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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Jun 11 1997
And the First Nominee for Stupid Criminal of the Year Is ...
The thin margin by which the 49ers won their stadium initiatives, Propositions D and F, spurred a round of election-night jokes about ballot-box stuffing. Now, it turns out, those jokes may have some basis in reality.

District Attorney Terence Hallinan is investigating one case of voter fraud. The case involves a pro-stadium campaign worker who allegedly impersonated a Richmond District resident at the polls and voted in favor of the stadium initiatives. The alleged ballot-box stuffer voted on behalf of a San Francisco police officer, DA spokesman John Shanley says.

"[Registrar of Voters] Germaine Wong submitted what she thought was voter fraud, and we are investigating the matter," Shanley says.

Wong says she has received four other complaints that seem credible enough for her to do an initial inquiry. She would say no more. "We want a successful prosecution," she says.

The 49ers' campaign manager, Jack Davis, and the stadium's most visible backer, Willie Brown, are close political allies of Hallinan. Secretary of State Bill Jones, a Republican, has also been informed of the case.

"We had an elaborate and effective get-out-the-vote push," says Mayor Brown's spokesperson, P.J. Johnston. "But not to the extent that we wanted people to fabricate votes. Sounds like overzealousness on someone's part."

Prop. D, which approved $100 million in city bonds to build the stadium and mall, won by more than 1,400 votes. Prop. F, which eased land-use regulations at Candlestick Point, won by 1,133 votes. There were 534 election precincts in the June 3 election, meaning that the election was decided by an average of less than three votes per precinct.

-- George Cothran

Mission Impossible
There're enough conspiracy theories swirling around Mission High these days to inspire Oliver Stone.

They center on a photo of the school's previous principal, Lupe Arabalos, taken with her three-member administrative team, all of whom were removed from their jobs by Superintendent Waldemar Rojas last year, much to the chagrin of most of the faculty and students.

Now Arabalos' photo is causing problems.
Earlier in the school year, the current administration reportedly balked at hanging the group portrait on the wall of the school's main office, which is home to a gallery of principals past. The stated reason was that the group shot broke form. Every other portrait was a solo. (Arabalos specifically had the photo taken that way to symbolize their "team effort.")

Toward the end of the school year, someone hung the photo on the wall -- sans official sanction. Shortly afterward, another someone attempted to remove it.

Once again, the photo was secured to the wall without further incident ... until May 12, when staffers came in to find that the photo had been marked up with Wite-Out.

And while the photo has been cleaned up, the conspiracy theories linger. In reporting the event, the West Wing, Mission High's student newspaper, which, like most of Arabalos' supporters, has been at odds with the current administration, raised the following questions:

"Why out of all the pictures of former principals did the vandal choose to draw graffiti on the one picture that represents Mission's immediate past? Could a student have the opportunity to draw graffiti on the picture [in the main office, above the teachers' mailboxes] without anyone seeing him or her?"

More importantly, will Oliver Stone be filming his next movie at Mission High School?


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George Cothran


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