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Clinton to Meet With Officials, Victims

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

President Clinton will meet today with victims of recent storms, including Laguna Canyon mudslide victims, the White House said Friday.

Laguna Beach Fire Chief William Edmundson said the invitation came in a telephone call Friday from the state Office of Emergency Management. Clinton is expected to meet with about 60 people, including residents, public safety workers and city officials from Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Edmundson said.

Laguna Beach Mayor Steve Dicterow, who is on the list to meet Clinton when he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport, said, “I’m like a little schoolkid.” Dicterow said he spent much of Friday telling co-workers, “I’m going to meet the president tomorrow.”

A list of Laguna Canyon victims who will meet with Clinton was not immediately available. Also on the invited list are Laguna Beach Councilman Wayne J. Baglin and Police Chief Jim Spreine.

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After the meeting, Clinton is expected to make a statement about disaster relief efforts.

The meeting comes just days after the president added Orange County to a list of 34 other counties in the state eligible for disaster assistance.

As of Thursday, more than 165 people had phoned in applications seeking disaster relief for damage to their Orange County properties, said Patti Roberts, a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman in Sacramento.

“Obviously, that number is sure to go up in the coming days,” Roberts said.

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This year, FEMA has sent checks totaling $5.3 million to California storm victims, she said.

Baglin said he is extremely pleased with the invitation.

“Any time the president will give special attention to disaster needs that we have in our community, I am very, very appreciative,” he said.

Spreine said the week’s exhausting workload may have left him too tired to attend Saturday’s meeting, although he had not ruled it out. The chief, like other emergency and public safety workers in Laguna Beach, logged long hours this week. Spreine said he worked more than 120 hours, including a 38-hour stint.

“I haven’t seen my wife in a week,” he said.


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