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The Race for City Council


Hear from your potential representatives San Clemente Times

Leading up to the San Clemente City Council election on Nov. 6, the San Clemente Times published six questions, one each week, that we asked each individual who qualified for the ballot to answer. All City Council candidate questions are available at The list of candidates is published according to the random alphabet the California Secretary of State recently drew.

Gene W. James

The city has no obligation more sacred than protecting its citizens. City management treats our deputies like an inconvenient necessity while our councilmembers seem indifferent. Using zero-based budgeting, it would be my plan to turn unnecessary spending into funding for more deputies. Once Police Services is properly staffed and in conjunction with engaged councilmembers, we can set off on creating a difficult target for crime in our city. Currently, we are an easy target due to understaffing of deputies and the lack of focus on nuisance crime, which leads to serious crime. Let’s stand for a safe San Clemente.

Laura Ferguson

The city needs to add more deputies—which has not kept up with the growth of our city so we can have adequate staff to effectively address issues affecting our quality of life such as drug use, property crimes, loitering and the growing homeless encampments in canyons and along the beach. I would also like to see the crime prevention program reinstated for proactive outreach and education on preventative crime and regular interaction with the Neighborhood Watch program and drug education and prevention for youth in schools by adding one full-time crime prevention specialist (currently an unfilled part-time position).

Bernie Wohlfarth

Public safety is my No. 1 priority. I decided to run for City Council when a friend/mother said she was considering moving because she didn’t feel safe. I was a pastor and hospital chaplain, my dad is a retired United States Marine Corps First Sergeant, my brother went through the fire academy, my brother-in-law is a retired Orange County paramedic and some of my best friends wear a badge every day to protect the city they call home. As your councilmember I will work with the fire department, sheriff’s department, code enforcement and marine safety to ensure San Clemente is always a safe place for our families.

Mikii Rathmann

Keeping our community safe is a top priority. I will support law enforcement and first-responders so they have the staffing and resources to protect and care for our community. Enhanced ambulance service is important since we do not have a local emergency room. I will stand in the breach fighting Edison to remove the toxic nuclear waste being stored at SONGS. This is an ongoing threat to the health of our community, beaches and ocean. I will champion local groups like COA to help end youth drug abuse in our community by providing alternative activities and support.

Jackson Hinkle

The largest threat to public safety in San Clemente is the radioactive waste being buried at San Onofre. When I briefed members of Congress on this issue, they were shocked to learn that the canisters storing radioactive waste cannot be repaired, transported, or monitored, and that safety protocols are not being met at the plant. I will not allow SoCal Edison to profit at the expense of our community and environment. I will fight to move the waste off our coastline, implement a real-time, independent radiation monitoring system at the plant and create an emergency action plan for San Clemente.

Wayne Eggleston

By being proactive and not reactive to public safety issues, encouraging city officials and the sheriff’s department to recognize potential problems before they become severe problems. For example, a number of South El Camino Real bars/adjacent parking lots have drug-traffic issues, fights and stabbings. This is unacceptable. The sheriff’s department is aware of this problem and needs additional enforcement in these areas, which means more deputies. I would encourage voters to approve the TOT measure, which increases the fee for hotels visitors and vacation rentals. This additional city income can go directly to provide more deputies with City Council approval.

Public safety is a major point of discussion in San Clemente. What do you plan to do as a councilmember to ensure or enhance public safety?

Jake Rybczyk

The nuclear waste at SONGS is our largest threat. An accident would result in the death of millions. I would push SoCal Edison to adopt realtime monitoring of the canisters and I would want them to remove the waste off of the beach and to a new facility. Next, we need emergency medical services in San Clemente. Through bill H.R. 3929, San Clemente can get up to $24 million for a hospital due to the city being next to nuclear waste. Finally, I would work to end homelessness; it promotes unsafe living conditions and harms our quality of life.

Kathy Ward

As your councilwoman, I fought for three new sheriff deputies, and two were added. We have adapted to major challenges with propositions that changed felony crimes to misdemeanors. I voted for modifications to our ordinances that support the sheriff’s in enforcing our city’s public safety codes. I expanded our no-smoking laws to include our parking lots in parks/ beaches and I have worked with property owners to ban camping on private property. My husband, Greg, is a retired firefighter, and I understand the importance and needs of public safety and I will continue to support OCFA and OCSD.

