The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 Political Action Committee stepped in for Lorena Gonzalez with a hefty $500,000 donation on September 19 to the No on 22 forces.
Good staff work
San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, battling it out with Cory Briggs to hold onto her job, tapped chief of staff Gerry Braun, the former Union-Tribune reporter, for a $1051 campaign contribution on September 18, disclosures show. Last year Braun got total pay and benefits of $220,999 working for Elliott, according to the website TransparentCalifornia.com. Attorney Darren Robbins of Robbins, Geller, Rodman, and Dowd and ex-partner of once imprisoned La Jolla lawyer Bill Lerach, gave the same amount as Braun.
City Attorney Mara Elliott paid a former U-T reporter $220,999 last year.
Crunch time arrived
this week for Democratic city council candidate Kelvin Barrios, whose campaign was plagued by a personal history of penalties by the city’s ethics commission and the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. In addition, there’s an ongoing criminal investigation into the accuracy of his political bookkeeping, per the Union-Tribune. On September 19, the ex-staffer to Council President Georgette Gómez gave his council campaign fund $21,000. But on September 28, he quit the race.
Barrios was not alone among local self-funders. Nora Vargas, running against state Senate Democrat Ben Hueso for county supervisor, gave her campaign $20,000 on the same day.
Kelvin Barrios gave it a go, but no.
Lorena Gonzalez cut her political teeth as a protégé of ex-United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 chief Mickey Kasparian, then went on to get elected to the state Assembly in 2013. Kasparian fell from power in a 2017 sexual harassment scandal. Gonzalez appeared to thrive, at least until she sponsored 2019’s Assembly Bill 5, the so-called anti-gig law that has drawn the ire of freelance writers, along with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft, for limiting the role of independent contractors in the workplace. The companies came up with Proposition 22, a measure on the November ballot to return to the days of independent rideshare and delivery contractors. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 Political Action Committee stepped in for Gonzalez with a hefty $500,000 donation on September 22 to the No on 22 forces. The union’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. gave $1 million on September 24.
The ballot measure committee of state senate speaker pro-tem Toni Atkins came up with $25,000 on September 15 to help bankroll the campaign for Measure A to raise property taxes in the city of San Diego for subsidized housing bonds. Atkins’ spouse Jennifer LeSar runs a lucrative subsidized public housing consulting business, affording the couple a comfortable dual income stream. In past years, the Atkins ballot measure committee has been financed by a bevy of special interest donors, including $5000 from Sempra Energy and $10,000 from Anheuser-Busch. The latest contribution to roll in: $10,000 from the Sacramento-based California Apartment Association PAC on September 21.
Real estate progressive Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria’s campaign for mayor picked up $1000 on September 1 from Chris Fraley, chief investment officer of L.A.-based property investment outfit RealtyMogul. “As one of the first openly gay partners of an institutional real estate private equity firm globally, I know what it is like to be an outsider in the predominantly straight Caucasian male commercial real estate industry,” says Fraley on the company blog. “It is so refreshing to be part of an executive team that is both a market leader and dominated by women and other underrepresented groups.”
John Victor, vice president of inclusion and diversity at Barry’s in Los Angeles, kicked in $1000 the same day. Another notable name on Gloria’s list of givers is Terry Brown, the longtime Republican kingpin of Mission Valley, who contributed $1150 on September 18. In his heyday, Brown frequently provided free lodging to college-age GOP precinct workers at his Town & Country Hotel.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which leases its track and grandstand from the state, usually reserves its political beneficence for Sacramento lawmakers. Now, for the first time in many years, if ever, the group has made a $2500 contribution to a race for San Diego mayor, albeit one on behalf of Assembly incumbent Gloria. He may be heading back to the state capital, depending on the outcome of next November’s election. Meanwhile, the Infrastructure PAC of the Associated General Contractors came up with a hefty $75,000 on September 21 for an independent expenditure committee calling itself Success San Diego in Support of Barbara Bry for Mayor 2020. The organization has been fighting labor unions over whether non-unionized shops are entitled to bid for city contracts. A day later, the same contractors’ group gave $5000 to San Diegans for Midway Revitalization, Yes on E, promoting a ballot measure to eliminate coastal height limits in the Midway District and environs. A committee against the proposal, Save Coastal Access - No on E,got $39,500 from John McNab on September 21.