Friday, May 25, 2012

Mansoor/Rush Debate Roundup

Republican Assemblyman Allan Mansoor and freshly-minted Democrat challenger Rob Rush debated important issues before an attentive crowd at Laguna Beach City Hall Friday night.  Newport Beach councilwoman Leslie Daigle - also a candidate for the new 74th Assembly seat, was a no-show.  She notified the hosts earlier in the week that she would not attend.
More than 80 people, predominantly senior individuals, paid close attention as Mansoor and Rush responded to questions provided by the crowd.  Once again, it was strange to be one of the young people in the room, but I digress.  The event, produced by the League of Women Voters and others, was well-run and turned out to be very informative, if the tone of the crowd following the program is any indication.  Moderator Joan Hake and her team of question screeners and timers did a fine job of keeping the event moving along briskly, but with flexibility where it was required.  There was no cheering or jeering at this debate - a very pleasant change.
Through the nearly 90 minutes of the program both Mansoor and Rush responded comfortably to more than 30 questions.  If there was ANY personal animosity between them it certainly did not show.  When they disagreed with each other they did so with maturity and professionalism.  Several of us wondered if that same cordiality would have existed if Daigle had shown up for the event.  Our guess was no, it wouldn't.

Mansoor, a far right Republican and Rush, a centrist Democrat, agreed on many more issues than I expected.  Two areas where they had very different views were on abortion and same sex marriage.  Mansoor is pro-life and does not support gay marriage.  Rush is pro-choice and does support gay marriage.  Although those subjects were mentioned more than once, they did not dominate the discussions.   

I won't try to provide a detailed analysis of every response, but will give you impressions of the evening.  My first impression was that both men came prepared and didn't fumble or stumble on answers.  The questions posed to them were done with courtesy and each answered with clarity and no hint of sniping at each other.

A main theme ran through many of Mansoor's answers - Pension reform - including buying "Air Time" and pension spiking -  is key to solving many of the problems in Sacramento and throughout the state.  It was a constant drumbeat through the evening.


Both men disagreed with Governor Brown's fiscal program and didn't like the idea of raising taxes on folks making $250,000 per year.  Curiously, both dodged a question about what, specifically, would they do to help the 74th Assembly district, instead addressing issues that were statewide concerns.  Rush mentioned schools and Mansoor spoke of Pension Reform - again.

They disagreed on whether illegal immigrants should be permitted to be tested for and receive California Drivers Licenses.  Mansoor said no and cited his legal immigrant parents.  Rush said yes, and cited the safety elements of having properly licensed individuals on the roads.

They disagreed on the need for more gun laws.  Mansoor says we have plenty of gun laws and Rush felt they were too lax, citing the ability for a person to acquire 9-10 guns a year.

When asked what causes gridlock in Sacramento they had different answers.  Mansoor said "special interests".  Rush blamed it on the extreme right and lefts inability to compromise to get things accomplished. 

When asked whether they support two items on the ballot - Props 28 (term limits) and 29 (cigarette tax increase) - they had different answers.  Rush supported the term limits issue and had not made up his mind on 29, citing relatives who had died from cancer.  Mansoor opposed both.  He felt 29 would just funnel money to Sacramento that might be spent out of state and, regarding term limits, he felt they should be eliminated altogether.


Both men opposed re-opening the San Onofre Nuclear Plant, citing the age and shabby safety record.

When asked what should be done to lower tuition in state colleges Mansoor cited Pension Reform and Rush mentioned, among other things, Prop. 13.  Unfortunately, that's a subject that is near and dear to most in the room.  He was referring to Prop. 13 as it applies to business properties, not private residences.  That part of his message was not clear until much later.


When asked about increasing revenues Mansoor said we need to change the things that are driving jobs from the state and again mentioned Pension Reform. Rush suggested further examination of expense cuts and, again, cited Prop. 13 - and again the crowd squirmed.  When asked whether they would sign a "no new taxes" pledge, Mansoor said yes and Rush said no.

