It seems Assemblyman Peter Frusetta is under fire for his refusal to debate Salinas Mayor Alan Styles. Both Joanne White and Jennifer Drummond said in recent letters that this campaign is about issues, not horses, and that Mr. Frusetta should debate Mr. Styles. It's just too bad they have completely missed the point.
When Mr. Styles made some disparaging remark about Assemblyman Frusetta and his horse, it was Mr. Styles who changed the tone from a debate about issues to one about horses. All Mr. Frusetta did was say he would not debate someone who would not focus on the issues.
In fact, from the paper's account, Mr. Frusetta said he would debate Mr. Styles if Mr. Styles agreed to debate only the issues. Is that too difficult to understand? Maybe people are so used to negative campaigns that they can't understand why someone would not want to participate in that.
Of course, the three main Assembly candidates have already debated -- before the primary. It was shown on Channel 34. And it's not like Mr. Frusetta's views on the issues are unknown, what with his various letters to the editor, Cowboy in the Capitol letters, mailings, etc.
I think the candidates should debate, too, but don't really need a debate to make up my mind. Assemblyman Frusetta has done a great job in Sacramento, and is focusing on those issues that matter -- crime, gangs, taxes, education, and so on. Having seen the debate on Channel 34, and based on Mr. Frusetta's record the past two terms, I have no problem voting for him again -- horse or no horse.
UPDATE: On November 3, 1998, Peter Frusetta beat Alan Styles.