Three challenge Rich Gordon in Assembly race


As Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, asks District 24 residents to send him back to the state Assembly for another two years, three challengers with no experience in elective politics are telling voters they can do a better job representing their interests in Sacramento.

It's a near certainty that Mr. Gordon, a first-term incumbent assemblyman and former three-term San Mateo County supervisor with wide name recognition, will be the top vote-getter in the June primary. But even so, under California's open primary rules, one of the three challengers will also win a spot on the November ballot.

On the June 5 ballot in addition to Mr. Gordon are Chengzhi "George" Yang, 35, of Menlo Park, a Republican and a software engineer; Joseph Antonelli Rosas, 22, of Sunnyvale, a network security adviser who has no party affiliation; and Geby Espinosa, 47, of Mountain View, a Democrat and a small business owner.

Mr. Gordon, 63, now represents District 21, which includes Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, and Palo Alto. But with the impending redistricting of the state, the same area will become part of District 24. The district has been reshaped to encompass areas including Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and most of the San Mateo County coastside from El Granada south.

Rich Gordon

Asked why voters should return him to Sacramento, Mr. Gordon cites his effectiveness during the year and a half he has served. In the last year, he said, 15 of the 19 bills he sponsored have been signed into law. "That's the highest percentage in the Legislature," he said, adding that many of the bills achieved bipartisan support.

He singled out two of those bills for the spotlight: One that authorized financial incentives to create more plastic bottle remanufacturing -- and related jobs -- in the state; and another that allowed the locally based Midpeninsula Open Space District to extend its borrowing capacity from 20-year loans to 30-year loans, which allowed it to restructure its bond package "for a huge savings this year," he said.

Mr. Gordon said that funding for the financial incentives for plastic remanufacturing already exists through the program that charges consumers 5 cents per plastic bottle at the time of purchase. With the incentive program, at least one new plastic remanufacturing plant has opened in Riverside, with 120 new jobs, and more are likely to appear, he said.

The program allows businesses in the state to compete with China, where most plastic bottles are now remanufactured, then shipped back to the United States, Mr. Gordon said.

A Menlo Park resident, Mr. Gordon said he wants to continue his sojourns to Sacramento to continue working on key issues he has focused on since arriving in December 2010: government reform to fix the dysfunction of the Legislature; and the state's fiscal health.

"We've got to make sure that what should be our number one priority -- education -- gets the funding it deserves."

Geby Espinosa

Entering the race with no civic or political experience, Ms. Espinosa said she's running for the Assembly seat because she's concerned about the poor economy and the number of bankruptcies in the state.

She said she wants to work to improve government and society in the areas of education, the right to work, term limits for the U.S. Congress, and the economy. Her platform also includes support for "the right to bear arms," she said.

One remedy for the economy: "Let the farmers grow hemp," she said. "From hemp, we can get the taxes and create jobs. California becomes a leader in the nation."

Ms. Espinosa is co-owner of The Contenders Gym in Mountain View.

Joseph Antonelli Rosas

Education and "getting the money out of politics" are Mr. Rosas' top priorities, he said. If elected, he would push for increasing funding for the University of California and California State University systems by $500 million each, increase community college funding by $200 million, and increase K-12 school funding by $6.1 billion.

"I will also ensure that this money goes to the students," he said. "I will propose that we cap school officials' salaries."

To pay for these measures, he would ask voters to approve income tax increases of 1 percent to 3 percent on families with incomes above $500,000. Another proposal: "Require the annual reassessment of non-residential property for tax purposes," and eliminate the current loopholes allowing businesses to sell property without triggering a reassessment.

Regarding his other priority, Mr. Rosas said: "Money has an undue influence on our political system. Not only do campaign contributions influence politicians, but all the spending on advertising for ballot measures corrupts that system as well."

Mr. Rosas' civic experience includes being a youth leader in Peninsula Interfaith Action; leadership in local California Common Cause and Democracy Matters citizens groups; and participating in the Occupy San Jose movement.

Chengzhi "George" Yang

Mr. Yang said he's running for the Assembly seat because, "as a father of two kids, I want them to inherit from us a California where the schools excel, UCs are affordable, and the state budget is stable."

Listing education and the state budget as the top two issues he would work on if elected, he said: "We should focus on fostering a desire to learn in our students. To that end, we must be willing to explore using new technologies, new systems, as well as new methods in teaching."

Regarding the state budget, he said: "We must stop the boom and bust cycles of state budgeting. One way to achieve it is to tie compensation of public servants to (the) median salary factored by the unemployment rate so state spending will rise and fall with economic cycles.

"It will also give public servants a financial incentive to serve the interest of the public."

Mr. Yang's prior civic experience was as chair of the San Bruno Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Compared to what amounts to a not very illustrious 1.5 years this other Mr. Gordon other than his "sojourns to Sacramento" in order to continue his work with plastic bottles (not an issue for the average unemployed person in his district) and created jobs in RIVERSIDE! while speaking about the importance of education????How do these bottle manufacturing help employment? And his "mid Peninsula and his bill "resructuring for bond issues" which do not affect the average citizen in the Mid Peninsula but helps those 1% per centers who have benefited from his 'cooperation' with the very rich folk when he was supervisor and not at all liked by those in areas outside of Woodside and Atherton who saw him as innefectual before winning handily the position of assemblyman through help from those whom he extended a lot of favors as Supervisor.He was available for photo ops but not for meetings in those years he served and ignored major issues for the coastal communities.He calls himself a Democrat is more known for his legal marriage before Obama made it legal between two men and with ambitions similar to some who are still getting the boot in Washington.
With JP Morgan Chase's failure today, the days of big business do not have any place either in local politics or on Wall St. or politics.
Any one of his opponents running against him, sound like they are genuinely concerned and dedicated for the state, its people, and most of all, education and the right to work.
Mr.Gordon does make it sound as if his efforts are aimed at big business more than a goal for the everyman. He obviously has his eye set on higher office, but sounds out of character when he adds that his interest is also education and should be "our number one priority". What has he done in that area while he has his sojourns involving plastic bottles and China. Frivolous is not a strong enough word to describe his effectiveness.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Maybe it's time to send somebody besides Democrats to Sacramento.

They control both houses of the Assembly and the governor's office, and projections are for even more of a deficit than anticipated in January. I am tired of government (at any level) spending more than it receives. You and I couldn't do that. I also don't want to have to make up the shortfall by paying more taxes just because officials can't manage the money properly. And I'm tired of excuses and blame games.

If they can't manage a small amount of money, why would I trust them with more?

It's time for a change. Tell them to stop spending money on frivolous items.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Don't vote for anyone that has taken union money or union endorsements. Especially public employees unions. If we all do that Rich Gordon WON'T be reelected.

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Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm

It is time for a true change in Sacramento, Rosas got my vote, he has specific ideas which can help the majority of Californians. Gordon needs to go!

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Posted by joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 13, 2012 at 11:47 pm

It seems like Mr. Gordon may be trying to do the same as his former colleague Jerry Hill -- Board of Supervisors and Assembly. Mr. Hill is now running for State Senate. Will Mr. Gordon try and follow suit?

It's time for some fresh blood in Sacramento rather than having politicians move from elected job to elected job especially since what's broken continues to get worse.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on May 28, 2017 at 10:57 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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