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Stripped down

— A Las Vegas TV station reported last week that Michael Galardi's father Jack has lost the liquor license at his Leopard's Lounge in Vegas, but authorities claim it has nothing to do with Michael's guilty plea in the Cheetahs bribery case in San Diego. The Clark County Commission, acting as the county's liquor and gaming licensing board, ostensibly pulled the permit due to Jack's many run-ins with the law in other states over his long career as a nude-dance-club operator ... The law firm of former district attorney Paul Pfingst -- briefly hired last month by the San Diego City Council to keep city attorney Michael Aguirre at bay -- has billed the city for $10,322.90. Pfingst's contract with the city called for him to assess whether "an actual or real conflict of interest" existed between the council and Aguirre regarding Aguirre's investigation of the city's pension debacle. The bill, dated March 22, shows that Pfingst and two fellow attorneys in the law firm of Higgs, Fletcher and Mack roughly divided the fee. All services occurred in February, the month before the contract was signed. After it became public that the ex-D.A. was working for the council, Aguirre sent out a news release calling out Pfingst's past history of marijuana smoking ... Union-Tribune editorialists have been sharply critical of the city's pension mess, but the paper's own retirement problems have gone unreported. According to a recently settled federal lawsuit, the company's pension fund was required to fork over some big bucks: "the settlement creates a common fund of $1,533,656.00 in additional pension benefits for a class of over 800 members."

Brown out Mission Valley hotel mogul and GOP backer C. Terry Brown, who also has given $25,000 to the San Diego County Democratic Party, apparently to support San Diego city councilman Scott Peters, has been judged guilty by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. Brown, wife Charlene, and their Atlas Hotels, Inc., allegedly failed to disclose $135,000 in late contributions they made in February 2002 to the Yes on E/No on F campaign. Prop E, which passed by 54.4 percent, changed the city charter to require a two-thirds vote to raise city taxes, including those on hotel rooms. Prop F, which passed by 50.3 percent, was an attempt by the city council to invalidate E by requiring a two-thirds vote on city charter changes. It was later struck down by courts. Though Prop E was upheld by a superior court judge, it was thrown out by a 3-0 appellate court ruling in July 2004. According to an agreement presented at last week's commission meeting, the Browns have agreed to pay a $15,000 fine to settle the FPPC complaint against them. Meanwhile, an investigation is still reportedly in progress by the city's ethics commission into what some say was late reporting by the Coalition to Keep San Diego Working, which sent out a last-minute hit piece against the November mayoral candidacy of councilwoman Donna Frye. Brown and his wife gave $43,000 to that committee, which didn't disclose its finances until January. The group has told reporters that the mail piece did not directly advocate a vote against Frye and thus did not require preelection reporting.

Names and dates Controversial comedian Paula Poundstone is coming May 5 to the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon as part of National Public Radio's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, on which panelists are quizzed about their current-events knowledge. Four years ago the 45-year-old atheist and single adoptive mother of three pled no contest to one felony count of child endangerment and served 180 days at a drug-and-alcohol rehab center ... Matt Malone, the hotshot high school administrator recruited by San Diego Schools superintendent Alan Bersin to oversee the district's high school reforms, is said to be in line for a new job on the East Coast. Meanwhile, the departing Bersin is on a farewell tour of the local rubber-chicken circuit. His next stop: the GOP's Lincoln Club, where today, March 31 -- at downtown's posh University Club -- members will fork over $30 to hear the embattled Democratic superintendent "in an Intimate Discussion on Competition Opportunities in Education."

Under a Bush The news operation at KGTV/Channel 10 has come in for some unwelcome scrutiny by the New York Times. According to the paper, the TV station repeatedly used fake news reports by Karen Ryan, a self-described "paid shill for the Bush Administration." The Bushies used federal tax money to crank out the pieces, sent free of charge to TV stations, many of which broadcast them as straight news without bothering to identify their origin. Said the Times: "Records from Video Monitoring Services of America show that from 2001 to 2004 KGTV ran at least one government-made segment featuring Ms. Ryan, 5 others featuring her work on behalf of corporations, and 19 produced by corporations and other outside organizations. It does not appear that KGTV viewers were told the origin of these 25 segments." The paper went on to quote KGTV news director Michael Stutz as saying, " 'I thought we were pretty solid' " and that they had promised to "take more precautions" in the future.

