The battle to replace Sam Blakeslee in the state Assembly, which heretofore has played out as a Democrat-Republican struggle, had an unexpected visitor at a forum at Cuesta College on Monday night.
Libertarian Paul Polson weighed in from Afghanis-tan, where it was roughly 6:30 a.m. A carpenter, he is working as a contractor there.
Polson has been on the ballot all year but has been unable to attend campaign events for the 33rd Assembly District battle. Cuesta provided an audio link allowing Polson to participate with Democrat Hilda Zac-arias and Republican Katcho Achadjian.
Polson told the roughly 15 people present at Monday’s forum, moderated by the local League of Women Voters, that his chief concern is that elected office holders have stopped listening to their constituents. He said he wants to turn that around.
Polson also stressed the need for local control, and the importance of people getting involved at the community level.
As he has in previous debates, Achadjian stressed his experience on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and as a businessman. He owns gas stations in Arroyo Grande.
Zacarias cited her years on the Santa Maria school board and City Council, as well as her background as both a community organizer and an accountant. She reiterated her commitment to having individuals and groups work together to solve community problems, rather than breaking into partisan factions.
On specific issues:
Achadjian said he supports a user fee at Montaña de Oro and other state parks, a position with which Polson agreed. Zacarias opposes the fee.
Achadjian said he supports oil drilling off California’s coast, adding that today’s technology makes it safe. The question, he said, is where to drill. He did not name a location he considers appropriate.
Zacarias said, “I have not, nor will I ever” support drilling off California’s coast, and said the government should instead be exploring wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. Polson agreed with her.
Zacarias supported lowering the two-thirds requirement needed to pass a state budget and school bond measures. Achadjian and Polson want that requirement kept in place.