46th Assembly District Rival Doesn’t Campaign : Roos Facing a Phantom-Like Foe
William Jones concedes that he has almost no chance of beating incumbent Mike Roos in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the 46th Assembly District, which includes Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park and parts of mid-Wilshire and Hollywood. After all, Jones has done no campaigning, bought no advertising, printed no brochures and received no contributions.
A 27-year-old engineering consultant for an insurance company, Jones says that he has talked to only a few neighbors about his race against Roos, 42, the Assembly majority leader since 1977.
‘He May Be a Phantom’
“I’ll probably get my neighbors’ votes, but not many others,” he said. Jones was a volunteer in other Democratic campaigns and unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the party’s county committee in 1980.
Even Roos’ staff members seemed surprised by their opponent’s very, very low profile. “He may be a phantom,” Eric Schockman, chief deputy to Roos, commented.
So why did Jones bother to garner the petition signatures and pay the $371 filing fee to get his name on the primary ballot?
Jones says that alleged connections to W. Patrick Moriarty have tainted Roos and embarrassed the Democratic party. “I don’t think he should be running at all,” Jones said.
In January, Moriarty was sentenced to seven years in prison for bribing elected officials, for laundering campaign contributions and for other crimes in connection with helping his businesses.
Roos was not among the politicians named in that case, but his ties to Moriarty have been under investigation by the FBI and the Orange County district attorney.
Reported Condo Profit
In 1982, Roos reportedly profited by $50,000 on an investment in a generally unprofitable Moriarty condominium project, just days after helping to pass a bill that would benefit Moriarty’s fireworks business. Former Moriarty aides and others have said that Moriarty also provided Roos with prostitutes.
Roos has declined direct comment on the accusations.
Schockman said, “My boss stands on his record of service. That’s the major issue at hand. He has provided good service for the ethnic, racial and sexual diversity in this district and pledges to continue to do so.”
During the past term, Roos was especially proud of guiding to passage a bill that will fund AIDS screening while protecting the identities of those tested, and another that establishes a public school course on the Holocaust and other acts of genocide, Schockman said.
Meanwhile, Roos aides are already looking forward to an easy victory against a Republican opponent in November. About 60% of the district’s voters are registered as Democrats, contrasted with 28% registered as Republicans--a disparity that has helped make the seat safe for Roos. In November, 1984, he won reelection with 69% of the vote.
Jeffrey E. Wright, listed as a businessman, is the only name on the Republican primary ballot in the 46th District, although Anthony Trias, a former member of the Los Angeles School Board, is distributing brochures and putting up posters to advance his name as a write-in.
Trias, 53, said he thinks Roos is vulnerable this year because of the well-publicized accusations against him.
An insurance agent and business consultant, Trias recently switched from the Democratic Party, but not in time to qualify for the ballot. He said he decided to run as a write-in candidate because, he charged, Wright moved to the district from Arcadia only to seek the nomination.
Wright could not be reached for comment. Even the chairman and vice chairman of the district Republican committee say they have never met him. Voters say they have seen no evidence he is campaigning.
Marel Bates, a pension finance officer who ran in 1984, is back again, unopposed, on the Libertarian line.
John O’Brien, a gay activist who also ran in 1984, has no competition for the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party.