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State, Local Offices on the Line / On June 6, California voters will go to the polls for the seventh time in four years, this time to decide the Democratic nominee for governor, nominees for state offices, two propositions and local issues

Times Staff Writer

They both have names shackled to a bit of history, and they share a past of precocious achievement. But there the story lines diverge for Rocky Delgadillo and Jerry Brown, Democratic rivals for state attorney general in the June 6 primary.

Bearing a prizefighter’s name, Delgadillo went from East Los Angeles to Harvard, played football, became a successful entertainment lawyer, helped rebuild riot-torn Los Angeles and became the city attorney.

Brown -- scion of California political royalty, son of a former governor and himself a two-term governor first elected at age 36 -- remains one of the state’s most recognizable officeholders three decades after he hit the political stage. He has run unsuccessfully three times for president (foes and friends say he might yet again), chaired the state Democratic Party and served since 1999 as mayor of Oakland.

Heading into the final week of the campaign, Brown enjoys a sizable lead in every poll. But Delgadillo isn’t conceding anything, saying he plans to spend nearly $2 million on TV ads in coming days.

Although it is hardly a political prizefight for the ages, there have been a few right hooks.

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Brown’s tenure in Oakland has seen serious crime decline by 33%. But lately the 68-year-old mayor has drawn local anger for a homicide rate running nearly double last year’s.

Delgadillo has questioned Brown’s fealty to abortion rights protections and to aggressive enforcement of the death penalty. Brown, who was raised a Catholic and studied to be a priest, has countered by pointing to support from prominent abortion rights advocates, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein. He also has vowed to uphold California law on capital punishment despite his personal opposition to it.

Though mostly on the attack, Delgadillo, 45, has been smacked recently by suggestions that he has a history of over-inflating his gridiron accomplishments.

His past campaigns have been full of references to Delgadillo’s Harvard football scholarship, Academic All-American recognition and pro football experience. But the Ivy League school didn’t give out football scholarships (Delgadillo attended on an academic scholarship), his All-American award was an honorable mention and he was cut in preseason in both the NFL and Canada.

On most of the important issues for attorney general -- the so-called top cop of California -- Brown and Delgadillo offer different shades of the same color as they fight to represent Democrats in November against Republican state Sen. Chuck Poochigian of Fresno, running unopposed in the GOP primary.

Delgadillo hopes to spread the sorts of efforts he’s undertaken in Los Angeles to battle gangs, fight corporate polluters and aid victimized consumers.

In Los Angeles, Delgadillo filed dozens of injunctions to curb street gangs while launching a truancy program that holds parents accountable if at-risk kids fail to go to school, an early step toward a life of crime. His office has worked to shut down gun stores that sell to criminals and to stem pollution in low-income neighborhoods.

Delgadillo also talks of using the attorney general’s powers to go after firms that commit security fraud against pensioners and pursue actions against healthcare providers reaping profits while denying care.

“I want to lead the fight for people and families across the state who need a champion,” Delgadillo said.

Brown, the erstwhile Gov. Moonbeam, has become a pragmatic politician who talks tough on crime and embraces free enterprise.

He vows to aggressively enforce gun-control laws and help small, strapped police departments with crime scene investigations. Brown also hopes to spread anti-crime initiatives he undertook in Oakland, including curfews on the worst offenders.

The old progressive in Brown isn’t completely extinguished. Although the attorney general doesn’t oversee state prisons, Brown talks of promoting better prison rehabilitation to break the cycle of crime in a state with a 60% recidivism rate.

He also offers himself as the best candidate to ward off incursions by the Bush administration, which he says threatens to erode protections for consumers, workers, the environment and abortion rights.

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Begin text of infobox

Jerry Brown

Party: Democratic

Occupation: Mayor, city of Oakland

Age: 68

Residence: Oakland

Personal: Married

Education: Classics degree from UC Berkeley, 1961; law degree from Yale University, 1964

Career highlights: Elected to Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, 1969; elected California secretary of state, 1970; elected California governor, 1974; reelected, 1978; elected mayor of Oakland, 1998; reelected, 2002

Platform: Fighting crime and enforcing environmental and worker protection laws. Brown emphasizes his experience and grasp of the state’s political systems. He vows to be a “positive force” in the highly charged partisan arena of Sacramento.

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Rocky Delgadillo

Party: Democratic

Occupation: Los Angeles city attorney

Age: 45

Residence: Windsor Village

Personal: Married; two children

Education: Bachelor’s degree, psychology and social relations, Harvard University; jurisdoctorate, Columbia School of Law

Career highlights: Rebuild L.A. project manager, 1992-93; Los Angeles assistant deputy mayor, 1993-97; Los Angeles deputy mayor, 1997-2000

Platform: Protect consumers and families from corporate misbehavior, use “innovative approaches” to reduce street crime, safeguard environmental protections and abortion rights.


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