David Alvarez has been laboring in local political vineyards, including a stint in April and May on behalf of National City, providing “State of the City Contract Services for COVID-19 work.”
San Diego ex-city councilman David Alvarez, whose once-vaunted political career went into a tailspin after his 2013 mayoral loss to Kevin Faulconer, has been pulling in a little cash from National City. Following his fall to Faulconer, Alvarez cast about for the next step up the ladder and hit upon the not-so-smart move of running against Sean Elo on the board of the San Diego Community College District in 2018. Alvarez announced that he’d quit that position in 2020 if he won a spot on the county Board of Supervisors. The ploy failed when fellow Democrat Elo, now running for city council against Kelvin Barrios — who has frozen his scandal-plagued campaign — beat Alvarez handily. Since then, Alvarez has been laboring in local political vineyards, including a stint in April and May on behalf of National City, providing “State of the City Contract Services for COVID-19 work.”
That’s per a May 29 invoice for $2400 sent to the city care of National City mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis by Alvarez’s firm Causa Consulting. Adds the document: “This is the final invoice for the contract to provide services for State of the City related communications. Contract ends June 1. Contract amount was $4400. Prior payment received was for $2000. Balance due is $2400.” “For the day of the State of the City, we will be present to capture images and visuals, conduct interviews, capture the Address and publish a live feed,” says an undated proposal by Causa.
A bill for $2400 was sent to National City mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis
“In order to make sure as many individuals of the public have access to the information delivered at the State of the City, a combination of videos and graphics will be produced over the course of the following months. All public engagement activities related to this project will be tracked and reported back to the Mayor upon termination of our work. Any additional material that is produced but not utilized will also be submitted.”
But plans changed in the wake of the pandemic, Alvarez said in a weekend telephone interview. “Causa Consulting was excited to come on board at the beginning of the month to assist you in communicating the state of the City on various social media platforms,” says an April 1 letter from Alvarez to the mayor. “While we have been able to edit a video and a few messages to post related to your State of the City speech, the current COVID-19 crisis has appropriately shifted your priorities and we are pleased you have asked us to continue working with you in order for you to be able to maintain the community regarding the current State of the City.”
Last minute hits
With the beleaguered city council campaign of former Georgette Gomez aide Kelvin Barrios called to a halt following a torrent of financial reporting woes, the local development establishment has begun lining up behind his opponent Sean Elo. September 23 saw the registration of a new independent expenditure campaign committee calling itself San Diegans Who Support Integrity In Public Service in Support of Sean Elo for San Diego City Council 2020, identifying its principal officer as registered lobbyist Rachel Laing. The filing was dated September 22, the same day of a Union-Tribune story headlined, “New discrepancies emerge in Barrios campaign filings.”
Developer cash makes Sean Elo smile
A September 23 disclosure report shows that Stephen Cushman, a wealthy Mission Valley landowner and onetime advisor to GOP mayor Jerry Sanders, came up with $1000 for the new fund on September 17. A separate filing dated the same day shows Cushman donated an additional $2000. A week later. On September 24, super-rich La Jolla developer Mark Gleiberman, chief executive of MG Properties Group, gave $2000. In October 2016, Gleiberman hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton featuring President Barack Obama at his sprawling estate. On October 5, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce PAC kicked in $2500.
Meanwhile, Michael McConnell, who helped narrowly beat the chamber’s long-sought downtown convention center expansion with a flurry of online advertising earlier this year, has put up $5624 for digital ads against the council bid of Barrios, according to a September 30 disclosure filing... More out of town special interest money continues to flow into the campaign for San Diego’s Measure A, a proposal to hike property taxes in the city to fund a bevy of bond measures for government-subsidized housing projects. Basis Architecture and Consulting of San Rafael gave $3500 on September 25. The same day, BNBuilders of Seattle, Washington contributed $5000. Closer to home, on October 5, Atlantis Group Land Use Consultants gave $1000 and Pacific Southwest CDC came up with $2000; both list an address in San Diego.
— Matt Potter
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