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Mayor's Retrial

October 20, 1985

Today San Diego is in the ludicrous position of having one of its most popular and important leaders resign as mayor because of a faulty verdict in a scandalous trial. The traditional local press has tried Roger Hedgecock in print and found him guilty of supporting the people of San Diego rather than the traditional power structure. We have a past district attorney who was appointed to a judgeship immediately after Hedgecock's first trial and who had the nerve to say in print, "Just think what would have happened if I had gotten a conviction." We have an infrastructure in the court system that could not trust the jury process--the very cornerstone of America's freedom and rights--to convict Hedgecock without intervention.

In all this debacle, we have forgotten that Hedgecock is accused of nothing that is as heinous as the use of public monies and council staff time to fund a political fight, as Councilman Uvaldo Martinez did on Proposition A, let alone the more recent spectacular credit card scandal. There is nothing that compares to Councilman Bill Cleator having his European vacation last summer paid for by Terry Sheldon, whose development of Famosa Slough Cleator supported. Yet, no one has raised an eyebrow over these transgressions.

For the Record Letter to the Editor Wrong: Cleator Paid for His Own Trip
Los Angeles Times Tuesday October 22, 1985 San Diego County Edition Metro Part 2 Page 2 Column 5 Metro Desk 4 inches; 127 words Type of Material: Correction
A letter to the editor published in Sunday's San Diego County Opinion Page contained errors concerning a European trip taken last year by City Councilman Bill Cleator. The letter incorrectly stated that developer Terry L. Sheldon paid for Cleator's trip. Cleator has provided The Times with a copy of a canceled check showing that he paid the Ask Mr. Foster travel agency $6,505 to go on the trip sponsored by the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber of Commerce President Lee Grissom confirmed that Cleator paid his own expenses for the trip. Sheldon said he did not know Cleator before they both joined the group on the chamber trip and said he did not pay for any part of Cleator's trip.
The letter also said that Cleator supported Sheldon's proposal for developing Famosa Slough. In fact, the proposal has never come before the City Council for a vote, and Cleator said he has not formulated a position on it.
For the Record Letter to Editor on Cleator Trip Wrong
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 27, 1985 San Diego County Edition Metro Part 2 Page 2 Column 1 Metro Desk 4 inches; 128 words Type of Material: Correction
A letter to the editor published in last Sunday's San Diego County Opinion Page contained errors concerning a European trip taken last year by City Councilman Bill Cleator. The letter incorrectly stated that developer Terry L. Sheldon paid for Cleator's trip. Cleator has provided The Times with a copy of a canceled check showing that he paid the Ask Mr. Foster travel agency $6,505 to go on the trip sponsored by the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber of Commerce President Lee Grissom confirmed that Cleator paid his own expenses for the trip. Sheldon said he did not know Cleator before they both joined the group on the chamber trip and said he did not pay for any part of Cleator's trip.
The letter also said that Cleator supported Sheldon's proposal for developing Famosa Slough. In fact, the proposal has never come before the City Council for a vote, and Cleator said he has not formulated a position on it.

Surely, now, it should be obvious that for the good of the city the case should be thrown out of court. At the very least, Hedgecock should be allowed an impartial prosecutor (such as the Department of Justice) and a new judge. This trial is not a disgrace to Hedgecock but to the City and County of San Diego.

I would also not call for, but beg, the mayor not to leave office until this thing is cleared up. I'm sure it would be easier for Roger and his family to turn his back on us than to fight on, and I could not blame him for doing so. However, the city needs leaders like Roger. Without him our neighborhoods are doomed. During the first council meeting without him, Mike Gotch noted a drastic erosion of neighborhood power had already taken place as he voted with Cleator to completely gut the open space element of the Uptown plan for Mission Hills.

We must all let Roger, and the traditional power structure: Know that we can not be fooled by yellow journalism. We must say, "Roger, we need you."

LOLA MONTEZ

San Diego

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