Ravi Shankar, who has a house in Encinitas, may lose the one he has in New Delhi

Kinder Morgan gasoline tank farm near the stadium is about to get bigger

— A long-standing sexual harassment case against San Diego County human resources director Carlos Arauz will finally be settled out of court for $35,000 by the City of Phoenix, according to the Arizona Republic. Arauz was city personnel director there until he left last year to take the San Diego job. Kathryn Salmon, 40, who worked in personnel under Arauz, alleged he had harassed her and another employee and then retaliated against her, charges that Arauz has denied. She called the settlement a vindication; he called it "stupid" ... The case of the adulterous admiral from San Diego, John Scudi, was disposed of behind closed doors in Washington last week when Scudi agreed to 30 days of house arrest and early retirement as a captain. The arrangement means that the story of the $150,000 San Diego Navy contract Scudi allegedly gave to his girlfriend will never become public. The Scudi story that ran in the Union-Tribune made nary a mention of the local angle ... Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, running in an ultra-safe district, nevertheless picked up more than $96,800 in campaign contributions from defense contractors, more than House National Security Committee chairman Floyd Spence and Defense Research and Development chairman Curt Weldon combined, according to a report in Aerospace Daily. La Jolla-based General Atomics kicked in $10,000. The company's unmanned aerial vehicle contracts are under the jurisdiction of a Hunter-chaired subcommittee. The big NASSCO shipyard, recently acquired by General Dynamics, also gave $10,000. Hunter's subcommittee also has a big say in where Navy ships and submarines are built.

Bigger bang

That big gasoline tank farm just off I-15 near the stadium in Mission Valley is about to get even bigger. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, which owns the place, has announced it will add a new gasoline storage tank and "associated facilities" to be up and running by this time next year. Back in 1992, an underground gasoline plume the size of five football fields was reported to be leaking from the tanks and forced a multimillion-dollar cleanup ... Sony is recalling 60,000 San Diego-made PCS cell phones, saying that they may exceed federal safety guidelines for power output ... According to an outfit with a new Web page called Priceline.com, about 50,000 nights' worth of hotel rooms go unbooked each month in San Diego, providing the frugal with an opportunity to cut a deal at below market rates.

Green spray-paint of home

That verdant grass lawn in front of the downtown Hyatt Regency is actually spray-paint. Asked last week what was up, a gardener said that the green paint he was applying to the lawn was actually herbicide and that once the old grass underneath was dead in a few weeks, new sod would be planted ... The new Miss Wisconsin-USA is Elyzabeth Lee Pham, who at the age of three fled Vietnam on a U.S. Navy ship during the fall of Saigon and ended up in San Diego, where she graduated from UCSD with a degree in American Lit. She followed her boyfriend to Madison two years ago ... Sempra Corp., the successor to SDG&E, has forked over more than $20 million for ten years of sponsorship and naming rights to Staples Center, the new downtown L.A. sports arena opening next year ... Ravi Shankar, the famed sitarist who has a house on the beach in Encinitas, may soon lose the other one he has in New Delhi, India. Under a deal worked out by the late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1982, Shankar got a free house for his contributions to classical music. The original lease ran out in 1995 but was extended another three years. Now the Indians want him out, but he's angling for another extension ... San Francisco police have issued just five bar-smoking citations in the past year while San Diego cops have given out 129, according to the San Francisco Chronicle ... Ex-Padre John Montefusco is still sitting in a New Jersey jail, a year after he was charged with assaulting and terrorizing his ex-wife. Now he's claiming his lawyer won't bring the case to trial because he won't pay him another $40,000, according to a report in the New Jersey Law Journal.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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