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Philosophy vs. Incumbency in 57th District Campaign

October 30, 1986|BOB WILLIAMS | Times Staff Writer

Voters following the campaign in incumbent Democrat Dave Elder's 57th Assembly District are getting a full course in political and social philosophy from two senior-citizen opponents.

Republican Clair E. Barnes, a 68-year-old retired aircraft engineer from Long Beach, sees his campaign as a crusade to "restore biblical morality in government and the schools."

The schools, he says, are dominated now by secular humanism, which he sees as a state-sponsored religion that teaches children "situational ethics" and other "humanist doctrines" at the expense of traditional religious values.

On the government side, Barnes favors lower taxes, less government and swift justice for lawbreakers.

"Since I'm for swift justice, I can't be for (California Chief Justice) Rose Bird," he said.

Max Gundersheimer, a 75-year-old retired printer from Long Beach who is the Peace and Freedom Party candidate, opposes nuclear weapons and capitalism and is in favor of free national medical care and more government low-cost housing programs.

He supports gay rights and backs Bird's bid for retention.

Elder, 44, who is seeking his fifth term in the Assembly, has been particularly wary of the Bird issue, which he says has nothing to do with his job as a legislator. He prefers to talk about legislative issues that affect his constituents, such as more affordable housing for senior citizens.

Elder authored Proposition 60, a measure on Tuesday's ballot that would protect the elderly from reassessment at higher tax rates when they buy new homes.

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