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— As Susan Golding leaves the public payroll for the first time in her more than 19 years as city councilwoman, state bureaucrat, county supervisor, and San Diego mayor, friends are bidding her adieu. Next Wednesday, the Chamber of Commerce and Padres downtown stadium champion George Mitrovich, in the guise of his "City Club," will host the "Mayor Golding Tribute Dinner" at the Wyndham Hotel downtown. Taxpayers will be picking up part of the tab, in the form of tickets to the event purchased by public agencies and distributed to their officials who wish to drink and dine for free. The San Diego Unified School District, for instance, has bought a table for ten, headed by Superintendent Alan Bersin and his wife, Lisa Foster, according to a district document. In other Golding food news, Surebeam, the ground-beef irradiating outfit Golding serves on the board of, has just signed up meat giant Omaha Steaks as a new customer.

Crime in the suits KSWB, the San Diego television station owned by Chicago's giant Tribune Co., is in hot water for trying to rig the local Nielsen ratings during November sweeps week. According to an account in Electronic Media magazine, the station mailed out 75,000 videotapes touting KSWB's program lineup, its news team, and a car giveaway. Included was a note saying: "Attention Nielsen Homes: Please watch KSWB 5/69. Diary Homes, please write down 'KSWB 5/69' in your Nielsen diary. Thanks to all Nielsen homes for watching KSWB 5/69.'' Huffed Nielsen's Jack Loftus, "People may have and probably do send out advertising videos to homes -- that's one thing. But to include in there a message just to Nielsen homes violates our rules. It's a big issue. It's highly unusual." Rival KGTV head Darrell Brown chimed in, "I strongly believe this type of unethical promotion will have a direct influence on the November survey, since the diary households have been specifically targeted. If [Nielsen] just ends up slapping their hands, to me the rules mean nothing."... Colorado state police chief Lonnie Westphal lost more than those six guns in that embarrassing heist from his unmarked van parked near last week's police chiefs' convention in downtown San Diego, says the Denver Post. The thieves also bagged Westphal's tuxedo, three suits, and plenty of ammo for the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handguns they also made off with.

King of juice The Orange County Register is reporting that state senator Steve Peace, architect of utility deregulation, has had a total of 26 social meetings with representatives of the power industry since January 1999, and the utilities have picked up the tab for 26 other meetings with Peace's staff. "On June 27, Edison officials picked up a $386.53 dinner tab at Morton's in Sacramento. A week earlier, Peace and his top aide, John Rozsa, dined at the trendy Esquire Grill across the street from the Capitol. A month earlier it was Sempra's turn. The parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric bought Peace a baseball ticket to see the Sacramento River Cats, a week after he was treated to lunch, state records show. Last year, Peace and his son played at the private Bighorn Golf and Country Club near Palm Springs. The $220 total greens fees for father and son were paid by Edison officials." The paper noted that Peace eventually "reimbursed" the utility for the freebies: "Just as the energy crisis emerged as a top priority in the Legislature, Peace wrote a check in August to Sempra, reimbursing the company for the social outings during the first two quarters of 2000. The check covered his spending, as well as his staff's, according to Sempra spokesman Art Larson."... Ex­San Diego city-housing commission chief Ben Montijo, who was fired by the city council back in 1987 after controversies over his failure to file income tax returns, among other alleged misdeeds, is leaving his latest job as head of the Des Moines, Iowa, public-housing agency, reports the Des Moines Register. The 60-year-old Montijo had been the subject of an April exposé by the paper recounting his history in San Diego, as well as his forced departures from similar jobs in Kansas City, Missouri, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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