— School-board member Katherine Nakamura has announced to her colleagues she will quit her job as an attorney to the board of directors of the University of San Diego. During Nakamura's often acrimonious campaign against ex-Navy officer Jeff Lee, allegations of conflicts of interest between the school district and USD, which operates the district's principal training academy, loomed large. Last week Nakamura traveled to Sacramento to attend a training seminar for new board members ... The growing field for that 76th District Democratic assembly nomination may become even more crowded. In addition to Vince Hall, who moved just six blocks into the district after being defeated by Republican Shirley Horton in the 78th District race last year, environmentalist Lori Saldana is also announcing. Even the name of controversial school-board president Ron Ottinger, a member of the board's pro-Bersin majority, is being floated as a potential candidate. The seat is currently held by Christine Kehoe, expected to seek the state senate seat of Dede Alpert, who is termed out next year ... Democratic state assemblyman Juan Vargas has been appointed chairman of the assembly's insurance committee, a position that is expected to give him extra leverage in raising money for his widely anticipated primary bid against Democratic congressman Bob Filner. Insurers see Vargas as friendlier than his predecessor, liberal Tom Calderon ... War is impending, so what better way to vacation than on the "SpyCruise," a weeklong voyage aboard Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Sea, sailing March 27 from Ensenada to Hawaii. "Each day while at sea SpyCruise professors from the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies of Alexandria, Virginia, will talk about espionage related to our cruise theme, 'Denial, Deception and Illusion,' " says the website of tour sponsor the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Speakers are set to include KGB general Oleg Kalugin, former chief of KGB foreign counterintelligence ... Don't fret about that venerable historical marker missing from the sidewalk in front of a new downtown condo project. So says the city following inquiries on the whereabouts of the bronze plaque at the site of the old San Diego Barracks near Market Street and Pacific Highway. A state historical preservation officer says he knows nothing about the sign's sudden disappearance. The granite base holding the plaque for about 50 years was quietly destroyed by condo developer Bosa sometime during the past month. The city claims the plaque is okay and will be put up at a yet-to-be-designated nearby location.

Expendable What's a lame-duck assemblywoman to do? Republican Charlene Zettel gave up her reelection effort only to lose a bitter March senate primary race to fellow assemblyman Dennis Hollingsworth. After the election she continued to collect money in her assembly campaign account from donors such as Philip Morris and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She spent it on things like staff dinners (Carver's Steaks and Chops, San Diego, $592; Passaretti's Restaurant, South Lake Tahoe, $189.54); a staff retreat (Forest Inn, South Lake Tahoe, $1198); and a Hispanic Heritage Month meeting in Washington, D.C. (Renaissance Hotel Mayflower, $808.13).

The big nap The fishing buddy of a dead Florida man brought his friend's "cremains" to Qualcomm Stadium and scattered them around his seat during the Super Bowl, reports the St. Petersburg Times. Bucs fan David "Knappy" Knapp, 47, died of a heart attack last March. His friend Tim Roper carried the ashes to California in a plastic sandwich bag tucked inside a Tupperware bowl. "I'm going to the Super Bowl, and I'm taking the Knapper with me," Roper told Knapp's widow Tina. "I know my husband is in heaven and this was just a symbolization, but it was great for the family," Tina told the paper ... The Chicago Tribune reports that NFL players visiting town for the Super Bowl were quietly given a list of do's and don'ts by the Miami-based law firm of Schultz Carter Zumpano & Fertel, specialists in handling high-profile celebs: "carry no weapons, avoid public intoxication, don't be alone with a member of the opposite sex, and have local legal counsel, preferably criminal counsel, on alert with plenty of information on your whereabouts." ... Onetime acting San Diego city manager Penelope Culbreth-Graft, who left to become tribal development manager for the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians after failing to get the permanent job, has been named assistant city manager of Riverside.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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