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— Mayoral politics in San Diego is making waves in the financial world, according to a report in last week's American Banker. Bank of Commerce president Peter Q. Davis, a member of the local good-old-boy network and staunch advocate of public subsidies for downtown developers who once argued against repayment of a multimillion-dollar redevelopment agency debt to the city, has been making noises about jumping into the mayor's race on a "free enterprise" platform. "Even in these wonderful economic times, this city with a $1.7 billion budget still runs at a deficit," Davis told the magazine. "Maybe the citizens of this city need it to be run like a business." According to the report, "money, at this point, appears to be no object. Mr. Davis said he would be willing to finance his own campaign, the cost of which has been estimated at $700,000." Davis has long coveted the mayor's post but always backed out of the running before. American Banker points out that the talk about Davis is having at least one real consequence, intended or not. It is stirring up interest in a possible buyout of the Bank of Commerce, which Davis frequently touts as San Diego's largest locally owned bank. Another question mark for a Davis candidacy: would opponents drag up his once-controversial ties to the Roger Hedgecock mayoral scandals of the early '80s? Davis was Hedgecock's campaign treasurer and was named along with Hedgecock, campaign consultant Tom Shepard, and La Jolla swindler J. David Dominelli in a $1.3 million campaign-corruption lawsuit filed by the state Fair Political Practices Commission. The case was dropped in 1991 when Hedgecock agreed to pay a $30,000 fine.

Shades of Gray

Mayor Susan Golding hasn't been having the best of times lately. Now that she is a lame duck, Union-Tribune editorial columnist Jim Gogek has opened fire, denouncing her state-of-the-city speech as mere cheerleading; ironically, Gogek gave all the credit for the big municipal-spending projects he and his U-T bosses favor, like stadiums and convention centers, to unnamed local "businessmen." But crueler still is the fate dealt Golding by Governor Gray Davis, who has named her age-old nemesis, Lynn Schenk, as his chief of staff. The two women have been at odds ever since Golding broke her promise to not oppose Schenk in an election for county supervisor way back in 1984. Instead of staying out of the race, Golding, backed by huge cash infusions from then-husband Dick Silberman, thrashed Schenk with a nasty mailbox hit-piece. After Golding won, the two women sued each other for libel in a case that Golding eventually lost. Insiders say Schenk can be expected to do no favors for Golding, who enjoyed instant access to the old governor, Pete Wilson, by virtue of her one-time boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with Wilson's political guru, campaign consultant George Gorton ... Meanwhile, the San Francisco Examiner has opined that San Diegan Gary Gallegos would have made a better director of Caltrans than José Medina, the San Francisco county supervisor who many believe was picked by Davis as a political payback to San Francisco mayor Willie Brown. Gallegos, who runs the San Diego office of Caltrans, is "an engineer, a proven administrator, and a Hispanic," the Examiner noted. "Problem is, Gallegos is a nominal Republican." But Gallegos might still have a chance. According to a source quoted by the Examiner, "Willie Brown demanded Medina. He pounded his desk and screamed and hollered. Medina doesn't know a damn thing. The smart money is he won't last more than a year."

Feeding the Troops

As Napoleon once said, an army travels on its stomach. But even he would probably be surprised by the 1999 Phillip A. Connelly Awards for best military food, to be held this March at Mission Valley's Town and Country Resort. "Army cooks are evaluated in a number of areas, including food preparation, taste, nutrition, service, and sanitation," according to an Army news release. "Evaluators traveled the globe last year to obtain first-hand knowledge of how Army cooks perform their jobs in both garrison [installation] dining facilities and during field operations."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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