Bringing Science to Politics: La Jolla resident runs for Lieutenant Governor

By Ashley Mackin

In the voter information guide that went out for the June 3, 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election, La Jolla residents might recognize a familiar name as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California: Eric Korevaar.

The La Jolla resident is running on the Democratic ticket against incumbent Gavin Newsom.

Korevaar has a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and sold his company, AstroTerra Corporation, in 2000. He worked for the acquiring company, MRV Communications, for three years after that. More recently, he has devoted time to consulting work and non-work projects, such as chairing the La Jolla Conservancy, which designed the Whale View Point project, before handing it to La Jolla Parks and Beaches for implementation.

He said he would apply a scientific way of thinking to the office, if elected.

“Instead of just getting to one side of a position, as a scientist, I would need to understand the issues behind it and find a solution that makes sense,” he said. “On the plus side, I would be open minded about listening to different points of view and try to come to a conclusion. On the minus, the conclusion I come to might not be what one particular group wanted, but be more toward the middle.”

Insisting he is more moderate than incumbent Newsom, Korevaar said his political philosophy is in line with California Gov. Jerry Brown on issues such as limiting what the legislature can spend, but providing adequate funding for education and water conservation.

The duties of the lieutenant governor are few, but ones in which Korevaar said he thinks he would do a good job. The big ones are serving on the board of regents for the UC and CSU systems, and sitting as one of three commissioners on the State Lands Commission. The latter group manages state-owned lands and tidelines.

As an advocate for public beach access, Korevaar said the lieutenant governor would have some influence over areas such as the Children’s Pool. Applying a scientific way of thinking, he said, “There are a lot more seals at Children’s Pool than there were 20 years ago, but the policy has always been shared use. It doesn’t seem necessary to me to close the beach for six months because we are not solving a problem; there isn’t a problem for the seals.”

Korevaar did his homework on the duties of lieutenant governor in preparation for his first attempt at the seat in 2010. At that time, voters received ballots with candidates from their party only and the top earner from each party went on to the general election.

However, in 2010, California passed Proposition 14 that determined ballots with all candidates covering all parties would go to each voter. Therefore, the top two overall vote getters would end up in the general election, even if they were of the same party.

“It gave less partisan candidates a chance to get on the ballot,” Korevaar said, including himself in this category. This year, the only two democrats running are Korevaar and incumbent Newsom.

Realistic about the challenge of running against an incumbent, Korevaar said with three candidates from the Republican Party (Ron Nehring, George Yang and David Fennell), one from the Green Party (Jena Goodman) one from the Peace & Freedom Party (Amos Johnson), and one Independent (Alan Reynolds), when all the votes are divvied up, he could realistically come in second place. There is also a spot for write-in candidates.

Korevaar and his wife Leigh Plesniak, have two children, Kevin, 10, and Nina, 8. His ballot statement, position on issues and biography can be found at

On the Web

■ Polls will be open for the Gubernatorial Primary Election 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 3.

■ Find your polling place, candidate statements, and proposition information at