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Ben Hueso figures Mike Schaefer is vulnerable

Patrick Soon-Shiong – second most despised man in newspapers

Perennial candidate Mike Schaefer won seat on Board of Equalization, now threatened by Ben Hueso.
Perennial candidate Mike Schaefer won seat on Board of Equalization, now threatened by Ben Hueso.

Lorena’s put-down

California senate Democrat Ben Hueso, who last year lost his bid for county supervisor to Nora Vargas, is busy collecting cash for a 2022 campaign against incumbent Mike Schaefer for the state Board of Equalization. Running as a Democrat, perennial candidate Schaefer upset Republican then-state senator Joel Anderson, now a county supervisor, in November 2018, although Anderson heavily outspent him. In September 2018, the California Nurses Association reprimanded Anderson for sexually harassing their lobbyist, allegedly saying while under the influence in a Sacramento restaurant that he would “bitch slap” her. The latest to chip in for Hueso is the California Association of Electrical Workers PAC, with $5000 on May 17, and the California State Pipe Trades Council PAC, giving the same on May 7.

For his part, Schaefer put $95,000 of his own money into his Board of Equalization reelection fund on March 26...One of the latest to ante up for GOP ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s try for governor should Democrat Gavin Newsom get recalled is Orange County restaurant owner Bill Skeffington, who kicked in $5000 on May 19. Skeffington, who also owns Ben’s Asphalt in Santa Ana, is the proprietor of Watson’s Soda Fountain in the city of Orange, which was forced to close during Newsom’s pandemic-induced shutdown.

“Skeffington says if it weren’t for his asphalt company, he’d be in the unemployment line,” reported KABC last July. “To re-start and close a restaurant and re-start it up again, it’s thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of dollars involved in it. It’s just tough,” Skeffington told the Los Angeles TV station....

Lorena Gonzalez, not appointed, just disappointed.

San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez once had high hopes of becoming California Secretary of State until Governor Gavin Newsom named incumbent Alex Padilla to the United States Senate and picked San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber to replace him. Now Gonzalez is back on the street raising money for her 2022 Assembly reelection campaign. The latest to give is the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, with $9700 on May 24.

Despised and consented

Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire Los Angeles biotech maven who also owns the L.A. Times, has been drawing fire from those who think he should have blocked last week’s takeover of Tribune Publishing. “On Friday, Soon-Shiong claimed he had abstained from the controversial vote on whether hedge fund Alden Global should take over Tribune Publishing,” writes New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly. “In reality, he left his proxy ballot for his 24 percent Tribune stake blank, sources said. That means his ‘abstain’ vote was counted as a ‘yes’ when it was sent in Thursday evening.”

Patrick Soon-Shiong: abstain to gain?

Soon-Shiong, who started his newspaper-owning odyssey when he bought Tribune stock at $15 a share in 2016, will get a cash payout of $160 million from the Alden acquisition. The deal cost the controversial New York hedge fund $17.25 per Tribune share it didn’t already own. Soon-Shiong isn’t taking calls but instead issued a statement through spokeswoman Hillary Manning. “When he made the investment in 2016, he hoped it would be a pathway to local newspaper ownership in Southern California.

In 2018, he and his family were proud to acquire the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune from Tribune Publishing, creating the California Times. Their focus is and will be on the continued rebuilding and revitalization of The Times and Union-Tribune.” But that failed to assuage those who counted on the wealthy physician to block the takeover. “One source called him the ‘second most despised man in newspapers today behind Heath Freeman’— the president of Tribune’s new cost-slashing owners, Alden Global Capital, which is now the nation’s second-biggest newspaper owner,” per Kelly.

Meantime, a longtime U-T advertising feature will soon be folding as the San Diego newspaper continues to consolidate print operations under Soon-Shiong. “Sunday’s Best Values will no longer be delivered after June 27,” says a May 23 notice in the section, long distributed to non-subscribers. “Keep receiving all the same great coupons and the Sunday edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune when you subscribe for only $1 per week.” In the past, the gratis section contained “Sundays’ best” editorial material from the paper intended to enhance its opinion-making reach, but that practice ended years ago.

Recovered money

It took an audit by the University of California of UCSD’s student aid funding to get three students’ money owed to them by the university from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — otherwise known as CARES — Act. “To address the situation involving the student that received no student aid funding, Student Financial Solutions has removed the manual hold that was placed in error on the student’s account, and the CARES Act grant awarded to the student was disbursed in accordance with the CARES Act,” says the recently released audit report, dated January 26.

“To address the incomplete distribution of CARES Act funds to the two students we identified, Student Financial Solutions made appropriate entries in the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS) to ensure that the amount of student aid funding not received was added back to their student accounts, and the remaining funds were appropriately disbursed to the students.” Added the report: “The above instances represent a violation of Department of Education guidelines, which specify that recipients are to receive their funds without regard to any institutional balances due. To address this issue, the two students were notified of the processing error, and the transactions were reversed so that the entirety of the CARES Act funding was disbursed to each student.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Perennial candidate Mike Schaefer won seat on Board of Equalization, now threatened by Ben Hueso.
Perennial candidate Mike Schaefer won seat on Board of Equalization, now threatened by Ben Hueso.

