Two candidates for county supervisor met in Costa Mesa on Thursday evening to debate issues ranging from taxation to immigration law.
State Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) and state Board of Equalization Vice Chairwoman Michelle Steel spoke to a group of about 100 people at the Halecrest Park Swim and Tennis Club in a session organized by the Newport-Mesa Tea Party.
The two Republicans are running in the June primary for the 2nd District — which includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach — on the five-member Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa resident, currently holds the seat, but will be termed out in January. He has since announced a run for the 45th Congressional District.
Mansoor, who represents the 74th Assembly District, credited his long residency in the 2nd District and voting record in Sacramento and Costa Mesa, where he served two terms on the City Council.
"I have a track record of fighting for you," the former Costa Mesa mayor said, adding that "having grown up here, having lived here most of my life, I believe that gives me additional insight into how the county works."
Steel, a Surfside resident, said that among her accomplishments on the Board of Equalization, is successfully fighting an "Internet download tax" and giving millions of dollars back to taxpayers.
She stressed that a free market is the "best position to create wealth and opportunity."
Mansoor, widely known for his stance against illegal immigration and proclaiming Costa Mesa as a "rule of law" city, said he would never support amnesty efforts.
"I've taken a strong stance," he said. "I put my money where my mouth is."
Mansoor said he would invite audits of county services in a state where residents are "overtaxed" and "over-regulated."
"It's not just taxes that are too high," he said. "We need accountability and transparency as well."
Steel, who was born in Korea, raised in Japan and immigrated to the United States, also said she was against any form of amnesty.
"No means no here," she said.
Steel addressed an accusation of carpetbagging; she moved to Surfside in 2011 after living for years on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.
Steel said after her mother died, she didn't feel she could continue living in that L.A. home and wanted to find another house where she and her family could "hear the waves."
She acknowledged that she hasn't lived in the 2nd District for long, but has represented it for seven years — as well as other counties within Southern California — on the Board of Equalization. She's also reached out to local representatives and mayors.
"I know exactly what's gong on," Steel said. "I can protect Orange County people."
She named off some her endorsements: U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. and state Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel).
Mansoor's endorsements include Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer and Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper.