Full-Service Lobbyists

Jacobs’s plan is the target of a lawsuit filed by the Save Our Heritage Organisation.
  • Jacobs’s plan is the target of a lawsuit filed by the Save Our Heritage Organisation.

MJE Marketing, the lobbying outfit that’s been helping to push the controversial Irwin Jacobs Balboa Park makeover through city hall, picked up another $31,000 for its services in the second quarter of the year, recent City lobbyist filings show. That makes MJE’s gross income from the project a total of $105,000 so far. Approved by the city council this July in the face of fierce opposition from historical preservationists and others, Jacobs’s well-bankrolled parking and traffic plan is currently the target of a last-ditch lawsuit filed by the Save Our Heritage Organisation.

La Jolla billionaire and Qualcomm founder Jacobs set up and funded a nonprofit foundation to mount his pet project. That group, in turn, retained Civitas, Inc., a Colorado-based architecture and planning consultant that subsequently hired MJE to represent the project’s interests at the City. MJE’s most recent disclosure shows that the firm’s Kristen Byrne and Lauren Bogart lobbied mayoral staffers Gerry Braun and Darren Pudgil for approval of the Jacobs park deal. In addition, Byrne gave $250 to the failed mayoral campaign of ex-GOP–turned–independent assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who backs the Jacobs project.

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First, there's Irwin Jacobs and his money to fund the Cabrillo Bridge Makeover and Bypass; then there's the non-profit foundation set up to "get it done;" then there's Civitas the Colorado consulting outfit; and then there's Civitas' surrogate lobbying firm MJE.

That's FOUR LAYERS of PRIVATELY PURCHASED INFLUENCE to change a landmark public greenspace made possible by a supine City Council that also wants Jacobs bucks for political campaigns. How really really sad.

$$$ Buys influence and power, always has always will.

The modern "hired gunslingers" of the New West. In the Old West they were brought in to intimidate the public and gain a business advantage. It was only when the general public banded together behind a lead person or organization and helped each other to resist the gunslingers and bring in the law was there a positive outcome for the public. SOHO is that lead organization in this modern day grab for control of Balboa Park's future.

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