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 59

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 Rodney D. Robinson:

California has a projected $16 billion plus deficit that keeps growing. The only way to fix this problem is by raising taxes on the rich and big business, but not the poor! By the end of 2013, I will work to address the following: Increasing taxes for the rich. Adding a 50 cent per drink flat bar tax on restaurants, bars and clubs that sell alcohol. The monies would go toward the deficit, job creation, and education. Implementing a 20% luxury tax on corporate bonuses. Adding a $5 cigarette tax on cigarettes. The monies would go toward education, subsidized housing for the poor, cancer research, small businesses, and the re-entry population.

Answer from Reggie Jones-Sawyer:

My priority will be creating new revenue streams from public private partnerships and reingengineering state government to be more entrepreneurial in its approach to managing its vast assets. Once these new resources are identified and implemented my recommendation will be that these new revenues be applied to our struggling educational system.

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

Answer from Rodney D. Robinson:

Creating of New Jobs - From 2001-2009 California was ranked number one in jobs/employment. Now in 2012, California is last in the nation in jobs/employment. Since 2010, over 4,000 businesses have left California and moved to neighboring states such as Texas and Arizona because of fewer restrictions. Unemployment is at an all-time high, at approximately 12% statewide. Businesses are leaving California and going to other states and countries that are more business-friendly. I am hopeful and confident that we can turn things around by making California more business-friendly. This will help to keep jobs in California. It is time that we loosen the rope of regulations from around businesses' necks so that they can start hiring Californians again. Businesses don't need incredible tax breaks to create jobs. All we ask is for them to pay their fair share and offer a living wage to their workforces. There will be over 40,000 plus non-violent felons released from jail and prisons this year. We need to be friendlier to businesses who hire these re-entries. Either we help employ ex-felons or they will be on Californian streets committing more crimes. There is a lot of construction going on throughout our communities. However, rarely do we find residents from those neighborhoods working on those construction sites. I support that a percentage of those jobs be given to qualified persons who live in those communities. That would bring attention to job displacement. Through rebuilding California's roads, highways, bridges, and infrastructures we can put hundreds of thousands of Californians back to work. That's why I support President Obama's job plan. We need to revisit restricted bond money that can only be used for specific construction and spread those funds in other areas to help create more jobs. It is impossible to talk about jobs without talking about a fair wage. As product, goods and the price of living continue to rise, a fair living wage is a must. I will fight for a fair wage for wage earners by 2013.

Answer from Reggie Jones-Sawyer:

I'm running for California State Assembly to be the voice for the residents of the new 59th District. We need bold action and real reform coming from Sacramento. I plan to use my experiences of working in government, and outside government, to bring together the business and labor communities to create innovative solutions to deal with some of our state's most pressing issues, like creating more good paying jobs, stimulating our local economies and helping small businesses, investing in and repairing our education system, and increasing public safety. With your help, I'll be your next representative in the State Capitol, and I pledge to do everything that I can to to help get our state back on track.

? 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 Reggie Jones-Sawyer:

The reason this State was once an economic powerhouse is because of the investments we made in education. The State's longterm economic recovery will be based on the new revenues that we create being plowed back into education.

Answer from Rodney D. Robinson:

