Friends in high places

— He's been an aide to Democratic ex-congressman Lionel Van Deerlin, top lieutenant for onetime Republican city councilman Uvaldo Martinez, local functionary for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and executive director of Democratic ex-governor Gray Davis's Commission of the Californias. In between, he's been entangled in the long-ago city hall credit card-spending scandal that got Martinez booted from office; later he got caught up in North County political consultant Colin Flaherty's campaign- money-laundering case. His name is Rudy Murillo, but unlike his close friend Flaherty -- who has reportedly yet to pay the $76,000 fine levied against him in that matter by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission -- the worst thing Murillo's ever been charged with is failure to pay $846 in parking fees and fines during his years at city hall. Murillo left his state job after Davis was booted from office by the recall. He soon signed up with the San Diego State University Foundation, where he said last summer he was trying to line up a grant from a major foundation to pay for an educational development program for some of Tijuana's maquiladora plants. Now Murillo, a close buddy of Democratic Party insider and Davis ex-chief-of-staff Lynn Schenk, herself currently picking up $99,000 or so a year as a member of the state's Medical Assistance Commission, has moved on to yet another state-sponsored venue: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he has become director of the state government relations office. "Rudy is familiar with UCSD. He was graduated from Revelle College with a degree in chemistry in 1971," says an e-mail circulating at Scripps. "He worked closely with Congresswoman Lynn Schenk to write and implement her amendment establishing a designated commute lane (later dubbed SENTRI) between the U.S. and Mexico." It adds: "Rudy is now SIO's designated State Relations contact, so please contact him if you have any State-related concerns or questions."

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