Qualcomm, the home-grown tech giant known locally for take-no-prisoners political plays, is quickly getting a national reputation for dirty tricks. A November 21 report by the New York Times outlines Qualcomm’s hiring of an opposition research firm run by GOP consultant Tim Miller. “Definers quickly found plenty of business, from start-ups like Lyft, Lime and Juul to giants like Facebook and Qualcomm, the influential chip company that was in a nasty legal fight with Apple over royalties, according to five people with direct knowledge of Mr. Miller’s work who declined to be named because of confidentiality agreements,” the Times reports. “While working for Qualcomm, Definers pushed the idea that Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, was a viable presidential candidate in 2020, according to a former Definers employee and digital records. Presumably, it was an attempt to chill the cordial relations that Mr. Cook had cultivated with the Trump administration.”
With budget shortfalls threatening to make the final months of lame-duck San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer less than triumphant, the city is trying to generate some extra cash via its pothole-reporting smartphone app. “The City is looking for a licensing partner to package, market, and service the 311 software owned by the City to other municipalities in exchange for royalty payments to the City. The 311 software, called ‘Get It Done San Diego’ is the official app for reporting non-emergency problems to the City of San Diego. App users can report problems like potholes and graffiti and connect directly to the City’s work tracking systems.” Adds an October request for proposals, “The City offers multiple partner benefits, such as promotion of the app on its website and other opportunities. In addition, the City encourages potential partners to suggest additional marketing elements that will achieve marketing goals with the City of San Diego.”
Heavy lumber swinging
As controversy continues over San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan for a downtown homeless navigation center, the Padres are coming up to bat with a bevy of in-house influence peddlers. On November 21, the team registered with the city clerk’s office to lobby city officials regarding “increased security and community outreach” for the new facility. Another Faulconer-related concern is the mayor’s forthcoming plan to regulate the burgeoning corps of e-scooters, including the team’s desires for the imposition of a “speed zone around Petco Park.”
Those being deployed, per the filing, are team employees Diana Puetz, Caroline Perry, and Erik Greupner. Puetz’s August 2015 wedding to former Faulconer chief of staff Stephen Puetz at the bayside mansion of developer and mayoral campaign funder Morgan Dene Oliver raised questions for the mayor’s office when Faulconer came out in favor of now-defeated SoccerCity being promoted by Oliver. Perry has been a lawyer for the team since April 2011, per her LinkedIn profile. Greupner joined the Padres in December 2010 as senior vice president, general counsel. He is currently chief operating officer for the team. Other special pleaders currently in the navigation center’s mix of influencers include Sacramento-based California Strategies, representing downtown developer LMC Properties, which paid $5000 to the lobbying company during the year’s third quarter seeking “enhanced homeless services, housing, and enforcement of city laws.”
Christopher Woods, chief fiscal advisor to Democratic state senate leader Toni Atkins, got a free field club ticket to a San Francisco Giants versus Oakland Athletics game July 14 worth $165 from AT&T, per an October 31 lobbying disclosure by the cell-phone giant. “He’s an example of an expert behind-the-scenes Capitol player unknown to the public, but who has far-reaching influence on how tax dollars are spent,” notes Capital Weekly. “Woods makes sure that the spending priorities of the Senate and its leader are given consideration. It’s a job that requires more than a green eyeshade.”
Matt Cox, senior consultant to GOP senator Ted Gaines, got three tickets on the field level for a July 28 Giants versus Milwaukee Brewers game valued at a total of $342. Naser Javaid, district director for Assembly Democrat Tim Grayson, and Dan Okenfuss, Graysons’ communications director, got four tickets valued at a total of $660 from the favor-seeking telecommunications provider. Willie Guerrero, principal consultant to the Latino Legislative Caucus, had to settle for five bleacher seats at a September 30 Giants-Dodgers game worth $195. In addition to distributing freebies to legislative employees, AT&T employs California Strategies & Advocacy, the state influence-peddling behemoth founded by one-time Pete Wilson aide Bob White. AT&T’s filing shows that so far this year the firm has been paid $58,567. Other beneficiaries of the company’s lobbying largesse during the third quarter included the UC San Diego Foundation, which got $50,000. Democratic political consultant Steven Maviglio, who helped mastermind the campaign against pro-rent-control measure Proposition 10, picked up $7083 from the company.