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Breaking Stories

Missing links First the good news: KPBS, the local public broadcasting organization owned and operated by San Diego State University, is reporting total revenues of $25,131,533 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. Now the bad: despite all that money, the TV and radio stations posted an operating loss of $1,155,993, compared to a net of $2,975,981 the previous year, when revenues were $31,507,088. What went wrong? Well, for one, the report says, "Contributions decreased by approximately $4.8 million, or 22%, from 2004 to 2005 due to the absence of the two bequests from 2004." Though SDSU is notoriously secretive about the source of donations to KPBS, one of those onetime bequests was likely $5 million received in 2004 from the estate of the late McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc. Overall, contributions to the stations declined from $20,821,887 to $13,704,588. Some of the rest of the falloff was attributed to a reduction in "direct" and "indirect" support payments from the university itself (in other words, state taxpayers), from a total of about $7.2 million in 2004 down to $6.8 million in 2005. Other sources of revenue -- including cash from station "memberships" and proceeds from a car-donation program -- were apparently flat or down, though the stations did not furnish enough details for readers of the report to know for sure.

On the expense side of the ledger, "Underwriting costs" climbed from $1.7 million in 2004 to $2 million in 2005. Funds to produce the actual programs offered to viewers and listeners did not fare as well. Slightly more than $1.5 million in cuts were made in "Programming and production" expenses, which fell from $11,954,323 to $10,407,033. "Management and general" expenses dropped from $3,140,975 to $2,282,771. But that was still not enough to prevent the stations' posting the big loss. One other thing: members of the public who want to check out the financial report for themselves are told that it is available for review on the KPBS website. But there is a problem: as of Tuesday of this week, the PDF file containing the report was missing pages 11 through 14, where the crucial figures on revenues and expenses are to be found.

Monied pols If nothing else, the prosperous top staffers of San Diego Republican mayor Jerry Sanders own a diverse array of assets. An example is the mayor's "director of policy," Julie Dubick, a La Jolla lawyer who once ran for school board under the banner of the chamber of commerce. According to Dubick's recently filed statement of economic interests, she owns stock worth between $10,000 and $100,000 in an outfit called Limo Leasing, LLP, which perhaps not surprisingly is involved in "limo leasing." She reported getting less than $500 last year from that venture. Dubick also owns part of a corporation called O'Fallon Co., which she valued at between $100,000 and $1 million. It in turn, the form says, owns trust deeds on property at 4749 Market and at 1603 Buckeye Drive in El Cajon. Her husband, who the form says works at the law firm of Dysart & Dubick, makes over $100,000. Dubick's biggest stock holding, in Qualcomm, is valued at between $100,000 and $1 million; she has lesser interests in Bank of America, Hilton Hotels, and Oracle.

Not all members of the mayor's bucks-up city hall crew are pro-GOP. Wealthy La Jolla lawyer and investor James T. Waring, appointed by Sanders last week to the newly created position of "deputy chief operating officer for land use and economic development," is a big donor to Democratic causes. His campaign contributions include $1000 to John Kerry for President in March 2004; his wife Kathy donated the same amount to the liberal senator from Massachusetts. In September 2004, Waring gave $2500 to the Environment2004, Inc. PAC, a political action committee based in Washington, D.C., that raised more than $2 million in an attempt to defeat President George W. Bush in that November's election. The group's campaign included buying $40,000 of billboards in Florida that said, "Global warming equals worse hurricanes. George Bush just doesn't get it," with a picture of a storm swirling over the state. Waring has long been a member of the board of River Network and recently was elected a board member of International Rivers Network. Both work against construction of dams and other environmental disruptions. When Bush named Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz last March to become head of the World Bank, International Rivers Network's policy director Peter Bosshard said, "It is disgraceful that governments have chosen to fill this important post via backdoor horse-trading rather than through an open selection process."

Up and out It's been a big year for PR maven Kevin Faulconer, newly elected San Diego second district city councilman, and now his boss at his old job at downtown's Porter Novelli is moving on too. Jim Bartell, a former Santee city councilman who once worked for ex-congressman Jim Bates, is leaving his position as San Diego chief of the worldwide PR operation to open his own agency. Regarded as one of the city's top practitioners in the art of the schmooze, Bartell was told by San Diego city attorney Mike Aguirre to think about registering as a lobbyist after the Union-Tribune reported in October that -- based on official calendars examined by the paper -- he had the third-highest number of private meetings with councilmembers. His subsequent disclosure showed two clients with business at the city: Equity Office Properties Trust and the San Diego State University Foundation.