Dan Bane

Public safety must be a priority, especially in light of the bad decisions coming out of Sacramento that jeopardize the welfare of our neighborhoods. I will focus on: (1) providing more sheriff’s deputies, (2) updating the San Clemente substation; (3) bolstering our depleted Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and (4) working with neighboring cities and public agencies to share public safety resources. San Clemente has 45 sheriff’s deputies patrolling 19 square miles, while Dana Point has 41.25 deputies for half the population, and only 5 square miles, while paying less than $2 million on Police Services.

Tiffany Joy Robson Leet

Our police, fire and lifeguards need funding to hire appropriate deputies for our city’s needs. I propose, along with real homeless solutions, we dramatically limit any new group living or sober living facilities and short-term rentals. Our community is not designed to maintain these types of facilities. Any existing facilities need to be regularly checked and code enforcement must be vigilant. I have recently heard of other cities implementing “safe city” programs that use drones and other electronic surveillance. I wholeheartedly oppose the use of drones or other invasive technology in our city. I believe in the capability of traditional law enforcement.

Ed Ward

Public safety for the residents of San Clemente is comprised of four primary components: law enforcement presence (OC Sheriff personnel), fire responsiveness (OCFA services and responses to CalFire’s Very High Hazard Zone recommendations), Marine Safety and the safe removal of all nuclear waste from the SONGS site. As a councilmember, I will hold representatives from OCSD, OCFA, Edison/SONGS and associated agencies accountable for the safety of our residents. I will be vigilant in monitoring data trends to adjust our resources when necessary to ensure our safety and well-being, and I will be very transparent on these issues.

Don Brown

This is a major concern for many of our citizens and myself. We need more patrol deputies including additional motorcycle deputies. During my time on the Safety Task Force, we voted for three additional deputies per the matrix report recommendations. I led a discussion for four or five additional deputies. Four would allow a “backfill” to keep more deputies on patrol. This occurs when deputies are required to transport suspects to jail. The increase would also create a new patrol area, greatly decreasing response time. Additional efforts to control costs must also be undertaken and are critical to this effort.


Of Taxes and Territories Two ballot issues come before San Clemente voters this year By Eric Heinz, San Clemente Times

Two controversial topics will come before the voters this year in San Clemente: whether to raise the transient occupancy tax (TOT) to 12.5 percent (Measure W), and whether to separate the city into voter districts (Measure V). Both issues have been talked about at great length, and this isn’t even the first year we’re technically seeing them, in one form or another. Advocates of districting tried to get the question on the 2016 ballot, but the City Council at that time did everything in its legal power to prevent

it, claiming that a unified voter base gave residents the ability to choose all candidates, whereas advocates pleaded for guaranteed representation. A TOT increase hasn’t happened in San Clemente since 1991. The city did a study of surrounding cities’ TOT rates and found that raising it would be about average, if not a little above, and could fund public necessities. Opponents see it as a burden on lodging facilities, which collect the tax, and could drive up prices, turning away potential customers. Here, we discuss the ballot measures in detail.

TOT Tax Increase (Measure W) This same measure was actually on the 2016 ballot, except it would have raised the TOT to 13 percent instead of this year’s proposal of 12.5 percent. City Council wanted to try this one again because last time it lost by just eight votes after a recount. The city estimates it would gain $570,000 from the tax increase and would be able to fund another deputy or two from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, a public-safety action many San Clemente residents—and some City Council candidates—want desperately. The city already added two deputies this year but made general fund expenditure cuts to various services in order to pay for their salaries, which did not go over well with many people, and opponents to the measure blame the city’s legal services costs and not the cost of paying deputies that contribute to the lack of available money. “This new revenue would be 100 percent locally controlled and help provide enhanced

fire and police protection, emergency response services, and improved maintenance of public areas such as beaches, parks, sidewalks and streets, and other services extensively used by tourists,” the argument in favor of the tax increase states. Mayor Tim Brown, Mayor Pro Tem Chris Hamm, City Councilmembers Kathy Ward and Lori Donchak all signed the statement in favor of the tax increase. The argument against the tax goes into how the tax came about in a different form. It claims “LAST ELECTION AFTER SC VOTERS REJECTED RAISING THE TOT TAX, three members of the Council, Brown, Hamm and Ward, voted to illegally spend taxpayer money for a ballot recount to overturn the election results,” the statement in opposition reads. “The(y) cancelled it only after a resident filed a Temporary Restraining Order.” The opposition’s argument is signed by Ken Royal, Jim Bieber, Cord Bauer, Anthony Rubolino and Laura Ferguson.

