Republican Party anger at Assemblywoman Doris Allen invaded the bankruptcy bill-signing ceremony Monday when Gov. Pete Wilson snubbed the Republican legislator by refusing to invite her to the event.
Allen--whose name was on one of the three financial relief measures--showed up anyway, then walked out when Wilson failed to ask her to speak or join other officials at the podium.
Wilson and Allen have feuded bitterly since the Cypress Republican became Speaker in early June, taking the leadership of the lower house with the support of all its Democratic members and no other Republicans. Allen faces a recall election Nov. 28.
"This is typical [of Wilson]--very petty," Allen said as she left the outdoor gathering, which was still going on at the Santa Ana Civic Center. "They want to hurt me because I led the fight" to help Orange County.
Wilson, who ignored Allen throughout the ceremony, told a post-event news conference that Allen had been irrelevant to negotiations on the bankruptcy bailout and had even been "an obstacle" to the measures winning approval in the Legislature.
"I have to be honest, she . . . tried to horn in at the last moment to seize some credit," he said.
The recall drive in Allen's northwest Orange County district is led by Republicans who consider her a traitor to the GOP. Allen resigned the Assembly's top post last month, saying she wanted to devote her energy to defeating the recall.
The decision by the governor to cut Allen out of the event came despite a request to include her from state Sen. William A. Craven (R-Oceanside), author of another relief bill. Craven, who was approached by one of Allen's staff members before he spoke at the ceremony, asked a Wilson aide "to do something" about involving her, Craven said.
Allen arrived early, saying that while she had not been invited, she wanted to take part because of her role in winning passage of the bailout package.
Allen's staff members, who walked out with her, were livid at the snub.
"She is humiliated," aide Sharon Thomas said. "This is not right. This is going too far. This is nothing but politics. . . . If they want to recall her, that is a different issue."
Wilson aides were satisfied with the ostracism of Allen and the handling of the event, which was staged for television cameras on the Plaza of the Flags.
The governor criticized Allen soon after she vaulted to the Assembly's top post, telling reporters that he did not consider her the true leader of Republicans in the lower house. The two politicians also feuded bitterly during summer budget negotiations.
Allen became a player in the bankruptcy recovery effort late in the session. Using the power of the speakership, she elbowed her way on board during the final week, carrying one of the three bills that were cobbled together by a special two-house conference committee.