Monning faces challenger for state Assembly seat

by GRISELDA D. RAMIREZ, The Californian

Democrat Bill Monning, who replaced John Laird as Assemblyman in 2008, said he wants to continue his efforts to educate constituents about health care to decrease its costs, promote fresh food and support public education.

Republican Linda "Ellie" Black, first-time candidate, said she has the necessary business background as a self-employed consultant to bring the state’s economy back on its feet.

Black started her own business, Black Consulting & Design in 2002, where she combined her graphic design expertise with her bookkeeping, budgeting and payroll experience to help small businesses flourish.

"Many people currently in office don’t have a background in business," Black said. "I’ve got the business management experience, leadership and creativity necessary to get the job done."

Black said she’ll focus on protecting local business control, organic farming and natural supplements.

She strongly opposes the state water fluoridation mandate that she said the city of Watsonville voted against. The law requires the fluoridation of all public water systems that have at least 10,000 service connections. Finally, Black said she has the outgoing character to lead different groups of people. Her experience campaigning for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul in 2007 inspired her to run for office.

As for Monning, he said the support of mayors in the city governments he represents ‘ including Scotts Valley, Carmel, Seaside, Morgan Hill and Monterey ‘ prove his ability to build strong relationships.

Monning said he continues to address major environmental concerns ‘ such as the Big Sur Coastal Trail, light brown apple moth infestations and sustainable fishing ‘ by meeting with residents, local leaders and agency representatives.

His sustainable seafood bill, AB 1217, which allows local fishermen to place a certified label on their catch for wholesale, retail and restaurants, was approved by the governor Oct. 11, 2009.

Yet not all his successes have been environmental ones.

Monning’s bill, AB 1757, was signed into law Sept. 29, creating the California Central Coast State Veterans Cemetery in Fort Ord.

The experienced professor also has concerns about education.

"Our state will continue to face tough economic challenges, and the ability to support education is critical to economical recovery," Monning said.

Monning said he’s been endorsed by nearly 500 groups and individuals, including the Consumer Federation of California, Sierra Club California, California League of Conservation Voters, California Labor Federation along with firefighters, law enforcement and the mayors he represents.

Black said her endorsements come from local business owners such as Paul Gaylon, Lowell Webb, the Republican Liberty Caucus and former Libertarian opponent Savva Vassiliev.

According to the Secretary of State website, Monning received more than $60,000 in contributions for this campaign period and more than $232,000 from Jan 1. to Sept. 30. Black’s contributions were not available through the website.