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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Los Angeles County, CA March 5, 2013 Election
Smart Voter

Steven E. Presberg
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Council Member; City of Los Angeles; District 3


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. What do you think is the single most important issue facing the City of Los Angeles today? As Council Member, what would you do to deal with it?

Pension reform is the number one issue. Now consuming nearly 20% of our entire budget, our City pension costs must be reduced or it will ultimately consume us all. I would enter into talks with the City's unions to try to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached, I would introduce a Charter Amendment in the City Council, and lead a drive for a public referendum if necessary.

2. The City Administrative Officer has estimated a $200M budget shortfall for 2013-2014 increasing to $300M in 2015-2016. What steps do you propose to deal with this problem, and how much do you estimate each step would reduce the shortfall?

I would immediately ask the Coalition of City Unions to accept an arrangement whereby every City employee pays 10% of the cost of health care, saving between $20 and $40 million. I would begin to close certain City departments and functions that are better left to the County. This includes jails/detention facilities, and Animal Services. Pension reform, if adopted quickly, could save an additional $100 million. Further shortfalls would have to be met with furloughs of City employees or layoffs.

3. Do you support the ballot measure to increase the sales tax in the city?

No. I consider this proposal an insidious attempt to evade responsibility for making tough decisions by our elected officials. This is a new "race to the top" - to see which locality can have the highest sales tax rate in California. We should not place this burden on struggling businesses and middle and lower income residents. What will happen when a deficit still remains - a call for a further increase in sales taxes?

4. What role do you feel the City of Los Angeles has to play in addressing climate change? Please explain in terms of what you as a city councilmember would have the power to do.

One thing we can commit to doing is to phase out our polluting vehicles, to be replaced over time with low/no emissions vehicles. Broaden categories for recycling to include most consumer packaging, paper, metal, aluminum, as well as bottles. Rather than burning waste into the atmosphere, we should study methods to create energy via waste in mass and portable mechanisms.

5. How would you prioritize your local constituency versus the City as a whole when acting as a Council Member?

The three roles of the Council member is to 1. Represent my constituents to promote and protect their interests; 2. Oversight of the budget; and 3. Facilitate efficient city services to my district and the city as a whole. I will certainly work hard to bring resources to my district. However, I believe that we are in a time of serious challenges and must act in the best interests of the entire City and our mutual future.

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

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: January 4, 2013 07:35
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