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— When John Simpson, a 53-year-old vacationing music teacher from Birmingham, England, was found strangled to death last month in his room at La Mesa's Rodeway Inn, the Union-Tribune was most circumspect. The paper's plea for public help in solving the case described Simpson as "a roller coaster enthusiast and frequent visitor to the United States" and went on to add somewhat cryptically that Simpson had spent some time before his murder in Hillcrest, "an area he is known to have frequented during previous visits to San Diego." Back in Simpson's hometown, where he was said to be the widely beloved head of music at Yardley's Secondary School on Warwick Road, Tyseley, the story came out a bit differently. "GAY CLUE TO U.S. MURDER," roared the headline of Birmingham's Evening Mail. "A Birmingham music teacher murdered while on holiday in America was staying in a known gay area of California, detectives revealed today," the paper reported. "Mr. Simpson was a homosexual, according to his friends," the paper reported. La Mesa police sergeant Raul Garcia was quoted as saying Simpson "was also known to frequent gay bars and clubs, although, at this stage, we cannot say whether it was a gay killing." Simpson "had checked into the Rodeway Inn in the eastern suburb of La Mesa on February 17," the paper noted, reporting that Garcia said, "This is a known gay area."

Another Kind of Green

Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger, the big downtown Republican consulting and lobbying outfit, whose well-connected clients have included Mayor Susan Golding, the Padres, and the Union-Tribune, is crowing in this month's O'Dwyer's PR Services Report about what Stoorza calls its "environmental track record." According to Stoorza, recent successes include: "Positioning a development company to obtain approval for a 2000-unit home master planned project opposed by an adjacent local government and 'no growth' activists"; "Helping a California city save its $11 million investment in port facilities threatened by community protests and air district proceedings"; and "Providing PR and media support for a timber company involved in a permit and land sale issue on its 200,000-acre property."... The Olivenhain Water District has just awarded a federally funded $20 million contract for "the largest ultrafiltration drinking-water plant in North America," reports Canada's National Post. The Canadians can't help gloating that the deal went to Ontario contractor Zenon Environmental Inc. over big U.S. companies, including U.S. Filter, sponsor of the Holiday Bowl ... County Supervisor Bill Horn's campaign for U.S. Senate just hired Orange County political consultants Matthew Cunningham and Dale Neugebauer. Both worked on Darrell Issa's take-no-prisoners senate primary campaign against Matt Fong and Susan Golding.

Grade AAA Body Parts

A San Diego woman is behind those half-page advertisements in college newspapers at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Caltech seeking a tall, white co-ed with a minimum 1400 on the SAT to sell her eggs for $50,000. Darlene Pinkerton, who says she is representing an infertile white couple, told the New York Post that response has been "huge"... Mindy Brass, the alleged cocaine trafficker from San Diego who was serving a life sentence in Michigan, finally received a new heart last week at the University of Michigan hospital in Pontiac. Brass, whose 1992 conviction was overturned last year, has been released from prison pending a new trial ... Bill Clinton has picked up $10,000 apiece from discount maven Sol Price and golf-club king Ely Callaway for the fund to defray the president's mountain of legal bills. Both men have been longtime financial angels to Clinton campaigns past, and Callaway Golf leases warehouse space from a partnership belonging to San Diego superintendent of schools Alan Bersin, an ex-U.S. attorney and an old Clinton college buddy ... Harry Constance, that Vietnam-era Navy SEAL from Escondido sued for libel by fellow ex-SEAL Charles Watson in a Virginia court, has settled out. Constance apologized for calling Watson a "coward" in his book, and he and his publisher agreed to pay $415,000.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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