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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK : Dymally Switches His Support in 52nd Race

March 08, 1992|Tina Griego

SOUTHEAST AREA — Change in backing--One of the surprises of this campaign season is Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally's decision to support Lynwood City Councilwoman Evelyn Wells rather than Compton Councilwoman Patricia A. Moore, a longtime friend and former assistant, in the 52nd Assembly District race.

Both Wells and Moore are hoping to unseat incumbent Assemblyman Willard H. Murray Jr. (D-Paramount) in the district, which includes Lynwood, Paramount and parts of Compton.

Moore said that Dymally (D-Compton) asked her to run against Murray, but changed his mind on supporting her candidacy after reviewing her high-profile battle to recall Superior Court Judge Joyce A. Karlin. The judge outraged many blacks by giving probation to a Korean grocer who shot and killed a black girl after a confrontation over a bottle of orange juice.

"He said that because of Latasha Harlins (the girl who was killed), I would be a liability for Korean money in the campaign," Moore said.

Dymally said last week he backs Wells because she is more compatible with the slate of candidates he plans to support in other races, and Moore was slow to get her campaign off the ground. He said his decision had nothing to do with money.

"I may have mentioned to Pat that her high profile is both good and bad because our district is not all black and not everyone is opposed to Karlin," Dymally said. "But if I had decided to support Pat, the Korean community would have contributed to the campaign just on the basis of their trust for me."

Dymally also is endorsing his daughter, Lynn, in the 37th Congressional District race.

Political rivals--While discussing the 52nd Assembly District race last week, Dymally took the opportunity to engage in a little Willard Murray-bashing. Dymally has never forgiven Murray for "perverting" the ideals of the Community Democrat, a political tabloid newspaper founded in 1962 by Dymally and other black leaders. The two became involved in a bitter dispute over who owned the paper, and last year Dymally said he would see to it that Murray, his onetime aide and friend, lost his Assembly seat.

The outspoken congressman said he intends to follow up on that vow, blasting Murray as an "embarrassment to politics, to the Democratic Party and to blacks."

Dymally challenged Murray to give up his Assembly seat and run in the 37th Congressional District race against Lynn Dymally. But, Dymally said, "any place he goes, we are going to get him."

Murray could not be reached for comment.

Campaign abandoned--Don Jackson, the former Hawthorne police officer-turned-activist, has dropped quietly laid plans to run for Congress.

Jackson, 33, had been testing the waters in the 37th District, which includes Compton, Carson and parts of Long Beach. Backed by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Jackson said last week that he was "ready to run" when he received word that his mother is terminally ill.

"I was getting positive feedback, the area seemed ripe, but there is no other priority that is as important as being with my mother now," Jackson said.

Jackson is best known as the former policeman who was arrested by two Long Beach police officers who appeared to smash his head into a plate-glass window, unaware that they were being videotaped by a network television crew. The two officers were later tried, but the case ended last year in a hung jury with jurors splitting 11-1 in favor of acquittal. Jackson is now studying for a master's degree in criminal justice policy at Penn State.

Although Jackson is out of the race this year, he said he is not giving up on politics. "Don't mistake that," he said. "I will be back."

Determined candidate--La Habra Heights City Council candidate Catherine Montford expected to be campaigning door-to-door by now. Instead, the 20-year-old UCLA history and economics major is making telephone calls from her bed as she recovers from a serious auto accident.

Montford was trapped in her car last month after she collided with an out-of-control semi-truck that flipped and landed on top of her car.

"Nothing was broken, but I had a lot of bruising and severe whiplash," she said. "They said if I hadn't had my seat belt on I would have never made it."

Montford sustained neck, back and spinal cord injuries, but she has decided to stay in the five-way race for three council seats.

"A lot of my support has backed out, feeling it's ridiculous for me to run now, but I'm still very interested in running. It's more frustrating for me now than anything."

Check this out--Longtime Bell Gardens businessman Bazil Sugden recently stopped payment on a $150 check to the Bell Gardens No Rezoning Committee after someone in the committee headquarters turned the check into a campaign piece.

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