With the November election swiftly approaching, the campaigns of the two major party contenders are going about the business of raising California cash, including a La Jolla appearance by Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence.
Set for Wednesday, September 7, at 11 a.m., the event is to be cohosted at an unspecified location by Doug Manchester, the Republican wheeler-dealer and former Union-Tribune owner, and his Russian-born second wife Geniya. Manchester's fellow cosponsors are listed as wealthy diet maven Jenny Craig and Madeleine Pickens, ex-wife of Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens.
The basic price of admission to the lunch, according to a recent invitation, is $1000, but a "photo opportunity" can be had for $2700, or $5400 per couple.
The trio threw a fundraising bash for the head of the ticket, Donald Trump, in July, resulting in a sizable boost to the New Yorker's overall money take here versus his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. She has long cultivated her own San Diego County political funding base, including Qualcomm cofounder Irwin Jacobs.
Summer donors to the Trump campaign included Gregorio D. Galicot, president of controversial Otay Mesa–based BBG Communications, who kicked in $5400. BBG has been accused by critics of gouging U.S. servicemembers for long-distance phone calls placed at European airports.
Other maximum Trump donors included Corky Mizer of Corky's Pest Control, a longtime Manchester friend and ally, and developer Douglas Allred.
Ralph Whitworth, whose bitter divorce battle with ex–Larry King show producer Wendy Walker scandalized Rancho Santa Fe, also came up with $5400, as did his current spouse Fernanda.
Fallen Solana Beach savings-and-loan magnate Kim Fletcher, formerly of the collapsed HomeFed Bank, maxed out to Trump as well, as did wife Marilyn.
Fletcher has long been an advocate of restricting immigration, serving on the advisory board of Santa Barbara–based Californians for Population Stabilization. The group's website contends that "out-of-control population growth threatens the California Dream."
"If Californians are having fewer children, why is it so crowded?" asked a 2014 television commercial run by the organization. "If Californians are having fewer children, why are there so many cars? If Californians are having fewer children, why isn't there enough water? If Californians are having fewer children, where are all the people coming from?"
The group's answer: "Virtually all of California's population growth is from immigration. Let's slow immigration and save some California for tomorrow.” The commercials also linked immigration to global warming.
"Part of the solution to reversing California’s environmental decline, while not politically correct or convenient, is certainly simple,” executive director Jo Wideman said. “If we slow mass immigration, we can slow population growth....”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, who has previously held fundraisers at the mansion of La Jolla billionaire Jacobs, and personally received $335,000 from Qualcomm for a single 2014 speaking gig, has turned her current California money sights to Los Angeles.
On September 13, the ex–first lady and Secretary of State is scheduled to appear at a private lunchtime concert by Lionel Richie, at a minimum admission of $5000. "Contribute $33,400 or raise $50,000, includes lunch, preferred seating and photo with Hillary," says the invite. Money over the presidential campaign maximum will be routed to Democratic party committees. That evening, Clinton is set to show up at a $100,000-per-couple bash at the Beverly Hills home of Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller.