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Ventura County Perspective

Amid the Acrimony, Can Fairness Prevail?

A simple philosophy, not party politics, should be the guide for newly elected officials.

November 26, 2000|WILLIAM H. THRASHER | William H. Thrasher lives in Oxnard

Fair is fair.

This a philosophical statement that many people and institutions live by. Throughout my 31 years as an educator, I displayed those words on a sign in my classroom and office. I used it as a guide when interacting with parents, students, colleagues and public agencies. Today it hangs on the file cabinet in my computer room.

Now that we are in a legal morass with respect to the presidential election, I hope that our next president and his cabinet will reflect that philosophy.

We Californians and, in particular, Ventura County residents hope we are the recipients of this fairness doctrine. Even though California supported Vice President Al Gore, Ventura County favored Bush by a slim majority. If Bush is our next president, will he be vindictive toward the Golden State? Or will he be selective in his line-item vetoes and reward our county for supporting him? Will our naval bases continue to receive needed funding?

Will newly reelected Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) continue to have influence in getting federal funds for his pet projects that endear him to his Republican constituents? The congressman has announced that he will again attempt to get Medicare funding increased for Ventura County hospitals. He has failed three times under House GOP leaders. Even though the Republicans controlled the House the legislation was subject to presidential veto because it was included in the national budget. The 2001 budget is at a stalemate over a number of issues.

In state government, while California voters overwhelmingly elected Democrats to guide the legislative agenda we in Ventura County chose Republicans such as Assemblyman Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) and state Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Northridge). What will that mean for us? Will these low-seniority representatives have any clout in Sacramento? Will they be able to help the local school districts win needed funds to build and modernize schools?

School districts in the West County are lobbying for funds to modernize or build new schools and acquire sites. With the Republican philosophy of local control, would these public servants assist the local districts?

I attended several forums where the state legislative candidates spoke. They said that they represented all the people in their district. They further stated that they would fight in Sacramento for needed funding and programs. They realized that they would be a minority but would work with those who had a different political philosophy and help our electorate.

With political acrimony in this country growing stronger every day, will "fair is fair" resonate in Washington, D.C., and in Sacramento? The application of this practical approach would affect us.

It remains to be seen if our legislative delegates can work with the majority party in Sacramento. Gallegly will be in the majority in Washington and should be in a position to help his constituents. I'm not sure if our chances for federal funding for local projects would be completed if the vice president is victorious. Then our federal representatives would be in the same situation that they were previously in.

This is where they would all have to adopt and implement the fair is fair doctrine.

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