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Lorena Gonzalez's cancer is only one problem she now faces

Re-districted out of her 79th Assembly seat, lobbying conflict for spouse Nathan Fletcher

A disclosure filing shows New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc., came up with $9336 of so-called in-kind support on November 28 for Ben Hueso.
A disclosure filing shows New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc., came up with $9336 of so-called in-kind support on November 28 for Ben Hueso.

Lorena’s new gig

Outflanked by ex-Assemblymember (and now California Secretary of State) Shirley Weber and her Assemblywoman daughter Akilah Weber, and fresh from a double mastectomy for breast cancer, Lorena Gonzalez abruptly vacated her state Assembly seat last week.

Lorena Gonzalez breaks from Assembly to labor for Labor.

The move came amidst a confluence of dismal events for Gonzalez (not the least of which was her cancer surgery), along with being forced by redistricting from her 80th District stronghold into a prospective 79th District Democrat-on-Democrat battle against the younger Weber. And the elder Weber had already shattered Gonzalez’s hope to run for Secretary of State next year by getting named for the position by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Being married to county supervisor Nathan Fletcher was another chronic complication for Gonzalez, whose controversial fundraising practice of hitting up Sacramento lobbyists on Fletcher’s behalf had long threatened to become a political liability. Now Gonzalez — who is on track to become Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, succeeding the retiring Art Pulaski in July — will become a de facto lobbyist herself, backed by California labor’s burgeoning hoard of cash. The move from the Assembly to labor union leader will presumably provide a well-compensated haven for Gonzalez while she continues her cancer recovery and political rebuilding.

A few cleanups remain, including the ultimate disposition of three political funds benefitting her: the 2020 and 2022 reelection committees, and a so-called independent expenditure group called Our Voice Our Vote. Per its most recent semi-annual report, the latter committee was sitting on $144,802 in cash at the end of June 2021 after collecting $89,300 during the period. Gonzalez’s 2020 committee had $817,962, and the 2022 committee ended the first half of 2021 with $300,449, a sizable chunk of which could find its way into campaign funds, including the local Democratic Party’s, that could benefit Fletcher.

Subsequent totals won’t be available until the committees’ 2021 second-half disclosures are filed at the end of this month, but interim updates show that Gonzalez continued to accept donations for her 2022 reelection committee until as late as December 30. The money included $19,400 from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West PAC, and $9700 from the California State Council of Service Employees on December 18.

Fossilized money

Ben Hueso’s campaign now has some gas money in the tank.

Ben Hueso, the termed-out state senator challenging fellow Democrat Mike Schaefer’s bid for a second term on the Board of Equalization, has tapped into the state’s fossil fuel lobby for campaign cash. A December 28 disclosure filing shows New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc., came up with $9336 of so-called In-Kind support on November 28. That typically means the donor provided food, drink, or location for a campaign fundraiser.

In November, New York state regulators denied NRG a permit to build out a new natural gas electrical power station, forcing the company to shut down an aging oil- and gas-burning plant by next year, according to an account by Grist.org. Real estate interests are also engaged with Hueso, with Las Vegas apartment kingpin Derek Chen giving $6000 on November 28. In August of last year, Chen and partners David Kim and Jerry Fink, who run the Irvine, California-based Bascom Group, were part of a $79.3 million deal for a 405-unit apartment complex in Lauderhill, Florida.

The same month Bascom latched onto the 80-unit Echo Pointe Apartments in La Mesa for $26.8 million, representing. $355,000 per unit, per a Bascom news release. In April of last year, the property was the scene of a fatal shooting of a resident, gunned down when he opened the front door to knocking by two hooded assailants, reported Fox5 news.

Run-down riverfront

Bid farewell to some greenery along the San Diego Riverfront, now controlled by San Diego State University, in the name of city-neglected maintenance. “The project is located at five sites along the northern bank of the San Diego River, south of the San Diego State University Stadium site which lies immediately south of Friars Road, north of Camino Del Rio North, and west of Interstate 15,” per a December 15 environmental impact notice for a Streambed Alteration Agreement.

“The project involves the clearance and as-needed repairs and replacement of five outfalls, including the removal of sediment and vegetation (Outfalls 2 through 5); replacement of a damaged 12-inch storm drainpipe with an 18-inch storm drainpipe and upgrade to current City standards (Outfall 1); and replacement of an outfall flap gate (Outfall 5). The project is a one-time maintenance event.” Meanwhile, upstream officials are getting ready to install “approximately 1 mile of linear coastal sage habitat along the San Diego River,” says a December 15 notice.

“The project runs along the riparian corridor on the northern bank of the San Diego River. This is within the nearly 7,000 acres mapped, described in the Mitigated Negative Declaration. The project will bolster the San Diego River and its connection to the Multiple Species Conservation Program.”

— 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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A disclosure filing shows New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc., came up with $9336 of so-called in-kind support on November 28 for Ben Hueso.
A disclosure filing shows New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc., came up with $9336 of so-called in-kind support on November 28 for Ben Hueso.

Lorena’s new gig

Outflanked by ex-Assemblymember (and now California Secretary of State) Shirley Weber and her Assemblywoman daughter Akilah Weber, and fresh from a double mastectomy for breast cancer, Lorena Gonzalez abruptly vacated her state Assembly seat last week.

