Todd Gloria and Kent Rodricks
The 101 Ash Street building is turning into a major player – and the players have been major payers in the coming – and past – mayoral elections.
While Todd Gloria’s campaign has gained tens of thousands of dollars in direct contributions and more from donations to independent committees that are sending out flyers and paying for television and web ads, his dad – who appears to have stopped being a gardener at least 20 years ago per his LinkedIn profile – lit out with a tasteless tweet about a disability advocate who joked about Gloria’s ongoing claims that he is the son of “a gardener and a maid.” The tweet was up only long enough to garner a stinging rebuke from other people who advocate for disability rights. So far, Kent Rodricks says, he hasn’t gotten an apology though the tweet came down the next day.
Rodricks, an ardent supporter of mayoral candidate Barbara Bry, has been highlighting Gloria’s role in the 101 Ash scandal and tweeted on Sept. 12 that Gloria will need the help of a gardener and a maid to clean it up.
“I didn’t realize right away he was mocking me, the appearance of a handicapped guy,” Rodricks says, saying he is still waiting for an apology from Phil Gloria, his son or his son’s campaign – which Rodricks thinks should speak to the dad’s remark. “His slogan is “for all of us,” but you’re silent when your dad insults a handicapped guy.“
Phil Gloria, as @SuperSocker and whose LinkedIn resume describes him as having more than 20 years experience in aerospace companies, replied with a picture of Mini Me, from the Austin Powers movies, apparently making fun of Rodricks’ small frame that resulted from disabling bone disease.
Gloria’s campaign did not respond to calls and emails for comment on either the dad’s insult or the money that came into his campaign from 101 Ash players, including resigned city staffer Cybele Thompson.. Key players from Cisterra Development, Jason Wood, Steven Black, and Steve Scott have donated $4,950 directly to Gloria’s campaign for mayor since 2019 with the last donation in April. Cisterra bought the building from Doug Manchester and Sandor Shapery and then leased it to the city in 2016. “The seller-landlord, Cisterra, played an outsized role in the city’s acquisition of the property, the Hugo Parker LLP report states.
Worth noting, corporation members donated $500 to Scott Sherman’s near-miss run for the job – and, in 2016, donated $1,100 to Barbara Bry’s campaign for her current city council seat. City records illustrate that the company’s officers have made at least 100 donations to city candidates and committees in the past 10 years, including $4,100 to Kevin Faulconer’s campaign, as well as supporting both Carl DeMaio and Nathan Fletcher in 2012.
(Lobbying reports show Cisterra reps met with Faulconer about 101 Ash and two other downtown projects in that time period.)
In the past year, they’ve also donated to city council candidates Stephen Whitburn, district 3 ($1,200), resigned candidate Kelvin Barrios, district 9, ($2,100); and Christopher Ward’s run for state assembly district 78, ($2,000).
Cisterra’s officers gave $6,666 to the Downtown San Diego Partnership PAC in February, according to reports filed electronically with the San Diego city clerk. (Contribution reports filed with Adobe documents rather than the electronic system are not easily searched.) Former city real estate assets employee Cybele Thompson, who resigned August 3, donated $1,350 to Gloria’s campaign between Feb., 2019 and the end of June, and hosted two fundraising events in March 2019 and again in June 2020 for the council member.
Jason Hughes, of Hughes Marino Inc which advised the city on the building deal, donated $2,300 to Gloria’s mayoral campaign since January 2019. In November 2015, he donated $4,200 to Gloria’s campaign for the Assembly seat he will vacate to return to San Diego.
Sandy Shapery, the previous owner of 101 Ash, donated $4.550 to Kevin Faulconer’s mayoral campaign between September 2013 and June 2016. (Faulconer won the election in November 2013). He and his lobbying firm, Southwest Strategies, met with Thompson and Faulconer’s staff several times in 2015, according to lobbying reports filed with the city.
Another $23,675 poured into Gloria’s campaign from lobbyists who reported they worked on the 101 Ash deal, including employees of California Strategies, and Ledford Enterprises, as well as the law firms of Cooley LLP and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. What does it mean? Campaign reform expert Matt Strabone says:
“The political system incentivizes and almost requires contributions, whether direct or to independent expenditure committees, Strabone says. “If you want to accomplish anything at city hall, you have to have credibility with decision makers and contributions are how you do that.”
(Reporters note: It takes hours of research to gather such information, and it would be less than truthful to say the list of donations is complete. Strabone said that’s why there’s less news coverage of donations – reporters rarely have the time to root around in lengthy and complex searches.)