Candidates make headway in Republican district |

Candidates make headway in Republican district

A diverse four-way race for Tim Leslie’s seat in the California Assembly 4th District has heated up ” featuring Placer County Supervisor Ted Gaines, a Republican; technical writer Robert Haswell, a Democrat; author Michael Murphy for the Libertarians and retired social worker Jerry Fritts up for the Green Party.

Leslie, the Tahoe City Republican who is retiring after reaching term limits with the Assembly after the same in the Senate, has hand-picked Ted Gaines to carry on the widely GOP-controlled district.

The insurance broker who’s the father of six children said he’s talked to people who are looking for local government experience and want a business perspective to make state government fiscally responsible without burdening citizens with high taxes.

While appreciating the beauty of Lake Tahoe, the fifth-generation Roseville resident believes some have gone overboard with environmental initiatives that hurt the livelihoods and progress of the state’s citizens. For one, he cited the red-legged frog in Placer County as a “job killer.”

“I’d like to see the science back up the debate,” he said.

Gaines is for infrastructure and what he would consider responsible growth, he contends.

But Gaines’ opponents claim he’s a little too close to developers.

“People are tired of how much influence big money and big developers have taken. I want to be the representative to all folks,” Haswell said. He added he’s encouraged of his chances to win in a largely-entrenched Republican district by the inroads Tahoe’s District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago has made here.

Santiago, who energized the local Democrats in her race last June, has endorsed the Auburn man who grew up in the Truckee area. Haswell was in Tahoe last week.

“Rob is a person of integrity and extremely high ethics. He is very knowledgeable about the issues facing the Tahoe Basin and concerned about its future. He will be an advocate for us,” she said.

Neither Gaines or Haswell being the front-runners believe Fritts and Murphy would serve as significant spoilers to any one candidate in the coming election.

Although Fritts said he served as a state delegate to John F. Kennedy 40 years ago for the Democratic Party, the Sun City man joined the Green Party because the large two parties have contributed to citizens “losing our Democracy.”

“I’ve found the Democratic party has moved away from our core values. It’s contributed to the demise of grass roots participation,” he said.

What’s important to Fritts?

He lists campaign finance reform, mass transit and universal health care as three key platforms issues. For the latter, Fritts said he intends to help get a new initiative through the Legislature ” one that won’t be vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The writer with the Libertarian party may find his personal wishes conflict with those he would carry out for the people, but that’s OK, he said during a phone interview.

Case in point, Murphy is hearing the conservative district he’s campaigning in wants illegal immigration stopped by a fence at the border.

“I disagree with that, but it’s what the people want. I won’t vote (in the Assembly) based on what I want,” he said.

The Rocklin man is also against “accepting donations from developers and other special interests.”

Murphy encourages citizens to vote with their heart.

“Frankly, I don’t know if the public is ready for a third party,” he said.

District 4 encompasses a large area covering the West and North shores, South Lake Tahoe, Markleeville, Antelope, Auburn, Georgetown, Lincoln, Sun City, Rio Linda, Rocklin, Roseville, Placerville and Loomis.

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