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— Ex-San Diego city councilman Bruce Henderson, who has already taken on two multimillionaires, Alex Spanos and John Moores, in his never-ending battle on behalf of truth, justice, and taxpayers' pocketbooks, now finds himself facing off against none other than Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fellow Republican Henderson is a leading opponent of Proposition 58, Schwarzenegger's so-called California Balanced Budget Act, which the governor claims would guarantee an end to future state deficit spending. Not so, argues Henderson, who along with San Diego Libertarian Richard Rider and Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association executive director Joe Armendariz has signed the ballot arguments against the measure. "Reject this ruse!" says Henderson's rebuttal to the Schwarzenegger argument in favor. "Remember the original deal we were promised by Arnold? Vote for a huge $15 billion bond to pay for past mistakes, and we'll pass a solid spending limit so this mess doesn't happen again." The opponents go on to say that "Prop 58 does NOT protect us from the sleazy methods currently employed to balance the budget -- accounting tricks and short-term borrowing... Prop 58 includes NO SPENDING LIMITS, leaving the door wide open to more borrowing and higher taxes." In response, Schwarzenegger, who is joined in signing a ballot statement in support of the measure by Bill Hauck, a former aide to ex-governor Pete Wilson, and Allan Zaremberg, chairman of the California Chamber of Commerce, fires back: "Don't be fooled by the opponents. The California Taxpayers Association supports the California Balanced Budget Act." The measure, says the governor, "WILL REQUIRE A BALANCED BUDGET for the first time." But Henderson and company are not convinced: "The Governor ALREADY has the power to call the legislature into session to address a developing budget shortfall. This initiative requires the legislature to take action before it can move on to other business. But it is LOOPHOLE RIDDEN." Observers note Henderson and his comrades were tapped for duty after bigger names in Sacramento, fearful of political retribution from the governor and his backers, declined to put their names on the argument.

The egg and Joan Word that the children of the late business publisher Malcolm Forbes are getting ready to auction off his remaining nine bejeweled Fabergé eggs is casting fresh attention on the egg purchased back in 1989 by the late Joan Kroc as a favor to her old buddy, then-San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor. As ringmaster of the city-sponsored Russian Arts Festival, O'Connor persuaded Forbes to lend his Fabergé collection for public display here, and he jetted into town on his private jet, the Capitalist Tool, to announce the news on the front page of the Union-Tribune. Then, in May 1989, a few months before the festival opened, the Today show came to town and featured O'Connor, Kroc, and U-T publisher Helen Copley in an interview with then-host Jane Pauley. Kroc held up her egg, for which she had recently paid a reported $2.8 million at a European auction (the Forbes eggs are expected to go for about $10 million each at a Sotheby's auction in New York next month), while Pauley enthused, "You either love eggs or you love San Diego!" Copley, who still owns the U-T but was forced by illness to step down three years ago as publisher in favor of her son, told Pauley she and her editorial board were against clamping down on urban development: "We believe in managed growth, uh, without annual, uh, numbers of houses being built, without a cap on that number. But we believe in, that, managed growth might be helped by making the, uh, developers provide more of the amenities, such as parks, fire stations." It was the last time the publisher ever appeared on television in a speaking role. No word on whether Kroc's egg is to be sold. Back in April 1997, Kroc tried to unload her egg, made in 1900 and called the Pine Cone, at a Christie's auction. Though beautiful, the object had been created not for the czar but for Russian industrialist Alexander Kelch and was withdrawn from sale after bids stopped at $2.8 million, according to news accounts.

Kittle's next resort Union-Tribune editorial writer Robert Kittle, who with his wife Luanne owns the exclusive Rhoades preparatory school catering to residents of wealthy Rancho Santa Fe, recently bought a posh house in La Jolla ... Loch David Crane, the perennial Star Trike-driving mayoral candidate who once had a sidewalk shoving match with fallen mayor and radio talk-show host Roger Hedgecock after being barred from a debate, is sitting out this year's race and throwing his support to Peter Q. Davis ... A letter from San Diego schools chief Alan Bersin to principal Mildred Phillips dated December 23 and received January 5 bore bad news: her alternative secondary school, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, with 150 students, is set for surprise closure at the end of this school year, if the school board approves at its meeting on February 10. Parents are being notified today. Another big Bersin move: consolidation of Garfield and Twain alternative high schools.

-- Matt Potter

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