— The vice president of Hispanic and international marketing for the Padres, Enrique Morones, has left the team as a result of a "consolidating and streamlining" move by new president Bob Vizas, who replaced ex-honcho Larry Lucchino in October. Morones, who had been with the organization in a variety of roles since 1995, says he's had at least four job offers since the Friday announcement of his departure. "I was the only officer there who wasn't from the East Coast and was of color. Now there is nobody of color there in a senior position," Morones says, adding that his departure was "amiable." "I wish them the best of luck." Meanwhile, Jay Emmett, a Lucchino associate and one-time Padres boardmember who pled guilty to two felony counts in New York's Mafia-run Westchester Premier Theatre scandal of the 1980s, is the subject of coverage in the Boston Herald. Lucchino is seeking to take over the Red Sox ...The controversy over whether San Diego Unified School District board meetings should be televised may be almost over. Sources say a deal has been struck to allow board meetings to run on cable TV starting in January. Past arguments over televising meetings have been heated, with board member Sue Braun claiming last December that a Union-Tribune editorial favoring the move was written in self-interest. "It would be less costly for them to have someone watch a video, or watch meetings while they are doing other work, than actually attend meetings."

Big money conversion Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs is a big Democrat, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to Bill Clinton and the party of the donkey. Most recently he contributed $50,000 to the reelection campaign of Governor Gray Davis. But Jacobs is now said to be hedging his bets. The Washington Post reports that Republican congressional leader Thomas M. Davis III of northern Virginia, a big proponent of fast-tracking free-trade agreements favored by Qualcomm, has been cultivating high-tech companies for campaign money. Early last month, the Post says, Davis rolled into California with ten fellow Republicans on a tour of high-tech operations in San Jose's Silicon Valley and San Diego. Included on the itinerary was a $300,000-a-head fundraiser at the home of an Oracle executive and breakfast with more than a dozen San Diego-based outfits held at Qualcomm headquarters. Discussion of controversial topics, such as Republican opposition to abortion rights, was reportedly kept to a minimum. "Some people who were thinking in terms of social issues realized Republicans are really focused on issues that matter to them," Republican congressman Chris Cannon of Utah, a tour member, told the Post. The paper added that the Republicans targeted Jacobs, who has been working with local GOP congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham to lobby the trade bill. "They're stringing you along," the Post said Davis told Jacobs, referring to the Democrats. "They're never going to vote with you." ... New York's Newsday reports that Padres owner John Moores and family have made a total of $147,476 in federal campaign contributions this year. That's more than George Steinbrenner and family ($13,290) and Mets co-owners Fred Wilpon ($7500) and Nelson Doubleday ($5800), but less than Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Linder ($1.2 million).

Music and gems La Jolla's SureBeam, which numbers among its employees ex-San Diego mayor Susan Golding, is making hay from United States Postal Service contracts to irradiate the mail, but there may be problems for those who post gems, warns the Gemological Institute of America of Carlsbad. "The colors of a number of gem materials, among them pearls, sapphire, quartz, kunzite, and topaz, can be sharply altered by the irradiation method the USPS is using," the institute says. The discovery was made as a result of testing conducted with the cooperation of SureBeam. "For example, the white cultured pearls turned gray, the pale blue sapphires turned deep orange, and the pink kunzites turned green." The good news: "The preliminary test results also showed that gold jewelry would not retain any residual radioactivity from the irradiation process."... Warren Hellman, wealthy father-in-law of UCSD chancellor Robert Dynes, has purchased a part ownership in Slim's, a fabled San Francisco nightclub, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Other partners include Hellman's fellow venture capitalist Roger McNamee, who plays guitar in the rock band Flying Other Brothers.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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