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<i> A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County’s political life</i> : They Shut Off the Government, but Not the Gas

Some folks were angry about the inconveniences resulting from last week’s partial shutdown of the federal government. Others, like Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), were angry that not enough was closed.

Cox was aghast to learn that in spite of the budget impasse, the outdated federal helium program was deemed “essential” and continued producing hot air. Cox has won House approval to shut down the program, labeled one of the biggest federal boondoggles in recent times. The congressman also was in on the kill on when the House voted last week to shut down the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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Imagine what it’s like when it’s open: Orange County residents who were in Washington last week to lobby against a commercial airport at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station couldn’t have picked a worse time--or a better time, depending on your point of view--to make the trip. A scheduled meeting with the Defense Department was postponed because the office in charge of El Toro’s redevelopment was deemed “nonessential.”

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Instead, the group doubled up on visits with local congressmen.

“The congressmen are all there. They haven’t been shut down at all!” said an amazed Bert Hack, one of the South County residents who made the trip. “This is a weird place.”

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The more the merrier: Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) joined Kansas Sen. Bob Dole in asking that businessman and GOP presidential candidate Morry Taylor be allowed to participate in this weekend’s straw poll in Florida, according to a report in the Hotline, a political newsletter.

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In a letter to organizer Jeb Bush, son of the former commander in chief, Dornan wrote: “Dear Jeb, Please be a good sport and let Morry Taylor join us on Saturday. I believe he has learned the hard way on wasting his Nov. ’92 vote!”

Taylor voted for Texas billionaire Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential contest.

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“Deadbeat?” Former Santa Ana Mayor Daniel E. Griset was among 13 current or former politicians labeled “deadbeats” by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to pay outstanding fines.

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Griset was fined $10,000 in 1991 after he and two of his campaign committees sent out five separate unidentified mailers against his opponent in the council race. The state Supreme Court, after hearing an appeal by Griset, ruled against him, ordering that candidates must identify themselves in mailers they send to voters.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court later issued a contrary ruling in another case, and Griset’s attorney, Darryl Wold, has revived Griset’s appeal of the commission’s ruling.

“The FPPC knows that, and [Chairman] Ravi Mehta is well aware of that,” Wold said. Including Griset on the “deadbeat” list was “irresponsible,” he maintained.

The $10,000 fine is in a trust, ready to be paid, should Griset lose all court appeals, he said.

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Political anointment: What do abortion, school vouchers, condom distribution at public schools, increased reporting of illegal immigrants and adoption of children by gay couples have in common?

They are just a few of the issues raised by the Orange County Christian Coalition in its latest survey of candidates--this one, for the contestants in the Nov. 28 special election for the 67th Assembly District.

“Scott Baugh is the candidate I personally am most in harmony with,” said Steve Williams, the group’s spokesman, who added that Baugh and incumbent Doris Allen, the only two abortion foes on the ballot, “are pretty close in their answers.” The only other response, Williams said, came from Haydee V. Tillotson, who dropped out of the race last week.

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The results will be sent to between 400 and 500 local churches for distribution next Sunday. Williams said a few opted not to participate because of the controversy surrounding the proposed recall of Allen, which is on the same ballot.

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Quote of the week: “This is how the Republican Party treats women. When the more qualified woman steps down in favor of an unqualified man, it’s the Orange County Republican Party junta in action. . . . " Orange County Democratic Jim Toledano’s reaction to the decision by Republican candidate Haydee V. Tillotson to drop out of the 67th Assembly District special election in the spirit of party unity.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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* Monday: Democrats considering a run for the 46th Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) will speak at the monthly meeting of the Democratic Central Committee, 7 p.m., 1916 W. Chapman Ave. in Orange. Scheduled speakers include Mike Farber, Jim Prince and Loretta Sanchez.

* Tuesday: Last day to apply by mail for absentee ballots for the Nov. 28 special election in the 67th Assembly District. Voters also can receive ballots at the registrar of voters office until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots must be received by the end of Election Day.

* Tuesday: South County politicians will break bread with their constituents at a buffet reception hosted by the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce, 5 p.m., at the TeleBusiness Center, 31648 Rancho Viejo Road. To RSVP, call 493-4700. Officials scheduled to appear include U.S. Rep. Ron Packard (R-Oceanside); state Sens. John R. Lewis (R-Orange) and William A. Craven (R-Oceanside); Assemblyman Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside); Orange County Supervisor Marian Bergeson and council members from San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and San Clemente.

Compiled by Times staff writer Gebe Martinez, with contributions from Times staff writers Len Hall and Peter M. Warren and correspondent Frank Messina.

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Politics ’95 appears every Sunday.


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