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Todd Gloria's dirty tricksters shut down New San Diego

Gil Cabrera tried to run Larry Turner out of November’s run-off election

Akilah Weber has been given a light hand-slap by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report properly a so-called behested $5000 payment made by the Southwest Mountain States Carpenters union on her behalf to the San Diego Food Bank
Akilah Weber has been given a light hand-slap by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report properly a so-called behested $5000 payment made by the Southwest Mountain States Carpenters union on her behalf to the San Diego Food Bank

Old San Diego

A controversial San Diego political committee bowed out of city politics by filing its official termination statement with the city clerk’s office on June 21. New San Diego, founded and operated by Democratic lawyer Gil Cabrera — a close friend of mayor Todd Gloria, who named Cabrera chairman of the San Diego International Airport’s board of directors — was widely known for much skulduggery during its relatively short lifespan. Earlier this year, New San Diego picked up a heap of negative coverage for heavily spending on behalf of unseasoned Republican mayoral candidate Jane Glasson in a failed attempt to knock San Diego cop and staunch Gloria foe Larry Turner out of November’s run-off election contest.

Gil Cabrera’s hit-piece machine is down for the count.

Brochures dispatched by New San Diego touting Glasson featured “an anti-crime theme” and claimed to be “a ‘Republican Voter Alert,’” the Union-Tribune reported on February 14, a few weeks before the city’s March primary. “The piece features photos of and quotes from former President Donald Trump, U.S. Senate candidate and former baseball star Steve Garvey, and Glasson, the lone GOP candidate in the mayor’s race.”

A similar strategy proved more effective in May 2022, when New San Diego sent out hits on ex-state Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña during her heated primary race against council incumbent, Gloria backer, and fellow Democrat Jennifer Campbell in the newly-drawn District Two. “The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Lori Saldaña took the most lobbyist gifts of any member of the State Assembly,” said the hit piece, “second only to the Speaker.” Saldaña came in third, clearing the way for Republican rookie Linda Lukacs to face off against Campbell, who was handily re-elected.

Cash for New San Diego, filings showed, poured in from a host of special interests seeking Gloria’s favor at city hall, including $2500 from Sempra Energy and $5000 each from influence peddler Miller Public Affairs and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Political Action Fund. Badiee Development Inc., lobbying the city for a bevy of permits, gave $50,000. Before finally shuttering last week, New San Diego reported getting February contributions from commercial building contractor Martin Brothers of Gardena ($12,500), F.J. Willert Contracting of Chula Vista ($7500), West Coast Netting, Inc., of Kingman, Arizona ($2500), and the Downtown San Diego Partnership ($10,000).

From February through June 21, the committee spent a total of $247,135 on polling and mail for Glasson. On March 12, it sent $26,000 to the San Diego Labor Coalition PAC. Its final campaign expenditure came the day it shut down, June 21, with $15,717.06 to California Progress for All, a political committee shown by state disclosure records to be run by Gloria ally Jason Paguio of Coronado. Paguio is President and CEO of the Asian Business Association San Diego.


Weber’s political turkeys

Democrat Akilah Weber, who succeeded her mother Shirley Weber — now California Secretary of State — in the state Assembly, has been given a light hand-slap by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report properly a so-called behested $5000 payment made by the Southwest Mountain States Carpenters union on her behalf to the San Diego Food Bank on January 13, 2023.

Akilah Weber failed to confess the behest, but will not have to redress.

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“This payment triggered behested payment reporting obligations,” reads a January 29 “warning letter” to the current Assemblywoman from FPPC Assistant Chief of Enforcement Christopher B. Burton. “Once a source reaches the $5000 disclosure threshold in a calendar year, all payments from that source, regardless of the amount, must be disclosed.” The missive goes on to state, “You failed to file a timely behested payment report within 30 days of the date of the payment.

“However, mitigating factors exist, such that the Enforcement Division has decided to close this case with this warning letter rather than issue a fine,” adding, “this letter serves as a written warning. The information in this matter will be retained and may be considered should an enforcement action become necessary based on newly discovered information or future conduct. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act in the future will result in monetary penalties of up to $5000 for each violation.”