Both men opposed the new early-release program that is dumping convicted criminals into the counties and cities because the state prisons are full.  Mansoor expressed that there should be "no unfunded mandates" - programs foisted off on local jurisdictions without a funding mechanism in place.  And on and on it went. 

In closing Mansoor reminded everyone that his door is always open - a phrase that permeated much of his dialogue Friday night.  Rush plans to meet with as many groups as he can to continue to get the pulse of the district.  He reminded the crowd that his strength is negotiation and a willingness to compromise to solve problems. 

How would I score the participants?  Well, after much contemplation, I would have to say it was a draw.  As almost everyone knows, I'm not an Allan Mansoor fan, but he did well in this venue.  Bob Rush continues to show me that he has skills and more to be tapped.  If he landed in Sacramento I have no doubt that he could be an agent of change.  I can't say that about Mansoor.  He's had two years to show us something and has failed to do so.

 I believe this is the final opportunity for the three candidates to discuss issues face-to-face before the election on June 5th.  Leslie Daigle missed a huge opportunity Friday night.  Instead, she
gets a big ZERO for not showing up.  I'll be mailing my absentee ballot on Tuesday and there will not be a check mark beside her name.
Interestingly, neither man had visible support from their Orange County party hierarchy.  Rush has not received the endorsement of the Democratic Party of Orange County, but Mansoor is the fair-haired boy of the OC GOP which is pumping a lot of money into his campaign.  Although each had an entourage of supporters and, in Mansoor's case, staff - none of the power players showed up.  I'm not sure how to interpret that.
Now we'll see how the money being thrown around in this campaign will affect the results.  Daigle, as most know, has received a huge influx of cash from Charlie Munger from northern California - around $500,000 so far.  She and Mansoor are trading hit pieces almost every day.  Rush is spending MUCH less and it's very difficult to measure the impact he's having.  Since this is the first time we will have an open primary, cross-ticket voting may play a big part in determining which two of the three will be left standing on June 6th.  We'll see...

In case you might be wondering what other folks are thinking about this race.  You can read my friend, Bruce Krochman's views from his blog, Civil Thinking, HERE.  And, you can read Jean Hastings Ardell's thoughts in her column in the Newport Beach Independent, HERE.

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Anonymous Sam Grady said...

It is ironic that Mansoor is promoting pension reform when he himself will get two public pensions, neither of which he is proposing to reform. His message is that he "deserves" his pension and those "other" public employees do not.

5/26/2012 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Why should Daigle show when she's got all that outside dirty money. People are starting to notice!

5/26/2012 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Geoff, it's the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party. During the Clinton campaign Republicans began intentionally misstating the name as a bit of snide sniping, to irk their opponents. The news media have gone along with the insult, but please don't you do it, too.

5/26/2012 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks... I had, indeed, fallen into that trap. It was an easy mistake since, viewing it as a life-long Republican, it just never seemed very "democratic". ;-) I corrected my error. I certainly don't want to "irk" anyone. ;-)

5/26/2012 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

After all the OC GOP nonsense here in Costa Mesa, are you finally ready to turn to the Dark Side and become a member of the DEMOCRATIC party?

We can celebrate in Vegas at a special place:

5/26/2012 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

How many pensions is Allan Mansoor getting and how many more will he get? I've got a total of four- the OC Sheriffs, the City of Costa Mesa, the CA State legislature and the prison guards union. Is this number correct?

5/26/2012 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Randall said...

Mansoor wants terms limits eliminated all together? Does this indicate a change for the Republicans?

5/26/2012 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Gipper Turning Over.. said...

Daigle, Mansoor, Righeimer, Mensinger, Monahan, Bever: Ruining the Republican brand in Orange County. We might be joinig Geoff if he ever changes..

5/26/2012 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Moderate said...

Sam Grady and kwahlf are wrong.

No offense to anyone, but if you're going to criticize Mansoor, do it for a real reason like his pro-life position and his anti-gay marriage position, not lies about pensions.

Legislators don't get pensions. That's been the law for a while. The only pension he'll receive is his pension for working as a Deputy Sheriff for all those years. I've also heard him say (and I checked up on it) that he left early so instead of getting close to 100% of his pay, he'll get less than 50%. That's actually admirable. Do your research better guys and gals.

