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ELECTIONS ’88 : ORANGE COUNTY : Green, Knabe Turn Up to Swap Jabs at Forum

Times Staff Writer

Saying he was “tired of all the dirt being thrown” at him, state Sen. Cecil N. Green (D-Norwalk) on Saturday blasted his GOP opponent in the 33rd Senate District for running a campaign of “exaggeration and misrepresentation.”

Green, seeking reelection to a full four-year term, said his voting record, among other things, has been “wildly distorted” by his opponent, Don Knabe, a former Cerritos councilman and chief aide to Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana.

Knabe, in a mailer sent to voters in the district, which includes portions of southeast Los Angeles County and northwest Orange County, called Green a “part-time senator.” But Green said he had the third highest attendance record for voting in the Senate.

“That’s hardly what I call part time,” Green told about 50 people at a forum in Lakewood attended by both candidates.

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Clarification of Record

Green’s campaign aides claimed a victory in their effort to clear up the senator’s record when Knabe acknowledged that Green had not been “kicked off” a Los Angeles County narcotics commission several years ago, as claimed in a GOP mailer. Knabe said Green “voluntarily” left the commission after missing a number of meetings.

“Perhaps the language was a little strong, but the message is the same,” Knabe said in an interview after the forum. “The senator wasn’t there doing his duty.”

In a jab at Green’s absence at previous debates in the campaign, Knabe turned to Green at the start of Saturday’s forum and said: “It’s a pleasant surprise to see the senator here.”

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Knabe has complained in recent weeks about Green’s reluctance to debate.

Knabe Urges Debates

“I’ve spent more time responding to his spokesmen than to the senator,” Knabe said during a break in the forum. “On one hand (Green) talks about his accomplishments, but on the other he won’t debate or talk about his record.”

Green’s campaign spokesman, Larry Morse, said the senator decided to pass on a number of joint appearances after Knabe refused to sign a campaign pledge to avoid personal attacks.

The Lakewood forum was only the second attended by both candidates in a race that has attracted statewide interest because of its importance in the battle for control of the Legislature before reapportionment begins in 1990. Both state Republican and Democratic leaders say they can win the district and have poured thousands of dollars into the race.

Both Green and Knabe portrayed themselves Saturday as conservatives who are tough on crime. Green said he has received endorsements from 27 law enforcement groups around the state. Knabe said he would introduce legislation to toughen sentences for drug dealers. He also said juveniles who commit a drug- or gang-related killing should be tried as adults.


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