Lunch with a political insider: Irresistible

August 8, 2005

The Sacramento Bee

Which is worth more, lunch with political consultant Garry South or a weeklong stay in Puerto Vallarta? According to bidders at the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento annual auction, it’s South.

The former political adviser to Gov. Gray Davis ultimately attracted a $1,300 bid, while the Mexico lodging went for a mere $900, said Stonewall Club Vice President Ron Spingarn. Even a weeklong stay in a one-bedroom Hawaii condominium went south of South, at $1,100.

“I just hope whoever the highest bidder hasn’t heard all my political war stories and jokes,” South said. “Otherwise, I won’t really know how to give them $1,300 of value.”

That bidder turned out to be former Assemblyman Dennis Mangers, now president of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association.

The Stonewall Club, which backs gay and lesbian causes, raised $20,000 through its live and silent auctions with more than 100 items, Spingarn said.

A different Hawaii stay, in a two-bedroom condo owned by former state Sen. John Vasconcellos, went for $1,600.

It does not include Vasconcellos for a week.

Besides the lunch with South, the live auction featured one with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez – an interesting offering since the two clashed last year and Nunez challenged South’s Democratic credentials. Nunez went for $550 less than South.

“There’s no logical explanation for it, although Garry (is known to) give a year’s worth of advice in an hour,” said Nunez spokesman Steve Maviglio.