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Sticky Moments : Losing Candidates Must Face Victors--Their Bosses

June 07, 1986|BOB SCHWARTZ | Times Staff Writer

David Holbert took a two-month leave of absence from his job and spent $210,000 to run for the post of county assessor. By a margin of 2 to 1, he lost to his opponent--his boss.

"I'm a little bit depressed," said Holbert, one of three candidates who ran--all unsuccessfully--against their bosses for county posts in Tuesday's election. Now, they face the unpleasant task of returning to work for the very people they publicly criticized and tried to unseat.

"I'll survive," said Holbert, who lost to Assessor Bradley L. Jacobs. "I like Mr. Jacobs. I didn't go after the office to personally seek him out. . . . I have always had my eye on the office. He just happened to be the incumbent. I don't think he'll hold it against me."

Doesn't Hold Grudge

Jacobs said he didn't. "He just has to come back to work and do what everybody else does," Jacobs said of Holbert, one of more than 100 deputy assessors. His chances of promotion or reassignment will not be affected by the campaign, Jacobs said.

"He is many, many levels down," Jacobs said. "I don't think I even knew who he was before the campaign; I don't evaluate people like him, and I never have."

Holbert said he was "glad to hear" that Jacobs would not be evaluating his performance. "But there are about 30 people in the office who worked for my campaign, and I'm worried about them," Holbert said. "I think they might be hurt by this."

Holbert's worries pale, however, compared to those of Sheriff's Sgt. Linda Lea Calligan, who made her boss's integrity one of her campaign themes. Sheriff Brad Gates said Calligan should look for a new job.

Calling her "a proven liar," Gates said that if she refused to resign he would "look into" firing Calligan, who garnered just 18% of the vote compared with Gates' 64%. "When somebody consciously tells a lie, they certainly don't belong in the law enforcement profession," Gates said.

Calligan, however, said she had no intention of surrendering her job. "He seems to be kind of missing the point," said the 15-year veteran of the department. "I don't work for him; I work for the people of Orange County."

Calligan said that although she was disappointed by the election results, the campaign had been "one of the most exciting learning experiences I've had in my life. . . . I intend to run (again) in four years, unless somebody's doing a good job (as sheriff)."

In the race for county clerk, appointed incumbent Gary Granville said he expected that he and Deputy Clerk Marshall Norris, who lost by a 55%-44% margin--the closest of the three intra-office races--would put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind them. "The tumult and the shouting are over now. . . . We have to go about the public's business in proper fashion."

Granville said that Norris' job was "in no way jeopardized by the campaign." But he said he would be reluctant to reassign Norris to the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Frank Domenichini, from which Norris was removed in April by a panel of judges because of alleged improper use of his position there. Norris was endorsed by California Angels owner Gene Autry while the Angels had a case pending in Domenichini's courtroom, and he listed courtroom telephone numbers on his own campaign literature. Earlier this week, a Los Angeles judge ruled that Domenichini would not be disqualified from hearing the court dispute over development of the Anaheim Stadium parking lot.

Compliment for Norris

"I don't think this department wants to resume that setting that caused very difficult problems," Granville said. "I want to reiterate that he (Norris) is performing those duties that have been assigned to him and performing them well."

Norris has been doing clerical work in the department's criminal division since losing his coveted courtroom clerk assignment, and he said he has had "no problems with work" or with Granville, who was appointed county clerk by the Board of Supervisors last September. He said he expects to be back in Domenichini's courtroom as soon as he returns from vacation.

"It's not really up to him (Granville)," Norris said. "The judges can request whoever they please, and the judges generally prevail."

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