Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘abortion rights’



Calbuzz Interview: How Poizner Courts Conservatives

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

stevepoiznerSteve Poizner faces two key challenges in seeking the Republican nomination for governor: appeasing the GOP’s social conservative mullahs while convincing its anti-government jihadists his economic views fit more with their absolutist ideology than Meg Whitman’s.

An erstwhile Silicon Valley moderate, Poizner now positions himself as an Arthur Laffer-like disciple of economic growth through tax cuts and roll-backs in regulation, while finessing his pro-choice stance on abortion for the pro-life, cultural right-wing of his party.

The 52-year old Insurance Commissioner also has joined the crusade for a part-time legislature, a move that recalls how former Gov. Pete Wilson assuaged conservatives with his embrace of term limits in the 1990 gubernatorial race. All the while, Poizner keeps pounding chief rival Whitman, portraying her as a Schwarzenegger-like, neophyte squish whose vow  to run government like a business is no match for the Democrat-dominated Legislature.

“This is going to come down between Meg Whitman and me,” Poizner told Calbuzz in a sit-down interview, “(Voters) don’t want a career politician for sure, but they also don’t want a rookie, and I really do think that voters understand that politics is different from running a company.

“Being in a board room, I can just tell you, is different. There’s no hiring, no firing, no stock options (in government). The tools are different,” he added. “Between Meg and me, only one of us…has a track record.”

poiznerinsurance

First exchange: For the first time, Poizner and Whitman in recent days have exchanged sharp fire in an effort to paint the other as too liberal to represent the hard-line conservatives who dominate the Republican primary electorate.

Whitman struck first, distributing a video of Poizner’s 2004 Assembly campaign, when he advocated early release of some state prisoners, in sharp contrast to the tough stance he has taken against such a policy in the governor’s race. At the same time, Steve Harmon of the Contra Costa Times reported how Poizner’s “past support of taxes could haunt him” in the primary, detailing his record of backing a measure that made it easier to raise taxes for schools, among other past fiscal positions anathema to the GOP right-wing.

The attacks exposed Poizner’s vulnerabilities among conservative voters, as John Wildermuth showed in an analysis called “Poizner apologizes for being a moderate.”

megonvanyoutubePoizner quickly countered Whitman’s attack with a You Tube video that sent the message his rival is a liberal, cultural elitist; it featured Whitman singing the praises of Van Jones, Obama’s green jobs guru. Jones resigned over the weekend under conservative pressure, following disclosures of portions of his leftist record that included diatribes against Republicans and claims that the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

“This is an epic battle,” Poizner said of his campaign. “This election will be the most important election in the country in 2010, maybe the most important gubernatorial race in California history, given the mess that we’re in.”

The interview: Cautious and wary, Poizner recently sat down with Calbuzz to talk about the race, his platform and the mess in California. Sitting in an outdoor cafe, he munched from a bag of potato chips after pushing away the nastiest-looking egg salad sandwich in the history of the world, which an aide had bought for him to eat during the late afternoon interview, after a day of campaigning.

“You had to get egg salad,” he said. “You think there’s anything more difficult I could possibly eat?

Here are some weed-whacking excerpts from the interview

ECONOMIC ISSUES

Taxes: “If you want to raise tax revenue the best way to do that is by reducing tax rates.”

“We are looking at broad-based, across-the-board tax decreases to make California more competitive, job-wise. In the next few weeks, we will put out a detailed proposal that will go into specifics of which taxes, how much. We’re going to combine some of our ideas about tax decreases with some reforms of the regulatory system as well. It’s really going to be a jobs proposal, jobs package.

“I went to one of those meetings (Commission on the 21st Century Economy) and, of course, there’s no consensus in that group…

“The (business net receipts) tax has the feel of the sales tax. The thing that worries me…is that people will perceive a major tax cut just happened – they won’t see the impact of the business value-added tax because it will be built into the price of the product. I’m afraid that politicians will want to ratchet up the sales tax over time because people will think it’s so low…

“I oppose a split roll (property tax) and a carbon tax. This is not the time to be adding new taxes.”

