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— If you're on the wrong side when San Diego's downtown establishment closes ranks, watch out. Just ask ex-city councilman Bruce Henderson. Fresh from victory in Sacramento -- where the state Fair Political Practices Commission voted 3 to 1 to uphold his challenge to the free food and drink given to the city council in their plush Qualcomm stadium box -- Henderson lost big in San Diego when a local superior court judge hastily slapped down his environmental challenge to the council's November baseball stadium measure. (The single "no" vote against Henderson at the FPPC was cast by chairman James M. Hall, a San Diego lawyer, big downtown property owner, and law-school friend of Governor Pete Wilson, the ex-San Diego mayor who appointed Hall.) On the other hand, if you are favored by San Diego's power brokers, the rewards can be awesome. First prize for quickest rise goes to Geralda "Gerri" Stryker, an environmental planner for Caltrans who was once a critic of city hall's planning process. "Planning within the city is losing; it's kind of disappearing," Stryker told the Union-Tribune in October 1996. Then last year Stryker was appointed to the city's baseball stadium advisory group and soon endorsed the project and its downtown location. Now she's one of the Yes-on-C co-chairs. And last week she was nominated to the powerful city planning commission by none other than Mayor Susan Golding ... John Witt, the ex-San Diego city attorney who when in office fathered the controversial Chargers ticket guarantee, is back at the battle lines of sport. He's penned a column for a small downtown advertising paper that voices thinly veiled support for a new baseball stadium. The column fails to mention that Witt's law firm now handles the Padres account.

Political sewage

A group calling itself "Revolting Grandmas" has sent out a news release attacking the San Diego City Council's plan to turn sewage into drinking water. Noting that the next public hearing on the so-called toilet-to-tap plan is set for 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, September 16, before the city council's Natural Resources and Culture committee, the release adds, "Everyone who does not care to drink toilet water should be there. Only eight members of the public were present at the last meeting held on July 7."... Christine Kehoe, the San Diego city councilmember who hopes to be the first openly lesbian member of Congress, is one of three featured candidates in a fundraising video put out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The Dems want each of their members of Congress who are facing only token opposition to kick in at least $50,000 to the DCCC election fund ... Mike Schaefer, the ex-San Diego city councilman and perennial candidate turned alleged slumlord and wife beater, is at it again, running for justice of the peace in Las Vegas. He began his campaign last month under house arrest for the misdemeanor crimes of shoving a woman and using pepper spray on a man, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal ... New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy on conditions in Northern Ireland: "Psychosis is more permanent in the air of Northern Ireland than smog over Tijuana."

Traveling companions

The Globe supermarket tabloid says Bob Hope is "so sick he doesn't recognize his wife." But Bob still knows Chargers owner Alex Spanos, who's pulled strings to arrange a special tribute to his old buddy at next month's Stockton Airshow, featuring the Navy's Blue Angels, according to Aviation Week ... Mighty Qualcomm, the darling of the San Diego establishment, is the target of a downbeat story in the latest edition of Business Week magazine. Company executives admit that its widely touted CDMA cell-phone technology may not be bulletproof after all. "Europeans have tweaked the technology in a way that will reduce Qualcomm's royalty streams from its patents and make its phones less attractive overseas." ... North County clothing mogul Jim Wadley is buying the Visalia Oaks, a single-A baseball team playing in the California League. First order of business: a new $15 million stadium or the team moves.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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