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GOP Candidates Squabble Over 60th Assembly District Nomination

March 15, 1992|Tina Griego

SOUTHEAST AREA — A Question of Revenge--Republicans are spatting over who should get the party's nomination in the 60th Assembly District, which includes La Mirada, La Habra Heights and part of Whittier.

The Cerritos-La Mirada unit of the California Republican Assembly censured Diamond Bar City Councilwoman Phyllis Papen, an Assembly candidate in the Republican primary, charging that she tried to get a Democrat elected to the seat two years ago. That race was won by Republican Paul Horcher, who earlier had been mayor pro tem of Diamond Bar until Papen and three other council members stripped him of his title.

Stung by the CRA action, Papen asserted that the Cerritos-La Mirada unit is "a bogus group" formed by supporters of Horcher, who is seeking reelection in the 60th District.

Papen said she did not back Horcher in the 1990 election, but she denied CRA charges that she organized an anti-Horcher committee and solicited support and contributions for Democrat Gary Neely. Papen said Horcher "swore revenge" for the mayor pro tem vote "and has been trying to destroy me in Republican circles."

The CRA produced an article from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reporting that Papen and others created Republicans for Ethical Candidates, which sent a mailer to Republican voters assailing Horcher in the final days of the 1990 race.

Millie Stomiany, who is Horcher's field deputy and president of the Cerritos-La Mirada CRA unit, denied that CRA is a Horcher tool. "There happen to be a couple of his staff members in it," she said.

What to Call Him--Perennial Whittier City Council candidate Joe Marsico will have no occupation listed next to his name on the ballot, but it is not for lack of trying.

First, he submitted "practicing Christian activist."

"I'm practicing to be a Christian and I'm an activist," reasoned Marsico, 49, a longtime council critic. City officials rejected the title because "according to the California Election Code, any word referring to a religious group is unacceptable," City Clerk Gertrude L. Hill said.

Marsico also tried "official misconduct detector," but was denied on the grounds that the phrase implies he holds office. A friend suggested "Beloved political activist." That too was rejected because the first and last words were more opinion than profession. "Governmental incompetency corrector" and "governmental incompetency revealer" also were rejected on similar grounds.

Hill insisted she was not trying to be difficult, noting that she called state legal advisers before rejecting Marsico's descriptions. Her office even offered suggestions: "political watchdog," "interested citizen" and "retired pool contractor." Marsico used to sell pools. He now devotes his time to unpaid political action.

Most recently, he has been trying to persuade the city to dump its transit contractor and take over the service itself. He knelt silently in front of the seated council members for 15 minutes during Tuesday's meeting to make his point. He left his prone position at the request of a police officer who had been called.

"I'm glad they called the police. My back was really starting to hurt," Marsico said. Although not all officials take him seriously, Marsico has persuaded Whittier leaders to ease the city's towing practices and to purchase trolley-style buses.

In six previous election bids, he has listed such positions as "entrepreneur, muckraker, laborer," "trolley car advocate" and "transportation activist," he said.

This time, Marsico's preferred title would have been "governmental incompetency detector." He considered "governmental competency detector," but said that he had found little competency in 18 years of political activism. "Governmental incompetency detector," he mused. "It describes exactly what my life has been about."

Said Hill: "I didn't argue that point, but it is not acceptable as a ballot designation."

Political Meetings--The Maywood Chamber of Commerce and VFW Post 2830 will sponsor a free Meet Your Candidate forum for Maywood City Council candidates from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Maywood Community Center, 4747 E. 56th St.

The Long Beach Democratic Club will have its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Denny's restaurant, 3333 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach. All Long Beach-area Democratic candidates for Assembly, state Senate and congressional districts are invited.

The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce will host a forum for 2nd District City Council candidates from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in Van Dyke Auditorium at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, 2801 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach. Reservations are required by calling (310) 436-1251, Ext. 240.

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