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— California senator Steve Peace, who says he's thinking of running for mayor of San Diego, has just introduced a bill to allow what many think is a questionable way for cities to run up more debt. Called a "roving joint powers authority," the financing scheme was banned just a year ago by the legislature after scandal engulfed Oakland-based Pacific Genesis Group, now facing state securities fraud charges in connection with a number of roving JPA deals it underwrote. Using roving JPAs, stadiums and other such projects funded by bonds sold by the JPAs don't have to be within the bounds of the JPA member cities. That, critics say, can lead to fraud, bribery, and inflated costs to taxpayers, whose money is used to repay the debt. But Pacific Genesis Group president David Fitzgerald told the Bond Buyer last week, "roving JPAs are here to stay."... That photo of Larry Lucchino in last week's Union-Tribune editorial warning the Padres owner to "mend some fences" had a familiar ring. Observers note that whenever the U-T wants to make one of its veiled threats a little more obvious, it includes an up-close-and-personal photo with its editorial. Take the case of superior court judge Anthony Joseph, a Jerry Brown appointee from Del Mar, who swiftly acceded to the U-T's demands two years ago after the paper ran his photo alongside an editorial calling for a ruling in favor of what now is widely regarded as a bum Chargers ticket deal. Meantime, insiders say the suddenly unpopular Padres connection with the proposed library tax measure on next month's special ballot may turn out to be a fatal blow.

Earth to San Diego

A Democratic pollster out of Sacramento by the name of Jim Moore was calling into Brian Bilbray district last week with a few questions for San Diego voters, including one about whether they intended to vote for Bilbray again. If they said yes, the pollsters provided a litany of alleged bad things about the surfing congressman, including that he didn't move his district office to a place with better constituent parking; once favored term limits but doesn't anymore; promised to clean up San Diego Bay but didn't; and voted for Bill Clinton's impeachment. Respondents were then offered the choice between Bilbray, Councilwoman Christine Kehoe, state assemblywoman Susan Davis, and college professor Craig Barcus. Moving on to San Diego mayor, the poll asked voter preferences between councilmembers Juan Vargas, George Stevens, Barbara Warden, Byron Wear, county supervisor Ron Roberts, and state senator Steve Peace. For state senate, the poll paired incumbent Democrat Dede Alpert against San Diego mayor Susan Golding.

Sell Stadium, Keep Software

Those Qualcomm rumors just never seem to go away. Latest rumble on the Internet has Qualcomm unloading its Eudora e-mail software division. "Apparently, the company's purchase of Now Software drove the Eudora Software division into a rapidly money-losing situation, and with the company's plans for Eudora Planner so tightly tied into its other software products' future, Qualcomm may elect to focus on its multibillion-dollar telecommunications business and divest itself of its software division, which has lost as much as $10 million to date. Although sources at both Apple and Qualcomm confirm much of this, no final decisions appear to have been made -- leaving the future of products like Eudora Pro uncertain." The company denies the rumors ... The final year of Mexico's six-year presidential term is usually very good for San Diego real estate, say those in the know, as wealthy Mexicans liberate capital in nervous expectation of unsettled times ahead. Look for prices in Coronado Shores and at the Cays to skyrocket this year ... Dr. Robert Jacobs, who got a 1982 doctorate at United States International University (USIU), has carved out a popular career as a TV psychologist in Tampa, Florida. Now the St. Petersburg Times has done an exposé claiming that USIU "is not approved by psychology's key body, the American Psychological Association," and Dr. Bob has been denied his Florida psychologist's license.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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