Dirty dancing for supper
By Matt Potter
San Diego Reader
April 17, 2013
It’s almost time for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association’s annual “Golden Fleece” banquet, famous of late on YouTube for its promotional video featuring GOP San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith, dressed up as a chorus boy and dancing behind someone dressed as a junkyard dog. The lobbyist group’s blow-out is particularly popular among city-council staffers and their politician bosses, who are treated to drinks, food, and a video floor show by various special interests that buy tables and hand out tickets for free to those they seek to influence.
The group itself is a registered lobbyist — backing privatization measures, among other big-business-friendly issues — and its board is heavily populated by some of the city’s biggest influence-peddlers, always in the market to rub shoulders with the city council powerful and their minions.
Last year, for instance, Job Nelson, chief of staff for Republican city councilwoman Lorie Zapf, attended courtesy of the association itself, as did Alexandra Bell, another Zapf staffer, according to their annual statements of economic interests filed earlier this month. Katie Hansen, chief of staff for GOP councilman Kevin Faulconer, got into the bash thanks to a $160 freebie from controversial private-school operator Bridgepoint Education.
In addition to the taxpayers association’s dinner, Hansen also enjoyed the hospitality of the Biocom Pac, run by lobbyists for the local pharmaceutical industry, getting a ticket worth $50 to a Biocom reception in August. Evans Hotels, the homegrown San Diego hotel empire — whose president Bill Evans was one of those behind the lawsuit against Democratic mayor Bob Filner in an attempt to get him to sign a funding deal negotiated by previous GOP mayor Jerry Sanders — gave Hansen a $100 ticket to an “ADL dinner” in October.
She also went to the “Manta Launch Event” at SeaWorld, courtesy of the aquatic and amusement park, an admission worth $146.