GARDEN GROVE — After a more than three-month delay, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) on Wednesday opened her new district office in the City View Office Complex, about three blocks from Crystal Cathedral.
District press secretary Josie Cabiglio said that besides the usual start-up glitches with computers and voice mail, Sanchez's staff was trying to re-create constituents' case files from former Rep. Robert K. Dornan, whom Sanchez defeated for election in November.
"We tried to contact him two or three times, but we never got a call back," Cabiglio said. "It is disappointing, considering that we work for the people."
Neither Dornan nor his former staff members were available for comment.
Sanchez said it wasn't easy to find a proper headquarters with a good location and wheelchair accessibility.
"Just finding a location as centrally as possible was difficult," Sanchez said. "This way, we're right in the center of the district. This was the location we wanted the most."
Sanchez added that some leaseholders of other sites became wary upon discovering a Democrat would occupy their offices.
"There were some who showed more interest before they found out who it was, but it didn't affect us in getting this space," she said.
About 150 people showed up at the open house for the headquarters, receptionist Nanci Lesley said. The crowd included Hien Nguyen, chairman of the Orange County Asian American Senior Citizens' Assn., who presented a painting by artist Phi Loc.
"She's a friend to the Vietnamese community," Nguyen said. "That's why she invited us here."
Al Graves, a 55-year-old volunteer for the Orange County Gay and Lesbian Center, said Sanchez is "interested in our issues. As a Latina, she understands about discrimination."
The pale beige office is in a complex resembling a townhouse community. Sanchez said it will serve as a resource center for small-business owners and as a home to task forces focusing on issues ranging from crime to education.
As many as 10 people, mostly full-time workers, will eventually staff the office, which is at 12397 Lewis St., Suite 101; (714) 621-0102.
Sanchez, who is Orange County's first woman and first Latina member of Congress, was sworn into office as the 46th Congressional District representative Jan. 7.
Dornan contested Sanchez's 984-vote victory, alleging illegal voting by noncitizens. The allegations have prompted a series of inquiries at the local, state and federal levels.