— Usually, it's politicians who have their hand out for cash from lobbyists and other influence peddlers, but this year San Diego city councilman Scott Peters and his wealthy wife Lynne Gorguze are turning the tables. According to campaign disclosure records, First District councilman Peters of La Jolla has contributed the maximum $250 to Kevin Faulconer, an executive with NCG Porter Novelli, a "government relations" firm. Faulconer is running for the Second District council seat being vacated by termed-out Byron Wear. Apparently hedging his bets, Peters also gave $250 to another District 2 hopeful, Wayne Raffesberger, an ally of county supervisor Ron Roberts. Gorguze, a multimillionaire who along with her father runs Cameron Holdings, also gave Raffesberger $250. Because Cameron owns a large playground and stadium-equipment supplier, Peters has been advised by the city attorney's office to carefully disclose any conflicts when voting on city contracts. In addition to the Peters money, Raffesberger collected $250 from ex-basketball star Bill Walton and Malin Burnham, partner of John Moores in various troubled downtown real estate deals. John Dahlen, owner of Bully's East, Sheriff Bill Kolender's longtime watering hole, also kicked in $250. Attorney Robert Ottilie, who was co-counsel in a failed court effort to defeat the Chargers ticket guarantee, gave $100. Another contender in the race, firefighters union executive Michael Zucchet, picked up a total of $750 from three employees of the Lady Luck card room. Faulconer was the favorite of the hotel-owning Evans family, whose members and employees gave $1000 in the last reporting period. Street Scene promoter Rob Hagey gave Faulconer $250, as did Katherine Holladay, government affairs rep for Science Applications International. Johnnie Perkins, director of public affairs for San Diego Landfill Systems and a candidate for city school board, gave $100.

Mountain tragedy A helicopter owned by San Diegan John F. Zolezzi crashed into a mountain lake in Utah last week, killing the pilot, Zolezzi's partner John Olson, and two passengers, reports Salt Lake's Deseret News. The craft, belonging to a Zolezzi venture called Helicapture, was being used in an attempt by state wildlife officers to catch a wayward moose that had wandered too close to Interstate 80. The helicopter was chasing the moose across the ice on Mountain Dell Reservoir last Thursday when the rear rotor of the craft caught a power line, and it plunged through the ice of the reservoir below, trapping the victims. Passersby attempted a rescue but failed. Zolezzi told the paper that Olson had originally worked as a pilot for the family's San Diego tuna-fishing business before heading for Utah. "John was a decent guy. He was honest and friendly. In business everybody liked him. Everybody in life has a passion, and flying was his passion. He loved it. When he took off in a helicopter, he was in his element."... Chargers owner Alex Spanos, who, according to some reports, may be on the verge of pulling his team out of San Diego for the greener pastures of Los Angeles, has given $50,000 of so-called soft money to the Republican National Committee, according to end-of-year reports. Sempra Energy, on the other hand, gave $50,000 to Senate Democrats ... Porn magnate Larry Flynt is said to be planning a new "upscale" dance club sans nudity in San Diego to be called Bar Flynt. At least that's what Jimmy Flynt, Larry's brother, is telling the media in Cincinnati, where the Flynts say they want to try the same concept.

Reverse bail San Diego County taxpayers will be footing more than the usual tab for a prisoner mistakenly jailed here in a welfare-fraud case out of Alameda County, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Vincent Charles DeCarolis, 48, of Hayward was shuttled for a week in May 2000 between Alameda, Los Angeles, and San Diego County jails until he convinced a jailer here that his was a case of mistaken identity. He subsequently filed suit and settled for $140,000, collecting $75,000 from Alameda County; $40,000 from Prison Health Services Inc., which provides medical services at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin; $20,000 from San Diego County; and $5000 from Los Angeles County.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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