Mother's milk

— National Republicans collected $13.6 million in so-called soft money during the first three months of the year, compared to just $1.2 million for Democrats, with wealthy San Diego contributors leading the way. In fact, the Democrats got no soft money at all from San Diego County donors during the period. Locals giving to the Republicans included Coronado's Daniel Bunn, at the top of the list with $15,000. A Pacific Beach software outfit called Silver Bullet Solutions, run by David M. McDaniel, gave $13,780; and former ambassador to Bahrain Charles Hostler, of Coronado, kicked in $12,000. Co-founder of Collateral Therapeutics and gene-therapy pioneer Dr. Jack W. Reich gave $7000; socialite Warene Wall contributed $5000. Ex Palomar Hospital trustee Sue Reeves gave $3504. Many of the donations were made as part of fundraising activities centered around the January inauguration of George W. Bush ... Del Mar's Harvey Furgatch reports that his lawsuit against the Port of San Diego's plan to pay the City of San Diego $20 million as part of the Padres ballpark deal has been revived by a state appellate court. A local judge had dismissed the case on a technicality, but the appeals court didn't buy that and has sent the issue back to San Diego for trial. Any loss of the $20 million might prove fatal for the stadium project.

Dying leads A San Diego man whose wife was slain in 1998 by a deranged neighbor high on drugs has set out to capture the alleged killer of his mother, who was murdered 22 years ago in San Francisco's skid-row district, the San Francisco Chroniclereports. Manuel Galdamez's wife Teresa Silva was shot to death on October 4, 1998, after opening the front door of her City Heights apartment. The shooter, Mara Plascencia, who was convicted and sentenced to 50 years behind bars, had been feuding with Silva and later boasted that she had enjoyed killing her. During the trial, the victim's widower, Galdamez, learned about DNA evidence and subsequently prodded San Francisco police to re-open their investigation into the murder of his mother, Maria Talavara, whose legs, uterus, and lung had been found in a Mission District dumpster in February 1979. Talavara's then-71-year-old boyfriend, a merchant seaman, was suspected of the crime but never charged. Using DNA testing last year, the cops determined that blood on the suspect's bathtub matched that of Galdamez's mother. Last week a murder warrant was finally issued for Luis Rivas, who hasn't been seen since 1980, the paper reports. "We want to find out where he is, alive or dead," police inspector Kelly Carroll told the paper. The alleged slayer, whom police suspect of being a serial killer, would be 93 by now.

MASH-ed Monsignor "Father Joe" Carroll is stirring up big controversy in America's capital of sin. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the 60-year-old Carroll has run into a wall of troubles in his efforts to create a center to house the homeless there. "We made mistakes," Carroll confessed to a reporter last week. "We weren't as top notch as we thought we were." Carroll, who operates a small empire of homeless shelters he calls "Father Joe's Villages," started his MASH Village in 1995, hoping to raise $5 million by March of this year. The city agreed to lease land for the center and a $500,000 annual subsidy if he did. "We were told that certain foundations in town were ready to make large grants to MASH," Carroll told the paper. "When we came over they backed out because we didn't own the land." That meant trouble, because Carroll's group has purchased warehouse property for a thrift store and a house near Flamingo Road for him and his staff to stay. With only half the money raised, a 180-bed women's shelter shut down last summer, and a crisis-intervention center will fold by June 30 if a $500,000 funding gap can't be closed, the paper says. "MASH has done a horrendous job of building community relations here," Arnie Stalk, an architect and ex-MASH board member who quit recently, told the paper. "MASH, if it was run right, should be drowning in money. It's the best sell for any charity in the country."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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