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San Diego politicians' mixed motives on marijuana

Why did three Roque de la Fuente kids give money to Tony Atkins?

State business records show March and Ash, which touts itself online as the Best Weed Dispensary in San Diego, was started in 2019 by Breton Peace, a Mission Valley lawyer and son of former state Senate Democrat Steve Peace.
State business records show March and Ash, which touts itself online as the Best Weed Dispensary in San Diego, was started in 2019 by Breton Peace, a Mission Valley lawyer and son of former state Senate Democrat Steve Peace.

Peace and sanctity

An array of special interests, including pot dealers, funded the February 21 annual state of the county speech by Democratic County Supervisor Nora Vargas, newly posted disclosure filings show. Cannabis dealer March and Ash Management Co., LLC, came in with $3629.23 on the same day, according to a disclosure document time-stamped March 21. State business records show March and Ash, which touts itself online as the Best Weed Dispensary in San Diego, was started in 2019 by Breton Peace, a Mission Valley lawyer and son of former state Senate Democrat Steve Peace. No other names are given.

Steve Peace’s son wants folks to watch over their weed.

Last year, the younger Peace was identified as a partner and general counsel to the company in a May 6 Star-News dispatch regarding funding the company provided for a non-profit safe marijuana storage program, a longtime controversial facet of the industry, post-legalization. “Stash Your Stash demonstrates what cannabis entrepreneurs and community health advocates can accomplish together when we put aside our differences and find common ground,” he was quoted as saying.

“What is important is that we all have kids. We coach little league, soccer.” He added, “I remember our first Halloween when we were open. That really jumps out to you because we sell edible products. I remember customers walking out with bags, and in the back of my mind I said, ‘Oh my gosh, it almost looks like they are trick-or-treating.’ What do we do about a customer that takes that home, and cannabis being so new, and isn’t thinking at the forefront of their mind, ‘What happens if one of my kids gets their hands on this bag? It sure looks like the same stuff they are going to get on Halloween.’”

Not all county supervisors are on board. Late last month, when a so-called Cannabis Social Equity Program passed the board on a 3-2 vote, with Vargas voting to approve, Republican Supervisor Jim Desmond voted no, saying, “I don’t think that’s how we want to go in society. The less cannabis we have, the better,” according to a May 1 KPBS account.

Also among donors to the Vargas state of the county event was call phone giant AT&T, which came up with $2743.13 on March 8, per an April 3 disclosure. Solar Turbines, busy protecting its next-door plant on the bay from occasional efforts to get the company to move, forked over $4999 on February 21, per a March 21 report. Then there was Republican Joel Anderson, who picked up $850 worth of “Photography services at District 2’s Legislative Open House on December 14, 2023,” from the Barona casino tribe, per a February 6 disclosure. Barona also kicked in $26.99 to help Anderson make “Reimbursement to County staff who purchased refreshments for public attendees at the Sanctity of Human Life event held January 22, 2024 at Foothills Christian Church,” according to a March 27 filing.

Roque de la Fuente’s kids are looking to locate a landfill on a watershed.

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River of money

The San Diego developer fronting a controversial landfill in the Tijuana River watershed with the three oldest children of onetime Republican presidential candidate Roque de la Fuente came up with $10,000 on May 16 for the 2026 gubernatorial campaign of San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins, according to a May 17 filing with the California Secretary of State’s office.

The timing of the campaign gift, made by David Wick, the CEO of National Enterprises, could be problematic, coming as it did just a month after Wick’s friend, ex-state Senate Democrat and longtime Atkins ally Ben Hueso, showed up before the state Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee to oppose Senate Bill 1208, authored by Democrat Steve Padilla to “prohibit the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board from handing out waste discharge permits for any landfill in the Tijuana River watershed,” says a May 4 account by Voice of San Diego.

Adds the story: “He’s aiming the bill right at Hueso’s client: National Enterprises. The company is trying to get permits for a more than 300-acre landfill and recycling center on the far eastern edge of Otay Mesa.” Said Padilla: “We can’t take anymore. To try to site a landfill in the river watershed is insane.”

....San Diego Union-Tribune owner Alden Global Capital, whose papers recently sued Microsoft and artificial intelligence purveyor OpenAI for allegedly using the papers’ news data without permission, has now been targeted for a lawsuit by reporters for the Chicago Tribune, claiming pay discrimination. “According to the plaintiffs, an independent analysis of newsroom salaries found women are paid 10 percent less than male counterparts, and Black journalists are paid 10 percent less than White colleagues doing similar work. Black female journalists are paid 20 percent less than their White male counterparts,” says a May 17 Washington Post dispatch. “The suit is the latest escalation in the tensions between Alden Global Capital — which purchased the Tribune in 2021 on its rapid path to becoming one of the largest newspaper owners in the country — and the journalists who work for it. But it also represents years of frustration with past corporate owners.”...San Diego State University is looking to hire a new environment reporter for KPBS, its non-profit TV and radio operation, with a yearly salary between $65,416 of $75,525. “The environment affects every single person,” says a recent online job post. “The beat is rich with personal stories and systemic challenges which, when told with people at the center, can offer a powerful glimpse into the differences between how things are and how they should be.”...While ex-Union-Tribune proprietor Doug Manchester’s grandiose plan to build a hotel tower at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway downtown remains on hold due to apparent financing problems, a more traditional San Diego landmark is being installed on the site: a sprawling new ACE Parking lot.

