Dave Rice 12:38 p.m., May 21
Lobbyist on cellphone: "Yeah, Gloria's in the bag. Don't worry about Stephen Whitburn and his reform stuff. We won't let anyone get near to your project. As long as Donna Frye doesn't have Whitburn on the council, it'll all be ignored as usual."
"...whattaya mean Whitburn's pulling ahead because voters are tired of corruption, I'm telling ya I got this all sewn up tight. Gloria's getting money from every developer in this town, plus a whole bunch of Republicans from up in Orange County too. We even got this rich guy in Rancho Santa Fe's gonna send out these nasty mailers. You'll laugh when you see the stuff we put out on the internet."
"...yeah, it's funny as hell. While we're shelling out all this money on Todd Gloria, we're telling the suckers that Whitburn's dirty. It's classic politics, San Diego style."
"...well, I've been in this town for a long time, and I know a lot of people, and we've been getting our way forever. Look at downtown. Do you know how much money we've made for ourselves under Golding, Murphy, and Sanders? The Development Services Department and Center City Development Corporation work for you and me, not the stupid voters. So we better not lose this one, cause if we can't even get Gloria past the smell test..."
"...yeah, that's right. Gloria's promised us that as soon as his campaign is over, he's gonna roll over and let us all rub his belly. He just needs to get through this election against this reformer Stephen Whitburn, and then we'll run him for mayor in a few years. The boy could go far, as long as he doesn't ever get out of line."
"....you're right. We've gotta attack Whitburn with something. He's too clean. Hmmmm."
"....seriously? Accuse him of using his own money? Can we do that?"
"....oh. Well, it might work. I guess as long as it distracts attention from how we're funding Gloria, it's worth a try. Could you imagine if Stephen Whitburn wins? It'd be all over for us."
"....no. Really? A vampire shaking hands with a virgin? Are you serious? On a campaign mailer?"
"...well, okay. I guess it's halloween. But I still say we accuse him of using his own money too. This Stephen Whitburn guy is too damn clean. Just make sure we use anything we can come up with, something better than saying he's using his own money. I don't care if you have to make it up. Just smear Whitburn."
"...okay. See you at City Hall. Just call my secretary. Right. Bye."