Southwestern College president to be fined

Political watchdog nails two South Bay officials and San Diego lobbyist

Former Chula Vista council candidate Hector Gastelum, among politicos recently  fined by the state Fair Political Practices Commission
  • Former Chula Vista council candidate Hector Gastelum, among politicos recently fined by the state Fair Political Practices Commission

The president of Southwestern College's governing board is set to pay a $3000 fine to California's political watchdog agency for chronically ignoring campaign disclosure laws.

Teresa “Terri” Valladolid, whose day-job is as labor-relations advocate for UCSD's human-resources department, repeatedly disregarded requirements to file her campaign finance statements on time, according to a proposed settlement with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Valladolid and her campaign committee “failed to timely file three semi-annual campaign statements covering the three reporting periods from July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013.”

“After being contacted numerous times by the San Diego County Registrar’s Office and the Enforcement Division in connection with the delinquent statements, Respondent Valladolid finally filed the three statements on July 7, 2014 — a combined 1,020 days late."

It's not the first time Valladolid and her committee have run into trouble for late filings, says the document.

"The Commission has prosecuted Respondents on two prior occasions for failing to timely file eight prior semi-annual statements. On August 20, 2010, the Commission approved a $1,200 fine for Respondents’ failure to timely file six semi-annual statements.

“On August 16, 2012, the Commission approved a $800 fine for Respondents’ failure to timely file two semi-annual statements."

"Given that Respondents were fined two prior times for the same offense present here,” the document says, "it is clear that they were well aware of their filing requirements and simply disregarded them."

The stipulation notes that since the committee did not book any contributions or make expenditures during the periods in question, "the public harm involved here is relatively low."

Still, the document says, considering "prior similar violations, and the penalties imposed in prior cases,” the $3000 fine is justified.

According to her campaign biography, "In addition to her service on the Southwestern College Governing Board, Terri is a proud mother of two daughters Maite and Evita and a very proud Grandmother of nine month old Natalia.

"Terri has lived for the past thirty years in National City and the Bonita area. She takes great pride in her more than fifteen years as ‘SOCCER & GYMNASTIC MOM’ and knows firsthand the importance of being involved with her children."

Valladolid is not the only South Bay elected official settling up with California’s political law enforcer this month. Hector Gastelum, an unsuccessful candidate for Chula Vista City Council, is set to pay a $200 fine for missing the May 22 due date for filing his 2014 pre-election disclosure for the period between March 18 and May 17 of this year.

Also on the board's August 21 agenda is more fallout from the case of Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates, the City of San Diego's contract lobbyist in Sacramento. In February, the firm's Kevin Sloat agreed to pay a record $133,500 fine for breaking the law by hosting lavish fundraisers and handing out sports tickets to lawmakers.

Now, Assembly chief administrative officer Debra Gravert has agreed to pay a $1000 fine after admitting she'd gotten free San Francisco 49ers tickets through Sloat, according to the agenda.

“The Forty Niners gave the tickets to [Gravert] at no cost. The lobbying firm Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates arranged the gift by contacting the Forty Niners in order to obtain the tickets for [Gravert],” according to a commission document.

In addition, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of casino-owning Indians, a Sloat Client, agreed to pay a $9000 penalty after admitting it picked up improperly reported free rounds of golf for state senator Alex Padilla and assemblymen Adam Gray, and hosted a fundraiser for senator Ron Calderon, the cost of which exceeded contribution limits.

Democrat Gray agreed to a $2000 fine for failing to report Yocha Dehe’s largesse.

As previousy reported here, Sloat, a former aide to ex–San Diego mayor and later California governor Pete Wilson, was hired as San Diego's Sacramento lobbyist by mayor Jerry Sanders, fired by Democratic mayor Bob Filner, and re-hired by Democratic interim mayor Todd Gloria.

The current Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer has continued to use the firm's services pending conclusion of an ongoing search for a possible replacement.

Last quarter, Sloat's services set San Diego taxpayers back $42,000, according to lobbyist disclosure documents on file with the state secretary of state's office.

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That headline can be confusing. The person in question may be the president of the board of trustees, but she is not "president" of the college. That is Melinda Nish, who seems to have two titles, one of superintendent and the other of president of the college.

This one is behaving in a manner much like those disgraced board members in the Sweetwater High School district, i.e. the laws of the state don't apply to her. Just another one of the people who need to be replaced ASAP if the endemic corruption in So County school districts is to be rooted out. This fine is more than enough reason to make sure that she gets no more terms as a "trustee."

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