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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Martinez's Account of Banking Problem: Checks Were in Mail

March 22, 1992|Mike Ward

Bouncing Back--Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (D-Monterey Park) says his name has been dragged into the congressional check-cashing scandal only because the House bank was so poorly run.

Martinez said he wrote four checks in late November, 1989, that were postdated Dec. 1, but were mailed early and landed at the bank without quite enough money on deposit to cover them.

The checks totaled $1,197.83, he said, and he had $1,162.44 in the bank, or about $37 less than he needed.

Instead of just honoring three of the four checks, or holding them all until the day they were dated--Dec. 1--when he would have had another paycheck automatically deposited, the bank never notified him, Martinez said. Instead, the checks were marked as having cleared with insufficient funds. So, the congressman said, he is being branded as a check-abuser along with colleagues who wrote hundreds of bad checks.

"I have never written a check that I didn't think there was enough money to cover," Martinez said. "If four checks in 10 years is a cardinal sin, then I'm guilty of a cardinal sin."

According to a Bank of America spokesman, it is common practice in the industry for checks to be deposited upon receipt, without regard to the date on an item. The spokesman said there is no legal reason why a check cannot be postdated, but the date is no guarantee that an item will not be deposited.

No Contest--Michael English, a Whittier real estate agent who had been expected to challenge Assemblyman Paul Horcher (R-Diamond Bar) in the Republican primary, said he will not run after concluding that he could not win a three-way battle that includes Diamond Bar City Council member Phyllis Papen.

English said he commissioned a survey that found that first-term Assemblyman Horcher is not well-known in the district and that a significant number of voters who do know him do not like him.

"There is an anti-Horcher vote out there," English said.

But, the real estate agent said, Papen is determined to stay in the race against Horcher, and his entry would split the vote against the incumbent, all but ensuring his reelection.

So English decided to stay on the sidelines, even though he would have run with the endorsement of his friend and office tenant, Sen. Frank Hill (R-Whittier)

Short Subjects--The Pasadena Republican Women Federated will sponsor a reception for Republican candidates in the new 44th Assembly District from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at the University Club of Pasadena, 175 N. Oakland Ave. The cost is $10. . . . The San Marino City Club will sponsor a forum for local City Council candidates at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Kenneth White Auditorium at Huntington Middle School, 1700 Huntington Drive. . . . Congressional candidates John Grula and Doug Kahn of the 27th District will speak at a meeting of the South Pasadena Democratic Club at 5 p.m. next Sunday at the home of Dorothy McDonald, 1121 Buena Vista St., South Pasadena. . . . Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-La Puente) will speak at the installation dinner-dance of the Hispanic Coalition of Montebello at 6 p.m. Friday, April 10, at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.

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