Sweet tickets

— In a memo dated April 2, the day after an item here disclosing the existence of the city council's private luxury box at Petco Park, stadium manager Steve Shushan outlined a new official policy for the care and feeding of the councilmembers while attending baseball games. "I have had discussions with the San Diego Padres and their concessionaire concerning the food and beverage service in the City suite at PETCO Park," according to the memo, obtained after a request to the city under the state's public records act. "It has been determined that the cost per person will be $15 to cover the concessionaire's cost. The quantity of the food and beverage will be limited so that the cost does not exceed the $15." A separate document, headed "Petco Park Information," outlines some other previously unrevealed city council perks. "The suite ticket will allow access onto all levels of the ballpark. There are four private lounges on the Toyota Terrace Level that can be accessed: Club 19; Baja Bistro; Coronado's; and Wind & Sea Lounge. There is additional cost for food and beverage in these lounges." The memo also says, "A security guard will be in the suite at all events. When entering the suite, the guard will check the tickets, and City Officials shall sign in under their name. Guests shall sign in under the name of the City Official providing the tickets; therefore, guests should be made aware of who is providing the tickets. Seating in the suite is on a first-come basis."

A follow-up memo to "City Officials" from deputy city manager Bruce Herring, also dated April 2, says that "the quantity of the food will be limited so that the $15/person charged will cover the cost of the service, and therefore, not be considered a gift." The value of the free admissions to the clubs, or whether that represents a gift to the councilmembers, was not addressed. Until sports-subsidy critic Bruce Henderson reached a legal settlement with the council in 1998, the council received unlimited free food and booze at its box in Qualcomm Stadium. (On opening day, Henderson was barred by the Padres from making media appearances inside the new stadium.) Contacted recently, the city's ethics commission director said she had not been asked about the free tickets ... Since only San Diego city taxpayers are footing the bill for the new stadium, county supervisors can't count on free admission to the games the way the city council can. But that probably won't be a major inconvenience to supervisor and San Diego mayoral candidate Ron Roberts. His official financial-disclosure statement, filed last month, discloses that he accepted three $40 tickets to Padres games at the old Qualcomm stadium last fall from none other than JMI, the investment outfit belonging to Padres owner John Moores. Roberts also went to the MS Society Golf Classic courtesy of an $85 gift from fellow Padres booster and semiretired Union-Tribune honcho Herb Klein ... Meanwhile, on opening day over at the new Omni Hotel adjacent to the stadium and connected to it via pedestrian bridge, many local bigwigs lined up at the elevator to visit the exclusive condo suite owned by Moores. Even Moores and his wife were required to wait a few moments for the crowd to clear before being escorted by beefy security guards. Others spotted lingering in the vicinity of the elevator just off the lobby bar: Moores's fellow University of California regent John Davies and his wife; ex-Padre and paternity-suit veteran Steve Garvey; and Moores's partner in downtown real estate doings, old-line financial mogul Malin Burnham.

School daze San Diego Unified School District sources report that Gompers Secondary School has been wracked by violence recently, enough to warrant dispatch of city police to the campus late last month ... The photo of county treasurer Dan McAllister was recently featured not once but twice in a quarter-page display advertisement in the Union-Tribune, which praised the San Diego County Office of Education. "The Office is ahead of the curve when it comes to analyzing the financial needs of San Diego's school districts," it quotes McAllister as saying. In the ad (sponsored by the Chargers, Mission Federal Credit Union, stadium builder Barnhart, Inc., and NTD Stichler, a big architecture firm), McAllister holds a photo of himself taken when he was a 12th-grader at Mission Bay High. He swears the ad wasn't his idea and that it doesn't mean he will be running for higher office anytime soon. Some sources have linked his name to a possible congressional race in the event any prominent county Republican representatives die or retire. Newly released financial-disclosure statements show he's at least making the rounds of the rubber-chicken circuit, critical for any would-be rising politico. In September, he attended the Chicano Federation's Annual Gala, a freebie valued at $70, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association dinner, a gift of $75. Barrio Station treated him to a $70 annual benefit dinner in March 2003, and the San Diego Association of Realtors took him to its annual dinner in January 2003, valued at $75.

-- Matt Potter

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