RIVERSIDE—Wealthy political novice and gubernatorial candidate Ron Unz came to Riverside County yesterday to win the support of conservative Republicans, promising a return to California’s good old days when his hero, Ronald Reagan, was governor.
Unz, 32, won conservatives’ hearts with his call to defeat Republican incumbent Gov. Wilson, whose policies, Unz said, made Wilson one of the four Democratic candidates running for governor besides State Treasurer Kathleen Brown, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and Sen. Tom Hayden.
“The policies of Pete Wilson don’t represent the party that I joined,” Unz said. “Pete Wilson is a moderate Democrat, that’s who we are having run the state. “
Then it was time for the wealthy Palo Alto businessman to convince the audience of about 50 at a luncheon reception that his six-week-old candidacy can succeed. Unz said it was his third trip to the county, and he planned to speak to the Palm Desert Chapter of United We Stand America later in the day.
Unz said he has put more than $ 1 million of his money into his campaign and to spend more until the June 7 primary. He operates a small but highly successful Silicon Valley computer firm and is the sole Republican challenging Wilson’s re-election bid.
Unz told his audience that he wanted to abolish California’s workers’ compensation program, which he said benefits trial lawyers and special-interest groups instead of workers and annually drains the state’s treasury of $ 11 billion.
He said bilingual education in the state’s public schools promoted a rise of ethnic separatist programs and could increase racial tensions instead of understanding. Unz said there should be an emphasis on the melting pot, immigrants assimilating into mainstream America.
The candidate called for a return to family values and for government to stay out of people’s lives.
“The worst aspect of government is its moving away from neutrality or support of the family. It (government) is actively hostile,” Unz said. “It’s really sad. Freedom of religion is really freedom from religion. It has been taken away from the schools and being filled with New Age psychobabble. “
He also was critical of Wilson’s and the Democrats’ policy toward undocumented workers with calls for bringing in the National Guard to beef up the border.
Unz said the way to reduce undocumented workers from coming into the state is to cut off social welfare programs, like other states that border Mexico, such as Arizona.
He told the gathering that he was against abortions and opposed state funding for abortions and was against laws granting special rights to any group such as homosexuals. Unz said their rights are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Unz already has lined up the support of the California Republican Assembly, the Inland Empire Conservative Coalition, the California Assemblies of Riverside County and the Moreno Valley Republican Assembly Endorsement Committee.
The luncheon at the Riverside Holiday Inn was sponsored by the Inland Empire Conservative Coalition and the California Assemblies of Riverside County. Several other Republican candidates, including 43rd Congressional District candidate Joseph Khoury, state Assembly candidate Trudi Thomas, and Riverside County sheriff’s candidate Frank Robles, were in attendance.
Audience member Theresa Bell of Temecula said Unz could win with his platform of family-oriented issues.
“Pete Wilson has the big bucks. Unz is an unknown, but in the best tradition of America, he’s got a chance,” Bell said. “This man will do us right. “
Unz, who said his hero was Ronald Reagan, said his uphill candidacy would win because Wilson did not represent the conservatives, who were the party mainstream.
“When it started to stray, disaster occurred,” Unz said. “In my scientific background I am used to empirical formulas. There is empirical evidence that conservatives win. Moderate Republicans are pale imitations of Democrats. “