When Steve Garvey retired in January after 17 years in baseball’s major leagues, it was widely assumed that he would eventually enter politics.
So far he has been content with nurturing his Garvey Marketing Group and serving as national chairman for a committee trying to raise $3 million to buy television ads in support of George Bush’s presidential campaign.
But local development interests, thrashing about to find a challenger next year for Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer, have begun to look hungrily at Garvey, a resident of Del Mar Heights at the northern reach of Wolfsheimer’s district.
The first step was a citywide poll pitting the slow-growth attorney against the public-spirited future Hall of Famer.
Wolfsheimer was preferred by slightly fewer than half of those polled. Garvey took just under a third, and a quarter of voters were undecided.
Garvey says he has unaware of the poll and has not been approached about a race against Wolfsheimer.
“I’m the last to know of these things,” said the ever-polite Garvey. “I’m flattered people think that highly of me.”
He said he hasn’t ruled out politics but prefers to devote his first few post-baseball years to his business interests. Would he consider a council race?
“If I ran for a local office, I might think more in terms of mayor,” Garvey said.
On the issue of growth, developers might find Garvey more of a free agent than they imagine. He believes more corporate headquarters should be lured to San Diego to create jobs, but, in general, he favors “logical, controlled growth.”
He’s supporting Proposition A, which would lift the state-mandated spending limit on county government, but has remained neutral on the city and county growth measures on the same Nov. 8 ballot. He wants to hear more from both sides of the dispute before deciding.
Politics is a lot like baseball, Garvey noted: “Sometimes you don’t get the best pitches early in the count.”
A Lethal Workload
With more than two months to go, 1988 has proved the deadliest year in San Diego history: 109 homicides so far, contrasted with 103 in all of 1984, the year of the San Ysidro massacre.
To keep pace, the Police Department’s homicide squad is adding a sixth team of five cops, plus two more evidence technicians. The techs are responsible for the painstaking process of scouring the crime scene (and the victim) for every scrap of physical evidence.
The added manpower is coming not a moment too soon.
The five existing techs (who also work non-lethal cases) are each averaging 45 hours of overtime a month. Each is required to be ready three weeks a month for after-hours calls.
Says lead evidence tech Larry Fregia: “This high homicide rate is really killing us.”
The Price Isn’t Right
That was then, this is now.
When Kris Murphy was running for Escondido City Council, he told voters it was time to break the land developers’ stranglehold on the council. Too many council members are beholden to developers because of campaign contributions, he said.
After he was elected and discovered a $3,000 campaign deficit, the 26-year-old owner of a frozen custard store promptly sent out 18 letters asking for contributions. Nine were sent to people in the land-development business.
“I will not sell out,” Murphy says. “Maybe, if they offered me $10 million to leave town, that would be one thing. But, for what I’ve received in this case (one contribution: $250), I doubt it will influence my decision.”