Weber headlined a free turkey handout in conjunction with the Food Bank last Thanksgiving, per a November 10, 2023 write-up in the La Mesa Courier. “The event will be open on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last. There is a limit of one turkey per household. A member from each household must be present. Registration does not guarantee a turkey.”


Spying cars

It’s no secret that modern automobiles have of late been eavesdropping on their drivers and passengers, delivering a trove of personal information to those, including insurance companies, with the wherewithal to obtain high-tech data. That growing list now includes San Diego cops, thanks to a unanimous June 18 vote by the city council authorizing purchase, for about $3250 per year, of a high-tech car snooping system called the Berla iVe Toolkit.

According to the approved council resolution,”the Berla iVe Toolkit consists of hardware and software utilized to obtain and analyze data from a supported vehicle’s Infotainment and Telematics System.” Per the document, “examples of data obtained from supported vehicles include user data such as connected devices, bluetooth and wi-fi connections, call logs and contact lists, navigational data such as recent destinations, saved locations, tracklogs and track points; and vehicle event data such as door openings and closings, gear shifts, ignition starts, odometer readings and speed logs.” Notes a December 18th, 2023 story about the fast growing Maryland-based company on the website The Record: “While Berla has competitors, none appear to match its capabilities or reach with law enforcement. Its software is not available to the general public.”

In November of last year, another Record story says, a federal appellate judge in Seattle ruled that what Berla did was not illegal, clearing the way for big automakers to keep installing vehicle data collection equipment. Plaintiffs in a 2021 class action suit against Honda had argued “that beginning in at least 2014 infotainment systems in the company’s vehicles began downloading and storing a copy of all text messages on smartphones when they were connected to the system.”

Adds the Record account: “Once messages are downloaded, Berla’s software makes it impossible for vehicle owners to access their communications and call logs, but does provide law enforcement with access, the lawsuit said.” The June city council ordinance here is more reassuring, saying, “the Berla iVe Toolkit is only utilized upon the issuance of a valid search warrant or written consent from the vehicle’s owner.”

— 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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Akilah Weber has been given a light hand-slap by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report properly a so-called behested $5000 payment made by the Southwest Mountain States Carpenters union on her behalf to the San Diego Food Bank
Akilah Weber has been given a light hand-slap by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report properly a so-called behested $5000 payment made by the Southwest Mountain States Carpenters union on her behalf to the San Diego Food Bank

Old San Diego

A controversial San Diego political committee bowed out of city politics by filing its official termination statement with the city clerk’s office on June 21. New San Diego, founded and operated by Democratic lawyer Gil Cabrera — a close friend of mayor Todd Gloria, who named Cabrera chairman of the San Diego International Airport’s board of directors — was widely known for much skulduggery during its relatively short lifespan. Earlier this year, New San Diego picked up a heap of negative coverage for heavily spending on behalf of unseasoned Republican mayoral candidate Jane Glasson in a failed attempt to knock San Diego cop and staunch Gloria foe Larry Turner out of November’s run-off election contest.

Gil Cabrera’s hit-piece machine is down for the count.

Brochures dispatched by New San Diego touting Glasson featured “an anti-crime theme” and claimed to be “a ‘Republican Voter Alert,’” the Union-Tribune reported on February 14, a few weeks before the city’s March primary. “The piece features photos of and quotes from former President Donald Trump, U.S. Senate candidate and former baseball star Steve Garvey, and Glasson, the lone GOP candidate in the mayor’s race.”

A similar strategy proved more effective in May 2022, when New San Diego sent out hits on ex-state Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña during her heated primary race against council incumbent, Gloria backer, and fellow Democrat Jennifer Campbell in the newly-drawn District Two. “The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Lori Saldaña took the most lobbyist gifts of any member of the State Assembly,” said the hit piece, “second only to the Speaker.” Saldaña came in third, clearing the way for Republican rookie Linda Lukacs to face off against Campbell, who was handily re-elected.