— 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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State business records show March and Ash, which touts itself online as the Best Weed Dispensary in San Diego, was started in 2019 by Breton Peace, a Mission Valley lawyer and son of former state Senate Democrat Steve Peace.
State business records show March and Ash, which touts itself online as the Best Weed Dispensary in San Diego, was started in 2019 by Breton Peace, a Mission Valley lawyer and son of former state Senate Democrat Steve Peace.

Peace and sanctity

An array of special interests, including pot dealers, funded the February 21 annual state of the county speech by Democratic County Supervisor Nora Vargas, newly posted disclosure filings show. Cannabis dealer March and Ash Management Co., LLC, came in with $3629.23 on the same day, according to a disclosure document time-stamped March 21. State business records show March and Ash, which touts itself online as the Best Weed Dispensary in San Diego, was started in 2019 by Breton Peace, a Mission Valley lawyer and son of former state Senate Democrat Steve Peace. No other names are given.

Steve Peace’s son wants folks to watch over their weed.

Last year, the younger Peace was identified as a partner and general counsel to the company in a May 6 Star-News dispatch regarding funding the company provided for a non-profit safe marijuana storage program, a longtime controversial facet of the industry, post-legalization. “Stash Your Stash demonstrates what cannabis entrepreneurs and community health advocates can accomplish together when we put aside our differences and find common ground,” he was quoted as saying.

“What is important is that we all have kids. We coach little league, soccer.” He added, “I remember our first Halloween when we were open. That really jumps out to you because we sell edible products. I remember customers walking out with bags, and in the back of my mind I said, ‘Oh my gosh, it almost looks like they are trick-or-treating.’ What do we do about a customer that takes that home, and cannabis being so new, and isn’t thinking at the forefront of their mind, ‘What happens if one of my kids gets their hands on this bag? It sure looks like the same stuff they are going to get on Halloween.’”

Not all county supervisors are on board. Late last month, when a so-called Cannabis Social Equity Program passed the board on a 3-2 vote, with Vargas voting to approve, Republican Supervisor Jim Desmond voted no, saying, “I don’t think that’s how we want to go in society. The less cannabis we have, the better,” according to a May 1 KPBS account.

Also among donors to the Vargas state of the county event was call phone giant AT&T, which came up with $2743.13 on March 8, per an April 3 disclosure. Solar Turbines, busy protecting its next-door plant on the bay from occasional efforts to get the company to move, forked over $4999 on February 21, per a March 21 report. Then there was Republican Joel Anderson, who picked up $850 worth of “Photography services at District 2’s Legislative Open House on December 14, 2023,” from the Barona casino tribe, per a February 6 disclosure. Barona also kicked in $26.99 to help Anderson make “Reimbursement to County staff who purchased refreshments for public attendees at the Sanctity of Human Life event held January 22, 2024 at Foothills Christian Church,” according to a March 27 filing.

Roque de la Fuente’s kids are looking to locate a landfill on a watershed.

Sponsored
Sponsored

River of money

The San Diego developer fronting a controversial landfill in the Tijuana River watershed with the three oldest children of onetime Republican presidential candidate Roque de la Fuente came up with $10,000 on May 16 for the 2026 gubernatorial campaign of San Diego state Senate Democrat Toni Atkins, according to a May 17 filing with the California Secretary of State’s office.

The timing of the campaign gift, made by David Wick, the CEO of National Enterprises, could be problematic, coming as it did just a month after Wick’s friend, ex-state Senate Democrat and longtime Atkins ally Ben Hueso, showed up before the state Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee to oppose Senate Bill 1208, authored by Democrat Steve Padilla to “prohibit the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board from handing out waste discharge permits for any landfill in the Tijuana River watershed,” says a May 4 account by Voice of San Diego.

Adds the story: “He’s aiming the bill right at Hueso’s client: National Enterprises. The company is trying to get permits for a more than 300-acre landfill and recycling center on the far eastern edge of Otay Mesa.” Said Padilla: “We can’t take anymore. To try to site a landfill in the river watershed is insane.”

....San Diego Union-Tribune owner Alden Global Capital, whose papers recently sued Microsoft and artificial intelligence purveyor OpenAI for allegedly using the papers’ news data without permission, has now been targeted for a lawsuit by reporters for the Chicago Tribune, claiming pay discrimination. “According to the plaintiffs, an independent analysis of newsroom salaries found women are paid 10 percent less than male counterparts, and Black journalists are paid 10 percent less than White colleagues doing similar work. Black female journalists are paid 20 percent less than their White male counterparts,” says a May 17 Washington Post dispatch. “The suit is the latest escalation in the tensions between Alden Global Capital — which purchased the Tribune in 2021 on its rapid path to becoming one of the largest newspaper owners in the country — and the journalists who work for it. But it also represents years of frustration with past corporate owners.”...San Diego State University is looking to hire a new environment reporter for KPBS, its non-profit TV and radio operation, with a yearly salary between $65,416 of $75,525. “The environment affects every single person,” says a recent online job post. “The beat is rich with personal stories and systemic challenges which, when told with people at the center, can offer a powerful glimpse into the differences between how things are and how they should be.”...While ex-Union-Tribune proprietor Doug Manchester’s grandiose plan to build a hotel tower at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway downtown remains on hold due to apparent financing problems, a more traditional San Diego landmark is being installed on the site: a sprawling new ACE Parking lot.

— 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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