5/26/2012 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Moderate....How is that admirable? He still gets the pension he is soundly criticizing for others. It either good for him and every other cop out there, or it is not good for him and every other cop out there. So you are suggesting it is admirable to leave early and have less of a pension than it is to continue to put ones' life on the line until maximum retirement? Hummm.

5/26/2012 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Moderate- I was really asking, not trying to lie about anything. Geez! Maybe you should find out what my intent is first before accusing me of lying.
I'm trying to find facts here.
State Senators and Assembly members don't get pensions? Also, doesn't he get a pension from the
City of Costa Mesa? He was a councilman and a mayor here for a number of years.
Again- I am really asking, trying to separate facts from fiction. Holy moly- I will repeat this as often as necessary.

5/26/2012 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Erick said...

Moderate is correct. Allan will only get a retirement from the County of Orange. He was never a Prison Guard, and as such never belonged the "prison guard union." He will get 3% for each year of service (probably somewhere near 15 years) once he turns age 50 (you know, the whole 3@50 thing).

If you want to call the guy out, it has to be factual.

5/26/2012 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Moderate- I forgot to add this,
When someone asks " is this correct?", chances are very good that this person is seeking truthful answers. If someone wants to spread lies, they just post them.

5/26/2012 07:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Bottom Line said...

Mansoor's still an ineffective, weak representative in the Legislature; and he was a divisive ideologue* while on CM City Council, regardless of what his retirement might be. He should retire from public office, move to Mexico, and do some charity work down in TJ. God forgives.

* See Righeimer, Jimbo

5/26/2012 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Greg Diamond said...

The DPOC does not endorse in partisan races; that's a function of the state party (CDP). Bob Rush got into the process too late for a CDP endorsement; end of story. (Steve Young did as well in SD-37, and he would certainly have been endorsed had he filed by the deadline and sought the party endorsement.) So, there's nothing sinister about Rush not having the DPOC endorsement; timing explains it by itself.

5/27/2012 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks for that clarification. Young attended the debate.

5/27/2012 01:50:00 AM  
Anonymous ralphed said...

alf, the point is Allan earned his pension(s). Because he wants changes for future hires is admirable. Everyone knows that current employees get their due. Allan is trying to correct bad pension formulas is all. And who would ever accuse alf of lying? shame on you! she is the eptionme of rational argument and truth and the American way.

5/27/2012 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Based on the Daily Pilot's account of this debate, Rush won, not by a knockout like the Feet to Fire debate but a technical win on points. The Daily Pilot article stated that Rush provide more detailed answers to questions and had more positive audience reaction. I would call that a win not a draw. Your articles are very well written and detailed but the win should have been awarded to Rush.

5/27/2012 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Well, Sandra, since I was there and saw nobody keeping score, I stick by my opinion. Rush did well. Mansoor answered almost every question with "pension reform", but did well. Were you in the room? No? Well, then, I guess you'll just have to decide based on what those of us who WERE in the room had to say. I read Mike Reicher's account and thought it was pretty good.

5/27/2012 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Ralphed- Your points are well taken. I agree, employees earn their pensions, Social Security and Medicare.
That was never disputed nor was anything else.
I simply asked a question and it was read many, many ways to mean anything but my quest for facts. Bias surfaced like submarines and people got defensive
as hell. I just wanted info- no mas.
Such is the debate forum.
btw, Thanks for the shout out. :-) :wink:
-kwahlf ( with an 'h' )

5/27/2012 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous hearsay said...

p.valantine doesn't have to even be somewhere to comment on an event as he showed at last council meeting public comments concerning eastside improvement town hall meeting. He just reported hoe bad the councilmen were in their behavior at said meeting. Of course, Vanitytime only "heard" this, was not there himself.

5/28/2012 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger valan2 said...

Hearsay: Is that what they call a non-sequitur? Also, late and repetitive. Nothing new to talk about in the last three weeks?

5/28/2012 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous hearsay said...

exactly! New stuff coming next Wednesday.

5/29/2012 07:25:00 AM  

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