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— Watch out Palm Springs, here comes Michael Schaeffer. The 59-year-old ex-San Diego city councilman (1965-1971) with a long rap sheet as a slumlord and wife abuser, has just bailed into the desert community from Las Vegas, his last adoptive hometown, and is threatening to run for the late Sonny Bono's congressional seat. Only problem is, Schaeffer hasn't bothered establishing residency in the district -- or even the state -- so he's going to federal court in order to fight his way onto the ballot. Perennial candidate Schaeffer, who did six days in a Los Angeles jail a few years back after a judge concluded he hadn't brought some rental apartments up to code, and who's run unsuccessfully for everything from San Diego city attorney to Nevada congressman to governor of Maryland, claims the U.S. Constitution requires only that he reside in Bono's old district at the time of next November's election. In 1993, he was convicted of misdemeanor spousal abuse when his new Russian wife accused him of a wife-beating incident at their Point Loma home. When he violated terms of his probation on that conviction, Schaeffer was forced to serve two weeks in jail and was reprimanded by the California bar. If he manages to get on the ballot, Schaeffer faces some tough competition. Bono's widow Mary has declared for the seat, to be be filled by a special election April 7. Waltons actor Ralph Waite ("Goodnight, John Boy") has also jumped into the race.

Politics, San Diego-style

Democrat Lynne Schenk, the ex-La Jolla congresswoman who is running for state attorney general, is apparently inspiring some level of fear in at least one of her male opponents. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Senator Bill Lockyer is putting out press releases touting his female appointments to state boards and commissions. A Lockyer aide denies Schenk played any role. "Actually," according to Sandy Harrison, the Lockyer P.R. man who wrote the release, it was just a "shameless desperate plea to the press by a lame-duck flack for one final puff piece about his boss.''... Chargers owner and San Diego stadium subsidy beneficiary Alex Spanos has just popped $30,000 into the campaign war chest of New York governor and fellow Greek-American George Pataki.

Borderline

Was Ross Perot right about NAFTA after all? A Chula Vista plastics outfit that was bought last spring by Tuscarora Inc., a multinational "foam molding" company, is being shuttered and its jobs moved to a brand-new maquiladora across the border in Tijuana. Eight-year-old Thermoformers Plus, acquired for an undisclosed sum last April, reportedly employed 20 American workers who made bubble wrap for packaging. "We purchased it with the purpose of growing it," Tuscarora vice president Del Goedeker was quoted by the Union-Tribune as saying at the time of the Thermoformers acquisition ... Qualcomm spent more than $11 million on advertising during the first ten months of 1997, compared with just $3 million the year before, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and the company says it's going to spend even more this year. So reports Advertising Age, which notes that both Qualcomm and a big competitor, Swedish cell-phone giant Ericsson, have purchased stadium-naming rights. Ericsson, which owns the rights to the stadium where the Carolina Panthers play, paid $25 million for just ten years. Qualcomm, as most San Diegans already know, paid $18 million for the life of the former Jack Murphy Stadium.

Mega media

So-called "mega churches," one-stop religious destinations designed to pack the pews with thousands of worshippers, have become so big that San Diego's own gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Church is planning to join the crowd. The congregation wants to grow to 2000 or more within ten years, according to a report on the gay mega church phenomenon in last week's Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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