EDUCATION

Cuts in education: “I’m very concerned that we’re under-investing in education but the answer is not to increase taxes, because then you get into this accelerated death spiral. It’s going to be painful for the next year or two or three in order to get out of the mess we’re in, there’s going to be pain…

“I support higher tax revenues through lower tax rates and I want to invest these higher tax revenues in higher education and K-12…

“People from universities in other states are creating raiding parties of the UC system, our professors are going to get pilfered left and right here.”

Teachers unions: “(Teachers) are the ones that told me there’s so much money that never makes to the classroom. There are 600,000 people who work in K-12 and over half of them aren’t in the classroom…

“I want to empower teachers. People ask me this all the time – you’re a Republican, how are you going to deal with the unions? My education reform platform is going to appeal to teachers. There’s 300,000 members of the CTA and I’m going to communicate with all of them…

“There are 5,000 schools that report to 1,000 schools districts that report to 58 county boards of education that report … to a whole mixture of…bureaucracy and overlap…We’ve got to totally flatten that out.”

Dysfunctional state-schools financing: “We have to fix that.”

THE CAMPAIGNpoizner

Platform: “How I run for governor is going to be critical to my strategy. I’ll be issuing more and more details – I’m going to be very specific. I will drive my political consultants nuts. Political consultants don’t want you to be specific – ‘don’t let them pin you down.’ But that’s not the way I’m going to be running this campaign.”

“Some of my TV advertising may say the following – ‘please do not vote for me unless you agree with me’…I’m hoping I get elected by a landslide.”

Part-time legislature: “From 1850 to 1967, California had a part-time legislature. I want people who have been successful in their community and then they’re sent to the Legislature to make wise decisions…I want to figure out a way to attract a different kind of person.”

Gov. Schwarzenegger: “I think (he’s) been scattered. Sometimes he’s working in this direction, sometimes he’s working in that direction. I really do admire that he’s gotten the reform movement started…but he doesn’t have necessarily my same devotion to a set of core principles.”

Jerry Brown: “I look forward to running against Jerry Brown. He’ll be a tough, formidable candidate – he’s crafty, it will be a tight campaign. He is the epitome of someone who has never had any experience whatsoever except in politics and I bet you the majority of voters are going to say ‘thank you but it’s time to retire.”’

Tom Campbell: “Tom Campbell…is a great person, but he’s advocating tax increases – he’s running in the wrong primary. He’s not going to get into double digits, he’s not going to be the Republican nominee.”

Meg Whitman: “This is going to come down to between Meg Whitman and me and when people dig in they’re going to realize that only one of us has actually started companies from scratch. The other one is a large company marketing executive – that’s a difference…Only one of us has actually run for office and won. I’m the only Republican to get elected in a regularly scheduled election since 1994…The difference is track record.”

SOCIAL ISSUES

Abortion rights: “I’m pro-choice but I really do feel quite passionate about being against abortions. I want to drive the number of abortions down to as close to zero as possible.

“I just don’t think you can or should outlaw abortion – I mean that’s just not going to happen, wrong step. I’m in favor of outlawing late term abortion…I support parental notification, I support some logical steps that put some reasonable restrictions on abortions and most importantly I’m in favor of bold education programs for teenagers.”

Gay rights: “I don’t support gay marriage (and I support) Prop. 8. I do support civil unions and domestic partnerships.”

Social conservatives: “I’m finding that a lot of very conservative social conservative types they understand that my top priority is family values. There’s nothing more important than making sure that families can make ends meet…

“So we don’t completely agree on the social issues but we’re not 100 miles apart. On fiscal issues we’re 100% in lock step.”

Jerry Brown and the Woman With a Glass Eye

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

jerrybrownprofileEvery time we see a suggestion that millionaire former Controller Steve Westly might jump into the 2010 governor’s race (which – Yo Willie! – isn’t happening*), we’re reminded of the last time he and Jerry Brown sought the same office. The year was 1988, and Brown big footed his way into the race for California Democratic Party Chairman,  which had been looking like a sure thing for Westly.

The former governor parachuting into the contest was a huge disappointment for party Vice Chairman Westly, who, back then in his pre-eBay days, was an earnest grass-roots activist.

