Carole Migden on the hot seat

May 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In politics, it's generally considered bad form to run against an incumbent from your own party, but two Democrats are trying to unseat Carole Migden. She represents the Third State Senate District -- stretching from Sonoma to san Francisco. It is one of the most hotly contested races on the ballot next week. Carole Migden has been in public office for 17 years. She is a County Supervisor and a member of the Assembly and has served in the Senate since 2004. However, a reckless driving conviction and a $350,000 fine for mishandling campaign contributions has put her political career in jeopardy.

In Mill Valley's Memorial Day Parade, Carole Migden handed out campaign pot holders. But her campaign for re-election has grown so cold, that delegates to the State Party Convention in March refused to endorse her.

Her abrasive style earned her the title of 'worst legislator to work for' among capitol staffers, but Migden says she should be judged by her accomplishments.

"I think we're well positioned to win and we can show people what we can do," says Migden.

What she has done is author the Clean Water Act, the Headwaters Forest and Wetlands Legislation and numerous domestic partnership bills, giving equal rights to same sex couples.

"Frankly, I've gotten more done signed into law than any other legislator," says Migden.

Migden also opposes spraying to eradicate the light brown apple moth.

"I sat down with the Governor and said you've got to make sure it's safe," says Migden.

She opposes the building of an Indian casino in Rohnert Park, but wouldn't commit to voting against it.

One of her rivals, former Assemblyman Joe Nation, says he's dead set against the casino.

"Developments have been attempted there and then they've said no because it's in a flood plain. It has no business being there," says Nation.

Nation is considered to be the most business friendl of the Democrats in the race and is the only candidate to take that strong of a stand against the casino. Though, Assemblyman Mark Leno says environmental concerns would have to be addressed.

"From what I know now, I don't know that I could support it," says Leno.

Both Nation and Leno are like Migden and opposed to spraying for the light brown apple moth. Nation says the biggest difference between them is he will not cut school funding.

"They have both have said this year, if we have to cut school funding, we will," says Nation.

Mark Leno responds by accusing nation of pandering.

"To make blank pledges abrogates our responsibility as legislators," says Leno.

To help alleviate the state's budget short fall, all three candidates favor reinstating the vehicle license fee or car tax. Nation also favors additional sales taxes.

"I would not raise income taxes. I would not raise property taxes," says Nation.

Mark Leno says commercial property taxes should be reevaluated and says "Disneyland hasn't seen an increase in their property taxes for decades."

Migden's suggestion is very much the same. She says "there are a lot of revenue sources including split role tax which occurs when businesses are sold."

Migden and Leno have a lot in common policy wise and they used to be allies.

Before, Migden endorsed Leno's opponent in Leno's first run for the assembly. Leno says he's running against her, not because of policy differences, but more because of her extra curricular dramas. Both he and Nation are ahead of her in the polls.

ABC7 Extra
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