— Citizen watchdog Mel Shapiro has won yet another court battle in his never-ending crusade to pry open the obscure machinations of local government to public scrutiny. The latest victory came last week, after Shapiro and his attorney Charles Wolfinger went to court against the "Past Grand Jurors Association Implementation Review Committee of San Diego County" (PGJAIRC). As its name suggests, the low-profile committee, established by the board of supervisors, is composed of ex-county grand jurors who are supposed to monitor the county's response to the grand jury's various critiques of government programs and operations. The group meets monthly to take "testimony from county staff about what has been done to implement the recommendations and any problems." Its sessions are supposed to be open to the public, according to Shapiro's complaint. But in two years, only Shapiro and one other member of the public had ever showed up at any of the group's meetings. The reason? According to Shapiro's complaint, the committee's notices of future meetings "never quote or otherwise paraphrase any specific recommendation to be considered." That, claimed Shapiro, was a violation of the state's open-meetings act. "For example, the title 'Overcrowding at the Polinsky Center,' set for the February meeting, does not indicate whether the recommendation is to build a larger center, reduce the admissions, or place children elsewhere." Last week a judge agreed with Shapiro and ordered the committee to revise its future agendas by publishing a detailed list of each recommendation to be considered.

Radio Flyer

Peter Weissbach, one-time Libertarian talk-show host on KOGO-AM here (way back in the days before the station was taken over and cleansed of free thinkers and other diverse viewpoints by national-radio-chain owner Jacor), has hit the big time. Now featured on Seattle's KVI-AM, Weissbach is set to star next month on a nationally syndicated satellite radio show that will go head-to-head with Nevada's Art Bell, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Weissbach, 53, told the paper he's going to do more than politics on the show, which will include spiritual and "life extension" issues. "This is stuff I do as a hobby anyway. You're on the glide path down. It sobers you up. You better start thinking about this. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I believe in the metaphysical? Yes. Do I believe every palm reader? No." ... The AMC Mission Valley movie complex will soon get a digital projection system made by Texas Instruments and Technicolor, according to last week's Hollywood Reporter. Called the "digital light processing" system, the projectors use electronic data rather than film ... San Diego ranks tenth on the list of cities where mail carriers are most frequently bitten, according to a news release from the postal service. Number one is Houston, with a reported 58 bites last year. San Diego had 19.


Ex-Charger offensive tackle Harry Swayne has been accused by Moreno Valley building code officials of seven housing-code violations including "hazardous wiring, inadequate fire protection, owning a substandard building, and faulty weather protection," according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. A tenant in one of three houses Swayne owns in Moreno Valley said she had been without heat since November. The football player's local property manager told the paper that the tenant had trashed the house, but the city maintained otherwise. "The things we saw had nothing the tenant could have done," Senior Code Compliance Officer Glenn Waggoner was quoted as saying. "These were owner-related things we reported to him. The tenant didn't have anything to do with firewalls, leaks, electrical problems, and plumbing." Swayne, who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens on a reported $13.4 million four-year contract, is said to own other investment property in Del Mar and Corona, as well as Denver ... A San Diego man has been indicted in a Rhode Island drug conspiracy case that federal officials claim involves transporting more than 6000 pounds of marijuana via truck and commercial carrier service, reports the Providence Journal-Bulletin. Pablo Manjarres, 42, a.k.a. Paul Riend, was arrested there last week, the paper said.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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