State filings show that Kevin Faulconer’s Ballot Measure Committee, Rebuilding the California Dream, raised a total of $120,900 during the first half of 2020 with $10,000 coming from Kashian Enterprises, a giant Fresno real estate developer founded by Ed Kashian.
Faulconer’s pre-election cash
As the clock ticks down on Kevin Faulconer’s last weeks in office, the San Diego mayor has adopted Fresno as his favorite new fundraising grounds. A putative candidate for governor on the GOP side against incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom, the self-styled moderate Republican has been busy picking the state’s political grapevines, harvesting cash for his new political committee. He’s officially dubbed it Faulconer’s Ballot Measure Committee, Rebuilding the California Dream.
State filings show that the committee raised a total of $120,900 during the first half of 2020, with some of the most sizable money coming from the San Joaquin Valley city. They included $10,000 from Kashian Enterprises, a giant Fresno real estate developer founded by Ed Kashian. In December 1985, the Sacramento Bee ran a front-page “clarification” to settle a $6 million libel suit brought by Kashian against McClatchy Newspapers regarding a 1982 expose attempting to link the developer and other members of the Fresno business community to the mafia, per a December 10, 1985, Los Angeles Times dispatch. “The Bee did not then and does not now take the position that Mr. Kashian was a member of organized crime or was involved in criminal activity,” the newspaper wrote. “This statement is published in the interest of clarifying any misunderstanding caused by the article.” A McClatchy spokesman said no money changed hands as part of the settlement.
Another Fresno donor to Faulconer’s fund was Shiralian Enterprises, a truck stop and gas station operator overseen by Shawn Shiralian, which gave $20,000. Shiralian was a $5000 donor to New Faces GOP PAC, which has run attack ads against House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling her “the face of socialism and ignorance,” per OpenSecrets.org.
The biggest single donation to the Faulconer cause came from Gerald Marcil of Palos Verdes Estates, who gave $50,000 on March 3. “The former high school wrestler is a moderate Republican and chairman of the fiscally conservative New Majority of Los Angeles. He donated $127,150 to conservative candidates and causes between 2015 and 2017,” wrote Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times in November 2017. The mega-landlord told the columnist that “he flew his apartment managers, spouses and other employees — more than 80 people altogether — to Maui last month and put them up for a week at a beachfront hotel in Kaanapali.” Hager Pacific Properties managing partner Robert Neal of Newport Beach gave $10,000 on March 9.
Carl McLarand, of Riverwalk designer MVE Architects, chipped in $5000 to Kevin Faulconer’s PAC.
Laguna Niguel’s David Horowitz, noted for championing a bevy of conservative causes, came up with the same February 20. In addition to the out-of-towners, two donors with close ties to the sprawling Mission Valley development known as Riverwalk also kicked in for the mayor’s cause. Carl McLarand of MVE Architects in Irvine, a designer for the project, came up with $5000 on February 22. Landowner Steve Cushman gave $2500 four days before. A San Diego Lincoln Club political committee called the Community Leadership Coalition gave $5000 on January 16, and San Diegan Thomas Davidson, whose occupation was not disclosed, gave $2500.
Treeless in Del Mar
A potential conflict of interest created by the removal of a Del Mar tree proved quick work for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. “Does the Act permit you, as the Planning Director for the City of Del Mar, to take part in a decision to approve a tree removal permit application when the tree in question is not visible, but located within 500 feet from a house you rent?” That was the rhetorical question posed in a September 24 letter from FPPC attorney Dave Bainbridge to Del Mar planning chief Joseph Smith. The answer: “Here, the approval of a tree removal permit would not change the termination date of the lease, increase or decrease the potential rental value of the property, or change your actual or legally allowable use of the property. Further, given that you have no view of the tree from your property, it appears it would not change your use and enjoyment of the property either. Accordingly, your approval or rejection of the tree removal permit application would not present a conflict of interest under the Act.”
Faulconer shut down the electronic intelligence network last month.
During the tenure of mayor Kevin Faulconer, public records site MuckRock.com of Boston has unearthed a documentary trove regarding plans by San Diego to turn itself into a surveillance city. Among the latest records to emerge is an April 25, 2017 email from Hitachi Insight Group’s Jillian Frodsham to San Diego cop Armando Gutierrez. “Hitachi has designed a public safety solution creating a Smart City that will integrate video with data, from 911 calls, gunshot detectors, license plate recognition, weather reports and crime statistics into a single web-based interface,” says the missive. Last month, as controversy mounted regarding the 3200 so-called spy-cams installed on city streetlights, Faulconer shut down the electronic intelligence network, leaving a costly cleanup job behind for the next mayor.
— Matt Potter
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