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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 46

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, Major issues

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 Jay L. Stern:

"Value Engineering" is the prioritization technique that I learned years ago while working for a marvelous corporation! Value Engineering is the technique of assigning attributes to products, services, features, goals, etc., and ranking them objectively. If used for state budgeting, a natural hierarchy will emerge which can be used by California to stay within the budget without depriving any, given sector of vital services incumbent upon the State to provide.

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

Answer from Jay L. Stern:

I like the proposal put forward by Bakersfield Assemblywoman Shannon Grove for a part-time Legislature. I think it could prompt legislators to be more efficient and to be more motivated by public service than by personal gain. There is overlap among agencies at the state and county level that might be merged with a saving of money. Most importantly, we must stop taxing business to the point that they leave the state. For example AB1500 needs to be stopped in its tracks before it does REAL harm.

? 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 Jay L. Stern:

Public education starting at kindergarten is of huge concern to me! That is why I become a chemistry teacher in the first place. This question is incomplete, however. It presumes that there is some kind of disconnect between elementary schools and secondary education, and colleges or universities. That is not so. Colleges have remedial courses for incoming students because too many high school graduates cannot read their own diploma nor divide one number by another. Further, it is a mistake to presume that "everyone needs to go to college." They don't, so long as they have access to vocational training programs that can provide another ladder to the success we all crave. The fix is not as apparent as are the answers to the first two questions. Nevertheless, we can reduce costs of higher education by fixing public schools. We need to hold back children + even in elementary school + who fail, because their failure becomes more expensive to themselves and to society as they advance through the grades. We must require more parental involvement at these grades to fix the learning ethic firmly in the student's mind. At the college level, we may want to adopt the Chinese model. It limits the number of seats available and requires potential students to compete for them. In the American model, we tend to lower the bar to grant admission to all who apply. That has not worked well. Please note that "priority" is a two-way street. If someone really wants to go to college, they may have to scrimp and save in other ways to afford it. Numerous generations of Americans have already done this, and still do, and it works!

? 4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address? What are your own priorities?

Answer from Jay L. Stern:

In no particular order, I think the Legislature needs to work on: a. Making California more friendly to business, again: There is no reason for our state to be losing businesses due to onerous laws and regulation. The businesses just go elsewhere so any "problems" they caused have just been shifted --- along with tax revenue and jobs. Stop AB1500.

b. Social issues: Although I define "marriage" as a contract between a man and a woman, I recognize that there are many people in like-gender relationships who are denied basic services under law that heterosexual couples enjoy. This is unfair and, in cases of personal emergency, it can be heart wrenching. A fair and equitable solution to this matter is required, and one that will not cause more legal wrangling. Other issues include payments for at-home services to family members of disabled individuals. Our state's largesse attracts people from other regions to take advantage of it. Further, it is a disgrace to see homeless people on the very steps of the state capital. I am not in favor of subsidizing these individuals, so they need to be allowed to work to earn some keep.

c. Environmental: California farmers should not have to battle cities for water! We need to recycle and reuse fresh water. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by offering prizes for solutions. We have amazing people in this state. Loosening their imaginations to soar will pay dividends in ways that we cannot really predict. One thing is for certain: government needs to make the offer, then get out of the way. We also need to sponsor alternative fuels for transportation. This is an especial interest of mine, but again, it is not something that should be the province of government, other than to facilitate.

d. Employment: Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy. Foster them and watch the jobs be created. The more jobs, the more taxes the government can collect.

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: December 17, 2012 13:48 PST
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