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Decision '94 / SPECIAL GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA'S ELECTIONS : Statewide Races : STATE CONTROLLER

October 30, 1994

THE OFFICE

The controller is the state's chief fiscal officer and bookkeeper, whose signature appears on billions of dollars worth of state payments, from income tax rebates to purchases from vendors. The controller also tracks down abandoned or forgotten bank accounts for their owners. Much of the controller's power stems from membership on a wide variety of boards and commissions that affect public policy. For example, the controller serves on the tax-collecting Board of Equalization and Franchise Tax Board, public employee pension agencies and the State Lands Commission.

MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATES

KATHLEEN CONNELL, Democrat

* Born: June 30, 1947, in Denver.

* Residence: Los Angeles

* Education: Bachelor's degree, Hastings College; master's degree, University of Pittsburgh, doctorate, UCLA

* Current position: Owner and president of Connell and Associates, a Los Angeles-based investment banking company

* Career highlights: Founding director of the Center for Finance and Real Estate at UCLA; former vice president of Chemical Bank of New York specializing in public finance; for six years, director of Los Angeles Department of Housing during the Bradley Administration.

* Family: Married, two children

* Background: Connell describes herself as a "fiscal conservative and social moderate." As a political newcomer, she says she carries no political baggage into the race for state controller, her first run for public office. Until she became a Democrat last year, Connell was registered as a voter who declined to state a party preference. Connell holds six licenses from the federal Securities and Exchange Commission and displays an almost laser-like focus on what she says she would do if elected. She says she is qualified to be controller because of her professional and academic experience in the area of public finance. In her business, she lists among her clients the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and San Diego. Connell says that during her tenure as director of housing in Los Angeles from 1977 to 1983, she was responsible for creating or rehabilitating more than 10,000 units of affordable housing.

But her opponent, Republican Tom McClintock, charges that the housing agency went bankrupt under her "mismanagement." Connell denies the bankruptcy allegation, but her campaign concedes that start-up problems bedeviled the fledgling department. Aides say there was plenty of blame to go around, including the borrowing of funds by the City Council for other purposes. Connell says that City Council members who criticized her at the time have since endorsed her candidacy for controller.

*

TOM McCLINTOCK, Republican

* Born: July 10, 1956, in White Plains, N.Y.

* Residence: Rocklin

* Current position: Founding director of the Center for the California Taxpayer

* Education: Bachelor's degree, UCLA

* Career highlights: Chief of staff to former state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Santa Clarita) from 1980-82; in 1982, at age 26, elected to the state Assembly from a Ventura County district; served 10 years and built a reputation as a credible conservative spokesman on fiscal issues; defeated for election to Congress in 1992.

* Family: Married, two children

* Background: As a member of the "caveman" faction of conservative Assembly Republicans, McClintock was arguably the most tightfisted in the lower house on taxation and fiscal issues. His attacks against government spending became legendary, even against leaders of his own party--Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson. McClintock proposed long lists of spending cuts. Most, however, were deemed unrealistic and few became law. For a time, McClintock flirted with the notion of challenging Wilson for reelection, but decided instead to run for state controller. Although he was popular with colleagues in the Legislature, McClintock was viewed by some as less than effective because of his stiff refusal to compromise. Besides his fiscal thriftiness, he is identified with the anti-abortion movement and favors gun-owner rights. He is the author of the state law that gives Death Row convicts the choice of execution by gas or injection. McClintock said he carried the lethal injection bill not to spare inmates suffering, but to make sure the death penalty was carried out if gas was found to be unconstitutional. A federal court judge recently ruled death by gas in California to be cruel and unusual punishment.

MINOR PARTY CANDIDATES

* NATHAN E. JOHNSON, American Independent, San Diego bus driver

* CULLENE MARIE LANG, Libertarian, Sacramento

* ELIZABETH NAKANO, Peace & Freedom, retired Silver Lake social worker

The Issues

BUSINESS CLIMATE

Both major candidates view the controller's office as a tool to stimulate economic recovery for California. Both say they favor more investments of public employee pension funds into job-producing California industries.

AUDITS

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