John Moores raises money for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley

Juan Varga gets help from Mitch Lathrop, Junko Cushman

Padres owner John Moores is delivering on his million-dollar fundraising promise to Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley by getting some of San Diego's most well-wired business types to open up their checkbooks for the ex-basketball star, even if they might be Republicans. Moores and Padres co-owner Larry Lucchino -- said to be a one-time teammate of Bradley when both were undergrads at Princeton -- have been putting the heat on everybody from their own employees to Qualcomm execs to consultants working on the proposed taxpayer-financed downtown baseball stadium. And the full-court press is paying off. According to federal campaign-disclosure records, Padres employees among the ranks of $1000 Bradley donors include Moores; PR staffer Mary Michell; Moores's daughter Jennifer McCleod; Robert J. McCleod, who is married to Jennifer; Lucchino's secretary, Fay Scheer; and Dr. Charles Steinberg. Announcer Gerald Coleman and Timothy Katzman are down for $250 each. Richard Sulpizio, the president of Qualcomm who is listed as a Padres employee on the Bradley disclosure report, kicked in $1000. But Bradley did not have an exclusive on Padres money. Lucchino and Moores son-in-law McCleod hedged their bets by giving $1000 and $250, respectively, to George W. Bush. And Padres player Shea B. Morenz gave Bush the $1000 maximum. A nominal Democrat, Moores also gave $1000 to John Ashcroft, the conservative Republican senator from Missouri. Then Moores switched ideological directions once again and gave $10,000 of so-called "soft money" to the Democratic National Committee, along with $1000 to liberal Democratic congressman Bob Filner.

Friends of the Family

San Diego city councilman Juan Vargas, who has been putting the squeeze on campaign contributors for his upcoming state assembly race, has also been raising cash through his old congressional campaign account. Two years ago, Vargas lost his Democratic primary bid against incumbent Bob Filner and was saddled with more than $100,000 in unpaid debts. He's been gradually paying them down with money raised from many of the same city hall lobbyists who are backing his assembly race. In the last reporting period, Vargas said he raised $13,000. Donors included Mitch Lathrop of downtown's Luce, Forward law firm ($250); Junko Cushman, wife of downtown land owner Larry Cushman ($1000); Dale Wineteer of A to Z Metro Towing ($250); and NASSCO shipyard's Fred Hallett ($250). Members of the Halbo family, which earlier this year avoided condemnation of their Arrow Market and received almost a million dollars from the city in a negotiated settlement, also gave generously, including Bushra Halbo ($1000); Alenia Halbo ($1000); and Sam Halbo ($1000). Out-of-town Vargas donors, identified only as "investors," included Jerry Riessen from Tiburon ($1000); Richard Marcus of Inglewood, Colorado ($1000); and James E. Ricci of Haverhill, Massachusetts ($500).

Out of Appalachia

This past June, as the battle over privatization of the county's computer system heated up, La Jolla's Science Applications International Corporation gave $15,000 to the campaign fund of Governor Gray Davis. The company had also given Davis $10,000 in December of 1998, after Davis had already been elected governor. Turns out the state has a role in reviewing SAIC's county-outsourcing contract and reportedly has given it thumbs up ... San Diego City Council candidate Toni Atkins is praising a former college professor at tiny Emory & Henry College near Abingdon, Virginia. Stephen Fisher has been named professor of the year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for his work at the Appalachian school. "For over 25 years, he's committed himself to teaching students about making the connection between a larger world and their own lives," Atkins told the Richmond Times Dispatch, which identified her as "an E&H graduate who now works as a political adviser and City Council candidate in San Diego, Calif." Added Atkins: "I didn't see anything positive in being born poor in Appalachia. But Steve Fisher showed me how to channel my anger to fight for social justice."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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