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          The San Diego City Council has "secretly hired high-
     powered consultants from Atlanta and Denver to open
     financing negotiations with the Padres," according to Barry
     Bloom of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE.  Hired to "help
     represent city government in the negotiations" were Paul
     Jacobs, the Rockies' attorney when Coors Field was conceived
     and constructed, and Steve Labovitz, former Chief of Staff
     under Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who handled negotiations
     for a new arena in Atlanta and oversaw the conversion of
     Olympic Stadium into Turner Field.  Assistant City Attorney
     Les Girard said the two attorneys will be paid an hourly
     rate of $225-$250, with a cap of $75,000 each.  In related
     news, city negotiators "met with Padres' officials for the
     first time last week," while not including the city's
     ballpark Task Force.  Task Force Chair Pat Shea "was clearly
     chagrined by the developments."  Golding said the task force
     will remain in existence until negotiations are completed
     and "insisted that the negotiating team's work will
     complement the task force's efforts" (UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/7).

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