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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Riverside, San Bernardino County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
State Senator; District 31

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California and asked of all candidates for this office.

See below for questions on Budget Crisis, Education, Water, Health Insurance

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

1. What does California need to do to address the current budget crisis?

Answer from Marjorie Musser "Margie" Mikels:

1. Pass Proposition 56 that will allow a budget to be passed without 2/3 majority. This will enable a budget to be passed without the minority holding an ax over the heads of the majority of the legislature.
2. Do not be frightened into drowning our state and the future of our children in red ink and enormous debt. This will only reduce our credit rating further and increase interest rates on bonds, speeding us on a downward spiral towards bankruptcy.
3. Instead, we need creative and courageous representatives willing to add taxes where it hurts the least and reduce expenditures strategically. Here are some ideas:

  • Increase state income taxes 1/2% on those who earn over $400,000 annually; they can deduct this from their federal returns.
  • Sue and recover ill-gotten profits from Texas energy companies;
  • Amend 3-strikes law to include only violent crimes--decrease prison population;
  • Institute California inheritance tax on estates over 5 million;
  • Re-Impose vehicle Registration tax on cars over $40,000 and gas guzzlers like Hummers.
  • Tax pollution and polluters; and demand Federal Gov. to pay cost of clean up of groundwater supplies destroyed by their weapons contractors, such as perchlorate;
  • Obtain funds from federal government to cover services necessary for immigrants--it is the United State's responsibility to protect our borders and it should bear the burden--not the taxpayers of California.

2. What should the state's priorities be for K-12 education? For the Community College System?

Answer from Marjorie Musser "Margie" Mikels:

  • Education should be our highest priority.
  • Education must be kept public--not privatized so that private profit-seekers may eat at the taxpayer trough and destroy the public educational system.
  • Smaller classes, highest quality of teachers, all the resources available including books, field trips, as well as computers should be prioritized over administrative expense.
  • Less emphasis on testing; teaching for the test, with potential negative consequences hanging over the teacher, does not encourage creativity and joy of learning--no federal mandates without funding!
  • More local parental input on curriculum--should not be decided by political pols from Washington.
  • Greater parent-teacher-student partnerships.
  • More emphasis on civics, current events, student community involvement, skills that create good participatory citizens.

3. What measures would you support to address California's water needs?

Answer from Marjorie Musser "Margie" Mikels:

  • Would pass legislation halting privatization of water. Water is a "public resource" and we must not allow hustlers and brokers to convert it to a "commodity" for their private profit.

  • Limit water "farming" whereby brokers buy exiting extraction rights of farmers and others for export and sale to users elsewhere. Farmers' land lies fallow and local water users are denied all beneficial use of the water.

  • Make polluters, including the U.S. Government and its military contractor pay the cost of cleaning up pollutants, such as perchlorate that Lockheed Martin and Aerojet et al have dumped into the groundwater supplies of the inland valleys. To the extent, like perchlorate, that means of cleaning are limited to the normal: "dilution is the solution to pollution", cost of water import to dilute to acceptable levels MUST BE CARRIED BY THE POLLUTER--NOT THE GENERAL PUBLIC by increased rates and taxes.
  • Limit development! At present, water purveyors are linking up pipelines and installing a system of valves to allow "source shifting". I.e., the water is moved from place to place around the valley. People who believed they had water available in hydrants near their homes learned during the recent fires that when they turned on those hydrants they got only a "sucking sound". This is because water was transferred elsewhere. This mechanism, I fear, is being used to allow development for which there is insufficient water supply and pressure available, to pass tests that permit develop to go forward, where it should be prohibited.
  • Stop draining the mountains dry by tunnelling through the mountains and causing huge water loss and drop in lake levels that is causing trees to die and disrupting the rain cycles.
  • Stop construction of power plants that over use and pollute and consume massive amounts of water. Every large scale residential and commercial development in So. California should be required to install solar and/or other alternative energy generation so that no further strain is placed on power generation and no further plants are needed.
  • Legislate and enforce prohibitions against industry and sewer treatment plants dumping discharge into the water ways, as four such plants did into the Santa Ana River water shed during rains, and as has industry been doing for decades in San Bernardino County.
  • Before, in the name of the "brownfields movement" development is allowed to cover up superfund sites like the Kaiser site in Fontana with commercial/industrial development and make millions of dollars, they must be held responsible to extract and clean up the oozing toxic plumes that lie beneath the surface and inch daily toward our groundwater basins.
  • Development of all kinds must pay its own way and financial incentives must not be given by elected officials from the people's coffers to campaign contributors and special interests as inducements for development where such development strains existing resources including water quality and quantity.

4. What should the Legislature be doing to address the needs of Californians without health insurance?

Answer from Marjorie Musser "Margie" Mikels:

  • Keep intact the recently-enacted legislation requiring employers of over 20 employees to provide health insurance.
  • Promote and fund Healthy Children's program.
  • Establish community clinics and give volunteer medical providers tax deductions for donated time to service provision.
  • Buy drugs for state institutions and hospitals in bulk and challenge prohibition established by administration against buying at lowest price even if in Canada. Decrease pharmaceutical profits when possible.
  • Establish state-wide health care plan that takes the insurer profits out of the system, if the Federal Government won't step to the plate. Physicians have come up with a MediCare for All plan that would provide health insurance for everyone in the country at half the cost we are now paying by reduction in Pharmaceutical and Insurance Co. profits. Why not?

No one is an island. If an epidemic comes and some are unable to obtain medical care, disease will spread. If medical care is unavailible there will be a continued strain on emergency treatment. We need health care plans that stress preventive care and allow people treatment before emergency.

Teach health and nutrition in schools and make nutritious fruits/vegetables available in schools and available to the poor; Perhaps recycling programs so that food from grocers is not just thrown out and landfilled when it has small spot--but could be supplied to central distribution where soup kitchens and poor could have access. Junk food that pervades our culture contributes to increased incidents of illness.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. 

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:39 PST
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