Ralph Inzunza was a member of the Juan Vargas political inner-circle convicted in the city council’s Cheetahs strip club bribery scandal.
The Inzunza principle
The San Diego mayoral campaign of Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria has picked up cash from a close associate of two former aides to Democratic South Bay congressman Juan Vargas. Casey Haeling, a partner in San Diego’s RAHD group, came up with $1150 on September 5. His wife Maybritt Haeling gave the same the next day, according to city campaign disclosure records. RAHD’s other partners are Tim Walsh, who left Vargas’s employ as chief of staff a year ago in August, and Colin Rice, former head of Vargas’s city council and state Assembly offices.
Ex-councilman, ex-con Ralph Inzunza “has had a huge impact on my life.”
Back in 2005 Rice wrote a letter to federal Judge Jeffrey T. Miller requesting lenience in sentencing ex-city councilman Ralph Inzunza, a member of the Vargas political inner-circle convicted in the city council’s Cheetahs strip club bribery scandal. “Ralph has had a huge impact on my life,” wrote Rice, whose wife, Jamie Fox Rice, was Inzunza’s chief of staff and later was the same for Gloria. (In September 2010, Gloria said the city’s ethics commission had told him that it wasn’t illegal for him to vote on $15 million worth of publicly subsidized financing for Sorrento Towers, one of Colin Rice’s development projects.) Wrote Rice of Inzunza: “He taught me about political campaigns and how to help people with government service. For seven years, as his intern and then employee in the 1990s, I witnessed first-hand him manage a city council office and political campaign offices. During this time, there wasn’t a single moment in which I saw him act criminally or unethically.”Added Rice: “There are many who shake their head in bewilderment when thinking about the energy spent prosecuting Ralph and the punishment he faces relative to the amount of money involved (not to mention the fact that the money went into a campaign account, rather than a personal account). When the prosecutorial blue suits and overblown media coverage are stripped away, what remains is a man who associated with the wrong guys. Ralph never needed the campaign contributions and was never personally enriched.” Inzunza ultimately received a 14-month prison term.
Regarding RAHD, which bills itself as an affordable housing developer, the company’s website says “Selling, refinancing or repositioning an asset can be difficult due to the sensitive nature of tenants’ needs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other governmental regulations, financing and construction.”...Meanwhile, the campaign of city council Democrat Barbara Bry, who is running against Gloria for mayor, got its own dollop of developer money in the form of $1150 each on September 5 from Michael Neal, CEO of H.G. Fenton, wife Merrilee Neal, and Henry Hunte, “a fourth-generation beneficial owner” of the Fenton enterprise, per Family Business Magazine.
Price Club heir Robert Price gave $25,000 to the Measure A campaign.
Out-of-towners backing city tax hikes
Robert Price, son of late Price Club founder Sol Price, gave $25,000 on August 21 to Yes on Measure A - Homes for San Diegans. The proposal, requiring a two-thirds majority of city voters to pass, would impose a property tax hike between $3 and $21 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to pay for multi-million bond issues for subsidized housing. Emmerson Construction of Carlsbad gave $25,000 on August 10, and Sun Country Builders, also of Carlsbad, came up with the same August 18.
San Diegan David Malcolm, the onetime port commissioner forced to resign after his conviction in a conflict-of interest case, his wife Annie, and affiliated entity CalWest Apartments gave $1000 on August 28. “Whether it be making rental payments online or our mobile phone enabled laundry rooms, we endeavor to make residential life more efficient for our residents in today’s fast-paced environment,” says CalWest’s website. San Diego Habitat for Humanity, Inc. gave $10,000 August 31, and Carlsbad’s Allgire General Contractors Inc. contributed $12,500 on the same date. Red Stone Equity Partners of Cleveland, Ohio, gave $2500 on September 1. Mel Katz, a wealthy Del Mar resident, gave $10,000 on September 4. The Related Companies of California LLC of Irvine came up with $5000 on September 3... PJHM Architects, Inc. of Laguna Hills, which specializes in public school work, kicked in $15,000 on September 1 to a campaign group calling itself Friends of Oceanside Schools, Yes on W...Proprietors of controversial Campland by the Bay, the complex on Mission Bay land leased from the city, are spreading their political money around this year. According to campaign disclosures, Beverly Hills resident Herbert Gelfand gave $1700 to Democratic county supervisorial candidate Terra Lawson-Remer on August 21. AME, LLC, a Campland-related limited partnership based in L.A., gave $10,000 on September 1 to backers of Measure E, which would eliminate the 35-foot height limit in the Midway district.
— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)
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