Before grabbing the party chairmanship in the winter of 1989, however, Brown ran into a bit of trouble with liberal party regulars on a key Democratic issue: abortion. The matter is unlikely to come up specifically in the 2010 governor’s race primary because, as a public official, Brown has been an unwavering supporter of pro-choice policies.

But back then, Brown professed that he was personally opposed to abortion and acknowledged he had recently urged clemency for one of the nation’s most visible and fanatical anti-abortion activists.

joanandrewsA few weeks before the election for state party chairman, the San Jose Mercury News revealed that Brown had written to Florida state officials earlier in the year on behalf of Joan Andrews, a pro-life crusader from Delaware. She had been sentenced to five years on burglary charges for her part in the 1986 storming of a Pensacola abortion clinic in which equipment was damaged and two workers were slightly injured.

”People are shocked and very dismayed,” the lefty field director of the 24,000-member California Abortion Rights Action League said at the time. Her name was Susan Kennedy, and she’s since evolved into Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hard-nosed, cigar-smoking chief of staff.

“Jerry Brown stated that his private position on abortion would not affect his ability to lead the party,” Kennedy said at the time. “But the very fact that he wrote this letter on behalf of Joan Andrews clearly steps across the line of having personal beliefs into the public and political realm of crusading for those beliefs.”

At the time, Brown said that ”My position is just what it was before.”

“I am against abortion and I feel more strongly than ever about that,” he said. “But I also deeply respect the autonomy and integrity of each person and that means to me that you trust women to make these judgments on their own and not to call upon the coercive power of the state.”

That, however, was a far cry from the statements attributed to Brown earlier that year by Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the National Catholic News Service, who had written that Brown said he sees “the killing of the unborn as crazy.”

Even more upsetting for some Democrats was Brown’s intercession on behalf of Andrews, then a 40-year-old Roman Catholic activist who had been arrested more than 130 times. Arch-conservative former Republican Congressman Robert Dornan of Garden Grove, had praised her as “a new martyr on the world stage of human rights causes.”

”To me, this is a clear civil rights issue,” Brown said back then, explaining his support for Andrews.

mother-teresa

He said Mother Teresa first told him about Andrews’ case when he was working at her House of the Pure Heart in Calcutta. “I told her I did not believe that there was any woman incarcerated for five years for a non-violent, trespass offense. And I said I’d look into it for her.”

Sentenced to five years for the Pensacola case after refusing to pledge not to break into the clinic in the future, Andrews caused a furor when she arrived at the Broward Correctional Institution. She resisted a mandatory strip- search, jumping off an examining table, banging her head on the floor and throwing her glass eye across the room, according to news reports from Florida.

Prison officials said Andrews was an uncooperative prisoner and kept her segregated from other prisoners.

‘The issue was,” said Brown, “should a person convicted of non-violent crimes, who’s not cooperating with the prison authorities, be in solitary confinement for five years?”

Andrews, who was married years later and became Joan Andrews Bell, has been arrested and jailed scores of times in the intervening years, including most recently in May 2009 at Notre Dame, as part of an anti-Obama anti-abortion demonstration.

In April of 2006, LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo tried to use the issue against Brown in his campaign for attorney general, arguing: “He says he is pro-choice, but he wrote a letter on behalf of an abortion terrorist for clemency, to get out of jail early, which she did, and then went on to attack more abortion clinics across the United States.”

“It’s absurd,” Brown told the LA Times. “When Mother Teresa asks you to do something that is fairly reasonable, most people would do it. [Andrews Bell] spent 2 1/2 years in solitary confinement. The sentence was longer than a lot of robbers were getting at the time. I said it was wrong, what she did, but the question was, was 2 1/2 years in solitary confinement enough?”

Brown scooped up endorsements from abortion rights leaders, including Nancy Casady of the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, among others, and the issue did not  surface again.

As a political matter in the 2010 governor’s race, the episode is unlikely to pose  trouble for Brown on the policy issue of abortion — but it could be used to illustrate and underscore his reputation as a political chameleon who has re-invented himself countless times.

“It wasn’t a problem for the Democrats. It wasn’t a problem in the Attorney General’s race. What’s the point? It’s old news,” Brown told Calbuzz with a hint of irritation.

