Kevin Faulconer has shut down his One San Diego charity.
Zero San Diego
Days after departing from office, ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has shut down his One San Diego charity, widely described by political insiders as a way for lobbyists and other influence seekers to curry the Republican’s favor by making hefty donations. City disclosure records show that the final round of so-called behested contributions to the non-profit came in August with a flurry of cash from developer-related sources and the Sycuan gambling tribe, which owns the U.S. Grant Hotel downtown, among other developments.
Zygi Wilf, owner of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, gave $5000 to One San Diego.
Founded by Faulconer in November 2014, the charity took in a total of $1,635,517 in contributions and grants from that year through 2018, hitting a peak in 2017 with $451,915, per the organization’s 2018 IRS disclosure filing. The timing of the cash often raised suspicions among longtime city hall watchers. In September 2015, $22,500 arrived from mobile phone giant AT&T, then battling residents over the placement of cell towers. Zygi Wilf, the owner of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, who, with his New Jersey-based family, develops mega-apartment complexes in San Diego, gave $5000 that October. The same came from Pardee Homes, Vulcan Materials, and Petco Park tenant Padres L.P. In the pre-pandemic era, the charity’s annual “Neighborhood Experience” held on the Broadway Pier got cash from a host of city-registered special interests, including Sempra Energy, SDG&E, Pardee Homes, Westfield, Rick Engineering, and AT&T. Controversial private prison operator GEO Group of Baton Raton, Florida and S.A. Recycling of Orange County, whose property in Barrio Logan was the source of hazardous plumes of electrical smoke during a 2015 industrial fire, each kicked in $5000 on April 15, 2019. Arkansas-based Walmart gave $10,000. The 2019 master of ceremonies was KUSI TV anchorman Carlos Amezcua, who broadcast live from the event.
Besides its glitzy fundraiser, One San Diego was most known for its annual Thanksgiving giveaways, during which Faulconer was driven into neighborhoods in poorer parts of town to hand out turkeys personally to the less fortunate as TV news crews recorded the activities. But One San Diego sometimes got the mayor into hot water. In August of 2019 he was forced by the city’s ethics commission to fork over a $4000 fine for months-long delays in filing disclosures of his behested contributions for the charity, including $10,000 each from Mission Bay lessee Campland, LLC, and a firm belonging to Peter Seidler, general partner of the San Diego Padres and lead investor in the ballclub. Faulconer blamed the hold-up on “administrative error,” then used some of his leftover campaign cash to pay the fine. On Monday of last week, two days before the folding of One San Diego became public, the former San Diego mayor announced he had formed a so-called exploratory committee to promote his long-rumored bid to become governor of California.
Kevin Faulconer shut down his One San Diego charity, just before announcing governor bid.
Facing a covid-related budget crisis, San Diego has nevertheless been out to recruit a new senior public information officer to make between $57,699.20 and $69,721.60, according to an employment notice posted on the website GovernmentJobs.com. The new hire, says the announcement, will “investigate media inquiries pertaining to citizens’ complaints and assist in their resolution” and “advise department management on complex public information issues.” The successful client will also “create targeted public relations and outreach campaigns in support of new and ongoing projects or activities.” The application deadline was last Monday... With the change of city administrations from Republican to Democrat, the city lobbying corps is beginning a slow morph to fit the times. “New year, new opportunity,” says an advertisement in the Government Affairs section of job site Indeed.com. “Nuffer, Smith, Tucker is looking for the next explorer ready to jump in, roll up their sleeves and join the team as a public affairs/government relations specialist providing strategic communications, partnership building, elected official outreach and more for various clients.” The announcement continues: “With new ownership at the helm, new perspectives gained and ambitious plans to redefine the public relations industry, the opportunity is ripe for someone who embodies a strategic mindset, a willingness to push the status quo, and shared commitment to continuous learning and the NST values.” Similarly, an anonymous advertiser is looking for a Government and Public Affairs Director, with an offered salary between $90,000 to $100,000. “The Government and Public Affairs Director is a recognized and active leader in the industry, serving as the representative with the local, state, and national government officials, industry trade associations, and influential policy organizations.”
— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)
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