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VENTURA COUNTY LETTERS

Totten's Experience

January 20, 2002

The people of Ventura County will choose either Greg Totten or Ron Bamieh to succeed Dist. Atty. Michael Bradbury on March 5. After moderating a meeting where they both spoke and reading the Jan. 11 article on this race in The Times, I have concluded that Greg Totten should be elected as our next district attorney.

Greg, 47, has been through the chairs over the past 20 years. He is now chief assistant district attorney--second in command. Ron, 35, graduated from law school in 1991 and has been on the staff for nine years.

Clearly, Totten has the experience needed to assume responsibility for an office of about 600 people and a budget of $40 million. The D.A. is one of the most important managers in our government.

As your headline said, "Bamieh Far Ahead in D.A. Funds Race." You report that Bamieh's father, Sam Bamieh, has donated $239,000 toward Ron's campaign so far. Sam, a major GOP contributor, has been quoted as saying, "If I can give the Republican Party $500,000, I can give my son $10 million to win this race." You also report that Totten has raised $175,100, mostly through small donations from local attorneys, ranchers, educators and business leaders.

Bamieh criticized Totten for taking numerous donations from people who could seek favors from the district attorney's office. "I would say that there is one candidate in this race who is independent," Bamieh said. Independent? The Times reports "his war chest has largely been bankrolled by his father." A candidate largely financed by a single political operative, even if he is his father, is anything but independent.

Michael Bradbury has been a great district attorney. He is effective, knowledgeable and respected. His shoes will be difficult to fill. Even so, many feel that he has been too partisan. Do we want to replace him with a man whose dad, mentor and financial supporter is a major Republican fund-raiser? Do we want to elect a man who is raising other money from a list of national GOP political figures from outside California?

It appears that Bamieh is attempting to launch a political career. His dad is spending too much to simply put him in the district attorney's chair.

Totten promises change and improvement in the office. He is supported by Bradbury, but he is his own man. He is not Michael Bradbury.

Watch for a meeting where both candidates will appear. Hear them out. Check on the above statements by The Times and by me. I believe you will join me in supporting Greg Totten.

Edward Robings

Oxnard

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