Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti said Saturday that the political views of Rep. Daniel E. Lungren on such issues as offshore oil drilling, toxic cleanup and funding for social programs will figure prominently in the Senate's deliberations on whether to confirm the Long Beach Republican as state treasurer.
Singling out specific issues of concern to senior citizens, low-income families, labor unions and environmentalists, Roberti (D-Los Angeles) laid the groundwork for a broad inquiry into Lungren's voting record and conservative politics.
"The state treasurer must not represent a political party, not a narrow philosophy, not a special interest, but all Californians," Roberti said in a radio speech made available for broadcast by stations throughout the state.
Confirmation hearings on Gov. George Deukmejian's nomination of Lungren are scheduled to begin Monday in the Assembly and later this month or early February in the Senate.
Lungren, one of the most conservative members of Congress, could not be reached for comment on Saturday. But since his nomination in November, he has expressed his readiness to discuss any aspect of his voting record during his nine years in the House of Representatives.
In his speech, Roberti said he and most other members of the Democrat-controlled Senate had not decided whether to confirm Lungren and were "maintaining open minds" as the confirmation proceedings get under way.
But he also made it clear that Democrats view the treasurer's office as one of the most important political posts in the state, and that Lungren's views on issues, even if only distantly related to the treasurer's duties, will be factors in the Senate's decision.
Cites Key Position
"Perhaps more than any one person, the state treasurer is responsible for the implementation of public policy in California," Roberti said, noting that the treasurer sits on more than 40 boards and commissions that have a role in such matters as pollution cleanup, school construction and financing of local governments.
In Congress, Lungren has consistently opposed increased spending for a variety of social programs, including such items as the school lunch program for children.
Roberti did not cite any specific votes by Lungren, but questioned whether the congressman has "built a career of opposition to health and safety programs."
"Millions of our schoolchildren--particularly those of low-income families--must be assured that Mr. Lungren understands their needs," the Senate leader said. "Millions of our senior citizens must be assured that Mr. Lungren will join their desperate battle against inflation."
On environmental issues, Lungren has favored increased oil drilling off the coast of California and has opposed major toxics legislation, including extension of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Must Know His Views
Roberti made it clear that Lungren's stands on those issues will also figure in his confirmation. "Our state is falling victim to pesticides and cancer-causing toxic wastes," he said. "We must know whether Mr. Lungren will join in our battle for a healthy environment.
"Our delicate coastline is in danger of off-shore oil development," Roberti said. "Does Mr. Lungren support such development?"
A spokeswoman for Deukmejian said the governor fully expects Lungren's views to receive close scrutiny from the Legislature but is confident that the congressman will be confirmed.
"Both Sen. Roberti and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown have said Dan Lungren will get a fair and thorough hearing," said deputy press secretary Donna Lucas. "We are confident that through the confirmation process, Dan's qualifications will be evident and he will be confirmed."
Brown (D-San Francisco) suggested last week that the Legislature could confirm Lungren in exchange for Deukmejian's support of increased funding for schools and the fight against AIDS.