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— Buster's Beach House, a new restaurant in Seaport Village, started its first week of business on a downer: a B rating from the county health department was displayed discreetly in the front window, partially hidden by a palm tree ... Look for the next big toilet-to-tap controversy to erupt in the South Bay, where authorities are talking about injecting recycled sewage into the groundwater ... XETV, the Tijuana television station that broadcasts the Fox network in San Diego, is getting serious about news, sort of. Shelley Harrell, weekend anchor for Portsmouth, Virginia-based WAVY-TV, has left the station to work at XETV, starting at the end of the summer, reports the Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia. If XETV really does get into the news business, it will join KSWB and KUSI in a first-ever, three-way slugfest among local independent television stations for news viewers ... The San Diego labor council is planning an orchids-and-onions-type awards show next month, akin to the prizes handed out by local architects. Top onion is said to be the Union-Tribune for its ongoing fight with its labor force.

Have Charity, Will Travel

The face of Father Joe Carroll, the entrepreneurial monsignor from San Diego who's backed such diverse causes as homeless shelters and the taxpayer-subsidized convention center expansion, is beaming down from billboards around Palm Springs. He's also appearing in television spots asking Palm Springs locals to donate their old cars. The cause is Martha's Kitchen, a charitable group headed by Palm Desert resident Ray Faccenda, who also owns property in Carlsbad. Carroll, a champion fundraiser, is also building a multimillion-dollar, government-subsidized homeless shelter near Indio.

Fizzled Frahm

Just four months after January's big ballyhoo in the Union-Tribune about lawyer Christine Frahm's appointment by Mayor Susan Golding to the city's Public Facility Finance Authority, Frahm has quit the board. That leaves two vacancies on the five-member panel, which met last week with its bare three-member quorum, including City Manager Michael Uberuaga, and rubber-stamped several hundred million dollars' worth of annual city debt service ... Two San Diego fat cats are taking advantage of a loophole in federal election laws to funnel big money to their respective political causes. Chargers owner Alex Spanos just gave $250,000 in so-called soft money to the Republican National Committee. Shopping magnate Sol Price wrote a check for $100,000 to the Democrats ... La Jollan James L. Lambert, author of Porn in America: The Drift Towards Decadence in our Society and the Way Out, has attacked John F. Kennedy, Jr. for having brought porn-king Larry Flynt to the recent White House Correspondents' Dinner. "Need I remind you that in the 1970s, Mr. Flynt 'terrorized' your mother Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by distributing a nude layout of her in his magazine," Lambert wrote Kennedy, according to the Washington Times.

Computerized Gumshoe

San Diego lawyer Roy Bell, husband of U-T columnist Diane Bell, has won a victory in the ongoing legal saga of billionaire yachtsman Bill Koch versus two of his equally wealthy brothers. According to a news release put out by Bill Koch's Oxbow Corporation, a federal judge ordered Koch Industries, the rival brothers' company, to pay a $200,000 fine for "destroying computer records that allegedly showed a company-wide scheme to steal oil from Indian nations and federal taxpayers." According to the release, "Bell's office painstakingly reconstructed some of the destroyed databases by going back to the original paper records and inputting them into electronic files. In his most recent ruling, Judge Joyner ordered Koch Industries to pay for that work." Koch and Bell are old yachting buddies from San Diego's once-glorious America's Cup days ... Claudette Henry, who was Oklahoma state treasurer when San Diego swindlers Patrick Kuhse and Patricia Whitehead stole $6.7 million in kickbacks and overcharges from the state in a fraudulent 1992 investment scheme, died last week at age 52. Whitehead and Kuhse, who worked for Rancho Bernardo-based Planners Independent Management, are doing eight-year sentences in federal prison ... Iomega, a maker of removable hard drives for computers, is closing its San Diego factory.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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