'Feet to the Fire' brings out the fight in candidates [corrected]

Allan Mansoor, Leslie Daigle and Bob Rush debate several topics, with the event turning personal at moments.

April 05, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • Candidates for the 74th Assembly District, from left, Leslie Daigle and Allan Mansoor talk over one another as they address questions during a Feet to the Fire forum in Costa Mesa Thursday, April 5.
Candidates for the 74th Assembly District, from left,… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

The 74th Assembly District candidates raked each other over the coals during the "Feet to the Fire" panel Thursday night.

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, and Newport Beach businessman and Democrat Bob Rush debated about how they would represent Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Huntington Beach if elected to the state legislature.

[An earlier version of this story referred to Bob Rush as Hill on second reference.]

Though technically not an incumbent because of the newly redrawn 74th District, Mansoor sought to set himself apart from his two opponents by talking up his experience the past two years in Sacramento.

His biggest accomplishment, he said, was getting a pension reform bill out of a committee, though it died before ever becoming law. Lawmakers are obstinate up there, he said, and expressed frustration at how difficult it is to reform California.

Mansoor painted himself as the establishment candidate. He signed a pledge to not raise taxes, supported tempered development on Newport Beach's Banning Ranch, and maintained that many of the district's local issues — specifically the 19th Street bridge between Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach — should remain local issues.


Daigle, meanwhile, sought the middle ground.

"The way to get things done is not to vote no," she said. "The way to get things done is to work together to find true solutions."

Daigle repeatedly suggested compromising on a host of issues, from development on Banning Ranch and finding an alternative to the 19th Street Bridge (which the Newport Beach City Council supports), to regulating rehab homes.

Rush tried to capitalize on his argument that he is an outsider when the debate took a personal turn: Mansoor brought up a controversial exchange Daigle had with a security guard years ago.

Daigle reportedly threw her weight around as a Newport Beach City Councilwoman and threatened to have a Latino security guard deported and suggested he must be from Costa Mesa.

"There were incidents I could've handled better," she said. "On my public policy record, I have not done anything adverse to anyone else."

She fired back at Mansoor, accusing him of being anti-immigrant and stifling free speech — a reference to a federal lawsuit against him and the city related to a Costa Mesa City Council speaker in 2006.

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