Cronies and fricassee in DC

Water lobbyist sponsors Mayor Faulconer's reception in nation's capital

Rep. Bob Gibbs, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and Sen. Ben Cardin sharing their thoughts on the importance of water infrastructure for our economy.
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and Sen. Ben Cardin sharing their thoughts on the importance of water infrastructure for our economy.

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer had a grand time in Washington DC with the local chamber of commerce, fellow politicos, and the nation's infrastructure lobby earlier this month, based on an official itinerary of the trip released by the city following a request under the California Public Records Act.

It was wheels up on American Airlines via Dallas on September 6, for a 3:50 p.m. arrival at Reagan National Airport, and then off to lodgings not disclosed on the document.

At 8:30 the next morning, Sunday, was time for a "LIVE Interview" with CNN's Candy Crowley. As previously reported, the topic was Homeland Security, and Faulconer indicated San Diego's was fine.

The mayor didn't mention that a July report by city auditor Eduardo Luna had found otherwise, declaring "the City is ill-equipped to execute mission essential functions in the aftermath of a major emergency or disaster."

At 7 that evening, Faulconer headed off to a "Welcome Reception" held by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in the Constitutional Ballroom of the Madison Hotel. The wingding was sponsored by Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, a national law and lobbying firm whose San Diego partner, Keith Solar, is a big wheel at the Republican Lincoln Club, a well-heeled basher of Faulconer's Democratic foes.

"My specialty is water law. I represent companies, public entities that buy and sell water rights, and real property where water is an associated component," Solar says on a Lincoln Club recruiting video. Lobbying on behalf of the firm in San Diego has been influence peddler Tony Young, a former city councilman.

At 7:30, according to the itinerary, it was dinner with the mayor, Fred Sainz, and Kris Michell, at a location "TBD/near hotel." Sainz, a former public relations man for GOP ex-mayor Sanders and before that the convention center, is now vice president for marketing and communications at the Human Rights Campaign. Michell, a onetime Sanders chief of staff, runs the San Diego Downtown Partnership lobbying group.

After an "opening breakfast" at the Madison Hotel the next day, Faulconer was off to Capitol Hill for a round of congressional hobnobbing, including visits with Republican Darrell Issa and Democrat Scott Peters. A stop at the Environmental Protection Agency involved water permits.

Tuesday, September 9, business included a "water roundtable" and a meeting at the tony Capitol Hill Club with ex-congressional staffer Kathryn Lehman of a group called Mayors for Freedom to Marry, of which Faulconer is a member.

At 7:30 that evening, the mayor headed over to the Lincoln Restaurant on Vermont Avenue for dinner with a varied cast, including Democratic congressman Juan Vargas, ex-mayor and current chamber chief Jerry Sanders, his assistant Aimee Faucett, downtown lobbyist Donna Jones, and Sempra executive Frank Urtasan, who personally raised $8625 for Faulconer in January. Also scheduled to be present was Nuffer, Smith, Tucker president Bill Trumpfeller.

According to the restaurant's website: "Lincoln’s seasonal menus showcase simplistic market fresh dishes by Executive Chef Demetrio Zavala crafted from fresh ingredients supplied by local farmers, daily seafood catches by local fishermen, and artisanal meat from ranchers around the region.

"Our Chef includes many nods to Abraham Lincoln’s favorite foods including oysters, gingerbread and chicken fricassee."

More water was on Faulconer's menu the next day, with a 10:45 appearance at the "Water Works National Press Conference."

"This press conference will feature congressional leaders, public officials, private sector representatives and stakeholder organizations highlighting how investment in our nation’s water infrastructure puts people to work and builds a stronger America," says a blurb by the sponsor, a group of local governments and construction interests lobbying for more U.S. taxpayer money.

Shortly afterward, the mayor's time in the DC spotlight ended, and he was back in San Diego by 6 that night, the itinerary says.

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ALL politicians are puppets. Follow the money and you will see who the puppeteers are.

On the national scene, major puppeteers are Wall St., Big Pharma, petroleum/gas, and the defense industry.

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