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New Assembly Candidates assemble at City Hall
Post Political News & Reports - Apr 30 2008
by Post Editor : editor@portervillepost.com

Tuesday night, starting around 6:30pm, five new assembly candidates, Connie Conway (R), Becky Maze (R), Bob Smith (R), Jon Zellhoefer (R) and Desmond Farrelly (D), assembled in the chambers of city hall to answer or debate questions from the media and public regrading their political positions and or promises if elected to the 34th Assembly District.

The way that this Q and A forum was set up by the local media, debating any issue almost didn't happen. Established media asked the first round of questions and then the candidates, according to how their names were drawn - Conway, Maze, Farrelly, Smith and Zellhoefer - answered in that order. Each candidate was given the same amount of time to answer each question and the rotation of answers changed with additional questions. And so it went ...

Next, each candidate gave an opening statement and shared whatever he or she needed to share to ensure that the public would remember a little more about who they were. From the Post's perspective, this was a waist of valueble time. Each candidate should have brought with them campaign marterials and press release flyers to hand out to the media and the public - few did this.

So ... did anything super-duper jump out in the OPENING STATEMENTS from the candidates ? Here's a few that the Post noticed and highlighted for the public.


(R) Connie Conway - Political experience as a Board of Supervisor
(R) Becky Maze - Husbands political experience, knowing the process in Sacramento
(D) Desmond Farrelly - used the overused "Are you better off" quote
(R) Bob Smith - Law enforcement background and worked for Assemblyman Bill Maze
(R) Jon Zellhoefer - Businessman, Masters Degree, Attourney

ROUND TWO : How would you fix Education Here are the different answers "that jumped out" from the question regrading "No Child Left Behind" and "Mandated Tests" Conway - She had mixed a message with blending tests and one size doesn't fit all. She appeared nervous answering this first question. Maze - Background was in education and supported magnet school options. Farrelly - Background in education, stated we need to "Scrap the Act" {No Chile Left Behind}, Smith - Sit's on school board and said, the "Act" needs to be reformed. Zellhoefer - Taught English in many countries including Russia ... stated that the Department of Education had failed us and the control should go back to the local school boards.

ROUND THREE : How would you balance the state budget ?

Maze - The state has a spending problem, Farrelly - stated "I'll take a 50% pay cut and give the other half to charity", Smith - "Get a handle on the illegal immigration" that use our services, Zellhoefer - "I'll get the truth out about what's happening in Sacramento", Conway - "The LOA has some suggestions, it's a non-partisan government group".

ROUND FOUR : What about unfunded mandates frivolous bills ?

Farrelly - Didn't have a good response, Smith - stated "If the state is making the mandate, let the state pay for it and not madate the local schools pay for it, Zellhoefer - "Frivoluos laws are passed because it makes someone money", Conway - Regarding unfunded mandates, she said " ...because they {government} can and do", Maze - "Assemblyman Bill Maze {my husband} was able to get a lot of those unfunded bills off the books, so I know how to do it".

ROUND FIVE : What about the realestate market in Tulare County ?

Smith - "I don't think the government should bail them out", Zellhoefer - "The state is a party to this mess", Conway - Again ... mixed messages, "The governments roll, is to let the people and business get into this condition" and "The gov is part of the problem", Maze - "The state and the counties should come together and help with those tax increases", Farrelly - "As a legislator, we need to do something to help these people, with fed assistance."

ROUND SIX : What to do about Californian's without health insurance ?

Zellhoefer - "Tort reform and reasonable care at a reason cost", Conway - "It's a complex issue", Maze - "Provide an income tax credit", Farrelly - "My father was a doctor", "These insurance companies have got the system so messed up and I donít see a solution", Smith - "I do believe we need a health care process for the family".

ROUND SEVEN : Water and Environmentalism ?

Conway - "Thereís a way to work out the issues with the Delta", Maze - "The state needs a comprenesive plan", Farrelly - "We do need more dams", Smith - "If we have a major earthquake Ö we dodged a bullet this year because we got the rain we need", Zellhoefer - "Itís gonna take the voters to make those {water rights} changes".

ROUND EIGHT : Questions from the floor : Raising the Standards of testing for CHP ?

Maze - "They need to keep them high. I donít support dumbling down", Farrelly - "Keep those standards high", Smith - "If you havenít used marajuna in two years you can still apply to {many} police departments", Zellhoefer - "Get the schools back on track and you won't have to lower standards", Conway - "We canít keep lowering these standards".

ROUND NINE : Questions from the floor : Cutting the fat in Sacramento ?

Farrelly - "Weíre all gonna have to tighten our belts", Smith - "Redistricting is way over due", Zellhoefer - "We can't keep electing the same special interest politicians. I'm not even planning on a second term." Conway - ..., Maze - "That has to change through a public inititive", Farrelly - ...

ROUND TEN : Questions from the floor : Water Issues - How to fix the Delta ?

Smith - "Thereís been 9 different fixes suggested {the problem is CalFed} and since the 90ís they've tried to make everyone happy and they canít." Zellhoefer - "let the private side do the building and stop the water erosion", Conway - "weíve heard a common theme, that politics ruins everthing ... if we get the politics out of it we can solve anything", Maze - "It would be wonderful to take politics out of it, but water is one of those issue and everyone runs to their corner. And they have their answer to what thatís so to be. Both sides have different plans. I do believe in miracles and that would be one of them." BEST COME-BACK Farrelly - "...politician are not the experts, I offer the Army Corp of Engineers"

ROUND ELEVEN : Questions from the floor : Creating more jobs ?

Zellhoefer - "The truth needs to be reported to the people. We're chasing business out of California", Conway - "With the public private partnership we can do it together and have qualified citizens", Maze - "The state does not make jobs but they know how to destroy them", Farrelly - "We need private investment. We donít need any more red-tape", Smith - "As long as more people keep coming into California, we'll need more jobs."

ROUND TWELVE : Questions from the floor : What to do about Gangs ?

Conway - "We {Borad of Supervisors} have to listen to those folks. We're Working together with our STEPUP program", Maze - "It has to be a locally controlled issue. We need different kinds of solutions for different areas", Farrelly - "We need a comprehesive approach. I believe the gang problem can be turned around." Smith - "Gangs are terrorts ! We need to make sure that our law enforcement gets the tools they need. Track them with GPS. Work with faith based." Zellhoefer - "gangs are now a part of our culture. Just today 'Grand Theath Auto 4' video game was released and the kids are downloarding it now".

ROUND THIRTEEN : Questions from the floor : What about privatizing water ?

Maze - "Water is for public use. To be put into private hands Iím not sure that's a good idea", Farrelly - "In Geogria, they are having a problem with privatized water", Smith - "we need to responsible to make certain fixes", Zellhoefer - "In '98 I worked with a company called realtime data that would alert you if there were leeks. The gov does want this accountability", Conway - "whoís water is it anyway"

CLOSING STATEMENTS :

Farrelly - "No two parties can represent what all the {problems} the people have", Smith - "We have plenty of problems", Zellhoefer - "I have 30 years in the business industry and Iím clear on the issues" Conway - "The system is what it is" Maze - "Iíve met many representative while in Sacramneto, and have the support from the Senate Republican leader and our very own Senator Roy Ashburn."


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