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Sanchez District Office Nearly Ready to Open

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Any day now, the new district office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) is expected to open. As soon as they get a phone. And computers.

The furniture arrived Monday at the newly leased, 4,800-square-foot suite at 12397 Lewis St. But the office of the new congresswoman elected three months ago still has no phone number.

Constituent calls to her campaign office still are being referred to Sanchez’s office in Washington, her aides said.

An open house is expected to be held sometime during the week of Feb. 16, said Steve Jost, Sanchez’s chief of staff in Washington. And Sanchez has hired Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly as her district director.

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Jost blames the nearly three-month lapse between Sanchez’s election and her opening of a local office on the vote recount that stretched into late November. Sanchez did not feel that she could look for a space for a local headquarters until the recount was complete, Jost said.

Then it took several weeks to find an acceptable space, he said.

Finally, he said, the Sanchez staff had expected better cooperation from the staff of former Rep. Robert K. Dornan. For instance, he said, the Dornan staff did not return phone calls from Sanchez about the office furniture she was to inherit. Before she could look at it, the furniture was shipped to a warehouse of the General Services Administration.

But a spokeswoman for the GSA said that is standard practice in any transition.

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“We wait until we hear from the incoming congressman to tell us when to deliver it to a new location, and we deliver it to the new location,” spokeswoman Mary Filippini said. The GSA did not hear from the Sanchez staff with an address until Friday, she said. The furniture was shipped on Monday.

Still, Jost complained, “There was absolutely no transition with the Dornan congressional office. They were refusing to do business with us. . . . That has been much more problematical.”

Pat Fanelli of Yorba Linda, Dornan’s former district director, responded: “That is so ridiculous. We called the GSA to make those arrangements and they told us they could never get ahold of anybody” from the Sanchez staff.

Sanchez was on her way to Washington and could not be reached for comment.

Josie Cabiglio, Sanchez’s district press secretary, said the staff has been trying to select an office “at a reasonable price, that fits the staff needs, and that’s comfortable for people to visit when they need to.”

Sanchez, like all congressional freshmen, had the option of space in a federal building in the district, but nothing large enough was available, Filippini said. That could change in a year when the new federal building in Santa Ana is complete, she said.

While the biggest hurdle to getting the office open is getting a telephone system hooked up, constituents have had no trouble finding Sanchez, Cabiglio said.

“I’ve been working for three weeks, and I’ve been having calls like crazy,” she said.

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The Sanchez office is in sight of Garden Grove’s Crystal Cathedral and occupies the entire ground floor of a two-story building.


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