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for California's 67th Assembly District
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May 24, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Orton at (562) 598-9630 or Sara Glasgow at (714) 835-5158
Opponent cannot 'fight on both sides of the war' on SUV bill, says Orton      State Assembly candidate William R. "Bill" Orton (D-Seal Beach) charged his election opponent with using "public relations falsehoods" crafted on the taxpayers' dime to "mask the public record," over a vote cast for a controversial air pollution bill that could lead to a tax hike on SUVs.
"Assemblyman Tom Harman voted for the SUV bill in January," said Orton. "Now that he's feeling some heat over his vote in favor of the bill, he's completely changed his tune."
Assembly Bill 1058, by Santa Monica lawmaker Fran Pavley, would direct state air quality bureaucrats to write rules to limit the emission of greenhouse gasses.
Critics of the measure charge that AB 1058 would lead to higher taxes and fees on motor vehicles, including SUVs. Supporters say it is an effective way to stem vehicle emissions, which are a leading source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
For more than four months, Orton has held his tongue over Harman's support for the SUV bill.
The measure passed the state Assembly on January 30 by a vote of 42-to-24, just one vote more than is needed for approval. Harman was the sole Republican to vote for the bill.
"I have not criticized Mr. Harman for voting in favor of the SUV bill in January," said Orton. "The gentleman voted yes on a controversial bill and I'm not going to slam a man for taking a tough stand on a difficult issue, but now he's crossed the line into outright falsehoods."
Harman's original vote for AB 1058, back in January, came when few people were tuned in actions in the legislature. Since then, Harman told the Orange County Register, hundreds of people have called the lawmaker's office to complain about his vote on the bill.
Citing the phone calls, the incumbent is now doing all he can to portray himself as opposed to the measure. This is little more than "hiding his vote," says Orton.
"It's appalling to watch someone try to fight on both sides of a war at the same time," said Orton.
The final straw, says Orton, is a May 16th press release that appears on both the Assemblyman's taxpayer-paid-for website and his personal campaign site. Harman slams the very same bill that he supported on January 30th. Both sites list the Assemblyman's taxpayer-paid-for office in the capitol as where to call about the press release.
The release appeared in the News Enterprise, which serves half of the communities in the 67th district, giving the false impression that Harman opposes the SUV bill. The press release never mentions that Harman's only vote on AB 1058 was to support the bill.
"The Assemblyman's flip-flopping and falsehoods made me break my silence on the bill," said Orton. "It's not about a single vote. It's about having the backbone to stand for your convictions."
The official public record showing Harman's support for AB 1058 can be found at the legislature's official vote information website.
The public relations piece that paints Harman as opposed to AB 1058 can be found at the Assemblyman's official website.
The identical release can be found at the gentleman's campaign website.
"President Nixon was right when he said that 'if you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing,' " says Orton. "Voting yes on the SUV bill and then pretending to be leading the charge against the bill begs the question... what does our Assemblyman actually stand for?"
For more information on Orton's campaign for state Assembly, visit his website, at http://billyorton.com, or call Sara at (714) 835-5158.
BILL ORTON is the Democratic candidate for State Assembly in the 67th District, which covers Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, and portions of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Stanton and Westminster.
FPPC ID# 1240194