— The highest-ranking retired CIA operative in La Jolla has been spurned by the Bush administration, reports the Washington Times. Duane "Dewey" Clarridge -- founder of the CIA's counterterrorism center and ex-chief of the agency's Arab Operations division -- had been in line to become chief deputy to Wayne A. Downing, President George W. Bush's newly named national security advisor for combating terrorism. Downing, a retired Army general who once ran the fabled Delta Force special-operations team, is also a member of the board of Science Applications International Corp., the big La Jolla-based defense and security contractor with intimate ties to the nation's clandestine services. The paper said Clarridge -- originally expected to be a shoo-in for the deputy post -- was spiked by senior presidential advisor Karen Hughes when she discovered that Clarridge had been indicted for lying in his testimony to a congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. Clarridge pled not guilty and was pardoned on Christmas Eve 1992, before his trial began, by the first President Bush, thus ensuring that the lame-duck Bush would not have to testify in the case. Clarridge told the Times that he was disappointed by the White House move, pointing to another indicted and pardoned Reagan administration official who still holds a high security post. "I had no great desire to commute between here and Washington, but I felt it was my duty to go and do it," he told the paper. In August, Union-Tribune society writer Burl Stiff reported that an intimate dinner at La Jolla's Top O' the Cove restaurant with Clarridge and his old comrade-in-arms Colonel Oliver North was auctioned off at a benefit for the Makua Auxiliary to the Children's Home Society.

Political U Word that San Diego State University president Stephen Weber joined a group of establishment insiders plotting a battle for control of the San Diego Unified School District board of trustees is ringing alarm bells among some who fear Weber's hold over KPBS, the SDSU public-broadcasting operation. SDSU memos uncovered earlier this year revealed that Weber has repeatedly used his authority over the TV and radio stations to impose his will on station management. In light of that, critics worry, KPBS news and opinion operations might discriminate against opponents of Weber's personal political views and favored school-board candidates. The reported presence of Union-Tribune editorial writer Bob Kittle at the same meeting is also raising eyebrows; La Jolla resident Kittle, who frequently involves himself in public-education politics, and his wife Luanne own and operate the Rhoades School, an expensive private elementary and middle school for "bright children" located near Rancho Santa Fe in Encinitas.

Roger, over and out With convention business down in the Gaslamp Quarter, fallen mayor and radio talk-show host Roger Hedgecock, who runs a restaurant on Fifth, is busy hustling up ways for government to help out. "How about a parking amnesty downtown?" suggests his e-mail newsletter. "AND HOW ABOUT MAYOR MURPH getting behind a Celebrate San Diego campaign with flag posters and banners and special events like that? County Board of Supervisors spearhead a countywide shop, dine, recreate and create jobs effort?" ... The battle between Governor Gray Davis insider Vince Hal and attorney Tim Cohelan, nephew of the late brother of state senate president pro tem John Burton is picking up plenty of ink in Sacramento. Hall and Cohelan are running against each other for the Democratic nomination to succeed Assemblyman Howard Wayne, who is barred by term limits from running again. Burton has sent out a fundraising letter for Cohelan, reports the Sacramento Bee, but Hall has yet to ask Davis for an endorsement ... The nuclear-powered carrier USS Nimitz, on its way to its new port in San Diego from Norfolk, Virginia, via Cape Horn, ran into a series of mishaps on October 10, reports the Washington Times. First the vessel almost hit a fishing boat in the fog, then a C-2 COD (carrier onboard delivery) aircraft landed too far to the left, caught a restraining wire, and hung over the flight deck while visiting South American dignitaries, including Uruguay's defense minister, looked on.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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