Lorena’s put-down

California senate Democrat Ben Hueso, who last year lost his bid for county supervisor to Nora Vargas, is busy collecting cash for a 2022 campaign against incumbent Mike Schaefer for the state Board of Equalization. Running as a Democrat, perennial candidate Schaefer upset Republican then-state senator Joel Anderson, now a county supervisor, in November 2018, although Anderson heavily outspent him. In September 2018, the California Nurses Association reprimanded Anderson for sexually harassing their lobbyist, allegedly saying while under the influence in a Sacramento restaurant that he would “bitch slap” her. The latest to chip in for Hueso is the California Association of Electrical Workers PAC, with $5000 on May 17, and the California State Pipe Trades Council PAC, giving the same on May 7.

For his part, Schaefer put $95,000 of his own money into his Board of Equalization reelection fund on March 26...One of the latest to ante up for GOP ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer’s try for governor should Democrat Gavin Newsom get recalled is Orange County restaurant owner Bill Skeffington, who kicked in $5000 on May 19. Skeffington, who also owns Ben’s Asphalt in Santa Ana, is the proprietor of Watson’s Soda Fountain in the city of Orange, which was forced to close during Newsom’s pandemic-induced shutdown.

“Skeffington says if it weren’t for his asphalt company, he’d be in the unemployment line,” reported KABC last July. “To re-start and close a restaurant and re-start it up again, it’s thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of dollars involved in it. It’s just tough,” Skeffington told the Los Angeles TV station....

Lorena Gonzalez, not appointed, just disappointed.

San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez once had high hopes of becoming California Secretary of State until Governor Gavin Newsom named incumbent Alex Padilla to the United States Senate and picked San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber to replace him. Now Gonzalez is back on the street raising money for her 2022 Assembly reelection campaign. The latest to give is the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, with $9700 on May 24.

Despised and consented

Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire Los Angeles biotech maven who also owns the L.A. Times, has been drawing fire from those who think he should have blocked last week’s takeover of Tribune Publishing. “On Friday, Soon-Shiong claimed he had abstained from the controversial vote on whether hedge fund Alden Global should take over Tribune Publishing,” writes New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly. “In reality, he left his proxy ballot for his 24 percent Tribune stake blank, sources said. That means his ‘abstain’ vote was counted as a ‘yes’ when it was sent in Thursday evening.”

Patrick Soon-Shiong: abstain to gain?

Soon-Shiong, who started his newspaper-owning odyssey when he bought Tribune stock at $15 a share in 2016, will get a cash payout of $160 million from the Alden acquisition. The deal cost the controversial New York hedge fund $17.25 per Tribune share it didn’t already own. Soon-Shiong isn’t taking calls but instead issued a statement through spokeswoman Hillary Manning. “When he made the investment in 2016, he hoped it would be a pathway to local newspaper ownership in Southern California.

In 2018, he and his family were proud to acquire the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune from Tribune Publishing, creating the California Times. Their focus is and will be on the continued rebuilding and revitalization of The Times and Union-Tribune.” But that failed to assuage those who counted on the wealthy physician to block the takeover. “One source called him the ‘second most despised man in newspapers today behind Heath Freeman’— the president of Tribune’s new cost-slashing owners, Alden Global Capital, which is now the nation’s second-biggest newspaper owner,” per Kelly.

Meantime, a longtime U-T advertising feature will soon be folding as the San Diego newspaper continues to consolidate print operations under Soon-Shiong. “Sunday’s Best Values will no longer be delivered after June 27,” says a May 23 notice in the section, long distributed to non-subscribers. “Keep receiving all the same great coupons and the Sunday edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune when you subscribe for only $1 per week.” In the past, the gratis section contained “Sundays’ best” editorial material from the paper intended to enhance its opinion-making reach, but that practice ended years ago.

Recovered money

It took an audit by the University of California of UCSD’s student aid funding to get three students’ money owed to them by the university from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — otherwise known as CARES — Act. “To address the situation involving the student that received no student aid funding, Student Financial Solutions has removed the manual hold that was placed in error on the student’s account, and the CARES Act grant awarded to the student was disbursed in accordance with the CARES Act,” says the recently released audit report, dated January 26.

“To address the incomplete distribution of CARES Act funds to the two students we identified, Student Financial Solutions made appropriate entries in the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS) to ensure that the amount of student aid funding not received was added back to their student accounts, and the remaining funds were appropriately disbursed to the students.” Added the report: “The above instances represent a violation of Department of Education guidelines, which specify that recipients are to receive their funds without regard to any institutional balances due. To address this issue, the two students were notified of the processing error, and the transactions were reversed so that the entirety of the CARES Act funding was disbursed to each student.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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