ELECTIONS / 27TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT : Moorhead Relies on Firm Constituent Ties


Rep. Carlos J. Moorhead attributes his political longevity to a mix of common sense and service to constituents.

Add to that a campaign fund that is routinely 10 times greater than his nearest opponent's and you have a representative who has virtually coasted to victory every two years since 1972.

Moorhead (R-Glendale) is seeking election to an 11th term in the 22nd Congressional District, which, with only minor boundary changes, will be designated the 27th District in January.

The district includes Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino and South Pasadena in the San Gabriel Valley as well as Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, and portions of Burbank. Registration is 46% Republican and 41% Democratic.

In the June 2 Republican primary, Moorhead is being challenged by former Monterey Park City Councilman Barry L. Hatch, Altadena financial consultant Lionel Allen Jr. and Burbank attorney Louis Morelli

Two Democrats are competing in their party's primary; two minor party candidates are running unopposed.

"People want a friend, as well as someone who is sitting in Washington," Moorhead, 70, said during a telephone interview. "They want someone interested in them and their comments. I try to do that."

Moorhead, a conservative in the mold of President Bush and former President Reagan, sends out constituent questionnaires, speaks to local groups and is generally well-received by audiences in the conservative district.

In general, Moorhead said he is satisfied with the way Bush is leading the country. He said he believes the recession is over and that the country is headed for recovery with the economy growing at a rate he estimates will be about 3% to 4% by next year.

Moorhead said he supports hiring more U.S. Border Patrol agents, making dramatic improvements in schools and providing businesses with incentives to move factories to inner-city neighborhoods where they could provide jobs for the poor.

Asked why he has not accomplished those goals during his time in office, Moorhead said, "The party that controls Congress has not been willing."

Unlike many of his colleagues, Moorhead has not bounced any checks, according to a congressional investigation.

Moorhead, who as a congressman earns $125,000 a year, has nearly $800,000 in his campaign war chest. During 1991, he spent $87,000 from that fund on a wide range of expenses, including travel, entertainment and printing costs related to his reelection.

Moorhead is opposed to abortion, except when the mother's health is endangered, and he believes the Supreme Court will eventually make a decision that will allow states to restrict the operation.

"Certainly for minors, parents should know what is going on, because kids are not prepared to make that decision," Moorhead said. "I know a lot of women won't agree, but I also think a husband should know when his wife is getting an abortion."

Moorhead said much of his work is unseen. He has bolstered Bush Administration policies by countering attempts by Democrats to derail them.

But his opponents say Moorhead is doing little about the three issues that they say worry voters most: immigration, education and the economy.

"He's a nice guy, but he hasn't got real leadership in regard to the issues," said Republican candidate Hatch, 55, of Alhambra.

Hatch was elected to the Monterey Park City Council in 1986, was the target of an unsuccessful recall attempt in 1987 and lost his bid for reelection in 1990.

"The recall was headed by developers who charged me with racism because I stated we should have a common language, English," Hatch said.

He has since moved from Monterey Park, where he had lived all his life. "I left, trying to find an area that was more diverse," Hatch said. "Monterey Park was becoming overwhelmingly Asian."

Hatch said he supports a crackdown on drug smuggling and crime, big reductions in federal spending and use of closed military bases to house prisoners. He said he has raised less than $1,000 for his campaign.

Allen, 34, who is a disabled veteran, said he is not afraid of Moorhead's massive financial advantage. Although he has raised less than $1,000, Allen said he is planning a fund-raiser that he expects to net $400,000. Allen refused to give any details about the event, which he said would feature world-famous entertainers.

"My strategy is to let opponents think they don't have anything to worry about, then in the last 10 days before the election I'll put out mailers and ads on radio and TV," Allen said. "I want the Pearl Harbor effect--sneak up on him and deal him a wallop.

"The main thing is that Carlos Moorhead is running and I think I can do a better job," Allen said.

Allen supports a balanced budget amendment, increased veterans benefits, improved education and reductions in aid to foreign countries.

Republican candidate Morelli, 50, said he will fight to reduce taxes, using volunteers to supplement a reduced state and federal work force. "Volunteerism doesn't cost any money," Morelli said. "This is a brand-new idea."

Morelli said if he is elected, he will donate his congressional salary to charity.

The Democrats are John Grula, 39, a biologist, and Doug Kahn, 39, owner of a printing company.

Grula, of Pasadena, said the United States should stop testing and producing nuclear weapons. He said many of the nation's financial troubles are the result of too much defense spending and not enough money spent on social programs.

He favors supplementing state funds for education with a per-pupil federal allocation. In addition to federal help, California must raise taxes to recover from its fiscal troubles and raise money for schools, Grula said.

Much of the illegal immigration is the result of repressive governments, as well as poor economic conditions, he said.

"We need to look at countries with human rights problems and stop sending money to regimes that are forcing people up here," Grula said.

Grula said he has raised more than $10,000.

Kahn, of Altadena, said he favors increased borrowing by the federal government to fund public works and private industry projects that will generate jobs and stimulate business. "It's OK to increase the deficit for one year to make big investments in our infrastructure because they will pay big dividends," Kahn said. "People are hurting in this district and business as usual won't work."

He also favors a national health insurance program with limits on medical charges and funded by taxes. Kahn also favors government subsidies to support child-care centers, and maternity leave for people having babies.

Kahn has raised more than $3,000.

The Libertarian candidate is Dennis Dechard, 44, a computer systems analyst from Pasadena. Margaret L. Edwards of Altadena is the Peace and Freedom party candidate.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World