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<i> A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County’s political life</i> : Washington Police Fail to Tag Congressman in License Renewal Mix-Up

A mystery: Yes, it’s true. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), otherwise known as Mr. Law and Order, has expired license-plate tags on his Ford, acknowledged one of his aides. But it’s not his fault.

“He sent in a check for the renewal in November, they cashed the check and never sent the tags,” the aide explained. Either the Department of Motor Vehicles dropped the ball or the post office (Washington was recently found to have the nation’s worst mail service) never delivered them, the aide said. It’s a mystery.

Here’s a bigger mystery: How come the congressman has been driving around the federal city all these months and nobody wrote him up?

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Paddle mania: Hoping to whip up even more public fervor for his proposal to paddle juvenile graffiti vandals, Assemblyman Mickey Conroy (R-Orange) is handing out 5,000 bumper stickers paid for with campaign cash.

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Republicans too: A group of prominent Orange County Republicans joined several county Democrats in Washington last week for briefings from members of the Clinton Administration and a special tour of the White House. County Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder; developer Kathryn Thompson and her husband, Gus Owen; political consultant Bob Nelson; and Anita Mangels, an abortion-rights activist, all made the trip.

Mangels, a Laguna Beach resident and former state chairwoman of Republicans for Clinton, said she got a chance to voice her primary concern that “the full range of reproductive health services are part of the health care package.”

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Mangels said she is unhappy with the partisan politicking now dominating the Republican Party. “One of my personal frustrations with my own party is that we seem to be dedicated to being the loyal opposition rather than getting anything accomplished,” Mangels said. “If they are unhappy with President Clinton in 1996 there will be plenty of time to make their grievances known. But right now we have a country that needs all the support of all its representatives to do some constructive things.”

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Deficit score card: Orange County congressmen Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) and Ron Packard (R-Oceanside) call themselves fiscal conservatives, but their recent voting record shows they “lacked the conviction” to reduce the federal deficit, according to a national nonpartisan group called the Concord Coalition, which is trying to educate Americans about the impacts of chronic deficits on the nation’s future. On the other hand, the deficit spending records of Congressmen Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), Dana Rohrabacher and Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) are “absolutely fabulous,” said Phil Yarbrough, a local spokesman for the Concord Coalition.

“We are very, very pleased with Royce, Rohrabacher and Kim,” said Yarbrough, an economics professor at Rancho Santiago College. “But I would hope Dornan and Packard would realize the importance of what deficit spending means to the future of this country. We cannot keep passing on debt to the next generation of Americans.”

Both California senators were at the bottom of the group’s list, with scores described by Yarbrough as “embarrassing” and “discouraging.”

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Backing Pete: Orange County Dist. Atty. Michael R. Capizzi last week joined 33 of the state’s 58 county prosecutors in endorsing Pete Wilson for a second term as governor. At a news conference in Newport Beach, the prosecutors threw their support behind Wilson, citing his record for getting tough on criminals with his support of mandatory life sentences for “three strikes” offenders--those who are convicted of three felony crimes--and extending the death penalty to fatal drive-by shootings and carjack slayings. “Wilson has been a supporter of law enforcement issues (throughout) his political career. He’s not a Johnny-come-lately to this issue because it’s an election year,” Capizzi said.

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Over and out?: A meeting of the South Orange County Leadership Conference scheduled for Aug. 10 in San Juan Capistrano could be its last, unless someone wants to pick up the ball and run with it. San Juan Capistrano Councilman Gary L. Hausdorfer, the founder and chairman of the 5-year-old organization, is leaving the City Council in November. Since leadership conference officers must be elected officials, that means he’s out of there too, leaving the future of the group in jeopardy.

The real question is, does South County really need this organization anymore, which at one time brought together 21 different public agencies and a large number of private individuals? Hausdorfer says maybe not, now that almost the entire area has been incorporated into cities. “This was started to encourage a regional dialogue, and there is a dialogue now,” Hausdorfer said. “It probably makes sense to dissolve it. Right now, the cities are doing a real good job of communicating.”

Compiled by Times staff writer Len Hall, with contributions from staff writers Faye Fiore and Eric Bailey and correspondent Bob Elston.

Politics ’94 appears every Sunday.

Fiscal Fitness

Scores show how each officeholder voted relative to peers. For example, a score of 91% means a higher fiscal responsibility than 91% of colleagues.

Member: Score

House of Representatives

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Ed Royce: 91%

Dana Rohrabacher: 91

Jay C. Kim: 91

Christopher Cox: 74

Ron Packard: 55

Robert K. Dornan: 52

Senate

Dianne Feinstein: 22

Barbara Boxer: 16

Source: The Concord Coalition


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