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POLITICS '95

A behind-the-scenes look at Orange County's political life : Chief Investigator Finds Probe Target Baugh--at a GOP Fund-Raiser

December 17, 1995

They may be having a tough time arranging a get-together at the district attorney's office, but newly elected Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) and Dist. Atty. Michael R. Capizzi managed to rub elbows at the Orange County Republican Party holiday reception Tuesday night at the Inland Group's offices in Newport Beach.

Baugh is being investigated by the district attorney for campaign finance irregularities and for alleged links to Democrat Laurie Campbell, who was thrown off the ballot in the race to replace Cypress Assemblywoman Doris Allen when a judge determined her nominating papers were falsified.

Baugh exchanged a few pleasantries with Capizzi, who has built his reputation in part on prosecuting elected officials for campaign and political wrongdoings.

The odd couple reportedly met on their way into the reception, then later exchanged bemused grins and mumbled "We have already met" when other party-goers attempted to introduce them.

Absolutely above average

The National Taxpayers Union rating of members of Congress for 1994 is out and it shows that the Orange County delegation generally supported reducing federal spending and opposing higher taxes.

An "A" rating means the member scored 79% or higher and earns the member the "Taxpayers' Friend Award." A "B" represents a "good" voting record "but voted against taxpayers' interests a significant number of times," for a score of 65% to 78%. Four of the six "A" grades given to Californians went to Orange County representatives.

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Congressman Grade Score Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) A 88% Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) A 87% Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) A 84% Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) A 82% Ron Packard (R-Oceanside) B 75% Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) B 73%

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South County duet: Politically, they are mirror images of each other: Susan Withrow and Helen Wilson are both South County female politicians, Republicans who oppose converting the El Toro Air Base into an commercial airport.

And each recently declared her candidacy for the vacant Orange County 3rd Supervisorial District seat, which could lead to a dilution of the South County vote.

"I think without a doubt this is going to split the vote," said Withrow. "I think that's unfortunate."

But Wilson believes there is room on the ballot for both candidates. "I don't think it's going to be a problem because the field is wide open anyhow. I think the best thing that could happen is that Susan and I end up in a runoff."

The district stretches along the northeastern border of the county, from La Habra and Fullerton to Mission Viejo and Coto de Caza in the south.

Others who have taken out papers are: Charles W. "Pete" Maddox, Ronald Middlebrook, Todd Spitzer, Bruce Whitaker, Assemblyman Mickey Conroy (R-Orange) and Gregory Wolf.

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Erosion of support: The latest newsletter from the Surfrider Foundation's Long Beach chapter contains "a rumor" that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's district office in Huntington Beach has a sign that is making environmentalists unhappy.

The sign reads, "Pave the Bolsa Chica." Surfrider folks say it's a slap in the face at efforts to save the wetlands and add, "Maybe this is why [Rohrabacher] has been voting to gut our nation's wetland laws."

It's no rumor. Damon Elder, an intern in Rohrabacher's Huntington Beach district office says someone altered the sign from 'Save' to 'Pave.' "It was a joke, that's all," Elder said. "Someone had altered it and we got a kick out of it. It was in the back and not meant for the public to see, but one or two constituents saw it and, I guess, didn't like it."

Elder added that Rohrabacher is an "avid surfer" who also is proud that he's a member of the Surfrider Foundation.

The sign hasn't come down, but "we've put it in a more restricted area," Elder said.

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China, commerce and communism: As he prepares for a trip to China in two weeks, Rep. Christopher Cox is helping raise the volume of disagreement about the Communist Chinese government's disregard for human rights.

As part of a House Commerce Committee delegation seeking industrial and commercial opportunities in China, the Newport Beach Republican said he also plans to be critical of forced prison labor in the Chinese economy and of the government's treatment of democracy activists.

Cox said he also wants to meet with Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, who was just sentenced to 14 years in prison for alleged government subversion. The White House and members of Congress have vowed to pressure Beijing for clemency for Wei.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Today: Topics ranging from a proposed airport at El Toro to plans for dumping treated water into Newport Bay will be discussed at the public meeting of the Orange County Green Party at 6:30 p.m. at the Improv Club, 4255 Campus Drive, Irvine. Call (714) 644-7835.

Monday: George Scott for Supervisor Benefit Golf Scramble. Mile Square Golf Course, Fountain Valley. Tee times begin at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Newport Harbor California Republican Assembly annual Christmas boat parade on Balboa Island with special guest Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer of Irvine. Call (714) 645-9127.

Thursday: South Orange County Congress of Republicans hosts a holiday buffet and boat parade viewing at 7 p.m. on Balboa Island. Call (714) 839-1350.

Compiled by Times political writer Peter M. Warren, with contributions from staff writers Eric Bailey and Kevin Johnson.

Politics '95 appears every Sunday. Items can be mailed to Politics '95, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626, or faxed to (714) 966-7711.

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