Brandman University’s GOP gubernatorial debate a big success


Tom Campbell was welcomed with open arms by Chapman University’s leaders tonight

Tonight’s televised and online debate, at Brandman University in Irvine, between GOP gubernatorial candidates Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell was a big success.  The room was packed but it was weird working amongst so many Lincoln Club Republicans. 

Sean Mill and I attended, and sat down to watch the crowd as folks set up.  Red County editor Matt “Jerbal” Cunningham did not show up, but I got an email from him later that night explaining that he received a threatening crank call tonight so he stayed home. 

Steve Poizner went first after he won the coin flip.  He said he has a 10-10-10 plan.  Ten percent tax cuts, spending reductions, and develop a ten billion dollar rainy day fund.

Tom Campbell then said the problem is spending.  He said he identified where he would cut over $15 billion.  He referred us to his website for more info.

Campbell has ideas including getting rid of the Department of Education – and the Department of Insurance.  That last idea cracked up the crowd – but I don’t think Poizner, who is the State Insurance Commissioner, found it very funny.

Poizner said we are shrinking the tax base because folks are leaving – over a million in the past five years.  Maybe we need another immigration amnesty so we can replace these folks?

Jeff Miller and Mike Schroeder

The room was packed with nutty Republicans, like Mike Schroeder and Jeff Miller

Poizner then said we need to overhaul taxes.  Campbell said we should not adopt any new state regulations unless it passes a cost benefit analysis.  He says President Reagan did that.  Campbell worked in his first administration.

Campbell also said every new regulation should have a five year sunset.  And he said we should also have a rolling review of existing regulations. 

Campbell said we should cut spending first, before you cut taxes, so we don’t increase the debate.  He also called for litigation reform.  He said if you sue someone and you are wrong you should pay the other side’s legal fees.

Poizner then ripped the State of Nevada for taking our businesses.  And he ripped Campbell for supporting tax increases.


OJ blogger Sean Mill interviews Tom Campbell

Next up was education.  Campbell said our state educational system needs fixing.  K through 12 – overcrowding is the problem.  Due to state budget cuts we are cutting teachers and crowding classrooms.  Will we cut the money available to lower class size?  In Campbell’s proposal to cut the budget he does not increase class sizes.  He said it is a problem too that we cannot get rid of bad teachers. 

Campbell also said we need to stop cutting Community College classes and we need to restore the Cal Grant program.  He is right about that!

Poizner said we will not fix California until we fix the K-12 program.  He said he taught for a year as a volunteer at a high school in San Jose.  He said the first day it rained and the classroom leaked. 

Poizner said that in the 1960’s the teachers ran the schools but now the state education code runs the schools.  The code is two thousand pages long.

Poizner said he will restore local control to schools.  He said he is a charter school pioneer.  He has been involved for ten years.  The charter schools have waivers from the state education code.  Poizner wants all schools to get waived.

Campbell congratulated Poizner for being a volunteer.  Then he talked about focusing on the worst performing schools and offer the parents of the kids at those schools a scholarship to go to some other school.

Campbell said our income tax is a problem.  Fifty percent of such taxes are paid by three percent of state taxpayers. 

Poizner said we will not balance the budget until we cut taxes.  He talked about the tax increase in February and how Campbell supported it. 

He did agree with Campbell that we need to cut spending.  He has identified ten million in cuts over the next two years.  He said he gave tax cuts to insurance agents by tightening his own budget.

Campbell said it is a rarity to find pension plans in the private sector.  He thinks the state should move away from public pension plans.  He said that he as a former state director of finance could solve this problem and say no to the unions.  He wants defined contributions, not defined benefits.

Poizner agreed with Campbell but said the next Governor should not be a former state director of finance.

Campbell talked about health care and said we can save up to 13 billion by harnessing the private market.  He said we should repeal the antitrust regulation regarding insurance.

Poizner was then asked about voting by mail.  Poizner says he supports all mail elections if counties want this.  He said this should be managed locally.  He is pleased about redistricting.

Campbell agreed and said that this might increase turnout.  He said he also supports instant runoff.  The idea is that you vote for two choices.  If there is no winner in the first round you go to the next runner up.  Not sure I get that one.  But Campbell said that you cannot be too extreme in such elections as you don’t want to annoy either side and this will produce more moderate candidates.  I support that.

Campbell also supports the open primary.

Poizner opposes open primaries.  That figures.  He said he is for a part time legislature.

Poizner says more teachers, cops and firefighters should run for office.  Not sure I agree with that entirely – why not run more folks from the private sector too?  The key is to get rid of the blowhards currently in Sacramento.

