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Los Angeles County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Mike Feuer Issues and Priorities

By Mike Feuer

Candidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 42

This information is provided by the candidate
A summary of the issues on which Mike Feuer intends to focus while serving as Assemblymember for the 42nd District: Education, Health Care, Protecting the Environment, Civil Rights, Traffic, and Restoring Trust in Government
Mike Feuer, Democrat for Assembly, 42nd District Issues and Priorities


My family commitment to public education spans four generations to a time when my grandmother was told she couldn't go to medical school because she was a woman. My father was a teacher and a public school principal for 35 years. My mother was an administrator at Cal State San Bernardino (where I grew up). I worked several jobs to put myself through college and law school. Now, my two children are enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where they are doing very well. Last year, I received the Education Advocacy Award from the ACLU for my work in settling Williams v. California, perhaps the most important education case in California in the last 25 years. As a member of the Los Angeles City Council, I created READ LA - a literacy program for struggling students - provided additional resources for teachers in my district, and worked to make public schools the centers of community life.

My goals for public education are: more resources for public education in general, higher wages and better working conditions for teachers, better training of school principals, class size reductions, and a rededication to vocational education - perhaps in partnership with the community colleges.


I believe in universal, single-payer healthcare as the ultimate goal. More immediately, I would advocate bringing more people into the Healthy Families Program and covering more youngsters through existing Medi-Cal coverage. I would require employers to provide health insurance for employees and subsidize small businesses to accomplish this. I would legalize the purchase of prescription drugs from Canada, roll back Medi-Cal cuts and provide incentives to expand the nursing corps.

During the eight years I was Executive Director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services (The House of Justice), one of our main activities was to fight for, and protect existing health care benefits for senior citizens and those who could not obtain or afford health care coverage.


I have been endorsed by the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club because of my long history of effective leadership in environmental protection. As a member of the Assembly, I intend to be a forceful leader on reducing global warming, strong coastal protections, preservation of open space and parks, improvements in air and water quality and greater funding for mass transit. I believe the state can play a leading role in fighting greenhouse gases, along with developing alternative energy and energy-efficient technologies. In so doing, we would not only protect the environment for future generations, but we would also create jobs for this generation of California's workers and students.

With regard to air quality, I would advocate for strong laws to reduce major sources of pollution, such as ports and the goods movement system, diesel-powered vehicles and equipment, and high emission vehicles like SUVs. I led the City Council's efforts to persuade the MTA to purchase natural gas buses and phase out diesel-powered fleets of waste hauling vehicles. "Smart growth" approaches to development and investing in the state's public transportation infrastructure will also improve air quality. Otherwise, as the state vehicle population grows, and each vehicle travels more miles each year, efforts to make vehicles cleaner will be outpaced by an increase in miles traveled in polluted regions.

On water quality, I support requiring storm water permits to compel compliance with water quality standards. It is insufficient for permittees merely to aspire to these standards - the standards must be achieved. That's why I support stepped-up enforcement and monitoring of these permits, with funding coming from fees assessed on polluters. On the City Council, I pushed to fund storm water abatement programs designed to improve water quality in the Santa Monica Bay.


My entire public life and much of my private life have been devoted to the causes of equality and justice. While serving as director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services (The House of Justice), a Los Angeles public interest law firm providing free legal services to victims of nursing home abuse, people with AIDS, Holocaust survivors, and tens of thousands of others. I started innovative programs to help young immigrant families enduring slum housing, combat home equity fraud perpetrated against seniors, and assist victims of the Northridge earthquake and civil unrest. I also worked to obtain key services for Spanish-speaking Alzheimer's patients, along with many other accomplishments.

I have supported marriage equality since the 1990s. As a member of the Los Angeles City Council, I was a leading advocate of full equality for the LGBT community. I authored successful measures which put the City of Los Angeles on record opposing Pete Knight's Defense of Marriage Act, and later, the Defense of Marriage Initiative. I strongly advocated for Los Angeles to sever ties with the Boy Scouts because of their discriminatory policies. I was a leader in supporting full domestic partner benefits. As a private attorney, I performed substantial work with LGBT advocates on Sharon S. v Superior Court, which ultimately validated second-parent adoption.

Additionally, I authored legislation to establish the Los Angeles Human Relations Department and co-authored legislation to create the Department on Disability. I led City efforts to build Shane's Inspiration, the first playground in Los Angeles where all children - regardless of disability - can play without help. Since then, numerous playgrounds following the Shane's Inspiration model have been established throughout the state.


Transportation concerns are more significant to residents of the 42nd District than almost any other public policy issue. I have advocated for specific public transit projects in Los Angeles, and believe we should immediately take steps to expand our public transportation infrastructure in order to meet the demands of our growing population. I also believe State and local officials should promote smart growth as a way to alleviate traffic congestion.

It is essential that the state create a comprehensive plan that makes transportation choices today, given the time lag between decision and implementation. Every urban center in our state is choked with traffic, and we are spending millions of dollars to repair roads and highways that are not sufficient to serve the number of cars in the state. We must provide effective alternate means of transportation through a balanced approach that would include rail transit, buses, shuttles and better urban planning.

One of the challenges facing California is obtaining the necessary funding to create a system that is affordable, reliable, and efficient. I would fight for federal and state funding for public transportation. I have strong relationships with many federal elected officials, and would use those relationships to lobby for an increase in federal dollars. I support the inclusion of transportation funding in a statewide approach to infrastructure upgrades and expansion.


We all suffer when the public doesn't trust its government. As a member of the Los Angeles City Council, I took a leadership role in establishing rules for conducting campaigns, and standards for the behavior of elected officials. I am endorsed by the past president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission because of my leadership in the area of political ethics and reforms, and intend to promote similar policies as a member of the Legislature. But I think the most important things we can do to restore people's faith in the institutions of government lie in our ability to get things done - to transcend the perceived political bickering and infighting to move our state forward.

I chaired the Budget Committee on the Los Angeles City Council at a time when we had a Republican Mayor and Republican as well as Democratic council members. I know what it's like to bring disparate interests to the table and forge consensus to achieve good public policy.

I believe my six years of experience on the City Council in the nation's second-largest city - along with serving on more than 15 council committees at the same time - equips me to become a leader on policy matters in the Assembly.

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