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Orange County Digest

Countywide : Candidates for Panel Narrowed to List of 2

December 15, 1987

The search for James Roosevelt's successor on the Orange County Transportation Commission was narrowed Monday to two high-profile, politically well-connected lawyers.

Using a complex scoring system, commission members ranked Dana W. Reed, Gov. George Deukmejian's former Undersecretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, and trial lawyer-activist Wylie A. Aitken one-two in a field of 38 nominees.

Final selection is scheduled for the commission's Jan. 11 meeting in Santa Ana. One of the two men will fill the post vacated Monday by Roosevelt, eldest son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who retired after serving for 6 1/2 years.

Reed, 43, who moved to Orange County from Sacramento in 1985, is a government insider who supporters say comes already prepared to "work the system" on the commission's behalf. His wife, Christine, is Deukmejian's director of the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

Aitken, 45, a 32-year county resident, is a consumate consumer advocate who, supporters say, can best articulate citizens' concerns and help develop public support for commission policies. He has been a member of two supervisorial task forces, one on jail issues and the other involving a dispute about the public defender's actions several years ago in advising an Orange County murder suspect captured in Maryland.

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