The race to succeed retiring Assemblywoman Marian W. La Follette (R-Northridge) erupted in a volley of angry accusations Thursday, as the two leading candidates charged one another with misdeeds from lying to receiving stolen property.
With just four days left before Tuesday's primary election, GOP front-runners Paula Boland and Rob Wilcox engaged in a daylong round of sniping over matters ranging from the mammoth Porter Ranch development to the source of a leaked campaign brochure.
Boland, Wilcox and three other Republicans are jostling for the GOP nomination to succeed La Follette, who is leaving the Legislature at the end of this year.
Two Democrats, Irene Allert and Gary Crandall, are running for their party's nomination. But the GOP nominee will be favored to win the November election in the 38th District, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 86,000 to 74,000.
Boland kicked off the day with a news conference at which she attacked Wilcox for accepting a $500 campaign contribution from Browning-Ferris Industries, owner of the Sunshine Canyon landfill near Granada Hills, while proclaiming that he favors closing the dump.
"His acceptance of a major contribution from the Sunshine landfill polluters, after promising to oppose the landfill and its expansion, is a classic example of the greatest hypocrisy in politics today," she said.
Wilcox said he did not solicit the contribution and it did not change his plans, if elected, to author legislation to close the dump and prohibit other landfills in the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley.
Wilcox counterattacked later in the day by faxing to reporters copies of city documents he said demonstrate that Boland, a real estate broker, supports the Porter Ranch project. Wilcox, a La Follette aide, has repeatedly sought to link Boland to the sprawling, controversial development in the hills north of the Simi Valley Freeway in Chatsworth.
The documents appear to be sign-up cards for citizens wanting to speak during a 1989 hearing on the ranch before the City Council planning committee. The cards bear the hand-printed names of Boland and her husband, Lloyd, and carry check marks next to boxes marked "support project/proposal."
Boland has said she has no position on the project, which she regards as a local planning issue. But Wilcox charged the sign-up cards indicate "she has been untruthful to the people she's trying to represent."
Boland angrily denounced the cards as forgeries, saying she and her husband "absolutely, positively weren't there" at the hearing.
"He's out of his mind. You better start looking for forgeries. . . . I'm so mad at him I could scream," she said.
Wilcox replied that "she's perjuring herself" and that "it is too ridiculous" to suggest his campaign forged the cards, planted them in city files and then made copies of them.
Meanwhile, Boland accused Wilcox of receiving stolen property in connection with an apparent leak of one of her campaign brochures.
Wilcox produced one of the brochures at a news conference Wednesday, complaining it distorts the circumstances of a 1985 car accident he was involved in. Boland's campaign had printed but not mailed copies of the brochure, which were being stored at a warehouse.
"I didn't have a copy of it, and my campaign manager in Sacramento didn't have a copy of it," she said. "He's in receipt of stolen goods."
Wilcox said he was given the brochure by a Boland supporter "who was very disappointed with her tactics" in describing the car accident.