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[LSNN] Democratic Senator Diana Jones: "We're going to work together in a special committee, drafting and perfecting the best San Andreas RICO Act."


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Democratic Senator Diana Jones: "We're going to work together in a special committee, drafting and perfecting the best San Andreas RICO Act."


BY DENNIS SIDWELL

 

 

Los Santos, SA - On the 7th of April, 2021, at 2 pm, the LSNN team conducted an interview with Acting Chairwoman of the Democratic Party and Senator Diana Jones. This is the written version of the interview which was held on air, in the LSNN studio.

 

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Diana Jones and Dennis Sidwell in the LSNN studio

 

Dennis Sidwell: Miss Jones, welcome to the studio. It's a pleasure to talk to you on air.

 

Diana Jones: Thank you for having me, Dennis, it's a pleasure to be here. And please - call me Diana.

 

Dennis Sidwell: Diana, that's very humble of you. Despite your high positions, you've remained down-to-the ground, approachable and with a positive attitude towards us, the citizens.

 

Diana Jones: Well, Dennis, I am a citizen. I don't want there to be any illusion that I'm somehow better than anyone else.

 

Dennis Sidwell: Before we talk about politics, would you please share it with me and the people who are watching us, who is Diana Jones privately? What are your hobbies? I assume people recognize you on the street right away and you don't get much privacy. What do you do when you're away from the cameras?

 

Diana Jones: There's not all that much interesting to my private life, which is why I feared that question as much as I expected it. I'm very religious, I go to church as often as I have time for. I used to be a lecturer of religious studies, though now whenever I'm not too busy, I like to work at community centers and shelters, spread what's good in the world to others. I live alone right now, though I do have family, they live in Paleto. It's a bit far from the Capitol, so I don't live with them when the senate is in session, so I also don't spend much time at home at all. Finally, I just spend time around the city. Bicycling, walking, they're great ways to clear the mind and think about things.

 

Dennis Sidwell: Do you ever get tired of people recognizing you, approaching you to talk about issues or simply interact with you, take a selfie with you and so on? I mean, you chose to be a public face, it comes with it, but do you ever wish to be able to walk on the street and maybe check something shopping related without anyone approaching you?

 

Diana Jones: No, not particularly. I do get recognized from time to time, sure, but also often people don't immediately recognize me. And beyond "I'm Diana", I don't often care to inform them.

 

Dennis Sidwell: Let's talk politics now. The elections. The Republicans won by votes, albeit it was a very small votes difference, standing at 457 votes for Republicans and 445 votes for Democrats. However, when it comes to seats in the Senate, it is five-five. Are you satisfied with this result? Furthermore, considering the fact that it's an equally split Senate, in your opinion, what type of an impact this will cause on the decisions?

 

Diana Jones: I am satisfied. On the day of the inauguration, I spoke about this - San Andreas has been a blue state for decades now. Two years ago, the Secretary of State at the time made a decision that changed the political landscape forever. Last session, we also had a split Senate; suddenly the state turned from a blue state to a swing state. We didn't have high hopes; we expected filibusters and constant bickering, but that was not to be. Instead, through cooperation, we got a lot done, a lot more than either side expected, and the state thrived. We've seen a significant upcoming of new industries, and the diversity of the businesses of San Andreas has been steadily improving. I think the gradual improvement of the State of San Andreas is evidence that this, a split Senate, works. People are wary of it, but I think there is no reason to be. We can work together, and we are working together. The Republican senators are as much my friends as the Democratic ones, and I think that counts for something, as the Democratic caucus leader. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: Republican Senator Kevin Seong has been on air few days ago, he stated the following: "Rudy Benson was a very solid candidate with a bipartisan mindset, who was sadly left out of the final list." Now, Rudy Benson became the Chairman of the Democratic Party. What happened behind closed doors?

