Unidentified flying freebies

Councilmembers Tony Young and Marti Emerald gave away thousands of dollars’ worth of the Holiday Bowl and Chargers tickets.
  • Councilmembers Tony Young and Marti Emerald gave away thousands of dollars’ worth of the Holiday Bowl and Chargers tickets.

After a grueling election year, things are settling back to normal at San Diego’s city hall, with favors and freebies the coin of the city’s political realm, and elected officials scrambling to be the first to hand out the traditional goodies to their friends and most loyal constituents. The giveaway bonanza is revealed by so-called Forms 802, public disclosure statements required under state law regarding the source and destination of freebies given away by public officials in California. But not all details, including the identities of who got the politicians’ giveaways, are always spelled out. Fourth District Democrat Tony Young, who is quitting the council in the midst of his term to become head man at the local Red Cross, showed he was still adept at the art of the political handout. On December 27, Young took the opportunity to give away 28 Holiday Bowl tickets, said to be worth $80 each, provided to him by Bridgepoint Education, the controversial private-school outfit. The spoils went to “various community volunteers,” according to Young’s January 16 filing. Three days later, on December 30, Young distributed 28 tickets to the Chargers-versus-Raiders game. The recipients? Also “various community volunteers.” The football team furnished Young with those freebies, said to be valued at $98 each, according to the disclosure.

Young’s fellow Democrat Marti Emerald reported giving 25 of the $98 Chargers-Raiders tickets, also provided by the team, to the “City Heights CDC Organization.” According to its website, the City Heights Community Development Corporation’s mission is to “To Enhance the Quality of Life in City Heights by Working with Our Community to Create Quality Affordable Housing and Livable Neighborhoods, Foster Economic Self-Sufficiency and Stimulate Investment.” Board members include Scott Drury, vice president of “Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion” at San Diego Gas & Electric; Jose Sarmiento, a branch manager at Citibank, and Ridham Shah, a software engineer at Qualcomm. Democratic city councilman David Alvarez played angel to the Luckie Waller Winter baseball team with 19 $30 tickets to the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam on January 19, courtesy of Advance Auto Parts.

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