Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Feb 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Final Countdown

News2_LairdThis month’s special election will bring an end to the tumultuous race for the 15th Senate District seat

If you have turned on the television, opened a newspaper, or switched on the radio in the last three months, chances are you’ve heard the names John Laird and Sam Blakeslee. Their bitter battle for California’s 15th State Senate District seat has been highly publicized and hard to miss. The special election that will end the race is Aug. 17.

It all started on April 27, 2010, when Republican Abel Maldonado vacated his 15th District seat to assume office as lieutenant governor of California. Republican Blakeslee,

Democrat Laird, Independent Jim Fitzgerald, and Libertarian Mark Hinkle entered the fray for the 15th District seat, which includes parts of Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz counties (including Scotts Valley, Mt. Hermon, East Zayante, Summit Area, Pasatiempo, Happy Valley, Soquel Hills, Aptos Hills, Rio Del Mar, La Selva Beach, Seascape, Corralitos, Aromas and Watsonville).

In a move that outraged democrats, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opted to hold a special primary election for the seat on June 22, rather than combining it with the November general election. In the special election, Blakeslee took 49.4 percent of the vote to Laird’s 41.8 percent, but no one received the 50 percent majority necessary to win the seat outright. Fitzgerald and Hinkle garnered 5.9 and 2.9 percent of the vote, respectively, and all four candidates will appear on the ballot for the Aug. 17 run-off election.

News2_BlakesleeThe upcoming election date will at last put an end to the drama and smear campaigning that has marked this election. Laird, who is a former Santa Cruz mayor and 27th District Assemblymember, has portrayed Blakeslee as a big oil advocate, funded by big oil companies who “know they can count on oilman Sam Blakeslee to keep voting for more drilling off California’s coast,” as said in one of Laird’s television ads.

Blakeslee, who is the former 33rd District Assemblymember, has run ads stating, “Times are tough enough without politicians like John Laird” and depicting Laird as the “tax man.” Both have blasted their opponent’s negative tactics and claimed to be falsely represented.

Along this vein, Good Times asked, in emails to Laird and Blakeslee, “What would you say is the public’s (or your opponent’s) biggest misconception about your campaign?”

Blakeslee responded, “The biggest misinformation has been about my record on environmental protection. My opponent wrongly claimed I was an oil executive. I was not. In fact, I was a research scientist and managed company budgets. He then asserted that I support opening the coast to drilling. I do not.”
Laird responded that, “No major taxes were raised during the time I was in the legislature.”

GT then asked if the candidates believe their opponents have run an honest campaign. Laird responded with the following: “My opponent has been a no-show in this campaign. Unless you’ve paid money at the door, had a private meeting or had a spontaneous interaction with him somewhere, you haven’t had access to him in this campaign. After he first agreed to my offer to debate, he only committed to debates that take place after a large majority of the voters have voted via absentee ballot. He has benefited from nearly $2 million in attack ads against me, most of which were financed directly by his campaign or by special interests including Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Pharmaceutical, Big Banking and Big Insurance.”

Blakeslee answered that he has “worked very hard to run an honest campaign.”
“Every piece of information we present to the public is thoroughly researched and citations [are] provided for voters [so they] can themselves verify the facts,” he writes. “While I am concerned about some of my opponent’s representations regarding my views on the environment, I trust the voters to see through the attacks and understand my record as a leading voice to protect the environment.”

Both candidates listed creating a responsible budget as their first order of business upon getting elected, and when asked, “What are the three most pressing issues in your district?” both candidates mentioned jobs and education. Where they differed: Blakeslee added agriculture, writing “The Central Coast has some of the most pristine rural landscapes in the state. Working agriculture helps preserve this precious open space while also providing jobs across the district. Our environment, our economy and our rural way of life require that we aggressively defend agriculture here on the coast.”

Laird spoke of “making sure that state parks are adequately funded.”
“There are as many state parks on the Central Coast as almost anywhere in California,” he writes. “They anchor our visitor-serving local economy. A recent study shows that every time a state park is visited, that visitor spends on average $57 in the surrounding community. I authored the original proposal to fully fund our state parks and allow free access to cars registered in California—I support the similar proposal that is on the ballot in November.”

Early voting in this election is already under way. Santa Cruz voters can pick up a ballot and vote at the counter at the Santa Cruz Elections Department (831) 454-2060 and the Watsonville City Clerk’s Office (831) 768-3040.

For those who have yet to vote, all four candidates have agreed to participate in a forum, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Santa Cruz Weekly newspaper, which will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12. KION-TV will also broadcast the debate and post coverage on its website, kionrightnow.com.
To learn more about the candidates, visit their campaign sites lairdforsenate.com; blakesleeforsenate.com; fitzgerald4senator.com; markhinkle.defendsliberty.com

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots