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Maureen O'Connor, mayor of San Diego from 1986 to 1992, entered into a "deferred prosecution" agreement today (Feb. 14) for plundering $2.088 million from a foundation set up by her late husband, Robert O. Peterson. She was a trustee of the foundation and prohibited from receiving its funds. She took the money to cover gambling debts. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, she made $1 billion between 2000 and 2009 at casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and San Diego. But then she lost that sum and even more (not unusual in gambling) and by 2008 had large outstanding debts at casinos. Between 2008 and 2009, she misappropriated more than $2 million from the foundation, and initially characterized the sum as loans. And, says the U.S. Attorney's office, she continued gambling. The foundation went bankrupt.

In 2011, surgeons removed a large tumor from her brain, She suffered complications including a pulmonary embolism and cognitive impairment. She was found competent to enter into the deferred prosecution agreement, but all parties agreed that it would be improbable or impossible that she could be brought to trial. She agreed to pay back the money to the foundation and undergo treatment for gambling addiction. (Full disclosure: I learned in 2011 of the brain tumor, but had received the information off-the-record and could not reveal it. I talked briefly with her that year and haven't talked with her since. Although she had earlier been a good source of mine, from 2003 to 2011, she almost never returned my calls. I had no knowledge of the gambling problem.)

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Comments

Visduh Feb. 14, 2013 @ 1:14 p.m.

This morning's Mill has a story on the front page of how she is facing a "money laundering" charge, and little else. So it appears the UT once again is late to the party and slow to report the real tale. It makes no mention of the foundation or her role in it. It does make some mention of her real estate dealings in Mendocino County.

Did they miss the meat of the story, or just decline to report any more than the superficial money laundering case?

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:02 p.m.

Visduh: I haven't seen the U-T story, but did see it had broken. I couldn't get it because I don't have a subscription. Some other publications did have brief notices. Yes, it appears the U-T was wrong on several important details, but that happens when you are trying to break a story and you are not getting cooperation. Without having seen the U-T story, I think the paper a good job by getting something into print. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:16 p.m.

Been ALL over the LA Times since last night. She is getting a sweetheart deal like nothing I have ever seen before in my life. A DEFERRED prosecution, which meas it will never have been deemed to have happened if she stays clean for a short period of time. Unbelievable. Rob a 7-11 for $50 and you get 25, rob a charity and you get no jail, and a deferred plea deal that goes "Poof" in two years.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:29 p.m.

SurfPup: But she is clearly too ill to stand trial. I can see, however, that many will see it as a sweetheart deal for a former mayor. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:40 p.m.

"She is getting a sweetheart deal like nothing I have ever seen before in my life." Yeah, so you put a 66 year old woman in jail for what, at least 5 yrs? In the mean time, the state spends $50k a year to keep her incarcerated. The state also pays for her ongoing medical needs. And the prospects for restitution after she is released, probably when she is at least 71, are likely somewhere between slim and none. I'm not advocating for everyone to get this kind of treatment for this type of crime, but in this case, it seems to make the most sense to me. But like Don Bauder said, many will just see it as a sweetheart deal for a former mayor.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:14 a.m.

tomjohnston: The brain tumor is a key matter here: 1. It certainly may have had much to do with her behavior; 2. It makes it cruel to incarcerate her. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Feb. 15, 2013 @ 9:33 a.m.

Cruel, well maybe, but certainly not an Eight Amendment issue, and a more compassionate way to deal with the situation. How would you compare not putting her in prison with a terminally ill prisoner, with only months to live, not being released?

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:28 p.m.

tomjohnston: I would think a terminally ill prisoner with only months to live would be in a prison medical facility. I don't think the situations are analogous. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Feb. 15, 2013 @ 10:44 a.m.

Laura Duffy also recently settled a case using a DPA with Floyd Landis, the professional cyclist.

DPA's are typically used for corporate misconduct. I heard a recent politician say "people are corporations too!" Or did I get that backwards?

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:41 p.m.

Ponzi: You not only heard Romney say it, you heard the Supreme Court say it. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren Feb. 14, 2013 @ 1:25 p.m.

O'Connor should be running our Federal Reserve. I bet Roger Hedgecock is gonna have tons of show material today, though deep down he may wish he was representing O'Connor as 'legal counsel' if he could still practice. Darren

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:06 p.m.

