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POLITICS ’94 / A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County’s political life : Packard Hopes to Guard That Endangered Species Called the Homeowner

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

Do birds drive bulldozers?: Move over gnatcatcher, Rep. Ron Packard (R-Oceanside) and several of his Republican colleagues are seeking to have human beings listed as an endangered species.

Let’s face it, with crime fears spiraling the way they are, a lot of us have felt endangered for a long time, but this effort hinges less on that threat than the one posed by federal officials working to use the Endangered Species Act to protect wildlife.

Packard and crew contend substantial human life and property have been lost as environmentalists fight to protect little critters.

“Twenty-nine family homes burned to the ground in Winchester, Calif., where homeowners were not allowed to cut firebreaks upon their private property (because it was) fully protected for kangaroo rats,” the lawmaker said in a press release. “It’s time to consider human needs along with the birds, fish and insects.”

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Lots of bills with Lincoln’s photo: A whole bunch is the best guess of what the Lincoln Club of Orange County has allocated so far for the Nov. 8 election.

The biggest single check will go to the Orange County Republican Party, which will receive $100,000 for a get-out-the-vote campaign. The second-largest amount--$40,000--has been earmarked for Republican Jim Morrissey in the 69th Assembly District race. Morrissey is facing Democrat Mike Metzler for the seat being vacated by Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Garden Grove).

“We like Jim Morrissey a lot,” Lincoln Club President Doy Henley said recently. Instead of spreading around small sums of money to several races, Henley said, the board decided to focus on key races.

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But in a departure from past practice, the Lincoln Club also has committed about $20,000 to council races in at least a dozen Orange County cities.

At the top of the list are candidates from Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, where high turnovers are expected.

“We have decided we need to look at some of the cities because that’s where a lot of potential is for grooming candidates for higher office,” said Christine Diemer, a Lincoln Club board member and the executive director of the Orange County Business Industry Assn.

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Back patting: County Board of Supervisors candidate Linda Moulton Patterson, a Democrat, has been endorsed by three Republican mayors in the 2nd Supervisorial District: Cypress Mayor Richard Partin, Santa Ana Mayor Daniel H. Young and Seal Beach Mayor George Brown. Their names topped the list of Republicans who have formed the “Republicans for Moulton Patterson Committee.”

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Will the real airport backers please stand up?: At first out front in their support for the Nov. 8 ballot initiative to decide whether a commercial airport should be developed at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Orange County developers George Argyros and Buck Johns have been noticeably silent since the petitions were filed. What’s more, one of the co-signers for the petition drive, Marion Knott of the Knott’s Berry Farm family, never emerged from behind the corporate walls of her family’s business to campaign for the issue.

So who’s the official mouthpiece? Well, after several weeks of inaction, the pro-airport campaign has tabbed Timothy J. Cooley, the president of Partnership 2010.

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Why Cooley? Word is the campaign did not want the initiative to look like it was a developer-backed measure, so they instead chose someone who represents the business community. That makes little difference to the anti-airport coalition largely made up of south Orange County residents.

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Millionaire Club member: Hoping to show that political action committees still make a bulk of the donations to congressional campaigns, Common Cause recently released a list of eight congressmen who raised more than $1 million between January, 1993 and this June. Ranking second on the list of “Campaign ’94 Millionaires” was Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove), who raised $1.3 million--even more money than House Republican Whip Newt Gingrich of Georgia.

But don’t expect the public interest group to use Dornan as an example of one who received excessive donations from PACs. The same report showed that PAC contributions to his committee totaled only 2% of all the money he raised.

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Huff’s in town: Tired of schlepping the wife and kids between his Santa Barbara home and Orange County campaign headquarters, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Huffington has moved to Newport Beach through election day. But the big-bucks Republican didn’t buy--he’s renting. Don’t ask Huffington’s press handlers too many details about the house. Jennifer Grossman, a Huffington spokeswoman, would say only that “it’s a nice place.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

* Today: Democrat Mike Farber, who is running for the 46th Congressional District seat, holds a rally beginning at 3 p.m. at 3222 W. 1st St., Santa Ana. Admission to the “Viva Farber” rally is $5.

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* Thursday: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) will be the guest speaker at the Orange County Federation of Republican Women’s board of directors meeting, 10:30 a.m., Turnip Rose restaurant, 300 South Flower St., Orange.

* Thursday: John Cronin holds a fund-raising luncheon for Assemblyman Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside), 11:30 a.m., Antonellos, 3800 Plaza Drive, Santa Ana.

* Thursday: State GOP Chairman Tirso del Junco will be the special guest at a reception sponsored by the Hispanic Outreach Committee of the Orange County Republican Party, at 5 p.m., Villa Nova restaurant, 3131 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach.

* Thursday: Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) holds a reelection billiard tournament beginning at 7 p.m. at Danny’s Billiard Room, 1096 Main St., Orange. Admission is $15, or $25 per couple.

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