Qualcomm execs lining up for Faulconer

Big contributions and fundraising for GOP mayoral candidate by execs of company founded by billionaire Democrat

Kevin Faulconer
  • Kevin Faulconer

During last fall's primary election for San Diego mayor, Qualcomm took a lot of heat from the GOP Lincoln Club for backing Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher for mayor.

The volley of hit pieces against Qualcomm executive and onetime state Assemblyman Fletcher grew so intense that the company's then-CEO Paul Jacobs felt compelled to fire off a letter to Lincoln Club president Bill Lynch, saying he was "outraged" over accusations made by the club that Fletcher had been given a "no show" sinecure by the cell-phone giant.

Is the Lincoln Club so desperate and out of constructive ideas that they are resorting to attacks on private employers, forsaking their supposed principles and lying to serve a political agenda?

I demand a full apology and a retraction of this slanderous attack on our company and its more than 13,000 local employees.

Despite the best financial efforts of Jacobs and his father, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, a multimillion dollar backer of Barack Obama, Fletcher went down to a third-place defeat in November. Steve Mollenkopf has since replaced Paul Jacobs as CEO.

After his defeat, Fletcher vowed to throw his support to Democratic city councilman David Alvarez, who placed second behind GOP councilman Kevin Faulconer, the Lincoln Club's candidate.

Though Fletcher has since made a personal contribution of $1000 to Alvarez, his backers at Qualcomm have been lining up exclusively behind Faulconer, according to a lobbying disclosure statement filed by the company on January 15.

Covering the final three months of last year, the disclosure reveals that Qualcomm public affairs vice president Christine Trimble and the company's governmental affairs manager Monique Rodriguez headed up a December 12 fundraising reception for Faulconer that generated $18,975.

Rodriguez played a key role in the 2011 renaming of Qualcomm Stadium to "Snapdragon Stadium," in an action by then–GOP mayor Jerry Sanders that the mayor's fellow Republican, city attorney Jan Goldsmith, subsequently ruled illegal.

Qualcomm executives listed on the report as personally contributing $1000 to Faulconer in December included Trimble, vice president of government affairs Shawn Covell, senior vice president of strategy and operations for global market development William F. Davidson, Jr., and senior vice president/legal counsel William Sailer.

Contributors of $500 included executive vice president and chief financial officer George Davis and vice president of technical marketing Haleh Partow. Senior director of government affairs Molly Gavin gave $850. No Alvarez contributions were listed.

According to its lobbying report, the company has a busy agenda at city hall, backing a giant Qualcomm "campus expansion" and "monitoring" the city council's actions regarding adoption of the so-called linkage fee, a low-income-housing subsidy program that is currently the subject of a referendum drive by Faulconer backers, including the local chamber of commerce led by ex-mayor Sanders.

Alvarez and his supporters, with major funding by national labor unions, have attempted to make an issue of Faulconer's corporate support. That campaign has drawn a sharp retort from Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego, which has enjoyed considerable financial backing from Qualcomm's Irwin Jacobs.

In a January 15 piece posted on the Voice website, Lewis quoted Alvarez as saying at a recent debate with Faulconer, “These are the same people that have driven the city into the ground…. The developers, the big corporations — those who have enough money to have lobbyists, who have high-paid consultants.”

Observing that Alvarez, too, has received cash from the city's special interests, Lewis says: “In fact, the list of 'corporate CEOs' who support Alvarez is actually quite lengthy.”

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It figures: Qualcomm foes of Filner and friends of Fletcher line up behind Faulconer as the next best thing. If regular people want a say in the way this city is run after February, they'd better be planning to get out and vote for David Alvarez. Establishment money is flowing one way only -- to Kevin Faulconer -- in hopes of maintaining business as usual in San Diego.

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