Huffpost Politics | By Judy Frankel
For Tuesday’s primary, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente will appear on the ballot as a Presidential contender for the Democrats. A millionaire businessman and entrepreneur for 41 years, he has rubbed elbows with Governor and President Ronald Reagan many times.
JF: Why are you running for President of the United States?
RD: Because John Kennedy is not running, Ronald Reagan is not running, Martin Luther King is not running, or anybody I think would make a big difference. If I saw someone that I believe could do a good job, I would have stayed home and watched the race from outside.
JF: I understand you wanting to pull on the heartstrings of those who loved Reagan.
RD: When he was President, I actually voted for him.
JF: Let’s assume we’ve gone through the primary and you’re not the nominee for the Democratic Party. How would you attain ballot access and in how many states?
RD: Let’s talk about the Democratic Party. There are currently a total of 50 states and 6 territories. I was able to qualify in 46 of them. It was a long, tough road to go there. It started first with Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Arizona, every one of them were more complicated. Like Georgia has basically an old boys’ network. Florida is even worse. The states where I did not qualify, it’s because they do not have a rule like Michigan. Michigan, in 1972, passed a law that basically you can either get on the ballot by the Secretary of State or by the Democratic or the Republican Party or by petition from the people. That’s how I was able to get on the ballot in Michigan. By petition. That’s how I managed to make it in most of the states, with the exception of California where Secretary Padilla recognized me as a legitimate candidate. Of course, there are other states that are very logical, like New Hampshire and Texas. Very logical. Alabama has a reasonable requirement. It’s the same for everybody: 500 signatures on a petition. Ohio has the same requirement for everybody: 1,000 on a petition. So every state has different rules. And I was able to qualify for 46 different ballots. Your question is: what happens between now and July 25th, what happens at the Convention? Normally my strategy is: I don’t like to cross bridges until those bridges are in front of me. Right now, I am hoping that June 7th, I hope that they will give me the votes that I earn. The votes that were hard-placed by hard-working Californians. Versus stealing them. I’ve been treated very unfairly by the system, the way they’ve been stealing my votes since I started from Iowa all the way to the last election which was Kentucky.
JF: I wanted to look at your Facebook posting of a video watching your votes get stolen.
RD: On my Facebook page, there’s a video about 9 minutes long that talks about our democracy and in there it will show you that in New Hampshire, at 40% of precincts reporting, I was coming in third with 851 votes. With 851 votes, I was beating O’Malley three-to-one. Then at 50% of the precincts counted, I went from 851 votes to 54 votes. I lost close to 800 votes at a time when I should have had at least a 20% increment. I should have been close to 1,200. I went from 1,200 to 54. If you follow that number to its conclusion, if at 50% I had 1,200, I should have finished NH with approximately 2,400 votes, and I ended up NH with only 95 votes. The votes that were stolen in NH are purely mathematical. It’s from 2,400 to 95. So I got 2,305 votes stolen. That would have given me momentum, that would have put me at a solid third place, that would have put me four times higher than O’Malley. I would have gotten more votes than every single one that was in the race with the exception of the top two front-runners on both Republicans and Democrats. From there on, I would have defeated every single Democrat. I would have beaten 25 Democrats.
JF: Why didn’t you qualify for the debates?
RD: The debates are by invitation and invitation only. And that’s done by the parties. The Republican Party took up a position that they invited anybody and that’s why they had 18 people. The Democratic Party decided to invite only 3 people. That was O’Malley, Hillary and Sanders.
JF: Do you know why they ignored you?
RD: I believe because of fear. They could not say that I was a brand new Democrat because I was a Delegate-at-large at the NY Convention in 1992. They could not say that I was not successful, because I’m a successful business person. They could not say that there was something wrong with me, because they checked my record. And they basically knew that if I got momentum, I was going to get the majority of the Hispanic, African American, and other minorities and that would not be good for Hillary. So Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “Wow, we need to make sure that this person gets no momentum, so let’s ignore him.” And she figured that basically after two, three races, that I got no traction, that I would pack my bags and leave. She forgot to do a little more research about me. She would find out that I had persevered against the City of San Diego for 29 years to win a 25 million dollar settlement that was paid by the City’s insurance company AIG. Another 25 million went toward improvements to the City of San Diego.
