Gloria’s staff fly for free
Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s 2020 reelection fund, which drew a lawsuit from a critic who pointed out that the Democrat was running for San Diego mayor, not the Assembly, has quietly begun handing out money to key political allies. Along with those distributions, a sizable portion of the kitty has provided food and lodging for Gloria and legislative staff. The fund covered $349 in staff airline tickets from San Diego to the state Democratic convention in San Francisco along with a $210 lunch last May for the assemblyman and six staffers at that city’s Archive Bar & Kitchen.
Gloria’s Assembly chief of staff Eduardo Martinez got an overnight stay worth $426 on May 31, per campaign disclosure records. Other staff nights at the Marriott Marquis totaled $1996.
The reelection committee of Gloria’s Democratic colleague Lorena Gonzalez, who, along with husband Nathan Fletcher has endorsed Gloria for mayor, was reimbursed $1037 for a “delegates breakfast.” This year’s disbursements have included $5000 on January 3 for the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, which backs Gloria’s mayoral bid. Then on January 17, the fund came up with $4700 each for the reelection committee of Republican-turned-Democratic Assemblyman Brian Maienschein and Susan Eggman for state senate, along with $1000 for each of four other Democratic office seekers.
The August 2019 complaint filed by Mat Wahlstrom charged that Gloria had set up his 2020 reelection fund to illegally raise cash for ultimate use in the mayoral race. Superior Court Judge Ronald F. Frazier dismissed the matter, leaving resolution up to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. That body levied a $200 fine in November against Gloria for failing to file a candidate intention statement before setting up his reelection fund. “I wish I could say I’m shocked that a politician who commits perjury and fraudulently raises corporate money for a mayoral race that does not allow corporate donors would be slapped on the wrist,” Wahlstrom told the Union-Tribune afterward. “But I’m not: the FPPC is designed to protect officeholders first and foremost. This is what’s wrong with our system. This is why I filed suit in the first place — and why I will continue fighting to make sure that the public and Mr. Gloria both receive the justice they deserve.”
Donations to the committee have included $4700 from the marijuana-related Ghost Management Group of Orange County, $2000 each from the Sycuan gambling tribe and the New Car Dealers Association PAC, $1150 from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, another casino operator, and $1500 from the Apartment Association of Orange County PAC, according to state campaign disclosure records.
Gas monkey love
Republican San Diego mayoral candidate and city councilman Scott Sherman, scrambling for campaign cash ever since his last-minute plunge into the race earlier this month, has tapped a wealthy Donald Trump funder from Texas. Billionaire Darwin Deason of Dallas, who made his fortune in the computer business, kicked in the maximum $1150 personal contribution to Sherman’s effort on January 27, filings show.
Deason most recently has been in the news regarding his split from flashy fifth wife Katerina. Before the divorce, they built a lavish La Jolla oceanfront estate requiring the services of lobbyist Matthew Peterson to ease through the city’s building bureaucracy. Last August Katerina announced she was leaving Deason to get engaged to Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill owner and Discovery Network Fast N’ Loud star Richard Rawlings. “The very second I laid eyes on you I knew,” Discovery.com quoted Rawlings as saying on Instagram after Katerina accepted his proposal. “Then only seconds later I realized your unbelievable beauty and grace came from within..... Right then I decided I wanted to spend all my seconds with you.”
A graduate of La Jolla High, Katerina, 27 years Deason’s junior, has “strong ties to San Diego,” per a November 2009 account by the Union-Tribune’s Diane Bell.
Costs are already growing higher than predicted for the public agency that’s supposed to cut San Diegans a better deal on electricity than long-time supplier San Diego Gas & Electric. The bad news comes in the form of a January 30 report to the board of San Diego Community Power from interim CEO Cody Hooven regarding arrangements to find someone permanent to run the outfit. “Proposals are due from potential executive search firms on February 5, 2020. Costs may be higher than originally anticipated, in the range of $60,000 to $80,000. An ad hoc committee of two Board members is recommended to work with the recruiter and participate in the recruitment process.”
Job interviews for the post are set for April through June. The amount of salary remains to be determined.