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San Diego at Large

Government Auction: It's Time for Good Buys

March 10, 1987|JANNY SCOTT

In the market for a second-hand airport crash-and-rescue truck? How about an anti-social quarter horse or one that won't stand still on a hill? Or maybe an ocean cruiser seized for sale in a federal bankruptcy proceeding?

All this and more can be had for a proverbial song, or two, at the county's quarterly auctions, the latest of which comes up Saturday. Water districts, municipalities, courts and cops have pooled their hand-me-downs for the ever-popular governmental swap meet.

Behind Curtain No. 1 this time is Duke, an 8-year-old chestnut laid off by the San Diego mounted police. According to Duayne Eppele, a county purchasing official, Duke developed an aversion to groups of people, rendering him useless for crowd control.

Also up for sale are a 1970 airport crash-and-rescue truck and a second-hand golf cart La Mesa used for delivering parking tickets. There are 100 sedans, 30 pickups, road graders, paint stripers, typewriters, restaurant equipment and inflatable boats.

Eppele recalls once selling the sound system from San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

"Please stress that the taxpayers really gain by these cooperative auctions because there are common expenses that we pool," Eppele said. As examples, he cited "the cost of the rental toilets or the advertising in the paper, which is a huge cost."

The booty can be eyeballed Thursday and Friday at the county operations center, 5555 Overland Ave. Eppele anticipates an auction turnout of 500.

Look Back on Anger

"I don't know if people are getting angrier," mused Edward Cannie, vice president of a company whose hottest product is a course in dealing with people who are in a rage. "It could well be they are."

Cannie's Massachusetts-based company conducts a one-day crash course, "Dealing with the ANGRY PUBLIC." The course comes to America's Finest City in early June for a one-night stand, so we asked Cannie about flipped lids.

" Homo sapiens have developed rational thought processes," he said. "But once (anger) starts, there are certain glands in your brain. It's a very physiological reaction. And the end result is you become angry and react at a more subhuman, lizard-like level."

So Cannie's company, Learning Dynamics Inc., teaches the craft of appeasement to utility company customer-service reps, airline ticket-counter workers and the like. The workshop includes understanding anger, calming people down and emotional self-protection.

"I think attention to customer service has lagged behind our shift to a service-driven economy," Cannie observed. "The cost of unsatisfied customers is far greater than the cost of whatever it takes to keep your customers satisfied."

Rumors Die Hard

Bugged by the way tall tales from small tidbits grow, A.L. (Skip) DiCerchio unveiled last month a new "rumor control" column in the San Diego Police Officers Assn.'s newspaper, aimed, he said, at nipping invidious gossip in the bud.

First on his docket was the then-unpublished gossip that Cmdr. Kenneth Fortier had bought real estate near the site of the new police headquarters--a site that the commander, in charge of long-range planning, had earlier promoted to the City Council.

POA President DiCerchio characterized it as "the recent rumor" that Fortier owns "two parking lots" nearby. Seeking to zap the rumor, he pronounced in the column, "As for Commander Fortier and the above-mentioned parking lots, no truth there . . . "

But shortly afterward, The Reader broke the story: Fortier and some partners had indeed purchased an apartment building and a storefront a block north of the site. The sale occurred after the council had made its decision, but two months before ground-breaking.

DiCerchio, nevertheless, defends the integrity of his rumor-control column: "It turns out he doesn't own parking lots around there!"

Asked whether that wasn't drawing a rather fine line, since the insinuations included the possibility of tearing down the buildings for much-needed parking, DiCerchio said hotly: "If you want to make it a fine line, you can. But it's not a fine line to me."

Late last week, the city attorney's office cleared Fortier of any conflict of interest, finding that he and his partners purchased the buildings well after the council's decision. As for DiCerchio, he expressed optimism that the flap is over.

"What a pain in the butt this has been," he muttered.

A Nest of Wipers

Hail to the International Assn. of Wiping Cloth Manufacturers, meeting in San Diego at the Hotel Inter-Continental! California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown is to address the august crowd. But what does one say to wiping cloth magnates?

"Just his basic speech to business," a Brown spokesman explained. "Usually on Corporate America, et cetera, et cetera ."

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