Leap of Faith

— San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell has had her hands full lately, what with trying to decide the fate of all the lawsuits and motions that have piled up in the matter of John Moores's downtown baseball stadium. But that hasn't stopped the Democratic jurist from making a few timely stock-market picks in recent months. Back on September 22, 1999, according to a statement of economic interest she filed on December 6, 1999, McConnell bought shares of Leap Wireless International. Leap is the Qualcomm spinoff that boasts a host of big-name San Diegans on its board of directors, including Moores, a computer venture-capitalist. On September 21, according to news accounts at the time, Leap announced it had just done a $330 million financing and infrastructure deal with Lucent Technologies. That day, Leap stock promptly jumped $5 a share, from $17 to $22, on record volume. The stock has fared even better since, reaching a high of $90 in November; as of this Monday, it was trading around $80 a share. In December, McConnell valued her stock in Leap at between $10,000 and $100,000. Also last fall, according to her disclosure statement, McConnell was busy buying shares in other high-tech companies, including, on September 24, Cisco (valued at $1000 to $10,000) and, on October 6, Macromedia (valued at $10,000 to $100,000). Earlier last year, according to her disclosure, McConnell bought shares in Red Hat Software on August 28 ($10,000 to $100,000); in Corel on September 16 ($10,000 to $100,000); and in Oracle on April, 14 ($10,000 to $100,000). McConnell reported she sold only two of her stock holdings in 1999: Compaq Computing, which she valued at between $10,000 and $100,000, on August 18, and CNET on August 23, which she valued in the same range.

Greenback Solidarity Forever

KFMB sportscaster and Padres broadcaster Ted Leitner has become a commercial spokesman for big labor, according to the January newsletter of the San Diego-Imperial Valley Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Leitner "is extolling the virtues of organized labor to listeners of his morning show," the newsletter reports. The sportscaster "reminds the public that the unions are responsible for workers earning good wages, time-and-a-half and double time for holidays, pensions, and vacations and urges shoppers to patronize quality union products and services." The newsletter urges members to "call Ted -- that will strengthen and enhance our message that unions are advantageous to working people." ... Speaking of big labor, Democrats who want to stay in an all-union hotel during their party's national convention in Los Angeles this summer are threatening to commute to and from San Diego, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Big hotels near Staples Center, like the New Otani, aren't unionized, so some Ohio delegates are threatening to check in at San Diego resorts. "They'd be vacationing and then they'd come in the evening for the convention," the paper quotes Vivian Rothstein, director of the hotel workers union's Hotel Organizing Project, as saying ... John Eger, who is holder of the Lionel Van Deerlin Endowed Chair of Communications and Public Policy at San Diego State University and executive director of the university's International Center for Communications, has been named to the board of directors of Coyote Network Systems, a new Internet venture.

Lots of Dope

A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to charges he used the U.S. mail to smuggle more than 2.5 tons of marijuana from San Diego to Richmond since 1995. Forty-four-year-old Winston Green made his guilty plea the same day that his wife Wanda, 31, was busted on similar charges. "In terms of marijuana dealers, he's probably the biggest that we've investigated in recent times," assistant Henrico Commonwealth's attorney Maggie Deglau told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "He stayed [in San Diego] for periods of time, and he actually was the one shipping the marijuana here for a while. But he also had individuals that he was working with that stayed out there all the time, and when he was in Richmond, they would ship it to him." Prosecutors say Green also used United Parcel Service to transport some of his stash, shipments of which they say were first sniffed out by trained dogs.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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