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Carlsbad mayor Priya Bhat-Patel restrained herself on gun storage rules

Toni Atkins not shy about taking pharma money

According to a June 17, 2022 New York Times account, Everytown took shape in 2013 when liberal ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg merged his anti-gun crusade with an outfit called Moms Demand Action “to create Everytown for Gun Safety, the closest thing that the gun-control movement has to a counterweight to the N.R.A.”
According to a June 17, 2022 New York Times account, Everytown took shape in 2013 when liberal ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg merged his anti-gun crusade with an outfit called Moms Demand Action “to create Everytown for Gun Safety, the closest thing that the gun-control movement has to a counterweight to the N.R.A.”

Guns away

Due to a personal conflict of interest, Carlsbad Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel, a high-profile North County gun control advocate, will be required to wait a few months longer to participate in efforts by the city council to adopt “secure gun storage laws” in the coastal city. So opines a February 22 advice letter from lawyers for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. Bhat-Patel was employed by Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit anti-gun advocacy group, for a year — ending in August of 2023. “Her work was done at the state level. She did not work with local governments, including [Carlsbad] because of her work as an elected City official. However, Everytown has engaged in advocacy activity in [Carlsbad] through affiliated grassroots networks, including Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action.”

Priya Bhat-Patel is opposed to both guns and stalkers.

Adds the advice letter: “One of Everytown’s recommended actions for responsible gun ownership is the passage of secure gun storage laws. Mayor Pro Tem Bhat-Patel has long wanted to propose the City of Carlsbad adopt such an ordinance. However, she refrained from doing so while she was employed by Everytown to avoid any Political Reform Act or other conflict of interest concerns. Since she is no longer employed by Everytown, she would like to bring forward the proposal for the City Council’s consideration and, consequently, is seeking guidance regarding her duties under the Political Reform Act.”

But because she was paid more than $500 for her Everytown role, the letter continues, state law says Bhat-Patel must wait a full twelve months after her final receipt of payment before she can push gun control measures favored by the organization. “As a former Associate Regional Director of an anti-gun violence organization specifically advocating for the passage of secure gun storage laws, the very nature of Everytown and Mayor Pro Tem Bhat-Patel’s work for the organization appears to have been geared towards achieving the type of changes in law Mayor Pro Tem Bhat-Patel would now like to bring forward in her capacity as a public official.”

According to a June 17, 2022 New York Times account, Everytown took shape in 2013 when liberal ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg merged his anti-gun crusade with an outfit called Moms Demand Action “to create Everytown for Gun Safety, the closest thing that the gun-control movement has to a counterweight to the N.R.A.”

Elected to the Carlsbad council in 2018, Bhat-Patel has been the target of repeated stalking, per a November 2020 Voice of San Diego account. “In one instance, a man who helped on her campaign sent her inappropriate text messages and became obsessive, so she had to change her phone number, she said. Then he managed to get access to her new phone number, she said. In another case, a man she said she met in a political circle sent her inappropriate messages and told her that if she didn’t respond to his messages that he would end her political career. ‘It was very similar, and it was very creepy,’ she said. She said she didn’t file restraining orders against the men, since warnings from the police have worked so far, but that she’d consider going that route if the threats persisted.”


Cowboy buck-offs

Heath Freeman, who runs Alden Global Capital, the controversial vulture investing outfit that is currently downsizing the San Diego Union-Tribune, is also remaking the Florida Freedom, a professional bull riding team he acquired last year. Last month Freeman traded Tate Pollmeier to the Carolina Cowboys in exchange for Conner Halverson and “future considerations,” according to a February 26 web post by the Pro Bull Riding league. Freeman “isn’t backing down from a bit of risk in his own right as well in this deal, as the timing of this trade and overall double-draft timeline presents an extra set of potential complications,” says the item. But to some, the cut makes sense.

Sponsored
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This isn’t Heath Freeman’s first rodeo.