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Missing links First the good news: KPBS, the local public broadcasting organization owned and operated by San Diego State University, is reporting total revenues of $25,131,533 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. Now the bad: despite all that money, the TV and radio stations posted an operating loss of $1,155,993, compared to a net of $2,975,981 the previous year, when revenues were $31,507,088. What went wrong? Well, for one, the report says, "Contributions decreased by approximately $4.8 million, or 22%, from 2004 to 2005 due to the absence of the two bequests from 2004." Though SDSU is notoriously secretive about the source of donations to KPBS, one of those onetime bequests was likely $5 million received in 2004 from the estate of the late McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc. Overall, contributions to the stations declined from $20,821,887 to $13,704,588. Some of the rest of the falloff was attributed to a reduction in "direct" and "indirect" support payments from the university itself (in other words, state taxpayers), from a total of about $7.2 million in 2004 down to $6.8 million in 2005. Other sources of revenue -- including cash from station "memberships" and proceeds from a car-donation program -- were apparently flat or down, though the stations did not furnish enough details for readers of the report to know for sure.

On the expense side of the ledger, "Underwriting costs" climbed from $1.7 million in 2004 to $2 million in 2005. Funds to produce the actual programs offered to viewers and listeners did not fare as well. Slightly more than $1.5 million in cuts were made in "Programming and production" expenses, which fell from $11,954,323 to $10,407,033. "Management and general" expenses dropped from $3,140,975 to $2,282,771. But that was still not enough to prevent the stations' posting the big loss. One other thing: members of the public who want to check out the financial report for themselves are told that it is available for review on the KPBS website. But there is a problem: as of Tuesday of this week, the PDF file containing the report was missing pages 11 through 14, where the crucial figures on revenues and expenses are to be found.

Monied pols If nothing else, the prosperous top staffers of San Diego Republican mayor Jerry Sanders own a diverse array of assets. An example is the mayor's "director of policy," Julie Dubick, a La Jolla lawyer who once ran for school board under the banner of the chamber of commerce. According to Dubick's recently filed statement of economic interests, she owns stock worth between $10,000 and $100,000 in an outfit called Limo Leasing, LLP, which perhaps not surprisingly is involved in "limo leasing." She reported getting less than $500 last year from that venture. Dubick also owns part of a corporation called O'Fallon Co., which she valued at between $100,000 and $1 million. It in turn, the form says, owns trust deeds on property at 4749 Market and at 1603 Buckeye Drive in El Cajon. Her husband, who the form says works at the law firm of Dysart & Dubick, makes over $100,000. Dubick's biggest stock holding, in Qualcomm, is valued at between $100,000 and $1 million; she has lesser interests in Bank of America, Hilton Hotels, and Oracle.

Not all members of the mayor's bucks-up city hall crew are pro-GOP. Wealthy La Jolla lawyer and investor James T. Waring, appointed by Sanders last week to the newly created position of "deputy chief operating officer for land use and economic development," is a big donor to Democratic causes. His campaign contributions include $1000 to John Kerry for President in March 2004; his wife Kathy donated the same amount to the liberal senator from Massachusetts. In September 2004, Waring gave $2500 to the Environment2004, Inc. PAC, a political action committee based in Washington, D.C., that raised more than $2 million in an attempt to defeat President George W. Bush in that November's election. The group's campaign included buying $40,000 of billboards in Florida that said, "Global warming equals worse hurricanes. George Bush just doesn't get it," with a picture of a storm swirling over the state. Waring has long been a member of the board of River Network and recently was elected a board member of International Rivers Network. Both work against construction of dams and other environmental disruptions. When Bush named Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz last March to become head of the World Bank, International Rivers Network's policy director Peter Bosshard said, "It is disgraceful that governments have chosen to fill this important post via backdoor horse-trading rather than through an open selection process."

Up and out It's been a big year for PR maven Kevin Faulconer, newly elected San Diego second district city councilman, and now his boss at his old job at downtown's Porter Novelli is moving on too. Jim Bartell, a former Santee city councilman who once worked for ex-congressman Jim Bates, is leaving his position as San Diego chief of the worldwide PR operation to open his own agency. Regarded as one of the city's top practitioners in the art of the schmooze, Bartell was told by San Diego city attorney Mike Aguirre to think about registering as a lobbyist after the Union-Tribune reported in October that -- based on official calendars examined by the paper -- he had the third-highest number of private meetings with councilmembers. His subsequent disclosure showed two clients with business at the city: Equity Office Properties Trust and the San Diego State University Foundation.

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