Who will be San Diego’s next ambulance and paramedic service? Knoxville, Tennessee-based Priority Ambulance hired downtown super-lobbyist Clay Company to give them a boost.
Political clout pleases Fabian Núñez .
A big-money battle over who will be San Diego’s next ambulance and paramedic service has heated up with the hiring of downtown super-lobbyist Clay Company by Knoxville, Tennessee-based Priority Ambulance, per a May 28 registration. The ambulance company has also retained the services of Mercury Public Affairs, according to a May 29 filing by the firm.
Mercury partner and ex-Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez had his son Esteban’s prison term for voluntary manslaughter in a 2008 San Diego killing reduced to seven years by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a result, the younger Núñez left prison early in April 2016.
Chief of Mercury’s San Diego account, company co-chairman John Ek, faced a $11,000 fine from the Los Angeles Ethics Commission for inviting 37 officials, including the mayor, to a $51,000 birthday bash he threw for himself in 2015, according to a February 16, 2017, Los Angeles Times report.
Paramedic provider Priority recently caused a stir in Loudon, Tennessee, the company’s home county, when the firm announced it was slashing ambulance staff due to the impact of COVID-19. “We anticipate the demand for our services will return in the near future; however, we must make adjustments to our short-term ambulance deployment to ensure that we continue to operate a sustainable EMS system and protect our ability to provide continued service to the citizens who rely on us,” said a statement by vice president of Tennessee operations Rob Webb, according to an April 22 account by the News-Herald. “We understand that the above staffing pattern differs from the current contract; however, we are in unprecedented and extenuating circumstances responding to the current public health crisis.”
County commissioner Adam Waller told the paper he opposed to the move. “We can’t at this time take a chance on going down to two ambulances running their routes or being available on any given day. That’s just not what we agreed upon in the contract. We need them to do everything they can to make sure they have as much service provided as possible.”
Loudon County Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw counseled patience. “From Loudon County’s standpoint calls are down about 20 percent, and so with the coverage that they are maintaining, they were losing money, and so they’ve shown a willingness to work with us and... the commission.”
Priority arrived on the local scene after the administration of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer scrapped the award of the city’s emergency medical services contract to Danish-based paramedic giant Falck and reopened the bidding in January. Incumbent ambulance provider American Medical Response, which had submitted a bid of its own, has been a significant donor to Faulconer and other city politicos and has paid more than $10,000 to lobbyist and mayoral policy intimate Phil Rath, filings show.
Party switcher Brian Maienschein finds the Democratic freebie haul to be richer.
Maienschein’s food and drink
Assembly Democrat Brian Maienschein, who switched from being Republican after barely avoiding being ousted from his seat in 2016, is finding the food-and-drink circuit more lucrative in his adopted party, judging by his February 27 annual statement of economic interests. From June through August of last year, Maienschein got unspecified meals and beverages worth $140 from the California Democratic Party. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s 2020 reelection committee provided $56.58 in food and drink in August and September of last year. The Rendon committee kicked in a messenger bag worth $75.62, a $100 jacket, and another $28 worth of food and drink in June.
Maienschein attended the San Diego Annual Awards of Equality California on June 14, worth $260, and went to the California Labor Federation’s joint legislative conference on April 1, valued at $112. Last month, the state Citizens Compensation Commission voted not to cut legislators’ base salary of $114,877, despite a proposal by Democratic governor Gavin Newsom to cut rank-and-file state workers’ pay by ten percent, per a May 27 Los Angeles Times account. “I urge the legislators and the constitutional officers… to each seriously consider a voluntary surrender of some portion of their salary in recognition of the budgetary hardships and the hardships of many Californians, especially those who are unemployed,” the compensation committee chairman Tom Dalzell said during the meeting. Responded Rendon spokeswoman Katie Talbot: “Whatever the Citizens Compensation Commission decides is what the Assembly will abide by.” Added Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat: “Voters put legislators’ compensation in the hands of the Citizens Compensation Commission. We continue to abide by their decisions”