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Late last month, San Diego voters began getting so-called robo calls on behalf of city councilman Scott Peters, one of four candidates running against incumbent city attorney Michael Aguirre. The taped caller identified herself as Dede Alpert, an ex–Democratic state senator who is currently a consultant to the big Sacramento lobbying firm of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor. Alpert also sits on the board of directors of the San Diego Padres, the baseball team owned by John Moores.

Then last week, Democratic state attorney general Jerry Brown, the former governor and presidential candidate, as well as an aspiring gubernatorial candidate, released a report blasting Aguirre’s version of GOP mayor Jerry Sanders’s role in the Sunroad over-height building scandal. No doubt just by coincidence, Brown’s wife Anne Baldwin Gust — an unpaid executive in the A.G.’s office who is said to wield considerable clout there — sits on the board of Jack in the Box, Inc., the San Diego–based fast-food chain. Another member of the company’s seven-member board: lawyer Michael Alpert, retired from the big downtown L.A. firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; he just happens to be Dede Alpert’s husband.

Ironically, Jack in the Box was once partly owned by Richard Silberman, state secretary of business and transportation during Brown’s two terms as governor in the 1970s and early ’80s. Silberman was also a key player in Brown’s 1982 campaign for U.S. Senate, which he lost to then–San Diego mayor Pete Wilson. Silberman later wed Susan Golding and paid for her successful campaign for county supervisor; she divorced him after he was convicted of money laundering and sent to prison as the result of an FBI sting. When she was mayor, Golding’s top political advisor was Fred Sainz, now playing the same role for San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, a key Aguirre foe. … With incumbents set to glide to easy reelection, there’s not much action in the races for San Diego County supervisors. That makes it easy for the local deputy sheriffs’ association to place its bets: $1426.26 for street signs posted for each of Greg Cox, Dianne Jacob, and Pam Slater-Price. The group also gave $2500 to South Bay state assembly Democratic primary candidate Auday Arabo and $1000 to superior court judge candidate Robert Faigin. … Speaking of judicial races, on April 2 the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund kicked in $2500 for the superior court judge campaign of Garry Haehnle, a superior court commissioner running against Paul Cooper, chief legal advisor to San Diego police chief William Lansdowne. The Washington, D.C.–based group gave the same amount on April 29 to San Diego community college board candidate Dwayne Crenshaw. In February of last year, Crenshaw was fined $500 by the City of San Diego’s Ethics Commission for repeatedly failing to file timely disclosure reports covering his city council campaign committee.

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Fred Williams May 28, 2008 @ 4:49 p.m.

It's a tight little oligarchy we got here in San Diego.

Hopefully this year will see a new Mayor and Council following a new path.

Time to Change San Diego.


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