Lobbyist in the house

— The election of Republican Darrell Issa to North County's 48th District congressional seat is setting off rapture among car-alarm lobbyists. Until recently, Issa was president of Vista's Directed Electronics, maker of the famous "Viper" anti-theft system. He's also head of the national Consumer Electronics Association, a big industry lobbying group. "It is exciting and an incredible precedent to have a sitting chairman of our association elected to Congress," Gary Shapiro, CEA president, told Electronic Engineering Times. "His expertise will be extremely helpful as Congress continues to debate key public policy issues related to technology." Issa's election, he added, "gives our industry another friend in the Congress." ... La Jolla's own holistic health guru-in-residence, Deepak Chopra, has lost a round in his battle against the local judicial bench, and one judge in particular. Last week, the Fourth District Court of Appeal said it found "implausible" Chopra's contention that Superior Court judge Judith McConnell was biased against Chopra's Boston lawyers and tilted unfairly to the old line San Diego firm of Gray, Cary, Ware & Freidenrich when she ordered sanctions against the guru's defense team. Chopra was sued by two women alleging sexual harassment against the La Jolla?based Chopra Center for Well Being and wound up on the losing end of the case. At one point last spring, Chopra wrote Governor Gray Davis, who was reportedly considering naming McConnell an appellate judge, claiming, "I feel impotent and paralyzed because of the cronyism and corruption in the San Diego judicial system."

Free checking Does anyone really care where the soon-to-be ex-mayor of San Diego does her banking? Apparently the 1st Pacific Bank of California, with newly opened branches in University Towne Centre and Oceanside, thinks so. Last week the bank put out a news release announcing that it was "now taking deposits and opening accounts, a service San Diego Mayor Susan Golding was the first to take advantage of."... Joe Piscitell, the man behind the stalled Brown Field cargo airport privatization effort, and his Diversified Asset Management Group are picking up gobs of negative ink in the latest issue of Forbes magazine, which notes, "At some point he's going to run out of time and money. Diversified Asset will bring in only $5 million in revenues this year from a couple of handling and fueling companies." Adds Forbes, "Piscitell is shifting his efforts to Europe -- to Italy in particular, which is in the midst of privatizing the airport in Rome. Says he: 'The glamour of privatized airports ain't happening here.'"

Hype-zapping The United States Olympic Committee's training center in Chula Vista, the object of much attention by local TV-sports guy Jim Laslavic during September's summer Olympics coverage, figures large in a Sunday New York Times report on the USOC's mounting scandals and falling medal counts. According to the Times, the USOC has spent $57 million over the last four years on its regional training centers in Chula Vista, Colorado Springs, and Lake Placid, New York, with little effect. "These centers serve as symbols for corporate largess but produce few gold medals. The majority of American medalists do the bulk of their training and competing elsewhere, with professional club teams, on European circuits, on their own, or in small groups." As a result, the USOC is reportedly "examining how money for training could be spent more efficiently."... San Diego City College is one of 14 out of the state's 107 two-year colleges to get bad news from the University of California. The local school is said to have one of the worst records for transferring students to the state university system. Other junior colleges low on the UC transfer list include Los Angeles Harbor College and Imperial Valley College ... KPBS-FM, the public radio station owned and operated by San Diego State University, collected $330,000 from 2324 donors during a 13-day pledge drive last month, according to Public Broadcasting Report ...The Sacramento Bee reports that mega-lawyer Bill Lerach is set to collect far more than the original $18 million in legal fees he won in his smog-fee case against the state of California.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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