Old California politicians never die; they just set up ballot measure committees and start raising more campaign cash from special interests.
Such appears to be the story of termed-out San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has filed with the California Secretary of State's office to establish an entity officially known as Faulconer's Ballot Measure Committee; Rebuilding The California Dream, San Diego Mayor.
State law doesn't require the committee to post any further details, including fundraising and spending activities, until its midyear disclosure, leaving the public in the dark until the filing deadline of July 31.
Though legal, the transparency lack fits past patterns by the San Diego Republican, who last year quietly used left-over mayoral campaign cash to pay a $4000 city ethics penalty for failing to reveal developer gifts to One San Diego, his charity operation until months after the deadline.
No matter who is picking up the tab, two glowing, if not fact-filled accounts this month illustrate how the mayor's new committee is already yielding a bevy of glowing media payoffs for the ex-public relations man.
The mayor kicked things off January 17 with a write-up by Politico.com's California Playbook, announcing that Faulconer has been "long viewed as the California GOP's most viable candidate for higher office."
The piece quotes the mayor as claiming San Diego "has been the only major city in California to significantly reduce homelessness."
Without detail, Faulconer promised, "an initiative that works to clean up our public spaces, keeps our communities safe, and stops the state from turning a blind eye to the inhumane and unsafe homeless encampments that have become a symbol of the government's failure to act."
Then on January 27, venerable Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton offered his full-throated endorsement in a piece headlined, "Kevin Faulconer is the GOP's best and only hope to regain ground in California."
"A big question is does he have [former Gov.] Pete Wilson's drive to devote 2½ years to barnstorming the state, collecting chits, building a fundraising base, and shaping a winnable message?" GOP old-timer Ken Khachigian noted, comparing Faulconer to another home-grown San Diego politico.
Though the question remains unanswered, locals note many such political similarities between Wilson and Faulconer. They include the current San Diego mayor's financial ties to corporate funding sources, including the Florida-based GEO Group, a private prison operation.
Wilson was a key GEO ally while governor. When GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took office after ousting Democrat Gray Davis in a 2003 recall election, GEO hired a phalanx of ex-Wilson aides from the Flanigan Law Firm to reverse Davis's private prison closures, per a Los Angeles Times account in January 2005.
Among the most notable high-dollar donors to Faulconer's 2014 mayoral campaign was George Zoley of Boca Raton, Florida, GEO's founder, chairman, and chief executive officer, and his wife Donna.
Last month, GEO Group filed suit in San Diego federal court to block a California ban against outsourced prisons enacted last year by the state legislature and signed into law by Democratic governor Gavin Newsom. Last week the Trump Administration filed a similar action here.