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From re-election to resignation

December 31, 2005|By By Mark R. Madler

Stacey Murphy started 2005 as a shoo-in to retain her City Council seat and ended it in a courtroom pleading guilty to drug and child endangerment.In her last vote as a Burbank City Councilwoman, Stacey Murphy approved changes to the city's ordinance on discharges from publicly operated treatment plants.

That was on the evening of July 12, just five months after Murphy was re-elected to her position by a margin of more than 60% in the primary election.

The following day the popular, straight-talking Murphy would have the spotlight of media attention focused on her for another reason -- her arrest on a felony possession of cocaine charge and a misdemeanor child endangerment charge.

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Murphy resigned after being formally charged in August, and quietly ended the case herself in a Pasadena courtroom when she pleaded guilty on Dec. 22 to both charges and had her sentence suspended pending successful completion of a drug treatment program and parenting classes.

The 47-year-old Murphy declined to speak about her criminal case but expressed appreciation for those who stood by her in difficult times.

"I'm extraordinarily grateful and amazed at the amount of people who have been supportive and hung in there," Murphy said.

Public reaction to the case remains mixed, just as it was in the days following her arrest.

"Of course she's guilty," said Wayne Jackson, a Chandler Boulevard resident. "The cops went to her home and found what they found. If she's smart enough to be on the council she should be smart enough to know what's going on at home."

Richard Austin, a Burbank resident for 50 years who did not vote for Murphy in the spring election, still said he felt bad for her.

Murphy should not have given up her council seat, Austin said.

"What she does at home isn't what she does at work," he said.

Mayor Jef Vander Borght said the guilty plea is good for everyone involved.

"Personally, Stacey can address her problem and as a city we don't have to be faced with the unknown," Vander Borght said. "We can put this story to rest."

Murphy and the council started out 2005 tackling some controversial issues, namely a development agreement with the Bob Hope Airport -- which she supported -- and the mixed-use Burbank Media Center project -- in which Murphy cast the sole dissenting vote.

With re-election secured in the February primary, Murphy got down to city business.

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