Trump lobby San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors, which voted in April to back president Donald Trump’s legal war against California sanctuary laws, is seeking to acquire more muscle for its battle to boost federal immigration enforcement here. Says a May 18 request by the county for statements of qualifications from prospective lobbyists, “the Washington, D.C. representative will advance the policies and interests of the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors at the federal level through an aggressive advocacy program. Develop and maintain a strong bipartisan working relationship between the County of San Diego and the California congressional delegation, committee members, Administration and federal agencies....”
According to filings with the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the county’s long-time influence peddler Van Scoyoc and Associates received $70,000 during the first quarter of 2018 for lobbying regarding “border enforcement and related issues,” including the Trump-backed Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2018. GOP supervisor Kristin Gaspar personally got in some presidential face time May 16, telling Trump at a White House meeting about immigration enforcement, “If you look around this room; your tiny but mighty team; this is what Gov. Brown classifies as low-life politicians. Well, here we are.”
Whether or not Van Scoyoc keeps its tax-funded county gig, the firm has already hired ex-Trump administration veteran Christopher Shank, special assistant and senior adviser to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis until last year, according to a May 6 Mother Jones report. “Shank is directly lobbying only legislators and staffers within the U.S. Senate and House, not former colleagues within federal agencies, and is complying with all post-government employment restrictions,” Van Scoyoc spokesman Ross Kyle was quoted in answer to questions about possible conflicts of interest. Ex-Van Scoyoc director of communications Christopher Barron, a media surrogate for the Trump campaign and organizer of LGBT for Trump, left the firm last year to become president of Right Turn Strategies.
Millions of dimes The latest big-money San Diego power player to contribute to the high-overhead bid to raise the hotel tax through a signature drive blessed by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer is Cox Communications. Last month the cable TV and Internet giant changed its lobbyist disclosure statement from saying the company was totally against so-called network neutrality to declaring its opposition to “regulation of broadband services pre-empted by federal law.” Either way, the firm’s lobbyists have been in to see four mayoral staffers, along with GOP councilman Chris Cate and Democrat Chris Ward about the matter. Meanwhile, the hotel tax hike fund has been slow to raise the multi-million-dollar funding needed to buy enough signatures to get on the ballot, and the $7500 Cox cash, given May 25, is likely to be appreciated by the mayor and his Chamber of Commerce allies. In addition to private prison operator Geo Group, which kicked in $25,000 to the convention center boosters May 10, the San Diego Padres LP came up with $50,000 and the Hard Rock Hotel gave $15,750, both on May 23. Campland, LLC, which has lobbied to retain its Mission Bay lease, contributed $15,000 on May 14.
Del Mar wipe-out Someday, the city of Del Mar, home to many past scandals, may be swept out to sea, sinking local real estate values, according to some predictions. Meanwhile, city denizens have been debating whether a “planned retreat” might be the best option in case global warming causes the level of the ocean to rise and the town to flood, a path sternly rejected 4-1 by the city council during a May 21 hearing. “If we implemented management retreat and required those seawalls that exist today to come out and remove the front row of houses, the ocean would inundate all the way back to the railroad,” warned mayor Dwight Worden. Once a lawyer for Nancy Hoover, the onetime Del Mar mayor who did prison time in the J. David Dominelli Ponzi rip-off, Worden added the Pacific would take out an area of “about 600 homes and turn it into a lagoon. We’d lose the beach, we’d lose those homes.” Imported sand and dredging became the approved alternatives. Before the controversial matter hit the council docket, the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission scrutinized an 11-member group called the Sea Level Rise Technical Advisory Committee that came up with the list of adaptation proposals and concluded the committee had no conflicts of interest because the city council made all the final decisions.