IF you are not aware – I am actively engaged in helping elect Bill Halldin. It has been clear for the last 7 months (I hope) that I have been in his camp.
I have been harshly critical of Bill’s opponents – but in this post, I will be attempting to be as straight-forward as I can. The forum last night was lightly attended (as most are) and for the handful of us that were there, it was a gold mine in to the field.
That said, last night there was another candidate forum at William Jessup University. This is a tune up for the upcoming Placer GOP Debate on 5/9.
Andy Pugno did not show. I am not sure why he did not show, but he has always viewed himself differently than most candidates view themselves.
Brian Caples and Z’Berg (the democrats) declined the invitation.
Bo and Mik were present and did their usual thing. Bo, attacked the GOP, Mik gave his usual distinct and memorable answers.
Gabriel Hydrick was present and while he has demonstrated little or no campaign activity, he had several answers to several questions that were distinctly different than the panel. It was also clear that reason why I have heard so many negative reports about him over the years – he highlighted several times where he was the lone dissenting vote on actions done by the City of Lincoln.
Suzanne Jones was present as well. She did her usual stick of attacking everyone that takes donations and endorsements as being a part of the system. She also elevated her introduction and closing remarks in an attempt to further distinguish herself from her opponents. Anyone present who was not already committed to a candidate would likely have been turned off by said remarks as she went way too far.
It was clear that Cristi Beckstead-Nelson was angry. When she was not reading memorized answers off of her script (one example is that her opening remarks were the same as I had heard before) – she was glaring at me. I would normally conclude my remarks about Ms. Nelson here were it not for the fact that her hostile disdain for those not supporting her not been so obvious.
Beckstead-Nelson (her name on the voter reg files and all public records) made her disdain for local government clear as she eviscerated them in her answer to a question about the proposed (but not yet real) 1/2 cent sales tax increase measure. Beckstead-Nelson, who donated $2500 to Ted Gaines a week before he endorsed her, was remiss to take note that Gaines, Gaines, and McClintock have represented this area a combined 25 years and have done nothing to help deal with the problem.
She has clearly charted the same path as Beth Gaines, who has spent her 5 years in the Assembly getting even with everyone in local government for supporting John Allard. They can expect the same if somehow, Beckstead-Nelson pulls off a miracle and gets elected.
Then there was Tropical Depression Hanley. He took his rehtoric to the next level. It appears that he knows, better than most, that he is not getting traction. Worse than the other candidates could have ever attempted to be, Hanley was attempting to draw as much attention to himself as he could.
Hanley did indeed attack Bill Halldin by name, while Beckstead Nelson preferred to do so by inference. Again, the 1/2 cent sales tax dog whistle was the issue dujour. To her credit, Suzanne Jones was the only candidate to directly reference former Congressman Doolittle’s Earmarks that solved some of the problem and referenced the lack of support from the Federal Government with regard to the current problem.
Hanley, whose only major endorsement is Congressman McClintock obviously had to avoid the obvious federal nexus for the Placer County transportation problems. Instead, he like Nelson – now that the endorsements of local government have mostly gone to Halldin have charted a course to scorch them all for it.
As I stated with Beckstead-Nelson, how does Hanley intend to govern if elected given his rhetoric against local government, and given both of them deliberately ignoring the state and federal nexus of the problem?
I have focused this post largely on the 1/2 cent sales tax thus far as that was the only question that appeared to produce distinctions.
It was also clear that Kevin Kiley has been bothered by things written on this blog about him and his campaign as well. I had a polite but tense interaction with him after the forum.
Kiley had two excellent answers to questions. One pertained to tort reform and the other to crime issues. Take note that Kiley is an attorney. These were in his wheelhouse. It is also clear that Kiley has been listening to his opponents as I heard some of their past answers line-for-line in Kiley’s current answers.
Kiley can be an effective legislator some day. He has the potential to be also a good candidate some day. Kiley is more talented than most that were on the stage last night. Talent means nothing without the discipline and experience to harness it.
That day for Kiley to hold office is not now. The other answers he gave were canned and indicated a lack of depth of knowledge. It is what it is, the man is 31 years old and only 4 years out of law school. 70% of his money has come from the Bay Area, So-Cal and other states. He needs to live here for a while and make real connections to the community.
Cristi Beckstead-Nelson is in her Mid 40’s and knows less about the issues that Mr. Kiley does.
One thing became clear to me last night with regard to Mr. Kiley – it appears to me that he is a terribly insecure young man and his insecurity manifests itself in arrogance. It will not be good for him to carry that in to the capitol, he will get eaten alive as older more experienced members will take advantage of him. He can overcome that with age, wisdom and experience.
I have also been fiercely critical of Mr. Kiley appearing to tell different groups of people different things in order to curry favor. This, again could be an offshoot of his inexperience and insecurity and not necessarily a lack of personal character.
I went in to this candidate forum looking for further reasons to continue to whale the tar out of Mr. Kiley – I came out of the forum with the clear opinion that Mr. Kiley is not ready to hold major office yet and could be in the future if he can mature and address some of the issues that stand out so clearly. Unlike with Hanley, who I believe is a never-was and Beckstead Nelson who is a never-will-be, Kiley is a could-be. None of the three are ready today to do the job, this is the verdict from tonight. (I changed my mind on Hanley being qualified last night based on his behavior)
Andy Pugno could have made his case tonight had he showed up. He did not.
Bill Halldin came to the forum tonight knowing full well that he had a target on him. To his credit, he did not throw his local government supporters under the bus even though he knew he’d get carped at over the 1/2 cent sales tax measure. To his credit, he stayed focused on his selling points. While I am clearly biased, given the circumstances, Mr. Halldin demonstrated that out of the viable candidates for AD06, he is clearly the closest thing we have to the complete package running for #AD06.
The largest advantage Halldin has is that Beckstead-Nelson, Hanley and Kiley have next to no connection to #AD06 outside of very small groups of people. Hanley is a carpet-bagger whose resume was built somewhere else.
Next week is a full-blown debate being put on by the Placer GOP. While Halldin is a member of the Placer GOP Cent Com, look for several of them to attempt to attack him during that debate as well as the other candidates. Such is life when you have emerged as the clear front-runner.
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