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— San Diego police have yet to crack the May 1996 slaying of scientist Tsunao Saito and his 13-year-old daughter Loullie in front of their posh La Jolla home. The mystery and rumors surrounding the killings grew so deep that Saito's widow implored President Bill Clinton to bring in the FBI to investigate, to no avail. A videotaped reenactment of the shooting by Crime Stoppers and a $1000 reward offered by the nonprofit group also apparently failed to turn up any solid leads. The 46-year-old Saito, a widely recognized Alzheimer's researcher at the University of California San Diego, was said to be involved in business dealings with other professors associated with small foundations that had business ties to the university, disagreements over which might have led to his death. The university has long quarreled with certain doctors over their practice of channeling corporate research money through their personal nonprofit foundations, which are unaudited by the state. Police have never shared their theory of the case. Meanwhile, Tokyo's Daily Yomuri reported last week that Saito's widow Shizue has just won a 1.5 million yen defamation judgment against Bungei Shunju, a Japanese tabloid, over reports and photos taken at Saito's funeral purporting to link her to the murder. Said Judge Teruo Takayanagi, "The story headline and the photos defamed the plaintiff and contravened her rights to [portrayal of] her image."

Turnaround

Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger, that well-wired San Diego public relations, lobbying, and political management company handling the "Yes on C" downtown baseball stadium campaign, is going back into the advertising business in a big way, according to the magazine Adweek, which notes that Stoorza "all but abandoned the ad business two years ago." The firm's new ad unit, called "Third Eye," has hired 15 staffers from a variety of San Diego ad agencies, the magazine reports, and is run by Camille Sobrian, a transplant from Toronto, Canada. Clients are said to include the University of California's Connect high-tech program and "San Diego's Welfare-to-Work campaign." Stoorza has long relied on government and developer accounts, and head Gail Stoorza is closely allied with many government insiders such as Mayor Susan Golding and Padres owner John Moores. But a year ago the firm mysteriously dropped out of the bidding for a $275,000 public relations contract being awarded by the Port of San Diego after having had a previous port contract for advertising and P.R. worth $900,000 a year.

Iron clad

The feds are still snooping around those contractors accused of shoddy work on the I-805 Mission Valley overpass. According to Engineering News-Record, the U.S. Attorney's office here has impaneled a federal grand jury to digest evidence dug up by the FBI about defective welds in reinforcing work done as part of the state's earthquake retrofitting program. The 805 overpass isn't the only problem: of 286 bridges investigated by Caltrans in the wake of the San Diego problem, 242 turned up with bad welds ... Don't look for reserve members of the Navy's elite SEAL team to be performing in public any time soon. During a September 6 demonstration in Stratford, Connecticut, a ten-year-old girl was wounded by a stray plastic bullet the SEALs were using to simulate a terrorist attack. The girl wasn't seriously hurt, but the Navy has shut down all public SEAL shows until further notice ... First it was $50 million in Viagra for military vets, now it's three special prostate cancer-research clinics, set to open in San Diego, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C. The Pentagon is currently building a database of prostate cancer tissue and blood samples from 30,000 men and hopes to develop new treatments for the disease ... Vice President Al Gore's political action committee has handed out more than $500,000 to aspiring Democratic congressional candidates, including $5000 to Christine Kehoe ... Remark by President Bill Clinton during a fundraiser at the Rancho Santa Fe estate of lawyer Bill Lerach: "This is the first place I've ever been where the fish are worth more than I make in a year."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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