Price of Influence

The Madaffers Have a Busy Schedule

Robin Munro Madaffer and Jim Madaffer
  • Robin Munro Madaffer and Jim Madaffer

Ex–San Diego city councilman Jim Madaffer, who fought for years with then–San Diego State president Steve Weber over redevelopment plans for the school’s sprawling campus just off Interstate 8, has put the full weight of his small neighborhood newspaper and online media empire behind the mayoral candidacy of newly independent ex-Republican Nathan Fletcher. “Politics in our nation, our state and at the local level have sunk to a point where many people who are elected serve at the whim of political party bosses and caucuses which dictate outcomes,” opines Madaffer in a recent editorial on behalf of the incumbent assemblyman.

Of course, Madaffer knows more than a little about what he speaks. Divorced from ex-wife Sally of his city council years, Republican Madaffer is currently married to longtime city hall lobbyist Robin Munro Madaffer, a lawyer at the big downtown firm of Schwartz Heidel Sullivan, LLP. Munro Madaffer also serves as her husband’s copublisher at the Mission Times Courier, the Mission Valley News, and the La Mesa Courier, which despite their small size can make a big difference in close political races. Munro Madaffer has also been very busy on the city hall lobbying front.

Schwartz Heidel’s latest disclosure report, covering the first three months of this year, shows that the firm worked on behalf of Cogentrix Energy, LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina, which is seeking to build a controversial power plant in the East Elliott community planning area. Munro Madaffer lobbied Democratic city councilwoman Marti Emerald and development services’s Cecilia Williams, according to the disclosure. Cogentrix paid the lobbyists $2000 during the quarter.

Fore Property Company of Las Vegas forked over $7000 to have the firm lobby on behalf of a senior housing project in Allied Gardens. Munro Madaffer and colleague Lynne Heidel talked to Marti Emerald and her aide Marisa Berumen on that assignment.

Schwartz Heidel picked up $6000 from local real estate giant H.G. Fenton company to lobby for a permit to build a “downtown residential project located at 10th Avenue and Market Street,” the filing says. Munro Madaffer and Heidel talked to city development official Brad Richter about that. Two thousand dollars was obtained from Holland Development, seeking approval of downtown storm drain easements. Munro Madaffer lobbied development services director Kelly Broughton and Richter.

Kilroy Realty wanted a reimbursement agreement with the City for the design of a bridge at Torrey Meadows, and paid the lobbyists $4000. Munro Madaffer talked to first district city councilwoman Sherri Lightner and aide Jesse Mays; Tom Tomlinson of facilities financing; deputy city attorney Heidi Vonblum; and Broughton of development services. Client Matt Baker wanted to open a restaurant in Little Italy, and paid the law firm $4000 to have Munro Madaffer and Heidel lobby downtown development official Richter. Nissan Design America came up with $2000 to have Munro Madaffer obtain a “substantial conformance review for proposed milling machine.” She talked to Mike Westlake of development services.

Developer Oliver McMillan got Munro Madaffer to lobby for “construction permits for Hazard Center Drive extension” with mayoral chief of staff Julie Dubick; deputy city attorney Ryan Kohut; Jaymie Bradford of the mayor’s office; and Kelly Broughton and development services colleague Cecilia Williams. The tab was $4000.

Schwartz Heidel’s biggest single haul, $25,000, came from Scripps Health, which retained the firm to lobby for a “community plan amendment, rezone, [and] related land use entitlements for Scripps Memorial Hospital.” In that cause Munro Madaffer and Heidel lobbied all the usual suspects. According to the lobbyist’s filings, Heidel is officially backing fellow lawyer Bonnie Dumanis, the San Diego district attorney, for mayor. But the firm didn’t come up with much in the way of a contribution to her cause, reporting just $100 from Tim Garfield.

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