Darren: Mayor Mo and Hedgecock were not friends, understandably. Mo and Golding thought little of each other, too. Of the three, Mo was by far the best mayor. Murphy and Sanders were at the bottom of the barrel. It looks like Filner will be a good mayor. He is on the right side of the most important issues and is standing up to the downtown overlords. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:22 p.m.

Of the three, Mo was by far the best mayor

Mayor Mo was arguably the best Mayor this City has ever seen.............Took on SDG&E and many others.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:33 p.m.

SurfPup: I was deeply involved with her in the battle against Edison's attempted takeover, and was very impressed with her acuity on that matter. She was certainly better than the ones who followed her, although it is too early to judge Filner, who is off to a good start. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:12 p.m.

Don't forget Mo also went to bat against the developer that made Mission Beach Plunge (South Mission Beach where I lived at the time, along with traitor Mike Gotch) into a SHOPPING CENTER, which, as expected, turned out to be an AWFUL decision.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 4:41 p.m.

SurfPup: That was one of her best qualities as mayor: she was not afraid to take on the rich and powerful. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Feb. 14, 2013 @ 5:24 p.m.

Don, now that you have had time to look at that thwarted takeover of SDGE by Edison, do you think we are better off with Sempra? There were two devils there, and it now appears as if we might have as well just let Edison have its way.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:20 a.m.

Visduh: As bad as Sempra is, I would prefer it to SCE, which went bankrupt in the energy crisis, and whose disingenuousness is becoming ever clearer in the San Onofre battle. I'll tell you another story: after Edison had limped out of town, thanks greatly to Maureen, SDGE lined up the merger that would result in Sempra. Maureen called me and urged that I oppose it. I didn't, partly because the headquarters of the company would be in San Diego. Maureen may have been right then and I might have been wrong. On the other hand, SDGE, before and after Sempra, was always considered a dishonest and rapacious utility, a la Edison. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:58 a.m.

Well, that was the really strange part of the SCE takeover plan; people here couldn't stand SDGE. (During the years just prior to the agreement, the bumper stickers and the harassment suffered by SDGE employees went so far that the utility took its logos and symbols off much of its vehicle fleet. And it had ad campaigns to put a good face forward. And there was the mini-scandal of how it gave its own employees a fat discount on their utility bills.) But as soon as the takeover was announced, the opposition to the loss of "their utility" rose to a crescendo. I always thought it was a matter of choosing the devil you know to the devil you do not know. SDGE was buying friends by making substantial gifts to arts and welfare organizations around town, and they all feared the largess would diminish or cease with SCE in charge. But that was really just a process of moving dollars out of the ratepayers pockets and spreading them around town. It didn't make SDGE a good corporate citizen or generous. It was just a strange time and a strange fight.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:48 p.m.

Visduh: I used to debate SCE's lead executive on the takeover (Peevey, now head of the CPUC), as well as speak on TV and radio against the attempted takeover, and write column after column opposing it. The one argument that resonated the most was that San Diego rates would rise if it would be merged with Edison. And SDGE rates were already extremely high, and still are. Best, Don Bauder

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Bob_Hudson Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:37 p.m.

I was Executive Director and sole staff for the Coalition For Local Control, the group that brought together labor, the Sierra Club, the Chamber of Commerce and other strange bedfellows to challenge the takeover of SDG&E by Edison. I can tell you beyond saying she opposed the merger, Mayor Mo and her office did nothing to make the campaign successful and in fact were a bit of an obstacle with her insistence that we should spend precious resources on an advisory ballot measure that would not have affected the PUC decision one bit. We just had to ignore her on that one. Otherwise, she stayed aloof from the fray and was not really a player in that successful campaign. It's sad to see how life has transpired, but it didn't surprise me that she had become a recluse.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:23 a.m.

Bob: You and I worked together on that one, but I disagree with you. I did not deal with Maureen's office -- I always dealt directly with her. But she did a great job on that effort to get Edison out of town, and I assume her staff helped her. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:05 p.m.

Thanks Don. We have this dark cloud over the San Diego mayorship. When I read the headline in UTSD not seeing O'Connor, I really thought it was Sanders. Well look at the bright side, Hedgecock will have a ton of show material for today and tomorrow. Cheers!

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:08 p.m.

