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A Slugfest at 72nd Assembly Debate

Businessman Travis Allen calls Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar "a criminal." Edgar labels his fellow Republican a political novice. Edgar dodges a question about campaign funding allegations.

If nothing else, Thursday night’s 72nd Assembly District debate reminded the audience of one thing: Politics can be brutal.

The candidates, Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar and Huntington Beach business owner Travis Allen, came out swinging over political experience, taxes, criminal accusations and more at the Fountain Valley City Hall forum, which was sponsored by the 405/605 Tea Party Patriots.

The two Republicans are battling to represent the new 72nd Assembly District, which includes Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Westminster, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Rossmoor and Midway City.

Both had a lot in common, which is no surprise. The state’s new open primary system pits the two top vote-getters against each other in November, which in this case means two Republicans.

Edgar and Allen both said they oppose higher taxes, want to encourage business growth, support public-employee pension reform, and oppose Props. 30 and 38.

The Slugfest Begins

The fireworks came over their differences.

Throughout the debate, Allen went on the offensive, criticizing Edgar’s alleged mishandling of the Los Alamitos' controversial trash contract, his support of city ballot Measure DD -- which Allen called a tax on cell phone users – and his description of constituents as “the common people.”

“I don’t think you want to be addressed as ‘the common people’ for the next 12 years by another arrogant politician,” Allen told the crowd.

Edgar was more than ready to fire back, saying his campaign had received multiple endorsements – including all the mayors in the 72nd District, and the Democratic mayor of Santa Ana – and that Allen was lashing out to hide his relative lack of endorsements and experience.

“Who up here is the experienced person?” Edgar said. “We have no idea what this man will do when he gets up to Sacramento.”

Edgar criticized Allen for giving $2,000 to a Democrat. But Allen noted that Edgar was a Democrat until 2006, when he switched parties.

Allen also said Edgar wouldn’t sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes. Edgar replied that he’d signed a separate pledge to his district.

'Edgar is a Criminal'

The tensest moment of the night came when Allen mentioned an OC Weekly article accusing Edgar of alleged funding misconduct.

“I think Troy Edgar is a criminal,” Allen said.

Allen then asked Edgar to respond to accusations he illegally paid for mailers and campaign materials for his aborted congressional campaign.

The moderator asked Edgar if he wanted to give an answer.

“It doesn't really deserve one,” Edgar replied.

Throughout the debate, Edgar highlighted his experience as a Navy submariner, businessman, father and mayor of a city with a high budget reserve.

Allen described himself as non-politician with a successful business and strong understanding of finance.

Moderator Deborah Pauly, a Villa Park City Councilwoman, kept a tight rein on the candidates and the audience – at one point interrupting Edgar’s speech to tell an attendee he couldn’t record the proceedings.

“No cameras,” Pauly said.  

The person turned out to be a member of the press, and Pauly relented.

Audience Reaction

After the debate, Patch interviewed four people -- two said they thought Edgar won, two called Allen the victor.

Fountain Valley resident Jim Orr said he attended planning to support Edgar but “got switched” to Allen: “He won me over. I think Travis is the real Republican and conservative."

In contrast, Seal Beach resident Judy Duvall said she thought Edgar won and criticized Allen for calling his opponent “a criminal.”

“I was shocked at Travis Allen, and not in a good way,” Duvall said. “I think he got down and dirty and low by making the statement.”

met00 October 09, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Part III So, we have a clear and concise knowledge of what we get with Mr. Edagr. We get someone who believes that he can use the rules to his advantage even when it is clear that doing so violates the spirit of the law. We get a Mr. Edgar who believes that the rules are for other people, not himself. We get a Mr. Edgar who believes that he is above the law that he wants everyone else to adhere to. “Who up here is the experienced person?” Edgar said. “We have no idea what this man will do when he gets up to Sacramento.” Yes, we have seen the "experience" that Mr. Edgar brings to the position. One that says that measure DD must contain a 1% decrease in the tax rate so he can "sell" it to the people. One who thinks that stealing the fourth corner of Katella and Los Alamitos Blvd from Rossmoor is a good thing. One who believe he is above the law. One who thinks that he has a different set of rules. I fail to see how all that great experience is something that would benefit the citizens he is supposed to represent. I also fail to see how a total unknown would be able to sink that low, or lower. Sometimes the unknown is a great deal better than the devil you know. As a Democrat I don't have a horse in this race. But I do know Mr. Edgar and I have experienced his experience. Going with Allen and the unknown is a better bet than going with that known quantity. And that is the best argument he has to vote for him.
met00 October 09, 2012 at 06:34 AM
"Everytime Troy attempted to get aggressive, he just came off as arrogant and obnoxious. " As a resident that he has personally insulted from the dais, may I say that you hit the nail directly on the head.
met00 October 09, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Roy, I would personally love to see him off m y city council dais. But rewarding him for his criminal past activities sends the wrong message. Edgar has violated the Brown Act at least six times. He just doesn't care about following the law. And don't get me started about his falsifying City Council meeting minutes (which I have proof that he has done, but the DA refused to even look at since he has endorsed Mr. Edgar's campaign). So, while I want Edgar off my dais, I would prefer it was so he could wear on orange jumpsuit, not a different pin stripped suit.
met00 October 09, 2012 at 06:42 AM
As I have said elsewhere... watch Michelle Steel. His probable violation of Prop 218 is now up at the AG's office being looked into. My guess is that the next county supervisor will not want to be tarred and feathered with the Edgar brush.
met00 October 09, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Here is what I thought was impressive. I'm a Dem and supported Joe in the Primary. What I am looking for is someone who works across divides to seek solutions. Travis has done that, and Joe's endorsement shows that. Edgar can't do it, and Mejia and Kusumoto's endorsements of Allen show that he is unable to work towards consensus with those on the other side of an issue. Experience? Yes. Edgar's experience is one of working solely to the benefit of Mr. Edgar (and those that fund his campaigns). Not to the citizens. That's the kind of experience we don't need in higher public office (or even in a small towns city council). Consider this. Mr. Edgar gave tenant healthcare a specific plan that benefits them and not the community after many community voices spoke out against it. Now, go look at the payoff he got in political campaign contributions from tenant healthcare for selling out the residents. Experience like this we do not need.

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