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May-13-2010 19:54TweetFollow @OregonNews
Documentary Film Maker Sees Questions Filming California Governor's RaceRobert Lundahl for Salem-News.com
Let's hope Aguirre's platform doesn't go unheard. These are desperate times and "we the people" of California should hear everyone's ideas
(SAN DIEGO) - The candidate is poised in the sunlight in classic Birdwell surfer shorts, a cell phone connected with Larry King Live.
It is a typical scene from the San Diego compound where Richard Aguirre, candidate for Governor of the State of California, is launching what he calls "The Revolution for Solar Gold in California."
While Aguirre's look, ponytailed and frequently sporting vintage Lacoste velour shirts from the seventies, brings to the mind's eye the sparkling waters of the San Diego beachfront community of Sunset Cliffs where he lives, the image is supported by substance.
"It's all about the platform," Aguirre is fond of saying. And his platform, a rare enough modern example of meticulously organized thinking, is not only visionary, but just might be the revolution Aguirre envisions.
But I must digress. And I must offer a disclaimer. As a documentary film maker, I was hired to make a film on the Aguirre campaign by a third party. I am working on a "behind the scenes" story of how an ordinary guy runs for statewide office.
"Amazing" was a recent comment from a 18 year old campaign volunteer as Aguirre, physically fit and at his best, climbs ladders and posts signs in scores of locations in a single day in Sacramento.
Aguirre's platform calls for the State to go into business on behalf of the people to build low cost solar panels and put those panels on 10 million homes. There would be a one time assessment per home of $400. The people would get their power for free, and California would harvest the remainder and sell it into the commercial market.
The profits, which Aguirre puts at 3 billion/mo. are then to be used to fund the construction of desalination plants, and the electricity would be used to power them. The desal plants provide water in case of earthquake damage to the California Aquaduct and irrigate the Central Valley, providing a state subsidy for farming and cutting costs to farmers.
What's not to like? Aguirre's plan is neither Democratic nor Republican in spirit (although Aguirre is running as a Democrat). It makes money in a time of scarce resources, and relieves or eliminates the tax burden with 8-10 billion a month in revenues from power and water sales. And governments go into business all the time, they provide capital for sports stadiums, urban renovation, civic services and facilities. No big deal.
Then why is Richard Aguirre shunned by the party elite? I was filming when Aguirre called the State Democratic Convention, requesting a booth and was denied. I was filming too at the convention when Aguirre spoke before the Democratic Party Environmental Caucus and then was excluded on a rules change the following day by other caucus leaders. Media reps at various locations have indicated they don't cover campaigns without "Big Money." Filmed that too, but what what does it really mean? Wasn't the birth of democracy in Athens about everybody having the opportunity to speak in the amphitheater?
Then there's Brown, who in a series of episodes, played for comedy, dodges candidate Aguirre requesting a debate. Then Brown, startlingly, the next day uses Richard's argument from the podium, "There is only one reason not to debate... it's cynical, it's manipulative," in accosting Republican "presumptive nominee" Meg Whitman. Whitman's response to Brown that he should debate Aguirre first, as she had done with Poisner, received front page press on California papers and was hot talk on the blogs.
Why are the California Democratic Party and the mainstream media paying scant attention to the guy who wants to challenge the dominant economic role of power companies, many of whom have the credibility of Enron?
Why are they not paying attention to the guy who says, "no, don't let them generate your next $400 power bill, and then the next one after that, when a one time payment made means you'll never have to pay another electric or water bill again?" Are entrenched special interests behind the media's lack of interest?
The most important question though is, "What are the ground rules for candidate inclusion into the mainstream electoral process?" When traveling with Aguirre, the response by ordinary people is unbelievable. People towing rigs in truck stop parking lots, a Black Republican at the tire store, the Muni worker in San Francisco; after hearing the plan everybody wants to get onboard.
Aguirre concludes his conversation with Larry King Live in open negotiations to have the program and Larry King himself host a debate between the two Democratic primary candidates. Let's hope Aguirre's platform doesn't go unheard. These are desperate times and "we the people" of California should hear everyone's ideas. A debate is the only way to go.
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