Final update on the 71st AD race

As most of you have read, Irvine City Councilman Steven Choi and Mission Viejo Councilman John Paul Ledesma have dropped out of the race for the 71st Assembly Seat now held by Assemblyman Todd Spitzer. That narrows the field to two Republican candidates. No, there is no error in your sample ballots. This election will be held on June 3rd, not February 5th. The two Republican candidates are Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Neil Blais from Orange County and Carona Mayor Jeff Miller from Riverside County.

The 71st AD covers the area from Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita in the South to the city of Corona in Riverside County. As I look at the results of the Nov 2006 General Election it confirms that 2/3rds of the 116,780 registered voters (who participated in that election) live in Orange County.

Until Mission Viejo councilman John Paul Ledesma dropped out of the race I withheld my endorsement. However, now that he has made that choice, I feel it’s time to share some thoughts.

JP and I have been friends for over 14 years. In fact, after his second victory in 2002, I had the honor of administering the Oath of Office to him at our city council meeting.

As I have stated on this blog there are times when I must maintain a wall of separation between friendship and actions taken by elected officials.

I just received a letter from John Paul paid for by the Friends of Jeff Miller committee requesting my support of Jeff for State Assembly.

In this letter it reads that “MANY other Orange County leaders have already endorsed Jeff Miller, including Republican Congressman Ed Royce and Republican Assemblyman Mike Duvall.” That’s many? How about the city and county elected officials with whom the 71st AD representative must interact on behalf of the constituents? Other than John Paul Ledesma I can’t seem to find any Orange County 71st AD city councilman listed but I could have overlooked them.What about the current 71st AD representative Assemblyman Todd Spitzer or our District representative Senator Dick Ackerman? They each have endorsed Neil Blais.

A recent blog post includes the following comments.
“Neil Blais is the conservative choice for the 71st District,” added Mission Viejo Mayor Gail Reavis. “We all need someone who will go to Sacramento and hold the line on the budget, taxes, and immigration. I trust Neil to be that representative for all of us.”

Note. While we rotated Mayor’s in Dec., Gail Reavis still serves on our city council.

Readers of my blog posts are well aware of my long term commitment to protecting private property rights. On the same June Ballot where we vote for the 71st Republican (and Democratic) standard bearers will be two competing eminent domain Initiatives which I have addressed previously. As one of the speakers on behalf of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association co-sponsored California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act, CPOFPA, Initiative I am pleased to report that at the city of Rancho Santa Margarita’s Sept 24th meeting, which I attended, under the leadership of councilman Neil Blais, they voted unanimously and passed Item #7, a Resolution in support of CPOFPA. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first city in California to take that action. If you recall I blogged that council action in Sept of last year.

As our focus is on the presidential primary I will not go into too much detail as to why I have just endorsed Mayor Neil Blais to replace Assemblyman Todd Spitzer. While some may question the value of endorsements they do provide a guide for voters who may not be familiar with the candidate and rely on those of us who live and breath politics until it comes out of our pores.

In closing this lengthy post let me repeat that Larry Gilbert has just endorsed Neil Blais as the Republican candidate to replace 71st AD Assemblyman Todd Spitzer.

My decision was based on a long list of Policy questions for which I received favorable responses from Neil. Stay tuned. There is more to the story.


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