— Next Monday is the date set by a state appeals court for oral arguments on activist Jerry Mailhot's lawsuit to set aside last November's vote on the downtown Padre baseball stadium and John Moores's mega real estate development project. Stadium foes hope last week's county grand jury report accusing Mayor Susan Golding and the city council of colluding to railroad voter approval of the ballpark for personal gain has given the case new life. Mailhot, represented by attorney and ex-city councilman Bruce Henderson, argues that the city should have prepared an environmental impact report prior to negotiating the so-called Memorandum of Understanding last summer with Moores over terms of the development deal. Mailhot also maintains that the city should have disclosed to voters in the ballot question that the Moores deal represents at least a $225 million liability to city taxpayers. In addition, Mailhot says that the simple majority approval of the measure, called Prop C, didn't meet the city charter's requirement for a two-thirds vote on "unfunded liabilities." Those arguments were rejected by superior court judge Charles R. Hayes, who, in a ruling prior to the election, refused to call off the vote.

Fore and aft

The sesquicentennial tallships controversy races on. Democrats accuse Republicans Pete Wilson and Secretary of State Bill Jones of squandering millions of private and public contributions set aside for a big tallship race between San Francisco and San Diego, causing it to be cancelled. Now Joe Ditler, identified as a fundraiser for the San Diego Maritime Museum, has been quoted in the Orange County Register as saying "our policy is not to mention Gold Rush or sesquicentennial. For one, no one can pronounce it, and it's got a tainted image at this point." ... Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell may be elevated to the Fourth District Court of Appeal by Governor Gray Davis. McConnell's earlier nomination to a federal judgeship was torpedoed by Senate Republicans over a gay-parent custody case

Don't wear black trenchcoats

A San Diego-linked gang of "cyber-hackers" calling itself Global Hell has been sticking it to the FBI. The militant nerds have successfully hacked into the FBI's website, forcing the Bureau to take it off-line for a security update. U.S.A. Today called the gang's 40 members "angry" teenagers ... Ex-Tribune reporter Ann Levin, one of the talented writers who left town around the time of the bloodletting that followed the merger of the Union and the Tribune in 1989, has been named national news editor for Associated Press ... A grope in the backseat of a San Diego limousine by a 79-year-old booze broker has led to one of the biggest sexual harrassment settlements in history, $2.6 million, reports the New York Post. Sidney Frank, whose Sidney Frank Importing distributes Jägermeister, a licorice-flavored green liqueur, to bars around the country, agreed to fork over the money to 104 young women he'd employed as Jagerettes. The skimpily clad workers went from bar to bar promoting the drink with balloons and party favors. But the women claimed they were also repeatedly grabbed, groped, and licked by Frank and his customers. Twenty-eight-year-old Patrice Chase of Philadelphia said she was abandoned in a San Diego hotel room when she refused to give in to Frank's sexual advances.

Gored at the gate The invitation to next week's big Al Gore fundraiser at a La Jolla home doesn't list an address. For security purposes, would-be high-rollers have to call in advance ... Need to check out the Del Mar surf-cam? Try the Discovery channel's new Web page ... Lawyer to the mob Oscar Goodman, who is the odds-on favorite to become the next mayor of Las Vegas, unveiled his personal financial disclosure statement the other day, listing 18 pieces of real estate. Only problem, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is that Goodman won't reveal who his partners are and won't even say exactly where 13 of the properties are located. It's all legal under the so-called "ethics" law prevailing in Vegas. One property fully disclosed by Goodman: his condo in Coronado at 1830 Avenida Del Mundo.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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