Darren: I am delighted I won't be listening to it. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:17 p.m.

Roger Hedgecock can still practice law, he has no restrictions on his law licens;

http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/50725

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:35 p.m.

SurfPup: He is inactive. I do not believe he should practice law. You and I have been through this before. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:13 p.m.

Roger became/is very succe$$ful as an AM talk show host. It amazes me to see his long run with strong ratings. The syndication was his savior because I doubt Clear Channel was going to continue his contractual annual salary given the sea-changes in AM/FM broadcasting and redistribution of markets abroad newer broad platforms. Interesting tidbit about AM talk show hosts is the disproportionate amount of them that were former lawyers. I suppose the talent for presenting a case and debate, gives them a natural skill-set coming into political talk. What ever happened to Rick Roberts (not that I was a fan), I heard he is on a single station in Texas.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 5:18 p.m.

Darren: Is Roger really that successful now? I just don't know. In any case, his mentality hasn't changed. According to Daily Kos, on a KFMB show Jan. 29, Hedgecock said Hiroshima and Chernobyl really weren't so bad; "hysteria" from "anti-war, anti-nuke folks" makes those two disasters seem destructive. "Hiroshima is one of the most modern cities because it had an instant redevelopment plan," quoth Hedgecock. Before the World War II explosion, the city was "a rabbit warren of medieval streets." There has been a "surge in wildlife" in Chernobyl. "The dirtiest radioactive site in Europe has become the continent's biggest animal sanctuary. So much for the hysteria." Sounds like the road to economic revival requires being nuked first. As I said, Roger hasn't changed. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:51 p.m.

Hi Don, sounds like Roger comes right out of a character from Dr. Strangelove. Scary rhetoric from him on Hiroshima. The problem I've always had with the neocon mics like Roger, Rick Roberts, Sean Hannity, Mark Levine, Michael Savage (to a more unpredictable degree), Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc., is they have this uncanny knack of not being truly independent thinkers, rather they all seem to share the script amongst each other, which is to carry their PARTY's bouncing ball. Take care!

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 5:06 p.m.

Darren: Oh yes, they all talk the same game. And seem to have the same followers. Wouldn't you think the listeners would get tired of hearing the same song from each of them? For awhile, Hedgecock was subbing occasionally for Limbaugh. I believe that ended. One of our posters says Rick Roberts is now down in some market in Texas. He always belonged there. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:14 p.m.

He is "inactive", yes, he would have to activate the license by paying a fee in order to practice, which takes about 2 minutes. He can activate his license and then he would be free to practice as he has no restrictions on his law license. I did not mean to imply he could practice while on inactive status.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 8:59 p.m.

SP: Good, because he can't practice while inactive. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:46 p.m.

Hedgecock is syndicated?? I have no idea as I do not listen to talk radio. Do you know how many stations he is on????

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Visduh Feb. 14, 2013 @ 5:21 p.m.

When he moved from KOGO to KFMB a year or two ago, I thought that it was because his syndication was fading and that Clear Channel was less-than-happy with him. Now that he seems to be taking most of his calls locally, he's back in his element. But that doesn't mean he's that good at it. The stumbles, long pauses, and the impression he gives that he hasn't prepared are all there.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:02 p.m.

Visduh: I know his syndication was fading. That's why I was surprised when one blogger said it was successful. He is better on local topics than on national and international topics, but you suggest is no longer so good at the latter. I am not saying I agreed with him; I just said that he was good on the air and had built up a large local audience. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Feb. 14, 2013 @ 10:15 p.m.

I remember reading than when he started his syndicated show in January 2009 it was on the Radio America and that he went off of the payroll at KOGO and was being paid by Radio America to the tune of about $300K.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:27 a.m.

tomjohnston: 2009 was a long time ago, especially for radio. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Feb. 15, 2013 @ 9:25 a.m.

I guess that would depend on the length of his contract, wouldn't it? And since he's still on Radio America......

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:52 p.m.

tomjohnston: I will be checking all this out. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren Feb. 15, 2013 @ 2:12 p.m.

