A Tepid 77th?

Barry Jantz Barry Jantz 19 Comments


For a primer on my lamentation, here are all the below-referenced posts and candidate guest columns on the 77th AD: http://sdrostra.com/?tag=77th-state-assembly

Sigh.  Maybe it was that the various commentaries by the four potential Republican candidates in the 77th Assembly District were all published late last week, as folks in general were readying for a three-day weekend.  Perhaps that’s the crux of the seeming lack of response.  The comments so far include a few in support of Richard Bailey and a question or two posed to Brian Jones, as well as a couple of resulting entries from supporters of Brian.  Fair enough.

Yet, by comparison, the guest commentaries by the 53rd Congressional District candidates for the GOP nomination elicited dozens of comments and debate on SD Rostra.  The irony is that some — if not many — would say that none of those contenders for Congress, regardless of the June winner, have a gnat’s chance against Susan Davis.  But, they each apparently have supporters and detractors.

Yet, no one questions that the winner of the Republican primary in the 77th AD will be the next Assemblymember.  News Flash:  The race will be decided in about 111 days.  This thing should be cookin’.

I know, I know.  Joel Anderson hasn’t made an announcement about the Senate seat yet.  So, it won’t get cookin’ until then, if at all.  And, yes, I know…the candidates shouldn’t be spending time on the blogs.  Agreed.

Yet, in the meantime, the candidates did agree to submit guest commentaries to SD Rostra.  Could they all at least pretend to care enough to see if anyone has any reaction or questions in response to them?  How about having a supporter or someone from the campaign do what most campaigns do…post a few comments acting like the guy or girl next door who happens to think your the cat’s meow?  Or even the best thing since sliced bread.

Seriously though (just in case you thought I was kidding before), the first question posed to Jones (from Orrin Kole) is really a decent query for all of the candidates.  Uhhh, here it is (paraphrased) again, since it was “apparently” missed before…

The salary of the assembly of $130k needs to be reduced. It is the largest in the nation. What do you think? Why is this never something anybody that runs for office talks about?  As State Workers took a 15% pay decrease the legislators took a pay increase.

There are some other questions and comments the campaigns may want to review.  Again, here are all of the posts on the 77th…


For ease, any candidate responses or reader comments on the 77th can now take place right here on this one entry in the comments section below.  Thanks for listening.  I think.


Comments 19

  1. While I sense your clear resentment for the lack of attention candidates are giving to the 77th AD, I also wonder if you are also unsatisified with the candidates? Why don’t you run for the seat too? With all the candidates having low fund raising numbers, there is still a ripe opportunity to jump in and run.

  2. Yes, candidates shouldn’t frequent the blogs too much I suppose, but activists do want to know that they and their campaigns understand the importance of the new mediums enough to want to engage on the web. It is impressive to me when I see a candidate or elected official take the time and effort to communicate with the “base.” How many of the candidates are using web 2.0 in any way to communicate?

  3. Blue:

    Does that mean I would have the support of BlueSD if I run? 😉

    To be clear, I am not disappointed with the individual candidates in the field, not in the least. I guess I have too much history in the district and its races, to not be a bit pushy. Just trying to light a fire.

    As for me, I’ve been clear that at the present I don’t see being in Sacto three/four days per week as conducive to my family’s well being. But, I appreciate the suggestion.

  4. By coincidence, just before Barry wrote this piece, I responded to the commentary by Bill Wells. It’s a clear statement from a thoughtful conservative. We need more leaders who support the principles of our founders.

  5. As a candidate in the 77th race I’d like to respond to a couple of the issues mentioned:


    In regards to the question of the pay of assembly being so high and whether or not to reduce it, I would like to know what the pay would have to be to lure you into the race? I ask because its really a simple individual utility question. Would I run if the pay were reduced to 65k? Yes. But as much as I want to represent a limited-government platform in Sacramento, if the pay were much lower than 65k, it wouldn’t be enough to pull me away from my life here in San Diego. Its a question of how to attract the right type of candidates without giving the voters even more reason to be disgusted with politicians.

    I really appreciated the comments posted on my column and had any of them been questions I would have addressed them immediately.

    On a much more important note, thank you for making our friendship official on facebook. Surely this a sign of good things to come.

  6. I woke up this morning feeling a strange burning sensation and was relieved to find it was only Barry turning up the heat…..as for the salary issue; the Assembly took an 18% cut in pay late last year so the figure quoted is much higher than what is real. Keep up the heat.

  7. I heard a rumor that Arkan Somo is considering jumping in the race because the other candidates are clearly unable to raise money. Any truth to this?

  8. Barry, this was a great piece.

    I have met with Mr. Jones, Mr. Wells, and Ms. Rubin. Mr. Bailey’s writing was fantastic. I respect and like what I know of each one of these candidates. The lack of flash in this race is based on the lack of results from whoever wins.

    This has nothing to do with the candidates. Ronald Reagan himself could represent this district as a Republican, go to Sacramento, and get exactly nothing done. The California state government is staked in favor of “progressive” city dwellers from LA and San Francisco.

    One of the many political wonks out there will be able to correct my numbers, but in 2007 there were approximately 3,000 bills signed into law. Less than 10 of them were Republican bills. Why would we get excited about another person keeping the 77th seat warm and continuing to wear out the red “no” button while watching expensive bill after bill turn into law?

