South OC Regional Chamber of Commerce meet the candidates

Gubernatorial candidate Poizner answering questions during a break

42nd CD candidate Lee McGroarty asking 'What do we stand for?'

Julian Bailey, Candidate for Judicial Office #50

The South Orange County Chamber of Commerce hosted a two hour Meet the Candidates Reception last night (May 6th) in the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo.
Jim Leach of COX Communications welcomed the members, candidates and guests who had 30 minutes to “schmooze,” grab a bite and a drink before the program began. During that time I did speak with Julian Bailey, whom I had earlier recommended for Office #50 in my “Larry’s picks.” His Superior Court challenger, Lon Hurwitz, led us in the pledge of allegiance to our flag to begin the program.

It almost felt like attending the Public Comment portion of a city council meeting in which the parade of candidates were each given 3 minutes to make their pitch.

As they had other obligations tonight, Sheriff Hutchens and Dr. Steven Choi were the first to speak. With the exception of Steve Poizner there were no opportunities for any Q&A with any of the candidates which removes any chance to question them on any of their stated positions.
Dr. Choi was followed by gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner who took a few questions from the attendees after his 10 minutes of prepared remarks.

Insurance Commissioner Poizner shared his “bold, comprehensive, plan for California” which contains three highlights that includes 10% cuts in sales tax, and 10% corporate taxes cuts. Let me encourage readers to simply go to his web site  where his positions are posted. www.stevepoisner.com

Mr. Poizner told us that we need to “solve our water crisis once and for all.” He added that “$1 billion dollars of crops are dying on the vine. About 30,000 farm workers have lost their job in this water crisis.” He went on adding “this water crisis is man made” and a single Federal Judge is responsible. “As governor I’m going to sue this Federal Judge and take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court based on the 10th Amendment of the Constitution which is the States Rights Amendment. We have a right here in CA to control our own natural resources.”

Steve stepped on the third rail in addressing immigration.“I’m going to be the truth teller in this campaign and the fact is we have a problem with illegal immigration and as governor I’m going to stop the flow of people coming here illegally and I’m going to be bold about it. Now let’s be honest. Legal immigration is fantastic for California. The agriculture sector needs access to people, construction, etc.”
He followed by saying “we should make the legal immigration pipeline as big as possible, but illegal immigration, we just can’t afford it anymore. We spend billions and billions of dollars on taxpayer funded benefits for people who come here illegally.”

During his Q&A Steve was asked about a pathway to citizenship. “My opponent Meg Whitman and I disagree on this issue. She supports amnesty, I absolutely don’t.”

Another attendee asked about “moral fibre” in particular “the same sex union issue.”
Mr. Poizner responded saying “I’m opposed to gay marriage. I believe in traditional marriage” adding “I supported Prop 8.”

In response to a question on the extreme environmental rules in CA (AB 32) Steve told the crowd about a qualified Nov. Ballot Initiative supported by Tom McClintock. “I strongly urge you to support this measure that suspends AB 32 until our unemployment rate is 5.5% or less for four straight quarters” adding that “Tom McClintock’s Initiative (09-0104) will suspend these extreme environmental rules.”

The event sponsors should be commended for the large number of candidates who gave up their evening to present their pitch to the 125 plus attendees. As we get closer to June 8th they will need to decide which events will give them the biggest return for their time investment. Case in point is that the three GOP candidates for US Senate; Tom Campbell, Chuck Devore and Carly Fiorina were debating at a League of Women Voters forum in LA.

In addition to live presentations we watched video presentations from Congressman Ken Calvert and Congressman Gary Miller.

Additional candidates that followed Insurance Commissioner Poizner included: Assembly Member Diane Harkey, Irvine Council Member Beth Krom, Anaheim Police Craig Hunter, Tustin Councilman Jerry Amante, Bill Hunt, Don Wagner, David Lang, Chris Kelly, Keith Rodenhuis and Lee McGroarty.

While most of the speakers stayed with their canned message Gary Miller challenger Lee McGroarty shifted gears and questioned Republicans about their head in the sand attitudes as it relates to votes cast by, and allegations of self dealing outside the 42nd CD, by Congressman Miller. Lee said: “where was my party. What do we stand for?”

He went on to mention his charges being aired all day on KFI radio followed by coverage on the 10 p.m. local FOX news which I watched last night. Congressman Miller was surely irritated as the reporter hounded him for answers to the charges.
Although listed on the program, unless I missed them, were candidates Chris Riggs, Phil Liberatore, Robert Lauten and Shari Freidenrich.


About Larry Gilbert