Listening to all the political pundits on television, it's good to hear independents are shaping the 2000 presidential election. It strikes me as odd, however, to hear George W. Bush complaining about John McCain "reaching out to independents, as if independence was a bad thing. If it is, why then do we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th? Let's face it, the dismantling of old political distinctions is actually a good thing.
Case in point is my conversation with Ed Estes Jr. who is running for the 74th District State Assembly seat. Considering there is no Green Party member running, it is my job as an environmentally responsible voter, to select the candidate who offers the best possibility for environmentally sensitive leadership in Sacramento. After speaking to Ed Estes, at great length, I decided that of all the contenders vying for this office, the Vista City Councilman was the best possible choice.
Granted, he would not be my first choice, and that we have major differences, such as his continued support of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. But we do agree on some things, such as the belief that NAFTA does not adequately address environmental concerns. Appealing to me as a voter, Ed's pro-choice position recognizes that "the only way to stop abortion is through education" tells me that candidate Estes is not your typical Republican.
Another place we agree is the understanding that "economics must be balanced with the environment" his words not mine," and that "government has the responsibility to insure that special interests receive no free lunch," this I assume includes development interests. Candidate Ed Estes also told me that one of his main priorities is to secure money to accomplish a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report for the Los Angeles to San Diego Rail corridor. Something that the North County Transit District is currently unwilling to do.
We also talked about the need for an elected regional infrastructure and transportation agency. We talked about termed out legislators, the importance of mass transit in our gridlocked region, and how "You can't pave over pollution." Speaking with an earnestness, Ed Estes was quite adamant that dealing with our waste, both solid and sewage, is the biggest challenge facing San Diego County. This is due to the fact that we are producing too much of both, and exceeding all limits of sustainability.
Another Republican candidate that I proudly support is Third District Supervisor Pam Slater. An effective leader if ever there was one, Supervisor Slater's environmental records is so good she is the rare Republican endorsed by both the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. Time, and time again, Supervisor Slater has proven that a healthy economy does not have to come at the expense of the environment, or our quality of life.
In my humble opinion, Pam Slater and Ed Estes Jr., are true examples of compassionate conservatives, because they understand that communities can not thrive in a region that is plagued by environmental degradation. They also understand that no amount of asphalt, cement, sea walls, or freeways, will restore our beaches,coastal lagoons, or river valleys. North San Diego County has some difficult decisions to make in the next few years, and as an environmentalist I will feel a great deal better knowing that these two officials are providing leadership.
Now I'm sure some will say, "Bob, as a member of the Green Party you should be supporting Green candidates." To which I would reply, "I am, They just happen to be "Green" Republicans."