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DaVita HealthCare drops $62K on Toni Atkins

City auditor Andy Hanau excluded from city council closed sessions

Senate Democratic honcho Toni Atkins picked up a hefty $62,000 from DaVita HealthCare Partners on March 14.
Senate Democratic honcho Toni Atkins picked up a hefty $62,000 from DaVita HealthCare Partners on March 14.

Toni’s kidney cash

With another bitter initiative battle over the regulation of kidney dialysis coming up soon, the so-called ballot measure committee of state Senate Democratic honcho Toni Atkins picked up a hefty $62,000 from DaVita HealthCare Partners on March 14. The company kicked in $8100 the same day to Atkins’s 2026 campaign to become Lieutenant Governor. As reported by CalMatters last July, in 2020, the kidney dialysis giant spent $68 million to beat a labor union-backed measure to tighten regulation of dialysis centers, and in 2018 forked over $67 million to defeat a similar proposition.

In a complaint filed this January in federal court, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and other plaintiffs charged DaVita and Fresenius, another dialysis provider, with discrimination. “The serious health problems experienced by Latino and Asian American dialysis patients in California compared to their white counterparts is unjustifiable and, frankly, disgusting,” Jane Perkins of the National Health Law Program said in a news release cited by Bloomberg Law.

Jane Perkins offers unfiltered thoughts on the dialysis business.

An industry spokeswoman lashed back, blaming the lawsuit on another pending initiative effort by the labor unions. “This is nothing more than a deceptive and shameless campaign press stunt in an election year when they are bankrolling a ballot measure on the November 2022 California ballot,” said Kathy Fairbanks of Stop Yet Another Dangerous Dialysis Proposition. A statement by DaVita added that the action “is just another attempt by a labor union to threaten the California dialysis community despite not understanding dialysis or our patients.”

In addition to cash from the kidney business, the Atkins ballot measure fund took in $40,000 from Anheuser Busch on March 7. The behemoth beer maker was criticized in a February 25 dispatch by Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell for contributing what Maxwell said was $75,000 to Florida legislators backing that state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, “banning classroom discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Auditor’s Brown Act Brownout

City auditor Andy Hanau has been credited with keeping San Diego mayor Todd Gloria and the city council on the straight and narrow by calling out a bevy of management fumbles in his investigative reports. But that doesn’t mean Hanau gets to sit in on the council’s closed sessions about a dangerous lack of computer security he’s apparently unearthed, says City Attorney Mara Elliott.

According to a recent memo, that would violate the state’s open meeting law, known as the Brown Act. “Is the City Auditor a ‘security consultant’... and therefore allowed to meet with the Council in closed session to discuss matters posing a threat to essential public services, or a threat to the public’s right to access public services or public facilities?” asks the February 25 missive from Elliott to Hanau. Elliott’s short answer: “No. The role and responsibilities of auditors and ‘security consultants’ are not synonymous and there are no other Brown Act exemptions that would authorize a closed-door performance audit.”

The memo gives Hanau three choices: change the Brown Act, issue “a confidential recommendation follow-up report to the Mayor and Council President,” or meet individually with councilmembers and staff to convey the bad news. “Be mindful, however, that such a meeting would be for purposes of offering information and not to poll members of the legislative body, which could result in a Brown Act violation.” Adds the document: “This Office is available to work with the Auditor on these options or to explore other ideas for confidentially conveying the Auditor’s recommendations to Councilmembers.”

Jim Desmond, the Republican remnant, gets GOP generosity.

Bill Gore’s last hurrah

Fundraising in this year’s races for county supervisor spots has begun, with incumbents getting a head start. Jim Desmond, one of two Republicans on the current board, got $28,700 from the county GOP on March 11. Democrat Nathan Fletcher took in $1000 from D. Nielsen Pollock of contractor Nielsen Construction California, Inc., on March 14. “In 2002, Niel suffered a spinal cord injury from a surfing incident, which has since influenced his life in many ways,” says a profile on the company website. “In 2004, Sharp Hospital awarded the Eagle Spirit Award to Niel and Rebecca Pollock for their creation of the Ranchero Fund at Sharp Rehabilitation to provide durable medical equipment to spinal cord injured patients who could not afford these items.” Meanwhile, ex-San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, who quit his job last month amidst a flurry of allegations about prisoner abuse, donated the balance of his 2018 re-election fund, $2000, to the National Conflict Resolution Center.

— 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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Senate Democratic honcho Toni Atkins picked up a hefty $62,000 from DaVita HealthCare Partners on March 14.
Senate Democratic honcho Toni Atkins picked up a hefty $62,000 from DaVita HealthCare Partners on March 14.

Toni’s kidney cash

With another bitter initiative battle over the regulation of kidney dialysis coming up soon, the so-called ballot measure committee of state Senate Democratic honcho Toni Atkins picked up a hefty $62,000 from DaVita HealthCare Partners on March 14. The company kicked in $8100 the same day to Atkins’s 2026 campaign to become Lieutenant Governor. As reported by CalMatters last July, in 2020, the kidney dialysis giant spent $68 million to beat a labor union-backed measure to tighten regulation of dialysis centers, and in 2018 forked over $67 million to defeat a similar proposition.

