Monday, January 30, 2012
About 20 members of Occupy San Diego tried to make a citizen's arrest of Mayor Jerry Sanders today, alleging that he committed embezzlement when he allowed the temporary name change of Qualcomm Stadium to "Snapdragon Stadium.''
After a news conference in Civic Center Plaza, the group went to the mayor's office in City Hall, where San Diego police Capt. Mark Jones informed them that Sanders was elsewhere.
After spending around 30 minutes in the lobby of the mayor's office, they then went to the offices of City Clerk Elizabeth Maland and later to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who in a pair of memos had opined that the stadium name change was unlawful under terms of the city's naming rights deal with the company.
Qualcomm paid the city $1,000 to compensate for staff time associated with last month's temporary name change, during which time the facility hosted two college football bowl games and a Chargers contest. All three events were on prime time national television.
The name change was part of a promotion for Qualcomm's new "Snapdragon'' line of mobile processors.
Ray Lutz, an Occupy San Diego leader who formed a new group called the Citizens' Oversight Project, said Qualcomm received at least $125,000 worth of exposure and probably more.
The money the city actually received in exchange was "a paltry sum,'' said Lutz, a former congressional candidate who was arrested last fall during the Occupy San Diego protests.
Mike Garcia, another leader of the group wanting to arrest Sanders, said the arrangement was a perfect example of corporate insiders influencing government officials for special deals.
"We want sweetheart backroom deals like this to stop,'' Garcia said.
A spokesman for Sanders said the mayor would be back in the office later today, but had no comment.
Jones directed an officer to take documents from Lutz for later review. Lutz was asked several times to state his case against the mayor, and responded by asking the officer if she was willing to help make an arrest if she found the evidence convincing.
The leaders of the group said they would go to the District Attorney's Office and even to the state Attorney General's Office, if necessary.