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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK : Bell Gardens Candidates in War of Mudslinging Mailers

March 01, 1992|Tina Griego

SOUTHEAST AREA — Tough Tactics--With only nine days to go before the highly publicized election to replace four Bell Gardens City Council members who were recalled from office, a no-holds-barred campaign fight has erupted.

Candidates who hope to win a seat in the March 10 election have sent out a flurry of mailers.

In one piece, candidate George Deitch is portrayed as a cigar-smoking, bug-eyed cartoon character called "Slum Boss Deitch." The mailer, titled "Who's Pulling the Strings?" shows Deitch manipulating marionettes, identified as candidates Josefina Macias, Frank Duran and Rudy Garcia. All four helped lead the recall drive, which was funded in large part by Deitch, a Bell Gardens property owner.

Other mailers charge that neither Deitch nor Garcia lives in Bell Gardens and urge residents to vote for candidates Richard Webb, Yolanda Quintana, Danny Rico and Jesus Zuniga. The mailers were sent out by the Committee for Rent Control, chaired by Councilwoman Rosa Hernandez, who was not recalled.

"I don't enjoy doing things like this," Hernandez said. "But we have to fight. We didn't do anything strong during the recall and look what happened."

Deitch said that he believed the hard-hitting mailers sent out by his opposition would help his campaign. "I was not surprised by the dirty tactics. I was expecting them," he said.

Not to be outdone, the No-Rezoning Committee, which has endorsed Deitch, Macias, Duran and Garcia, has sent out mailers portraying Webb, Quintana, Rico and Zuniga as puppets of City Manager Claude Booker.

The fracas in Bell Gardens is not limited to a battle of words. Last week, candidate Macias complained to the Police Department that Booker had pushed her while she was in City Hall. Booker, however, said Macias pushed him. Lt. Dale Pierce of the Bell Gardens Police Department said there will be no investigation because neither person filed a report.

Political Heavyweight--Some candidates list their accomplishments, others their goals and a few even give the names of their children. Joel H. Lubin also gives would-be voters his weight.

In a press release announcing his candidacy for the 27th state Senate District seat that includes Long Beach and Downey, the talkative Democratic Party official/professional engineer/economist writes that he is a "physical heavyweight who breaks the scales at well over 350 pounds."

Appropriately enough, Lubin made his announcement at Frank Fats restaurant in Sacramento.

Mail Trouble--Long Beach City Council candidate Jerry Westlund will not take no for an answer in his race against incumbent Councilman Tom Clark.

After the state Fair Political Practices Commission determined that Clark could mail out a newsletter at taxpayers' expense, Westlund filed a lawsuit in Small Claims Court demanding that Clark pay for the mailers. Westlund charges that since Clark is a candidate for City Council, it was "totally unethical" for him to use city money to send out 15,223 newsletters to his 4th District constituents.

In a letter to the city attorney, however, an FPPC attorney said the mailing did not violate the Political Reform Act.

In a recent press release, Westlund also called for the city to pass an ordinance prohibiting such mailing during elections. At last week's council meeting, Westlund's proposal got a boost from Mayor Ernie Kell, who instructed the city attorney to research such an ordinance.

Breakfast Talk--The relationship between Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Compton) and Compton Mayor Walter R. Tucker III turned a bit frigid recently when the mayor called the veteran legislator and announced that he planned to run for Dymally's job. According to both men, Tucker told Dymally he thought he could do a better job than the congressman.

Not long after that phone call, Dymally had a community breakfast to announce he would not seek another term. And who should appear, but the mayor. Tucker greeted friends and well-wishers, polished off a breakfast of eggs, potatoes and bacon, then left.

"Now that's what you call chutzpah," Dymally remarked after the breakfast.

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