San Diego Frustration is growing over the San Diego City Council's policy of discussing major issues such as stadium expansion and water rate increases behind closed doors, as well as limiting public comment at its sessions to a strict two minutes per citizen. Latest to speak out, League of Women Voters president Kathleen McIntosh. Writing in this month's League newsletter, McIntosh says, "When our elected officials refuse to conduct their sessions in the open, when they vote on issues without adequate knowledge and information, and when they stymie the public's ability to address them, then we need an election...to vote out these representatives and vote in ones who won't continue to thwart the public's right to participate in our own democracy."
When a group of Toronto leftists backing Peru's Tupac Amaru guerrillas, the organization that seized the Japanese embassy, wanted to set up a Web page for the terrorists, where did they turn? The University of California at San Diego. During the hostage crisis, the group regularly posted communiques issued from inside the besieged mansion along with photographs of themselves on UCSD's computer. Though the Tupac rebels are on the U.S. State Department's list of international terrorist groups, UCSD Web master Michael Breen says the Web site here (burn.ucsd.edu/ats/mrta.htm) is being made available free of charge in the name of free speech. The story broke in last week's San Francisco Chronicle, which quoted Breen as saying, "We don't ban anything except commercial activity or full-blown nudity. . . . But considering everything else that's out on the Web, this stuff is pretty tame." Not so, claims Monique Nelson, West Coast spokeswoman for Enough Is Enough, a group favoring the Federal Communications Decency Act. "Our tax dollars shouldn't be spent in this manner. There's no reason for university officials to allow outside terrorist groups to use state resources,'' she told the Chronicle. The paper reported that last week, officials at the State University of New York at Binghamton shut down a Web site run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the hemisphere's largest guerrilla group, after being questioned by the Chronicle.
Yankees go phone
Is Qualcomm getting sinister assistance from the U.S. government in the heated competition for a $50 million cellular phone contract on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean? So reports last week's Indian Ocean Newsletter. "This huge contract is getting intensive lobbying by U.S. diplomats: last year, a special task force was set up in the U.S. embassy in Port Louis which included U.S. Information Agency [USIA] agents and embassy trade counselors, in a bid to coordinate a publicity campaign for Qualcomm. USIA has mounted a number of propaganda operations to step up publication of news stories puffing Qualcomm and the CDMA [code division multiple access] standard (against the Asian/European standard GSM) in local media, filling its Web site on Mauritius with CDMA data, and counseling U.S. companies on their relations with Mauritian media." ... San Diego is fifth on the list of the top ten U.S. cities (all in California) whose residents have unlisted phone numbers. Tops is Sacramento, coincidentally or not, temporary home of California's leading politicians.
Welcome to the asylum
A man who fled southern Lebanon after being beaten and threatened by Hezbollah soldiers and later found work at a San Diego restaurant has been saved from deportation by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Immigration officials wanted to oust Saeb Ayoub from America, arguing he couldn't prove his claim that he'd been beaten up by Hezbollah soldiers after they called him a Christian and a "traitor belonging to Israel.'' But the appeals court ruled last week that he was entitled to an asylum hearing ... Wesley Brustad, who left as general manager of the troubled San Diego Symphony in February 1993 after a six-year reign, may soon be off to Tennessee. According to reports in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Brustad, now living in El Cajon, is first in line to become manager of the Memphis in May International Festival. Salary is said to be in the $70,000 to $90,000 range.
Contributor: Matt Potter