Editor’s note: On Oct. 15, Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone and current candidate for the state Senate’s 28th District spoke to the Town Crier on a variety of issues from the campaign. The first part of the interview is last week’s issue of the Town Crier. That article includes questions about education policy and prison realignment between the state and counties.
Stone feels strongly that independent expenditures supporting and opposing candidates should be curbed. He favors increasing the campaign contributions limits, but requiring all political contributions to be identified and directed to the candidates in the race.
While this is not Stone’s first attempt to earn a state Senate seat, this campaign with former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia is closer and more acrimonious than his 2010 primary race against Assemblyman Joel Anderson for the then southwest Riverside County District 36 Senate seat, which includes a significant portion of San Diego County.
This year, substantially more independent expenditures have gone toward supporting Garcia than helping Stone. Stone described this result as “special interests going with the one who they perceive will further their mission.
“We need campaign reform in California. Right now an individual can give $4,100 to my campaign during the primary and another $4,100 during the general election,” he said. “But independent expenditures have no limit.”
Stone recommends that these independent expenditures be limited to the same as individuals and go directly into the campaign’s coffers. “So you truly see who’s supporting each candidate,” he added.
“I don’t do politics because I need a job. I feel very independent; so it’s about David vs. Goliath, the special interests who burden the taxpayers.”
Role of the Brown Act
“I strongly support the Brown Act,” Stone said. The Brown Act is one of California’s open government laws. “The public has a right to know what public officials are doing.”
Stone urged greater application of the Brown Act concepts for state agencies and government. “If it’s good enough for local governments, maybe for the state, too,” he recommended.
Stone believes the state bureaucracy is holding down the state economy. “We need to decrease state spending to start the economy and decrease taxes.” He said.
He will recommend reducing state employment 20 percent through attrition and consolidation of overlapping agencies. His example was the Board of Equalization and State Franchise Tax Board.
The estimated savings, in Stone view, would approach $5 billion annually, including savings from fewer pension liabilities.
In his proposal, Stone would put much of the savings into a rainy day fund for years when state revenues are falling. “I will support Proposition 2,” he said. “It’s a good start.”
The state finances are an impediment to the state’s growth, according to Stone. For example, he argues that overall state taxes is an important reason for businesses not investing in California, such as Tesla Motors’ decision to build its new $5 billion battery factory in Nevada.
“It’s a devastation, a travesty to lose Tesla,” Stone lamented. “We can’t have a bad attitude toward business.”
Hemet Fire Department
Stone said he sits in on meetings with the cities of Hemet and San Jacinto with Riverside County officials. “While I try not to get involved in city politics, there have been discussions about unified police force and fire districts in order to take advantage of economies of scale.”
Adding paramedics to the Hemet Fire Department has been one policy Stone has long urged and is glad to see progressing. “This is in the best interest of Hemet citizens,” he said.
If that policy is implemented, he supports the citizen’s referendum, which is being formed