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The Losing Battle

Sussing out the local candidates for governor

By Joy Lanzendorfer

The recall election has allowed anyone with $3,500 and 65 signatures a chance to run California. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up for interpretation, but the recall will certainly give California voters many options.

Of the 135 candidates angling to take over from Gray Davis, six are in the North Bay. Here's the run-down.

Former World Boxing Champion Paul Nave (www.paulnave.com), from San Rafael, has had his eye on politics for a while. In 2000, he ran for and lost the 6th District Assembly, receiving 9,000 votes.

Though Nave is a Democrat, he stresses that he's moderate. A businessman who founded Nave's Limousine Service, he wants to make the state "a lot more business friendly."

To tackle the budget deficit, he plans to cut as much spending as possible, including cutting prisons and legalizing "victimless crimes," such as first-time drug offenses.

Nave is a realist. He knows he's a long shot for governor. "But I've been a long shot before and won with the World Championship," he says. "I'm going to give it my all, and if I don't win, I'll be back, too."

Though Marin County's Rich Gosse (the e is silent) is a registered Republican, he doesn't affiliate with the party. The group Gosse is targeting is single people.

Between extra tax breaks and other perks for married people, Gosse, who is founder and chairman of American Singles Education, says single people are discriminated against in the United States. "Single people are treated like second-class citizens," he says. "And nobody has come to their defense, until now."

Gosse himself is married--he met his wife at a singles convention--but he remembers the single life vividly. However, his platform (www.richgosse.com) is not all about single people. Like Nave, he would make certain crimes legal, such as drugs, gambling, and prostitution.

Gosse believes his chances to win are "pretty good." With 34 percent of Californians single, Gosse is wagering that he can sway their votes and win. "Normally, this would be political suicide," he says. "But in this election, 34 percent of the vote is enough to get you elected."

Gosse admits that usually people do not vote based on their marital status, but he believes his strategy is original. As the first candidate to stand up for single people, he's willing to wager they will vote for him. "On election day, I'm either going to look like the most brilliant guy in the world or the biggest idiot in the world," he says. "No one knows because no one has tried this before."

Sonoma County candidate Vik Bajwa (govbajwa@aol.com) is also concerned about businesses in California. A businessman himself--he works in real estate in Santa Rosa--Bajwa plans to introduce legislation to keep companies from outsourcing jobs to other countries. "We have friends in Silicon Valley who say that if you don't have people behind the counter, there's very little to stop them from going out of state," he says.

Bajwa looks at the election as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He believes he is one of the top 20 candidates. "I've got a good agenda for the people of California," he says. "My granddad used to say it's not how much money you make, but how much you save. We need to save money for the budget."

Bajwa came to California from India in 1981 and has lived here ever since. He is sincere in his affiliation with the Democrats. "The Democrats have a very balanced approach to all spheres of life-- immigrants, the elderly, and other groups," he says. "They promote jobs, healthcare. I believe in them."

Dorene Musilli, who lives in Boyes Hot Springs, is less sure about her affiliation with the Republicans. If she could have, she would have registered as an Independent before the election.

Musilli (jdm@vom.com) was on the Sonoma County school board for 17 years and has been in business for 30 years. Her experience has given her extensive knowledge of budgets. "This whole election is based on the budget," she says. "And I know budgets inside and out. When I was on the school board, I literally pinpointed to the day when there would be a half a million deficit."

Musilli's chances to win depend on if the media "continues to act like there's just six or eight candidates," she says. But she believes she would be a good governor. "Women are good at taking care of the checkbook," she says. "Some men can do it, but usually it's the woman who controls the finances."

Napa Valley candidate Ned Roscoe (www.smokersparty.com) is president of Cigarettes Cheaper. He's a Libertarian, but he really believes in the Smoker's Party, which is exactly what it sounds like--a party for cigarette smokers. "There are four million smokers in California," Roscoe says. "If one out of four of them votes their economic interest, I will be elected governor."

Roscoe says that if elected, he would keep new cigarette taxes from passing. He would tackle the budget by cutting spending and encouraging business in California.

He says that if he doesn't win, he will still be happy if someone with a similar platform gets elected or if his candidacy establishes that the smoker's vote matters. "I'm not big into self-validation," he says. "I'm happy just to get the work done."

Santa Rosa candidate Michael Cheli did not return repeated attempts to contact him for this article. Cheli is a registered Independent candidate and works in an Indian casino.

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From the August 28-September 3, 2003 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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