San Diego With Union-Tribune publisher David Copley on the mend from surgery to give him a new heart, next up on the U-T's sick list is editor Karin Winner, who's out for several weeks after breaking her hip in a fall, according to a memo posted on the bulletin board in the U-T newsroom. Fifty-nine-year-old Winner, once a West Coast editor of Women's Wear Daily, has been editor of the U-T since February 1995. ... Eighty-two-year-old Dan Walker is living out his retirement in an Escondido mobile home park with third wife Lillian. A liberal Democrat, he grew up in what was then a rural neighborhood in East San Diego and went on to become governor of Illinois in 1973, in part by walking around the state in tennis shoes to get out the vote. After losing a nasty reelection battle in the primary, Walker, a lawyer, hung out his shingle, but later he was charged with a raft of federal felonies in connection with various personal business dealings. He claimed the case was trumped up by political foes but pled guilty and did 18 months in the pen at Duluth, Minnesota. Walker later coauthored a book in which he described his prison time, during which he was required to scrub toilets. He said that the government's minimum-security lockups for white-collar criminals were tougher than the tennis-playing Club Feds imagined by some: "It was Hell."
After prison, Walker returned to San Diego, where he worked as an administrative assistant for Father Joe Carroll. He's now retired. Contacted last week by phone, he was hesitant to offer prison-survival advice to convicted San Diego city councilmen Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet, who will be sentenced in November for their roles in the Cheetahs bribery scandal. "Isn't that a bit premature?" Besides, added Walker, his advice to the councilmen might not be relevant because they presumably will do their time in California. "That era is well behind me," he noted.
Storm warnings While the spotlight's been on the city's inability to get its annual audit certified, the San Diego Unified School District has finally released its financial report -- covering the fiscal year that ended June 2004 -- and the news isn't good. "When we arrived at San Diego High School to test attendance, there were no original source documents, (attendance rosters), available for audit. After an exhaustive search by site personnel, the documents were not found," says the report by the accounting firm Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman. "We determined that several teachers were not logging in on a daily basis." The accountants also concluded that the high school's average daily attendance rate "is overstated due to the fact that some teachers were not taking roll on a daily basis."
Then there was the district's food service inventory, which "did not agree with the amount recorded in the financial statements at year end. The difference was approximately $267,000." The fault was laid to "inabilities of the PeopleSoft software system to properly account for these activities."
Perhaps the most worrisome finding was the district's severe shortage of cash, due to rapidly increasing employee health benefits: "There was an increase in total benefits of 10 percent in the last fiscal year despite decreases in certificated and classified salaries of 6.9 and 3.8 percent respectively. In addition, the district is in declining enrollment which will continue to force financial hardships on the district.... At year end the district's cash reached an extremely low level of $4.5 million. The balance the year prior was in excess of $30 million." According to the report, "temporary borrowing" has been used to raise cash.
En español It's summer, time for UCSD big shots to travel the globe. Associate vice chancellor Mary Walshok has been spotted the most. Last Wednesday, the Taipei Times reported that she put in an appearance at the inauguration of a "private business club" modeled after UCSD's Connect. Meanwhile, physicist Larry Smarr, that peripatetic director of UCSD's California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, is on the road again, this time to the posh Colorado ski town of Telluride, high in the Rockies. Beginning August 12, he's set to be an "honoree" at the resort's weeklong Tech Fest, a gathering of wealthy science types who join to partake of fine food and drink and fresh mountain air while pontificating about technology and the state of the world. ... Not everyone's away for the summer. National City mayor Nick Inzunza, brother of recently convicted Strippergate defendant Ralph, is holding a "State of the City Forum" on August 4. The English part of the bilingual invitation notes that the "Mayor's presentation will be done in Spanish." And San Diego city councilwoman Toni Atkins, who became deputy mayor after the fall of resigned councilman Michael Zucchet, is celebrating her birthday next Monday evening with a $25-per-head bash at Martini's Above Fourth to benefit her Toni Atkins Lesbian Health Fund.