 

Diana Jones: The D'Hondt system - the voting system that the state has adopted this session requires a list of ranked candidates, with each seat won being appointed to the next in the list. That means there will always be some above others. Rudy Benson was a splendid candidate, who showed excellent promise. But so were the others, each of them. A choice had to be made, and while I won't go very in-depth on the precise calculations and patterns behind the choices, Rudy gained his spot on the sixth seat. Now, making him the Chairman of the Democratic Party wasn't a decision I made after he didn't get into the Senate. I had a list of candidates for that position, and he was high on that list. I always knew that he would be a good choice for it. And so it happened that the Senate split. I was already planning to rescind the position of Chairwoman, and Rudy became the best candidate. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: Why did you decide to rescind from the position of a Chairwoman? 

 

Diana Jones: Because I'm a Senator. The chair is a full-time, highly demanding job, and as Senator it is important to be able to truly devote your time. I was never truly the Chairwoman, I was just the Acting Chairwoman until a new one was chosen. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: Democratic Senator Laert Beqiri, in an interview for the LSNN, stated the following: "If you ask me, I'd get rid of every single gun on earth." Furthermore, when asked about the death penalty, he said the following: "Sometimes, some crimes are so horrendous, so inhumane, that makes me agree on the death penalty. At the same time, for the same reason I mentioned earlier about our justice system, I think it's scary to have it. If I had to pick, I'd say pro death penalty." What is your view on these statements?

 

Diana Jones: Well, if you're asking me as Acting Chairwoman of the Democratic Party, I'll say that every candidate, including Laert Beqiri, has their own convictions, their own beliefs, opinions and thoughts. They are not the official Democratic Party platform, though, and Laert Beqiri spoke for himself, as he mentioned. Now, if you're asking me as a Senator, personally, I disagree, on both counts. The matter of firearms is complicated. It's not nearly as simple as it's sometimes posed. If we're talking about firearm-related crimes, there are multiple categories still to cover. On gang-related crimes, muggings, robberies, these, research has shown, are often committed with illegally imported firearms, rather than legally purchased and licensed firearms. Therefore, gun control on gun sales wouldn't have much of an effect there. Domestic crimes, however, are far more likely to be committed with licensed guns. So, the moral there is that you can't just apply a blanket solution to every problem, each issue has its details that have to be considered. I could talk about gun laws for hours, but that wasn't the question here, so, to quickly summarize my stance on that point - San Andreas is unlike any other state in the United States. Tight gun regulations on the east coast may work in places, but that doesn't mean they will work here, with less population density, and a more spread out law enforcement. In San Andreas, it's important that citizens can get their hands on a gun to protect themselves. Now, moving onto the death sentence, in my eyes, that's far less complicated. The death sentence is an awful, outdated and ruthless method that I believe has no place in today's society. I will most certainly advocate against it.

 

Dennis Sidwell: What about open carry? What's your view on that? 

 

Diana Jones: I support open carry. Now, I know what you may say - you can point to my vote last session, where I didn't vote in support of the open carry bill. But that was not because of the concept of open carrying itself. Earlier, I mentioned population density. In Los Santos, within the city limits, open carry is not a good idea. In the county, where law enforcement is spread thin and it takes longer for them to reach crime scenes, it's a different case. Now, the bill proposed that the Governor would draw a map, zoning where open carry is allowed, and it came with few requirements to that map. As a result, right now, you can open carry just a few feet away from homes in Mirror Park. As long as you stay off the road and out of people's back yards, you can walk around on that hillside all the way to El Burro with a shotgun in your hands, open and proud. That's far, far too close to the city. I voted against the first map, which was even worse, in that Chumash was also included as an open carry area, and at the bar over there in Pacific Bluffs, what's it called, Pipeline? You could open carry around Pipeline. That's how close it was originally. That was then amended, but the situation in Mirror Park and El Burro was not amended. However, because of the way the bill was drafted, this topic was not open to debate. It was either yes or no. And that is why I was not in favor of the new SHAFT Act. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: After the Senate elections, there have been smaller elections inside the Senate too. The Senators were choosing the next President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Frank Ernst voted for himself, but you voted for Ernst. Why?

