Like many California voters, I had not decided who to vote for in the second part of the recall ballot. On Saturday, Aug. 28, Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, had a rally at a local restaurant in Santa Clarita, which my son Kevin and I attended. The place was packed. Most of the people in attendance were trying to get information about how to vote.
The event was attended by many prominent local Republicans, including state Sen. Scott Wilk, Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares and Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda. Although Rep. Mike Garcia was not in attendance, many people wore clothing identifying themselves as Mike Garcia supporters.
Local Republicans went out of their way to say how Faulconer will work with the Republicans in the state Legislature to rebuild, rather than tear down, California government. Their message essentially was that when you tear something down, it has to be rebuilt and that is a painful process. The local Republican speakers also referred to the “circus” campaign being run by other candidates.
Faulconer said little other than touting his record as San Diego’s mayor and taking exception to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s activities. He was careful in what he said about Newsom, but took particular exception to the massive Employment Development Department fraud that happened on Newsom’s watch and the inability to spend money authorized by the voters to build reservoirs to hold water needed for farming. Faulconer had just completed a campaign trip through the Central Valley, so he appeared to be making the same speeches he made to agricultural communities in those earlier campaign stops.
Unfortunately, Faulconer would not take questions from the audience, but took questions one on one. Clearly, he does not want to misstep and he let the local politicians speak for him. My son, Kevin, asked him several questions about pending legislation affecting housing, but Faulconer responded that he was unaware of the legislation. On one hand, that is a surprising response since those two bills have received significant attention in the media. On the other hand, he probably does not want to discuss them because they are somewhat controversial.
Of the four leading candidates, Faulconer seems like he is most qualified, but his campaign event was not entirely convincing. My big fear is that large numbers of voters will vote no on the first part of the ballot and leave the second part blank, which will pave the way for a less qualified candidate to become governor. So, after much deliberation, I have decided to vote for Faulconer.
Jim de Bree