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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
State of California (Shasta, Nevada, Placer, Siskiyou, Lassen, Plumas, Butte, Modoc, Sierra Counties) June 5, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 1

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Budget, Government reform, Higher education, Water

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. How will you prioritize the budget choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?

Answer from Robert Meacher:

I would bifurcate public safety retirement plans from the rest of state employees. Take a two-pronged approach. Pension reform need not be "one size fits all". We need a balanced approach to revenues and spending cuts. There is a lot of redundancy, overlap, and duplication of programs and policies at the state level that could be streamlined and/or done away with. I know where a lot of this exists after 20 years as a county supervisor.

Answer from David Edwards:

Fair and equitable taxation to support necessary services. Those services are: Education,We must provide affordable education including vocational training Single Payer Health Insurance with coverage including Wellness and Preventative Health Care Public safety State mandated programs for Counties and Special Districts must be funded by the state

Answer from Charley Hooper:

The state government is spending too much, not taxing too little. We have to live within our means, why not the government?

I think there's so much waste in the state budget that the budget can be cut and services can be improved simultaneously. Some of this can be achieved via charter schools, outsourcing, cutting agencies, and getting non-violent drug offenders out of our prisons.

The areas we must protect are public safety, education, and infrastructure.

? 2. What types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?

Answer from Robert Meacher:

We need to help with business start-ups, and very-small business retention. Too often, the very little businesses are subsidizing the larger businesses due to the "one size fits all" approach to so many regulations, fees, and taxes. We can fix this. We can do it sensibly, and fairly. We need to overhall the vehicle code. It's getting to the point where we can't get up in the morning without violating a provision of the "code". We need to put cost-of-living adjustments into certain taxes and fees so that the revenues keep up with inflation. We need to reexamine our prison system.

Answer from David Edwards:

Our elected leaders need to represent the people who elected them rather than the money that paid for their campaign Special interest money needs to be removed from our government

Answer from Charley Hooper:

Our state government is trying to do things that are not appropriate for a state government. The state government must do fewer things but do them better. Outsourcing is one way to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

California has numerous agencies that duplicate federal agencies. This is arrogant and wasteful. Getting rid of most or all of the 500+ state agencies, departments, and commissions would be a good start.

Reducing bureaucracy in all branches of government will also reduce costs and improve services.

? 3. Fees for public higher education have gone up dramatically and funding has been cut. Is this a priority concern, and if so, what measures would you propose to address it?

Answer from Robert Meacher:

This is a huge concern and one of my top priorities. We have built one college campus in California since 1980. We have built over 20 prisons. We spend less than $10,000 on K thru 12 education per pupil per year, and $50,000 per inmate per year. Our priorities have run amuck. Our children are our future. We must return our state to the where we were not long ago, as the beacon of education. Whatever it takes, we must, and we will address this issue.

Answer from Charley Hooper:

While I sympathize with those paying the fees for higher education, and have a son in college myself, these fees reflect the reality of the supply and demand of higher education. If more people want to attend college than the available slots, the price (tuition and fees) should rise to balance the supply and demand. This is basic economics.

Answer from David Edwards:

Yes, this is a primary concern. We pay $50,000 to incarcerate some one and $9,000 to educate them per year. For every dollar we spent on education we get back nine dollars. I will support lowering fees across the board and insure higher education is available to all who qualify. This would include vocational education.

? 4. There is increasing demand on California water, particularly in central and southern California. How do you propose to meet this demand without permanently depleting northern California water sources and further damaging the Delta? How can the less-populated water sources north of the Delta have sufficient say in water policy?

Answer from Robert Meacher:

I have been a champion for north-state water rights and a sensible approach to natural resource management. I am the co-chair of the State of California's Watershed Program, the past co-chair of the Cal/Fed Watershed Program, the local government representative to the Cal/Fed Public Advisory Committee overseeing the efforts to "fix" the Bay Delta. My contention is that first we must stop the carnage we are creating to the water supply due to catastrophic wildfires burning up our watersheds. Secondly, e have lost over a million-acre feet of storage in our reservoirs due to a host of issues that are not receiving the funding required to repair decades of neglect. The beneficiaries of the water delivered to central and southern California must be financial partners with the state and federal governments if we are to address this horrific situation. Third,in doing the above, the source areas of our water and their elected officials, must have a weighted voice in the solutions presented to protect the north-state water. The first assembly district rights and economy contains the vast majority of California's water resources. Therefore, it is imperative we elect someone with a knowledge and track record in this important subject area.

Answer from Charley Hooper:

There is plenty of water in California, except in extreme droughts, for farms, cities, suburbs, and wildlife (primarily fish). The problem is improper use. If any Californians waste water, that tells us they don't value it highly and the price to them should be increased.

Suburban residents in Southern California shouldn't be cleaning the sidewalks and gutters in front of their houses with water shipped all the way from Northern California. If we raise the price of water to them, they will find an efficient way to use less. Southern California, not Northern California, should pay for the California State Water Project's operating costs.

Farmers, for their part, choose what to grow and how to irrigate. They use most of the water in California and even small improvements will add up.

Answer from David Edwards:

We need to fundamentally change how we allocate water in this state. Protecting our watersheds needs to be a shared expense by everyone in the state, meaning people in Los Angeles need to pay a tax to support the maintenance of our Sierra Forests. All costs for delivered water including dams, and delivery systems must be borne by the end users. Fish, river and stream habitats must be given full consideration when establishing water rights.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: July 26, 2012 13:02 PDT
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