February 26, 2001



by Lisa Ross

Uninvited Guests: Cyber, Political Viruses

Like an asteroid hitting earth, two events collided one day last week with a similar uninvited jolt to my small world.

One was the early morning appearance of the ubiquitous computer virus A. Kournakova that indiscriminately sent itself to everyone on my extensive email list, friend and foe, past and present.

The other was a phone call after a three year hiatus from former Del Mar Heights resident rabble-rouser Peter Navarro, rising from the political dead to discuss his intention to run for the District 6 City Council seat just vacated by Valerie Stallings.

Where are Ghostbusters when you need them.

Both events reverberated around the city and stressed my telephone and email inbox to the max with reactions ranging from empathy to accusations of complicity to helpless confusion about just what to do. A kind of morbid curiosity buzzed on both fronts.

I heard from people I had not't talked with in years-such is the real torture of viruses that invade Outlook files and feed political rumor mills. I spent the day in plausible deniability-a state of mind I had not experienced since working as Navarro's press secretary during the 1996 Congressional race. Except this time, the denial was of the Freudian type-this can't be happening.

I spent my day assuring folks that I was not responsible for either bewildering happening—the virus came from a building industry consultant, unintentionally, and Navarro redux from people who desperately want things shaken up in City Hall, especially in regards to ballpark financing and managing the energy crisis. An economist, a well-known energy policy expert and a bare-knuckle politician, Navarro fits their bill on all three fronts.