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— The establishment went into action. The Union-Tribune denounced Simmons. The Padres sued former councilmember Bruce Henderson, who was thinking of joining the Simmons suit; the U-T editorial board was told about the Padres suit three days before it was filed. The paper editorially applauded the filing, once again calling all opponents "obstructionists." ("Obstructionist" is a word that the U-T and civic lapdogs such as former city attorney Casey Gwinn apply to anyone trying to thwart corruption or stupidity, such as the Chargers' 60,000-seat guarantee.)

The City told the judge it had to have a decision in its favor in 30 days, or Major League Baseball would leave San Diego. The court complied by giving Simmons only two weeks to prepare for trial. Normally, trial dates are set four to eight months after a case is filed. Simmons backed out. A second lawyer was not given even a day to argue his case. Not surprisingly, that case fell flat. On February 8, 2002, a third person filed a case, right before deadline. The file stamp was canceled and the papers sent back to the plaintiff without explanation. The appeals court later ordered superior court to reinstate the case, but by then it was too late. The City wound up paying 7.66 percent interest on the bonds and losing $15 million to $20 million a year or more on the ballpark.

The U-T editorials, the suit against Henderson, the threat that the Padres would leave, the court's denial of Simmons's rights, the canceling of that stamp -- it all sounds like a coordinated campaign, or perhaps conspiracy. Was this all chalked out in a strategy session that included the media and judiciary? Sorry, this is San Diego:

We don't connect the dots.

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