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Senator Tony Strickland

In Case You Missed It: Strickland a Slam-Dunk Choice for Controller

The following opinion piece by Scott Wilk was featured in today’s Santa Clarita Valley Signal:


In 1994, I had the honor of serving as chief of staff in the state Assembly.

After exhaustively interviewing applicants for a vacant staff position, I received a call from a friend asking me to interview some kid named Anthony.

When the lanky young man stepped into my office, his smile brightened the room. His enthusiasm was immediately contagious.

Although barely 23 years old, he shared his unfolding life story, and I was impressed with his passion and determination.

Anthony had been a high school all-star basketball player, and normally would have been the star, but he had a teammate named Don MacLean. MacLean, as you may recall, went on to play at UCLA and enjoyed a long NBA career.

Because of MacLean, every major coach of the country watched Anthony play ball, including Bobby Knight and Duke’s Coach K. Former University of Arizona coach Lute Olson expressed an interest in Anthony and arranged for him to play at an Arizona junior college, so he could hone his skills before transferring to the Wildcats.

Despite stellar play and grades in junior college, Olson decided to go in another direction. Normally this would be a crushing blow to a young athlete, but not Anthony. Despite having offers to play professionally in Australia and scholarship offers from two other PAC-10 schools, Anthony decided to attend Whittier College.

Anthony had decided a number of years earlier that public service, not professional athletics, was his life’s calling. At Whittier, he could play hoops and begin participating in the political process.

He started the Richard Nixon Republican Club, and the former president (an alumnus of the school) was so appreciative he invited Anthony to his office to meet him. Anthony had time for studying, politics and hoops — he once scored 47 points against my son’s alma mater, University of Redlands, still a school record.

I was so impressed; I offered him the job. He was willing to take a 75-percent pay cut to serve the people of California instead of playing basketball. That is commitment. 

In 1998, the GOP-leaning 37th Assembly District became open due to term limits. At 26, Anthony believed he was ready to serve.

Never lacking self-confidence, he was pitted against a corporate attorney from Harvard Law School, who had just narrowly lost a seat in Congress, and three other candidates. The 37th was a GOP-leaning district, so the primary was going to determine the election winner.

Anthony was outspent 5-to-1, but he was not to be outworked. He personally knocked on more than 10,000 doors. He garnered 45 percent of the vote in the five-person GOP field and went on to victory in November.

In the midst of California’s energy crisis, Gov. Gray Davis and energy companies secretly negotiated long-term energy contracts that doubled ratepayers’ utility bills. Anthony met with his party’s caucus and stated he was going to sue the governor.

Not a single member was willing to join him, so he stood alone. The court agreed with Anthony, the contracts were opened up and the ashamed parties had to renegotiate, saving California taxpayers $6 billion.

In January, California will have a Democrat-controlled state Legislature, and most likely a Democrat governor. The only line of defense for California taxpayers will be the state controller.

Anthony is running for state controller, a position that is essentially California’s chief financial officer. He has the courage and fortitude to do the right thing. He will root out abuses so we don’t have another city of Bell situation. He will conduct a performance audit so taxpayers and parents can learn how the Los Angeles Unified School District spends its $10 billion annual budget. 

As you probably have guessed, “Anthony” is Tony Strickland. He has the heart of a warrior and the integrity not to cave to the special interests. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or independent, Strickland will be our countervailing force to obstruct the “tax-and-spend” culture of Sacramento. Strickland is a slam-dunk choice for state controller.

3 Responses to “In Case You Missed It: Strickland a Slam-Dunk Choice for Controller”

  1. Says:

    Actually, Tony played at Royal High School which was the crosstown rival to Don McLean’s Simi Valley Pioneers. They didn’t do so well either.

  2. Says:

    To the contrary, Mr. Kaptain, tall Tony Strickland got favorabe write-ups in the
    LA Times sports pages back then. Here is an example:

    “Royal 67, Newbury Park 65 (OT) — TONY STRICKLAND made 2 free throws
    with eight seconds left in overtime for the Highlanders in the Marmonte
    League game at Newbury Park. The Panthers, who trailed by 11 at half-
    time, stormed back to take a 59-54 with 55 seconds remaining in regula-
    tion, but couldn’t hold off Royal.” LA Times, January 14, 1988.

    With time running out in this year’s State Controller championship game,
    Tony Strickland is poised again to deliver the winning shots!

  3. Says:

    And the comments to that article:

    In other words, a career politician who has never held a “real” job. And with a degree in political science, not finance or accounting, he thinks he’s qualified to be a CFO/auditor.

    Posted: October 29, 2010
    6:29 p.m. Well said, westside. Another interesting note, here’s the make-up of the Ventura County Republican committee where Strickland serves:

    Voting members of Ventura County Central Committee include:
    Toni Strickland (Tony’s mother)
    Chris Valenzano – former Strickland Employee
    Deyla Valenzano – Chris’ wife
    Mike Osborn
    Mary Osborn – Mike’s wife
    Darrin Henry – Collateral materials vendor for Stricklands
    Rebecca Henry – Darrin’s wife
    Tony Strickland or his Alternate
    Audra Strickland – (his wife) or her Alternate

    Oh, and the Executive Director for the Ventura County Republican Party is a Strickland employee.

    This is the group of people who endorse the Republican candidates in Ventura. Does that sound like Democracy to you? No wonder Strickland is a “slam dunk” for “controller” – he already is one!

    This is the problem with the Republican Party and our country as a whole. Scott Wilk, the author of this article is political trash who runs the local Republican committee the same way. Strickland serves on that committee too is a Godparent Wilk’s kids. Follow the money trail and see who how and why these people have power. Their endorsements are self-serving, not public interest!!!!!!

    Posted: October 30, 2010
    7:47 a.m. You lost me with “tax and spend” culture and “Democrat controlled”. You may win over the low information voter with clever sayings, but you can’t successfully govern that way. Try showing a little respect for the system, willya?