The San Diego Housing Commission is preparing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars not on new residential units but to retain the services of a pricey Sacramento lobbyist.
More palm greasers’ help wanted
Faced with a housing meltdown aggravated by Covid-19, the San Diego Housing Commission is preparing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars not on new residential units but to retain the services of a pricey Sacramento lobbyist. “The consultant will play a key role in representing [the housing commission] in Sacramento and identifying potential opportunities for advocacy,” says a July 22 request for proposals for what the agency calls Advocacy Consulting Services. “It is critical that [the commission] have a voice in Sacramento, as well as the opportunity to participate in policymaking and provide input during the State legislative and regulatory processes.”
Lobbyist Darius Anderson
Precisely how much the lobbyist will cost the city’s already stressed housing fund is left for would-be advocates to propose, with final responses due August 20. Desired qualifications include “demonstrated experience in government relations and legislative advocacy efforts, including success as evaluated by bills introduced/passed, and other similar measures.” Any new hire would bolster the efforts of the city’s longtime Sacramento lobbyist Platinum Advisors. During the current legislative session, the city of San Diego has paid $186,500 to Platinum, a lobbying shop run by Darius Anderson, the controversial longtime influence peddler for now-bankrupt Northern California utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric.
“Widely recognized as one of California’s most effective political strategists and fundraisers, he has and continues to advise many of California’s highest-ranking political and business leaders, including US Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and corporate executives Ron Burkle, Eli Broad, and Brad Grey,” says an Anderson profile on the website of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, where he and wife Sarah are benefactors.
In 2018, Anderson put his 76-acre, six-bedroom, two-residence Sonoma County estate up for sale. “The property, known as the Kenwood Ranch, at 10420-10440 White Fang Glen — complete with paved roads, an 8-acre vineyard, a baseball diamond, and sculpture gardens by Burning Man artist Bryan Tedrick — first went on the market in the middle of last year for $15.6 million,” according to a January 2019 story by San Francisco Business Times. By then, the price had been cut to $12.4 million. “The ranch came out unscathed from the wildfires that barreled through nearby towns and vineyards alike in 2017.”
A December 2019 account by two Pacific Sun investigators for RawStory accused Anderson of misusing a fire recovery non-profit he set up ostensibly to provide relief for fire victims. “Despite laws prohibiting such foundations from making campaign contributions, Rebuild North Bay donated cash to support local elected officials,” according to RawStory. “While Rebuild North Bay has performed some charitable acts, it has devoted more resources to creating a network of business people and local public officials to lobby bureaucrats and legislators in Washington DC.” Adds the story: “The day after Christmas 2017, PG&E cut Rebuild North Bay a check for $2 million; the utility’s largesse accounted for 75 percent of the foundation’s contributions in the ensuing months.”
In the meantime, Platinum has been lobbying the state government on behalf of the city of San Diego regarding “homelessness issues” and “Homeless Funding,” per state disclosure filings.
Mayoral candidate Barbara Bry
Chicken gets bounced
An independent expenditure committee backing city councilwoman Barbara Bry — who is facing off against fellow Democrat and Assembly member Todd Gloria for San Diego mayor — picked up $10,000 from Republican Mission Valley developer Tom Sudberry on June 30, per a July 24 disclosure report. Other June donors to Success San Diego in Support of Barbara Bry for Mayor 2020 included Peter Cooper, president of La Jolla’s P. J. Cooper and Company, with $5000 on June 30, and Gregorio Galicot president of BBG Communications, giving $5000 on June 29. Son of José Galicot, known to some as the “godfather of Tijuana,” the younger Galicot gave the legal maximum of $5400 to Trump’s first presidential campaign on June 29, 2016...
Truncated by the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego’s political rubber chicken circuit had a short life in the first half of this year. Still, some city officeholders managed a few bites of free meals before the bug shut down the campaign socializing. Newly filed gift disclosure reports reveal that Republican city councilman Chris Cate made it to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 149th-anniversary celebration on February 13 with a free dinner pass worth $175. Cate also put in a January 31 dinner appearance at the San Diego United Lions Club’s 2020 Lunar New Year Charity Daily, valued at $60. Council Democrat Georgette Gomez got a $69 pass to a January 24 Roe v. Wade breakfast and a February 1 admission to a Roar Breakfast, valued at $25, both from Re-Elect Senator [Toni] Atkins 2020. Topping them both in the shortened giving season was Democratic City Attorney Mara Elliiott, who picked up a total of $675 in dinner freebies from groups including liquor store proponents, the Neighborhood Market Association ($300, February 28), and the National Electrical Contractors Association ($170, January 11).
— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)
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