This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
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 50

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 Richard Bloom:

The already dire revenue predicted for the State budget appears to be falling short by about $3 billion. Even with the successful passage of one or both revenue measures being circulated for signature, setting priorities for scarce resources is going to be difficult, but critical.

Education: An educated and prepared workforce ready for the market needs of today, including the new and expanding tech jobs, is essential for the future of our children and is critical for economic development. Therefore, education, K + 12 and higher education are a top priority.

Environment: Residents of the 50th Assembly District are in consensus on the need to continue to improve California's precious environment. As we have successfully shown in Santa Monica, a "green" California is good for our personal health and the health of our economy. Likewise, a successful economy is essential to the funding of green initiatives.

Essential services for seniors and the disabled: Our safety net is already frayed, or worse, after years of cuts. Care must be taken to preserve our most essential programs.

Tax and Pension fixes: Studies have shown that compliance increases when taxes are perceived as equitable. A revised tax policy that puts a premium on simplification and fairness is long overdue. Pension payments by state and local governments are not aligned with revenue and corrective action must be taken.

Economic Development: My local government experience demonstrates that improving the climate for businesses of all sizes increases the tax base and revenue. It is an ominous that many growing local businesses with "green jobs" are planning to move out of state.

Answer from Betsy Butler:

We must fund schools and public safety. Given the state's ongoing revenue shortages due to the recession, meeting that challenge will be difficult, but not impossible. The Governor's revenue initiative, which I support, and the Speaker's Middle Class Scholarship Act, which I am a co-author of, are two items currently being worked on that will help bring new revenues to both education and public safety.

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

Answer from Richard Bloom:

I intend to focus on working with others to reform the budget process to a pay-as-you-go budgeting, a two-year budget and reform taxes to ensure fairness and increased compliance. It is long past the time for our state government to stop balancing itself on the backs of our schools and local governments.

Government transparency is an essential feature of good government. Public confidence in our State legislature is at an all-time low and will not return without full transparency.

Answer from Betsy Butler:

Since 1988 the Legislature has given out $112 billion in tax breaks. Some of those created jobs. But the vast majority did not. We must stop this self-destructive trend. Efficiency will not be achieved until there is a consequence for waste. Every year, at our direction, the Legislature's Auditor General identifies waste and recommends corrective action. But every year two-thirds of those recommendations are ignored. The Legislature needs to reduce funding for any agency that ignores corrective.

We must look at cutting corporate loopholes at all levels. That includes, but is not limited to, introducing an oil extraction fee, reforming the commercial real estate portion of Prop. 13 and the types of loopholes being closed in the Speaker's Middle Class Scholarship Act.

? 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 Betsy Butler:

The University of California has embarked on a dangerous and destructive business model. They are systematically increasing the number of students admitted from outside California and who pay higher tuition. In fact, the number of out-of-state students has tripled in just a few years. We are proposing that we impose fair taxes on corporations and directing those revenues to lowering tuition for California's middle class.

Answer from Richard Bloom:

My two sons recently graduated from college, so my family has personally experienced the challenging cost of higher education as well as the difficulty in graduating due to the lack of classes.

California's tradition of excellent public institutions of higher learning is under threat, largely due to state cutbacks of between 25 - 30% over the past few years. Fixing the problem is a priority.

While I wish it were not so, if we are to continue to educate as many young Californians as we have in the past, we are going to need creative solutions, including admitting more non-Californians + who pay higher tuition. The two-tier system proposed for summer sessions at Santa Monica College is draconian, but is laudable in its intention to maximize the number of students who can attend at lower rates.

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

Answer from Betsy Butler:

We read news story after news story where the Legislature is overly-influenced by special interests in making public policy. Stopping the influence of big money is my priority. And while I am only one person, I am leading this effort by example. I took on the chemical industry lobby and passed the first-in-the-nation ban on toxic materials in the manufacturing of products used by young children. It is my hope and belief that when legislators see the strong support that has earned me that others of them will find the courage to follow that example.

Answer from Richard Bloom:

The greatest challenge we face is putting California on a fair, responsible and sustainable fiscal path, and getting people back to work. As Mayor of Santa Monica, I have proven that when people work together we can accomplish great things while enhancing our economy. The environment, education and providing a social services safety net have been my priorities in Santa Monica and will be so in Sacramento.

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.

This Contest || Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: December 17, 2012 13:48 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.