[banner] Gerald Klaas for Senate '98

On the campaign trail...

April/May 1998

04-01-98: Tax day protest is two weeks away. Worked on signs for the protest. I will be posting signs that read "Tax Freedom Day May 9" along the road to the main post office in West Sacramento.

04-11-98: Received candidate surveys from Californians for Freedom to Work, People's Advocate, Inc., NRA, and Gun Owners of California. This process seems ridiculous to me. To play the political game the traditional way, I would need to court these special interest groups. This would finance my campaign, but more importantly, show support to the media, who will decide who is and is not a 'real' candidate. They will follow the 'real' candidates and ignore those they feel are assured losers, thus helping to fulfill their own prophecy. Although I will return as many surveys as possible, I really want to use the surveys to show the voters what the political process is like from the candidate side.

04-15-98: Tax Day! I spent 4 hours standing in front of the Post Office holding a sign that read "Did you read the 7 million word tax code?" Lots of people honking and waving, and yelling support. Joe Farina, the libertarian candidate for Attorney General, was interviewed by several local TV stations.

I had a letter published in the Sacramento Bee today.

04-16-98: I had a letter published in the Sacramento News and Review today. It was a rebuttal to F. Gordon Greene's guest commentary calling Pete Wilson's proposed oversight of public schools a Trojan horse carrying vouchers.

04-20-98: Happy birthday to me. I'm 35 today. Article in the Bee today about GOP candidates in the 6th Senate district. They even manage to mention Deborah Ortiz, the Democrat contender, but no mention of me. Do you think they plan a follow-on about Libertarian candidates in the 6th district? I called Jon Matthews at The Bee to ask if they planned to cover the Libertarians running for Senate District 6. He asked if I was unopposed in the race. I guess they don't understand that none of us are unopposed in a blanket primary. Even if I'm guaranteed to make it to November, I'm still looking for voter percentage, and I'm still providing the opposition to the two major parties.

04-23-98: F. Gordon Greene had a rebuttal letter to my rebuttal letter in today's News and Review. He calls me a "Wilson spinmeister" of all things! Quick, I'd better call the governor's office and get on the payroll. I wonder if he knows I'm a Libertarian?

04-25-98: My first candidate forum is in one week. I'm already nervous. I still get nervous on my first day of class every quarter, I can't even imagine what it's going to be like to be put on the spot on live TV. I imagine that my opponents are practicing their answers to possible questions. I decide not to do that. Whatever I say, I want it to come from my heart, not a well practiced sound bite.

05-01-98: Tomorrow is my first candidate forum. My wife's best friend (other than me) is visiting us with her 14 year old son. I'm afraid I'm not very sociable, I keep having images of me making a fool of myself on TV pop into my head. I wonder if everyone feels this way at first, and if you get used to it after a while. I guess it must be like everything else in life, the first time is tough, but it gets better with practice.

05-02-98: Sheesh. I'm glad that's over! I couldn't even eat this morning, but I made it to the County Admin building on time, and think I held my own through the candidate forum. This is the first time that I've met my opponents. Just before we go live on TV, I'm looking at the other candidates, Deborah Ortiz who is presently in the legislature, Chris Quackenbush whose husband is the insurance commissioner, Joan Barry and Rich Davis who have both run for office before, and I feel a bit overwhelmed. I ask myself what I'm doing there, and quickly remember that this is citizen government, and here I am, a citizen. I hold my breath and settle in my seat, I'm determined that this if for the good of the democracy. People need to hear viewpoints outside of the two major parties.

We answer questions about photo enforcement of red light running, Folsom and Auburn dams, the legislative salary increase, and the blanket primary. Just as we get to closing statements, I've started getting used to the cameras and am not feeling so nervous. I hope I didn't make a fool of myself because this thing was taped and will be rebroadcast (channel 14) about a dozen times before the primary.