 

Diana Jones: Because we're working together. Frank Ernst is a splendid candidate, with experience and seniority above anyone else in the Senate. We sat down together, as we often do, and discussed the potential ways forward. We could fight it out, force a tiebreaker to come in and decide for us, or we could decide together. Now, the Republican party had a majority in its votes, even if only by twelve votes, so it was important to set a precedent, too. We came to an agreement together. I discussed this with my party, and voted for Frank.

 

Dennis Sidwell: What can you say about the crime rate in Los Santos? Furthermore, what are you going to do regarding organized crime and gang activity in Los Santos? 

 

Diana Jones: There are two main approaches to this. Education, and RICO. The Higher Education Act of 2021 empowered a yet unappointed superintendent of education. Now, previous session, and also in the city council, there were senators and councilors advocating for a new Davis High School. Without a superintendent of education, though, that plan didn't really work out. It needed proper staffing, and the means weren't there. Now, though, it's a real possibility, one that will absolutely be approached. Secondly, RICO. Now, RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, it's an act that creates new options of prosecution, where patterns of organized crime can lead to more arrests, and more prison time. Frank Ernst and I have both been hard at work on RICO drafts. Now, this topic is so vitally important, that it's not going to be a partisan battle. We need everyone giving their full attention to this. So we're going to work together in a special committee, drafting and perfecting the best San Andreas RICO Act. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: What's your view on punishment versus rehabilitation? 

 

Diana Jones: Well, I'm not a judge. Some people believe that it should be government defined maximums and minimums that force all incarcerations and punishments. I disagree. It is a judge's job to judge. That's what they're educated, trained and prepared to do. A judge thoroughly examines a case, gets familiar with the plaintiffs and defendants, compares the severity of charges to the history and personality of the accused, judges the people and actions involved, and then makes a decision. And that's how it works. It's not up to me to tell a judge to rehabilitate or incarcerate, when the judge has trained his entire life to make that decision himself. Rehabilitation does work, as research has shown countless and countless of times. And I'm very confident that a judge will know when that applies to his or her case, and when it doesn't. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: Diana, what about bringing more jobs in San Andreas?

 

Diana Jones: Well, we've already seen a rise in employment numbers and businesses. The 1851 Gold Rush of San Andreas, are you familiar with it?

 

Dennis Sidwell: No.

 

Diana Jones: In 1851, a hundred and seventy years ago, it was discovered that there is gold in San Andreas soil. This drew a lot of attention. In fact, it drew so many people, that this state, which was barely populated, barren and empty, tripled in population in a matter of months. And it kept expanding. And then, two years later, the gold was gone. Something boils up. It explodes, draws much attention, becomes very profitable for a short time, then vanishes. If that sounds familiar, it's because that applies to almost every business in San Andreas nowadays. Most of them follow that pattern. Small businesses get started. They boom up, they get profitable, they last a month, maybe two, then they vanish again. We've all seen it. It's a pattern that's been known through San Andreas since forever, and it's a good thing, too. Jobs don't last very long here. People have a job for a few months, and then they move on and they get another job. But this circulation boosts the economy and makes sure that there's always room for more. New jobs get created every week in high amounts, too. Especially in our high conjuncture economy, we have more high paying jobs available than we have highly paid people available. Lower paying jobs, the many, many businesses, that are very easy to establish, following the gold rush tactic, those are always there. Higher paying jobs, like I said, there's more jobs than people. ULSA is looking for every kind of employee. The city and state governments both require many people. The Department of Justice, the Department of Education. Aurum. LSNN, even. Every major business has more positions than people. So, moral of the story? There's many jobs. 

 

Dennis Sidwell: Diana, thank you for coming down to the studio today, it was a pleasure.

 

Diana Jones: The pleasure has been all mine, Dennis. Thank you for having me, and thanks to everyone at home for watching.

 

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Comment: Was it only me that noticed that most of Democratic senators are not even Caucasian Americans... Their names are not even pronounceable... 

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