The battle over whether San Diego voters will get a say in approval of that stadium expansion deal with the Chargers is getting hotter, and local lawyers and campaign consultants are said to be lining up for a piece of the action. Already attorney Leo Sullivan, representing the San Diego International Sports Council, has challenged the validity of some of the 50,000-plus signatures gathered by the Stadium on the Ballot Committee, claiming that some were gathered by interlopers from Los Angeles and that others were improperly dated. A Sports Council affiliate currently runs the exclusive, members-only stadium club, scheduled for a multimillion-dollar facelift as part of the expansion plan. On the other side, attorneys Mike Aguirre and Robert Ottilie are representing the Stadium on the Ballot Committee, chaired by ex-councilman Bruce Henderson. If the referendum effort survives Sullivan's technical challenge and goes to the ballot, political observers say Chargers owner Alex Spanos, the multimillionaire Stockton developer who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money to Governor Pete Wilson and Mayor Susan Golding, will be forced to spend hundreds of thousands more in an effort to convince San Diego taxpayers that the deal is in their best interest. Tom Shepard, the mayor's political consultant, has reportedly told friends he's first in line to manage the pro-Spanos campaign -- if it happens. Meanwhile, consultant Bobby Glaser, who managed the signature-collecting drive for the Stadium on the Ballot Committee, may have revived his own political fortunes after being defeated last year in a bid for a seat on the community college board. Glaser's firm was paid more than $50,000 for its work. The two main backers were Linda Vista investor John Cheney and Reader publisher and editor James Holman, who split most of the cost. Other donors contributed about $2000. Says Cheney, who says he has no financial interest in the outcome of the stadium battle, "This referendum is about protecting the people's right to vote on huge deals -- deals that will affect the citizenry for decades after the present city councilmembers are gone." Adds Holman, "$170 million is lot of money. I'd like the public to be able to vote."
Tricky Dick Redux
Twenty-five years after Richard Nixon pulled the 1972 Republican convention out of San Diego, a secretly recorded May 13, 1971, White House tape is shedding new light. On it, Nixon is heard to outline a deal set up by his deputy attorney general Richard Kleindienst to settle an antitrust case against the International Telephone & Telegraph company. "Kleindienst has the ITT thing settled," Nixon declared to White House chief of staff Bob Haldeman. "He cut a deal with ITT." Haldeman asked, "Does ITT have any money?" Responded Nixon, "Geneen?" referring to ITT president Harold S. Geneen. "Oh God, yes," Nixon said. "Does he ever! That's part of this ballgameI. But it should be later. It should not be right now." The night before, on May 12, 1971, then-Representative Bob Wilson (R-Calif.) hit up Geneen for cash to bring the GOP convention to San Diego, where ITT Sheraton was building a hotel. On June 3, 1971, Wilson announced that the city had a pledge of $400,000 from "San Diego interests" only later revealed to be ITT. When columnist Jack Anderson blew the lid off the ITT money and possible link to the anti-trust settlement, the Republicans hastily relocated their convention to Miami. The newly released tape was reported in last week's Washington Post.
A reputed Chicago mob boss accused in 1992 of trying to grab control of the Rincon Indian gambling operation died of a heart attack last week in a Miami hospital, just months after starting a 12-year prison term for a different set of crimes. Sam Carlisi, 75, beat the Rincon rap with a hung jury here, but a Chicago jury later convicted him on gambling, racketeering, and tax-evasion charges stemming from his Midwest operations. Carlisi's fellow Chicagoans John "No Nose" DiFronzo and Donald "Wizard of Odds" Angelini were convicted in the Rincon case, along with Chris Petti, the San Diego mobster whose wire-tapped talks with Democratic powerbroker Dick Silberman led to an FBI sting and subsequent money-laundering conviction of the former Jerry Brown aide and Susan Golding husband.
Contributor: Matt Potter