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Covid-19 casts a pall over San Diego political money

Barbara Bry's daughter lends $5000

Barbara Bry with daughters Rachel Kruer and Sarah Kruer Jager
Barbara Bry with daughters Rachel Kruer and Sarah Kruer Jager

The failed campaign for this year's Measure C posted the city's biggest cash haul during the first half of this year. The measure would have hiked the tax on hotel stays in the city of San Diego to pay for a controversial convention center expansion and homeless relief program.

Measure C failed to obtain the required two-thirds vote of approval needed to levy new taxes, and the city's hotel lobby threatened to take the matter to court to overturn the electoral mandate.

But the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the convention business across the nation, has put a damper on such talk for the time being, as hotel lobbyists have set about requesting rent relief for their once-lucrative waterfront properties on city-owned land.

During the early days of 2020 leading to the March 3 election, the pro-convention center tax group raised a total of $1.13 million from hotel owners and related ventures, with the two most significant single contributions of $250,000 each arriving from Marriott International, Inc. and the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

According to the city's online campaign disclosure data, the midyear filing deadline of June 30 saw the city's two mayoral run-off candidates, Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry, both Democrats, locked in a tight fundraising battle.

Barbara Bry for San Diego Mayor 2000, along with Success San Diego in Support of Barbara Bry, a so-called independent expenditure committee, garnered a total of $263,695 in contributions.

The latter picked up $10,000 on February 10 from parking magnate Scott Jones, and $35,000 on February 21 from the Browning Family Trust, whose trustee is ex-Democratic state senator Steve Peace.

But fundraising has been so tight, it appears, that Success San Diego was forced to borrow money from its supporters, a phenomenon rarely seen by longtime political observers.

Anita Busquets, listed as a biotechnology management consultant from San Diego, lent $10,000 to Success San Diego on February 25. Repaid $5000 during the period, Busquets was still owed $5000 on June 30 with the total due at the end of this year.

Gwen Rosenberg, a corporate communication consultant for Integrated DNA Technologies, according to the filing, lent the committee $5000 on February 25, with the balance due December 31.

Similarly, Bry's daughter, La Jolla real estate developer Sarah Kruer Jager, lent $5000 to the committee on February 25, due at the end of 2020. According to the disclosure, the committee spent $65,717 on a pro-Bry mail piece on the day of the loans.

Gloria's combined donation haul of $280,244 narrowly beat Bry's total contributions as of June 30, virtually all collected before the pandemic set in.

An independent expenditure committee calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition Supporting Todd Gloria for Mayor 2020 got $27,500 on February 21 from the Republican-leaning San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.

Another ostensibly independent pro-Gloria group, San Diegans from Every Community in Support of Todd Gloria, picked up $5000 from the San Diego Police Officers Association PAC on January 21.

$25,000 came from the American Federation of Teachers union on February 10, and AMR Holdco, Inc., trying to hold onto its city ambulance contract, gave $5000 on February 17.

Fundraising by all city-registered committees in the final three months of the reporting period was well below the average of recent political years, reflecting the coronavirus pandemic's toll.

But in an uncertain political year, the mayoral funding race remains fluid, as exemplified by the July 20 filing of a new pro-Gloria independent expenditure committee calling itself Neighbors for Housing Solutions Supporting Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor 2020.

Failed city attorney candidate Gil Cabrera, per the document, is treasurer. The assistant treasurer is consultant Shawnda Deane of Sacramento's Deane & Company.

Deane is also treasurer for another pro-Gloria independent expenditure committee calling itself United San Diego, a Coalition of Citizens Supporting Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor 2020

The committee raised nothing from February 16 through June 30, ending with a cash balance of $84.62 and debts of $6732.

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Barbara Bry with daughters Rachel Kruer and Sarah Kruer Jager
Barbara Bry with daughters Rachel Kruer and Sarah Kruer Jager

The failed campaign for this year's Measure C posted the city's biggest cash haul during the first half of this year. The measure would have hiked the tax on hotel stays in the city of San Diego to pay for a controversial convention center expansion and homeless relief program.

Measure C failed to obtain the required two-thirds vote of approval needed to levy new taxes, and the city's hotel lobby threatened to take the matter to court to overturn the electoral mandate.

But the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the convention business across the nation, has put a damper on such talk for the time being, as hotel lobbyists have set about requesting rent relief for their once-lucrative waterfront properties on city-owned land.

During the early days of 2020 leading to the March 3 election, the pro-convention center tax group raised a total of $1.13 million from hotel owners and related ventures, with the two most significant single contributions of $250,000 each arriving from Marriott International, Inc. and the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

According to the city's online campaign disclosure data, the midyear filing deadline of June 30 saw the city's two mayoral run-off candidates, Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry, both Democrats, locked in a tight fundraising battle.

Barbara Bry for San Diego Mayor 2000, along with Success San Diego in Support of Barbara Bry, a so-called independent expenditure committee, garnered a total of $263,695 in contributions.

The latter picked up $10,000 on February 10 from parking magnate Scott Jones, and $35,000 on February 21 from the Browning Family Trust, whose trustee is ex-Democratic state senator Steve Peace.

But fundraising has been so tight, it appears, that Success San Diego was forced to borrow money from its supporters, a phenomenon rarely seen by longtime political observers.

Anita Busquets, listed as a biotechnology management consultant from San Diego, lent $10,000 to Success San Diego on February 25. Repaid $5000 during the period, Busquets was still owed $5000 on June 30 with the total due at the end of this year.

Gwen Rosenberg, a corporate communication consultant for Integrated DNA Technologies, according to the filing, lent the committee $5000 on February 25, with the balance due December 31.

Similarly, Bry's daughter, La Jolla real estate developer Sarah Kruer Jager, lent $5000 to the committee on February 25, due at the end of 2020. According to the disclosure, the committee spent $65,717 on a pro-Bry mail piece on the day of the loans.

Gloria's combined donation haul of $280,244 narrowly beat Bry's total contributions as of June 30, virtually all collected before the pandemic set in.

An independent expenditure committee calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition Supporting Todd Gloria for Mayor 2020 got $27,500 on February 21 from the Republican-leaning San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.

Another ostensibly independent pro-Gloria group, San Diegans from Every Community in Support of Todd Gloria, picked up $5000 from the San Diego Police Officers Association PAC on January 21.

$25,000 came from the American Federation of Teachers union on February 10, and AMR Holdco, Inc., trying to hold onto its city ambulance contract, gave $5000 on February 17.

Fundraising by all city-registered committees in the final three months of the reporting period was well below the average of recent political years, reflecting the coronavirus pandemic's toll.

But in an uncertain political year, the mayoral funding race remains fluid, as exemplified by the July 20 filing of a new pro-Gloria independent expenditure committee calling itself Neighbors for Housing Solutions Supporting Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor 2020.

Failed city attorney candidate Gil Cabrera, per the document, is treasurer. The assistant treasurer is consultant Shawnda Deane of Sacramento's Deane & Company.

Deane is also treasurer for another pro-Gloria independent expenditure committee calling itself United San Diego, a Coalition of Citizens Supporting Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor 2020

The committee raised nothing from February 16 through June 30, ending with a cash balance of $84.62 and debts of $6732.

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Department of When Birnam Wood shall come to Dunsinane: NPR reported today that hoteliers around Mission Bay (presumably including the stalwart GOP Evans Family, owners of the Bahia and other properties,) are reportedly seeking rent relief from their City landlords during this pandemic period.

Aug. 3, 2020

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