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November 1998
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Forget the Dolph and Gray Show, Check Out the Little Guys

By Greg Lucas Chronicle Sacramento Bureau Sacramento, October 18, 1998

Seems appalling that in a gloriously diverse state of 33 million people, our two choices for governor are the aptly named Gray Davis and Dolph Lungren, bold crimefighter of the current economic uptick.

Two aging white guys engaged in a dumb and dumber series of expensive television ads, trying to prove who is manliest about the death penalty.

Enough already.

There is a reason why we are cornered in this hold-your-nose-and-vote box canyon.

The Big Dogs have chased the puppies away from the food dish.

Five other candidates want to be California’s governor. We won't be giving any of them the oath of office in January.

And it's not because they're kooky denizens of downtown Loonville.

As with most yucky things in society, part of the blame rests with the swarming vermin news media.

Why would newspapers want to waste valuable filler between the advertisements and the photos to alert potential voters that there are actually candidates of substance with novel--sometimes inspiring--positions on issues far more real than cutting taxes and executing bad guys?

Nope, we are content to do one story an election cycle on the "little guys," and we have exercised our responsibility.

And of course, Dolph and Gray don't want the little guys invited to their sterile Truman Show debates.

The two of them are lame enough on their own without suffering further comparison with other candidates.

Last Monday, the five minor party candidates debated each other in a lecture hall at Chapman University in Orange County.

They didn't sound like children on a playground challenging each other to a fight after school by the tetherball courts. There was no eyepoking, no speaking over the other. Dr. Harold Bloomfield, the Natural Law Party candidate, even hugged three of the other candidates during a break after urging members of the audience to hug three of their compatriots.

Doc Bloomfield, a psychiatrist with a national reputation promoting the use of herbs--instead of pharmaceuticals--to make people well, allowed that the crowd at this debate, comprised mostly of already sympathetic listeners, was the largest he had encountered throughout his entire campaign.

Generally, the arrival of a reporter is greeted with about the same enthusiasm as a case of hives.

Yet for possibly the first time in my alleged career, I was warmly welcomed to the debate--and effusively thanked for being there and traveling all the way from Northern California to hear what these folks had to say.

Doc and the other candidates were generally substantive. The good doctor pointed out that in America, we do not have a health care system, we have a disease treatment system in which 40 percent of the costs are spent on caring for people during the last two years of their life.

He suggested that the many billions we spend on health care might be better spent at the front end, to prevent the expensive end-of-the-trail costs.

"The better you take care of yourself now--like your car, the less you're gonna have to pay for major repairs down the line," Bloomfield said the other day.

He's absolutely right. And the Natural Law Party applies that same logic on almost every social concern: Spend more to prevent a problem early in order to prevent spending way more to solve an infinitely worse problem later.

Doc Bloomfield knows he won't win. But, as he points out, some of the best ideas in this country were championed by third parties.

Issues like abolishing slavery and letting women vote, just to name two.

"We ought to have a forum during election time to hear all kinds of ideas, including unpopular ones," the doctor said. "Even if candidates don't win, it stimulates people thinking about the kind of changes we want to make.

"Both the Democratic and Republican parties are very good at adopting new ideas once they're aware people want them. I'm a believer in having more than two voices heard."

Well, Doc, the Big Dogs--those Demicans & Republicrats, as one of your minor party colleagues calls them--don't want more than two voices to be heard.

Let's rap the noses of the Big Dogs with a newspaper.

Bring them to heel by saying loudly we're sick to death of their cheesy two-dimensional Stepford candidates.

Bloomfield in '98!

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