Among San Diego's three newest county supervisors, one is the owner of a small business, another is a wealthy man who owns stock in 32 companies, and the third is a woman whose recent marriage made her a millionaire, public records indicate.
In statements of economic interest filed since they took office in January, Supervisors Brian Bilbray, George Bailey and Susan Golding have been required to report their investments and real estate holdings.
The statements show that Bilbray, the former Imperial Beach mayor who now represents the South Bay on the Board of Supervisors, has the most modest financial holdings among the board's five current members.
Other than his Imperial Beach home, Bilbray lists only his ownership of Bilbray Tax Service, a family business worth less than $100,000. Bilbray's statement showed he earned between $1,000 and $10,000 from the business in 1984.
In contrast, Supervisor Bailey, the former mayor of La Mesa, has compiled a diversified stock portfolio during the past 20 years that is now worth at least $122,000, and possibly as much as $1,220,000. The wide range comes from the fact that public officials need only report the value of each holding as being between $1,000 and $10,000, between $10,000 and $100,000, or more than $100,000.
The 32 companies in which Bailey owns stock could not be much more varied. They include firms in the following industries: financial services, airplane manufacturing, petroleum, lumber and furniture retailing, communications, utilities, automobiles, broadcasting and publishing, airlines, electronics, paper, and business equipment.
Among the prominent companies in which Bailey has invested are Atlantic Richfield, Trans World Airlines, International Telephone & Telegraph, Consolidated Edison, General Motors and Xerox. The supervisor owns stock in such San Diego area firms as Rohr Industries, Imperial Corp., Great American Savings, and Heartland Savings and Loan. He has also invested in Gannett Corp., the publishing giant that is a subsidiary of San Diego-based Signal Cos.
"I don't believe in putting all my eggs in one basket," Bailey said in an understatement.
The state's Political Reform Act forbids government officials from participating in decisions that have a "material financial effect" on any business in which the official has an investment worth more than $1,000.
But Bailey, a retired manager who worked with General Dynamics and Rohr, said he doesn't plan to put his holdings in a blind trust or take other actions to head off conflicts of interest. Instead, he said, he will sell any of his stocks that he finds present a specific conflict with his duties on the board.
"I've stuck to major stocks," Bailey said. "I certainly feel less potential for conflict of interest than if I were involved in land speculation in the county."
While every bit as valuable as Bailey's holdings, the financial resources of Supervisor Golding are much more concentrated and were acquired over a considerably shorter period of time, records show.
When Golding entered the race for supervisor a year ago, she had no job, no other source of income and payments totaling $3,000 a month on two homes in Sacramento and San Diego. She said during the campaign that her father, former San Diego State University President Brage Golding, was helping her stay afloat financially.
But on July 22 last year, Golding married Richard T. Silberman, a millionaire businessman who was a co-founder of the Jack-in-the-Box fast food chain and director of finance in the administration of former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.
The marriage made it much easier--logistically and politically--for the Golding campaign to tap Silberman's fortune. Before their wedding, Silberman was subject to campaign laws that limited to $250 his contribution toward each Golding campaign. He could have loaned money to Golding, who could have in turn loaned it to the campaign, as long as the transactions were publicly reported.
But the law does not limit the amount of money a candidate can spend on her own behalf, and once Golding and Silberman wed, half of his assets became hers under the state's community property laws.
Beginning Oct. 29, Golding loaned her campaign $243,000 in four separate transactions of $48,963, $39,601, $115,000, and $39,750. Golding loaned the campaign $36,000 before she married Silberman. The loans made up 45% of the contributions to Golding's campaign in what become the most expensive race for county supervisor in San Diego history.
Despite Golding's new-found wealth, state election officials ruled after the couple wed that Golding need not amend her financial disclosure statements to reflect Silberman's assets. But after being pressured to do so by opponent Lynn Schenk, Golding quietly amended her forms on Nov. 1, less than a week before the election.
The statement of economic interests Golding filed upon assuming office mirrored that Nov. 1 disclosure.
Golding listed stock worth at least $311,000 in five companies, mostly in the computer industry. She also listed Silberman's interest in two ventures related to Yuba Natural Resources, each of which was said to be worth more than $100,000. Silberman is chairman and chief executive officer of the firm, which controls 10,000 acres of gold, aggregate and silica reserves in Northern California.
Golding also reported four pieces of property, each worth more than $100,000. The property includes two prime parcels in Old Town, at the corner of Juan and Mason streets, and a house on Sixth Avenue between Nutmeg and Maple streets, across from Balboa Park. Also listed was a house on 7th Avenue north of Upas Street, virtually within the park. That house, which has been converted to offices, is part of the original George Marston estate.
Only the Old Town property appears to hold a potential conflict of interest for Golding. The land is two blocks from the county's Heritage Park, a collection of Victorian structures that have been divided into shops, offices and museums.
Golding said if any question is raised about the connection, she will not vote on Old Town items that come before the board.
"I err on the side of being extremely careful," Golding said. "I believe in holding not only to the letter of the law but to the intent of the law. That's why it's best to ask. If there's any potential for conflict, I would refrain from voting."