San Diego Sixth District city council candidate Peter Navarro is making headway in his investigation into how those huge Union-Tribune signs got on the back of Qualcomm Stadium overlooking the busy I-15 and I-8 interchange in Mission Valley. And the U-T is none too happy about it. The big billboards suddenly appeared without explanation last year, causing consternation among neighbors in District Six, who complained of public blight and questioned how the U-T wound up with such primo advertising space. Two weeks ago, Navarro wrote to San Diego city manager Mike Uberuaga, asking for more details. Last week, Uberuaga responded: "Q: How much are the Padres charging the Union-Tribune on a monthly basis for this signage? A: Under the agreement, the Chargers and the Padres have the right to directly arrange for signage, provided that it is not for alcohol or tobacco. The City is not notified of the amount that is being paid for the advertising. Q: What is the city's share of the revenue? A: The city receives no revenue from this signage. Q: Did former City Manager Jack McGrory lobby your office for permission to put up this signage? A: Mr. McGrory was a part of the negotiating team for the Padres when the Qualcomm Extension Agreement was written and as such was involved in the negotiation discussions. Q: Was the previous councilmember, Valerie Stallings, informed of the decision by your office to allow the signage? If so, did she approve it or object? A: Ms. Stallings voted in favor of the Qualcomm extension agreement, which included the provisions for the signage you have referenced. Q: Does the Union-Tribune hold any equity position in the Padres or own property in the ballpark zone? A: The City is not aware of the Union-Tribune holding any equity position in the Padres or owning any property in the ballpark zone." The U-T, which has carefully ignored the stadium-sign controversy, quickly struck back against Navarro with an editorial attack based on opposition research the newspaper credited to the camp of Mike Pallamary, one of Navarro's ten rivals for the council seat.
Back to the future When downtown real estate developer Peter Janopaul took office as Mayor Dick Murphy's pick for new San Diego Unified Port District commissioner two weeks ago, the port's public relations department put out a news release touting Janopaul's business career and public-service record. "Janopaul also serves as President of Citizens Trust Housing Corporation, a private, nonprofit company focused on affordable multi-family housing." Well, not quite. A check of public records shows no such company exists, a fact confirmed by Janopaul in a telephone interview last week. "We were going to set it up but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Once you set up something like that you have to pay corporate taxes, so for now, it's in the future."
Flutie's flakes First it was trouble with sloppy record-keeping and excessive expenses at slugger Tony Gwynn's nonprofit foundation. Now it's new Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie's turn to grapple with a less-than-charitable controversy. According to a report in last week's Boston Herald, Flutie and his wife Laurie have demanded that the Giving Back Fund, a Boston-based foundation for which they have raised more than $2 million, return the money to them so that they can set up their own charitable operation. But Giving Back's president and CEO Marc Pollick says that's impossible. "The money raised for that foundation was raised here and belongs to that foundation. They could certainly apply for a grant and would be considered like every other charity that applies." Flutie's agent says no dice and that new boxes of Flutie Flakes cereal, with him in his new Chargers uniform, will drop the old charity's name and add that of Flutie's new effort, dedicated to fighting autism, which afflicts his son Doug Jr. ... Padres owner John Moores shows up on the latest Forbes 100-name roster of info-tech's "working richest," but just barely. Moores, with a net worth of $189.8 million, is ranked 93 on the list. First is Bill Gates with $54.3 billion, and Larry Ellison is second with $42.1 billion.
Contributor: Matt Potter