Brown’s stance in favor of choice is second nature to him, he said – like being in favor of the minimum wage, collective bargaining or the right of people to get married. He said he put funding for abortion into MediCal back when the Legislature was opposed to it and he still supports funding in MediCal and for family-planning clinics. “It’s a level of obviousness that you cannot convert it into an issue,” he told us.

Perhaps. But Brown’s clemency letter for Andrews just might qualify as one of what Garry South, rival Gavin Newsom’s consultant, refers to as the “huge number of contradictions, conflicted positions and controversies that Democrats are going to have to consider” about Brown.

kamasutra

“When you get the full grasp of Jerry Brown’s record over 40 years, it’s an embarrassment of riches,” said the Duke of Darkness. “He’s not going to be able to cherry-pick what he wants people to know about his record,” South said, pointing, for example to Brown’s support for the flat tax during his 1992 campaign for president.  Said South:

“This guy’s had more incarnations than Zelig and he’s taken more positions than there are in the Kama Sutra.”

* With Willie Brown and others peddling stories about Steve Westly running for governor, Calbuzz figured, hey, since we’ve done all this “actual reporting” anyway, why not just call the guy and ask him if there’s any chance he’d get into the 2010 governor’s race.

“I’m completely focused on being the best father I can be and building one of the best clean-tech venture capital funds ever created,” Westly said.  Of course, he added, he’s hoping to run statewide some time in the future. But now’s not the time.

Why Indie Voters Don’t Make California Purple

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Purple2In recent years, some pollsters, pundits and consultants have pointed to declines in partisan voter registration, along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s two elections, to question California’s reputation as a left-leaning “blue state” and to argue that it is in fact a post-partisan “purple state.”

Exhibit A, for the post-partisan advocates, is the voter roll: Democratic registration stands at 45%, down 12% since 1978; Republican registration is 31%, down 3%, and independents now represent 20% of the voters, up 12%. These data, it is argued, prove that partisanship is waning and California is evolving into a bastion of independence.

Here at the Calbuzz Repository of Analysis and Policy, we’ve never bought the neo-kumbaya thesis. It’s long been our view that while political parties, like other large institutions –- corporations, unions, metro newspapers, etc. –- have become atomized and decentralized in the modern era, political behavior is pretty much like it’s always been.

And the Field Poll’s release of a new study of 30 years of voting patterns last week offers further evidence that advocates for the post-partisan theory  misread our history and attitudes. While Field’s data confirm the long-term trend of voters increasingly bypassing both parties to register as independent declines-to-state, their analysis also shows that these independents reliably think and vote like Democrats most of the time.

Consider, for example, voter attitudes on same-sex marriage – one of the most incendiary issues in California politics. Back in 1977, Democrats were opposed 29-63%, Republicans were opposed 30-65% and independents and others were opposed 38-55%. Three decades later – in 2009 – Republicans have hardened their opposition to 23-68%. But Democrats have flipped their position to 64-30% in favor and so have independents — to 57-38% in favor.

Likewise on abortion rights, another divisive issue. Back in 1975, a narrow majority of California voters approved of abortion rights, with Republicans in favor 50-44%, Democrats at 52-43% and independents at 59-34%. By 2006, 70% of voters overall favored abortion rights and the big movement came among Democrats, now 82-10% on the issue and independents at 73-14%. Republicans’ attitude on the issue moved only slightly, to 55-40% in favor.

As Mark DiCamillo and Merv Field explained in the Field Poll release, public attitudes about death and taxes haven’t moved much, but on social issues like same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia,  “California voters, especially Democrats, have become more socially tolerant” over the past three decades. What’s important in the numbers is that independents – while there are more of them – function for all intents and purposes as if they were unregistered Democrats.

The purple state thesis was stated perhaps most forcefully –- and mistakenly — by GOP consultant and former Schwarzenegger communications director Adam Mendelsohn during last year’s presidential elections, when he predicted in September that John McCain was “exactly the kind of Republican” who would be competitive amid the purple hues of the Golden State.

“Certain Republicans are able to win in California and when you have a Republican , like John McCain who has a proven track record of reaching out to independents, reaching out to disaffected Democrats, this is something he built a career on doing. It’s exactly the kind of Republican who poses a real opportunity for us in California,” Mendelsohn told Fox News in September, adding that “California (is) not a red state, or a blue state, but a purple state.”

