Calling Cecil N. Green "a good law enforcement vote in Sacramento," Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp said Saturday that he and five major law enforcement groups have endorsed the Norwalk city councilman over Assemblyman Wayne Grisham (R-Norwalk) for the 33rd Senate District seat.
Green has "the virtually unanimous support of law enforcement," Van de Kamp told about 150 placard-carrying Green supporters at a rally outside the Democratic candidate's Norwalk headquarters.
Van de Kamp said the endorsements of Green, one of eight candidates in the March 17 special election to fill the vacant seat, came from the Peace Officers Research Organization of California, representing police officers across the state, the Assn. of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs, the California State Police Assn., the California Parks Police Assn. and the California Union of Safety Employees, Van de Kamp said.
Narcotics Task Force
Van de Kamp said Green's pro-law enforcement credentials are of long standing, noting that the former Norwalk mayor served with him several years ago on a Los Angeles narcotics task force and had been named "We Tip Mayor of the Year" because of his efforts to combat illegal drugs.
In addition to being pro-police, Green would be a strong voice in the state Legislature for controlling toxic chemicals, preserving worker safety laws and boosting aid to education, Van de Kamp said.
The attorney general charged that Grisham, by contrast, failed to vote on a bill last week to spend an additional $400,000 on schools. "Wayne Grisham bagged out," Van de Kamp said. "He did not vote yes; he did not vote no. He sat out an important vote."
Efforts to reach Grisham were unsuccessful Saturday.
Both Van de Kamp and state Sen. Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) made speeches and walked precincts for Green on Saturday in a growing show of support by state Democratic leaders for Green's candidacy to succeed former state Sen. Paul B. Carpenter (D-Cypress), who abandoned his Senate seat to run successfully for a seat on the state Board of Equalization last November.
State Republican leaders, including Gov. George Deukmejian, have been actively supporting Grisham, a former congressman from Whittier who was elected to the state Assembly in 1984.
The battle has intensified as the special election primary nears because both sides have said that a Republican victory would affect the balance of power in the Senate, where Democrats now hold a 23-15 edge over Republicans. Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) recently put down a move by conservative Democrats to join forces with Senate Republicans in an effort to oust him as majority leader of the Legislature's upper house.
In the March 17 special election primary, all eight candidates will be listed on a single ballot and voters of any party can vote for any candidate, regardless of party designation. If none of the candidates wins 50%-plus-one vote, then the top vote-getters from each party will compete in a May 12 runoff election.
If Green were elected, Lockyer said Saturday, "not only do we elect the best candidate but we maintain a progressive Democratic majority in the state Senate."
Grisham and Green are widely regarded as the leading candidates in the special election race to represent the 33rd Senate District, which includes northwestern Orange County and southeastern Los Angeles County.
Although Democrats in the conservative, blue-collar district outnumber Republicans by a margin of 53.8% to 38%, Republicans have the edge, Democratic leaders have said. Traditionally, Republicans have been more loyal to their candidates than Democrats and Republicans regularly turn out to vote in greater numbers.
Also on Saturday, Green expanded on a complaint he first raised on Thursday that a Grisham mailer misrepresented his background and he asked Grisham for a retraction.
Although the mailer claimed Green had not supported Proposition 51, the so-called "deep pockets" initiative limiting cities' liability, actually, "I spoke on the Rotary tour (supporting it) wherever I could find an engagement," Green said.
Also, Green said, although the mailer claimed he did not support the death penalty, he has always supported capital punishment.
Grisham has defended his mailers, and at a candidates' forum in Cerritos on Thursday, he said, "What we said about Mr. Green is true."