In a complaint filed this January in federal court, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and other plaintiffs charged DaVita and Fresenius, another dialysis provider, with discrimination. “The serious health problems experienced by Latino and Asian American dialysis patients in California compared to their white counterparts is unjustifiable and, frankly, disgusting,” Jane Perkins of the National Health Law Program said in a news release cited by Bloomberg Law.

Jane Perkins offers unfiltered thoughts on the dialysis business.

An industry spokeswoman lashed back, blaming the lawsuit on another pending initiative effort by the labor unions. “This is nothing more than a deceptive and shameless campaign press stunt in an election year when they are bankrolling a ballot measure on the November 2022 California ballot,” said Kathy Fairbanks of Stop Yet Another Dangerous Dialysis Proposition. A statement by DaVita added that the action “is just another attempt by a labor union to threaten the California dialysis community despite not understanding dialysis or our patients.”

In addition to cash from the kidney business, the Atkins ballot measure fund took in $40,000 from Anheuser Busch on March 7. The behemoth beer maker was criticized in a February 25 dispatch by Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell for contributing what Maxwell said was $75,000 to Florida legislators backing that state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, “banning classroom discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Auditor’s Brown Act Brownout

City auditor Andy Hanau has been credited with keeping San Diego mayor Todd Gloria and the city council on the straight and narrow by calling out a bevy of management fumbles in his investigative reports. But that doesn’t mean Hanau gets to sit in on the council’s closed sessions about a dangerous lack of computer security he’s apparently unearthed, says City Attorney Mara Elliott.

According to a recent memo, that would violate the state’s open meeting law, known as the Brown Act. “Is the City Auditor a ‘security consultant’... and therefore allowed to meet with the Council in closed session to discuss matters posing a threat to essential public services, or a threat to the public’s right to access public services or public facilities?” asks the February 25 missive from Elliott to Hanau. Elliott’s short answer: “No. The role and responsibilities of auditors and ‘security consultants’ are not synonymous and there are no other Brown Act exemptions that would authorize a closed-door performance audit.”

The memo gives Hanau three choices: change the Brown Act, issue “a confidential recommendation follow-up report to the Mayor and Council President,” or meet individually with councilmembers and staff to convey the bad news. “Be mindful, however, that such a meeting would be for purposes of offering information and not to poll members of the legislative body, which could result in a Brown Act violation.” Adds the document: “This Office is available to work with the Auditor on these options or to explore other ideas for confidentially conveying the Auditor’s recommendations to Councilmembers.”

Jim Desmond, the Republican remnant, gets GOP generosity.

Bill Gore’s last hurrah

Fundraising in this year’s races for county supervisor spots has begun, with incumbents getting a head start. Jim Desmond, one of two Republicans on the current board, got $28,700 from the county GOP on March 11. Democrat Nathan Fletcher took in $1000 from D. Nielsen Pollock of contractor Nielsen Construction California, Inc., on March 14. “In 2002, Niel suffered a spinal cord injury from a surfing incident, which has since influenced his life in many ways,” says a profile on the company website. “In 2004, Sharp Hospital awarded the Eagle Spirit Award to Niel and Rebecca Pollock for their creation of the Ranchero Fund at Sharp Rehabilitation to provide durable medical equipment to spinal cord injured patients who could not afford these items.” Meanwhile, ex-San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, who quit his job last month amidst a flurry of allegations about prisoner abuse, donated the balance of his 2018 re-election fund, $2000, to the National Conflict Resolution Center.

— 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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4

From "The Advocate" in February:
Companies such as Comcast/NBCUniversal, AT&T, and Walgreens all purport to be supportive of LGBTQ+ people — but they and other pro-LGBTQ+ businesses have donated to Florida politicians who are backing the state’s notorious “don’t say gay” bill. Contributions to DeSantis since 2020 from LGBTQ-friendly companies included $200,000 from UnitedHealth Group, $80,000 from AT&T, and $25,000 from Duke Energy, according to Popular Information. Walgreens’ contributions of $28,000 were divided among DeSantis and other Florida politicians who support the “don’t say gay” legislation.

March 24, 2022

"the swamp" doesn't correctly term our dishonest and corrupt politicians and the system they have devised. they all live/exist in the sewer. may they all be flushed!

March 25, 2022

As they say, power corrupts. And as former CA Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh said: "Money is the mother's milk of politics." It's not enough for Atkins to advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. Unless she can stop taking dirty money, she should resign.

March 27, 2022

Atkins' trolling for corp. contributors like DaVita is disgusting. Has this politician no shame? Would she welcome money from Sempra Energy, AT&T, Koch Industries, Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Taco Bell or Marriott Hotels?

March 25, 2022

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