Stephen Peace

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Steve Peace
CA State Senate
In office
Personal details
Born (1953-03-30) March 30, 1953 (age 65)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Cheryl Peace
ResidenceEl Cajon

James Stephen Peace (born March 30, 1953) is an American film writer, producer, and Democratic politician.

Peace was born in San Diego to two teachers. He attended Bonita Vista High School, where he played football and basketball and was president of the student body. He attended U.C. Davis and the University of California, San Diego, majoring in political science.

His film credits include the Killer Tomatoes cult series: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (actor, producer, writer), Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (actor, producer, writer), Killer Tomatoes Strike Back (actor, producer), and Killer Tomatoes Eat France (producer, writer). He also produced, wrote, and acted in the 1987 film Happy Hour.

Peace got his start in politics as a protégé of State Senator Wadie Deddeh and Assemblyman Larry Kapiloff. He served in the California State Assembly from 1982–1992 and the California Senate from 1993–2002.

In 1994, Peace authored a series of criminal-justice reform measures signed by Governor Pete Wilson that significantly increased penalties for violent criminals, including the "one strike and you're out" bill aimed at violent sex offenders.[1] Peace also co-authored legislation that increased the punishment for drug dealers who sell controlled substances on or around elementary, middle, and high schools.[2]

In 2000 and 2001, then-Senator Peace wrote and secured the passage of new laws to protect the privacy of individuals' personal information. Senate Bill 129 created the Office of Privacy Protection within the Department of Consumer Affairs to inform the public of potential options for protecting their privacy, receive complaints concerning persons unlawfully using others' personal information, and to help prosecute identity theft and other privacy-related crimes.[3]

Peace was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy from 1995 - 1997. During this time, the electricity deregulation bill, AB 1890, was passed and signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson. Some incorrectly named Peace as author of this bill, but the author was Jim Brulte, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga.[4] Many believed this bill led to the California electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001.[5] At the time, several prominent California newspapers came out in support of AB 1890, including the San Jose Mercury News. An editorial from 1996 supported the measures taken by the legislature at the time:

Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission rolled out a plan to turn electric power monopolies into free-market competitors. It was a flickering bulb. A half-dozen legislators and their staffs burned the midnight oil this summer to improve it. What they have produced glows brightly. Their plan protects residential and small business customers; it treats public and investor-owned utilities fairly; it maintains important social programs such as energy efficiency and assistance.[6]

The "Steve Peace Death March", as it was known, caused many legislators to switch their votes to support deregulation.[7] The energy crisis was enough to cause him to abandon a possible run for California Secretary of State. As part of his campaign to distance himself from the energy crisis, he posted a short video on his state website which included several clips of him opposing the type of deregulation which was eventually included in the energy bill.

In the years after the energy crisis, information about market abuse by Enron and ineffective federal oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission emerged which many, including Peace, contend proved that the crisis was not, as pundits claimed at the time, a result of "his" energy bill.

After being term-limited out of the State Senate, he was appointed Director of the California Department of Finance by then-Governor Gray Davis.

Peace served as Senior Advisor to JMI Inc., the San Diego Padres and former Padres owner John Moores from 2005 to December of 2016. He also served as a Founding Director of the California Independent Voter Project during which time he wrote California's Nonpartisan Open Primary Constitutional Amendment. He has served on the Board of the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Killer Tomatoes Entertainment.

He married his wife Cheryl in 1973, and has three sons and five grandchildren.


  • In a Killer Tomatoes DVD making fun of "Where are they now?", Peace was shown wearing a suit walking into the California Senate with an open parachute attached to his back, spoofing his Killer Tomatoes character Wilbur Finletter, who was usually seen dragging an open parachute in the same manner.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Peace. "SB 129 Senate Bill - CHAPTERED". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  4. ^ "How California's Consumers Lost With Electricity Deregulation". Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  5. ^ "California - Timeline - Blackout - FRONTLINE - PBS". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  6. ^ Editorial Board (August 29, 1996). "Utility Competition: Switch on the Plan". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Genesis Of State's Energy Fiasco / String of bad decisions on deregulation could end up costing consumers $40 billion". Retrieved 31 March 2017.

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