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— Off to the races Former San Diego school superintendent Alan Bersin, currently GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's secretary for education, is busy raising campaign cash for L.A. city attorney Rocky Delgadillo , who's running in next year's Democratic primary for state attorney general. An invite to a fund-raiser last week at the La Jolla manse of lawyer Fred Schenk, brother of ex-Gray Davis honcho Lynn Schenk, includes Bersin as cosponsor, along with Rich Leib, vice chairman of Del Mar's U.S. Public Ventures; Sempra V.P. Tom Sayles ; and ex-U.S. attorney Greg Vega. Records show that Bersin, also an ex-U.S. attorney, has already kicked in $2500 and Sempra has given $5600. Meantime, ex-Democratic governor Jerry Brown, now mayor of Oakland, is bringing his own campaign for A.G. into town October 14, when he's set to team up with controversial Tijuana mayor, track owner, and white-tiger keeper Jorge Hank Rhon at a downtown "economic summit" sponsored by the South County Economic Development Council. Brown's local money sources include his onetime aide, ex-congresswoman Lynn Schenk ($2000); retail legend and Democratic angel Sol Price ($5000); and the Sycuan tribe ($5600).

Learned hand That recently released financial report on Alan Bersin's $500,000-plus Superintendent's Fund for School Innovation -- used to pay his entertaining and travel bills, among other expenses -- contains a long list of fat-cat donors to his cause. Near the top with $10,000 is the William D. Lynch Foundation for Children, the purportedly charitable trust of Rancho Santa Fe denizen Bill Lynch, who now sits on the board that is trying to expand or move Lindbergh Field. There was also $5000 from the Eugene and Joan Foster Fund. As explained in a publication of the San Diego Foundation, which administered the cash, the Fosters' contribution was originally in the form of real estate: "The Fosters gifted their property to The San Diego Foundation; The San Diego Foundation sold the property, and the proceeds from the sale were deposited into the Fosters' nonendowment fund. The Fosters are now making grant recommendations to benefit organizations located primarily, but not exclusively, in San Diego County that promote civic, educational, cultural, religious, and humane or health-related activities." In addition to reimbursing Bersin's expenses, the fund expended $12,000 for P.R. maven George Mitrovich and paid $1250 to the American Jewish Committee to sponsor a table for Bersin and staff at the September 2001 "Judge Learned Hand Award Dinner."

Cheetahs finale The long run of Cheetahs may finally be coming to an end. In a ruling issued early this month, an administrative law judge denied the appeal of owner Michael Galardi , who sought to overturn the city's decision to revoke the strip club's adult entertainment license following his guilty plea in the city hall corruption case that ultimately brought down city councilmen Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet. "The sole substantial disagreement between the parties is whether the City is acting within its authority to deny the permit renewal application," wrote Stephen E. Hjelt, who conducted the appeals hearing. After listening to the evidence, he concluded, "The Police Chief had numerous alternatives in dealing with appellant. The option of non-renewal was by far the most serious. Unquestionably, this will put the applicant out of business. However, here the evidence of serious wrongdoing is compelling and the actions engaged in by Galardi are inconsistent with holding such a permit." The city attorney's office says that Galardi has 90 days to mount an appeal before the decision becomes final. An application for another license to operate the club has already been filed and rejected, the city says. That came from Suzanne Coe, the South Carolina lawyer who frequently represents Jack Galardi, Michael's father.

Switch-hitters The Democratic State Central Committee has been picking up big bucks from Sempra Energy, which has plenty of business before the Democratic-controlled legislature. Since early March, the utility giant has given $117,900 to the party. Meanwhile, Padres owner and erstwhile Democrat John Moores has come up with $23,700 for Props 74 and 76, part of Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to rein in teacher tenure and cap state spending. ... Circulation continues to slide at the Union-Tribune. According to unaudited numbers recently distributed in-house, as of the week ending August 14, daily circulation had fallen to 303,601; in July of last year it was 331,000. This August, Sunday circulation sagged to 397,000; the previous July it was 438,000. The decline has spawned worries of newsroom layoffs based on an industrywide management benchmark of one worker per 1000 circulation, which would work out to 304 souls versus the current 390. Reasons for the steady decline aren't clear. Some point to the paper's editorial policies, others to the rise in gas prices, causing poorer households to choose driving over reading the U-T. Meantime, owner David Copley is said to be putting the finishing touches on a $30 million yacht in a boatyard near Seattle.

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