me to be glad that a few blocks of the cratered street would be repaved. I figured that had to be federal money, not Mayor Faulconer's largesse.

Aug. 30, 2016

Along with those handicapped ramps comes the vehicle code/municipal code that provides for large fines for blocking or parking within three feet of a handicapped ramp. ($347.50)

Aug. 31, 2016

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