A cancer on the market

These days it's called Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, in honor of a $20 million pledge that Padres owner and UC regent Moores made at the height of his power and influence in 2000. As of a month ago, Moores had paid down the pledge with about $17 million worth of Peregrine Systems stock, which fortunately was sold by the university well before the value dropped to 30 cents a share last week. The balance is due in 2006. But Moores isn't the only fallen stock market high-flier to be associated with the cancer center. Dr. John Mendelsohn, onetime star of the La Jolla establishment and the center's ex-director, is up to his neck in the ImClone scandal, which has also enmeshed preppy good-housekeeper Martha Stewart. Mendelsohn's role was recently recounted by New York Times columnist Frank Rich: "Dr. John Mendelsohn, who served on the board of ImClone even as it botched the FDA approval process for the cancer drug he developed, is the same John Mendelsohn who also sat on the audit board of Enron when it approved the corners-cutting partnerships that enriched a few insiders at the price of wiping out the company's plebeian stockholders. (Don't worry about the good doctor, though: he cashed out with $6 million from ImClone, and the Houston hospital he runs, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, raked in $600,000 in Enron bucks.)" ... A proposed gift to Stanford University by an executive of Oracle, the software outfit up to its ears in a state data-processing procurement scandal, has been linked to the son of state senator Steve Peace. As part of Oracle's attempt to obtain a $95 million software contract without competitive bidding, company lobbyist Ravi Mehta wrote a January e-mail about a college publishing project being put together by Stanford student Brett Peace. "I believe Oracle should seriously consider making a contribution directly to Stanford and earmark it for this project. I assume Oracle generally makes such charitable gifts to higher education." Peace denies knowing about the proposed donation on his son's behalf, which didn't come off, but acknowledged to the Sacramento Bee that his chief of staff had talked to Brett about the project and called around to special-interest representatives, asking about how they made charitable contributions.

Winging it San Diego's Wing Lee Poultry Company, based in an office on Euclid Avenue, is making a big splash in San Bernardino County's city of Chino. Veteran newscaster George Putnam, a fixture on L.A. radio and TV for more than 50 years, is opposing Wing Lee's efforts to build a chicken slaughterhouse across the street from his ranch home. "I'm concerned about the slaughter of that many chickens at my doorstep," the 87-year-old Putnam told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario. Wing Lee partner Nguyen Phuong acknowledged that the plant would process about 2500 chickens a day but said that only one truck would bring a full load of chickens in the morning and take them out later each day ... Ex-GOP congressman Brian Bilbray, defeated in his 2000 reelection bid by Democrat Susan Davis, has been making a living as a lobbyist ever since. His newest client: the right-wing Federation for American Immigration Reform, which gave him high marks for his anti-immigrant positions while he was in Congress. The former Imperial Beach mayor told the National Journal that this latest lobbying gig was a natural for him. "There's nothing extreme about rewarding people who play by the rules. Anybody who dares to stand up and say that immigration law needs to be enforced gets branded by a new McCarthyism. But it's just common sense: We should either enforce the laws or abolish them."

Pitching property Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Steve Finley and his wife Amy are trying to unload an 11,000-square-foot house they built on a 4.9-acre lot bought for $2 million two years ago in Rancho Santa Fe. There's a theater, wine room, meditation courtyard, and 12 fireplaces, all for the asking price of $7.5 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. The mansion was designed by Larry Case, who just finished a place in La Jolla for Audrey Geisel, widow of Theodor, "Dr. Seuss" ... Ex-San Diego city councilman and perennial candidate Mike Schaefer is out to top himself this electoral season. He's simultaneously running for public administrator of Nevada's Clark County and Arizona's Second District congressional seat ... On the guest list for Florida governor Jeb Bush's recent San Diego fundraiser: Monsignor "Father Joe" Carroll, District Attorney Paul Pfingst, and Ken Van Damme.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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