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Beverly Said to Be Up for Tax Post : Appointments: Pete Wilson is considering the state senator for Board of Equalization job, GOP sources say.


SACRAMENTO — Veteran state Sen. Robert G. Beverly is among a handful of prospective nominees under consideration by Gov.-elect Pete Wilson for the State Board of Equalization seat representing Long Beach and southeastern Los Angeles County, according to several Republican sources.

The seat is expected to become vacant after current board member Paul Carpenter is sentenced next week for his conviction on felony charges in a federal anti-corruption case.

Beverly, a Manhattan Beach Republican whose Senate district includes parts of Long Beach, said: "My quick reaction is that I would be interested (in the board seat), mostly because it is something different. I've been (in the Legislature) a long time."

Beverly, who was elected state senator in 1976 after 10 years in the Assembly, cautioned that he has not spoken to Wilson's transition staff about the appointment and that he is "not actively seeking" it.

However, Beverly acknowledged that Ernest Dronenburg, a Republican member of the board, sounded him out recently about his interest in the nomination, which would require confirmation by both legislative houses.

The Board of Equalization, a five-member panel composed of four members elected from districts and the state controller, decides tax cases ranging from individual appeals of income tax bills to multimillion-dollar tax disputes involving corporations. Board members make $95,052 a year; as a legislator, Beverly makes $52,500 a year.

The district Carpenter has represented since 1987 encompasses the southern and central portions of Los Angeles County.

The Republican sources, who asked not to be identified, said that along with Beverly, others being considered for the board post are state Sen. Frank Hill of Whittier; Matthew K. Fong of Hacienda Heights, the defeated GOP candidate for state controller; former Assemblyman Charles Bader of Pomona, who lost a bid for a state Senate seat last month, and Oscar Wright, a U.S. Small Business Administration regional administrator based in San Francisco. All are Republicans.

Bill Livingstone, Wilson's transition office press secretary, said he could neither confirm nor deny names under consideration. Livingstone also said Wilson's attention is focused on selecting people for higher profile positions--including the U.S. Senate seat he must give up before his inauguration as governor next month--and on putting together a state budget.

Hill said he was not interested in the Board of Equalization seat.

Bader said he is interested in the seat but might not accept it if offered because of political considerations. "It's an important job. But on the other hand, party registration would make it difficult for a Republican to get elected" to the seat in the future.

The district's registered voters are overwhelmingly Democratic.

Fong expressed interest in the slot, saying he wants to sit on the board "to make California a more hospitable place for business." Fong said he has lobbied Wilson for the appointment.

Wright could not be reached for comment.

Even before the recent passage of Proposition 140, which limits legislative terms, jobs on the Board of Equalization were increasingly attracting the interest of lawmakers.

While the post does not carry the prestige and public visibility of a legislative seat, historically it has offered more job security. Once elected or appointed, incumbents have rarely been defeated.

The most recent example of the security of incumbency was offered by Carpenter, a former Democratic state senator from Cypress. He easily won reelection in November to a second four-year term despite being convicted in September in U.S. District Court on four counts of racketeering, extortion and conspiracy.

Under state law, he must formally forfeit the seat when he is sentenced next Monday.

Beverly said that if he is named to the post, he would anticipate running for it in a future election. Despite the Democratic tilt of the district, Beverly maintained he would have a good chance of holding onto the seat, saying, "It's not a heavily partisan office."

In the past decade, Beverly's name often has surfaced as a potential gubernatorial appointee for everything from judgeships to state treasurer. But in these previous cases, it was widely thought that Beverly enjoyed his Senate job too much to leave the upper chamber.

Times staff writer Virginia Ellis contributed to this story.

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