$30,000 for a six-month San Diego "road hump study"

Judge Robert J. O'Neill goes to Big Sur for inner peace

— Latest way to spend tax money at San Diego city hall: $30,000 for a six-month "road hump study." The city's contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates says the work will begin with "a survey of cities throughout the United States relating to their experience with road humps," including "a minimum of 30 cities that have been identified as having sufficient experience with road humps." The consultant will also "conduct a pre-survey focus group meeting with participants that are approved by City Staff" and "conduct a post-survey focus group meeting regarding the results of the surveys with participants that are approved by City Staff," as well as reviewing "comments provided by the Council Offices, Mayor's Office, community planning groups and other City Departments." Finally, the consultant will "make recommendations for possible revisions to the City's road hump program."

The price of Gorby

Admission to last year's "Insights" conference, the celebrity-studded day-long speechfest featuring the likes of ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, cost average folks $250 a head. At least four San Diego City Councilmembers, however, got in free, thanks to the generosity of city hall lobbyists. In its latest financial disclosure report, Cox Cable, which was fined $40,000 two years ago for laundering campaign contributions and whose rate increase case will soon be heard by the city council, picked up the "Insights" tab for councilmembers Christine Kehoe, Harry Mathis, and Barbara Warden, along with Warden aide Mitchell Berner. Attorney William Eigner, of the firm Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, reported on his disclosure that "councilmember [Byron] Wear was our guest at Insights." Cox also forked over $51 for Chargers tickets used by Juan Vargas aide Ralph Inzunza.

Inside baseball

Padres owner John Moores hasn't been saying much about the stadium dust-up, but apparently he hasn't lost all interest in politics. The software multimillionaire and his wife Rebecca spent $86,000 last year on an assortment of candidates and causes. Local beneficiaries included Democratic state senators Steve Peace, who raked in about $8000, and Dede Alpert, who got $3000. Moores gave Democratic Assemblymembers Susan Davis $2500 and Howard Wayne $1000. Democratic city councilmembers Christine Kehoe, George Stevens, and Valerie Stallings each reaped $500. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, said to be targeted by Susan Golding, picked up $4000. But the couple saved their biggest contribution, $50,000, for Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis, yet another Democrat, said to be planning a race for the governorship ... Just beating the Prop 208 deadline against outside loans to campaigns, Assemblyman Steve Baldwin borrowed $5000 from Mission Valley's Royal Energy Corporation on December 31 of last year. The same day, the campaign got loans in the amount of $20,000 from Baldwin's mother and $5000 from the Otis Holding Trust.

Lest thee be judge

Superior Court Judge Robert J. O'Neill is spending this week at a Benedictine monastery in Big Sur searching for inner peace. During a break in a trial last week, O'Neill told his courtroom that he first went to "The Hermitage" several years ago after "my mother had died, my grandmother had died, and things were really miserable." Since then, he said, he's gone there once a year, adding, "the only time it gets really Catholic is at Mass." ... Busted by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for allowing sex in a ballroom, the annual "Lifestyles" wife-swapping convention has been moved from Mission Valley's Town & Country Hotel to Palm Springs. ... To drum up publicity for this year's Miramar Air Show, the Marines are giving away free flights with the Blue Angels to local media types. "Please keep in mind that the ideal selectee should be in good health," reads the invite. "He or she should be average size and free of all medication and alcohol. Representatives who are pregnant, or have a history of heart trouble, or serious back or neck injuries will be excluded from flying."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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