Donors walking: Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs and wife Joan kick in $80,000 to defeat death penalty

Politically speaking, it's been quite a week for Qualcomm founder and La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Fresh from his endorsement of Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio's mayoral candidacy last Thursday, the interview-shy cell phone magnate quickly tacked back to the left.

According to a campaign filing posted online late yesterday by the California Secretary of State's office, on October 1">the elderly Democrat and his wife Joan each gave a cool $40,000 to Proposition 34, the measure on November's ballot to eliminate the state's death penalty.

As previously reported here,">Jacobs earlier gave $10,000 to the help qualify the proposal for the ballot.

The billionaire has long been a backer of liberal causes, as well as those of the Democratic party.

This year he’s joined">fellow left-leaning billionaire George Soros in making huge contributions to a super PAC supporting president Barack Obama and a committee opposing GOP candidates.

But San Diego political insiders note that Jacobs has also provided financial backing to Republicans long before his DeMaio endorsement, including">lame duck mayor Jerry Sanders, who was a stalwart backer of Qualcomm's controversial "Snapdragon stadium" gambit - declared illegal by the city attorney- as well as the contentious plan by Jacobs to make over Balboa Park.

The anti-death penalty drive has been especially popular among wealthy La Jolla Democrats, many of them lawyers, with">once-imprisoned super-lawyer Bill Lerach leading a fundraising drive featuring a celebrity-laden party at his palatial La Jolla Farms estate.

And">on July 5 the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union contributed $100,000.


My assumption is that Jacobs is slipping into senility. His philanthropy once was reserved for non-political purposes. Now he's into this, that, and every other "cause", and his giving isn't even consistent philosophically. Next stop for him will be irrelevance, except that his huge pile of lucre can buy a whole host of friends who will tell him how astute he is and how much good his gifts are doing.

This one is for you Prop 34, Death Penalty Repeal Supporters who are also ProChoice: Termination of pregnancy before 24 weeks gestation is legal in the state of California. As part of my profession I have examined many terminated 2nd trimester fetuses. Their death penalty procedure starts with injecting potassium chloride into their small heart which stops beating rather quickly. Though I realize that most of the fetuses are terminated because they have a genetic condition, and are therefore unsuitable for a “normal” life in our society, they are almost fully developed human beings who have committed no crimes, have done no harm to anyone. If you are ok with the execution of INNOCENT fetuses not fit for this world, then what makes the execution of the heinous criminals any worse? And the cost should never be the line of the reasoning here. So, before you make a decision on Prop34 please take a moment to think of the ironic parallel of prochoice and death penalty.

Kamer Tezcan, MD Prochoice and Supporter of Death Penalty Davis, CA

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