Others, like Dave Lesher and Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California have made the case more subtly, arguing that because California’s independents combine strains of social liberals and fiscal conservatives, “their vote is up for grabs.”

“Independents’ attitudes, in contrast to that of Democrats and Republicans, don’t fit neatly into traditional liberal and conservative camps,” the two wrote in a LAT op-ed in 2006, adding that this made for “a surprising degree of uncertainty and volatility.”

In fact, it hasn’t. The analysis of fiscal conservatism is based on a single issue: the long-standing strong support of Proposition 13 by voters of every ideological stripe. But by almost any other measure, the notion that independents have their finger to the wind in every election cycle is, we think, not right.

For starters, the rise of independent registration has not been accompanied by the surfacing of any independent political movement. Setting aside the Superintendent of Public Instruction (a nominally non-partisan office) no one has been elected to a statewide office without partisan identification. Beyond that, independents have sided with Democrats most of the time.

– Democrats have won the state in five of the eight presidential elections since 1978 and have made a clean sweep since 1992, when the move towards independent voters started gaining steam. (And no candidate who opposes abortion rights, on which independents have moved left, has won at the top of the ticket, i.e. for president, governor or senator, since George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis here in 1988.)

– Democrats have dominated every single Legislative session except for the anamolus “Contract with America” election of 1994, when Republicans briefly held a majority.

– Democrats have controlled most of the statewide constitutional offices in the last 30 years, buoyed by independent backing.

The purple staters’ best case is the history of the governor’s office which, since Jerry Brown’s re-election in 1978, has been won only twice by a Democrat, who was tossed out before finishing his second term.

But even in the case of the governor, California independents –- with their Democratic-leaning tendencies on social issues and their centrist outlook on fiscal issues –- have for two decades only rewarded the GOP when they have fielded relative moderates like Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  When the GOP has tried to win statewide with one of their red-meat candidates (see: Dan Lungren, 38%, and Bill Simon, 43%) they have been crushed by their inability to win independents.

It is undeniably true that voters are increasingly declining to declare themselves either Democrat or Republican when they register to vote. But scratch an independent in California and you find a voter who leans Democratic.

If the Republicans were to nominate a fiscally moderate, pro-choice, pro-environment candidate who is not seen as virulently anti-immigrant or anti-gay, that candidate might well attract enough independents (and Democrats) to win at the top of the ticket. But it’s unclear that such a candidate can win a Republican primary without first lurching so far to the right as to be poisoned in a general election (recall that Schwarzenegger never had to run in a contested primary, and that Wilson first won nomination after being drafted from the U.S. Senate by GOP leaders as the party’s best hope of ensuring a competitive reapportionment).

The problem with confusing independent voter registration with independent voting behavior is that it leads to the kind of thinking Schwarzenegger’s former communications director engaged in when he told the SF Chronicle in 2008:  “John McCain will give a Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama a serious run in any purple state like California.”

Calbuzz sez: Purple staters can argue that ’til they’re blue in the face, but they’ll still end up red-faced with embarrassment.

Seven Key Questions the Candidates for Governor Should Answer

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

It’s way early in spring training season in the California governor’s campaign: 442 days until next year’s June 8 primaries, to be exact. But it’s never too soon to start assessing the political talent that’s on the field.

With California facing 10.5 percent unemployment, a growing mountain of debt amid a global credit crunch and a political system in Sacramento that is way beyond dysfunctional, the people of the state simply cannot stand for candidates who try to con them with phony umbrage, personal attacks, focus-tested, superficial stances and trumped-up polarizing issues.

A couple of things we know from our own experience: A moderate –- which you have to be to win statewide –- will be bedeviled by the left-wing (for a Democrat) or the right-wing (for a Republican) of his or her party. And California can’t afford another politician who just wants to BE governor; it needs someone who wants to actually govern.

But the powers of California’s chief executive have been dramatically curtailed and constricted over the past four decades, to wit:
– A series of sweeping and often contradictory ballot measures have stunted and distorted the governor’s fiscal policy-making authority.
– The seas of red ink and billions in annual interest payments in which state government is drowning have sapped the governor’s strength in launching or sustaining new initiatives.
– Term limits have created a constant game of political musical chairs that puts top priority on partisan positioning in the Capitol. Assembly speakers are a dime a dozen and legislators have little reason to fear the governor, regardless of who he or she may be.

