San Diego The scheduled appearance of England's Prince Andrew at Bio2001, the controversial biotech summit to be held here next week, is causing a ruckus at Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles, Andrew's older brother, is fiercely opposed to bioengineered food, reports London's Guardian, and Merck and Bayer, two of the high-profile outfits sponsoring the event, had a hand in trying to stop cheap generic AIDS drugs from being shipped to South Africa. So Andrew, who will give a speech at a breakfast sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, is expected to refrain from endorsing any particular technology and stick to boosting British companies. "He will be speaking in general support of trade and will not be commenting in a policy-setting context about the biotech industry," says the palace. But that doesn't satisfy Greenpeace, the environmental activist group expected to have a large contingent of demonstrators here. "This will inevitably be widely reported as a royal stamp of approval for the [biotech] industry," Greenpeace spokesman Charlie Kronick told the paper. "It's incredible that this government is underwriting him to push a technology that they cannot give away at home. He should abandon his visit." ... The 1995 death of ex-Chargers linebacker David Griggs was mostly the result of a big pothole caused by improper road maintenance, a Florida jury has ruled. The 28-year-old Griggs died in June 1995 when his car hit the hole on an off-ramp of the Ronald Reagan Turnpike near Fort Lauderdale and hit a pole. Autopsy tests also revealed Griggs had a blood-alcohol level of .16, twice the legal limit.
Charity begins at home Ex-Republican congressman Brian Bilbray, defeated by Democrat Susan Davis last November, has finally found a job, reports National Journal's Congress Daily. The one-time surfer mayor of Imperial Beach, who now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, has become a legislative consultant, signing up three California clients, including the county of Los Angeles, Conquer Cancer and Alzheimer's Now, and the San Diego consulting outfit of Benedetto Advocacy and Communications. Craig Benedetto's clients include the controversial Bajagua project, a plan to ship U.S. sewage into Mexico for treatment, a project backed by legislation sponsored by Bilbray when he was in the House. Public information about the cancer charity, formed in July of last year, is sparse; it is registered at the law office of Frank Northam, an attorney for many conservative causes. Bilbray had been in the running to head the Immigration and Naturalization Service but lost out to Senate Sergeant at Arms James Ziglar ... Monsignor "Father Joe" Carroll is vowing to keep his Crisis Intervention Center in Las Vegas open despite a continuing feud with Mayor Oscar Goodman, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "During the next year or two, we plan to restore all of the programs," Carroll told the paper. Carroll recently picked up a $50,000 grant from Station Casinos and hopes to turn to other gambling emporiums for support ... Just 76.6 percent of flights into Lindbergh Field arrive on time, reports Airports magazine, but 80.2 percent depart on schedule.
Race bait A La Jolla marketing outfit is coming under fire from Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist for using racial stereotypes in describing ethnic groups and neighborhoods in its demographic profiles, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Claritas, Inc., sells information about specific zip codes derived from census data and other sources to marketers. To jazz up the data, the company provides descriptions for population segments, including "upper crust" and "city ties." Claritas says upper crusters "contribute to PBS, visit museums, shop at high-end department stores, are members of a frequent-flyer program, and use housekeeping services." They also own cell phones, home fax machines, invest in the stock market, read the Wall Street Journal, and watch golf tournaments on TV. Folks in Milwaukee's poorer zip codes, on the other hand, "eat at fast-food chicken restaurants, smoke menthol cigarettes, and shop at Lady Foot Locker." They "have call-blocking function on phone lines, watch soap operas, read Ebony and Jet magazines, and listen to jazz-format radio."
Contributor: Matt Potter