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The Usual Suspects. . .

Tom Blair's i On San Diego


HIGH CRIMES & LOW: It was a big news day. Within minutes, the SEC charged five former San Diego officials with securities fraud for backroom dealing in the city’s massive pension scandal (exposing the public to billions in deficits), and former city councilman John Hartley pleaded no contest to committing a lewd act in public (two witnesses said he exposed himself while urinating and masturbating in his truck). Which led Thomas Harmon to ponder: “So, which is the greater crime——exposing your privates in public or exposing the public in private?”

SAN DIEGANS’ INK: Alex Roth, the intrepid San Diego Union-Tribune political writer whose dogged reporting earned him the wrath of City Attorney Mike Aguirre, is the latest loss for the newspaper. He’s been hired by The Wall Street Journal to cover the South from the paper’s Atlanta offices. Roth was targeted by Aguirre recently when the city attorney interrupted his own press conference to take Roth aside and suggest (while an NBC 7/39 microphone eavesdropped) that Roth could benefit from psychological counseling——a suggestion that may have sounded familiar to Aguirre . . . TV anchorman Mike Tuck, who’s reportedly battled a debilitating bone disease in recent years, is bouncing back after complications from back surgery. Tuck, a fixture on TV news in San Diego and Los Angeles for a quarter-century, contracted a staph infection during the surgery . . . Political columnist George Will, a baseball fanatic of the first order, pens the foreword to Padres announcer Jerry Coleman’s memoir, An American Journey (Triumph Books). Writes Will of Coleman, who played on eight pennant-winning Yankees teams and was a combat hero in WWII and Korea: “No broadcaster has earned a more affectionate following than Jerry. When you read this memoir, you will not only know why, you will join his legion of followers.”

SOLILOQUY: A year and a half after quitting La Jolla Playhouse to join a management triumvirate at Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Des McAnuff is doing a solo. On the eve of the opening of the 2008 season last month, his two artistic co-directors abruptly resigned, citing “artistic disagreements.” Wrote Simon Haupt, in Stratford’s Globe and Mail: “The epic personality clashes that brought the Stratford Shakespeare Festival briefly to its knees last week, and saw two of its three artistic directors depart in anger, may have shocked the Canadian theatrical community, but they were no surprise to those who knew Des McAnuff, Stratford’s last man standing, when he ran California’s La Jolla Playhouse.”

ENTRÉ NEWS: Surgeons running clinical trials on minimally invasive surgeries at UC San Diego Medical Center successfully removed a man’s diseased appendix through his mouth last month. Less than two weeks later, in another trial surgery, they removed a woman’s appendix through her vagina. The goal of the new procedures, both firsts for a U.S. hospital: fewer incisions, less pain and more-rapid recoveries . . . Fox has been scouting locations and filming the pilot for a new San Diego–based TV series for CBS called Mythological X. Described as a “dramedy” (Hollywoodspeak for drama/comedy), the pilot episode has the central character trying to find her future husband with the help of a psychic in Ocean Beach. Sounds like she got the right neighborhood . . . If you went to the jangoldsmith.com Web site, you might think you’d find flattering stuff about the judge who’s running for San Diego’s city attorney. Think again. As recently as last month, the site, coopted by an outfit that calls itself “La Playa Heritage” (under the names Katheryn Rhodes and Conrad Hartsell), was mostly into defending the current city attorney and bashing Goldsmith. By mid-April, the site abruptly and oddly morphed, leading to the “Official City Documents” page of the San Diego city clerk’s office.

WHAT’RE THE ODDS? Modern anthropologist Richard Florida, who two years ago proclaimed San Diego one of the most-diverse and attractive cities in the United States, has good news and bad news for us this time. According to Florida, San Diego is one of the worst cities for single men looking for single women. The flip side: It’s one of the best cities for single women looking for single men.

CHECKLIST: With three major air carriers bankrupted by spiking fuel costs and a sinking economy, Star 94.1’s Jerry Cesak (Jeff & Jer) offered listeners a list of 10 warning signs their airline could be next to go out of business:
• The SkyMall catalog has a full-page ad for the plane you’re currently flying in.
• Instead of an in-flight movie, you get a finger-puppet show by the flight attendant.
• You finally find your missing luggage . . . on eBay.
• The man trying to light his shoe next to you is its largest shareholder.
• The in-flight snack is an ice cube.
• Your copilot is wearing a Hot Dog on a Stick uniform.
• Your in-flight meal is runway road kill.
• To save on fuel, they ask passengers to stick their arms out the windows and flap.
• You purchased your seat for 75 bucks. No, the actual seat.
• You recognize your pilot as the same guy who took your bag at curbside check-in.

Photo by Lauren Radack
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