In 2010, the state eliminated community college enrollment by 500,000 students due to state budget cuts. In 2011, the state has proposed to raise fees and eliminate anther 650,000 California state and community college enrollments. As we head into another challenging year and decade, a revamped educational plan is essential for Californians to stay competitive with the rest of the nation. The community colleges for many are the gateway to higher education and employment. The goal of getting students prepared for jobs is a must if we want to keep up with the rest of the world. How are we going to fix California's roads and bridges if we are cutting community college and California state university enrollment? We need to start educating students on energy efficient jobs, green technology, automotive technology, construction and agriculture. I will legislate that for students who return back to school and pursue a skill trade, will receive extra beneficial resources as an incentive. Incentives offered will include state grants, scholarship paid internships and bus passes. I'll make it a point to work more with companies that partner with these schools. According to the United States government there will be over 80,000 men and women coming home from war in the next year. Most will come back to school to further their education or to sharpen existing skills. I will fight for more beneficial programs for Veterans coming to community colleges, California states universities, and other California institutions of higher learning. That is the least we can do for those men and women who have fought and died for this great country. I strongly support all who teach within the K-12 educational system. Some of the biggest challenges that teachers are facing are over crowded classrooms, lack of department equity, and pressure to perform. Quality education is the future of California, and I will support investing in hiring more teachers for K-12 and higher education. I also feel that some of the strategies used to hold teachers accountable is a waste of money and time for schools and not fair for teachers. Teachers are not babysitters, they are educators. Parents are the first teachers of children, and should be held more accountable for not participating in their children's education. Teachers cannot be held responsible for students with psychological, physical and domestic problems and who bring those issues to the classroom. I support to revisiting policies for the purpose of making needed changes. Investing in education is one of my goals for 2013.

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

Answer from Reggie Jones-Sawyer:

Transportation and environmental issues must be addressed by the Legislature.

Again, I plan to use my experiences of working in government, and outside government, to bring together the business and labor communities to create innovative solutions to deal with some of our state's most pressing issues, like creating more good paying jobs, stimulating our local economies and helping small businesses, investing in and repairing our education system, and increasing public safety.

Answer from Rodney D. Robinson:

With the state releasing so many prisoners from California's jails and a high unemployment rate of 12 percent, more police officers on our streets is a must. It will be inconsiderate for us to ignore the fact of public safety. Firefighters are needed now more than ever as well. High unemployment equals high crime and high crime leads to violence, and that is a reality. Now is not the time to cut back on firefighters and police officers. Now is the time to Public Safety - invest in our safety because public safety is first. We are living in an era of terrorism, and unfortunately there are terrorists right here on our own lands. They're called "homegrown terrorists," and they are looking forward to bringing destruction to our cities and citizens. Los Angeles is one of the cities that are a high target. We need to invest in our safety, and not compromise it. I anticipate addressing this goal by 2014.

Family and Community - I believe that family is what makes a strong community. That is why I support creating a more family-friendly community. I will encourage businesses that rely on families and healthcare to come back in to the inner cities. We need to promote the vibrancy of our inner cities and bring more recreation to the families that live in them. For example, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa created a program called "Mid Night Lights." The programs take place in the parks of Los Angeles, and consists of food, games and family entertainment. This is a successful program that should be adapted and implemented throughout the year. Also other activities, such as marathons and summer concerts, should take place in the inner cities to encourage family bonding and promote small businesses. I also support the promotion of healthy lifestyles for families. Bringing more health food stores to the inner city, limiting the number of fast food restaurants, and promoting a more active lifestyle for families is important. Residents shouldn't have to go outside their community in order to buy healthy products and should be able to take a jog or walk their dog in their own neighborhoods. Bike lanes and skate parks should be more visible in the inner cities. Along with strengthening healthy families in the inner cities, I feel that it is important for families to live in a clean and serene environment+one that is conducive to a good quality of life. So I support is cleaning south LA up, refocusing on the litter and graffiti elimination, and enforcing property maintenance. As a resident of south LA, it is not uncommon to see trash, broken down cars, and graffiti on our streets and in our neighborhoods. I will work with non-profit organizations that promote strong families to help educate residents on the financial effects of litter and graffiti on the neighborhood. I would also support an ongoing beautification programs that would help to promote pride in the appearance of the community as well as practical money saving, gardening, and home improvement tips. When families feel included in the transformation of their community and have more success in paying utility bills, and improving the aesthetics of their home and neighborhoods, they will feel more responsible for their community, and work harder to keep our communities clean. These efforts may also lead to entrepreneurial opportunities for residents and jobs for young people, an alternative to gangs and trouble. We need to find more ways to empower our kids to feel like their contributions matter and that their existence matters in the building of a strong and beautiful community. As a single father, this is very important to me. Strategic and innovative community planning will help to create stronger families as well as positive economic development. I plan to address these goals by 2013.

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.