His 28 years run is in talk radio highly succe$$ful from the aspect that he pulled ratings long enough to keep a show. Albeit he has gone from KSDO to KOGO to KFMB, but kept a market. Roger is good at covering hot topic button issues, though I'm often not in agreement. Though the style/form gets stale. If you call his show and disagree, you must be prepared to be berated and cutoff. It's like walking into a courtroom without any education/training in rhetoric, argument and trial law, and going against a sharp lawyer. And when I mentioned these guys are "stale" it is as though Rush, Sean and Roger all share their talking points and rail on the same old subjects each day. The fact Stacy Taylor and Roger were once good friends at KSDO, is amazing considering their juxtaposed political positions. Stacy was very good, he was too kind to some callers and let them hijack the air time.

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 6:53 a.m.

Darren: I was on the Hedgecock show only twice that I recall, and on Stacy Taylor's show once. Hedgecock and I were on KUSI-TV for awhile together, but not in the same time slot. We were on several panels together. Hedgecock definitely had the redneck market eating out of his hand, but I always wondered about his appeal. He did have a remarkable way of stating an issue in a way that brought out the paranoia and outrage in listeners. Bill Ballance was the master radio talk show host. What happened to Stacy Taylor? Anybody know? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:39 a.m.

Don, I remember when you showed up on KUSI News a few times, maybe even as a regular for a short, short period (cannot recall).

I wanted to see you more often, that must have been 25 yeras ago.

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 11:37 a.m.

SurfPup: Yes, I was on KUSI-TV in the early '90s for a couple of years. I would do business/economic/scam reports three times a week in the evening. Then I went on the morning show three times a week, which meant that I would leave the station at 10:30 p.m. and have to be up early for the morning show, meanwhile working 10 hours a week at the U-T. At that point, I had had a heart attack and two quadruple bypass surgeries; my cardiologist opposed this KUSI/U-T schedule. The first time my health took a dive, I had to give it up -- quite reluctantly. I enjoyed being on KUSI. In the following years, I would be a guest on various shows sporadically, but I wasn't there steadily. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren March 4, 2013 @ 6:39 p.m.

Hi Don, yes, I recall you on KUSI. I met the late Dan McKinnon who owned or invested much money in KUSI out at the airport where he rented airplanes. He had a rich history including C.A.B. chairman, amongst many other accomplishments. I always heard Dan and his brother treated people square at KUSI. Last time Stacy was on-air was that KLSD which was good call letters though they got mocked for it. They were the only voice on AM radio against the Iraq War. Last time I tried to check-in with Stacy his emails were being bounced back from the Cox server. I have not heard of him anywhere on radio, and don't think he intended to stay on it. He tried a webcast for a while there but that seemed to shut down. I hope he is doing something utilizing his talents and that we'll hear of it soon. Take care! Darren

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:26 a.m.

SP: He was syndicated at one point, but I don't know that he is now. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:53 p.m.

tomjohnston: I will take your word for it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:04 p.m.

Jay: That is a good cartoon. Best, Don Bauder

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Jay Allen Sanford Feb. 14, 2013 @ 5:48 p.m.

While O’Connor may have been one of the city’s better Mayors, I’ve never quite forgiven her for her role in dismantling San Diego’s network of drive-in theaters (aka “ozones”), which she felt were devolving into dangerous dens of iniquity. A little known story behind this (from my Reader cover feature Field of Screens):

December 2, 1961: Campus Drive-in snack bar employee Tom O'Leary got into an argument with a 21 year-old patron Dennis J. O'Connor. Things got increasingly heated, and O'Leary ended up pulling a knife on the patron and stabbing O'Connor to death. O'Leary was charged with unlawful killing and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

This didn't satisfy O'Connor's family, who filed a lawsuit against the Campus Drive-In Corporation, seeking damages for corporate negligence by maintaining that O'Leary committed the assault while acting in the course of his employment. The court eventually ruled that the Campus wasn't a party to the manslaughter and thus shouldn't be held liable, though appeals and motions regarding the judgment continued through 1967.

O'Connor's father Jerome O'Connor spent so much time in courtrooms that he eventually became president of the San Diego Court Watchers Association.

In 1971, the murdered man's sister, Maureen O'Connor, became the youngest person ever to be elected to the San Diego City Council. She was elected Mayor of San Diego in 1986, and went on to recommend the demolition and redevelopment of around a dozen outdoor theater properties, beginning with Lemon Grove’s Ace Drive-In, a 7.6-acre parcel of land at the northeast corner of Broadway and Grove Street that became home to the Village Grove apartment complex, built by Jack Guttman’s company Guttman Construction at a cost of around $8 million dollars and featuring 161 rental apartments.