Districting (Measure V) San Clemente has always been an atlarge-voting city since its beginning, meaning anyone who’s a qualified voter can vote for whomever is on the ballot. It was first brought to City Council by Jim Bieber, an influential political strategist who was furious at the laws the then-Council enacted that limited the scope and practices of short-term lodging units. Bieber’s strategy was to break up the city into districts after discovering most councilmembers lived in a portion of southwest San Clemente. Opponents to districting, then and now, contend that if people are able to vote for all candidates, the candidates will be beholden

to residents’ concerns and can respond anywhere in the city. That argument has been bolstered with the theory that one city at-large keeps San Clemente residents together and won’t pit districts against one another in the face of a potential toll road, which the city has been vigorously fighting against for more than a cumulative decade. Other cities that have been at-large for years around Orange County have either voluntarily switched to district voting by choice of the respective City Council or because they’ve been threatened with lawsuits from organizations representing interests of minorities to adhere to the

California Voting Rights Act, which requires cities to establish voter districts if at-large voting is determined to basically overpower any minority groups. San Clemente has not yet been threatened with such a lawsuit (that we know of), but neighboring cities like San Juan Capistrano have and its City Council voted to district, and Dana Point is hosting its first districted election this year. This trend of pressuring cities in Orange County to district increased in frequency after the 2016 election. “Advantages of district elections include local representation, lower campaign costs, more candidates, increased public engage-

ment, increased voter participation, and eliminating one location from controlling a majority of Council seats,” the statement in favor of the measure reads. “These are all benefits everyone should embrace.” The statement in favor of the measure was signed by Brad Malamud. “What happens if nobody from your neighborhood runs for city council? What are you going to do if you really like what the candidate from one street over has to say, but he/ she lives outside of your designated district?” the statement opposed to the measure reads. “Why would you relinquish your voting rights? Stand up for your right to vote and vote NO!”


Two Philosophies of Law Enforcement Duke Nguyen

Duke Nguyen, Don Barnes highlight priorities in OC Sheriff’s Race

By Eric Heinz, San Clemente Times As Sheriff Sandra Hutchens looks to retire, two new candidates will look to lead Orange County’s law enforcement. With nearly 30 years of experience at OCSD, Undersheriff Don Barnes, secondin-command to Hutchens, is running a campaign based on his administrative experience in law enforcement and his accomplishments as undersheriff. Barnes hopes to build on policies and strategies he’s been a part of since 2016, when he began as undersheriff. Duke Nguyen, with more than 26 years of law enforcement experience, started out with the Santa Ana Police Department and currently works with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office in the Justice System Integrity Division. Nguyen is running a campaign largely based on community policing and transparency, and one of his endorsements includes the Democratic Party of Orange County. Last year, in response to rising law enforcement contract costs with its 13 cities,

a coalition was formed by city managers to draft a study to look into the costs. The findings are expected to be released later this year.

Justice System Reform Nguyen said he wants to ensure there is justice system reform that assists all people and that he wants to bring transparency to that system. “The people of this great County are constantly changing and evolving. I believe that the justice system needs reform to keep up with community needs,” Nguyen said on his campaign website. “We need to make smart decisions when creating reform and make sure that the reform being enacted is following the letter of the law.” Barnes’ approach on his website addresses the controversial Props. 47 and 57, which reduced offenses of what used to be felony narcotic possession to misdemeanors and assisted in the release of low-level criminals or people with limited amount of time on their sentence.

“Proposition 47 and 57 have tied law enforcement’s hands and empowered repeat offenders,” Barnes said on his campaign site. “Under Prop. 47, current law only allows deputies to issue citations for crimes like shoplifting and home burglary. It is no surprise that since the passage of these propositions Orange County has seen an increase in property crimes.”

Rising contract costs Barnes said an approach that he’s been contemplating is to regionalize law enforcement, taking down city borders and creating a hybrid model with contract cities. That would mean cities would still fund patrol deputies and traffic enforcement, but to deploy those resources on a broader scale. “That gets overlaid as a patrol support provision, rather than something that you carry the full cost of,” Barnes said. Nguyen said his plan would be to increase public safety by putting more deputies out patrolling streets and curtailing services that cities don’t need as much.


