Coming off his recent work with the “No on Measure A” effort in Carlsbad, Thomas Krouse is announcing today that he will be running again this year in an effort to represent residents in California Assembly District 76 in what seems to be quite a “crazy” year in politics.
Regarding the trends that Krouse is seeing in this 2016 election cycle, he replied via email to a few questions yesterday. He gave his thoughts and observations on the frustration being felt by voters, at all levels, with government. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon development issue came first, however, and according to the RegistrarofVoters there are “7100 Mail/Provisional ballots as of election night still to be counted” in the special Carlsbad vote.
Agua Hedionda Lagoon
“At a local level, Carlsbad has just gone through a rough process of addressing the Agua Hedionda Lagoon development proposal that threatened to drastically exacerbate an already bad traffic problem on I-5. After what many called a very misleading petition drive and the City Council’s subsequent 5-0 decision to deny the citizens of Carlsbad the opportunity to vote on the project, a spontaneous group of Carlsbad’s residents organized a successful grassroots petition drive to put the issue to a vote, and then seem to have prevailed in voting down the project with a ‘No on Measure A’ campaign that was outspent about 100 to 1.”
Krouse adds this then: “I believe that this challenge helped channel the frustration that many locals feel towards government at all levels and the result has inspired many to believe that the general public can actually serve as an immediate check on abusive bureaucratic actions whether governmental or from the private sector. Now that the elections are approaching, I believe that many of these locals will be energized and focused on holding these and other elected officials accountable for their decisions that convinced many in the community of the need to sacrifice a significant portion of their private time in order to resist and reject an abuse of power by our local officials.”
Asked about politics in California, Krouse sees the recent conviction of former State Senator Leland Yee as significant. “At the state level, convicted former State Senator Leland Yee being sentenced to five years in federal prison serves as a poster child for the things that many in the community feel are taking place throughout state government, its sprawling network of agencies, and also in regional municipal bodies. So whether its the Crazy Train, or the PUC, or the Metropolitan Water District, people are finding that there is nowhere to hide, no more ability to ignore this systemic dysfunction – they either have to give up or fight back.”
Continuing his thoughts on trends, Krouse adds this: “Truly, I believe that many citizens have emotionally moved right through and past ‘take charge’ and on to ‘fight back.'” He also notes that California has a population “as large as Poland” and also “3 million more than Canada,” so he understands that there is therefore “a wide distribution of individual feelings.”
“But to speak in trends and generalities,” Krouse stated, “I see people stepping up to engage more on their own terms, but not because they are being inspired by a candidate or by elected officials. They want to be able to live their lives without always looking over their shoulders to see if they are getting ripped off. And they are getting whiplash while still having their pockets picked.”
Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump phenomenon
“I think that more and more people are realizing that just like in business, you need to have a system of ‘constant accountability’ in government,” Krouse explains further in his email, “in order for it to work and to serve the people’s interest – a system of intermittent accountability (or none at all) does not work. Imagine if you were a business manager, and you could only promote or fire your employees once every two years. I have not even mentioned gerrymandering and all of the corrupt influences on candidates and elections themselves. Those are critically important problems that require solutions too, but they are in addition to this fundamental weakness, perhaps flaw, in the way that we allocate power through elections and then let the officials run wild for at least two years before they have to answer to the public again.”
Krouse is not surprised about the rise of Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump at the national level of politics this year. “So, given the way that these dynamics percolate up to the national level, I am not at all surprised that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are benefitting from what seems like a groundswell of support from people who are sick and tired of the ‘shenanigans as usual’ and they aren’t going to take it any more – it’s like the cliché scene from the movie, ‘Network.'”
“About the incumbent in this office,” Krouse states, “he made a crazy run for U.S. Senator for who knows what reason(s) – I’m not inside his head – but he quit after never really moving the needle, and now he says that he really wants to just keep the current job that he was forsaking for his Senate campaign boondoggle. I think voters see that behavior, and they don’t like it. Whether they see unreliability, or ego, or lack of honesty, I don’t know. It has been reported that multiple candidates would not have filed to run in the election for this office if it had not had been for the fact that the incumbent promised them that he would not quit his US Senate race and then decide to come back and try to keep his seat – which is exactly what he has done. So, one candidate dropped out already since he came back. The fact that he came back apparently with over $40,000 in debt to himself from his failed Senate campaign also calls into question his motivations and certainly his fiscal judgment.”
(See previous Examiner news on Rocky Chavez’s withdrawal from the Senate race here.)
“In any case, I was the only person in the entire district that was willing to step up and run against the major party endorsed incumbent in 2014,” Krouse adds. “I did not and do not need any kind of back room ‘arrangement’ with party bosses to make me feel secure enough to run for this office. I ran when I was outspent at least 35-1 in 2014, and I managed to win a third of the vote starting with practically zero name recognition. To two decimal places, I’m sure it was zero.”
The every day people who came together to win the “No on Measure A” campaign in spirit and also in fact, I believe we will learn shortly, were outspent approximately 100 to 1 by a very sophisticated operator. A particular Presidential candidate was outspent by Jeb Bush by about 9-1 in a recent state primary, but the candidate won the primary, and Jeb finished in fourth. People are done with the Nepotism, the Cronyism, the Elitism, with all of it.
There is nothing that our government does that an average citizen cannot at some point understand. If that is not true, we are in very big trouble. But the fact is that most of what goes on in Congress and in state legislatures is like the Wizard of Oz – they use bull horns and distractions and try to make their individual efforts and importance seem bigger than they really are. But, when you pull back the curtain, you see that it simply is not true. What is bigger than it gets credit for is their “responsibility”, and most of them are not even coming close to living up to theirs. Former State Senator Lee is just the latest one to get caught.]]
Regarding the recent effort he made on the Agua Hedionda issue in Carlsbad, Ruarri Serpa, reporting for VoiceofSanDiego, writes that “[w]hatever the final tally, the voter turnout indicates that Carlsbad residents have strong opinions on development and bypassing the California Environmental Quality Act – and that could have implications for other developments around the county.”
‘Teddy Roosevelt Republican’
He is expecting that this year will not be the same as the previous election cycle. “In 2014, the incumbent declined to participate in a debate/forum that I requested that would have been moderated by the League of Women Voters, and he only finally participated in a mini debate less than a week before election day that was graciously hosted by the Oceanside Pacific Kiwanis. Perhaps that was part of their strategy to avoid drawing attention to my existence – during much of the campaign, it felt a bit like I was part Mr. Snuffleupagus and part Little Red Hen. I suspect the dynamic will be different this time around.”
He also describes himself to voters as being independent, and a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican,” in answering questions regarding himself and the GOP leadership in California. The full quote from Krouse: “I am an independent thinking Teddy Roosevelt Republican which is one reason why I have received the endorsement of the Veterans Party of America. So, to the extent that Republican leaders want to promote the healthy values of financial prudence, fair & free markets, and adherence to the Constitution of the United States of America and that of the State of California, then we have much to agree upon, perhaps.”
Krouse seems doubtful about agreeing with party leadership, however. “But that is not what I have seen universally in Sacramento and not from the incumbent whom they have repeatedly endorsed, so I don’t know which set of principles they are following on any given day, and thankfully, as an independent thinker trying to represent all of the citizens of this district from any party or none at all, I don’t have to worry about what one or a dozen well-fed people downtown think. And, I mean from either ‘major party.’ If these parties want to have a future, they need to find the humility to seek out the people and figure out how they reasonably expect to be treated – and then deliver it. I suggest that they start with the Golden Rule. It’s really just about all that one needs to know.”