“Looking at Halverson’s 6-for-25 record so far throughout the 2024 UTB season, it’s a fifth-place showing in New York City which represents his best finish on the season,” the story notes. “But it’s been consistency that’s plagued him lately. Outside of his 2-for-4 performance inside Madison Square Garden, the Gordon, Nebraska, native has produced just one qualified ride in four separate events, with his 14th place showing in Johnstown marking his second-best finish on the year. Potentially even more concerning, Halverson is currently on the wrong side of a 12-out buckoff streak, now without a ride throughout his last five UTB events.”

Meanwhile, one of Freeman’s Union-Tribune cast-offs has surfaced three thousand miles away as South Carolina Opinion Editor of The State, a newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. “I think I’ve found a great fit with some amazing journalists under the McClatchy banner,” writes the U-T’s former editorial and opinion director Matt Hall on his LinkedIn page. “I couldn’t be more excited to work for Opinion Editor Peter St. Onge, alongside President and Editor Brian Tolley and his team at The State, with columnists Isaac Bailey and David Lauderdale.”


Dark money spotlight

Recently flipped from running for state lieutenant governor to governor in 2026, San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins collected $15,000 for her gubernatorial bid from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America PAC on February 26. Otherwise known as PhRMA, in 2022 the group gave $7.5 million to the American Action Network, a so-called dark money group linked to House Republicans, according to Politico.com. “American Action Network spent millions on advertising in 2022 opposing Democrats’ drug pricing reform efforts, as part of a years-long campaign against the proposals, which eventually became law as part of the Inflation Reduction Act,” Politico’s story says

“The law ultimately ordered Medicare to negotiate prices for a small number of drugs, less ambitious than a Democratic proposal that passed the House in 2019.” Notes Politico: “In addition to the $7.5 million it gave to the American Action Network, PhRMA also contributed $200,000 to the American Action Forum, AAN’s charitable arm, which is allowed to conduct some lobbying. Neither group has to disclose its donors.”

Adds the November 11, 2023 account: “A Politico analysis of the industry group’s most recent tax forms show that the contributions were among the top five grants or donations made by PhRMA in 2022. In total, PhRMA gave nearly $52 million to political campaigns and nonprofits, patient groups, universities and other organizations, according to the recently filed disclosures.”

— 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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According to a June 17, 2022 New York Times account, Everytown took shape in 2013 when liberal ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg merged his anti-gun crusade with an outfit called Moms Demand Action “to create Everytown for Gun Safety, the closest thing that the gun-control movement has to a counterweight to the N.R.A.”
According to a June 17, 2022 New York Times account, Everytown took shape in 2013 when liberal ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg merged his anti-gun crusade with an outfit called Moms Demand Action “to create Everytown for Gun Safety, the closest thing that the gun-control movement has to a counterweight to the N.R.A.”

Guns away

Due to a personal conflict of interest, Carlsbad Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel, a high-profile North County gun control advocate, will be required to wait a few months longer to participate in efforts by the city council to adopt “secure gun storage laws” in the coastal city. So opines a February 22 advice letter from lawyers for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. Bhat-Patel was employed by Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit anti-gun advocacy group, for a year — ending in August of 2023. “Her work was done at the state level. She did not work with local governments, including [Carlsbad] because of her work as an elected City official. However, Everytown has engaged in advocacy activity in [Carlsbad] through affiliated grassroots networks, including Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action.”

Priya Bhat-Patel is opposed to both guns and stalkers.

Adds the advice letter: “One of Everytown’s recommended actions for responsible gun ownership is the passage of secure gun storage laws. Mayor Pro Tem Bhat-Patel has long wanted to propose the City of Carlsbad adopt such an ordinance. However, she refrained from doing so while she was employed by Everytown to avoid any Political Reform Act or other conflict of interest concerns. Since she is no longer employed by Everytown, she would like to bring forward the proposal for the City Council’s consideration and, consequently, is seeking guidance regarding her duties under the Political Reform Act.”

But because she was paid more than $500 for her Everytown role, the letter continues, state law says Bhat-Patel must wait a full twelve months after her final receipt of payment before she can push gun control measures favored by the organization. “As a former Associate Regional Director of an anti-gun violence organization specifically advocating for the passage of secure gun storage laws, the very nature of Everytown and Mayor Pro Tem Bhat-Patel’s work for the organization appears to have been geared towards achieving the type of changes in law Mayor Pro Tem Bhat-Patel would now like to bring forward in her capacity as a public official.”