“I want to sit down with every mayor in every South Orange County city and visit the issues, and make sure that the contract is exactly what it’s called for, we don’t overcharge or undermine the contract,” Nguyen said.

Homelessness Barnes said he managed to get several hundred people into services from the Santa Ana riverbed and made 500-plus arrests, and wants to build on that. His long-term plan is to educate the public on the homeless and to create an enforcement plan with a “larger collaborative strategy.” Nguyen emphasized that being homeless is not a crime, and his goals are to create a mental health evaluation team and provide long-term shelter. “We have $700 million in the county to utilize to get our people who are homeless into some sort of a long-term shelter,” Nguyen said. To learn more about the candidates, visit their websites: and Emily Rasmussen contributed to this report.


Statewide Ballot Measures

Prop. 1 Authorizes bonds to fund specified housing assistance programs. The measure, if approved, would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for existing affordable housing programs for low-income residents, veterans, farmworkers, manufactured and mobile homes, infill and “transit-oriented” housing. An analysis of the bill stated it would increase California’s costs to repay bonds by an average of about $170 million annually over the next 35 years. Advocates of the proposition say that it would provide a way to reduce the homeless population throughout the state as well as provide shelter opportunities for homeless or struggling veterans. Opponents of the bill see it as an expensive solution, with bond debt the state may not be able to cover effectively.

Prop. 2 Authorizes bonds to fund existing housing program for individuals with mental illness. Legislative statute. Amends Mental Health Services Act to fund No Place Like Home Program, which finances housing for individuals with mental illness. Ratifies existing law establishing the No Place Like Home Program. The analysis of the bill states that if passed, the proposition would allow the state “to use up to $140 million per year of county mental health funds to repay up to $2 billion in bonds. These bonds would fund housing for those with mental illness who are homeless.” Advocates of the measure see it as a way to help fund housing bonds for the homeless and mentally ill, while opponents say it would actually make it harder to house them, using funds dedicated to supportive housing to repay bond debt and wouldn’t solve the issue.

Prop 3

Prop. 4

Prop 5

Authorizes bonds to fund projects for water supply and quality, watershed, fish, wildlife, water conveyance, and groundwater sustainability and storage. Initiative statute.

Authorizes bonds funding construction at hospitals providing children’s health care. Initiative statute.

Changes requirements for certain property owners to transfer their property tax base to replacement property. Initiative constitutional amendment and statute.

Prop. 3 would allocate $8.877 billion in state general obligation bonds for “various infrastructure projects.” The analysis of it states that it would increase state costs to repay bonds, averaging $430 million per year over 40 years, but there could be savings for local governments for water-related projects, “likely averaging a couple hundred million dollars annually over the next few decades.” Advocates say that this would help save water in times of drought, but opponents say there wouldn’t be enough money to repay the bonds, and the projects would falter.

From the state’s general fund in the form of general obligation bonds, $1.5 billion would be authorized to fund grants for “construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of qualifying children’s hospitals.” Analysis of the bill states costs to repay bonds would increase an average of about $80 million annually over the next 35 years. Advocates stated in their arguments on the proposition’s explanation that these hospitals provide specialized needs, and the money would help expand the hospitals’ capacity. Objections to the bill were listed as giving money to nonprofit hospitals and that California’s child healthcare networks should be examined further before obligating such money to them.

This would remove specific “transfer requirements” for homeowners over 55, severely disabled homeowners and “contaminated or disaster-destroyed property.” The fiscal impact described the outlook for schools and local governments losing more than $100 million each across the state in annual property taxes early on, growing to about $1 billion per year. There would be similar effects to the costs to backfill school property tax losses. Advocates say the bill removes a “moving penalty” that


is financially burdensome, especially for people who are elderly or severely disabled. But opponents say that it doesn’t create any new housing and costs too much to remove. It also could take money from public services, they said.

do away with certain limitations and make rent control available to create affordable housing. Opponents say that this would actually cost people more, as owners would be able to put “fees on top of rent,” according to the statement.

Prop. 6

Prop. 11

Eliminates certain road repair and transportation funding. Requires certain fuel taxes and vehicle fees be approved by the electorate. Initiative constitutional amendment.

Requires private-sector emergency ambulance employees to remain on-call during work breaks. Eliminates certain employer liability. Initiative statute.

