Thursday, June 8, 2006
Brown’s Past Will Define A.G. Race, Poochigian Vows
By a MetNews Staff Writer
State Sen. Charles Poochigian yesterday vowed to make former Gov. Jerry Brown’s past the focus of their general election battle to become the state’s top lawyer.
“There will be a very significant percentage of people who will not vote for Jerry Brown under any circumstances because of his ideology and history,” Poochigian, R-Fresno, told the MetNews.
Poochigian made the comment the day after a primary election in which he was unopposed for the Republican nomination for attorney general and Brown emerged as his opponent for the Nov. 7 election.
“My challenge is to overcome I.D. recognition,” Poochigian said. “His challenge is to overcome his record. I can change my I.D. [recognition], but he cannot change his record.”
Brown, now mayor of Oakland, defeated Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo in the Democratic Party primary, receiving 63 percent of the vote.Delgadillo’s spokesman, Roger Salazar, said Delgadillo “ran a tough campaign,” adding, “We knew it was going to be an uphill battle, especially against someone with the name recognition of Jerry Brown. Delgadillo was able to bring a solid discussion of the issues before the voters, and he is grateful for that.”
Referring to Brown’s tenure as governor, Poochigian said that Brown “led California during a time when the criminal justice system was in disrepair.” Poochigian blamed some of that on Brown’s appointments to the bench, including “judges who were adamantly opposed to the death penalty.”
Poochigian said he expects public safety issues to be paramount in the upcoming campaign. Noting that the attorney general is often referred to as the “top cop,” he said the position involves a “broad range of duties, but clearly law enforcement is at the center of it.”
Poochigian said that he would like to partner with local law enforcement in an effort to combat crime. Brown, he said, has been a “very harsh critic of institutions that protect public safety.”
As attorney general, Poochigian said he would like to work with the Legislature in strengthening the sexually violent predator and identity theft laws. The state’s identity theft laws are wholly inadequate, he said.
“It’s very important to have the chief law enforcement officer . . . understand the importance in having stronger penalties for repeat offenders,” he said. “I would move to enhance penalties for felons with firearms.” He credited the Three-Strikes Law for a decrease in crime in a number of categories.
Poochigian explained that his hope is to become an Attorney General with “a reputation for being fair minded, judicious, taking the role seriously, and applying the law dispassionately.”
It’s “fair game” to point out the increase in crime in Oakland, Poochigian explained, because Brown has campaigned saying he will do for California what he has done for Oakland. If asked, “Are you safer in Oakland,” since Jerry Brown became mayor, “the answer is no,” Poochigian said.
A call to Brown’s campaign was not returned, but the candidate told The Associated Press, “I think voters are sick and tired of negative ads and extreme partisanship. I think I have a long record of support for the environment, women’s rights, independent mindedness and, more recently, being tough on crime.”
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company