Photo by UC Santa Barbara website
Scott Borden is furnishing $5 million in collateral to secure the deal with River City Bank.
While a host of local public bodies are vowing to slash programs and lay off staff in the face of the financial onslaught that is the COVID-19 pandemic, the newly hatched San Diego Community Power agency is quietly recruiting public relations talent.
As part of its "marketing and public communications strategy," the would-be power provider seeking to rival San Diego Gas & Electric as a local energy distributor, "requests services related to press/media relations and public affairs," according to a request for proposals issued April 30.
"Web and graphic design," along with "branding and messaging within the community and various on-line platforms," are part of an ambitious PR drive by Community Power, a joint powers authority including Imperial Beach, Encinitas, La Mesa, Chula Vista, and San Diego formed by the five cities last September.
Lobbying is part of the agenda, judging from an implementation plan approved by the California Public Utilities Commission on March 30.
"Communications will be directed at key policymakers at the state and local level, community business and opinion leaders, and the media," that document says.
The agency "is the first in California to explicitly state that it will reach 100 percent renewable energy availability and usage by no later than 2035 and beyond, in advance of current State targets," according to a request for proposals for the PR services issued April 30. Responses are due May 29, per the solicitation.
"It is assumed that non-power start-up costs of approximately $5 million will be funded through an unsecured line of credit with a third-party lender and repaid from the working capital financing and/or program revenues," according to an March implementation plan.
"The working capital financing will be primarily secured via a short-term loan."
The report adds that River City Bank of Sacramento will provide the loan and credit line. Scott Borden, an investor and political donor, is furnishing $5 million in interest-bearing collateral to secure the deal, per a May 5 Voice of San Diego account.
Borden is part owner of the Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest and an avocado farm, according to a report by the San Diego Business Journal in March 2019.
"We really do have an emergency here,” regarding climate change. "Getting to 100 percent renewable energy as fast as possible is important to me and my business and important to all of us,” he told the publication.
A major playerin San Diego politics, in 2018 Borden, identified as a member/manager of ETC Adventures LLC, kicked in $50,000 to a group calling itself San Diegans Against Hate Opposing Lorie Zapf for City Council.
Democrat Jen Campbell defeated Republican Zapf that November. The same fall Borden gave $2500 to the campaign of Imperial Beach city councilwoman Paloma Aguirre, records show.