Prop. 6 is one of the biggest debates of all the measures of the 2018 election. A product of the state legislature as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, the tax added 12 cents per gallon of gasoline throughout the state in an effort to raise more than $5.4 billion annually for roads and infrastructure repair. But opponents of the 2017 bill say it went too far and that registration for cars and other costs are already too high. California already has some of the highest gas taxes— and prices—in the nation. Only Pennsylvania had a higher gas tax than California as of 2018, according to the Tax Foundation. There are two simple reasons why we should repeal the gas and car tax hikes, according to Reform California, the political action committee spearheading the repeal, which states that the tax is no more than a money-siphon that gives carte blanche to the Legislature. “It costs you a lot more than you think— the tax hike will cost the typical family of four $779.28 more per year in taxes,” the organization stated on its main website. “It won’t fix our roads— this is a blank check tax hike that has already been diverted away from road repairs.” The California Transit Association touted the gas tax as a way to fund more public transportation and that major milestones could be reached if the money raised is put to such uses. “Unfortunately, we risk losing all this progress unless we defeat Proposition 6 on the November 2018 ballot,” the association’s website stated. “The truth is partisan politicians placed Proposition 6 on the ballot to help them win electoral seats. The measure is shortsighted and dangerous, jeopardizes the viability of public transportation, and threatens the safety of California’s roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure for decades to come.”

Prop. 7 Conforms California Daylight Savings Time to Federal law. Allows legislature to change daylight saving time period. Legislative statute. As long as it would conform to federal law, this would give the California Legislature the ability to keep Daylight Savings Time year-round. There wasn’t a financial analysis of the bill at this time because the ramifications of setting the time aren’t yet known. Advocates and opponents mentioned schoolchildren’s wellbeing as the primary reason for their opinions. Those in favor argue that the biannual effects of Daylight Savings Time to standard time are hazardous to the health of children, but opponents say that extra hours of darkness when the children go to school is not worth keeping one set of time.

effect on state and local governments either positive or negative in the tens of millions of dollars. Advocates say this would keep corporate dialysis centers from charging patients more than they can afford for the vital service, but opponents say the measure has been opposed by various medical associations across the state and that it would result in the closure of many facilities.

Prop. 9 New State Creation: Removed from the Ballot This would have allowed California to be separated into three different states, but the California Supreme Court removed it on July 18, citing that there were too many unknown potential consequences should it pass.

Prop. 10 Prop. 8 Regulates amounts outpatient kidney dialysis clinics charge for dialysis treatment. Initiative statute. The measure would put enforcement regulations on kidney dialysis charges if they exceed a limit by placing rebates and penalties on caregivers. It would require an annual report to the state, and also forbids clinics from refusing to treat patients based on payment source. The financial analysis of the bill stated there could be an overall

Expands local governments’ authority to enact rent control on residential property. Initiative statute. The measure would repeal state law that limits what rent-control policies cities and local jurisdictions can enact on residential property. The measure’s fiscal analysis states there could be a net reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long-term. “Depending on actions by local communities, revenue losses could be less or considerably more,” according to the analysis. Another bill that takes aim at possibly reducing homelessness, advocates of the measure say it could

This would exempt the private-sector ambulance hourly employees from taking breaks without being on-call. The fiscal impact analyzed said it would likely benefit local governments with lower costs, potentially in the tens of millions of dollars each year. Advocates say that it would allow first-responders to be ready in case of a call. The California Labor Federation called the measure a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and that it would deny the ambulance employees a break for a meal or rest.

Prop. 12 Establishes new standards for confinement of specified farm animals; bans sale of noncomplying products. Initiative statute. Prop. 12 would set minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals and would prohibit the sale of meat and egg products from animals confined in noncomplying manner. The fiscal analysis stated there is a potential for decreases in state income tax revenues from farm businesses, “likely not more than several million dollars annually. State costs up to $10 million annually to enforce the measure.” Advocates say that this would put an end to animal cruelty practices in large facilities that use such cages and other means of confinement for their animals. Opponents say in the bill’s opposition that it would not ban cages until 2022 and that it doesn’t target the main issues. Source: California Secretary of State


To Flip or Not? Congressional candidates Diane Harkey, Mike Levin seek coveted 49th seat

By Eric Heinz, San Clemente Times Picket Fence Media sat down recently with California 49th Congressional District candidates Mike Levin, democrat, and Diane Harkey republican. They were asked a series of questions about their policies on public safety, taxes, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and environmental policies and miscellaneous topics.

