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— San Diego's reputation as a gung ho military town is fading fast. Latest evidence: Richard Nixon's lucky city, which during the Vietnam War sported American flags on the roof of every downtown highrise, has the highest noncompliance rate for draft registration - 54.5 percent - among all major metropolitan areas. To remedy the situation, Selective Service has targeted area high schools for a brochure blitz. The draft was abolished in 1973, but the registration requirement for men turning 18 was reinstated by Congress in 1980. Those prosecuted for noncompliance could conceivably face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though the law is rarely, if ever, enforced. Country boy at heart Padres owner John Moores was in Little Rock last week to testify before the federal grand jury investigating Whitewater and payments Moores and other Clinton backers made to Webb Hubbell after the Clinton aide left the White House under indictment. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Moores "walked past groups of reporters twice Wednesday without responding to questions before finally exiting the federal courthouse in Little Rock through a back door. Moores was accompanied by two unnamed female employees, who were also testifying under subpoena." ... Local political circles are buzzing about an opinion piece in last week's Union-Tribune coauthored by Murray Galinson. Calling for a county-wide sports authority to build a new baseball stadium for Moores, the piece attacked advocates of a public vote on the ballpark as obstructionists. Banker Galinson, a former campaign aide to Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, has financially supported a long string of liberal candidates and causes, including Clinton's, which are also dear to Moores's heart. Last year Galinson withdrew as a Clinton nominee to the federal bench here after the nomination threatened to bog down in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Weirdos

Union-Tribune editorialists frequently voice their concern about the well-being of the city's image and how to project it to the nation during costly spectacles like the Super Bowl and the GOP convention. But the paper itself and its secretive owners can't seem to stop drawing national attention to their own strange eccentricities. According to this month's News, Inc., a newsletter for the newspaper trade, newly anointed Copley Newspapers chief executive officer David Copley, known primarily for consolidating a block of La Jolla bungalows into a single, sprawling mansion, wouldn't come to the phone for an interview. Observing that the company is famous for its "notably incommunicative CEOs" - an allusion to David's predecessor, his mother Helen - the newsletter goes on to quote Hal Fuson, Copley vice president and chief legal officer, identified as the only person at the company who would talk to the press. "Asked for his assessment of the opinion of someone we identified as being close to the company, Fuson genially interrupted. 'No one is close to the company,' he said with some pride."

Positive thinking

City Manager Jack McGrory has approved spending another $25,000 on a new "financing feasibility" study of the convention center expansion, currently stalled by the state Supreme Court's decision to hear the case for voter approval. That brings the total paid to the consultant, an outfit called Public Financial Management, to $86,000 ... Excalibur Software, the Carlsbad outfit that makes database retrieval software, is cleaning up big in England's parliamentary elections. The Labor Party installed the system a year ago and has since loaded in newspaper stories on politics and issues, as well as every public statement ever uttered by Conservative Party candidates, the better to catch them in a flip-flop. Tories retaliated by also buying Excalibur software ... Bill Koch, the irascible billionaire who trounced Dennis Conner for the America's Cup in 1992, is unloading his three International America's Cup Class racing yachts now berthed in Florida, including the cup winner, to an undisclosed foreign buyer.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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