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Gloria not exactly tied up in knots by FPPC

T.J. Simers giving up on L.A. Times sports

Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb of Tampa Florida came up with a $5000 contribution to the 2026 Lt. Governor Campaign fund for San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins on August 19th.
Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb of Tampa Florida came up with a $5000 contribution to the 2026 Lt. Governor Campaign fund for San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins on August 19th.

Gloria’s fat funding loophole

San Diego mayor Todd Gloria won’t have to recuse himself from vetoing any city council actions involving his bevy of campaign contributors, but he does have to disclose that he got their money, according to a July 12 advice letter from the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. The letter, from FPPC general counsel Dave Bainbridge, responds to questions posed by Adrian Granda, Gloria’s director of the city department of government affairs, regarding how the mayor’s big-money campaign style might be cramped by last year’s state Senate Bill 1439, which is now law. The measure bars elected officials in California from raising political cash from those involved in governmental proceedings and requires that the officials recuse themselves from actions involving their donors.

Mayor Gloria has one less reason to say, “Recuse me.”

“Because San Diego ordinances and resolutions take effect after ten days if the San Diego Mayor takes no action, requiring the San Diego Mayor’s recusal would effectively still involve the San Diego Mayor approving each City Council decision via inaction,” notes the letter. Thus, Gloria is still allowed to act. But that exception doesn’t apply to the new requirement for full disclosure, the state watchdog adds. “We recommend that when the San Diego Mayor intends to exercise their veto power pursuant to the legally required participation exception and despite receipt of an otherwise disqualifying contribution, they include a disclosure containing the necessary information as part of the meeting agenda.

"If the veto is done outside the context of a public meeting, we recommend the disclosure be posted in a conspicuous manner on the appropriate City website and a copy of the disclosure be filed with and maintained by the agency official who maintains the agency’s statements of economic interests, or other designated office for the maintenance of such disclosures, within 30 days of the making of or participating in the decision.” Calling the recusal exemption for Gloria “narrow,” the letter opines that “the San Diego Mayor would still be prohibited, for example, from soliciting, directing, or receiving a contribution exceeding $250 from a party, participant, or agent thereof while the proceeding is pending and for 12 months thereafter.”

Blood money

Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb of Tampa Florida came up with a $5000 contribution to the 2026 Lt. Governor Campaign fund for San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins on August 19th. Two years ago, on August 17th, 2021, the company agreed to pay $75 million to settle charges by California Democrat Rob Bonta and other state attorneys general that the company had “underpaid the drug rebates owed to Medi-Cal and other state Medicaid programs,” per Bonta’s news release. California’s share of the cash was $2,356,842.

Then on June 16 of this year, Bristol Myers Squibb sued the Biden Administration to void Medicare’s new ability to negotiate lower drug prices under the Inflation Reduction Act, according to CNBC. “Bristol Myers Squibb argued the federal government is forcing the company to enter negotiations and eventually agree to a heavily discounted price. The company claims this violates Fifth Amendment protections against the government seizing private property without just compensation. The drugmaker also claimed HHS is forcing the company to publicly present the program as a negotiation over a fair price. The company called the negotiations a sham and claimed the federal government is forcing the drugmaker to ‘parrot its preferred political messaging’ in violation of the First Amendment.”

Sponsored
Sponsored
Rob Bonta put the squeeze on Squibb.

Notes the post: “The law is the central pillar in the Biden administration’s efforts to control rising drug prices and was a major victory for the Democratic Party.” On the list of Biden-required price negotiations are those for Bristol Myers blood thinner Eliquis, “used to treat clots and strokes,” per the account. “The company generated $11.8 billion in revenue from Eliquis last year, about 25% of the company’s $46 billion in total revenue for 2022.”