Cash for New San Diego, filings showed, poured in from a host of special interests seeking Gloria’s favor at city hall, including $2500 from Sempra Energy and $5000 each from influence peddler Miller Public Affairs and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Political Action Fund. Badiee Development Inc., lobbying the city for a bevy of permits, gave $50,000. Before finally shuttering last week, New San Diego reported getting February contributions from commercial building contractor Martin Brothers of Gardena ($12,500), F.J. Willert Contracting of Chula Vista ($7500), West Coast Netting, Inc., of Kingman, Arizona ($2500), and the Downtown San Diego Partnership ($10,000).

From February through June 21, the committee spent a total of $247,135 on polling and mail for Glasson. On March 12, it sent $26,000 to the San Diego Labor Coalition PAC. Its final campaign expenditure came the day it shut down, June 21, with $15,717.06 to California Progress for All, a political committee shown by state disclosure records to be run by Gloria ally Jason Paguio of Coronado. Paguio is President and CEO of the Asian Business Association San Diego.


Weber’s political turkeys

Democrat Akilah Weber, who succeeded her mother Shirley Weber — now California Secretary of State — in the state Assembly, has been given a light hand-slap by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report properly a so-called behested $5000 payment made by the Southwest Mountain States Carpenters union on her behalf to the San Diego Food Bank on January 13, 2023.

Akilah Weber failed to confess the behest, but will not have to redress.

Sponsored
Sponsored

“This payment triggered behested payment reporting obligations,” reads a January 29 “warning letter” to the current Assemblywoman from FPPC Assistant Chief of Enforcement Christopher B. Burton. “Once a source reaches the $5000 disclosure threshold in a calendar year, all payments from that source, regardless of the amount, must be disclosed.” The missive goes on to state, “You failed to file a timely behested payment report within 30 days of the date of the payment.

“However, mitigating factors exist, such that the Enforcement Division has decided to close this case with this warning letter rather than issue a fine,” adding, “this letter serves as a written warning. The information in this matter will be retained and may be considered should an enforcement action become necessary based on newly discovered information or future conduct. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act in the future will result in monetary penalties of up to $5000 for each violation.”

Weber headlined a free turkey handout in conjunction with the Food Bank last Thanksgiving, per a November 10, 2023 write-up in the La Mesa Courier. “The event will be open on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last. There is a limit of one turkey per household. A member from each household must be present. Registration does not guarantee a turkey.”


Spying cars

It’s no secret that modern automobiles have of late been eavesdropping on their drivers and passengers, delivering a trove of personal information to those, including insurance companies, with the wherewithal to obtain high-tech data. That growing list now includes San Diego cops, thanks to a unanimous June 18 vote by the city council authorizing purchase, for about $3250 per year, of a high-tech car snooping system called the Berla iVe Toolkit.

According to the approved council resolution,”the Berla iVe Toolkit consists of hardware and software utilized to obtain and analyze data from a supported vehicle’s Infotainment and Telematics System.” Per the document, “examples of data obtained from supported vehicles include user data such as connected devices, bluetooth and wi-fi connections, call logs and contact lists, navigational data such as recent destinations, saved locations, tracklogs and track points; and vehicle event data such as door openings and closings, gear shifts, ignition starts, odometer readings and speed logs.” Notes a December 18th, 2023 story about the fast growing Maryland-based company on the website The Record: “While Berla has competitors, none appear to match its capabilities or reach with law enforcement. Its software is not available to the general public.”

In November of last year, another Record story says, a federal appellate judge in Seattle ruled that what Berla did was not illegal, clearing the way for big automakers to keep installing vehicle data collection equipment. Plaintiffs in a 2021 class action suit against Honda had argued “that beginning in at least 2014 infotainment systems in the company’s vehicles began downloading and storing a copy of all text messages on smartphones when they were connected to the system.”

Adds the Record account: “Once messages are downloaded, Berla’s software makes it impossible for vehicle owners to access their communications and call logs, but does provide law enforcement with access, the lawsuit said.” The June city council ordinance here is more reassuring, saying, “the Berla iVe Toolkit is only utilized upon the issuance of a valid search warrant or written consent from the vehicle’s owner.”

— 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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