Rocky posted a video at Facebook asking Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign that quickly received more than 460,000 views.
JF: There’s an unlined landfill called West Lake Landfill near St. Louis and the Mississippi River shown to contain radioactive waste. It’s also an EPA Superfund cleanup site, but it hasn’t been funded, like a lot of these cleanup sites. Recently, it’s come under scrutiny because there’s a smoldering fire caused by methane leaking. If this continues unabated, it will burn into the adjacent nuclear waste dump. The fumes from that radioactive waste goes into the air where it’s blown around, and people are breathing it. What would you do about that?
RD: This is just one of many cases. A problem with landfills is most of them were created 40 to 50 years ago, without the current technology. Today, you’re required to have liners so the ground water isn’t contaminated. Today, there’s landfill companies who are not closing their sites even though they are 99% full or 99.9% full. Landfill companies have the responsibility to close the landfill. The government has to tell these landfill companies, “you’ve been at 99% capacity for the last 10 years, as far as I’m concerned, you’re closed and you’d better use the funds within your company to close the landfill.” Somebody profited; I don’t know about this landfill [West Lake] specifically, if it’s owned by Waste Management or who it’s owned by. It should not be the taxpayers’ responsibility. It should be the people who profited from that landfill. If it is a municipal landfill, then it should be that government’s responsibility. Now let’s talk about what you need to do today. In San Diego, we have fires almost once every three years because there’s so much dry area. Every fire creates an environmental nightmare. All the fire departments come in as normally happens when we have Santa Ana winds. If you happen to have this emergency right now, you have to put the people first. What is the technology you need to put out that fire? Second, you need to make sure that one snowball does not become bigger. If the snowball becomes bigger, you have a catastrophe. No different than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico or with Exxon Valdez off the coast of Alaska. I just heard [about West Lake Landfill] for the first time. Either the city, the town, the state, or the federal government, somebody needs to jump on this.
JF: A lot of these things don’t get the national attention they deserve. If or when this fire reaches the radioactive waste, it could be like a Chernobyl or Fukushima.
RD: They have not come up with a huge landfill for radioactive waste. And it’s something that’s been passed on for the last 30, 40 years. There are solutions, but some people are not creative enough or didn’t want to tackle it. Most bureaucrats and politicians do not want to tackle hard issues. They’re afraid to tackle them. They like to pass the buck to the next set of politicians or to the next generation.
JF: What three things would you do first as POTUS?
RD: I came up with a four-prong commitment. The first one is: we need to create jobs, jobs, and more jobs. One of my goals is to create 4 million new jobs per year, and assuming I get re-elected, I would have created 32 million new jobs in an 8-year period. The only way we’re going to solve many of the problems of the past and solve the problems into the future, is to pull ourselves out of this economic nightmare. And the way to do it is to generate jobs, 32 million jobs.
JF: So what is your economic policy?
RD: All my life, I have worked with employees that I have to motivate, and the way to motivate them is by paying them commission. If you want to tax the rich, the super rich, what they’re going to do is not work. What they’re going to do is move their assets to a different country. You need to create new jobs, you need to create promotions, and you need to make sure we’re all in the same boat. What do I mean by the same boat? Every time I’ve tried to create jobs, jobs, and more jobs, which is basically my expertise, I’ve always had bureaucrats trying to do everything they can to stop me. It was amazing that, here I said “look, I am creating jobs, I’m creating opportunities, and why do I have people in the city of San Diego doing everything they can to stop me?” Then the state of California comes in. And then when I think everything is fine, the people from the federal government try to stop me. Somehow, no one understands. Jobs are good for this country. Jobs pay the taxes, and jobs pay the deficit. You asked me three things. First, let the world know that we’re here to assist them in creating jobs. That the government is here to assist, not to deter. My first thing is job creation.
My second thing is to create 100 city parks, i.e. a Balboa Park, i.e. a Central Park, i.e. Hyde Park in London. I want to create a hundred new parks within the cities. Not the Grand Canyon, which is perfect. Parks can become the lungs of our city. They are where our youths can go and play basketball, football, soccer, tennis, the whole ball of wax. They are playing sports. A new generation of athletes versus the new generation of social media who spend all their time with their iPhones. I would like to create these parks at no cost to the taxpayers. No cost whatsoever. Basically, we would front-load it so the citizens are motivated to make these things happen. My proposition would not cost one dollar to the taxpayer. It would create economic growth, economic opportunity, it would create millions of jobs. That would be my second prong.
