Clients of PPR Solutions, Inc. constituting $10,000 or more of revenue for the concern were restaurant chain Chick-fil-A and marijuana vendor Loud, Inc.
Phil Rath, the longtime Republican insider and close advisor to San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, continues to clean up on the local lobbying circuit, according to his latest personal statement of economic interests, filed May 27 and covering the period from September 12, 2019 through the end of last year. Rath’s current mayoral patronage gig is as a consultant to the chief operating officer and administration, the document says, providing no other details.
On the outside, Rath owns PPR Solutions, Inc., which the disclosure calls a public affairs consultancy. That outfit, valued at between $100,000 and $1 million, took in more than $100,000 in pro rata gross income for Rath, per the report. Clients constituting $10,000 or more of revenue for the concern were restaurant chain Chick-fil-A and marijuana vendor Loud, Inc. Also on PPR’s greater than $10,000 list: Newland Sierra, LLC; Paragon Partners; Torrey Holistics; UMMC, Inc; Will Senn; SBC Inc; Lennar Homes of California; Vulcan Materials; Real Outrageous Partners, LLC; Strainwise; and Torrey South Ventures, LLC.
Money, and wrist-slap fines, make lobbyist Phil Rath smile.
One the city’s busiest lobbyists, Rath also lists himself as a partner in Rath Miller, Inc., another public affairs consultancy valued between $100,000 and $1 million, which provided more than $100,000 of gross income to Rath, says the disclosure. The list of clients furnishing greater than $10,000 of revenue to the company included developer Zephyr Partners, pot proprietor Torrey Holistics, and Conduent, a so-called business services provider with a $39,000 city consulting contract, according to a June 30, 2019 purchase order. Strainwise battled the Del Mar school district last November over a pot shop location sought by the Denver-based company. “Not only is this proposed dispensary directly next to our maintenance, operations, facilities and technology offices, which in and of itself is extremely disconcerting, the proposed project has some potential environmental impacts that have not been thoroughly investigated through the CEQA process,” Del Mar school superintendent Holly McClurg complained to the Union-Tribune.
Rath’s web of lobbying contracts resulted in an $11,000 fine levied against him in August 2018 by the city’s ethics commission for “extremely egregious” violations of conflict-of-interest laws during his tenure as a Faulconer-appointed board member of the now-defunct Civic San Diego. The influence peddler admitted he failed to disclose cash he’d received from developer Affirmed Housing before voting on one of the firm’s projects. Rath was subsequently slapped with a follow-up fine of $5000 in the same case by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for breaking state law. “These violations are extremely egregious because they undermine public confidence in the integrity of the City’s decision-making process,” ethics commission chair Deborah Cochran said in an August 2018 news release.
Early this year, Rath, currently chief of San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Coalition, helped shepherd a marijuana-friendly billboard law through Faulconer’s office and the city council that kept 352 of 644 signs eligible for pot ads. The lobbyist is a significant donor to Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria’s bid to be San Diego mayor, giving a total of $1050 in November and December 2019. He subsequently came up with the same for Republican city councilman and failed mayoral candidate Scott Sherman in January and February of this year.
Chris Cate seems pleased with his post-city council prospects.
No more better tomorrow
Republican Chris Cate won his second term on the San Diego city council in November 2018 by beating Democrat Tommy Hough, leaving him with just two years before terming out. Cate now has his eye on District 77 of the Republican Central Committee. On May 4, another of his controlled committees, Citizens for a Better Tomorrow by Chris Cate, transferred $24,247 — all of its money — to his central committee election fund, according to a May 19 filing with the city clerk’s office. In February 2018, Better Tomorrow’s website, subsequently taken down, said the group planned to back a state ballot proposition to “end early release of rapists and child traffickers and would add 15 crimes to the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option.” The committee also promised to seek a “Proposition 13 Portability Initiative,” to “allow homeowners 55 years of age or older to transfer some of their Prop 13 property tax base to a home of any price, located anywhere in the state, any number of times.”
Twenty thousand dollars of the group’s cash came from Allan Camaisa, vice chairman of San Diego-based StemImmune Inc... Kevin Faulconer, in his final year as San Diego mayor, continues to rely on corporate funding for his non-profit One San Diego. The latest special interest to tithe is shopping mall giant Westfield Property, forking over $10,000 on April 24, per a May 22 disclosure report signed by the mayor.
On May 11, Faulconer and county supervisor Greg Cox, a fellow Republican, leaned hard on Democratic California governor Gavin Newsom to loosen the kind of business restrictions that have kept malls closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.