Two candidates vying to replace Governor Gavin Newsom–Doug Ose and Diego Martinez–spoke to members of the Mendocino County Republicans at Ukiah’s Jensen’s Restaurant on Saturday.
Doug Ose and Diego Martinez both brand themselves as Republicans, but their styles and sentiments represent divergent factions of California’s GOP. Doug Ose’s California political credentials run deep. He served as the representative for the 3rd Congressional District from 1999-2005 and was publicly considering a run for Governor in 2018.
In comparison, Diego Martinez represents the outsider candidate. With a resume including being a bounty hunter, a bail bondsman, and a car dealership manager, Martinez leaned on his unique background and experience to disrupt the more staid side of the California GOP.
Ose, dressed in a blue blazer and khakis, told the audience he was running for governor because in his assessment “this state is in shambles.” He provided a laundry list of grievances including Governor Newsom’s approach towards homelessness. He called recent attempts to address the crisis “band-aids.” He also levied the claim against Newsom’s criminal justice policies saying that they were le ading to more criminals being on California’s streets.
Ose seemed to hit his stride when addressing water infrastructure and the drought. He told attendees that the California State government has “refused to do what voters wanted them to do” since the passing of Proposition 1 in 2014. He said this proposition set aside $2.7 billion for new facilities to store and convey water. Instead of dams raised or reservoirs built, Ose said that the state has done nothing but “study the projects to death.”
Regarding cannabis, Ose gave ground and accepted California voters had decided it was here to stay. His big issue with cannabis is the state’s “lack of clarity on a regulatory structure.” Though he considers himself “a big local control guy,” the state’s lack of consistent and cohesive cannabis regulations has led to the state being “overwhelmed by people who refuse to follow the regulatory structure. People that are refusing to are setting up grow sites in public lands, herbicide, or environmental impacts. just enforce the damn law.”
Diego Martinez, dressed in a black, screen-printed shirt bearing his name and a pair of jeans, told the Mendocino County Republicans about his background reenergizing a failing car dealership in Eureka, and running a profitable bail bond company. Citing his background in business, Martinez characterized the state of California as a “failing business” that he could make profitable once again.
Martinez also questioned his opponent Doug Ose’s background in politics. He claimed it was “time for some new blood” and pointed towards Ose as part of the status quo that led California to the state it is in now.
Like Ose, Martinez slammed Governor Newsom’s policies regarding criminal justice going so far as to say, if elected Governor, he would charge Los Angeles County’s controversial District Attorney George Gascón with accessory to murder. Marinez claimed lax policies of criminal justice have led to further deaths.
Regarding cannabis, Martinez said the first impediment to stable regulation of the plant was the fact it is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. He also pointed towards a patchwork of regulations interfering with what he considered to be an industry that could bring “employment and revenue to the state.” However, he specifically condemned policies that allow for cannabis to be grown in backyards proposing instead that cannabis be zoned industrial and kept away from neighborhoods.
Martinez argued that California’s solution to the water crisis was in the hands of desalination technologies and water storage infrastructure. He said that on Day 1 of his term as governor he would order two unused desalination plants in Southern California to start pumping throughout the state.
When asked how he would represent the rural counties of California as governor, Martinez said he has shared similar sentiments with residents of rural areas as he had worked in them and hailed from them himself. He pointed towards rural California’s lack of representation in state legislative bodies that create circumstances where “laws are made for us that don’t apply to us and change our way of living.”
Though the two candidates were clearly dissimilar when it came to their credentials and approach, both Ose and Martinez took aim at California’s current homelessness, criminal justice, and water crisis to advance their campaigns and discredit Governor Gavin Newsom,