As Republicans’ grip on San Diego’s city council loosens, big labor has filled the void by getting into the city-hall advocacy game in a big way. The latest player to file as a labor lobbyist is Altshuler Berzon LLP, which bills itself as “a San Francisco law firm dedicated to providing the highest quality representation in the service of economic justice and the public interest.” Says Altshuler’s website, “We specialize in labor and employment, constitutional, environmental, civil rights, class action, campaign and election, and impact litigation, at both the trial and appellate levels.”
The firm’s San Diego client is Unite Here Local 30, the hotel workers’ union opposed to the environmental impact report for the Town & Country redevelopment project along I-8 in Mission Valley. Tony LoPresti, the lawyer on the case, per the September 27 disclosure filing, used to work as a policy advocate and campaign director at the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego. United Here’s lobbying statement, filed September 18, says the union is opposed to rezoning of the Town & Country property.
Just across the freeway, 85-year-old evangelist Morris Cerullo’s Legacy International Center, a $160 million religious theme park and convention center, is being opposed by the San Diego LGBT Community Center, per a September 18 lobbyist filing. Representatives of that group have told the city council they fear increased traffic and congestion. Representing Cerullo interests has been Democratic ex–city councilman Tony Young’s Civic Link Strategies.
Meanwhile, high-tech Eaze Solutions of San Francisco hired San Diego’s Clay Company to pitch the city on a “legal cannibus [sic] delivery platform.” According to TechCrunch, Eaze recently picked up $27 million in venture capital funding.
San Diego city auditor Eduardo Luna is out with his latest Quarterly Fraud Hotline Report, featuring a list of investigations in progress. In the category of “Open/Unresolved” are allegations including “potential fraud in Jury Duty payments for City employees”; “fraudulent financial reporting related to a contract for assets and services”; and “abuse and violations of environmental testing standards.”