The profits they'll make

— San Diego Housing Commission director Betsy Morris is throwing a free lunch today for city council staffers. Insiders say the main topic on the agenda is the commission's proposed swanky new office tower at 11th and Broadway. Morris wants the council to approve borrowing $22 million to subsidize the building and four levels of underground parking ... The centennial of the birth of Ted "Dr. Seuss" Geisel is coming up, and his widow Audrey, who inherited all his lucrative literary rights, is planning to milk the anniversary for all it's worth. Her "Dr. Seuss Enterprises" has dispatched a news release touting the late author as "among the most beloved and best-selling children's authors of all time" and crediting him with coining the word nerd. "Few people have had more beneficially significant impact on American culture than Dr. Seuss. His literary works have been interwoven into daily culture as evidenced by Seuss-themed theatrical films, theme-park attractions, Broadway stage shows, educational CD-ROMs, and numerous television programs." A new "visual biography" is being published along with a "picture book biography," and UCSD, which got $20 million in 1995 to name its library after Geisel, will present an exhibit called Seussiana -- Dr. Seuss as an American Icon. The press release notes that the Seuss company "actively works with its licensees, providing them strategic direction and helping them build synergistic relationships with one another to ensure the books and characters will maintain their original personalities for future generations."... Scottish playwright David Greig is debuting a new play called San Diego at this summer's Edinburgh International Festival. The opening lines: "It is the summer of 2000. I'm flying to San Diego, California. It will be the first time I have visited the American continent. I have been in transit for some 18 hours now, and for almost all that time I have been awake and drinking alcohol."

Busy signal The Wall Street Journal reports that singer and guitarist Tom Delonge of blink-182 has just bought a house in "a gated community outside San Diego" for a cool $4.9 million ...Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers rhythm-and-blues band has won a round in Manhattan federal court in his multimillion-dollar trademark infringement suit against, the once high-flying digital musical website based in La Jolla. Chambers and other rock 'n' roll stars sued record companies like Time-Warner, along with, arguing that the musicians' names and "likenesses" were illegally used for commercial purposes on the MP3 site. MP3 attorneys argued that Chambers and the others hadn't adequately specified the trademarks they alleged had been infringed and that use of the musicians' names was okay because it was "a necessary means of accurately identifying the inventory in question offered by" Federal District Court Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the MP3 claim and also ruled that the company had violated New York State's privacy law, which says a living person's name or likeness can't be used "for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade" unless written permission is given.

Rich and famous Roll Call is reporting that phone giant SBC Communications held a pricey three-day San Diego junket last year for several dozen House and Senate aides, just a month after the House approved legislation favored by the company. The event was conducted by Tim McKone, SBC chief lobbyist, and William Daley, a former Clintonite who is now an SBC vice president ... The 2004 congressional election cycle is just getting started, but already some well-heeled San Diegans are opening their wallets. As usual, the crowds from La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe were the biggest contributors. La Jolla's Nora Jaffe gave $1000 to Emily's List, the feminist political action committee. Sharon Labovitz gave the group $5000. Burnham Real Estate's Kenneth Satterlee kicked in $1000 to the Republicans' "Save Our Majority" PAC. Steve Williams of Sentre Partners did the same. Dr. Andrew Senyei gave $1000 to Venturepac, which represents the political interests of the country's venture capitalists, as did Bill Stensrud. Both are affiliated with Enterprise Partners Venture Capital. Over in Rancho Santa Fe, homebuilder J. Douglas Pardee gave $1000 to the county Republican central committee. But the biggest contribution of all was made by Katina Tsakopoulos, daughter of Sacramento mega-developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos. She gave $25,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee... California Secretary of State audits, selected by lottery, are being done on the campaigns of assemblywomen Chris Kehoe and Shirley Horton, as well as state senator Denise Ducheny.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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