Mike Levin

San Juan Capistrano resident Levin has been involved in politics since he was a teenager. He was once the executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County and has worked on federal, state and local elections. He has also worked for environmental law firms and as an environmental lobbyist. “People want clean air and clean water regardless of their political party or background, and historically, environmental issues have not been so partisan,” Levin said, referring to republican presidents and governors who provided major environmental protection legislation. “In California, we have demonstrated that you can protect the environment and you can also grow the economy. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you can create the cleanenergy jobs of the future, and we have to be a leader in that field.” Levin said he wants to see more protection out of the Environmental Protection Agency and to designate funding for more research and development. Although he admits it’s going to be a long road ahead for renewable energy and for ensuring more jobs for the industry to be filled by American workers, Levin said making it easier to create those jobs starts with investing in them, and he’d also like to see tariffs on solar energy removed. In order to achieve anything, however, it’s going to take both sides of the aisle cooperating. “…We have gotten into a very toxic period in our political history, when partisanship is so overwhelming, we’ve lost what it means to be a representative of all the people,” Levin said, “and if I win, there are well over 100,000 people who voted for the president (in District 49), and I want to represent them too and be respectful as well.” Another major area Levin wants to tackle is health care, as he wants key provisions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be preserved. “What we have to do is make sure all

Diane Harkey the good things from the ACA are not allowed to be undermined, and that includes preexisting conditions,” he said. “We have to make sure we’re protecting mental health needs and women’s needs.” Levin said the major tax breaks to corporations and the top tier alone could have paid for a system that slowly gets the country to universal health care and could expand Medicaid. He said health care laws under Trump’s proposals that would have cut coverage for about 30 million people, according to the Congressional Budget Office, have only tried to hinder communities. “Here in our district, it would have been around 32,000 (people who would have lost federal health care), which included 3,000 children—children, who would have lost their care. And as a parent of a 4-and a 6-year-old, I find that unconscionable,” Levin said. Public safety, specifically gun safety legislation, is likely on his agenda for the next Congress if not the one after it, and Levin said he’d like to see “weapons of war” off the streets and out of the schools, and he opposes arming teachers with guns. “We need to expand background checks across the country, no gun-show loophole; we also have to have reciprocity (laws to allow certain guns where they’re needed),” Levin said, adding that there needs to be funding for research into why mass shootings take place. He said last year’s federal budget allowed for the research but didn’t fund it. Lastly, Levin said he wants to work with all stakeholders to address the spent nuclear

Mike Levin waste that’s being stored at SONGS. “From an environmental justice standpoint, I want to know we’re partnering with another state that has made a calculated decision that they want to be part of the storage process,” Levin said. He said he sees issues with transporting the fuel, and that issue needs to be examined more thoroughly.

Diane Harkey

Dana Point resident and current Board of Equalization member Harkey has been involved with California politics for years. She served as the State Assembly representative for the area from 2008 to 2014, and her main talking points almost always fall on taxes. Most notably in California, she opposes the state’s gas tax implemented last year. Harkey agrees with most of President Trump’s tax bill, but she said she wanted to see more assistance from the state and local tax (SALT), from which high-income homeowners use to deduct significant amounts. Harkey is not nearly as strict on immigration as the president, saying that reassessing immigration reform could help American industry. “Our biggest problem is we’re not finding people to take the jobs,” Harkey said. “We don’t have a workforce. This could mean more promotions and upper mobility for those who are employed, but it also means we need to figure out our visa program.” She also said she would like to see more funding and policies that benefit vocational training. “One side just wants everybody to be