Mayor Mo fast-tracked several more drive-in conversions to make things easier on firms she favored such as Guttman's, which had also built up the land formerly occupied by the Pacific Drive-In on Mission Bay Drive, north of Bluffside Avenue and near the foot of Garnet. That locale ended up hosting the $10 million Bella Pacific project on the former ozone lot, featuring 120 “condominium-grade” apartments.

Though Guttman himself earned an ominous nickname on several cinema aficionado websites, “The Ozone Killer,” former Mayor Mo’s dislike and distrust of drive-in theaters certainly made it easier to whittle down San Diego’s drive-in population from its late seventies high of nearly two dozen ozones to its current tally of exactly two: The South Bay DI and the Santee DI.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 8:12 p.m.

In 1971, the murdered man's sister, Maureen O'Connor, became the youngest person ever to be elected to the San Diego City Council.

Her brother was MURDERED at age 21, had no idea.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:07 p.m.

Jay: Very interesting, but I don't understand one point: what authority did the San Diego city council have over Lemon Grove? Best, Don Bauder

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Jay Allen Sanford Feb. 14, 2013 @ 11:31 p.m.

Sorry I didn't elaborate - your post inspired me to write a full blog on how various local City officials helped slay San Diego's drive-in theaters. As detailed there, "Mayor Mo" co-drafted and signed a widely circulated petition to close Lemon Grove’s Ace Drive-In, complaining that police were constantly at the theater dealing with "pot smokers and indigant [sp] young people." I've never figured out whether the petition text intended to reference the Lemon Grove stoners (who had a saying, "The Ace Is The Place To Space") as "indigent" (dressed as if homeless?) or "indignant" (maybe because cops kept confiscating their weed).

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:30 a.m.

Jay: That is a believable explanation on how the San Diego council influenced Lemon Grove. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Feb. 14, 2013 @ 6:47 p.m.

I wonder if her brain tumor had anything to do with her gambling problem. Such a reckless change in personality is not that uncommon with some types of tumors.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:12 p.m.

tomjohnston: I wondered the same thing. I wouldn't have been surprised if the Mo I knew would have given all her money to an orphanage. But tossing it away in casinos? I have asked a couple of people who knew Mo very well; one thought she must have suffered a personality change from the enormous tumor growing in her head; another didn't think so. (I had only talked with her a couple of times from 2003 to 2011, so I had no idea this change was coming over her.) It remains a mystery. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 18, 2013 @ 10:43 p.m.

The tumor is a real concern, but again, that would NLT MATTER if she were poor, a minority or had no $$$$$$$ or connections. She is getting a deal NO ONE besides her could get.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 8:14 p.m.

I have heard conflicting accounts of how much Mo gambled away, $2 million-$13 million.

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:15 p.m.

SP: The US Attorney's office says that if you add up all she won, it came to $1 billion, but what she lost came to more than $1 billion. If that is true, she must have sat in a casino hour upon hour making bets, like the people you see at casino machines who have obviously lost all interest in living. This is just NOT Maureen O'Connor. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Feb. 15, 2013 @ 9 a.m.

Was she having fun while there as the tv spots suggest,or was she grim like most of the patrons ( smoking indoors, and drink in hand too)

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Visduh Feb. 15, 2013 @ 10:27 a.m.

Ahh, yes, the three conjoined vices: smoking, drinking and wagering. Out on the casino floor you might occasionally see some younger and affluent folks having fun. But get back in the one armed bandit section and the faces are grim and there's absolutely no sign of anyone enjoying themselves. The patrons appear to be in generally poor physical condition, overweight, and if their attire is any indication, poor.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 5:16 p.m.

Visduh: And gambling with money that you know damned well comes from Social Security or some other entitlements. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 12:58 p.m.

Murphyjunk: I just cannot picture Mo sitting at an electronic gambling machine all day. Apparently she played a poker game. It just doesn't figure. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 11:44 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Gene Iredale, her criminal lawyer, said she suffered from "grief gambling." This suggests that, yes, she was sitting there grimly gambling. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:54 p.m.

I don't think Hedgecock's income is based on ratings or advertising revenue. His show is being bankrolled by wingnuts who use radio to pursue a political agenda. I'm sure they pay him well for his services.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 7:32 a.m.