Campbell said we should not legalize and tax marijuana as it is illegal on the federal level.  He compared it to balancing the budget in Kentucky with moonshine.  On the merits he supports medical marijuana.  He is afraid though that drug syndicates will profit from selling pot.

Poizner opposes legalizing marijuana.  He claimed Campbell used to support legalizing drugs. 

Poizner said he has a reform agenda and he will ask voters to support him as the tax and spending cut candidate. 

Campbell said that Poizner’s cuts are five percent per year and almost half come from a top down review.  Campbell said that is the same as eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse.”  But Campbell said you have to be specific.  Poizner’s cuts are about 3.5% of the budget. 

Poizner said his cuts add up to ten percent and that he has been specific.  He brought up welfare.  He said 12 percent of the country’s residents live here and we have 34% of those on welfare.  He says welfare should be capped at two years, not twelve.  And he said we should enforce the work rules.

Campbell said we should outsource prisoners to Michigan and Montana as they have room for the criminals.  Campbell also said the problem is due to the prison guard union.  Campbell also said we should send illegal criminals back home to serve their time.

Poizner said that we have not built enough prisons.  He says that we have greatly increased the number of prisoners.  How about we end the drug war instead?

Poizner said he worked in counter-terrorism in the Bush administration and he said that our southern border is a huge risk and that illegals overwhelm our systems.  He said he will ask Obama to secure the border and that if he doesn’t he will send the National Guard and the CHP to the border. 

Poizner said he supports legal immigration.  And he recruited a lot of folks to work in the Silicon Valley.  That is fine, but the fact is, coming here is no easy matter.  There is a reason folks pay smugglers up to $10,000 to sneak them in without papers.

Campbell wants to build a fence on the southern border.  He also wants to send the National Guard to the border.  And he wants to fine business owners who hire immigrants. 

Poizner said we have nineteen thousand illegal immigrants in jail.  He says the feds should pay for that.

How ridiculous!  Nutty Repbulicans.  Positions like these explain why the Democrats have run off with the Latino vote in California.

Campbell said he would support a Constitutional Convention.  He is not happy about ballot box budgeting.  He blames initiatives for wasting over half our state budget.  He said we should not allow initiatives that increase spending without identifying how the money will be produced – what will be cut or what taxes will be raised.

Poizner said that he reviewed his Department of Insurance and was able to get rid of dozens of bad programs but he increased good programs like insurance fraud investigations. 

Campbell said there are over seventy state departments that we could cut, according to the California Review Commission.  He said Poizner is not specific. 

Poizner said he would cut the avocado commission.

Campbell was asked about campaign finance.  He promised not to use his own wealth in his campaign.  He challenged Poizner to agree to that. 

Poizner said no way!

Campbell did brag about being tied for the lead amongst GOP candidates because Poizner and Whitman are loaded.

Poizner said we cannot buy this election.  Poizner said the next Governor will be the one with the leadership skills to lead California. 

Campbell said he is counting on the people of California to elect him even though he is not rich.

My co-blogger Sean Mill and I met afterwards with Campbell, as the bloggers and media in attendance were given an opportunity to talk to him.

When asked about the lack of minority participation in the event, he responded in Spanish.  I then asked him, in Spanish, if he would support another amnesty.  He said yes initially, which got my hopes up, but then he corrected himself when he finally understood what I had asked. 

Sad to say, Campbell does not support amnesty for immigrants.  But he is a nice guy and he is fairly engaging.  And he liked my idea to develop an online Cal State University degree at a low cost or for free – for anyone who might want to get a degree and cannot afford to go to a traditional campus.

Mill asked Campbell if he would support revisiting Three Strikes and drug laws, in order to lighten the load on our prisons.  He said no to the drug law revisions but said he was open to all other suggestoins.  I also asked Campbell if he supported doing more to educate and retrain prisoners but he was not familiar with that issue.

We then tried to meet with Poizner but he left.  In all fairness, his family was celebrating his daughter’s 18th birthday, so I can’t blame him for scooting out.  We did meet with his staff.  They didn’t like my Tweets, but I explained that we are an opinion blog, not a news blog. 

We ended up talking about Latino voters and that was interesting.  One of them actually has some experience in that area.  But none of them knew if Poizner would support another amnesty.  I am guessing that would be a “no.”

If you want to catch up on all the Tweets that were generated at the debate, search Twitter and look for #cadebate.  I sent several and noticed there were dozens of Tweets put up all night long.  The weirdest one was from Jon Fleischman , who wondered what the candidates were wearing.  I responded that both had dark suits but Poizner showed up without a tie.

Congratulations to Kristin Bush and her team at Ripe Orange, and to the folks at Brandman University.  The debate was well attended and we had fun covering it.  Too bad Meg Whitman wimped out and didn’t attend…

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.