Area lawmakers go easy on the perks
March 10, 2008
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
This county’s two state lawmakers, both millionaires, were modest in their acceptance of gifts and free travel from lobbyists and special interest groups during the past year, according to documents made public today by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
State law requires annual financial disclosures by lawmakers by way of a “statement of economic interests.” Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) both submitted their statements on time during February. All private sources of income are separate from their respective yearly legislative salaries ($116,208, plus about $25,000 in per diem payments).
Most of Maldonado’s 15-page disclosure statement was devoted to listing his business interests in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
He is controller-auditor and a partner in Agro-Jal Farming Enterprises Inc., and a partner in Tri-M Rental Group, both entities worth more than $1 million. (Respondents disclose only that a business has a fair market value of “over $1,000,000.”)
Maldonado’s business interests also own or control real estate, agricultural and vacant land in Santa Maria, La Quintana, Pismo Beach, and Santa Barbara, values listed in the tens of millions of dollars, each of which pays him various forms of income.
Maldonado attended a Wine Institute reception in San Francisco, value $54.21, and got a free bottle of wine, no brand named, $7.08. He had dinner with the folks from John Deere ($52.61, in Washington, D.C.); PG&E, $103.39, in San Francisco; and the California Farm Bureau Federation ($56,95, in Sacramento).
The senator accepted a $1,385.73 trip from the Fundacion Nueva Generaction Argentina, a non-profit public benefit foundation, according to his disclosure. And it cost the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Hashemite Kingdom in Amman, Jordan, $900, to transport and entertain Maldonado in November.
Blakeslee, a financial planner, reported a fair market value for his Blakeslee and Blakeslee firm in San Luis Obispo of “over $1 million.”
He dined with Farmer’s Group Insurance ($57.41, Sacramento); the Police Officers Research Association of California, PORAC, $50.72 for a Sacramento reception; dinner with the Wine Institute in San Francisco, $54.21, and a $7-dollar bottle of wine. He got a nicer bottle from Paso Robles’ Steve Lohr, valued at $35; he shared a $71.14 dinner with the California Association of Winegrape Growers, and his lunch with the people at AT&T cost the communications giant $41.03.
Blakeslee was keynote speaker at September’s annual Society of Exploration Geophysists meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and he received $1,985.91 in travel and honorarium.