Given these limits as table stakes, any candidate who promises and presumes to be effective in the job not only needs the economic smarts to understand California’s financial morass, but also should possess a sure and subtle political talent for managing the wackiness and whims of 120 legislators — not to mention the stones to confront and face down entrenched unions and other special interests long used to getting their own way.

It’s a tall order for any politician, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came to Sacramento equipped with little more than easy bromides and breezy pronouncements, has learned the hard way that the day-to-day practice of politics is more art than science, and not as simple as it looks.

Whether or not anyone in the 2010 field can actually govern California in an effective and serious way, is of course, an unknown. What is known is that with the state clearly in decline at a time when the world economy is in turmoil, the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been. Between now and November 2010, calbuzz will focus closely on the gubernatorial campaign and its candidates.

Today, however, we start with a set of meta political and policy questions, and some follow-ups, that we think are important.

1. Do you have a serious plan to address the structural deficit in California’s budget?

What combination of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing do you think is required? Which taxes, which programs? What is the proper level of debt for the state to carry? If California’s debt level is too high, what are you going to do to reduce it? Does your plan have a prayer of winning support from enough of the opposition party to actually be implemented? What ideas do you have, beyond tired platitudes and knee jerk ideological sheep dip, for reclaiming control of the budget?

2. Do you have a serious plan to help create jobs in California?

How would you use the executive levers of state government to encourage and align with private business to generate economic development for green industries and building, alternative fuel sources and uses, digital, bio and nano technologies? What role should the University of California play in economic development? How important is state support of K-12 education, and what level of funding for public schools will you absolutely commit to? Should students who receive state aid to attend UCs and CSUs have a public service requirement? What is the role of the non-profit community in helping to grow the economy, and what relationship should the state have these groups?

3. What life experience do you have that proves your ability to work with a Legislature representing the breadth and depth of California?

What have you learned from watching Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger try and fail to force lawmakers to fall in line behind an agenda? What have you done that has prepared you for a job requiring an outsize ability to cajole, bully, stroke and persuade 120 raging egos who are accountable to small geopolitical units? Explain how your political skills have developed and candidly measure them against the non-stop cacophonous, complex and conflicting demands of being governor?

4. What is your plan for changing the dysfunctional structure of state government and what reforms will you fight for?

Should the state dump the two-thirds vote required to pass a budget? How about the two-thirds needed to approve tax measures? Should the standard be a 55 percent vote, or a simple majority? If you think we should keep the two-thirds standard, what is your political strategy for overcoming gridlock and getting to two-thirds? Do you think term limits have worked for California? If not how would you get rid of them? Do you support or oppose the open primary measure that will be on the June 2010 ballot?

5. Would amending Proposition 13 be on or off the table in your administration?

Do you think Prop. 13 should be amended to allow a split roll assessment system that taxes commercial property at higher rates than residential? What about the problem of neighbors with similar houses who pay wildly different tax bills because of when they bought their homes? Do you think this inequity should be addressed or not? If he or she is not willing to advocate a change, what significant income source can the candidate point to that will even begin to generate enough income to meet the state’s needs?

6. What actions, or inactions, do you propose to take on polarizing hot button issues?

How will you use the power and influence of the governor’s office to affect same sex marriage, abortion rights, offshore oil drilling and illegal immigrations, including the questions of drivers’ licenses, publicly financed health and education for undocumented workers and their families?

7. What kind of administration will you run in regards to special interests and the media, and what values and qualities will you seek in assembling a staff and making appointments?

How will you relate to the media and voters in terms of transparency, open government laws and documents? In your professional life, have you been open and accessible or closed, protected and isolated? Explain your past associations and future intentions regarding the California Teachers Association, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the Business Roundtable, the California Chamber of Commerce and other big interests in the Capitol? Who do you consult with and listen to? Why should voters trust these people in and around the Horseshoe?

Let us know what you think of these questions, and send us your suggestions for others the candidates should be required to answer.

Send email to calbuzzer@gmail.com.