— What is it with local pols and their affinity for baseball? First it was Bonnie Dumanis, who called her April fund-raiser "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and...Bonnie Dumanis for District Attorney." Now comes county treasurer Dan McAllister with a "Tailgate in the Sky." No, he's not dead yet. In fact, McAllister's career may take a major new turn. Next week his backers are gathering for his 54th birthday party at the Gaslamp Marriott's Altitude Sky Bar, overlooking the baseball stadium. It's billed as a fund-raiser for his reelection campaign. But many of the sponsors listed on the invitation are sure to be financial players in the race to replace GOP congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who announced his retirement last week after being pummeled by federal investigations and media exposés regarding his dealings with defense contractors. The district's heavy Republican registration makes it unlikely that any Democrat could take the seat, so behind-the-scenes action centers around the GOP. Downtown San Diego business types are said to be interested in replacing Duke, a genuine Vietnam War hero, with someone amenable to "privatizing" the county's military bases, which occupy land worth potentially billions of dollars to the right developer.

Cunningham and his colleagues have opposed efforts by the local chamber of commerce and others to close the Marine base at Miramar to make way for a new regional airport, a cause dear to the hearts of business boosters and the Union-Tribune. Without Miramar, their efforts to move the airport away from Lindbergh Field are doomed. Enter McAllister, a onetime GOP political consultant with ties to ex-San Diego mayor Susan Golding. Though McAllister professes no interest in jumping to Congress, he's a resident of Solana Beach, in the middle of the 50th District. Backers of his reelection campaign include property mogul Malin Burnham; county supervisor Greg Cox; District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis; political consultants Jack Orr and Tom Shepard; airport commissioner Bill Lynch; ex-San Diego city manager and Sol Price intimate Jack McGrory; convention center architect Hal Sadler; lobbyist Mike Madigan; and ex-Padres honcho Larry Lucchino, who now runs the Boston Red Sox. Whether they would stick with McAllister if he came up against the likes of state senator Bill Morrow, ex-assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, or any others said to be mulling a primary run, is the current guessing game.

Cash cows Millionaire candidate Steve Francis, who so far has pumped more than $1.66 million of his money into his bid for San Diego mayor, is not above taking cash from some of the city's biggest developers. Topping the list are employees of Corky McMillin, the controversial builder of Liberty Station. Critics have attacked it as a tacky condo development that McMillin used political connections to build. The project replaced the abandoned Naval Training Center in Point Loma. According to recent campaign disclosures filed by Francis, no fewer than 37 McMillin executives, functionaries, and spouses coughed up $300 apiece, the majority on the same date, June 29. In addition, as of July 9, the close of reporting, the campaign owed the McMillin company $3056 in fund-raising expenses. ... Though members of the state assembly denied it, pundits who predicted that Chula Vista mayor Steve Padilla was the inside choice to replace San Diego city councilman Scott Peters on the California Coastal Commission were proven right last week. He was backed by influential members of two local environmental groups, the Environmental Health Coalition and Baykeeper. Padilla has also enjoyed the support of the San Diego Democratic Club.

High rollers If anyone thought the convictions of Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet would cause interest in campaign fund-raising to dry up, he should think again. The very week of the verdict, invitations went out for two of the biggest events ever. Next Wednesday at noon, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's "California Recovery Team" is set to throw a "private luncheon" costing $5000 per person or $10,000 for "a seat at the Head Table" at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara. Hosts include contractor Doug Barnhart; fallen Home Federal Savings and Loan honcho Kim Fletcher; and Rancho Santa Fe anesthesiologist Bob Hertzka and wife Roxana Foxx. Admission includes a photograph with the governor. Then on August 25, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein rolls into town for a fund-raiser at the Rancho Santa Fe manse of Padres owner John Moores. The tab: $10,000 for hosts, $5000 for cohosts, and $1000 for "participants." Various hosts and cohosts include banker Murray Galinson, SAIC exec Ben Haddad, Indian gambling chieftain Anthony Pico, and ex-state senator Steve Peace.

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