deported, and that’s not going to work,” she said, adding that there needs to be an enforceable statute that address the issues. “We have statutes on immigration, but it’s like having a zoning code and someone gets a variance; they build higher or a commercial spot and somebody gets something else, and pretty soon as a councilmember you try to enforce the zoning code, they sue, take you to court and you’ve violated your own code.” On SONGS, Harkey said she understands that it’s going to be a long process to move the spent nuclear fuel, but she said she’s optimistic with the legislative movement that has taken place. “I think there are opportunities there to help move things along,” she said. Harkey said she wants to work with the president to get an exemption for California from offshore oil drilling, one of the Trump administration’s first economically motivated moves through the Department of the Interior. “If Florida can get an exemption, we can get an exemption,” she said. “I think the cost of resistance and thumb-in-the-eye policies puts us at odds. They cost us money, time and efforts and they cause us problems. If California wants consideration, we have to figure out where we can cooperate.” Harkey said she wants to honor states’ rights when it comes to gun control. She said she’s a supporter of the Second Amendment, but she said she’s not a gun owner. “I am very much a states’ rights person, so what works in Massachusetts doesn’t necessarily work for Montana,” she said. “I am not going to be a proponent of gun bans nationwide. California has its own set of laws. I find it very difficult to see young people willing to give up their Second Amendment right but not wanting to turn over their keys or cell phone.” Harkey also said she’s very pro-law enforcement, meaning she wants to see more support for local officers. In funding for more jobs, Harkey said she wants to see more National Institute of Health (NIH) funding to be allocated to Southern California because of its vast health products market. “This district is tremendously aggressive on biotech, biomed and life sciences, which is an amazing potential for not only job creation but NIH funding to come in and start these new products,” Harkey said. “This will stimulate jobs, but also provide savings in health care and saving lives.”


Next in Line

An Optometrist and a U.S. Ambassador

Governor Race pits Lt. Gov. against businessman

Lieutenant Governor race features two Democrats with central top priorities

As the era of Jerry Brown comes to an end, a new guard is eyeing the highest seat in California. Republican John Cox, a CPA by trade, Gavin Newsom is using a platform that wants to bring advantages to Californians who have been “forgotten,” which includes trying to ensure affordable housing is available. “California’s sky-high sales taxes, vehicle license fees, and the highest gasoline taxes in the nation are a major reason so many families just can’t make ends meet anymore,” Cox stated on his campaign website. “These high fees are a major reason California now has the highest poverty rate in the nation. The most urgent need right now is to repeal the new vehicle license and gas tax increases.” Cox is also strictly opposed to Sanctuary State Laws and wants to repeal S.B. 54 that gave local authorities discretion in whether to cooperate with Immigration and Cus-

toms Enforcement (ICE) on incarcerated undocumented immigrants. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom served two terms as the second in command to John Cox Brown. His main objective is to bring more jobs to California. “During the Great Recession, Gavin supported a subsidized employment program that put over 4,000 Californians to work,” his website bio states. “And as Mayor (of San Francisco), he marched, stood and negotiated with labor as working partners, not sparring partners, fighting for workers’ rights.” Newsom is also a proponent of universal healthcare and has worked as a University of California Regent to try to keep tuition costs low, according to his campaign website. Visit and www. for more information on the candidates.

State Senate District 36 Dana Point political journeywoman, Patricia Bates, Republican, faces Democratic challenger, Marggie Castellano, an international businesswoman and environmental advocate who produces documentaries on climate change. Castellano wants to make health care more affordable as well as continue to focus on environmental protection work to which she’s committed. She said she wants to “Improve our government services by reducing waste, cutting red tape, enhancing transparency through open-data programs all while making government more responsive, open and accountable to taxpayers,” according to her campaign website. Bates is looking to nix the gas tax that

so many of her party constituents loathe and is working on other solutions that don’t rise costs at the pump. “Senator Pat Bates believes voters should have a say in any future attempts to increase gas taxes,” her campaign website stated. “Additionally, Senator Bates is a vocal opponent to implementing California’s cap and trade program that could increase gas prices by one dollar for every gallon.” Bates also wants to promote equality for women in the workplace, putting an end to harassment and to stoke the fight for equal pay. Visit or for more information.

Two Democratic candidates, Eleni Kounalakis and Dr. Ed Hernandez, are vying for the Lieutenant Governor’s chair, both with differing top priEleni Kounalakis orities under the same partisan. Kounalakis, a former U.S. ambassador, has made environmental issues one of her top priorities. “We must continue to push for smart policies that combat climate change, protect our water supply and air quality, and stop corporations from taking advantage of our natural resources,” her website stated. “I have proudly pledged to not accept contributions from oil companies, pharmaceutical companies or soda companies.” Kounalakis also mentioned that since her father immigrated to the U.S. as a 14-yearold, she wants to make it easier for immigrants to gain citizenship and to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals laws. Hernandez, a former optometrist and

current state Senator of the 22nd district, has stated one of his first priorities is to tackle health care issues. He wants to lower the cost of Dr. Ed Hernandez prescription drugs and ensure health care is accessible to all, according to his campaign website. “Senator Hernandez has never backed down from a fight with those seeking to harm Californians. “He’s gone to war against Big Tobacco, helping pass California’s law increasing the smoking age to 21 years old,” according to his campaign website. “He’s fought Big Oil, supporting some of California’s landmark environmental laws. He’s stood up to Big Pharma and the increasing cost of prescription drugs.” Hernandez, also a child of immigrant parents, said he too wants to fight for the rights of people trying to make a life in the U.S. Visit or for more information.