Burwell: Through the years, the show has certainly been aimed at the wingnut audience. Financial support from them? Not sure of that, but you may be right. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Feb. 15, 2013 @ 8 a.m.

"She agreed to pay back the money "

thanks for the morning laff .

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 1:01 p.m.

Murphyjunk: She is still plaintiff in a lawsuit over a Mendocino hotel that a German operation took her to the cleaners on. Part of the lawsuit went to the appellate court, and is now going to Supreme Court. The main suit is still at the trial level. If she wins that suit, she may come up with $2 million. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Feb. 15, 2013 @ 4:14 p.m.

I don't understand the $1B. She won and lost over $1 Billion ? And this isn't considered unusual? To me, the $1B number seems like a very large number - even in Vegas terms. When I googled "largest Vegas win or loss" it turns up 8 figure numbers - not 10 figure (e.g. Archie Karas, Kerrie Packer)

Maybe I'm not understanding the $1B number correctly or I'm comparing apples to oranges?

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2013 @ 5:30 p.m.

ImJustABill: I couldn't figure the $1 billion either, initially even thinking it was a typo of some kind. It goes like this, apparently: Mo was sitting at a machine, placing bets in electronic poker games. She would win X amount, lose X amount. These are all recorded by casinos. The government added them up from the casinos in Vegas, Atlantic City and San Diego County over a number of years, and concluded that she had won a billion and lost a a bit more than a billion. Her total loss was $13 million. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Feb. 15, 2013 @ 5:40 p.m.

Correct. The casinos have to report winnings that exceed a low threshold, and that looks to an outsider as if they are reporting NET winnings when they are not. Her net winnings/losses were much less. But how many of us could afford to lose $13 million over a couple decades and still be out and about?

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 11:48 a.m.

Visduh: She is said to have been worth between $25 million and $50 million. She lost $13 million, yet she is destitute, or nearly so, according to her lawyer. That suggests she has a lot of illiquid assets that she cannot turn into cash. Or the $25 million/$50 million estimate is wrong. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Feb. 15, 2013 @ 5:43 p.m.

Oh I see. So it's like for my typical Vegas weekend I might spend, lets say, 5 hours making $10 bets at blackjack or craps tables and maybe win (or more often lose) something like $200 for the weekend. But if I counted every bet maybe I'm playing 100 bets / hr which works out to $5000 gambled.

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:12 p.m.

ImJustABill: The casinos have carefully figured out the ideal "take" for gamblers. If everybody lost all the time, they wouldn't come back. If everybody won all the time, the casino would go under. So the casinos carefully figure just the right win/lose ratio to keep the suckers coming back. Over a long period, the house is going to win. For the life of me, I can't figure why people gamble. It's a loser's game. Maybe gambling is a substitute for self-flagellation. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:46 p.m.

imJustABill: I believe that is how the government figured it. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Feb. 15, 2013 @ 11:34 p.m.

This whole situation makes me sad. Mayor O'Connor was better than most.

Why didn't any of the local reporters, many of whom have indicated they knew about her gambling, ever write about this? Yes, it would be invading her privacy...but she's a public figure, and someone who held a role overseeing an important trust.

Perhaps the embarrassment would have persuaded her to get help.

Now it's all come out any way, and she seems a broken woman.

And yet the situation also angers me...medical marijuana patients, as gravely ill as Mayor Mo, are sent to prison to suffer and die in a cell. An embezzler of a trust gets deferred prosecution.

Dumanis and Duffy have some explaining to do about this double standard.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:54 a.m.

Dumanis and Duffy have some explaining to do about this double standard.

As I have stated MANY times here before, Dumbass is being sued for fabricating evidence i a 1st degree murder case and nothing has happened to her. She should be prosecuted by the AG or US Attorneys office and go to jail, and lose her law license. But DA's committing obstruction of justice and numerous other crimes NEVER are held accountable for their actions or accept responsibility.

Google Peter James Longenbach and see for yourself. FELON! No jail, law license suspended only 2+ years, has it back, plea bargained 13 felonies down to 1 with 400 hours of teaching golf to kids as punishment, YIKES, hard time there.

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:21 p.m.

