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San Diego cops start campaign against Monica Steppe

Nathan Fletcher gone from county means no more behesting

Sunnova has since gotten a big dose of bad PR in Denver, Colorado. “The company currently has an F rating with the BBB,” said Leah Napoliello, vice president of investigations and public affairs with the Better Business Bureau of Houston.
Sunnova has since gotten a big dose of bad PR in Denver, Colorado. “The company currently has an F rating with the BBB,” said Leah Napoliello, vice president of investigations and public affairs with the Better Business Bureau of Houston.

Cops step out

San Diego cops are readying a barrage of TV spots and digital attacks against their Democratic city council nemesis Monica Montgomery Steppe, who is currently running to fill Nathan Fletcher’s vacated seat on the county Board of Supervisors. The San Diego Police Officers Association has so far spent a total of $34,537 on opposition research, polling, and production costs against Montgomery Steppe, according to the group’s July 4 filing with the city clerk’s office. “Despite spending her entire Council tenure pushing failed public safety policies, Monica is now attempting to promote herself as a champion of public safety as she sets her sights on higher office.

Can the cops stop Monica Montgomery Steppe?

"Like a typical politician, Monica’s dishonest campaign talking points are at odds with her record,” says a POA news release of June 20. Said Montgomery Steppe in a May 4 post about the cop union controversy by KPBS: “Violence is not biological. It has not been solved with over-policing, and it has not been solved with more funding, and until we address the root causes of violence and crime, we will continue seeing the exact same issues in our city and in our systems.”

Meanwhile, on June 16, Kilroy Realty, Inc. of Los Angeles gave a whopping $750,000 to the California Business Roundtable Issues PAC, the major funder of San Diego Republican ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer’s San Diego Safe Shelters & Clean Streets Act, which he putatively wants to qualify for the ballot, after which he will run for either county supervisor or San Diego mayor. In addition to Kilroy, a subsidiary of New York City-based Blackstone Group kicked in $20,000 to the roundtable’s PAC on May 24, per the same disclosure. Blackstone is a major San Diego residential landlord.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Facebooking the money

Meta Platforms Inc., which used to be called Facebook, came up with $5500 on June 30 for the 2025 Lt. Governor election campaign of state Senate pro-Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego. The same day, $5000 contributions came into the Atkins effort from the United Food & Commercial Workers Western States Council Candidate PAC and the Sunnova Energy Corporation of Houston, Texas. This Spring, the California Public Utilities Commission turned back a lobbying effort by solar-power contractor Sunnova to authorize construction of so-called micro power grids. “The company seeks to develop largely self-sustaining micro utilities by equipping new home communities with solar and storage,” wrote PV Magazine in an April 13 post. “Under the plan, new home construction communities are selected so that Sunnova can work closely with developers to design and implement distributed solar micro grids backed with energy storage.” Despite the PUC rejection, the company vowed to continue its California push.

But Sunnova has since gotten a big dose of bad PR in Denver, Colorado. “The company currently has an F rating with the BBB,” said Leah Napoliello, vice president of investigations and public affairs with the Better Business Bureau of Houston, South Texas,” reported TV station KMGH on June 4.

“’Oftentimes, the appointments are canceled. The technicians are not able to come out and have to be rescheduled again and again,’ Napoliello said. ‘And it can take weeks and weeks and also sometimes even months, in some cases. So, it can be a very bad situation for people who are already paying for the solar panels every month, and just not getting their issues corrected or repaired.’” A Sunnova statement cited by the TV report said that the solar energy firm had “implemented internal measures to proactively identify areas for improvement.” Complained Sunnova customer and Colorado high school teacher Elizabeth Tarbutton, “There are no consumer protections in this industry. As long as you’ve signed a contract, they just have all the power, and we have none. And people need to know that.”

At Nathan’s behest

Since Nathan Fletcher was forced to quit the San Diego County Board of Supervisors following a sex scandal earlier this year, so-called behesting activity by his erstwhile board colleagues has ceased altogether, at least that’s what seems to be indicated by a complete lack of legally required online disclosure reports posted on the county’s website.

Toni Atkins has a friend in Facebook.

Under state law, big donations made by third parties to charities at the behest of a public official must be disclosed. In Democrat Fletcher’s case, the list of his benefactors included two labor unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 569 — which gave $5000 to the San Diego Food Bank last November 18 to “help families receive a Thanksgiving meal” — and the Service Employees Union International Local 221, with $5000 to the same cause on the same date. Other November 18 donors who kicked in $5000 each for the Thanksgiving food were Price Philanthropies, Lyons Foundation, and health insurance company Blue Shield. Each filing was made on December 23.

Fletcher announced on March 26 he was taking a leave of absence for post-traumatic stress and substance abuse treatment. He finally left office for good on May 15. “A thousand local families received free turkeys for Thanksgiving as part of Operation Gobble, “ per a December 1, 2022, East County Magazine post. “The effort was organized by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, with giveaways in Lemon Grove, City Heights, Southeastern San Diego, and the County Administration Center. Supervisor Fletcher says, ‘It’s heartwarming knowing that so many families will have a Thanksgiving dinner table full of food.’” When Fletcher’s wife Lorena Gonzalez was a member of the state Assembly, she staged the same publicity-grabbing annual event with a torrent of behested cash from utility giant San Diego Gas & Electric.

