San Diego The older brother of La Jolla high-tech mogul Ted Waitt is making news in Forbes magazine, but it isn't for selling computers. Norman Waitt Jr. helped Ted found Gateway Computers in an Iowa barn 16 years ago. But after they hit the jackpot, the brothers started battling, and Norm left the company in 1991 with $10 million and a 45 percent ownership stake. "For my brother, Gateway is like an alter ego -- he sees himself as Gateway," Norm told Forbes earlier this year. "Gateway became a series of meetings. It stopped being fun." Though Norm subsequently sold off much of his Gateway stock, he's still worth a cool billion dollars. Turning to Hollywood, Norm began dabbling in movies and records with mixed success. He produced the yet-to-be-released Double Whammy, a $5 million movie about a cop with a back problem, featuring Elizabeth Hurley as a chiropractor. His Blair Witch Project soundtrack album sold 75,000 copies, and he's planning a project with David Crosby. But last month, Forbes reports, Norm was slapped with a lawsuit by his entertainment company's recently fired president, David Kronemyer, charging that his dismissal was motivated by the discovery of Norm's "sordid sexcapades" with a female associate. Waitt countercharges that Kronemyer was embezzling funds, which Kronemyer denies. The magazine says a hearing is set for July 30.
Skateboarding is not a crime That controversial new "Active Physics" San Diego city schools curriculum, under fire by critics who question its rigor, is causing a small uproar on another front. Among other "learning supplies" recently delivered to each school in the program was a load of skateboards. "It has come to our attention that there is a rumor regarding the assumed use of these skateboards by students and related safety issues," says a memo to principals from Mary Hopper, an assistant to the district's chancellor of education, Anthony Alvarado. "Should you receive questions, please clarify that the skateboards are not to be used by students, and will only be used by the teacher for purposes of conducting scientific demonstrations, specifically in the teaching of Newton's Third Law of Motion. As in the case with chemicals and other science equipment, the teacher is responsible to securely store the skateboards when not in use" ... Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe has begun to turn her membership on the assembly's insurance committee into political gold, reports California Worker's Comp Advisor. She's already collected $15,000 from the State Council of Service Employees, $5500 from Consumer Attorneys, and $3500 from the California Applicants Attorneys Association.
TV fun The retired dean of San Diego's television news corps, Jonathan Dunn-Rankin, has dashed off a letter to the Columbia Journalism Review calling into question the competency of the students he encountered while a broadcast-journalism instructor at San Diego State University. "Most of the students had little appreciation for grammar, spelling, and punctuation," writes Dunn-Rankin. "My habit was to circle with a red pen. One student came up after class to inquire why there were 21 red circles on her paper. 'Don't you know?' I responded. 'Those are misspelled words, poor grammar, and incorrect punctuation.' Her rationale? 'But, I'm going into broadcasting.'" ... Richard Rider, among the first to oppose the Chargers ticket guarantee, is out with his critique of a recent NBC News "Fleecing of America" report on the deal. "The huge error in the story was the assertion that the Charger ticket guarantee cost San Diego taxpayers all of $2.5 million," Rider says. "Last year alone the taxpayer subsidy was over $8 million." He also attacks current critics of the agreement featured in the report, including San Diego County Taxpayers Association head Scott Barnett and Mayor Dick Murphy. "Barnett and the [Taxpayers Association] supported the Charger deal, going so far as to put out an elaborate (and badly flawed) spreadsheet purporting to show the financial soundness of the deal." As for the mayor, Rider notes, "Murphy has made no effort to try to amend the deal, or to require the Chargers to aggressively market the tickets as mandated by the terms of the ticket guarantee."
Contributor: Matt Potter