San Diego It was a distinguished turnout at the recent wake for Republican Jack Walsh, a well-loved San Diego city councilman turned county supervisor turned real estate maven who died last month at age 71. With Father Joe Carroll presiding, there was the onetime top aide to ex-GOP governor Pete Wilson and current advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bob White, who told a reporter he'd been Walsh's first city hall intern way back in 1965, three years before he began working for Wilson. A key Walsh backer, Wilson insider and former UC regent John Davies, sat in the second row. Retired Del Mar developer Harvey Furgatch, a longtime friend, gave an emotional eulogy. Walsh's sons credited him with planting downtown's fragrant jacaranda trees and for being the only candidate with seven children ever to be endorsed by Zero Population Growth. Ex-city councilmen Floyd Morrow and Jess Haro held forth near the bar with indicted Democratic political consultant Larry Remer. Former San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor and her sister Colleen stood quietly in the back of the hall.
One no-show: recently resigned mayoral chief of staff John Kern, who 30 years ago during his early days as a city hall reporter for the Evening Tribune made his reputation with a series of front-page exposés about Walsh's financial wheeling and dealing with Jack in the Box founder R.O. Peterson, who later married O'Connor and bankrolled her run for mayor. Now Kern, who quit last month, is under the gun himself for his alleged role in the city's most recent financial scandals.
Loopholes Speaking of John Kern, according to an e-mail he wrote to city ethics commission staffer Stacey Fulhorst on April 9, the ex-Murphy aide is on the prowl for a new gig. "This is to confirm our conversation regarding my potential employment by an engineering firm which wishes to do business with the County Water Authority and wishes to hire me to assist in that effort," Kern's e-mail says. "You further advised that the 'revolving door' prohibition against lobbying only exists in relation to the City of San Diego itself." Fulhorst replied: "The post-employment restrictions in the Ethics Ordinance pertain to your ability to lobby the City on behalf of a private client (for compensation) for a period of one year after you leave the city. Note that 'City' is defined as 'the City of San Diego' or any of its organizational subdivisions, offices, or boards.' As we discussed the CWA is not a City agency; therefore, the post-employment restrictions in the Ethics Ordinance do not apply to your ability to lobby this agency." ... Though rumors abound that Sheriff Bill Kolender, who sometimes seems confused in public appearances, won't run for reelection next year, his campaign fund-raising effort has kicked into high gear. Earlier this month the just-turning-70-year-old threw a $250 per head birthday bash for himself and more than a few well-heeled friends at downtown's Westgate Hotel. Chairing the event were all of the usual suspects: hotelier Douglas Manchester; Padres owner John Moores and his downtown real estate partner Malin Burnham; Chargers chief Dean Spanos; airport boardmember Bill Lynch; and Mission Valley hotel mogul Terry Brown, among others.
Alan's intrigue Exiting San Diego Unified schools superintendent Alan Bersin enthusiastically introduced a potential successor to a crowd gathered at the dedication of the new Hawthorne Elementary School library last week. Ramon Cortines was the chancellor of New York City schools from 1993 to 1995. In New York, he worked with Tony Alvarado, Bersin's ill-fated chancellor of instruction. Cortines is now a consultant living in Pasadena, as well as a trustee of the J. Paul Getty Trust.
Meanwhile the Boston Globe editorialized last Friday against too much secrecy in that city's search for a new superintendent to replace Thomas Payzant, a former San Diego schools chief, who is set to retire next year. "More than a dozen major districts, including Providence, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, and San Diego, are vying for new superintendents. Cities are relying increasingly on professional headhunters, who often prefer to work in secret, citing the confidentiality concerns of candidates and the need to stave off competing school districts. Some districts, including Cincinnati, Baton Rouge, and Lexington, Ky., have taken great pains to avoid publicity and paper trails, such as reimbursing candidates' expenses in cash and shielding interviewees from the press. There is no room in Boston for such cloakroom tactics."
Exiles With indictments flying, it's no wonder that ex-San Diego city manager Michael Uberuaga, who resigned in March of last year, has gotten out of Dodge. His new domicile: the town of Meridian in his home state of Idaho. ... Meanwhile, ex-city councilman and later state assemblyman Mike Gotch, fingered by City Attorney Michael Aguirre as having lobbied hard for bigger pension payouts to former councilmembers, now owns a large house with a pool in the modest desert resort town of Borrego Springs. ... Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña says that Oceanside city councilwoman Esther Sanchez is still in the running to become coastal commissioner, despite reports to the contrary from Sacramento insiders.