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First Ever “Anti-Drag Racing” Platform?!

Politics & Motorsport—Jose Medina vs Bill Batey
Posted November 6 2012 12:56 PM by Johnny Hunkins 
Filed under: Car Initiative

Medina political flyers "smearing" Batey for being a drag racer

One CA state assembly candidate hopes to win today’s election running on an anti-drag racing platform.

An example of the political flyers Jose Medina is using to "smear" Bill Batey for being pro drag racing.

I live in a small town in Southern California called Moreno Valley. The reason why that’s significant is that it used to be home to the world-famous Riverside International Raceway. Built in the 1950s, then unceremoniously bulldozed for a mall in the late ‘80s (there’s not so much as a sign commemorating its location), the loss of the track has left a hole in the local economy that we’re still recovering from some thirty years later. Many other race tracks in California have suffered the same fate, and now California has the dubious distinction of being the birthplace of hot rodding and drag racing, while having almost no place to race. If that isn’t enough irony, the NHRA finals is this weekend. It takes place at the Pomona Fairplex, which is only allowed to hold drag racing events twice a year due to a long history of the locals fighting the track—and winning.

So here we are on election day, and in my mailbox is not one, but two different flyers from a candidate for the California State Assembly. His name is Jose Medina, and his political tactic is a familiar one—demonize your competitor. And while there’s a fair amount of mud-slinging on both sides, what’s unusual about Medina’s case is that he’s running on an anti drag racing platform. Not the economy, not jobs, not infrastructure, not taxes, not schools, but on the idea that drag racing is just plain bad. His opponent—a man named Bill Batey—apparently runs a speed shop. At one time while Batey was the mayor of our town, he tried to bring back drag racing to Moreno Valley, but failed. (Are you not surprised?) Fifteen years later, his opponent, Jose Medina, is using that against him, as if drag racing is some kind of social disease.

This quote from Jose Medina's flyer oozes hate for drag racing.

My biggest gripe is not with Medina—I don’t expect much from politicians of any stripe. The problem is his audacity to presuppose that the constituents of his district dislike the sport of drag racing so much, it would be the deciding factor in their voting choice. Either Medina hates drag racing so much that he’s willing to overlook more important issues, or more likely, he just thinks voters are idiots. Maybe he’s never been to a race and never experienced the thrill of it, or maybe he doesn’t understand the sheer number of small businesses in our area that directly or indirectly make their living on racing and performance, but he’s badly misinformed. Medina’s campaign, however, isn’t a total loss. If nothing else, it brought to my attention that his competitor is a supporter of our hobby, and for that I’m thankful!

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