Was Wilson Troika Laying Gubernatorial Strategy?

The announcement Thursday by Gov. George Deukmejian that he will not seek a third term next year has increased speculation that U. S. Sen. Pete Wilson will run as a substitute.

Some political reporters swear a deal was cut between Wilson and Deukmejian at a private meeting in early December for Wilson to step forward to keep the governorship under Republican control.

Fueling the speculation: Wilson’s longtime chief of staff, Bob White, his campaign press secretary, Otto Bos, and his get-out-the-vote coordinator, John Salazar, were spotted at San Diego’s Horton Plaza near Christmas, in an apparent moment of relaxation after a strategy session.

Bos has just opened a San Diego-based consulting firm with Wilson pollster Dick Dresner and Wilson fund-raiser George Gorton. While Wilson was mayor of San Diego, he made losing runs at becoming governor in 1978 and 1982, never surviving the GOP primary.


Asked about the White-Bos-Salazar sighting, Linda Royster, Wilson’s assistant press secretary in Washington, noted that the three are old friends. Yes, but were they doing some political planning?

“No comment,” Royster said.

Time to Howl

When Judy Kenis began to hear the mournful howling of Beta Male, she knew it was That Time Again in her football-field-size wolf enclosure in Julian.

Beta Male is so named because he is the second-most dominant male among the 19 Alaskan wolves that Kenis and her husband, Paul, care for at their Julian Center for Science and Education. When Beta begins to cry, it means the annual three-month mating season is not far off.

Which means that the Kenises are recruiting volunteers for the once-a-year wolf roundup Saturday. The goal is to separate the males and the females to prevent propagation and thus avoid overcrowding and beastly behavior.

Words of Power

The advertising/political blitz by Southern California Edison boss Howard Allen in support of the San Diego Gas & Electric buyout has only just begun, but his bare-knuckles reputation has preceded him.

San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor says that Chula Vista City Councilman David Malcolm, an early opponent of the buyout, told her that he received a call from politically savvy financier Dick Silberman suggesting that he back off because of Allen’s ability to make political trouble for people who oppose him.

O’Connor says Malcolm quoted Silberman as using off-color language to describe what Allen does to opponents.

Silberman, a former state official under Gov. Jerry Brown and one-time business partner of O’Connor’s husband, says it was Malcolm who called him , not vice versa, and that it’s “preposterous” to think he would urge anyone to drop or even soften opposition to the buyout.

He says his stance is the same as that of his wife, Supervisor Susan Golding, who voted to have the county government find ways to repel Edison and retain local control.

Malcolm, whose city is key to the opposition because it has both a franchise agreement and a generating station, won’t confirm or deny O’Connor’s version of their conversation at a Christmas party hosted by newspaper executive David Copley at his home in La Jolla.

Malcolm says his private conversations are confidential. He adds, however, that he often seeks political and financial counsel from Silberman. And he says he feels “intimidated” by Allen’s political clout.

“I’m just a small-town council member,” said Malcolm, founder and president of a mortgage banking firm. “I’ve never come across anyone like Allen. Just look at the list of contributions and honorariums to politicians he’s responsible for. He’s quite willing to use money to get his way politically.”