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— A Las Vegas TV station reported last week that Michael Galardi's father Jack has lost the liquor license at his Leopard's Lounge in Vegas, but authorities claim it has nothing to do with Michael's guilty plea in the Cheetahs bribery case in San Diego. The Clark County Commission, acting as the county's liquor and gaming licensing board, ostensibly pulled the permit due to Jack's many run-ins with the law in other states over his long career as a nude-dance-club operator ... The law firm of former district attorney Paul Pfingst -- briefly hired last month by the San Diego City Council to keep city attorney Michael Aguirre at bay -- has billed the city for $10,322.90. Pfingst's contract with the city called for him to assess whether "an actual or real conflict of interest" existed between the council and Aguirre regarding Aguirre's investigation of the city's pension debacle. The bill, dated March 22, shows that Pfingst and two fellow attorneys in the law firm of Higgs, Fletcher and Mack roughly divided the fee. All services occurred in February, the month before the contract was signed. After it became public that the ex-D.A. was working for the council, Aguirre sent out a news release calling out Pfingst's past history of marijuana smoking ... Union-Tribune editorialists have been sharply critical of the city's pension mess, but the paper's own retirement problems have gone unreported. According to a recently settled federal lawsuit, the company's pension fund was required to fork over some big bucks: "the settlement creates a common fund of $1,533,656.00 in additional pension benefits for a class of over 800 members."

Brown out Mission Valley hotel mogul and GOP backer C. Terry Brown, who also has given $25,000 to the San Diego County Democratic Party, apparently to support San Diego city councilman Scott Peters, has been judged guilty by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. Brown, wife Charlene, and their Atlas Hotels, Inc., allegedly failed to disclose $135,000 in late contributions they made in February 2002 to the Yes on E/No on F campaign. Prop E, which passed by 54.4 percent, changed the city charter to require a two-thirds vote to raise city taxes, including those on hotel rooms. Prop F, which passed by 50.3 percent, was an attempt by the city council to invalidate E by requiring a two-thirds vote on city charter changes. It was later struck down by courts. Though Prop E was upheld by a superior court judge, it was thrown out by a 3-0 appellate court ruling in July 2004. According to an agreement presented at last week's commission meeting, the Browns have agreed to pay a $15,000 fine to settle the FPPC complaint against them. Meanwhile, an investigation is still reportedly in progress by the city's ethics commission into what some say was late reporting by the Coalition to Keep San Diego Working, which sent out a last-minute hit piece against the November mayoral candidacy of councilwoman Donna Frye. Brown and his wife gave $43,000 to that committee, which didn't disclose its finances until January. The group has told reporters that the mail piece did not directly advocate a vote against Frye and thus did not require preelection reporting.

Names and dates Controversial comedian Paula Poundstone is coming May 5 to the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon as part of National Public Radio's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, on which panelists are quizzed about their current-events knowledge. Four years ago the 45-year-old atheist and single adoptive mother of three pled no contest to one felony count of child endangerment and served 180 days at a drug-and-alcohol rehab center ... Matt Malone, the hotshot high school administrator recruited by San Diego Schools superintendent Alan Bersin to oversee the district's high school reforms, is said to be in line for a new job on the East Coast. Meanwhile, the departing Bersin is on a farewell tour of the local rubber-chicken circuit. His next stop: the GOP's Lincoln Club, where today, March 31 -- at downtown's posh University Club -- members will fork over $30 to hear the embattled Democratic superintendent "in an Intimate Discussion on Competition Opportunities in Education."

Under a Bush The news operation at KGTV/Channel 10 has come in for some unwelcome scrutiny by the New York Times. According to the paper, the TV station repeatedly used fake news reports by Karen Ryan, a self-described "paid shill for the Bush Administration." The Bushies used federal tax money to crank out the pieces, sent free of charge to TV stations, many of which broadcast them as straight news without bothering to identify their origin. Said the Times: "Records from Video Monitoring Services of America show that from 2001 to 2004 KGTV ran at least one government-made segment featuring Ms. Ryan, 5 others featuring her work on behalf of corporations, and 19 produced by corporations and other outside organizations. It does not appear that KGTV viewers were told the origin of these 25 segments." The paper went on to quote KGTV news director Michael Stutz as saying, " 'I thought we were pretty solid' " and that they had promised to "take more precautions" in the future.

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