Details, schmetails. In a recent story, the San Diego Union-Tribune proclaimed that former state Assemblyman Howard Wayne had somehow jumped ahead in the dough-raising department for the slowly percolating race to become San Diego's new city attorney.
Just how'd he do it? Simple, really, if you have another campaign committee flush with money floating out there for a now-aborted run at a state Senate seat that will likely be up for fellow Democrat and current Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe to grab. But reading the U-T's account of the accounting, you'd think, "By golly, that Howard is one dad-gum slick money-magnet!"
Problem is, the mothership of local dailies neglected to mention the Howard Wayne for Senate election committee as the primary source of that cash infusion.
According to Wayne's campaign-contribution statements for both the still-active state Senate committee and the city attorney race-which, by the way, has more scratch-outs and scribbled-in figures than a fourth-grader's homework assignment-Wayne transferred nearly $38,000 from Senate committee coffers to his city attorney campaign account. That's roughly 60 percent of the total Wayne says he raised in the most recent campaign-reporting period, which spans from July 1 to Sept. 30.
Campaign aficionados say such transfers are completely legal, as long as the contributions do not exceed the city's $250-per-election spending limit for individuals. Meanwhile, Wayne has made haste by issuing copies of the story to prospective contributors who might think he's on a hot streak, contribution-wise.
Wayne may want to consider hiring a new treasurer for his city attorney campaign, because the craftsmanship on his latest report leaves a lot to be desired, according to some other campaign treasurers whose lives oftentimes are dominated by the minutiae one finds in such reports.
April Boling, who's probably put more time into these matters than anybody locally (she's currently campaign treasurer for Wayne opponent Leslie Devaney, as well as for Mayor Dick Murphy's and Councilman Brian Maienschein's re-election bids), told CityBeat, "While I have not seen the report, I have been told that [Wayne] appears to be transferring for both the primary and general [elections]. I have also been told that the disclosure appears "sloppy' in that not all of the $500 [contributions transferred from the state Senate committee] are allocated to each the primary and general elections."
Boling also noted the numerous "manual changes" made to the report-addresses jotted down at the last minute, dates scratched out and rewritten by hand in connection with the money transfers, contributions originally earmarked for the primary race in March changed to coincide with the November general election and at least one contributor's company name missing-also raise questions.
CityBeat attempted to reach the state's Fair Political Practices Commission for a comment on the money transfers, but no response.
Clearly, the men and women who are running to become San Diego's next city attorney-particularly Wayne, a lawyer in the state Attorney General's Office working in the consumer fraud division-should be sensitive to the public's need to see all money matters in this race move far beyond "above board." Voters should demand nothing short of total transparency when it comes to replacing the termed-out Casey Gwinn.
Speaking of Gwinn, the departing city attorney sure has gained some mileage from another U-T story, this one regarding Gwinn's seething spewfest at a recent City Council meeting in which he chastised the San Diego Chargers organization for running off at the mouth over the ongoing closed-door negotiations over the team's future in San Diego.
Gwinn said he was also ticked off at local business and labor honchos associated with the so-called Fans, Taxpayers and Business Alliance, a coalition that has pitched its own plan to break the deadlock-albeit a proposal that is practically identical to the Chargers' solution.
The paper quoted Gwinn as saying, "The Chargers built this coalition. They tell them what to say. The coalition then says to the Chargers, "Here's the offer,' and the Chargers immediately accept it."
But shortly thereafter, the U-T ran a correction, stating, "The first sentence should have said, "The Chargers go to this coalition.'" Some Chargers observers snickered at the distinction. "If that coalition isn't a Charger production, then I'm a monkey's uncle," said one privately.
On Oct. 19, Reebok held a triathlon for women at the southeast corner of Mission Bay Park, where the city is studying an old and abandoned toxic dump used by local defense contractors and the military in the '50s.
The day before the race, activists from the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization handed out flyers to triathletes who were arriving to register for the race. Race organizers laid down the gauntlet on what activists could and couldn't say-wouldn't want to upset the psyches of these elite athletes nor put a dent in the organizer's coffers.
"We're telling them it's for educational purposes," said activist John Wilks, a former Sierra Club executive committee member. Wilks stood out among the rest in his faux lab coat. The flyer he was handing out listed all the cancer-causing toxic chemicals and deadly gases that have been detected at the old dump site, which activists believe spans well underneath a portion of neighboring SeaWorld.
"No one can tell you that the dump isn't leaking... that's what the new study is trying to figure out," one handout stated. "If you become ill in the next week, please contact us so that we may record your symptoms and pressure the county to post this site to prevent future exposure to athletes and children," another flyer pleaded. "This goal was achieved in 1990 with San Diego Bay!"
Some triathletes speculated that Reebok will take its race somewhere else next year, with one adding, "They don't like the negative publicity."
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