CAMARILLO : Democrats Gain in Voter Registration

The chairman of the California Democratic Party told a unity rally in Camarillo on Sunday that his party mounted an all-out grass-roots effort this year to get Democrats elected in the Nov. 3 general election.

"We intend to work our fannies off from now to Election Day," said Phil Angelides. "It's going to be a bloody fight . . . . It's going to be a character-assassination war . . . . We're going to fight it with the truth."

Angelides, stumping the state for Democratic candidates, said at the core of the statewide grass-roots effort were 10,000 precinct captains and 40,000 volunteers.

Results of the effort are evident in the fact that 1.1 million new Democrats were registered in California this year, almost twice the number of newly registered Republicans, he said.

"Right here in Ventura County, you thumped them and you thumped them good," Angelides said.

This was a reference to a Democratic Party push to register voters in traditionally Republican Ventura County. The effort resulted in a narrowing of the Republican margin over Democrats, 43.9% to 41.1%, according to county clerk figures.

Angelides spoke to about 150 people gathered in an office complex parking lot in Camarillo. Spectators were served soft drinks, hot dogs and hamburgers, courtesy of the state Democratic Party.

Ventura County Democratic candidates attending the rally were: Anita Perez Ferguson of Oxnard, who is challenging Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) in the 23rd Congressional District race; Roz McGrath of Camarillo, challenging Oxnard Mayor Nao Takasugi, a Republican, in the 37th Assembly District, and Hank Starr of Bell Canyon, challenging Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) in the 19th state Senate District.

Accompanying Angelides and speaking for the local candidates were actors Dean Stockwell, Troy Evans, Richard Masur, Kathleen Noone and Pamela Reed.

Perez Ferguson, flanked by children from Sierra Linda Elementary School in Oxnard wearing "Anita" T-shirts, said "we are here for future generations, make no mistake about it."

Angelides said after the rally that Perez Ferguson's race was one of four congressional contests in California targeted for special help by the California Democratic Party. He said the party recently gave her $5,000 in the form of a contribution and $5,000 to help underwrite her campaign expenses.

Separately, Gallegly received the endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., founded by the father of California's property tax-cutting Proposition 13. Joel Fox, the president of the association, said the group endorsed Gallegly because of his votes against federal tax and spending increases.

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