FPPC Vacancy Puts Cory in a Quandary : Democrat Must Pick Republican; San Marino Lawyer Considered

Times Staff Writer

Michael Montgomery, a former South Pasadena city councilman, is among several people being considered to fill a vacancy on the five-member state Fair Political Practices Commission.

The appointment is to be made by state Controller Kenneth Cory, who finds himself in a political dilemma.

Under a section of the law designed to ensure party balance among members of the watchdog commission, Democrat Cory must name a Republican. The law provides for the governor to name two commissioners and the attorney general, the secretary of state and the controller each to name one.

No more than three of the five commissioners can be from the same party. Republican Gov. George Deukmejian appointed a Republican and a Democrat. Two other slots were filled earlier this year with appointments by Secretary of State March Fong Eu and Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp, both of whom are Democrats and who selected members of their own party.

That left Cory obligated to pick a Republican for the remaining spot.

Montgomery, a former state Republican Party chairman, is one of several lawyers recommended by state GOP leaders.

The party gave Cory five names through Ed Reinecke, who made the recommendations before his term as state Republican chairman ended earlier this year. Reinecke said he wanted the nominees to be lawyers, although that is not required by law. Besides Montgomery, the nominees are:

--George Paras of Sacramento, a former California Court of Appeal judge and a registered Democrat.

--Robert A. Laurie, a Sacramento-area lawyer and Republican.

--John L. Moriarity, a Van Nuys lawyer active in the Republican party.

--John La Follette, a lawyer married to Assemblywoman Marion La Follette (R-Northridge). He withdrew from consideration last week, saying his law practice would keep him too busy to serve on the commission.

Montgomery, a candidate for secretary of state in 1974, said last week that his San Marino law practice includes advising cities, often on redevelopment issues.

He said he is not pushing for the job. "If I get it, I'll serve. If I don't, that's fine," he said.

"I can see Cory's quandary" in having to appoint a Republican, Montgomery said.

Even before La Follette's withdrawal, Cory said last week that he was "struggling" to reach a decision.

In an apparent reference to Paras being a registered Democrat, Cory said it is "unclear whether Mr. Reinecke has complied with the statutes."

Cory also said that besides those on Reinecke's list he is considering two other Republicans, whom he would not identify.

The controller said he is not sure when he will pick the successor to former Commissioner V. A. Metzger Jr., a California State University, Long Beach, business professor, who has already left office.

The commission enforces the Political Reform Act, which regulates activities of lobbyists and requires public officials to disclose conflicts of interest and campaign contributions.

The commissioners' conduct is guided by a "statement of incompatible activities," which bars members from seeking office, working on behalf of candidates for state office and attending most fund-raisers. Commissioners are paid $100 a meeting and reimbursed for their expenses.

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