— 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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Sunnova has since gotten a big dose of bad PR in Denver, Colorado. “The company currently has an F rating with the BBB,” said Leah Napoliello, vice president of investigations and public affairs with the Better Business Bureau of Houston.
Sunnova has since gotten a big dose of bad PR in Denver, Colorado. “The company currently has an F rating with the BBB,” said Leah Napoliello, vice president of investigations and public affairs with the Better Business Bureau of Houston.

Cops step out

San Diego cops are readying a barrage of TV spots and digital attacks against their Democratic city council nemesis Monica Montgomery Steppe, who is currently running to fill Nathan Fletcher’s vacated seat on the county Board of Supervisors. The San Diego Police Officers Association has so far spent a total of $34,537 on opposition research, polling, and production costs against Montgomery Steppe, according to the group’s July 4 filing with the city clerk’s office. “Despite spending her entire Council tenure pushing failed public safety policies, Monica is now attempting to promote herself as a champion of public safety as she sets her sights on higher office.

Can the cops stop Monica Montgomery Steppe?

"Like a typical politician, Monica’s dishonest campaign talking points are at odds with her record,” says a POA news release of June 20. Said Montgomery Steppe in a May 4 post about the cop union controversy by KPBS: “Violence is not biological. It has not been solved with over-policing, and it has not been solved with more funding, and until we address the root causes of violence and crime, we will continue seeing the exact same issues in our city and in our systems.”

Meanwhile, on June 16, Kilroy Realty, Inc. of Los Angeles gave a whopping $750,000 to the California Business Roundtable Issues PAC, the major funder of San Diego Republican ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer’s San Diego Safe Shelters & Clean Streets Act, which he putatively wants to qualify for the ballot, after which he will run for either county supervisor or San Diego mayor. In addition to Kilroy, a subsidiary of New York City-based Blackstone Group kicked in $20,000 to the roundtable’s PAC on May 24, per the same disclosure. Blackstone is a major San Diego residential landlord.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Facebooking the money

Meta Platforms Inc., which used to be called Facebook, came up with $5500 on June 30 for the 2025 Lt. Governor election campaign of state Senate pro-Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego. The same day, $5000 contributions came into the Atkins effort from the United Food & Commercial Workers Western States Council Candidate PAC and the Sunnova Energy Corporation of Houston, Texas. This Spring, the California Public Utilities Commission turned back a lobbying effort by solar-power contractor Sunnova to authorize construction of so-called micro power grids. “The company seeks to develop largely self-sustaining micro utilities by equipping new home communities with solar and storage,” wrote PV Magazine in an April 13 post. “Under the plan, new home construction communities are selected so that Sunnova can work closely with developers to design and implement distributed solar micro grids backed with energy storage.” Despite the PUC rejection, the company vowed to continue its California push.

But Sunnova has since gotten a big dose of bad PR in Denver, Colorado. “The company currently has an F rating with the BBB,” said Leah Napoliello, vice president of investigations and public affairs with the Better Business Bureau of Houston, South Texas,” reported TV station KMGH on June 4.

“’Oftentimes, the appointments are canceled. The technicians are not able to come out and have to be rescheduled again and again,’ Napoliello said. ‘And it can take weeks and weeks and also sometimes even months, in some cases. So, it can be a very bad situation for people who are already paying for the solar panels every month, and just not getting their issues corrected or repaired.’” A Sunnova statement cited by the TV report said that the solar energy firm had “implemented internal measures to proactively identify areas for improvement.” Complained Sunnova customer and Colorado high school teacher Elizabeth Tarbutton, “There are no consumer protections in this industry. As long as you’ve signed a contract, they just have all the power, and we have none. And people need to know that.”

At Nathan’s behest

Since Nathan Fletcher was forced to quit the San Diego County Board of Supervisors following a sex scandal earlier this year, so-called behesting activity by his erstwhile board colleagues has ceased altogether, at least that’s what seems to be indicated by a complete lack of legally required online disclosure reports posted on the county’s website.

Toni Atkins has a friend in Facebook.

Under state law, big donations made by third parties to charities at the behest of a public official must be disclosed. In Democrat Fletcher’s case, the list of his benefactors included two labor unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 569 — which gave $5000 to the San Diego Food Bank last November 18 to “help families receive a Thanksgiving meal” — and the Service Employees Union International Local 221, with $5000 to the same cause on the same date. Other November 18 donors who kicked in $5000 each for the Thanksgiving food were Price Philanthropies, Lyons Foundation, and health insurance company Blue Shield. Each filing was made on December 23.

Fletcher announced on March 26 he was taking a leave of absence for post-traumatic stress and substance abuse treatment. He finally left office for good on May 15. “A thousand local families received free turkeys for Thanksgiving as part of Operation Gobble, “ per a December 1, 2022, East County Magazine post. “The effort was organized by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, with giveaways in Lemon Grove, City Heights, Southeastern San Diego, and the County Administration Center. Supervisor Fletcher says, ‘It’s heartwarming knowing that so many families will have a Thanksgiving dinner table full of food.’” When Fletcher’s wife Lorena Gonzalez was a member of the state Assembly, she staged the same publicity-grabbing annual event with a torrent of behested cash from utility giant San Diego Gas & Electric.

— 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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