San Diego The intrigue surrounding the relationship between city councilwoman Valerie Stallings and the Padres grew last week with the release of telephone records from Stallings's office in response to a California Public Records Act request. According to the phone records, Stallings or members of her staff used city phones to make 11 calls to Padres owner John Moores or Moores-related entities between September 28, 1998 and March 21 of this year. The first call was to a hotel in Houston. The next three calls, two on February 23, 1999, and another on March 1, 1999, went to Neon Systems in Sugarland, Texas. Neon Systems is the company, controlled by Moores, in which Stallings reported buying shares on March 5, 1999, the day of the company's initial public offering. Stallings has refused to disclose the circumstances surrounding her purchase of the stock, the market value of which shot from $15 a share to almost $27 three weeks later, when Stallings sold her holdings; she pocketed a reported 267 percent profit. When called earlier this week, the line was answered by a recorded message from Wanda Hillhouse, whom an operator identified as Neon's controller. The subsequent seven calls identified by the Stallings city council office as Moores-related, made earlier this year, went to a Del Mar phone number answered by a tape-recorded greeting from "Beverly."
For the Money
The University of California San Diego's 40th birthday is coming up this fall, and officials are leaving nothing to chance. To burnish the school's image, UCSD's public relations committee, composed of wealthy local Republicans and downtown insiders such as chamber of commerce activist Mel Katz, philanthropist Darlene Shiley, attorney Paul Peterson, and insurance man Oscar Padilla -- along with Judith Morgan, wife of Union-Tribune associate editor and columnist Neil Morgan -- is thinking big. According to an internal memo obtained from the university under the California public records act, the school feels it hasn't been getting enough credit for a variety of unspecified "community service" activities it performs. Says the memo: "While UCSD is dedicated to community service and outreach and has several hundred outreach programs in place, there has been far too little recognition of this aspect of the university." The memo goes on to say that the school needs to "raise awareness of these efforts and engender much good will as UCSD heads towards its very significant 50th anniversary celebration and a future institutional [fundraising] campaign." The idea, says the PR plan, is to prepare for the forthcoming fundraising effort by "increasing San Diegans' 'ownership' of UCSD." According to the document, "A directory of UCSD's community outreach programs will be created and distributed broadly within the campus and to key constituencies and inserted in the San Diego Union-Tribune." The school will also "host an Anniversary Cake Cutting, to which faculty, staff and students will be invited." For those who can't make it out to La Jolla for the festivities, "The Chancellor -- hosted by a member of the Board of Overseers, an alum, supporter, student, and employee -- will be the guest at outreach celebrations in five regions of San Diego County." The document adds that, "in preparation for these visits, UCSD representatives will meet with the leadership of each region to learn of their issues and goals to insure that the Chancellor's visit and the featured outreach activities are of relevance to that community." As a continuing reminder of the occasion, "a 40th Anniversary logo will appear on publications, web pages, t-shirts, banners, billboards, advertising, etc." Among the "measurable outcomes" of the PR campaign, the plan says, will be "enhanced perceptions about UCSD's community involvement" and "increased news coverage of UCSD's outreach." To induce participation by its staff and faculty, the report says that the school intends to "provide incentives for participation, such as T-shirts." The university will also "distribute 'UCSD Volunteer' pins for those volunteering in the community" and "provide release time for community service activities."
Contributor: Matt Potter