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The opening shots were fired last night at the Costa Mesa Community Center with the three candidates for the newly redesigned post census 74th Assembly District. Part of this district at one time belonged to Jim Silva, part of this district also to Chuck Devore. The event entitled “Feet to the Fire” was hosted by the inimitable Barbara Venzia (undoubtedly a taken name!). The concept was to vet the major candidates by utilizing various local reporters and opinion writers from print giants like the Daily Pilot, The Current, The Independent and the OC Voices Blog. The Editor of the Daily Pilot and Venzia shared co-hosting duties, while making off hand remarks about the direction of the dialogue and conversation. A couple of hundred folks made the effort to get to this introduction to the candidates. Former Mayor Evelyn Hart, former State Senator Marion Bergeson (who looked great) and of course the Great Costa Mesa icon Geoff West - (The Potstirer). Scattered about the crowd were other luminaries that included folks from the County, Members of the City Council from Newport Beach and Costa Mesa and a few others from Huntington Beach.
The whole event was far too collegial to be considered as a very serious political event. The jabs and barbs thrown were extremely transparent “kids stuff”. More like attending a High School Girls Athletic Assoication meeting during the 1950′s! The fraudulent carping and finger pointing was neither serious business nor worthy of anything but an occasional groan from those assembled. All the jokes were also bad! Not even one Mother in Law was mentioned!
The issues discussed included: The dreaded Banning Ranch build-out, the contentious 19th Street Bridge demise and the associated required new Traffic Mitigation measures that will be required by the County Traffic Circulation Plan, The activities of Rehab Homes and their egregious high impact density behavior and the last minute Yes or No questions on Same Sex Marriage, Medical Marijuana Clinics and Pro-Life – Pro Choice! Talking about the California State Budget took about 5 minutes of the hour and half program. Talking about what any of the candidates might bring back to the district from State resources ….lasted as long as it took for Norberto Santana from OC Voices to ask it….say 5 minutes. Could have been one of the longest innane questions in recorded history. No one could come up with a clear response. Of course you do have to include the 15 minute answer by Alan Mansoor on why you (no one in the Republican party) can’t get Reform in California State Government. Boring!! Daigle said: “Try compromise!” Rush said: “They need MY new ideas!”
Alan Mansoor is the properly approved OC Republican Central Committee candidate. Leslie Daigle is the Cash approved candidate of all the smart money in the area and seems to be running as the Republican Moderate. Bob Rush, (Mr. Stop the Rehab fame!) and new found Democrat Moderate Liberal Conservative who last voted for McCain-Palin in 2008 seems to think he can be the “None of the Above” Candidate. Impressively, Rush has thrown $100, 000 Charlie Brown bucks of his own money into the race along with another $30,000 some folks have cast to the winds in the last couple of weeks. Lucy! “Don’t pull away that football…!!” It will be interesting to see how much of that $100,000 he is really willing to spend prior to the June Primary!
What seems amazing is that with three folks in this race, two will still be there after the June 5th Primary. As you might know, we have a new Modified Open Primary System in California starting this year. You can vote for anyone, in almost any race (except ones like Republican Central Committee for instance - which are party only sensitive) and no matter how many people are running…..the two top vote getters move onto the November ballot – circa quasi run off idea! What that means in this case is that Daigle and Mansoor will still be around after the June Primary and on the ballot in November. It will not matter how many votes any of them get as long as two are are top vote getters. It could be 70% to 20% and if the third candidate or others get less….it doesn’t matter.
None of the candidates or journalists with their incisive questions bothered to ask any of the candidates about how the candidates plan on handling and dealing with Constituent Services and how many Open/Not for Pay Forums they plan on having “if elected”! Chuck DeVore was a great Assemblyman and was certainly available for his Constituent Base and others throughout his entire term of office. DeVore also looked to make sure that his District got it’s fair share of State Resources. Jim Silva also did a very good job of taking care of the Constituent Base. The three that are looking to be the member from the 74th Assembly District will have to show what they’ve got in the days ahead in order to impress us with their dedication of purpose.
What was truly amazing was that none of candidates had campaign materials available at the “Feet to the Fire” event. They all just showed up and left. We probably won’t be going back to any more of these events. No Q & A by the candidates to each other and no Q & A by those that attended the event to find out more about “who was running?”. The called and listed time for the event was 6:30pm. It did not start until 7:10pm and we all had to endure Barbara Venzia doing a Director’s Cut (telling the panel and the candidates on how to sit and whatever)….prior to the opening Pledge of Allegiance by Evelyn Hart.
Good Luck to Daigle, Mansoor and Rush. They will be facing a State enduring tough times, Counties ready to go Bankrupt and Public Safety Pensions cut to the bone and everyone put on 2nd Tier Retirement, Pensions and Healthcare and of course the final fall of Real Estate values througout the State. Hey, what can you do when you have $40 Billion dollar State shortfall – if you consider Pension obligations? It will be interesting to see which Public Employee Unions and Public Safety Employees wind up endorsing which candidates. Guess we will have to send our donations to the State Parks again this year -if the State plans on keeping any of them open – that is!
The New Mighty 74th….pretty exciting eh!?