Lorena Gonzalez breaks from Assembly to labor for Labor.

The move came amidst a confluence of dismal events for Gonzalez (not the least of which was her cancer surgery), along with being forced by redistricting from her 80th District stronghold into a prospective 79th District Democrat-on-Democrat battle against the younger Weber. And the elder Weber had already shattered Gonzalez’s hope to run for Secretary of State next year by getting named for the position by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Being married to county supervisor Nathan Fletcher was another chronic complication for Gonzalez, whose controversial fundraising practice of hitting up Sacramento lobbyists on Fletcher’s behalf had long threatened to become a political liability. Now Gonzalez — who is on track to become Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, succeeding the retiring Art Pulaski in July — will become a de facto lobbyist herself, backed by California labor’s burgeoning hoard of cash. The move from the Assembly to labor union leader will presumably provide a well-compensated haven for Gonzalez while she continues her cancer recovery and political rebuilding.

A few cleanups remain, including the ultimate disposition of three political funds benefitting her: the 2020 and 2022 reelection committees, and a so-called independent expenditure group called Our Voice Our Vote. Per its most recent semi-annual report, the latter committee was sitting on $144,802 in cash at the end of June 2021 after collecting $89,300 during the period. Gonzalez’s 2020 committee had $817,962, and the 2022 committee ended the first half of 2021 with $300,449, a sizable chunk of which could find its way into campaign funds, including the local Democratic Party’s, that could benefit Fletcher.

Subsequent totals won’t be available until the committees’ 2021 second-half disclosures are filed at the end of this month, but interim updates show that Gonzalez continued to accept donations for her 2022 reelection committee until as late as December 30. The money included $19,400 from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West PAC, and $9700 from the California State Council of Service Employees on December 18.

Fossilized money

Ben Hueso’s campaign now has some gas money in the tank.

Ben Hueso, the termed-out state senator challenging fellow Democrat Mike Schaefer’s bid for a second term on the Board of Equalization, has tapped into the state’s fossil fuel lobby for campaign cash. A December 28 disclosure filing shows New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc., came up with $9336 of so-called In-Kind support on November 28. That typically means the donor provided food, drink, or location for a campaign fundraiser.

In November, New York state regulators denied NRG a permit to build out a new natural gas electrical power station, forcing the company to shut down an aging oil- and gas-burning plant by next year, according to an account by Grist.org. Real estate interests are also engaged with Hueso, with Las Vegas apartment kingpin Derek Chen giving $6000 on November 28. In August of last year, Chen and partners David Kim and Jerry Fink, who run the Irvine, California-based Bascom Group, were part of a $79.3 million deal for a 405-unit apartment complex in Lauderhill, Florida.

The same month Bascom latched onto the 80-unit Echo Pointe Apartments in La Mesa for $26.8 million, representing. $355,000 per unit, per a Bascom news release. In April of last year, the property was the scene of a fatal shooting of a resident, gunned down when he opened the front door to knocking by two hooded assailants, reported Fox5 news.

Run-down riverfront

Bid farewell to some greenery along the San Diego Riverfront, now controlled by San Diego State University, in the name of city-neglected maintenance. “The project is located at five sites along the northern bank of the San Diego River, south of the San Diego State University Stadium site which lies immediately south of Friars Road, north of Camino Del Rio North, and west of Interstate 15,” per a December 15 environmental impact notice for a Streambed Alteration Agreement.

“The project involves the clearance and as-needed repairs and replacement of five outfalls, including the removal of sediment and vegetation (Outfalls 2 through 5); replacement of a damaged 12-inch storm drainpipe with an 18-inch storm drainpipe and upgrade to current City standards (Outfall 1); and replacement of an outfall flap gate (Outfall 5). The project is a one-time maintenance event.” Meanwhile, upstream officials are getting ready to install “approximately 1 mile of linear coastal sage habitat along the San Diego River,” says a December 15 notice.

“The project runs along the riparian corridor on the northern bank of the San Diego River. This is within the nearly 7,000 acres mapped, described in the Mitigated Negative Declaration. The project will bolster the San Diego River and its connection to the Multiple Species Conservation Program.”

— 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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Comments
3

Fate will meet its match as intrepid Labor Democrat Lorena Gonzalez battles back from a series of bad breaks in the last annus horribilis. Night before last, someone ignited a blaze in front of Gonzalez's San Diego home, causing her and husband Nathan Fletcher and their kids to evacuate in the dead of night with timely help from City firefighters.

I'm hoping neither Gavin Newsom 's quiet retaliation for Lorena's A.B 5, recent redistricting shenanigans, spousal address complications, breast cancer diagnosis and surgery nor arson are going to derail Lorena Gonzalez's glory train. Strong women are hard to find.

Jan. 13, 2022

There's a difference between strong women and abusive women. Sadly, Lorena Gonzalez is abusive. The last straw with her was a video where she insulted and humiliated poor, Hispanic women speaking on the floor. I'm not poor, nor am I Hispanic but I found it very insulting. She does this all the time, and that's why people can't stand her. Even those who agree with her politically. She's an insult to women in general. I feel sorry for her.

Jan. 13, 2022

corrupt abusive woman and her corrupt abusive husband. perfect match! karma to the sewer dwelling couple.

Jan. 13, 2022

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