San Diego The three San Diego city councilmen under indictment for bribery and other alleged nefarious activity in the Cheetahs strip-club scandal have been raking in the big money for their legal-defense funds from an array of the usual city hall special interests. But some less-familiar names have also surfaced for the cause. Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who picked up $106,000 -- the most raised by members of the Cheetahs defendants during the last half of 2003, according to campaign-disclosure reports filed late last week -- relied heavily on old and familiar sources to pay for the services of his criminal defense attorney Michael Pancer. Most of them gave the legal maximum of $250 each. There was labor czar Jerry Butkiewicz, fresh from his high-profile bid to keep the Chargers in town. There was port commissioner and Jaguar dealer Steve Cushman, along with his onetime colleague, developer Peter Janopaul. Others included Gabriel Valenzuela, listed as a "supervisor" with the Padres, along with Delia and Roger Talamantez, he being recently forced out as head of the city's data-processing operation in part for spending too much on tequila shooters. Biotech titan Ted Roth, another longtime donor and political player, checked in as well. Lobbyist Paul Robinson joined the Inzunza cause, as did ex-water board chairwoman, now lobbyist, Christine Fraham, Mitch Berner of Public Solutions, John Chalker of L.M. Capital, developer Janay Kruger, Steve Davis of SDG&E, lawyer and lobbyist Lynn Heidel, lobbyists Matt and Paul Peterson, and Marc Wolfsheimer, son of one-time strip-club industry lobbyist Lou Wolfsheimer. Other influence peddlers included David Nielsen of MNA Consulting; Bernie Rhinerson and Al Ziegaus (along with wife Connie) of Southwest Solutions; Cox Cable's Bill Geppert, Mary Bal, and Ed Lopez (who also serves on the school board); Chargers advocate and restaurateur Dan Shea; and SDG&E's Buz Schott. Inzunza recruited plenty of friends and family from his city council District 8. There were a raft of members of the Hueso family, including Ben, a close Inzunza ally as well as a city redevelopment employee who is running for school board from the district. Daniel and Rebecca Ayyad, longtime Inzunza backers who happen to redevelop rundown property in the district, were on the list. So, too, were Robert Ito, regional airport authority board member Bill Lynch, and his fellow board member, defense contracting consultant Joe Craver; and chamber of commerce honcho Jessie Knight. Inzunza's friends in politics are also well represented. Mayor Dick Murphy, his chief of staff John Kern, and Scott Peters and wife Lynn Gorguze all closed ranks around their colleague, as did Inzunza mentor, state assemblyman Juan Vargas and his aide de camp Colin Rice. Ditto their friend and campaign supporter, city business improvement district contractor Marco Limandri. Other donors included Fred Pierce, SDSU Foundation redevelopment executive and chairman of the city's troubled pension plan, along with Alberto Mier y Teran, listed as general manager of Spanish-language broadcaster KBNT, and John Dahlen, owner of Sheriff Bill Kolender's favorite old drinking spot, Bully's East. A new name listed among the Inzunza heavy hitters: Internet consultant Susan Myrland, whose website lists as clients High Tech High; the MAAC Project, a nonprofit Inzunza once chaired; and AVID, an educational group that San Diego school-board member Ron Ottinger works for. Myrland's husband Doug manages public broadcaster KPBS, which recently stirred up a minor fuss after Union-Tribune editorial writer Bob Kittle departed as a weekly commentator.
Getting religious As if Alan Bersin didn't have enough to worry about already, the San Diego Unified School District's citizens committee monitoring progress on repairing schools with proceeds from the district's Prop MM billion-dollar bond measure has come up with some more bad news. It turns out that money is running out before the schools are fixed. Just to keep up with maintenance, says a letter signed by chairman Gil Johnson and vice chair Dorothy Leonard, would cost "an additional $24 million annually above the current district funded budget of $38 million." They warn against delay: "A deferred repair doesn't go away, it just increases in cost." Also reportedly deferred. December delivery of the annual outside-audit results by the KPMG accounting firm. It's now expected on March 15. And just as his administrative top gun Lou Smith was departing for greener pastures last week, Bersin himself was reportedly in Washington, D.C., huddling with officials from the National Science Foundation, which is conducting its own audit on how federal grant money has been spent by the district. ... Deputy San Diego city attorney Leslie Devaney, who is running against coworker Deborah Berger and private attorney Michael Aguirre to succeed her boss Casey Gwinn, is set to speak about her campaign before the Christian Professional Women's Fellowship in two weeks. The topic: "You want me to do WHAT, Lord?" According to the program notes: "Leslie doesn't know what is ahead, but she knows she's in the place where God wants her to be."
-- Matt Potter