When the forum is over, I spend a few minutes talking with republican candidate Richard Davis. He seems like a very decent guy, and we find that save the Libertarian position against the "War on Drugs", we are pretty much in agreement. A few friends who were in the audience tell me that I did well and will be pleased when I see the tape. Just then I'm a lot more interested in lunch.

05-04-98: The Bee published an article today about the democratic candidates running for the 6th Senate district. Again, not a word about the libertarian candidate. It's not like they don't know I'm running, Jon Matthews was one of the panelists at the May 2nd forum. I've sent them press releases and even a printout of my Frequently Asked Questions page off the web. But alas, they think I'm not worthy of coverage, even though they've never even contacted me. When you realize that State Senate and Assembly candidates are not allowed letters in either the State voter pamphlet, or the county sample ballot pamphlet, you might start to understand why money plays such a big role in politics these days. Without access to the voter pamphlets, and when the monopoly paper in town ignores me, I would have to sell my soul to special interest groups to afford TV commercials. Since I kind of like my soul, I'll have to rely on the web.

05-15-98: Attended the 5th Assembly candidate forum held by the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce. I was primarily there to give moral support to the local libertarian chair, Gene Frazier, who is running for that seat. Gene did a great job representing the libertarian views, it's no wonder he's the local chair.

05-16-98: Amazing! The Bee published a letter to the editor citing my candidacy! So they do know I exist. It'd still be nice to have something of my positions published, but I'll take what I can get.

05-18-98: Attended the second forum for 6th senate district. This one was held by the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce. As far as I know it was not taped, and the only journalist there was the moderator, the editor of the Orangevale News. All six candidates were there. I wasn't so nervous this time so my words came more easily. We talked about the minimum wage, bureaucracy, bilingual education, the salary increase and our top 3 priorities. I felt good about this one. I found myself wishing that it had been taped and broadcast. Gene Frazier said that I had done an excellent job and that he counted at least 6 times that other candidates referred to things I had said. So at least the other candidates are taking me more seriously than the media is.

05-20-98: The third candidate forum was held at the Oak Park Community Center. This one was taped to be rebroadcast later on cable access channel 73. Again, I wasn't so nervous, and the words came more easily. We talked about the budget surplus, Prop 209 (affirmative action), and abortion. The best part of the whole night for me was when we were talking about what to do with the expected 4.4 billion dollar state budget surplus. I said, "we didn't earn this money, we stole it. I think we should give it back. Give it all back." There was a short silence and some laughs from the audience. I suppose they don't expect such frankness from a politician. It's a good thing I'm not a politician.

05-21-98: I was a guest on a local cable access weekly show called "The Libertarian Conspiracy." Since I don't get cable TV, I've never actually seen the show before, so I was a bit apprehensive about not knowing the format. But once we were live on the air, I quickly forgot about the cameras, and was caught up in the conversation. This was actually fun. We taped another show for broadcast on the 28th. Gene said he'll tape both shows for me so I can see how they turned out.

05-24-98: The Bee strikes again. In today's paper was a section called Primary '98. There are 6 names on everyone's ballot for the 6th senate district, but again, The Bee only covers 5 candidates. So much for fair and complete coverage. This time I send them a letter explaining the fallacy of their logic that I'm "unopposed".

05-26-98: I attended the fourth and final candidate forum before the primary. This one was held at the Sam Pannell Community Center in Meadowview. I believe this one wasn't taped, although there was a video camera set up. We answered questions regarding gun control, Prop 215 (medical marijuana), and government's role in population control and protectionism of agriculture in the central valley. My position against the "War on Drugs" made me stand out like a sore thumb from all the other candidates. After we were done, Illa Collin, who was in the audience, came up to me and congratulated me for having the courage to be a "lone voice". That was a very special moment for me, it helps me to believe that no matter what the election outcome, my efforts are worthwhile. Thank you, Illa, for your faith in democracy.

05-29-98: My letter to the Bee was published today. It's not the complete and fair coverage I hoped for, but it's better than nothing. I did receive a few e-mails regarding the letter, so I know it touched a few people.

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© 1998 Gerald Klaas