Patino is a Republican challenging Quirk, D-Hayward, for the East Bay’s 20th Assembly District seat. He said he ran into Quirk at a recent Rotary breakfast.
“I don’t question his integrity at all, I think he’s a good man,” said Patino, 42, of Union City. “I just think that we come from two very different philosophies of the role government plays in people’s lives.”
They probably agree on most social issues, he acknowledged – Patino says he’s a mind the public’s pocketbook, not private bedrooms type of Republican. But Patino said Quirk and other Democrats are putting too much emphasis on higher taxes and spending in order to solve California’s economic issues, while he believes private-sector job creation and education that focuses on modern job skills is a better way to go.
Patino said last year’s BART strike reinforced his desire to run.
“Our whole Bay Area delegation was just silent,” said Patino, who uses BART to commute to his UC-Berkeley job as a research financial administrator. “Who’s looking out for the regular guy? They’re more afraid of the unions than of their constituents, the people who elected them.”
Patino – a lifelong Union City resident who now chairs its Human Relations Commission -said he also was deeply shaken by the killings of two young men last August about three blocks from his home; he said his has nephews just a few years younger than those victims. “Those kids need more role models, more input from people who look like them and come from where they come from.”
“And I want to show people there are Latino Republicans, and we’re not the boogeyman,” he added, noting he’ll be campaigning heavily in the Latino community. “They can’t call me a country-club Republican.”
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Patino gives Gov. Jerry Brown for holding the line against further tax increases even while Democrats attained the legislative supermajority required to make them happen. But he says Brown is being disingenuous talking about the state’s modest budget surplus when it still faces $300 billion in unfunded public pension liabilities.
He also said the prison realignment plan that Brown championed has brought overcrowded jails and increased crime to counties and cities across the state. Brown was “between a rock and a hard place” with a federal court order to reduce prison population, Patino acknowledged, but the plan “was not implemented very well. It’s a community issue, not a Democrat or Republican issue.”
The 20th District’s voters are registered 54.2 percent Democrat, 15.7 percent Republican and 20.7 percent no party preference.
The only other person who has pulled papers to possibly challenge Quirk is Hayward Unified School District Trustee Luis Reynoso, also a Republican, who finished fourth in a field of five in the June 2012 top-two primary for this seat. But Reynoso also pulled papers to run for Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, and Patino said he’s heard it’s more likely Reynoso will seek that office. Tomorrow, Friday, March 7, is the filing deadline.
Patino hasn’t reported raising any money for his campaign so far; Quirk’s campaign had $180,000 banked as of Dec. 31.
Quirk kicks off his campaign for a second term at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Thursday, March 6, with a fundraiser at Raja Sweets & Indian Cuisine; tickets cost $25 while contributions to join the co-host committee range up to $8,000, though nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.