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<i> A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County’s political life</i> : Mr. Democrat O’Neill Shows His True Colors Don’t Match This Brown

Wrong shade of Brown: As the former state and local Democratic Party chairman, Orange County businessman Richard J. O’Neill supported the campaigns of former Govs. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown and his son, Jerry. But the other member of the Brown family now running for governor, state Treasurer Kathleen Brown, won’t get O’Neill’s vote.

O’Neill is sponsoring a fund-raiser on Tuesday for another Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.

Brown, who calls herself “a different shade of Brown,” has not defined her positions well enough to suit O’Neill, he says. “I just feel she didn’t promise enough. I don’t go for somebody with blind faith.”

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Generation gap: During one of his recent stops to Orange County, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Unz didn’t need to say too much to show how different he is from Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and the Democratic candidates Brown, Garamendi and state Sen. Tom Hayden of Santa Monica.

The 32-year-old theoretical physicist and owner of a Silicon Valley computer software company is obviously the youngest candidate in the race. But he won a hearty round of applause during a recent meeting of the Young Republicans of Orange County as he listed reasons why his candidacy should be taken seriously, despite the long odds against him winning.

“I have actually worked more days in my life in the real world than all four of them put together,” Unz said of the career politicians.

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Politically correct: Hoping to help define what American policy should be in Bosnia and the Balkans, the House Foreign Affairs Committee lined up a bunch of important witnesses for an upcoming hearing.

The only trouble is, they forgot to invite any Bosnians, causing committee member Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) to get--as an aide put it--"exercised.”

“If we are going to have a hearing on Bosnia, we oughta have some Bosnians,” Rohrabacher grumbled, after reviewing a witness list that included the former president of the Serbian Unity Congress of America and two officials from the former Yugoslavia.

Committee members heard the rumblings of protest. “At the last minute, they threw in a Croatian,” Rohrabacher said, still displeased. “I don’t know how you can discuss crime without talking to at least one victim.”

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Politically incorrect: Orange County Democratic Foundation Chairman Wylie A. Aitken is not usually mistaken for a Republican. But it happened last week, when he received in the mail a “non-transferable” membership card from the Republican National Committee. The card allows him entry to the Eisenhower museum and the national GOP headquarters in Washington, D.C. “I’ll be sure to drop by the next time I’m in Washington and see if I’m arrested,” he says.

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Salute: At the first of what are sure to be many tribute dinners for retiring Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas F. Riley, Chapman University officials last week decided to keep the roasting to a minimum.

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Instead, they presented a 15-minute video titled “General Principles, Tom Riley: Lessons from a Life,” in which colleagues and friends lauded the former Marine Corps brigadier general for his endurance and integrity in a 20-year career on the county board.

In the video, mixed with photos from his college football career at Virginia Military Institute, Stan Oftelie, Orange County Transportation Authority director, said that Riley’s life followed the example of another great general.

“Tom Riley has what George Washington would say is the greatest of accolades: the character of an honest man.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Today: Jim Silva, a candidate for Orange County Board of Supervisors, District 2 seat, will hold a fund-raiser at Old World, 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, at 4 p.m.

Monday: The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers will hear from Haydee V. Tillotson, a candidate in the Orange County Board of Supervisors, District 2 seat, at the Pacific Club, at 8 a.m.

Wednesday: Democratic and Republican candidates running in the 70th Assembly District will speak at a forum sponsored by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, at the Irvine MultiService Center, 17,200 Jamboree Blvd., at 7:30 a.m.

Thursday: Assemblywoman Doris Allen (R-Cypress) celebrates her birthday with a reelection fund-raiser at Knott’s Berry Farm, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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Compiled by Times political writer Gebe Martinez, with contributions from staff writers Eric Bailey, Kevin Johnson and Faye Fiore.

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How O.C. Legislators Score

The California Chamber of Commerce monitored state legislators to determine how they voted during 1993 on issues ranging from tax incentives for businesses to measures stripping environmental regulations. The Senate voted on 15 issues tracked by the chamber; the Assembly voted on 13.

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In accord Not in Not voting with accord with or chamber chamber absent State Senate Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) 12 2 1 William A. Craven (R-Oceanside) 9 2 4 Rob Hurtt (R-Garden Grove) 15 0 0 John R. Lewis (R-Orange) 14 0 1 Assembly Doris Allen (R-Cypress) 12 0 1 Mickey Conroy (R-Orange) 13 0 0 Gil Ferguson (R-Newport Beach) 13 0 0 Ross Johnson (R-Fullerton) 10 0 3 Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) 12 0 1 Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove) 13 0 0 Tom Umberg (D-Garden Grove) 10 3 0

Politics ’94 appears every Sunday.


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