— Ex-city councilman Mike Schaefer is off and running again. The convicted wife-beater who was once sent to jail in Los Angeles for being a slumlord has traversed the country over the past decade, campaigning for everything from L.A. city council to U.S. senator in Maryland to justice of the peace in Las Vegas. Last year in Vegas he got 42 percent of the vote, despite being under electronically monitored house arrest for assaulting a neighbor with pepper spray. His latest stop: San Francisco, where he's running for district attorney and getting plenty of friendly publicity. A story in last week's San Francisco Recorder quoted Schaefer, 61, as saying he would put $40,000 of his own money into the campaign and barely alluded to his criminal history by mildly noting that "Schaefer acknowledged that he has been convicted of a misdemeanor in connection with a domestic violence episode involving his former wife." Schaefer's campaign slogan: "Be Safer with Schaefer" ... The race for San Diego mayor begins to heat up on Friday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Center in the Uptown District when the San Diego Action Network conducts a debate. All major candidates except Byron Wear are expected to show, the group says.

Big Money Justice

San Diego Superior Court judge Robert O'Neill has been out raising money to pay back the $133,000 worth of loans he made to himself for his reelection campaign. O'Neill, who narrowly won a hard-fought race against opponent Barbara McDonald, took over the North County seat vacated by retiring Judge Franklin Mitchell. According to his campaign disclosure report, O'Neill raised $6544 and used about $4000 of that to pay off the loans to himself. He collected $250 from Mission Bay hotel magnate Ann Evans, $100 from border-insurance mogul Oscar Padilla, and $100 from Edward F. Lyng, whose occupation was listed as priest. Much of the rest came from attorneys, including $100 each from Vincent Bartolotta, James Fitzpatrick, Geoffrey Morrison, Gerald Mulder, Dennis Schoville, Maurice Trembly, and Donald Trembly. As of July 31, O'Neill was left with a debt of $105,700, most of it to himself. Gerald C. Jessop, another successful judicial candidate, raised $44,160, much of which also went to repay personal loans from himself and family members. Jessop edged Joan Danielson to capture a job as municipal court judge and was automatically promoted to the Superior Courts when the benches were subsequently consolidated. Donors included lawyers Mark Adams ($200), Todd Leigh ($250), Herb Young ($125), James Allen ($150), Gerald Mulder ($125), and Judge Thomas Ashworth ($125). Jessop forgave himself $6920 in loans, and George C. Jessop Jr. forgave a $30,000 campaign debt.

An Affair to Forget

San Diego is now the fourth most popular convention destination in the country, according to a group of meeting planners. It also seems to rate highly among errant politicos. Take the example of Montana senator Max Baucus, who stands accused of making sexual advances to his former chief of staff, Christine Niedermeier. Among the incidents cited by Niedermeier: being asked by Baucus to join him on a trip to San Diego that coincided with her birthday. She says she declined and Baucus became upset ... Chula Vista state senator Steve Peace's plan to allow Pacific Gas & Electric to shift its $3.3 billion hydroelectric system to U.S. Generating, an unregulated subsidiary of the utility giant, bit the dust last week after Governor Gray Davis indicated he wouldn't sign off on the bill because it was fraught with controversy. The rush to get the plan through the legislature in the last days of the session also soured many on the plan. "I've seen an awful lot of bad porridge made in a hurry," Michael Jackson of the Regional Council of Rural Counties told a reporter. PG&E is expected to take another run at the transfer in the next session. In the meantime, U.S. Generating's plans to build a $350 million, natural-gas-fired power plant on Otay Mesa has hit a glitch. State regulators say the company hasn't provided enough information about environmental impacts and other issues in its initial filing and must revise its application.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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