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Free Tickets Become Campaign Issue in Mayoral Race

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Councilman Kevin Faulconer is criticizing Councilman David Alvarez for giving away free tickets to sporting events. Alvarez’s camp says he gave them to kids who wouldn’t have been able to go to the games otherwise. Is this the end of the congenial relationship these two mayoral candidates had during the primary? NBC 7’s Wendy Fry has more. (Published Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013)

    Councilman Kevin Faulconer wants to end a city program that allows the mayor and council members to dole out free tickets to Chargers and Padres games.

    Faulconer's campaign also took opponent Councilman David Alvarez to task for handing out the most tickets of any councilman - 501 in 2013.

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    Alvarez's team fired back, saying the free tickets went to cancer patients and local charities.

    The city owns two luxury suites - one at Qualcomm Stadium and the other at Petco Park. The mayor and councilmembers are allowed to use those seats or give them away to friends, supporters or non-profits they support.

    Faulconer wants to end that program and try to produce revenue from the box seats by selling or renting them out. He says it's an issue of transparency and integrity, and he thinks the revenue could be put to better use.

    "Rather than giving away free tickets, we could get back real revenue that we can reinvest back into our neighborhoods to spend it on something that benefits all San Diegans -- our streets, our parks, putting cops on the street -- are all a better use of the boxes," Faulconer said.

    Special Section: Race for Mayor

    Alvarez’s campaign pointed out that Faulconer accepted free tickets to sporting events funded by private corporations, which are reflected on the Faulconer’s state-mandated forms for reporting gifts.

    "If Kevin wants to reform policies related to gifts, maybe he should take a look at the policies related to him receiving gifts versus the city giving Charges and Padres tickets out to kids who might not otherwise have a chance to go to these games," said Alvarez campaign spokesman Stephen Heverly.

    Faulconer voted in 2009 to put many of the rules and procedures regulating how these tickets are handed-out into place.

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