One big fat political payday?

Mayor’s nonprofit rakes in more special-interest cash

Kevin Faulconer and Katherine Stuart
  • Kevin Faulconer and Katherine Stuart

More big money from powerful city hall special interests has found its way into One San Diego, the charity started last year by San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, ostensibly to advance his anti-poverty agenda.

Cell tower

Cell tower

Zygmunt Wilf

Zygmunt Wilf

Katherine Stuart

Katherine Stuart

Tony Young

Tony Young

An October 16 disclosure filing posted online by the city clerk's office shows that cell-phone giant AT&T kicked in $22,500 on September 16.

As reported here in August by Dorian Hargrove, the company has been involved in long-running battles with residents over the placement of cell-phone towers in city parks.

In addition to AT&T, other recent contributors to the Faulconer nonprofit include Garden Communities, the apartment developer run by Ziggie Wilf, owner of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, which came up with $5000 on October 6. Kleinfelder, a multi-national infrastructure consulting company headquartered downtown, gave the same October 14.

Garden Communities has retained the services of a legion of local influence peddlers to get its way with the city, including downtown super lobbyist Paul Robinson, Richard Ledford, Nicole Clay, and the big law firm of Sheppard Mullin.

Pacifica Enterprises, which obtained a lucrative Belmont Park lease deal, gave $5000 on September 25, making it and Kleinfelder repeat donors to the fund, whose honorary chairwoman is Faulconer's wife Katherine Stuart.

Other past givers to the nonprofit have included cable company Cox Communications with $15,000 in July, as well as Pardee Homes, Vulcan Materials, and Petco Park tenant Padres L.P., each with $5000.

SDG&E, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which has lobbied heavily against proposed rate reforms, gave $25,000 to the fund on March 24.

A July 31 disclosure filing says Sempra spent $66,276 battling a city-council resolution regarding rates in the second quarter of the year.

The president of One San Diego is Tony Young, a Democratic ex–city councilman who resigned in the midst of his term to briefly run the Red Cross here. He left that post to set up his own lobbying firm, Civic Link Strategies, which in the second quarter of this year received $15,000 from SDG&E.

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The behemoth AT&T coughed up $22,500 (coffee money to them) for One San Diego. But when they still owned the abandoned AT&T building at Texas and Howard in North Park, the property was an attractive nuisance that was regularly vandalized and drew homeless campers to the exterior. The Reader covered this: ( AT&T refused to hire an on-site security guard, and basically decided it was SDPD's problem. [They eventually sold the property, and it still awaits a construction start date for new apartments.] AT&T's local behavior speaks volumes about its corporate values and ethics.

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