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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Oct 8 1997
You're Slipping, Warren
Last week, SF Weekly writer George Cothran made an involuntary appearance in a local political conspiracy exposed by columnist Warren Hinckle in the pages of the Independent.

Hinckle accused Cothran of writing puff pieces about City Attorney Louise Renne based on information fed to Cothran by City Attorney investigator Alex Clemens who, Hinckle reported, is either Cothran's landlord or neighbor.

It was further suggested that Clemens and Cothran somehow planted reports in the Examiner attacking a "saintly" building inspector, one Tony Fong, who also sells real estate in the city. The Ex stories, written by one Chuck Finnie, questioned whether Fong had a conflict of interest because he sells and inspects houses in the same city.

The conspiratorial angle made sense, Hinckle reported, because Finnie and Cothran are friends and former colleagues -- they used to co-write a political column together -- and Clemens is the investigator on the Fong case.

Unfortunately, Hinckle, obviously working on a tight deadline, got it wrong -- way wrong. Cothran is involved in a conspiracy, but it is much darker and deeper than Hinckle could ever imagine. In fact, the plot is so full of James Jesus Angleton intrigue -- it is so scary and threatening to national security -- that Dog Bites feels absolutely obligated to expose it.

The awful truth began to trickle out last week when the Examiner revealed that Hinckle's daughter, Pia, was named business editor of the Examiner, THE SAME PAPER FOR WHICH FINNIE WORKS!

That's important to know because Pia Hinckle once served as managing editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, THE SAME PAPER COTHRAN INTERNED FOR IN THE LATE '80S.

While Cothran interned for the Bay Guardian, he was editor of his student paper, WHERE HE WORKED WITH GREG WATKINS, THE SPORTS EDITOR OF THE INDEPENDENT, THE VERY PAPER WHERE HINCKLE WORKS!


If only Hinckle knew the control Cothran has over the Independent and his daughter, he would have realized that the hints Pia, Brannon, Basich, and TED FANG HIMSELF (!) were giving him about the Cothran-Clemens-Finnie troika were part of a clever diversion to distract attention from Cothran's true plot, which, of course, is to advance the world domination plan of PG&E and New Times Inc. Here's how Cothran is going to do it:

Alex Clemens, who for several years lived across the street from PG&E lobbyist Sam Lauter, and who was reported to be a frequent visitor at the Lauter abode, will feed pro-PG&E stories to Cothran, who will leak them to Finnie, who will peddle them to his editor, Phil Bronstein.

Bronstein will convince his current flame, Academy Award-nominated babe Sharon Stone, to sell the Hollywood intelligentsia pro-PG&E spin. The editors of New Times Los Angeles will serve as case officers for Stone, using their news pages to punish and reward screenwriters, depending on how successfully they work pro-PG&E messages into major films.

At the same time, Bronstein and Cothran will order Pia Hinckle to run pro-PG&E leaks as top-of-the-fold breaking news every single day of the week.

This, of course, will infuriate Bay Guardian Editor Bruce Brugmann; he will publicly berate his former editor, Pia, exhibiting his maniacal temper to such a degree that Warren will be forced to rise to the defense of his flesh and blood.

The ensuing Brugmann-Hinckle donnybrook will force the entire wacky left of San Francisco to choose sides. That means Joel Ventresca, Jack Davis, and all the other cronies of Hinckle and Brugmann will engage in all-out war, distracting one another and leaving the field clear for New Times to conduct hostile takeovers of both the Independent and the Bay Guardian.

Cothran will be installed as Guardian editor. Clemens will take the helm of the Independent. And Finnie will replace Bronstein, who will marry Stone, move to Hollywood, and launch a successful TV career, resurrecting William Shatner's 1980s cop show, T.J. Hooker.

The Cothran-Clemens-Finnie troika will then squash like bugs any coverage that could possibly hinder the advancement of the PG&E-New Times-Cothran-Clemens-Finnie-Bronstein-Stone-Shatner-Committee on Jobs agenda to crush progressive politics as we know it in San Francisco.

That, Warren, is what's really going on.
-- George Cothran

$94,000 Answer
Exhibit A from the "Oh, Now I Get It" file: Catellus Development hopes to turn 250-plus acres South of Market and along China Basin into a multizillion-dollar mixed-use development known as Mission Bay. Catellus Development wants something like $100 million in city redevelopment financing and needs a bushel-basket full of city approvals to make the development work. In the first two quarters of this year, Catellus spent $94,000 "to influence legislation/administrative action" at City Hall, easily outdistancing all other influence-purchasers over the same time period. (Research freaks can find ONIGI file Exhibits B through Z at the S.F. Ethics Commission home page:

-- J.M.

Headlines Makes This Headline
A former employee of Headlines stores has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the company, alleging he was fired from his position as executive vice presi-dent because he has AIDS. Thomas Finan was fired last year; according to the lawsuit, the dismissal came a day before he was to return to work after 12 weeks on disability leave for an HIV-related illness.

Finan claims that in the months before his dismissal, the company's president made repeated statements that he did not want Finan to continue working for Headlines because of his HIV status. Headlines declined to comment on the lawsuit. Finan's attorneys, unsurprisingly, have plenty to say. To make his case, Finan has enlisted two of the loudest lawyers in the gay community: Paul Wotman and Geoff Kors, aide to Supervisor Leslie Katz (and architect of the city's troubled domestic-partners ordinance).


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George Cothran


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