<i> A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County’s political life</i> : Foes Frankly Furious at Allen’s Late Mailers at Taxpayers’ Expense

Lacking the big bucks to fight a Nov. 28 recall, embattled Assemblywoman Doris Allen is using her prerogative as a state lawmaker to dispatch a ton of mail at taxpayer expense to voters in her district.

Allen is mailing a non-political brochure, which announces a series of seven “town hall” meetings Nov. 17 and 18, to 160,000 households in the 67th District. Under state law, the mass mailing is allowable as long as the lawmaker’s name appears just twice--announcing the meeting, and as part of a return address.

At 15 cents apiece, the mailing will cost Allen’s office budget $24,000. While the move doesn’t violate state law, recall proponents say she is trampling a cardinal tenet of Assembly Republicans--thou shall not use franking privileges within six weeks of an election.

“It’s no secret what she’s doing,” groused Jeff Flint, a recall organizer. “She’s low on funds so she’s campaigning against the recall at taxpayer expense.” The recall was launched after Allen cut a deal with Assembly Democrats to have herself elected Speaker, in what GOP leaders called a betrayal of the party. She has since resigned the Speaker’s post.


Gil Ferguson, a former Orange County assemblyman helping Allen fight the recall, countered that the town hall meetings will simply give Allen a chance to set the record straight on a variety of issues.

County Republican leaders “have cut off her money. Now they’re objecting to her trying to get the truth out to her own constituents,” Ferguson said.


Fund-raiser of the week: The same day a coalition of campaign contribution reformists held a news conference to announce a countywide drive for the California Political Reform Initiative, Assembly Republican Leader Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove) was feted in Newport Beach at a pricey fund-raiser by leaders of the insurance industry.

The tab to attend the event at Antoine’s was $5,000 for a table of four. Industry bosses, who dined on langostino and sauteed tenderloin with truffles, got a chance to rub elbows with Pringle, Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer (R-Irvine), state Sen. John R. Lewis (R-Orange) and several legislators from outside the county. About 75 people attended the event.

The political initiative, by the way, would set spending limits in campaigns statewide and restrict contributions in legislative races to $250.


A two-thirds vote: Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) was busy on the House floor carrying out his conservative agenda last Wednesday.

The congressman and presidential candidate helped lead debates on three bills that would outlaw a rarely used late-term abortion procedure, take away the property tax exemption for the National Education Assn.'s headquarters in Washington and prohibit district employees from purchasing health insurance for their domestic partners.

Only the NEA bill was defeated.


Lobby dollars at work: House and Senate members are in the final stages of negotiating a bill co-authored by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) that would set limits on lawsuits by investors. The bill is backed by big-name accounting and securities firms, but opposed by trial lawyers.

Orange County investors, who lost millions of dollars to Charles H. Keating Jr. as part of the Lincoln Savings & Loan investment fraud, say that if the measure had been law at the time, they would have had a more difficult time proving their case in court.

In its effort to battle the legislation, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics listed contributions to the 12 House negotiators--including Cox--from the political action committees of securities and “Big Six” accounting firms.

During the first six months of this year, according to the report, Cox received the fourth-highest total of any of the conferees: $33,000.


Tables turned: Last week’s dramatic public meeting in Laguna Niguel wasn’t the first time Councilman Eddie Rose caused the fur to fly in his hometown.

At Monday’s meeting, attended by about 150 people, the City Council voted to condemn a letter Rose wrote on city stationery that uses language some consider racist. The letter strongly criticizes the jury’s verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. Rose has also become the target of a recall as a result of the letter.

But for years, it was Rose making the charges and serving the recall papers. Rose, who ran for council three times before getting elected, attempted to recall four of the city’s five council members in 1990 for their handling of a ridge-line protection ordinance.

In 1992, Rose filed a $1-million lawsuit against city leaders for making “false and defamatory statements” about him.

Neither effort was successful.


* Monday: California Republican Assembly in the 67th Assembly District meets to consider a position in the recall of Assemblywoman Doris Allen (R-Cypress). 7 p.m. at Holiday Inn, 7667 Center Ave. in Huntington Beach. (714) 786-7676

* Tuesday: Fund-raiser for Haydee V. Tillotson for Assembly. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Antonello’s in Santa Ana. (714) 895--9652

* Wednesday: Orange County Young Republicans general meeting. 11 a.m. in North Bluff Park, Corona del Mar.

* Wednesday: Balboa Bay Republican Women Federated. November meeting and election of officers. Balboa Bay Club, 11 a.m. (714) 962--5982

* Friday: Orange County Forum, luncheon and talk featuring political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the Claremont Graduate School. Noon at Sutton Place Hotel, Newport Beach. (714) 588--9884

This column was compiled by Times political writer Peter M. Warren with contributions from staff writers Eric Bailey, Len Hall and Gebe Martinez.

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