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Westside Watch

Air Conditioning Man Chills Out With Cold Cash

August 25, 1994

Mother Nature has not smiled on Jim Marshall.

A self-employed air conditioning contractor from Santa Monica, Marshall does not appreciate one of the Westside's chief assets--its cool ocean breeze. That, combined with his mechanically challenged truck, has put a decided damper on business, the 45-year-old bachelor says.

But if Mother Nature failed Marshall, Lady Luck has not. Last week he won $25,000 in the California Lottery's Big Spin, after purchasing a Scratcher ticket from the Fernwood Market in Topanga.

Heartened by his good fortune, Marshall has decided to take life by the lapels. First, he says, he will buy a reliable truck. Then, he adds, he will move to a place where air conditioning contractors are truly appreciated--the desert.

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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 in perspective, including his loss to Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks in the Republican race for the 36th Congressional District.

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

Florance underwent a routine physical earlier this summer, before he and his wife set out on a monthlong vacation. When they returned, Florance's doctor called back with the final 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 she and Florance "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 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 primary race, Brooks questioned Florance's business background--in what Florance called a smear campaign.

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