Nutting makes case to oust Oller
Three candidates for the 4th Assembly District engaged in a debate at South Lake Tahoe Monday night, but according to El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting, the race is between himself and the incumbent Assemblyman Rico Oller, who was absent.
Nutting was joined by Democrat Mark Norberg and Libertarian Bob Mulvany in a friendly exchange of views at a forum sponsored by the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the League of Women Voters.
While their views frequently differed along party lines, Nutting made the case that his views were closer to the moderate mainstream than Oller, who was elected to a first term in the Assembly two years ago after a bruising primary contest.
Oller, who is recuperating from heart bypass surgery, did not attend Monday’s forum.
In his opening remarks, Nutting noted that the 4th District is conservative and said that the likely voters’ choice will be between the two Republicans on the ballot.
“I have learned on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors that you have to sit down at the table and get along with others,” Nutting said. “I believe the incumbent is too extreme; he couldn’t get along with moderate Republicans or Democrats from urban areas.”
In California’s first blanket primary, voters from any party and non-partisan voters can choose any candidate running for an office. The Republican with the most votes in the primary will then face the Democratic and Libertarian candidates in a fall runoff.
As a result, Nutting appeared to openly court the votes of Democrats and other voters in the primary showdown between the two Republicans. On at least a half-dozen issues, Nutting opposed positions that Oller has adopted, sometimes siding with Norberg in supporting typically Democratic issues.
For instance, Nutting again stated his opposition to Proposition 226, the initiative that would require unions to obtain the signatures of each member every year in order to use a portion of union dues for political purposes. The measure is supported by most Republicans, including Oller, who call it the “Paycheck Protection” initiative, while Democrats strongly oppose it, saying it is an anti-union measure that is meant to limit union contributions to Democrats.
“If you don’t like your labor leader, vote him out,” Nutting said. “If you don’t like how the union spends your money, make the choice to protest and request that portion of your dues back.”
Both Norberg and Mulvany opposed Proposition 226.
Nutting made clear the difference between himself and Oller on a number of other issues as well:
— Nutting opposes electing the board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, saying any such statewide election would be inefficient. Oller introduced legislation to make the TRPA board elected, but the measure died.
— He took exception with Oller’s vote against placing a $9 billion school construction bond on the June ballot, and supported a moderate Republican call for a 60-percent margin of victory for bond measures. Bond measures now require a two-thirds vote.
— Nutting said he opposed eliminating California’s vehicle registration fees unless the Legislature restored the funding that would be cut from local jurisdictions.
On one issue, Nutting did sound like a traditional Republican compared to the other two candidates. Both Mulvany and Norberg criticized the nation’s war on drugs and asset forfeiture laws that have resulted in the confiscation of property from individuals even when they have not been charge with a crime.
Mulvany expressed the classic Libertarian view in favor of personal freedom, saying that health officials should be teaching about drugs, not law enforcement officials.
Nutting, however, said he supports “incentives” for law enforcement and individuals “to do the right thing,” and “disincentives” to discourage drug use.
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