SDSU’s money-raising newsies
As the editorial clout of the Union-Tribune continues to fade under the reign of Los Angeles-based owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, other San Diego media outlets are jostling for a greater role in the city’s brave new news world. Latest to join the would-be investigative fray is KPBS, the San Diego State-owned-and-operated non-profit broadcasting behemoth, currently advertising for a News and Investigation Desk editor. “The editor leads the team in covering accountability stories with impact in the community, from good governance to consumer exploitation,” says a help-wanted advertisement posted on the SDSU Research Foundation website. “Stories will reveal something new or offer valuable ‘explainers’ to help us get at our news mission to tell our audience not only WHAT is happening in our community, but WHY. The position specializes in synthesizing complex information/data/source leads and digging down to the news contained within. Stories will be distributed on all KPBS platforms, including radio, TV, web, social media, and may also be distributed by KPBS partners. The Editor will uphold the highest journalistic standards.”
But some highly-placed media skeptics wonder whether it’s realistic to expect any newly recruited newshound to dig into the network of influence linking SDSU to San Diego city hall and its pay-to-play culture, as epitomized by Jack McGrory. The ex-city manager, made wealthy by his post-retirement ties to former Padres owner John Moores, is now a trustee of the California State University system and a key backer of SDSU’s bid for a sweetheart deal to take over the city-owned Mission Valley real estate formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium. In the past, KPBS has avoided covering negative CSU audits regarding university operations, detailing a host of shortcomings and administrative difficulties at tax-funded SDSU, including deficient lab safety, deferred maintenance, and stealth used by school officials to build an auxiliary campus in Tbilisi, Georgia. University finances and money-raising practices have also been off limits. In addition to investigative duties, the new hire will be expected to “participate in station on-air fundraising activities, and make appearances for KPBS outreach events,” says the job notice.
Scott’s money machine
Mega-millionaire congressman Scott Peters, who decided to skip next year’s San Diego mayoral primary in favor of another race for his House of Representatives seat, is already fundraising from the faithful for next year’s reelection bid. Under the subject “before I turn in for the night.,” the La Jolla Democrat beseeched donors in a January 31 email, “I need your help one last time this month.” Per the message, “I set a big goal: I wanted to raise $11,000 in advance of our first fundraising deadline of the year (tonight at midnight!!). Maggie just texted and said we’re $921 shy of our goal.” Added Peters, known for his backing from a host of wealthy high-tech mavens, “This fundraising deadline will prove whether our grassroots movement is still strong enough to take on the critical work ahead.”
Just a day earlier, campaign disclosure records show, the congressman personally gave $53,335 to the Scott Peters for Mayor 2020 - Exploratory committee. Payouts by the fund included a $2000 fee to MaryAnne Pintar, a longtime Peters political guru who also serves as his district chief of staff. Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, Inc., a Montgomery, Alabama Democratic polling outfit, got $45,000.
While president Donald Trump continues to question the agency’s integrity, it’s almost time again in San Diego for the convening of the local FBI Citizens Academy. The routine is “a stimulating six- to eight-week program that gives business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI,” says a recruiting notice. “During the academy, students gain insight into the structure and operation of FBI field offices and resident agencies and learn the services the FBI provides to local and state law enforcement agencies.”
With the deadline already passed for applications, sessions begin next month through May. “At the conclusion of the program, graduates are encouraged to join their local FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Chapter for the purpose of strengthening relationships and improving understanding between the FBI and the community. Graduates, while not official spokespersons for the FBI, may be called upon to share their understanding of the role of federal law enforcement, specifically the FBI.”