Chad Mayes the best pick for voters in 'friendly' 42nd Assembly race
It could be a perfectly delightful dinner party.
Based on the hour-long Editorial Board candidate interview session with 42nd Assembly District incumbent Republican Chad Mayes and Democrat DeniAntoinette Mazingo, including both on the guest list for such a soirée could put it well on its way to success.
When it comes to the Assembly race in the 42nd District — which covers a big part of the Coachella Valley into the high desert and west to about Calimesa and southwest to the Hemet area — Mayes is the hands down pick between these two rivals who genuinely seem to like and respect each other.
Mayes brings experience and a solid record of working across the aisle with his constituents’ best interests at heart to this campaign for a third term.
We endorsed Mayes’ re-election bid in 2016, saying it was vital for desert-area residents to return the then-Assembly Republican Leader to office. Tossing out one of the so-called “Big Five” leaders at the Capitol would have been foolish.
He went on to beat his Democratic challenger by 15 points, but soon after fell from grace over Republican Party anger due to his cooperation with Democrats on cap-and-trade renewal legislation.
Mayes wrenched some key concessions from Gov. Jerry Brown in exchange for his support and that of a few other Republicans. Those concessions weren’t enough to stave off what quickly led to Mayes losing his leadership post.
That was wrong, and we took Republicans to task for their draconian “purity test” maneuvers to topple him.
Despite this internal party takedown, Mayes remains the leader we lauded after seeing the results of his first term.
Mayes, who showed his potential early when he was elected mayor of Yucca Valley at age 27, displays the best attributes of public service through his bipartisan efforts.
His desert-area Assembly colleague, Coachella Democrat Eduardo Garcia, noted more than once in his own candidate interview session with the Editorial Board that Mayes has been an ally on valley issues. Among other items, Mayes and Garcia worked together to secure $3 million in the governor’s budget for the California State University San Bernardino-Palm Desert campus and have collaborated on environmental issues such as the Salton Sea.
Another example of Mayes’ work for his district: Including specific language in the Legislature’s $4 billion water and parks bond measure approved by voters in June that tailors a $22 million grant for an aquatics center specifically for Yucca Valley.
In a brutally partisan time in America, it’s refreshing to see Mayes’ efforts to bolster the dwindling California Republican Party’s political fortunes though the “New Way California” drive with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that seeks to moderate the GOP’s message and policy moves.
California is solidly blue and has thrived under the leadership of a somewhat fiscally conservative Jerry Brown. Still, a responsible “opposition party” to counter some of the Democrats’ potential excesses under de facto one-party rule is a needed safety valve.
While you won’t mistake Mayes’ positions as those of a liberal by any means, his ideas for tackling issues ranging from housing affordability to fixing state roads even as voters consider repealing a year-old fuel tax and vehicle fee hike are rooted in what is practical, not pure political dogma.
On housing, Mayes suggests streamlining the California Environmental Quality Act to cut red tape hindering affordable housing development. CEQA, he says, adds years and tens of thousands of dollars to the process of building housing stock and discourages builders from considering lower-cost homes that families can afford. We’ve heard similar messages from candidates on both sides of the aisle, so it appears room for compromise is there.
As far as the Proposition 6 “gas tax repeal,” Mayes voted against SB1 that imposed the $5 billion-plus annual package. If voters pass the repeal, Mayes says the Legislature must waste no time finding a solution for the sudden loss of funds — including possibly convening in special session. He’d like to see a closer look at all state receipts related to transportation and how growing use of electric vehicles will continue to shrink gas and diesel tax collections that fund road work.
Though we’ve said voters should reject Proposition 6, we like Mayes’ record of conservative views not hardened against common sense compromise.
By her own account during our session, Mazingo is trying to get up to speed on being a candidate and what it would mean to be in the Legislature.
A lawyer who used to practice in Washington D.C. before moving to Hemet after her mother became ill in 2011, Mazingo says she has been focusing her volunteer work on women’s issues and is a member of the Riverside County Commission for Women. She was named Riverside County Woman of the Year in 2016.
Among her priorities: A head-on approach to tackling homelessness.
Mazingo believes community groups helping the homeless with services and meals, such as Well in the Desert in Palm Springs, should get greater support. In the bigger picture, Mazingo, like Mayes, says increasing educational opportunities will help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Another interesting suggestion from Mazingo: Working with local governments to convert crumbling buildings into housing.
On the all-important issue of water in drought-plagued California and the lack of safe drinking water many residents live with every day, including in our desert region, Mazingo said state voters must approve Proposition 3, the $8.9 billion water bond on the ballot, which this Editorial Board and others oppose as a giveaway to backers who drew it up and would benefit from it most. She also insisted California must institute even tougher regulations on water.
California’s official stance already proclaims that there is a “human right to safe water.” Mayes’ ideas on setting aside a portion of the General Fund, 2 percent, for infrastructure and helping small water agencies finance system upgrades they can’t attempt on their own are much more concrete solutions.
Our take: Mayes is the clear winner in this tilt between mutually celebrated “friends.”
Re-elect Mayes as 42nd District Assembly member on Nov. 6.
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