8-26-03

Courtesy of the Arcata Eye, Arcata CA.

 

Local gubernatorial candidate speaks out on issues

 

By Lynette Mullen

Eye Correspondent

While Arnold Schwarzenegger consults with his billionaire advisor and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante increases his media coverage, local Natural Law Party candidate and chemistry teacher Darin Price readies for the Humboldt State University fall semester.

Price entered the gubernatorial race to draw attention to North Coast issues but said he takes his candidacy seriously. This week the Eye takes a look at where he stands on some of the other topics making headlines in the recall election.

The economy

“This whole [recall] situation is happening because our economy has been declining. Those in charge must always remember, it is always the economy that must come first,” Price said.

Though Price said he is against the recall, he is a strong advocate for economic change. “I believe that $99 billion in taxes is enough money to have all of the programs we want without new taxes… The solution to every problem is not always to just throw more money at it.”

To address our economic woes, Price said, Sacramento must create incentives to draw and retain private enterprise. He added that the state currently has the highest tax rate in the nation, creating little incentive to stay or relocate here. “We need to give tax breaks to businesses coming to California,” Price said. “Maybe a 50 percent break the first year, a 40 percent break the second year, etc. Right now we are getting no income from those businesses… Half the taxes are better than zero.” Price also pointed out that when businesses pull out, they take jobs with them. “This means we have less people employed and paying taxes.”

Price also wants to reestablish California’s financial credibility to increase the state’s bond and credit rating and lower the interest expense on state-issued bonds.

Epiphany

“I had an epiphany,” Price said. “We have 120 people in Sacramento who work all day every day creating new laws and regulations… We don’t need more laws.”

Instead, Price recommends concentrating on increasing efficiency and eliminating fiscal waste and fraud, especially with Medi-Cal and the state-run unemployment agencies. The candidate recently overheard a conversation among a group of “Young, intelligent, creative people. Apparently they were getting benefits from Alaska, collecting unemployment in California, and planning a trip using frequent flyer miles to go to Washington State to collect state unemployment there.” The trick to fraud, Price overheard, was to stay off the federal radar by not requesting food stamps. “We could set up ways for states to communicate to prevent these types of situations,” Price said.

Environment

Price said just talking about protecting the environment isn’t enough. “Many politicians drive SUVs [sport utility vehicles] and other vehicles that get terrible gas mileage. I have always driven cars that get over 30 miles per gallon… I believe we must protect our environment because clean water and air is vital for all living things.”

But Price doesn’t want more environmental laws, either. “We don’t need more laws, but we need to strictly enforce the ones we have. For example, if the Department of Forestry would force timber companies to follow the laws when developing timber harvest plans, we wouldn’t have the problems we do now.”

The candidate also believes that environmental protection must be balanced with the right of landowners to use their land in useful and productive ways. “As long as they do not negatively impact other property or wildlife,” he added.

Health care

Health care has many problems, Price observed, and he doesn’t have the answers. Yet.

“If the greatest minds haven’t been able to solve these problems, I can’t solve it singlehandedly,” he said. Price plans to meet with physicians in the coming weeks to discuss skyrocketing health care costs and related issues.

The candidate recently did the math and realized that the cost of his family’s health care coverage exceeds the amount of his mortgage. “And costs are only going higher... I also know that the unprecedented increase in health care costs and insurance premiums must be addressed so that people can get health care and the prescription medicines they need without having to choose between their health and food, heat or even bankruptcy.” 

Though much has been said recently about increasing regulation to drive down costs, Price wants to believe the answer lies in a free market system. “Competition creates opportunities for creative individuals who have a desire to make something and want to work hard. Like the farmers at the Farmers’ Market. They are independent, living the way they want. Most of the time the free market works. But,” Price conceded, “Health care is messed up. It has become more expensive and less efficient in private hands.” Price said the answer may lie with a compromise between public and private programs. “Maybe we could use the Costco approach, where the state could buy medications in bulk,” he said. “And a single payer system; a plan that pays providers a state rate… Doctors deserve to make a good living and most are not getting rich. We just need to find some middle ground that provides at least a minimal amount of care.”

As seen on TV

At the writing of this report, Price was in Sacramento filming a half-hour interview on the California Channel – California’s version of C-SPAN. The California Channel appears on channel 10 locally, though Price will have to view himself away from home – he doesn’t get cable.

Price said that so far, reporters from publications like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times seem more interested in his recreational activities than his political views. “They think I’m quirky, because I go fishing and golfing… It seems they believe a serious candidate wouldn’t do those things.”

“But I’m not a politician,” Price said. “I’m a teacher.”

Darin to take a stand

Next week, Price shares his views on gun control, the death penalty, education and abortion.

For more information on local gubernatorial candidate Darin Price, visit his website at www.priceforgov.com. He can also be reached by e-mail at vote@priceforgov.com or phone at (707) 616-5382.