San Diego In the wake of the Grand Jury vs. Susan Golding dust-up, some local politicos are going after the Grand Jury in a big way. Steve Peace, a Democratic state senator from Chula Vista, is promising hearings on alleged Grand Jury "abuses," and fellow Democrat Juan Vargas, a San Diego City Councilman who's expected to run for the assembly seat now held by Denise Ducheny, is demanding an investigation by the District Attorney. But motives may not be so pure. Peace is a long-time ally of San Diego Gas & Electric and the state's utility lobby. Over the years Peace has picked up thousands of dollars in contributions and miscellaneous freebies from the utilities; his ex chief of staff, David Takashima, left to become a lobbyist for Southern California Edison, returned to work for Peace, then left again to become a lobbyist for Pacific Gas & Electric. Peace's company, Four Square Productions, also got big bucks for making commercials for the Yes on C stadium campaign, bankrolled by Padres owner John Moores. Vargas, of course, backed the Padres deal to the hilt. Insiders note it's no coincidence that both SDG&E's undergrounding practices and the sweetheart stadium deal with Moores were key targets of the Grand Jury ... Former Grand Jury foreman Peter DiRenza is scheduled to tell his side of the Susan Golding story at a public meeting of San Diego Action Network, Saturday, July 31, 11:00 a.m. at the Joyce Beers Center in Uptown.
The political giving season is in full swing and, as always, San Diegans have opened their checkbooks. But not all their campaign cash is going to GOP presidential frontrunner George W. Bush. For instance, Rancho Santa Fe's Robin Parsky, wife of Bush's California chairman Gerald Parsky, is listed as giving $1000 to Elizabeth Dole, as is La Jolla's "Mrs. Linden Blue," wife of the General Atomics tycoon, along with John Blankenship, who is listed as a financial planner from Del Mar, and Valerie Chaffin, listed as a Del Mar "homemaker." On the Bush side with $1000 each were convention center hotel magnate Doug Manchester and his wife Elizabeth, Point Loma publishing heir William Jovanovich and wife Martha, and Kyla Dupont of Encinitas. Former Union-Tribune executive Richard Capen gave Bush $750, and kicking in with $500 each were the San Diego Chicken, Ted Giannoulas, and spouse Jane. Former vice president Dan Quayle managed to collect $1000 each from hotelier and former county GOP chairman Sam Hardage and wife Vivian. Ultra-longshot Gary Bauer got $1000 each from Carol and Kurt Ackermann of Escondido. On the Democratic side, longtime party givers Elaine and Murray Galinson contributed $1000 each to Al Gore, as did biotech financier Kevin Kinsella, Price Club founder Sol Price, Qualcomm executive Andrew Viterbi, former defense secretary Harold Brown (who now lives in Rancho Santa Fe), and Giles Bateman, an ex-employee of Sol Price who went on to head CompUSA. Gore opponent Bill Bradley got $1000 from Del Mar's Andrew Schwab of Digital Gene Technologies and Rancho Santa Fe's Edward and Sandra Calesa of Women First Health Care, Inc. Outside of presidential politics, San Diego donors favored a variety of causes. Concert promoter Bill Silva gave $1000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $5000 to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Pamela Wilson of downtown's Sullivan, Wertz, McDade law firm gave $500 to the gay fund, as did Kelly Lyndon of Qualcomm. On the right, Roderick Vanorden was listed as giving $250 to the congressional campaign of Louisiana's David E. Duke.
Okay, Gloria, Okay
Not everyone's a fan of Gloria Penner, the KPBS talk show host and pledge-night fundraiser extraordinaire, but she does have her amusing moments. In an obituary for ex-NBC correspondent Martin Agronsky, the late NBC correspondent, Penner was quoted as saying she had worked with Agronsky on NBC's Today show back in the 1950s when it was hosted by Dave Garroway. According to Penner, Agronsky "was a perfectionist, sexist, macho, and he knew everybody. It was the toughest three years anybody could have in what was really an apprentice position. A lot of what I do today I do because I was so well-trained by Agronsky."
Contributor: Matt Potter