My third plank. We have a huge homeless problem. All over America. It’s not just San Diego, Los Angeles. I don’t care where you go, we have a homeless problem. Everybody ignores the homeless. My goal is to get at least 50% of the homeless off the streets. Those people are able-bodied adults, they’re smart, they’re individuals, and they have to be given a second, third, fourth opportunity to become productive members of society. No politicians want to talk about it. No state wants to talk about it, everybody just ignores it. But in the meantime, you see them sleeping on the streets, you see them sleeping downtown San Diego, you see them sleeping in downtown San Francisco. Imagine the most powerful and the wealthiest country in the world, and we cannot have a program to make those members of our society productive.
Last but not least, is to treat the 12 million undocumented persons, who, with their families, make up a grand total between 24 million and 30 million people, as assets and not liabilities. [Let’s] allow them to work, to pay taxes. I need those people to work because they clearly do jobs that most people do not want to do. Who’s going to pick the grapes, who’s going to pick tomatoes, who’s going to pick up our garbage? Who’s going to do the kitchens, who’s going to work in McDonald’s? The most difficult thing I need to do is pass a logical, smart immigration policy. And I believe, with the current Congress and the current Senate, that the Democrats are going to blame the Republicans, the Republicans are going to blame the Democrats, and nothing’s going to get done. I think we need to take it to the people. We the people need to start making decisions, not the people in Washington. They’ve been there for four, five terms, six terms, eight terms. And they get absolutely nothing done.
JF: You want to take the homeless off the street, put them back to work. What do you think of the implementation in Utah of giving homeless people places to live, and then they find gainful employment? Because sometimes you can’t get a job unless you have an address.
RD: There’s a lot of people who are very, very smart. I do not believe that I have all the ideas and I have a corner on that market. I have these ideas that I would basically do different. My idea would be to create communities where these people can own a McDonald’s franchise, a Jack in the Box franchise, a dry cleaners. Create communities. Try to locate the right property, take a piece of land somewhere in several states, i.e. 50 square miles, and basically create a brand new community, create infrastructure. That’s one of my specialties. Create communities, create industrial parks, create infrastructure. And you basically say to these people, would you like to own a 7/11, would you like to own the dry cleaners? And you could create jobs, just building a city of maybe 5 to 10 thousand people. You can duplicate this in maybe 10 places across America. You allow these people to live in these communities and not only have a home, but own a business. I have actually talked to some homeless on the streets. These people are smart. It’s a matter of freedom and opportunity.
JF: What would be the funding mechanism for giving them some ownership like that?
RD: First of all, the U.S. government owns land all over the United States. You need to find a place that is not freezing in the winter. Find a property somewhere between California and Texas. A place that happens to have the right ingredients: weather, water, environment. I am positive that every property owner in San Francisco and every property owner in San Diego and everybody in the different counties would be more than happy to pay for this effort to solve the homeless problem once and for all. Today, all those homeless are going to Father Joe and to all these shelters with all these different rules and it’s costing a fortune to take care of this issue. We’re not empowering them to work. Some of them even refuse to go to the shelter to sleep, or when they arrive, it’s too full. And they have their blankets, and they sleep in the entrance of a building in San Francisco. I’m positive you’ve seen them all over the place.
JF: If they’re going through substance abuse you would have to address those things first.
RD: If they have substance abuse, that becomes a different issue. But we’re starting from scratch. My objective is to have 50% of the homeless off the streets. Now eventually, I would like to get 100% off the streets. Everybody tries to tackle the problem, they’re trying to tackle the whole problem. Let’s say we start a program and we’re successful in eliminating 50% of the homeless! Let’s help the people who want to get helped. And then we can deal with the 60% and the 80% and with 100%.
For voters who are disenchanted by the current choices, perhaps Mr. De La Fuente fills a need. As Rocky says, “it’s not going to be over until the American people decide who they would like to lead the nation and the world on November 8th.”