    Local Assemblymen Joel Anderson and Nathan Fletcher have had some success with a couple of bills. They fought tooth and nail to get them passed, but they passed. None of those bills fundamentally changed government. Until we fundamentally change government in California, there will be nothing to get excited over.

    All of the candidates have wisely avoided specific promises about what they are going to do when elected. They have all stuck to broad concepts about what they believe. The reason is they all know there is no way they are going to pass any kind of meaningful legislation once elected. Not from lack of trying or a lack of ideas.

    The candidates are all smart, have integrity, and work hard. I believe in each of them and thank them wholeheartedly for their service to us. But until government fundamentally changes, the 77th district and many districts like it outside of LA and San Francisco will just be going through the motions every two years.

  9. Michael, that was an “inconvenient truth” if there ever was one. So true. In the meantime, whatever the word “meantime” translates into — because change cannot be an overnight thing — one interest is in knowing whether GOP office-holders in safe seats within a minority party reality will utilize the power they do have to develop the farm team and assist in competitive districts.

  10. Barry,
    I do not think it is just a matter of getting more Republicans elected. We could have every seat in San Diego glowing Republican red, but then what? What is their plan? My hope is they would cut spending, talking point, talking point, and talking point.

    But that is not fundamental change to government. California government would remain the same…fundamentally.

    Change California back to a Republic like the rest of the nation. There was a time when California had a true bicameral system. Getting back to it is almost as simple as having one state senator per county.

    My idea: http://thepaperskiff.blogspot.com/2009/06/true-bicameral-system-for-california.html

  11. Regarding salaries — state, local, fed, whether it be elected positions or those within bureaucracy, a question I’ve often pondered is whether it would be possible to set up a bonus/incentive structure similar to the private sector. If we elect the best people and they hire the best people to run their administrations, and together they are able to run government efficiently — run departments within budget (or better yet, under budget) then they should be rewarded. For example, give assembly members a base salary of 100K and if they are able provide the services required of them to the citizens at $10B below budget then give the a $100K bonus.

    And Jim Sills if you’re reading this, in a previous discussion you lamented the fact that there weren’t any Republicans stepping up to run in the 76th. I’ve received emails from one person in the past few days who is expressing interest. I won’t disclose their name here without their permission as I’m not certain if they’ve made their decision and/or how they want to announce their intentions. If they do step up, I hope we all get behind them and support however we can — the last thing we can afford is Toni Atkins in the Assembly.

  12. Thanks D7. The news about Naomi Bar-Lev will be posted soon. Patience.

  13. Barry.

    I have travelled from Ocotillo Wells to the Golden Triangle, from Alpine to Ramona, and I can tell you this is a very surreal race. As I campaign, I literally have to carry a map, for many of even the most conservative of voters don’t know the boundaries of the 77th Assembly District.

    The voters I hear from are passionate about ridding the liberal stranglehold from the grips of Nancy and Harry, but yet they seem resigned to the ongoing dysfunction that is Sacramento. I hear time and again that because the 77th is a “safe” Republican seat, it really doesn’t matter.

    I take offense to that. Every election, every race, every seat matters. That’s why I continue to attend every public event I can and meet with as many civic, social and business groups as time allows. I ask all who read SDRostra to invite me to their next event by visiting http://www.christineforassembly.com. An informed electorate is a powerful electorate. This race should not fly under the radar.

    Barry, if you light the fire, I will pour gasoline on it.

  14. Barry-

    Sure! Count me in as a supporter if you decide to run! 🙂
    If you don’t then I think Christine would be a great choice. Worked with her briefly during Sanders’ first campaign. She would be a great assemblymember if she does pour gasoline on the fire although it would be nice if she could do the fire-lighting too.

  15. Count me as impressed that most of the candidates would respond on Rostra. It shows this little site has some credibility. I am looking forward to Brian Jones’ response also.

  16. I received a couple of emails of concern from readers closely following the 53rd Congressional race, questioning my contention that “some — if not many — would say that none of the contenders” in that district have a chance against Susan Davis. With all due respect, many in fact “would say” exactly that. I am referring to them and I wrote it that way. The point is essential. That race, in which the common thought is that no Republican stands a chance, is apparently generating the same if not more interest on Rostra than a safe GOP seat that the same people would say should have tons of interest. I thought it ironic. That said, I of course hope that common thought can be turned on its head and I look forward to a spirited race in the 53rd primary and a strong campaign against Davis in the general.

  17. Barry —- Your point was clear on CA-53. Don’t sweat the small gripes. My larger gripe is that the question about assembly salaries was put to one of the candidates a week ago, with no answer. There is no right answer, as Richard Bailey shows, but any kind of answer would be nice. Especially since the question was specifically to Brian Jones. Is he in this thing seriously or not?

  18. I have had the chance to meet with most of the candidates in the 77th. I am a registered Republican in this district. They have expressed the concern of State Workers Salaries being too high and pensions are out of balance. I agree it needs an overhaul. My point is this, in San Diego we are all trying to stay above water and everybody wants to improve their lot. I just think it is a bit hypocritical that somebody would pull a Six figure salary (Well over twice what I make) and a cost of living expense from Sacramento, and say my pay and retirment from the state is too high. I was glad Carl DeMaio came out like he did, this is leadership!

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