in GOP treasurer's race
can choose between two candidates for state treasurer on March 5.
Greg Conlon is the former president of the California Public Utilities
Commission who presided over energy deregulation.
Conlon, a former Arthur Andersen senior partner, does not try to distance
himself from what just about everyone else on the planet regards as
a colossal disaster. Instead, Conlon puts up a spirited -- yet frankly
unpersuasive -- argument that the 1996 deregulation was a good plan
that would have succeeded if not for a "perfect storm" caused
by price spikes and weather patterns.
was a bad plan, and Californians need a treasurer who can recognize
a multibillion-dollar failure.
Our choice in the GOP primary is Mary Toman, chair of the Los Angeles County Republican Committee. She has served as a deputy state treasurer in California and a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Commerce Department. She does not offer many specifics to her general criticisms of incumbent Phil Angelides - such as her suspicion that there's ''all sorts of fraud'' in state government or that the treasurer is not spending enough time on ''corporate governance'' - but her enthusiasm and personal skills should make her a more credible challenger than the baggage-laden Conlon.