The revolving door between San Diego’s city hall and big business spins on under mayor Kevin Faulconer, with Republican aide Jaymie Bradford heading off to become vice president of public policy and economic research for the regional chamber of commerce.
“Bradford’s background at City Hall is a perfect complement to the Chamber’s efforts as an advocate on critical business issues that support business growth and the creation of jobs,” says a news release from the chamber. Bradford’s most recent gig before sliding over to the chamber was as Faulconer’s deputy chief of staff and policy chief, where she was paid a reported $137,000 a year. Before that she held a slew of GOP jobs, including chief of staff for then–city councilman Carl DeMaio, who went on to lose subsequent races for mayor and Congress.
Prior to DeMaio, Bradford was internal communications coordinator for the Building Industry Association, and later became a land-use staffer for Republican councilman Jim Madaffer. She was subsequently director of council affairs for GOP mayor Jerry Sanders, who now runs the chamber. Bradford also did a quick stint on the staff of Democratic interim mayor Todd Gloria after Bob Filner was forced from office. In 2008, disclosure reports showed that, under Sanders, Bradford got a free $150 admission to the chamber’s annual awards dinner courtesy of business consulting giant Bearing Point.
Meanwhile, the San Diego chamber was the beneficiary of $40,000 in recent contributions, thanks to Faulconer and four GOP city councilmembers. Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman, Christopher Cate, and Lorie Zapf, along with the mayor have all filed so-called behesting reports with the city clerk’s office, disclosing that the Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee of the California Association of Realtors in Los Angeles came up with $25,000 for a San Diego chamber “event to raise funds to protect pension reform”; $15,000 was kicked in by the San Diego County Apartment Association, according to the July 21 filings.
According to the website of the California Fair Practices Commission, “a behested payment is when an elected official or a member of California’s Public Utilities Commission solicits a donation from someone for an organization.”
Adds the commission, “The donation must be used for legislative, governmental or charitable purposes, and it is not considered a campaign contribution or gift. While state law limits the amount of campaign contributions and gifts, there are no limits on behested payments. However, the official must report behested payments of $5,000 or more made at his or her request.”
Meanwhile, the chamber’s endorsement last week of a tax-backed downtown stadium and meeting complex for the Chargers has insiders speculating about the money and motives behind the controversial maneuver, and what it means for Faulconer’s political future. As of early this week, the mayor had yet to take a stand on the project one way or another, and many political observers expect him to ultimately go in whichever direction he thinks will improve his chances for higher office.