Tougher Competition State Assembly 73rd District will give incumbent more of a challenge The last time Republican Assemblyman Bill Brough was in an election, he was up against an unknown young democrat, who sort of “gave up” campaigning halfway through the bid for office (he stopped returning phone calls from Picket Fence Media after the newspaper made contact requesting an interview). Brough strolled to a victory. That was 2016. This year, Democrat Scott Rhinehart may be able to close the margin in a historically Republican district. Brough won the primary in June 47.1 percent to Rhinehart’s 39.4 percent—but a third candidate, Mission Viejo City Councilmember Ed Sachs, received 13.5 percent of the vote. That margin could be up

for grabs; however, as Sachs is also a Republican the votes may go to Brough anyway. Rhinehart is looking to bring singlepayer health care to California and wants to tackle environmental issues as well as protect pro-choice rights. Brough has been working for the 73rd in Sacramento by way of lobbying for San Clemente’s hospital to house a satellite emergency room and the regulation of sober living homes. He’s also looked into solutions for homelessness and sits on the Assembly committee of Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. Visit or www. for more information.


Spitzer, Rackauckas Showdown Approaches The fiery prosecutors will leave it to the voters to settle their score By Eric Heinz, San Clemente Times Incumbent Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will face Todd Spitzer, current Orange County Supervisor of District 3, who was once employed by Rackauckas. For the past 20 years, Rackauckas has held the position of Orange County’s top prosecutor, and he prides his work on the hundreds of convictions for which he’s been responsible. His office has been working recently on a sober living task force that has already resulted in the arrest of 11 people accused of being involved in illegal activities occurring within the addiction treatment industry. “I will be running on the strong track record of our office where I oversee and am responsible for the performance of hundreds of attorneys, investigators and professional staff who work tirelessly to ensure the administration of justice in our county,” a statement from Rackauckas’s campaign website states. Spitzer, like his opponent, is very vocal about justice systems and bringing convic-

tions to violent criminals, gangs, all kinds of abuse and more, as he did during his time as a deputy and assistant district attorney. “As Supervisor, I’ve Todd Spitzer already pioneered policies in our county to help address these issues and make our communities safer,” a message Spitzer’s campaign page states. “It’s time to focus on rebuilding the DA’s office, including modernizing it by bringing the latest in crime-fighting tools to our hardworking prosecutors.” Spitzer is also staunchly committed to discrediting Rackauckas. On social media sites, in press releases and just about any other media, he chastises the actions of his once-colleague. “Rackauckas has been in office for 20 years. This breeds corruption, complacency and a public failure of leadership,” Spitzer’s

website states. “Twenty years is long enough. While crime rates rise and the DA’s absence of leadership is causing cases to be botched murderers to Tony Rackauckas and be let free, the real tragedy is that victims and their families are not getting justice.” Rackauckas isn’t sitting on the sidelines and taking this political bout quietly. Earlier this year, he released a television ad with the theme being that Spitzer was untrustworthy and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars due to his own legal snafus. “The job of a district attorney requires someone who has impeccable ethics and maturity. Todd Spitzer continues to prove he lacks both,” Rackauckas said in a press release that pointed to Spitzer’s social media posts. Both of them have their own baggage

coming into this hotly contested race. Spitzer made an unusual citizen’s arrest of a man who was rambling at a Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in 2015 when the man was staring at Spitzer with a nearby table knife, according to emails obtained by media organizations. Rackauckas was under scrutiny by the ACLU in the last couple years for what the organization called “unethical” use of incarcerated informants. If you haven’t kept up with the latest rhetoric, be sure to dig through the minutiae of what they say and their agendas. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is one of the most coveted seats in the county, and it’s also inundated with cases and state policy changes, technological advances and must have a transparent and ethical working relationship with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. These considerations are likely to be the difference between them. To learn more about the candidates, visit and

2018 Election Day Voter Guide  

San Clemente Times

2018 Election Day Voter Guide  

San Clemente Times