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POLITICAL NOTES

Ex-Councilman Wins a Key Race--Against Cancer

August 25, 1994|TED JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FAST RECOVERY: Former Palos Verdes Estates Councilman Ron Florance returned home this week after cancer surgery.

It was an experience, he said, that put a lot of things into perspective, including his loss to Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks in the 36th Congressional District Republican primary.

"I'm a lucky camper," Florence said. "I'm clean (of cancer). I caught it soon enough."

Florance underwent a routine physical exam earlier this summer before he and his wife set out on a monthlong vacation. When they returned, Florance's doctor called with test results and recommended that he undergo surgery as soon as possible to remove three polyps from his colon. One was malignant.

"I feel pretty good," Florance said. "I won the right race."

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PRIMARY DEJA VU: Florance, meanwhile, says that he has no plans to endorse either Brooks or incumbent Jane Harman (D-Rolling Hills) in the November election.

"The primary's over," he said. "I don't want my name bandied around that I am endorsing anyone when I'm not."

Florance asked Brooks to stop saying just that in a letter he wrote to her campaign just before his surgery. According to friends of Florance, Brooks told a Croatian American Assn. gathering that the two politicians "have been friends in the past, still are friends and Ron Florance is now supporting Susan Brooks for Congress."

"I had never met you, or established any type of relationship (before the primary campaign)," Florance said in his letter. "During the primary, I think it is fair to say no friendship was created."

But Brooks denies ever saying that she had his endorsement.

"My only public comment is that you have been a good Republican and that I would like your support," she said in a letter she sent to him last week. She added that he could view a videotape of the event to see for himself.

Both candidates have communicated only by mail since their bitter primary race. During the campaign, Brooks questioned Florance's business background. Florance said that Brooks was engaged in a smear campaign.

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NAME THAT TUNE: During the primary, State Sen. Ralph C. Dills (D-El Segundo) blanketed the South Bay with billboards picturing him tooting a saxophone and the slogan "Too Old to Quit."

Now his Republican challenger, Redondo Beach attorney David Barrett Cohen, has a billboard of his own, saxophone and all: "Time to Change the Tune."

"It captures the people's desire for change," Cohen said. "It's the best way to answer Ralph's campaign in kind."

The campaign so far plans only one billboard, at Western Avenue and 240th Street in Harbor City. Dills' campaign, which plans to place about 45 billboards in the South Bay, called it a ploy.

"(Cohen) is trying to capitalize on 'Too Old to Quit,' " campaign coordinator Tim Mock said. "He's trying to turn it around and make it disadvantageous to us."

Still, don't expect any debates to turn into a matchup between two music talents. Cohen concedes that to Dills.

"I don't really play the sax," he said. "That's the one thing he has over me."

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WHAT'S HIS LINE?: On the primary ballot, Cohen listed himself as "Attorney/Educator." In the November election, it will be "Business Owner/Educator."

Is this because of the not-so-positive image the public has of attorneys?

Dills' campaign thinks so.

"That's certainly part of it," Cohen said. "But I want to get credit for being a business owner. I own my own business. With only three words to describe yourself, that seemed the most appropriate."

He runs his own law practice in Torrance, he said, a far cry from being a corporate lawyer or in a big firm.

"Believe me, there's quite a difference," he said.

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LOOKING TO '96: When it comes to municipal elections, Torrance has always done things its own way.

Its municipal election this year was March 8, even though nine South Bay cities held elections a month later.

Come 1996, California will hold its presidential primary on March 26. That's just three weeks after Torrance voters will go to the polls and elect their city leaders.

Other cities have changed their election dates so they won't conflict, but Torrance probably won't, said City Clerk Sue Herbers. City officials would probably have to change the charter to move the election date. Plus, there's no guarantee that the California primary in 2000 won't be moved to another date or back to June, she said.

The changes mean that Torrance officials may have to check signatures on absentee ballots. Herbers believes that the city won't be able to use the county's election booths or polling areas because they will be gearing up for the higher-profile primary.

"We will be doing more marketing of our local election," Herbers said.

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