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POLITICS '95

A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County's political life : Trouble in Irvine? Then You Know What to Do: Point a Finger at Larry

October 01, 1995

Defenders of beleaguered Irvine Councilman Barry J. Hammond and Mayor Mike Ward, who are being targeted for recall along with Councilwoman Paula Werner, are accusing former Mayor Larry Agran of encouraging residents to sign recall petitions as political pay-back. Agran was bounced from his mayoral post in 1990 by a slate of conservatives that included Hammond.

Agran acknowledges he supports the recall because of the council members' "mismanagement and misconduct in financial matters" but has signed no recall petition and scoffs at the idea that he is campaigning for it.

"This is the kind of paranoia that emerges from the kind of moral bankruptcy . . . we're observing at City Hall," Agran said. "I guess their motto is, 'When you screw up big time, blame somebody else.' "

Ward, Hammond and Werner are being targeted for their July, 1994, vote to borrow $62 million to make an additional investment in the now-collapsed county pool.

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Perot's party: Ross Perot's arrival in Orange County Saturday--and the renewed potential of another third party presidential candidate next year--reminded many people of the impact he had on the 1992 race.

Perot scored a major success in Orange County by polling 24% of the vote, a tally that provided him with more than 10% of his 2.1 million total votes statewide.

Here's a sampling of how Perot fared in some of the state's most populous counties:

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Ross Perot's Impact in 1992

*--*

County Clinton Bush Perot Los Angeles 53% 29% 18% Orange 32 44 24 Riverside 39 37 24 San Bernardino 39 37 23 San Diego 37 36 26 San Francisco 72 18 9

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Note: Percentages rounded; votes for other candidates not included

Source: Secretary of state

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He's out: Gov. Pete Wilson's long-awaited appointment of a successor for retired County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez could come this week. But one hopeful, Charles W. (Pete) Maddox, has withdrawn his name and denounced the application process as "unacceptable."

Maddox, a trustee of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, said the application violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act by asking if he has any "major physical disabilities." He also contended the application violates his constitutional right to privacy by asking his birth date, his ethnicity and the name of his spouse while informing him that "an extensive investigation" of his personal and business background will be undertaken.

Wilson's camp could not be reached for comment.

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Next campaign: Ex-Marine Bill Kogerman, a tireless opponent of a proposed commercial airport at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, has another cause he's fired up about.

Kogerman--who is helping lead the drive to overturn Measure A, which recommends a commercial airport be located at the base--says he will seek legislation to change the way initiatives qualify for the ballot.

Because of current rules, his volunteer organization, Taxpayers for Responsible Planning, was required to submit 100,000 signatures to the registrar of voters all at once, with no additions allowed later.

The laws are much more lenient for efforts such as recalls, where professional organizations can turn in their petitions incrementally and keep a running total of the number of signatures they lack.

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Cutting taxes: Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) is working on a tax cut that his office stresses is aimed at helping small-business owners and their heirs. Cox is touting his bill to repeal the estate tax because it hurts economic growth.

Even though federal law allows tax exemptions for estates valued at under $600,000, Cox's staff said the law doesn't go very far in a place like Orange County, where the median home value is $190,000.

Because of high taxes, small businesses rarely survive from one generation to the next, Cox argued. The tax repeal was listed as the fourth highest priority during a White House Conference on Small Business earlier this year.

"The estate tax punishes lifelong habits of hard work and thrift, penalizes families, discourages entrepreneurship and capital formation, and creates enormous amounts of economically useless 'work' for lawyers and accountants," said Cox, a lawyer by profession.

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Quote of the week: "[Ross Perot] is not welcome in Orange County. As far as I'm concerned, he elected Bill Clinton and now he's trying to get Bill Clinton reelected. We are doing our best to do those things the American people wanted, and he's rewarding our hard work with a slap in the face. I don't like that. I wouldn't take that from a sane man, much less a nut case like Ross Perot."--Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) on Perot making Orange County a key site in his effort for a new political party.

UPCOMING EVENTS

* Wednesday: Ernie Schneider, former county administrative officer, will discuss "The Real History of the Orange County Bankruptcy" at the meeting of the Committees of Correspondence at 7 p.m. at the Orange City Hall. Information: Carole Walters at (714) 633-6725 or Bob Ault at (714) 891-2231.

Compiled by Times staff writer Len Hall with contributions from Times staff writers Gebe Martinez and Peter M. Warren and correspondent Russ Loar.

Politics '95 appears every Sunday.

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