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POLITICAL NOTES

Restaurateur Seeks the Right Recipe to Defeat Rep. Harman in 1996

February 09, 1995|TED JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW NAME IN THE RACE: Rolling Hills Estates restaurateur Jeffrey Earle plans to run in the Republican primary next year for Rep. Jane Harman's(D-Rolling Hills) seat.

He and other possible contenders got interested in the seat after Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks nearly upset Harman in last year's election. Brooks says she plans to run. Others thinking of bids for the 36th Congressional District seat include Ross Stores co-founder John Morris, former Palos Verdes Estates Councilman Ron Florance and Rancho Palos Verdes psychiatrist Irwin Savodnik.

Earle, 35, said he has name identification from his unsuccessful primary campaign for the 54th Assembly District. He was beaten by then-Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Steven T. Kuykendall, who went on to defeat incumbent Betty Karnette in the general election.

This time around, Earle says, he can expect substantial backing from the National Restaurant Assn. The association, eager to send more restaurant owners to Washington, has pledged to help raise money and provide political support, he said.

The association "encouraged me to go ahead with this," said Earle, who operates Bart Earle's Red Onion in Rolling Hills Estates. "They are much more energized over this (election) than last time around. They plan to focus on three or four races."

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NO GIFTS, NO PERKS: Rep. Harman has vowed to refuse any gifts from lobbyists, including meals, tickets to entertainment events and recreational travel.

Harman's policy--which also applies to her staff--still allows for the reimbursement of some travel expenses for a speaking engagements or fact-finding trips.

Her policy, unveiled this week, comes after President Clinton in his State of the Union address called on Congress to voluntarily refuse lobbyists' gifts. Harman supported previous legislation that would have imposed a ban on lobbying gifts to all members of the House.

In her first term, Harman turned down such congressional perks as free airport parking, daily ice service and borrowed artwork from the National Gallery of Art and plants from the Botanical Garden.

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TRIAL POSTPONED: The trial of Rep. Walter Tucker III (D-Compton) on corruption charges was scheduled to start this month.

That was until Tucker's attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., signed on to defend O.J. Simpson.

Tucker's trial has been postponed until Sept. 5. A pretrial hearing is set for Aug. 7 before U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall.

Tucker, accused of accepting bribes while he was mayor of Compton, would have to give up his seat if he is convicted.

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