BOTH candidates for the 70th Assembly District show up to Prop 19 Rally! UPDATED with Tharp Pic.


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It’s an encouraging sign of the maturity of the 70th AD (which covers Irvine, Tustin, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach & Woods, Lake Forest, and most of Aliso Viejo) that BOTH the major candidates for the Assembly seat showed up at tonight’s rally in support of the decriminalization and taxation of marijuana.  It is a relief to know that both serious candidates agree on the failure of the War on Drugs, the importance of privacy and liberty, and the need to shift funding to more serious priorities.  Voters of the district are fortunate to be able to put aside all the distracting and archaic “culture war” baggage that has divided us all for so long, and can choose between these two worthy ladies based on their contrasting philosophies on the role of government.

The writer with Democratic candidate Melissa Fox

Melissa Fox, a small-business attorney and moderate Democrat who’s not afraid to occasionally buck her Party’s orthodoxy, pledges to “work for better schools and to create new jobs and economic growth in our community.”  As a progressive, she feels government has an important and constructive role in helping enable these goals, but is very sensitive to any added tax burden placed on our middle classes during these hard times.

She lists her top priorities as

  • Reigniting our local economy by growing businesses and jobs.
  • Fighting for our schools, colleges and universities so that they are the best in nation.
  • Fighting for tax fairness and against any tax or fee that unfairly hits our overburdened small businesses and middle-class.
  • Fighting for seniors, retirees and the vital home health services that allow them to live in dignity in their own homes.
  • Protecting our ocean and beaches.
  • Keeping our police and firefighters on the job.
  • Ending the power of lobbyists and special interests to make backroom deals; restoring accountability and responsibility to Sacramento.

The writer with Freedom Republican candidate Debbie Tharp

Debbie Tharp describes herself as a “Freedom Republican” in the mold of Ron Paul, with “compassionate libertarian” leanings.  To someone like Debbie, “that government is best which governs least.”  But unlike some Republicans, she takes this philosophy to most importantly include maximum individual freedom – freedom and responsibility.  Some of Debbie’s positions:

  • Our current economic state is a result of over-regulation. We are taxing all of the best business out of California and the poor of the state aren’t even benefiting directly from the over taxation.
  • Right now, we have to STOP CUTTING JOBS. The creation and sustainment of jobs needs to come from a more responsible fiscal policy, rather than an increase in taxes. Through maintaining a reasonable, achievable, enforceable State Budget, we can create new private industry jobs, thus allowing outsourced businesses to come home to California.
  • Our education system needs to be competitive with the Private system. As an example, California has some of the best universities (UCI, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Berkeley, etc) and the reason these universities are all ranked so highly is because they compete with California’s private universities for the tuition of both international and out of state students who desire the best education. On the other hand, our K-12 system doesn’t compete for the population’s education dollars as most parents can’t afford private school, thus there is no competition between schools to be the best.
  • One of the reasons our California is trapped in this spiraling economic crisis is due to a large, over regulating government. With that being said, I am for less government. The only role of government should be to protect our persons and properties. All laws should pass this litmus test: does it protect people from harm from others? Does it protect a person’s property from harm from others? If not, then it has no place on the books.
  • I am for anything that lowers taxes and increases prosperity and independence.

So there you have it.  It must be refreshing to live in a district where there’s a choice between two serious candidates, neither of whom is throwing around cultural issues and distractions like religion, gay marriage and illegal immigration.

(I would like to take the opportunity to dispel rumors that a fringe candidate & “social conservative” named “Don Warner” is being secretly funded by the Democrats to take Republican votes away from Debbie Tharp.  The DPOC and Melissa deny this and Debbie is satisfied it’s not the case.  Mr. Warner has no candidate statement, has less than $500 in his treasury and does not seem to be running a serious campaign or pose a real challenge to either Melissa or Debbie.)


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.