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By Daniel Ritz

On April 30, close to 300 people gathered inside the Capo Beach Church for the Citizens 2018 49th Congressional District Tri-City Candidate Forum hosted by nonprofit groups Coalition to Save San Clemente, Capo Cares, and Advocates for Responsible Treatment.


Laurie Girand of Advocates for Responsible Treatment speaks to the crowd of almost 300 people during the event on April 30. Photo: Daniel Ritz

Featured in the forum were Democrats Mike Levin (San Juan Capistrano) and Douglas Applegate (San Clemente). The Republican representatives were Brian Maryott (San Juan

Capistrano) and Rocky Chavez (Oceanside).

The candidates were selected based on a recent polling data taken on the April 11 SurveyUSA Election Poll #23919. The forum was intended to be balanced, and if a candidate was unable to attend the next candidate was approached.

Toni Nelson, representing Capo Cares, introduced the event to the crowd as a forum where candidates would be able to focus on local issues as compared to former larger forums and debates concerned with federal scale issues more easily victim to party politics.

Candidates each had one minute to answer questions submitted from the community. Questions included local issues such as sober living homes, gun violence in schools, Homelessness and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Mike Levin was able to rile up the crowd on numerous occasions, making bold statements against assualt-style weapons and any form of toll-road extensions in South Orange County. Photo: Daniel Ritz

From his opening statement, and often afterwards, Mike Levin seemed to invoke passion from the crowd as he took clear stances against any form of Toll-Road extension, the immediate removal of nuclear waste from SONGS and all-out assault weapons ban.

Both Armed forces veterans, current front-runners Applegate and Chavez took considerably more middle-line approaches in their responses, including Applegate’s approach to declaring “patient brokering” in commercial recovery care residences a felony.

“Sure, you can criminalize it more and more, but let’s look at what that has done for the drug culture in America,” Applegate said. “We need to take a look at the underlying fundamental issues like opioid addiction and bio-tech solutions to addiction.

Maryott, repeatedly speaking on Republican momentum on the Federal level including numerous accolades for President Trump’s tax reform bill, spoke on the need for reform in Sacramento.

Brian Maryott, of San Juan. Photo: Daniel Ritz

“We brought this on ourselves,” Maryott reasoned, using the specific example of Proposition 47, passed by California voters in 2014, which classified some non-violent crimes to misdemeanors.

All of the candidates will compete in a top-two primary on June 5 and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the November general election on November 6. Stay tuned to for updates.

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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (3)

  • So first off, Applegate has been talking about SONGS long before Levin entered the race, and this article very clearly tries to make Levin look good.

    Anyone who thinks Levin is more progressive than Applegate is either in Levin’s corner or hasn’t done their research. Levin was bundling millions for Clinton (and declining to help Applegate in 2016) in a state she was always going to win, while Applegate was one of the few candidates in the country openly supporting Bernie Sanders when he came within 0.6% of beating Issa (the closest congressional race in the nation).

    If anything Applegate’s response to look at the causes of opioid addiction is more Progressive than what the mainstream of the Democratic Party is currently thinking. The scale of recovery care and mental health care we’d need in the US to address this can only be done with Medicare-for-all which Applegate has supported since before is was cool for Democrats to say following 2016.

    Levin can not be allowed to represent anyone. His campaign has bullied and threatened clubs who don’t endorse him, threatened the political futures of a few club leaders, and has attacked Democratic Party endorsement delegates in effort to achieve the State Party endorsement.

    I can provide one witness statement here

    A joint statement by local groups and the Progressive Caucus of the state Democratic Party which has been covered by the LA Times

    And a letter that the assembly for the county party had to send to the State Party naming both Levin and his campaign manager for attacking the endorsement delegates which has been covered by the Voice of San Diego

    I hope the editorial staff will be wiser before hyping-up Levin next time.

  • Between working for Countrywide Loans to foreclose on families from the district who were victims of predatory lending, claiming to be an environmentalist when the technology he promoted relied on fracked gas, accepting hefty donations and mailers from a notorious union buster and charter school advocate, purging eleven popularly elected Democratic delegates who don’t support him, doubling down on the slander and mudslinging of Issa, harassing and bullying club members to vote for him, his campaign has been horrible.

    He has divided Democrats in the district, not united. Considering the indivisible theme that was meant to unite us in opposition to Trump, his campaign has done just the opposite.

    Our local Democratic clubs know him best, and in an unprecedented move, seven have ranked him unacceptable for the reasons mentioned above, and related to his fake environmentalism, the local San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action did not endorse him, but instead gave a resounding almost 3 to 1 endorsement to Doug Applegate who supports 100% renewables in ten years. No progressive Democratic Club in the district has endorsed him. His endorsements from caucuses in DC reflect connections from Washington insiders, as local Democratic clubs see him as a fake environmentalist and a fake progressive.

  • I was an attendee at the debate. Your article states, “From his opening statement, and often afterwards, Mike Levin seemed to invoke passion from the crowd as he took clear stances against any form of Toll-Road extension, the immediate removal of nuclear waste from SONGS and all-out assault weapons ban.”….

    It should be noted that the debate organizers requested that applause be held until after the candidates closing statements, and the supporters of three other candidates complied. I do think its unfortunate that your article seemingly rewards that lack of courtesy by the people backing Mike Levin.

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