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GOP Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher appears to be the semi-official candidate of the executive class at Qualcomm, Inc., the locally-founded mobile phone giant that has been in the news of late for its controversial Snapdragon Stadium promotional gambit.

According to the corporation's February 1 city lobbying report, covering the final three months of last year, nine high-ranking company executives chipped in for a November 1 fundraiser held by Senior Vice President for Government Affairs William Bold that raised a total of $9,400 for Fletcher's cause.

They were Bold himself ($500); Monique Rodriguez, the Qualcomm governmental affairs manager who had a role in the Snapdragon saga ($250); Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Executive Vice President William Keitel ($500); Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Donald J. Rosenberg ($500); Executive Vice President of Human Resources Daniel L. Sullivan ($250); Executive Vice President and President, Global Market Development Margaret Johnson ($500); Senior Manager in International Government Affairs Molly Gavin ($450); Executive Vice President and Group President Derek Aberle ($250); and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs ($500).

Founder Irwin Jacobs, who has retired from the company's executive ranks, has endorsed GOP District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, but political insiders see that as hedging the firm's bets or paying back a political debt.

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Up until now, in regard to to local politics, Qualcomm seemed to be taking the high road. But Irwin Jacobs comes along with his remodel for Balboa Park, which he offers to partially fund with gifts from his very deep pockets, and now he and the company are rolling in the local political mud. The Snapdragon gambit and now endorsements and big contributions are not the high road here locally. There may have been a time, but that time has passed. Qualcomm has entirely too much clout locally, and is not conducting itself in an ethical manner. The H-1b visa program that it supports and abuses is not the least of its transgressions.

Ever since Irwin Jacobs' son Paul was elevated to the position of CEO, I've been most skeptical of the corporation. These revelations of trying to influence local politics make me all the more uneasy. (I am not now a stockholder of Qualcomm, and don't anticipate being one under the current corporate governance.)

Feb. 7, 2012

Whatsamattawitcha, Visduh? You got scruples? You makin' distinctions between father and son here? They look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee to me.

Feb. 7, 2012

I need to explain. Nepotism is generally a corrosive thing, whether practiced in Syria, North Korea, or by Britain's House of Windsor. In the 70's I got to see it up close in a local business, one of those successful start-ups that arose in San Diego. The founder and president wanted to load the upper management of the place with his offspring. He at one point had his two sons, daughter and son-in-law all working there. One of the sons was his anointed successor. Pushing those generally inexperienced and unqualified people did major damage to the operation. Ironically, they dropped by the wayside as the years passed, and when the operation went out of existence in the 80's all of them were gone.

Most of those start-up founders come from modest backgrounds and have a fire in the belly to do things that is rare. Their kids have no more chance of having that sort of drive than the population at large. That means that the chance of the son or daughter carrying on the sort of vision and drive of the father (or mother in a few cases) is poor. And due to their more affluent upbringing, they just don't have the same sort of life outlook. So it probably is with Paul Jacobs, just as it was with Robert Price who was just not the man his father, Sol Price, was.

In the present matter, political contributions and an attempt to improperly influence local government, both father and son Jacobs are on the same page. I wasn't trying to make either of them out to be more moral than the other, and my comment was aimed at the issue of business acumen, not politics.

Feb. 9, 2012

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