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Times' Writer's Political Commentary Draws Fire

August 11, 1985

Has Jeffrey Perlman recast himself as political adviser to Orange County voters? His commentary, "A One-Party County Pays the Price" (July 28) certainly was couched in such a vein, yet Perlman is The Times' county bureau chief and political writer for Orange County.

By electing Republicans when Democrats control most of the Legislature and Congress, Orange County voters "risk millions of dollars and human lives," according to Perlman. Here and elsewhere, he implies, Republican and independent voters must simply submit, or have their needs and desires held hostage.

As chairman of the Republican Party in California, I was most struck by Perlman's total lack of perspective. Up and down this state, the Democratic Party has attempted to lock out Republicans from public office. This has been most pronounced in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles; in Sacramento, the Democrats have reinforced their control of legislative and congressional seats by gerrymandering of electoral districts.

Would Perlman make his same claims elsewhere in this state? Apparently not. Instead, he focuses on the area where Republicans from every ethnic community have been most successful in turning this around.

The claims made by Perlman are interesting in several other ways, too. They blur the needed separation of reporting and opinion-making journalism. Do his views affect which events or "news" he decides to cover and the questions he asks? Do they influence how he carries out his supervisory responsibilities, such as assigning reporters and editing?

Most important of all, however, are the dangers of short-term thinking. The defeatist strategy Perlman advocates might yield a few immediate gains. But the future prosperity we want for ourselves and our children demands a broader vision and a political mechanism committed to liberty and economic opportunity. That mechanism is the Republican Party. The Party of Abraham Lincoln.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Chairman

California Republican Party

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