According to a June 17, 2022 New York Times account, Everytown took shape in 2013 when liberal ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg merged his anti-gun crusade with an outfit called Moms Demand Action “to create Everytown for Gun Safety, the closest thing that the gun-control movement has to a counterweight to the N.R.A.”

Elected to the Carlsbad council in 2018, Bhat-Patel has been the target of repeated stalking, per a November 2020 Voice of San Diego account. “In one instance, a man who helped on her campaign sent her inappropriate text messages and became obsessive, so she had to change her phone number, she said. Then he managed to get access to her new phone number, she said. In another case, a man she said she met in a political circle sent her inappropriate messages and told her that if she didn’t respond to his messages that he would end her political career. ‘It was very similar, and it was very creepy,’ she said. She said she didn’t file restraining orders against the men, since warnings from the police have worked so far, but that she’d consider going that route if the threats persisted.”


Cowboy buck-offs

Heath Freeman, who runs Alden Global Capital, the controversial vulture investing outfit that is currently downsizing the San Diego Union-Tribune, is also remaking the Florida Freedom, a professional bull riding team he acquired last year. Last month Freeman traded Tate Pollmeier to the Carolina Cowboys in exchange for Conner Halverson and “future considerations,” according to a February 26 web post by the Pro Bull Riding league. Freeman “isn’t backing down from a bit of risk in his own right as well in this deal, as the timing of this trade and overall double-draft timeline presents an extra set of potential complications,” says the item. But to some, the cut makes sense.

Sponsored
Sponsored
This isn’t Heath Freeman’s first rodeo.

“Looking at Halverson’s 6-for-25 record so far throughout the 2024 UTB season, it’s a fifth-place showing in New York City which represents his best finish on the season,” the story notes. “But it’s been consistency that’s plagued him lately. Outside of his 2-for-4 performance inside Madison Square Garden, the Gordon, Nebraska, native has produced just one qualified ride in four separate events, with his 14th place showing in Johnstown marking his second-best finish on the year. Potentially even more concerning, Halverson is currently on the wrong side of a 12-out buckoff streak, now without a ride throughout his last five UTB events.”

Meanwhile, one of Freeman’s Union-Tribune cast-offs has surfaced three thousand miles away as South Carolina Opinion Editor of The State, a newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. “I think I’ve found a great fit with some amazing journalists under the McClatchy banner,” writes the U-T’s former editorial and opinion director Matt Hall on his LinkedIn page. “I couldn’t be more excited to work for Opinion Editor Peter St. Onge, alongside President and Editor Brian Tolley and his team at The State, with columnists Isaac Bailey and David Lauderdale.”


Dark money spotlight

Recently flipped from running for state lieutenant governor to governor in 2026, San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins collected $15,000 for her gubernatorial bid from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America PAC on February 26. Otherwise known as PhRMA, in 2022 the group gave $7.5 million to the American Action Network, a so-called dark money group linked to House Republicans, according to Politico.com. “American Action Network spent millions on advertising in 2022 opposing Democrats’ drug pricing reform efforts, as part of a years-long campaign against the proposals, which eventually became law as part of the Inflation Reduction Act,” Politico’s story says

“The law ultimately ordered Medicare to negotiate prices for a small number of drugs, less ambitious than a Democratic proposal that passed the House in 2019.” Notes Politico: “In addition to the $7.5 million it gave to the American Action Network, PhRMA also contributed $200,000 to the American Action Forum, AAN’s charitable arm, which is allowed to conduct some lobbying. Neither group has to disclose its donors.”

Adds the November 11, 2023 account: “A Politico analysis of the industry group’s most recent tax forms show that the contributions were among the top five grants or donations made by PhRMA in 2022. In total, PhRMA gave nearly $52 million to political campaigns and nonprofits, patient groups, universities and other organizations, according to the recently filed disclosures.”

— 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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