SP: Longenbach, who was high up in the DA hierarchy, was doing his real estate business from the DA's office, and having DA employees do work for him. And he headed the white collar crime group. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:27 p.m.

Don, that is NOT ALL Longanbach was doing, he was also HIDING exculpatory evidence and suborning perjury in the David Genzler murder trial (Genzler was convicted for 2nd degree murder until it was overturned based on Longanbach misconduct)....detecting a theme here in the DA's culture????? He was obstructing justice in a murder trial and he was never ever charged for those crimes, as you point out the 13 felonies he was charged with were from his misusing government resources. Shows how much of a banana republic we have become. As good as our system IS- it is only as good as the people charged with running it-like judges, DA's and elected officials. We have failed miserably in this regard. Our DA and DDA's are a prime example.

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:52 p.m.

SurfPup: Historically, one way the U.S. Attorney's office has been kept from doing sufficient digging locally is Washington's insistence that the emphasis be put on the border. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:18 p.m.

Fred: I certainly didn't know about her gambling problem. Did reporters know it was a "problem" -- that is, did they know she was addicted, and losing her fortune? They may only have been aware that she habituated the casinos. And, unfortunately, many people do. I understand she gambled in the company of some San Diegans (whom I am not free to name) who were far richer than she was. She may have been trying to keep up with them. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:51 a.m.

And yet the situation also angers me...medical marijuana patients, as gravely ill as Mayor Mo, are sent to prison to suffer and die in a cell.

Her sentence was ridiculous, and this is just another example. As I stated earlier, there are TWO sets of laws in America, one for the rich and connected and those the poor.

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Don Bauder Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:30 p.m.

SurfPup: You are right. There are two sets of laws -- one for the rich and powerful, and another for the rest of Americans. Maureen's case certainly looks like a case of nobility privilege, but keep in mind that she has had a serious brain tumor operation, and concomitant mental problems. She couldn't stand trial. What good would it do to incarcerate her? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 18, 2013 @ 10:37 p.m.

I like the term "nobility privilege" and yet it does irk me that if some poor guy in a trailer park did the same thing, his goose would probably be cooked.

Did the SAME thing, steal millions? If he stole a $20 SPOT from 7-11 he would be in the slammer for 25 years if he had priors....

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Don Bauder Feb. 19, 2013 @ 9:22 a.m.

SP: Yes, this has been going on forever in the U.S. and other countries. A guy steals $100 million in a stock market swindle, hires the best lawyers in the nation who are cozy with the SEC and DOJ, and gets off. Another guy knocks over a gas station for $25 and goes to prison. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Feb. 18, 2013 @ 10:03 a.m.

The image of Lady Justice with the blindfold comes to mind. I think this is the ideal the justice system should strive for. In principle, a serious crime should get treated seriously - whether the crime by a 22 year old gang member covered in tattoos, an aging former mayor, a hedge fund manager, or whoever. Maybe there should be some reasonable amount of lattitude in sentencing but I think for the justice system to be fair the magnitude of the crime committed should be a major factor - probably the primary factor - in deciding sentencing. Just my opinion.

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Don Bauder Feb. 19, 2013 @ 9:24 a.m.

ImJustABill: One problem is that the Wall Streeter who steals $100 million has concealed his steps in convoluted transactions involving offshore banks, etc. It is hard to get a jury to understand what the Wall Streeter has pulled off. But a jury understands the guy with a gun who steals from a gas station. Best, Don Bauder

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rdotinga Feb. 18, 2013 @ 8:29 p.m.

Where have these "many" reporters indicated that they knew about her gambling? And if she gambled a lot after she was mayor (or even while she was mayor), why would that be a news story?

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 18, 2013 @ 10:40 p.m.

And if she gambled a lot after she was mayor (or even while she was mayor), why would that be a news story?

Because gambling is an addiction and it is not uncommon for people to steal to support the habit, and not uncommon to blow through millions if you have it-ask William Bennett.

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Don Bauder Feb. 19, 2013 @ 9:33 a.m.

Randy: You make a good point, but as I understand it, several in the media knew about her gambling problem. I did not and never heard the rumor from anybody. I don't think it would have been a story until something broke -- say, a casino suing her for non-payment of debts, or something of that nature. When people talked about some in the media knowing about her problem, I would guess that a story at that point was not on anyone's mind. Best, Don Bauder

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