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Gotch’s Experience Gives Him the Edge Over Marston

Two intelligent, articulate candidates are competing in the June 5 special election to fill the vacancy in the 78th Assembly District--and the similarities between Mike Gotch and Jeff Marston don’t end there. Though Gotch is a liberal Democrat and Marston a moderate Republican, voters will have a difficult time telling the candidates apart.

Both support abortion rights and capital punishment and strongly oppose offshore oil drilling. Both deem an increase in the county’s dismal share of state revenue their top priority. Both are against development of the proposed De Anza resort on the shores of Mission Bay.

The difference between Gotch and Marston, in an election whose victor will be casting votes in the Assembly perhaps a month after the election, is that Gotch has a proven record of legislative achievement in eight years as a San Diego city councilman. Marston’s only government experience is as an aide to former U.S. Sen. S.I. Hayakawa and San Diego Councilwoman Gloria McColl.

Voters should elect Gotch to the Assembly from the 78th District, which stretches from Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach on the coast, inland to Miramar Naval Air Station, south to downtown San Diego and east to East San Diego.

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Gotch brings to the race an environmental record that Marston cannot match. Gotch championed the successful campaign for the 1985 ballot initiative that restricted development in the city’s urban reserve. He has served on the state Coastal Commission. He opposed the SANDER trash-to-energy facility. He is a longtime ally of the city’s environmentalists. The redevelopment of Mission Beach Park was not the blunder that Gotch’s opponents would make it out to be.

Marston, in contrast, has no record of his own and worked most recently for McColl, a generally pro-development councilwoman with an unenviable environmental record. Though his work as a staffer is by all accounts commendable, and his enthusiasm undeniable, he does not show Gotch’s grasp of the specifics on some issues.

Gotch would take eight years of experience on the council to Sacramento, where he would join the Democratic majority that controls both houses. (Under the rules for the June 5 contest, voters will mark two ballots--one for the special election, and a second in the primary for the November election.)

We are troubled, however, by the campaign mailer Gotch sent to 40,000 homes the weekend before the April 10 primary, misidentifying the party affiliation of chief Democratic rival Howard Wayne. Gotch’s aides called the mistake a typographical one. We wonder.

On balance, however, Mike Gotch deserves to be elected in the 78th Assembly District.


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