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No Accident: State Senators’ Names Are Not on Mailer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

There’s just one thing missing from the official, $80,000 state mailing designed to inform voters in Southeast Los Angeles County about their new state senators:

The senators’ names.

Cliff Berg, executive officer of the Senate Rules Committee, which mailed the notices, said the names of Sens. Frank Hill (R-Whittier) and Charles Calderon (D-Whittier)--both of whom represent parts of the Southeast area--were deliberately left off because of the Fair Political Practices Commission’s interpretation of Proposition 73.

He said the name of a third senator, Lucy Killea (D-San Diego), was omitted for the same reason.

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The 1988 political reform initiative bans the use of tax money for mass mailings promoting officeholders. Under the political practice commission’s interpretation, Berg said, even something as innocuous as telling residents the name of their new senator is a violation of the law.

Voters elected Killea in December to replace a senator who resigned after being appointed to a judgeship, and elected Hill and Calderon in April. Hill succeeded William Campbell, who quit to become president of the California Manufacturers Assn., and Calderon replaced Joseph Montoya, who resigned after being convicted on political corruption charges.

Berg said the Rules Committee thought that constituents should have the addresses of their new senators, even though the committee could not include the names of the senators in the mailings. The mailings went out earlier this month.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Michael Burns, Calderon’s chief of staff. “It’s the most absurd result you could imagine.” He said Calderon’s office has been flooded with complaints from residents who believe the omission was either a careless mistake or an act of stupidity.

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Calderon has asked the Rules Committee to consider sending new notices with the names of the senators included, or to provide him with a lawyer so that he can bring a legal challenge to the Proposition 73 rules.


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