This article comes to us courtesy of California Watch.
In seeking to sharpen the traditionally ambiguous role of state lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom has posited himself as a Mr. Fixit for local good government measures under threat from out-of-towners.
But as Newsom has thrown his weight behind efforts to reclaim for pedestrians a plaza in San Diego and a plan to fight blight in San Bernardino County, he's done double duty advancing the interests of major campaign donors.
In February, Newsom sent a letter scolding state historical preservation officials for dragging their feet in approving a plan to build a $45 million bridge and an underground parking garage near San Diego's Balboa Park. Critics had said the plan involved smashing through San Diego's iconic Spanish Colonial structure, the Cabrillo Bridge.
Less than a month later, the project's main backer, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, and his wife, Joan Klein Jacobs, put $12,000 in Newsom's 2014 campaign fund, state records show. In 2009, Jacobs had given Newsom's failed campaign for governor $5,000, according to the records.
On July 27, Newsom issued a news release supporting a San Bernardino County plan to aid financially strapped homeowners by employing county powers of eminent domain. County officials are considering seizing underwater mortgages and reissuing more affordable loans to homeowners.
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Lance Williams and Matt Smith are investigative reporters for California Watch, a project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. Find more California Watch stories here.