Death by LA paper cuts

Things are getting to be so dismal at the financially beleaguered Los Angeles Times that its top external critic, ex-Times sportswriter T.J. Simers, declared a week ago Monday that he is quitting his widely read blogging about the paper’s rapidly failing sports department. “Maybe the last straw came in a twitter message Monday from former San Diego Union-Tribune sports editor Jay Posner: ‘I know it was exhibition and I know it’s only the Chargers, but did you notice their game yesterday ended just before 7:20 and not a single word in the Times print today. Not even anything explaining why the game was played when city and state officials told people not to leave home. But we did get to read about the Angels DH split from Saturday.’ 

"That’s the Los Angeles Chargers, Mr. San Diego, and the LA Times should care about them now. The expectation, of course, from Posner was that I would write about it and criticize the LA Times, which doesn’t live up to Union-Tribune standards. Then I get a series of tweets from former LA Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth on Monday about the inconsistencies and poor coverage in the Times. He concludes one message by writing: ‘TJSimerspage2 may have thoughts on how this also took a full page of Sunday’s tiny print edition.’ First of all, it is ‘tjpage2.blog.’ But I have given up. The LA Times’ sports section as it appears in the newspaper is an abomination. The LA Times no longer cares what they deliver in the newspaper, circulation dwindling and fewer and fewer people to read a blog who even know what I am referring to when I write.”

Meanwhile, staff shifting continues apace at the Union-Tribune, with longtime editorial chief Matt Hall exiting on a buyout and reporter Lauren J. Mapp announcing through her X/Twitter account on August 21 that “in addition to continuing to cover caregiving/aging and Indigenous communities in San Diego, I am now also covering East County.” As reported here on August 16, the paper quietly switched reporter Blake Nelson from working the East County beat to writing about homelessness and other issues affecting Southern California.” 

The move was acknowledged by U-T Readers’ Representative Adrian Vore on August 18. In addition, the paper’s PDF facsimile edition, posted online, has been shorn of its LA Times Calendar section. Also, the U-T’s “Wheels Sunday” section and accompanying page of car dealer advertising have vanished in recent weeks. The Times and UT were both owned by L.A. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong until he sold the U-T last month for an undisclosed price to MediaNews Group, controlled by vulture investing outfit Alden Global Capital.

— 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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Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb of Tampa Florida came up with a $5000 contribution to the 2026 Lt. Governor Campaign fund for San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins on August 19th.
Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb of Tampa Florida came up with a $5000 contribution to the 2026 Lt. Governor Campaign fund for San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins on August 19th.

Gloria’s fat funding loophole

San Diego mayor Todd Gloria won’t have to recuse himself from vetoing any city council actions involving his bevy of campaign contributors, but he does have to disclose that he got their money, according to a July 12 advice letter from the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. The letter, from FPPC general counsel Dave Bainbridge, responds to questions posed by Adrian Granda, Gloria’s director of the city department of government affairs, regarding how the mayor’s big-money campaign style might be cramped by last year’s state Senate Bill 1439, which is now law. The measure bars elected officials in California from raising political cash from those involved in governmental proceedings and requires that the officials recuse themselves from actions involving their donors.

Mayor Gloria has one less reason to say, “Recuse me.”

“Because San Diego ordinances and resolutions take effect after ten days if the San Diego Mayor takes no action, requiring the San Diego Mayor’s recusal would effectively still involve the San Diego Mayor approving each City Council decision via inaction,” notes the letter. Thus, Gloria is still allowed to act. But that exception doesn’t apply to the new requirement for full disclosure, the state watchdog adds. “We recommend that when the San Diego Mayor intends to exercise their veto power pursuant to the legally required participation exception and despite receipt of an otherwise disqualifying contribution, they include a disclosure containing the necessary information as part of the meeting agenda.

"If the veto is done outside the context of a public meeting, we recommend the disclosure be posted in a conspicuous manner on the appropriate City website and a copy of the disclosure be filed with and maintained by the agency official who maintains the agency’s statements of economic interests, or other designated office for the maintenance of such disclosures, within 30 days of the making of or participating in the decision.” Calling the recusal exemption for Gloria “narrow,” the letter opines that “the San Diego Mayor would still be prohibited, for example, from soliciting, directing, or receiving a contribution exceeding $250 from a party, participant, or agent thereof while the proceeding is pending and for 12 months thereafter.”

