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SDG&E covers Chris Cate's good works

Foe of franchise renewal delay rakes in $7500 charity cash from big utility

Cate turned up at the Rosie Network's tree giveaway on December 5.
Cate turned up at the Rosie Network's tree giveaway on December 5.

A staunch city council ally in the battle by Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric to hang onto its lucrative local electrical energy monopoly has gotten a financial boost from the utility giant in the form of generous payments made to his favored local charities at his behest.

Disclosure records show that SDG&E provided a total of $7500 at the behest of San Diego Councilman Chris Cate between December 11 and December 29 of last year - during the same period Cate, the sole Republican on the council, was criticizing his council peers for delaying action on renewal of the firm's franchise.

"This is a process which has been undertaken for well over two years," said Cate in remarks cited in a December 18 dispatch by public television station KPBS.

"We knew the deadlines years ago."

Delay in rewarding the franchise renewal to SDG&E, the councilman added, "would not be coming from a fiscally prudent or service prudent standpoint as a city."

According to a disclosure form Cate filed with the city clerk's office on January 8, SDG&E had given $2500 on December 11 to the Anvil of Hope Virtual Giving Tree Gala at the behest of the councilman.

A separate report filed by the councilman on January 8, shows that SDG&E gave $2500 in Cate's name on December 26 to Toys for Tots.

SDG&E executives and lobbyists have repeatedly discussed the franchise renewal with Cate.

A third statement, also filed by Cate on January 8, shows the utility gave $2500 on December 29 to the Rosie Network for "free Christmas Tree[s] for Military Members and Veterans." In addition, the Rosie Network received $5000 on January 4 at Cate's behest from Walmart Corporation, the Arkansas-based retail giant, according to Cate's January 8 disclosure.

Cate turned up at the Rosie Network's tree giveaway on December 5, tweeting a photo picked up by a local TV station.

"San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate and The Rosie Network teamed up on Saturday for the third year of providing Christmas trees to active duty and veteran military families for the holiday season," reported KNSD-TV.

"One in every five residents in District 6 is connected to the military," Cate told the station. "Due to the generosity of Walmart and SDG&E, military families will have Christmas trees for the holiday season."

During the past year, according to lobbying activity disclosure filings made with the city clerk, SDG&E executives and lobbyists retained by the company have repeatedly discussed the franchise renewal with Cate.

Clarissa Falcon of Falcon Strategies was paid $17,000 by SDG&E during the second quarter of 2020 to lobby Cate and Eighth District Democrat Vivian Moreno regarding the renewal, according to a July 31 disclosure.

An April 30 lobbying disclosure by SDG&E parent Sempra Energy shows that during the first quarter of the year Sempra lobbyists contacted Cate and staffer Allen Young to discuss an "overview of existing franchise and CPUC review process." Sempra listed similar contacts with Cate during the second and third quarters as well.

After failing to approve a franchise agreement negotiated by ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer, the council on December 30 unanimously voted to extend the existing franchise until June 1, to allow negotiations between San Diego mayor Todd Gloria and the company to continue.

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Cate turned up at the Rosie Network's tree giveaway on December 5.
Cate turned up at the Rosie Network's tree giveaway on December 5.

A staunch city council ally in the battle by Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric to hang onto its lucrative local electrical energy monopoly has gotten a financial boost from the utility giant in the form of generous payments made to his favored local charities at his behest.

Disclosure records show that SDG&E provided a total of $7500 at the behest of San Diego Councilman Chris Cate between December 11 and December 29 of last year - during the same period Cate, the sole Republican on the council, was criticizing his council peers for delaying action on renewal of the firm's franchise.

"This is a process which has been undertaken for well over two years," said Cate in remarks cited in a December 18 dispatch by public television station KPBS.

"We knew the deadlines years ago."

Delay in rewarding the franchise renewal to SDG&E, the councilman added, "would not be coming from a fiscally prudent or service prudent standpoint as a city."

According to a disclosure form Cate filed with the city clerk's office on January 8, SDG&E had given $2500 on December 11 to the Anvil of Hope Virtual Giving Tree Gala at the behest of the councilman.

A separate report filed by the councilman on January 8, shows that SDG&E gave $2500 in Cate's name on December 26 to Toys for Tots.

SDG&E executives and lobbyists have repeatedly discussed the franchise renewal with Cate.

A third statement, also filed by Cate on January 8, shows the utility gave $2500 on December 29 to the Rosie Network for "free Christmas Tree[s] for Military Members and Veterans." In addition, the Rosie Network received $5000 on January 4 at Cate's behest from Walmart Corporation, the Arkansas-based retail giant, according to Cate's January 8 disclosure.

Cate turned up at the Rosie Network's tree giveaway on December 5, tweeting a photo picked up by a local TV station.

"San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate and The Rosie Network teamed up on Saturday for the third year of providing Christmas trees to active duty and veteran military families for the holiday season," reported KNSD-TV.

"One in every five residents in District 6 is connected to the military," Cate told the station. "Due to the generosity of Walmart and SDG&E, military families will have Christmas trees for the holiday season."

During the past year, according to lobbying activity disclosure filings made with the city clerk, SDG&E executives and lobbyists retained by the company have repeatedly discussed the franchise renewal with Cate.

Clarissa Falcon of Falcon Strategies was paid $17,000 by SDG&E during the second quarter of 2020 to lobby Cate and Eighth District Democrat Vivian Moreno regarding the renewal, according to a July 31 disclosure.

An April 30 lobbying disclosure by SDG&E parent Sempra Energy shows that during the first quarter of the year Sempra lobbyists contacted Cate and staffer Allen Young to discuss an "overview of existing franchise and CPUC review process." Sempra listed similar contacts with Cate during the second and third quarters as well.

After failing to approve a franchise agreement negotiated by ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer, the council on December 30 unanimously voted to extend the existing franchise until June 1, to allow negotiations between San Diego mayor Todd Gloria and the company to continue.

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Comments
2

While I know that the subject here wasn't Christmas trees, I guess a guy like Cate can play a sentimental thing like that to his political advantage. But I do wonder why it is that we carry the notion of military families being needy around with us. In other words, are military families unable to afford a tree? A generation or two ago, the assumption of poorly paid military people wasn't incorrect, especially for the junior enlisted ranks (and even the junior officer ranks.) But when the draft was abandoned in the early 70's, military pay started upward, and in many cases rivaled civilian life, especially with the benefits that are also provided. If you doubt that, just compare a city like Barstow (that has Fort Irwin close by) with Blythe that has no nearby military presence. The former is a bustling and generally prosperous town, the latter is anything but prosperous. Also take a look at Ridgecrest in the Mojave desert with its business district and many eateries patronized by Navy and Marine personnel along with civilian employees. But, hey, if Chris can make himself look like a hero in the Miramar/Mira Mesa area by giving away Christmas trees, let him do it. But don't forget who picked up the tab--think about it when you open your SDG&E bill.

Jan. 14, 2021
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Jan. 14, 2021

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