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— San Diego City Councilwoman Christine Kehoe, a Democrat, is getting off to an intriguing start in her bid to unseat Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray. National Democrats are targeting Latino voters, hoping to exploit their unhappiness over GOP measures to limit illegal aliens. But Kehoe says she isn't so sure the strategy will work here. "Democrats...are betting that Latinos can be the difference in defeating perhaps a half-dozen Republican incumbents nationwide, including downtown San Diego's Rep. Brian P. Bilbray, a longtime advocate of the GOP's immigration agenda," according to an account in this week's Washington Post. Trouble is, Kehoe, a lesbian, "is cautious about relying on a voting block that has never been there in the past," the paper reports. "Where California's Latinos are population-wise is one thing," Kehoe told the paper. "Where they are on Election Day is another." The Post reports Kehoe as saying that her city council district has a 20 percent Hispanic voting age population, but "under five percent" of that number bother to vote. Not mentioned by the Post: rumblings among traditionally conservative Hispanics against Kehoe's high-profile gay candidacy.

Susan's milk of politics

Susan Golding is said to have pulled out all the local stops in a last-minute December effort to raise money for her faltering U.S. Senate campaign. Money raised through the end of the year will be reported on January 31; if Golding's total cash remains low, her standing among campaign professionals will slip even further. Golding's late-year round of fundraising included a "Women for Susan Golding Celebration" at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club featuring "special guest" Julie Wright, well-paid president of the city-subsidized San Diego Economic Development Corporation. Listed among co-chairs of the event were Kaye Woltman, the muni bond broker wife of ex-Arnie Smith operative and failed U.S. National Bank chairman Richard Woltman, as well as Diane Powers, once partners with Golding's ex-husband, convicted money launderer Dick Silberman. Another co-chair: Nancy Barnhart, whose family contracting company was awarded the controversial $10 million job to build a new Chargers training facility at taxpayer expense ... Golding isn't the only one with fundraising problems. The Los Angeles Times recently quoted Laurie Black, whom it identified as "a Democratic fundraiser in San Diego" as saying, "It's very difficult right now. People aren't just zipping off $1000 checks the way they once did." The Times failed to mention that Laurie Black is the daughter-in-law of the late M. Larry Lawrence of Arlington National Cemetery fame.

Back room deals

While Golding's baseball stadium task force continues to plod along, the city council is in secret talks with Padres magnate John Moores. Before it went off on holiday recess, the council went into secret session to authorize the city manager "to negotiate with a designated representative from the San Diego Padres regarding real property interests at Qualcomm Stadium and other locations in the City of San Diego."... Backers of that big $210 million-plus convention center addition won't be pleased to learn of a nonprofit group called ArtsWire that holds academic conventions in cyberspace using the World Wide Web. "The advantages that scholars cite include saving the airfare to places like San Diego or Hawaii or Orlando, Fla., an E-mail voice for shy academics who never muster the courage to speak, and controls on the blowhard who would otherwise dominate the breakout room," reports the New York Times.

Military readiness

San Diego's Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical is bidding on a $40 million contract to build tactical reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles for Singapore's ministry of defense ...Yet another Navy SEAL from San Diego is in trouble for brawling: 22-year-old Kelly Cooper, a SEAL diver, and his 21-year-old brother William allegedly got into a fight with a Sarasota, Florida, restaurant valet over an unpaid tab. "You're gonna die. We're Navy SEALs," the brothers allegedly said as they tussled with the valet, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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