Blood money

Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb of Tampa Florida came up with a $5000 contribution to the 2026 Lt. Governor Campaign fund for San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins on August 19th. Two years ago, on August 17th, 2021, the company agreed to pay $75 million to settle charges by California Democrat Rob Bonta and other state attorneys general that the company had “underpaid the drug rebates owed to Medi-Cal and other state Medicaid programs,” per Bonta’s news release. California’s share of the cash was $2,356,842.

Then on June 16 of this year, Bristol Myers Squibb sued the Biden Administration to void Medicare’s new ability to negotiate lower drug prices under the Inflation Reduction Act, according to CNBC. “Bristol Myers Squibb argued the federal government is forcing the company to enter negotiations and eventually agree to a heavily discounted price. The company claims this violates Fifth Amendment protections against the government seizing private property without just compensation. The drugmaker also claimed HHS is forcing the company to publicly present the program as a negotiation over a fair price. The company called the negotiations a sham and claimed the federal government is forcing the drugmaker to ‘parrot its preferred political messaging’ in violation of the First Amendment.”

Sponsored
Sponsored
Rob Bonta put the squeeze on Squibb.

Notes the post: “The law is the central pillar in the Biden administration’s efforts to control rising drug prices and was a major victory for the Democratic Party.” On the list of Biden-required price negotiations are those for Bristol Myers blood thinner Eliquis, “used to treat clots and strokes,” per the account. “The company generated $11.8 billion in revenue from Eliquis last year, about 25% of the company’s $46 billion in total revenue for 2022.”

Death by LA paper cuts

Things are getting to be so dismal at the financially beleaguered Los Angeles Times that its top external critic, ex-Times sportswriter T.J. Simers, declared a week ago Monday that he is quitting his widely read blogging about the paper’s rapidly failing sports department. “Maybe the last straw came in a twitter message Monday from former San Diego Union-Tribune sports editor Jay Posner: ‘I know it was exhibition and I know it’s only the Chargers, but did you notice their game yesterday ended just before 7:20 and not a single word in the Times print today. Not even anything explaining why the game was played when city and state officials told people not to leave home. But we did get to read about the Angels DH split from Saturday.’ 

"That’s the Los Angeles Chargers, Mr. San Diego, and the LA Times should care about them now. The expectation, of course, from Posner was that I would write about it and criticize the LA Times, which doesn’t live up to Union-Tribune standards. Then I get a series of tweets from former LA Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth on Monday about the inconsistencies and poor coverage in the Times. He concludes one message by writing: ‘TJSimerspage2 may have thoughts on how this also took a full page of Sunday’s tiny print edition.’ First of all, it is ‘tjpage2.blog.’ But I have given up. The LA Times’ sports section as it appears in the newspaper is an abomination. The LA Times no longer cares what they deliver in the newspaper, circulation dwindling and fewer and fewer people to read a blog who even know what I am referring to when I write.”

Meanwhile, staff shifting continues apace at the Union-Tribune, with longtime editorial chief Matt Hall exiting on a buyout and reporter Lauren J. Mapp announcing through her X/Twitter account on August 21 that “in addition to continuing to cover caregiving/aging and Indigenous communities in San Diego, I am now also covering East County.” As reported here on August 16, the paper quietly switched reporter Blake Nelson from working the East County beat to writing about homelessness and other issues affecting Southern California.” 

The move was acknowledged by U-T Readers’ Representative Adrian Vore on August 18. In addition, the paper’s PDF facsimile edition, posted online, has been shorn of its LA Times Calendar section. Also, the U-T’s “Wheels Sunday” section and accompanying page of car dealer advertising have vanished in recent weeks. The Times and UT were both owned by L.A. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong until he sold the U-T last month for an undisclosed price to MediaNews Group, controlled by vulture investing outfit Alden Global Capital.

— 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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