Republican congressional leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield spent time with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall yesterday answering questions on national and international issues, but also touched directly on some California topics. McCarthy spoke about an all-mail ballot election in California, the state energy blackouts, and even commented on whether California colleges should play football this fall in the shadow of Covid-19. 

The interview was moderated by well-known California political veteran and professor at USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine, Dan Schnur. The first challenge from Schnur dealt with the current brouhaha over the post office and the coming election, which carried the discussion to California’s decision to do an all-mail ballot election.

McCarthy has no objection to people voting by mail but the idea of sending a mailed ballot to everyone on the voting rolls was a problem, he said. The congressman pointed out that when voting rolls have not been cleaned up, many ballots sent out could end up with unintended recipients. He said Los Angeles has more people on the rolls than voters partly because people move, and the voter rolls are not adjusted. He compared sending out an all-mail ballot to using a 30-year old list to send out Christmas cards. He said because California has relaxed voting requirements recently, anyone can gather up the ballots and drop them off.

A way to clean up any questions about mail-in ballots is to have voters apply for an absentee ballot, McCarthy suggested. By signing an application there would be a signature on file to match against the mail-in ballot when it arrived. 

When Schnur asked McCarthy about President Trump blaming Democrats in California for the recent power outages, McCarthy responded that the president was talking about California Democratic policies that led to the outages. 

“In California we pay on overage 40% more for our electricity than other states,” McCarthy said. “And now that we are sitting in a state that is having a heatwave and you can’t guarantee that you are going to have electricity…especially when we’re paying more than everyone else and you can’t guarantee it, I think the president is right about those policies. Those policies are not delivering for those in California in a time when they need it.”

He reminded listeners that the last time California had a similar situation with energy, a governor was recalled. 

The issue of opening up the economy in California was represented by Schunr’s question about football, which he said had a great cultural and economic impact for the Los Angeles region and other areas of the state. 

Speaking of the players, McCarthy said, “I don’t think that one person should say, especially when people are adults, that they cannot do it. Give them all the risks, tell them all the options and let them choose. If they choose not to, do not punish them for that choice. Give them another year of eligibility.” 

When Schnur asked on behalf of the USC and UCLA fans listening to the conversation to clarify his idea on how football could be played if not calling for a shutdown, McCarthy responded: “USC and UCLA should play each other just for the good of Southern California, have that one game.” The he added, “Maybe they play each other three times.”

It wouldn’t be the first time during an extraordinary period the two football rivals played each other multiple times in a season. USC and UCLA faced each other twice during each of the World War II years from1943-1945.