On with Their Heads

Irwin Jacobs Wants to Abolish the Death Penalty

Irwin Jacobs gave $10,000 to a group seeking abolishment of the death penalty.
  • Irwin Jacobs gave $10,000 to a group seeking abolishment of the death penalty.

La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs has contributed $10,000 to Taxpayers for Public Safety, a group that wants to abolish the death penalty, replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The politically active Qualcomm founder, who’s become enmeshed in a nasty public relations fight over his road plan for Balboa Park, made his donation on April 20; last week the anti–death penalty proposal qualified for the November ballot. Other local donors have included the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, which gave a total of $21,770. Among other proponents of the measure are ex–Los Angeles district attorney Gil Garcetti and former San Quentin warden Jeanne Woodford. Opponents include former Sacramento U.S. attorney McGregor Scott…Poseidon Resources — the desalination outfit with close ties to GOP San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders and his political mentor Tom Shepard, now working for newly independent mayoral candidate and assemblyman Nathan Fletcher — has given $10,000 to Democratic governor Jerry Brown’s ballot measure to raise California taxes. Another big donor to the cause on the same day, April 21: Tony Podesta, an influential Washington lobbyist with close ties to the Obama administration, who also anted up $10,000.

Comments

This too-rich old fool is making his philanthropy far too political; he seems to know no limit on self-expression. If he really wants to be remembered for his good works and good judgement, then he needs to stay out of these corrosive political matters. Endowing the San Diego Symphony or assisting the La Lolla Music Society is one thing. Getting into these hot-button political matters is something quite different. He and his wife should go back into the realm of the cultural, artistic, or educational needy and enrich them with their millions. When he strays into politics he takes a head-first jump into the mud, and that mud is very hard to wash off. Worse yet, he might drown in it.

Are you saying this because you think all philanthropists should avoid politics, or only those who support so-called liberal or progressive causes? What was your take on Doug Manchester's support of Prop 8?

Well, I don't see a problem with doing away with the death penalty. It doesn't seem to do much good, and in the eyes of the rest of the world, makes our society look as though we have the same mentality as the criminals.

But, I couldn't agree with you more, Visduh, when it comes to Jacobs political machinations. What this man is trying to do in terms of Balboa Park, for example, is baffling.

I saw the plans that were proposed, and they all look like somebody stayed on the merry-go-round too long. The roads go here and there and around this way and that, all for the purpose "supposedly" of clearing traffic from the Prado Circle in front of the Art Museum, so the park will look more like it did back in 1915. Oh, that and installing an underground parking garage that will charge $8.00 to park in the area that was previously free. Granted, there will be more parking spaces, but with that charge, many may sit empty.

The idea of trying to accommodate the increased traffic and lack of parking overlooks the fact that many people come to the park because it is free. It cost nothing to park there and take the family for a fun stroll, usually with lots of free entertainment as well. But once people realize they may have to fork over $8.00 to park, then they might just as well go down to Seaport Village, or out to the beaches, or any number of places, where that $8.00 can obtain an alternate recreational experience.

Jacobs should let the wife do the planning. She seems to be more in tune with the needs of San Diego, and knows improvements such as those planned for Balboa Park, should not come with a price of admission to the public.

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