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— With the fate of the downtown baseball stadium hanging in the balance and many of the city's other construction projects and pay boosts threatened by recession-induced budget problems, proponents are seeking to influence the spending habits of the city council every way they can. On Tuesday of this week, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, heavily influenced by construction unions, was set to throw a big fundraiser for Fifth District city councilman Brian Maienschein at the labor council offices on Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley. "We have been impressed with Brian's moderate approach -- he has shown that he can work with both labor and the business community supporting policies that bring us together towards common goals of creating a better San Diego," said an invitation letter sent by labor council secretary-treasurer Jerry Butkiewicz. City fundraising laws bar companies and unions from giving to candidates directly.

Tears of a clown Fired Union-Tribune cartoonist Steve Kelley let his hair down last week at a La Mesa gab session sponsored by an Ivy League alumni club, blaming his departure from the paper earlier this year on the professional jealousy and incompetence of his superiors. Kelley, a Dartmouth grad, described U-T editor Karin Winner, an alumnus of the University of Southern California, as "a product of the Peter Principle" who was in over her head, and he acknowledged that the paper's coverage of the downtown baseball stadium had been skewed in favor of the project. Kelley's final request for a 20-minute meeting with U-T publisher David Copley, whom Kelley said he had known and worked with for years, was summarily denied ... Actor Cliff Robertson has dispatched words of comfort to his neighbors in the "Barber Tract," a tony oceanfront La Jolla residential district where he and his wife, actress Dina Merrill, own the biggest house on the beach, and ex-mayor Maureen O'Connor has a place nearby. "You represent -- all of you -- the kind of friendship and fidelity so rare in so many neighborhoods today," says a letter to a neighborhood newsletter. "Alas, not like the days of old when my grandmother came to those La Jolla shores (1912), nor the days of my youth, but in spite of the country's moral slippery slope, you have managed to retain some of the charm, decency, and civility of the very old La Jolla." ... An air-traffic controller threatened to break into the cockpit of a Southwest airliner on an October 14 flight between San Diego and Sacramento, the Sacramento Bee reports. Forty-five-year-old Judy Carol Calegari, who had been in San Diego for her brother's funeral, reportedly told a flight attendant she wanted to die and knew how to get into the cockpit. Fellow passengers restrained her before the plane landed.

Love on the rocks In a case involving a prominent San Diego lesbian couple who had two sons using artificial insemination, a state appeals court has ruled 2-1 that so-called second-parent adoptions are not legal under California law, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Annette Friskopp and Sharon Silverstein were students at Harvard Business School when they met in 1989. A year later they moved to San Diego, where Friskopp was a founding executive of Sorrento Valley's Boatracs, Inc., and Silverstein bore their children. The couple, who wrote Straight Jobs, Gay Lives (a book about gays in the executive suite), appeared on national TV, and their 1992 wedding photo in the San Diego Jewish Times was a controversial first for the paper. After the couple broke up last year, Silverstein attempted to invalidate Friskopp's adoption of the children. The appeals court ruled that there was no legal basis for the adoption in the first place. The decision threatens to overturn hundreds of similar second-parent adoptions, unless the state Supreme Court throws it out ... San Francisco multimillionaire Warren Hellman, father-in-law of UCSD chancellor Robert Dynes, threw a free bluegrass concert at Speedway meadow in Golden Gate Park last weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "I'm driving everybody crazy with this," Hellman told the paper. Big names there included Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Hazel Dickens.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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