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Members of the San Diego City Council and their staffs have filed their so-called "assuming office" financial disclosure statements required by law. Mayor Dick Murphy reports owning a couple of rental units in his old Seventh District stomping grounds. He also reports his wife's income as a physical therapist (greater than $10,000). Under gifts, the mayor lists a variety of congratulatory items, including a "floral arrangement" worth $62.50 from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; a "designer cookie basket" from Katz & Associates, a University City public relations outfit with city contracts; and a "five-foot palm in basket" valued at $60.88 from his old Superior Court staff. Murphy even received a "gourmet basket" worth $91.56 from none other than Tom Shepard and Andrew Poat of Stoorza Communications, which masterminded the failed campaign of Murphy's mayoral opponent, county supervisor Ron Roberts, and represents Padres owner John Moores. Back in March of last year, Murphy also reports getting wine worth $150 from attorney Dana Dunwoody. Meanwhile, Murphy chief of staff John Kern reports that his political consulting outfit, the Kern Company, made over $10,000 each from a variety of clients, including the Murphy mayoral campaign; the Economic Study Group; International Gateway Associates; Katz & Associates; unsuccessful board of supervisors candidate Marion Dodson; Sea World of California; Service Employees International Union, Local 2028; and political mailhouse Western Graphics. His stock portfolio includes holdings of between $10,000 and $100,000 in each of Microsoft, Oracle, and Qualcomm. Incoming Third District councilwoman Toni Atkins, who succeeded her boss Christine Kehoe, reports getting tickets worth $62 to an October Chargers game from Qualcomm.

Neon sign More upheaval at Neon Systems, the software company from Sugar Land, Texas, that figures large in the federal grand jury investigation into San Diego city councilwoman Valerie Stallings and her votes in favor of Padres owner John Moores, who controls Neon. Last week Jim Backer, the firm's chief executive officer, was booted out after the company experienced its first money-losing quarter in three years. The company's stock was trading at about $5.62 a share last week; a year ago it was as high as $41. Two years ago this coming April, Stallings got in on an initial public offering of Neon stock and sold out just three weeks later, when the stock was at its all-time peak of about $50 ... Stan Foster, wealthy father-in-law of San Diego Unified schools superintendent Alan Bersin, is embroiled in a nasty legal fight over a chunk of property near the stalled downtown baseball stadium. According to court documents, Foster and some relatives sold the land to a Washington, D.C.-based developer for $1.4 million, but when it came time to close escrow, the would-be buyer balked, claiming the site was polluted. Now the Foster group wants the land back, arguing it's worth much more than when the original escrow opened last year. A hearing on the matter is set for next month.

Whiteout Federal agents are seizing millions of tons of cocaine from ships off the coast of Colombia, and there may be a San Diego connection, reports the Tampa Tribune. Two years ago, the U.S captured suspected drug lord José Castrillón-Henao and threw him into a Florida lockup. Prior to that, the feds say he hung out at a condo he purchased through an intermediary at One Harbor Drive complex across from the downtown convention center. Today Castrillon-Henao, yet to be tried, may be providing the feds with inside information on Cali cartel operations, the paper reports ... The Virginia arms dealer who looted thousands of rounds of ammunition, explosives, and military gear from the Navy with the assistance of two sailors based at a Coronado SEAL unit, has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison and a $170,000 restitution payment, reports the Richmond Times Dispatch. Daniel F. Robinson conspired with the two SEALs, Michael F. Chernesky and Jonathan Dean Cripe, to take the weaponry from the San Diego arsenal and drive it across country to his pawn shop in Hopewell, Virginia.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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