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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Sonoma, Humboldt, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity Counties, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 2

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 Fiscal Choices, Water, Education, Your Priorities

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

? 1. How would you prioritize the fiscal choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?

Answer from Matt Heath:

The $200 Billion of unfunded public pension liabilities must be addressed first and foremost. California current gross total of $300 Billion in unfunded liabilities will bankrupt the state unless dealt with as priority number one. If Sacramento's hidden debt (unfunded liabilities) is not dealt with, California will not be able to provide any funding for education and infrastructure. Keep promises and contracts with all retirees and previous work days while providing an opportunity for future generations with new contracts for future employees and days worked.

Answer from Pamela Elizondo:

We should charge one cent federal, state, county tax every dollar transaction for increased tax base rather then current form of tax collection, the resultant increase used only on educating, researching & implementing the restoration of Earth & Inhabitants, Our infrastructure should be considered our Earth, not subways, drones, submarines, employing people locally stops unnecessary commuting, wasting gasoline, creates happier families who can spend more time together'

Answer from John Lowry:

Currently there is a revenue surplus. I favor creating a reserve fund, and I support the Governor's proposal to save a portion of capital gains taxes to fund it. I support cutting taxes on "front end" investment, including impact fees and environmental exactions. I favor an analysis of other business taxes to determine where cuts would most significantly support economic growth.

I favor restoration of cuts to education, human services and housing, as resources are available. I favor the oil extraction tax. I would support a voter initiative to reverse the prohibition on estate taxes and I favor a candid conversation about the unintended consequences of Prop 13. Regarding new spending or tax cuts, I favor a "pay go" approach where a source must be identified before either can go into effect.

Answer from Jim Wood:

I believe that the Governor's efforts to create a rainy day fund is a good step towards long term financial stability and potentially offers some protection against the boom and bust cycles we experience with statewide funding of critical programs. We must live within our means, but we must also recognize and respect that cuts to safety-net programs can ultimately have a much higher costs than the short term savings realized. We must recognize when there are imbalances and act accordingly. We must invest in education as a long term solution for improving the quality of our workforce. We must make college affordable.

? 2. Given our current drought condition, concern for water rights and usage is an important issue. What solutions would you support to address our water problems?

Answer from Pamela Elizondo:

Our state is still suffering from a serious drought & will not recover unless we create water. Solar panels & windmills waste land, use toxic batteries & don't provide enough energy or any water. Brown has appropriated $684 million for drought relief, we should immediately put our prisoners & educational facilities to work germinating & cloning produce & marijuana to be planted with all produce, particularly land & water wasting vineyards, watered only 5-6am 3 times weekly, produce sold, all grapes, leaves, marijuana harvested & manufactured in wineries for all it's uses. Quintillions of dollars profit every area.

Answer from Matt Heath:

Sacramento must finish California's great water project and complete dams, like Coyote Dam, to completion. Water storage must be priority number one in solving our current and future droughts and is the responsible policy Sacramento should act upon.

Answer from Jim Wood:

Changes in personal behavior around the prudent use of water should become the norm - with or without a drought. We waste much too much water. Conservation is a critical issue.

We also have critical water storage needs. Some of our reservoirs have not been optimized for maximum capacity and we should be focusing on this. Further, outdated water release protocols by the Federal Government have diminished our water supplies and more efforts must be made to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to improve this practice.

Finally, I believe we need to be looking to create new water storage projects. Water storage has not kept pace with population in California.

Answer from John Lowry:

I favor policies that promote, incentivize and in some cases require water conservation. I favor reuse of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation. And I support increased surface storage, understanding that there are often environmental questions that need to be addressed.

? 3. California high school students rank lower than many states in student performance. What do you see as the ongoing role of the Legislature in addressing this problem?

Answer from Pamela Elizondo:

Education money should be spent teaching children & pupils of all ages to love themselves & their Earth, not a flag that does nothing for them or "bombs bursting in air", "this land is your land, this land is my land" "America the beautiful". We should teach reading, writing, arithmetic, horticulture, survival skills living without electricity, conserving water, creating conservancy with food & water for wildlife protected from ranchers & ranchers the same protected from wildlife.

Answer from Jim Wood:

Teachers need the resources to educate our children to be competitive in the 21st century. We rank 49th in the United States in per pupil funding. This disparity in funding makes it very difficult to provide the quality of education necessary to have high performing students. The legislature should insure that resources are available and adequate. The legislature should also resist reducing funding for education when the economy struggles as I believe that diminishes our ability to recover from bad economic times.

Answer from John Lowry:

I favor increased funding for education, since California now ranks almost at the bottom in per student spending when compared to other states. I support a program of ongoing basic skills competency training for high school students who need it. I support relevant education which includes vocational training and job readiness.

I support reform of the tenure system that would allow for replacement of ineffective teachers. I favor on-going experimentation and innovation to better understand how to keep young people engaged and interested in pursuing education, and to identify more efficient and effective methods of teaching. I also favor greater local control of education.

In the past I held a teaching credential and taught at the secondary level.

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

Answer from Jim Wood:

We have major challenges with the delivery of healthcare in rural communities which creates significant disparities between health outcomes in urban and rural areas. We need to work to increase access to high quality healthcare for all Californians.

Infrastructure - such as high speed internet - must be available in rural communities to ensure that schools, businesses and healthcare facilities have access to this critical tool.

Education must be funded at higher levels to insure that the resources are available to provide an education relevant to the needs and challenges of the 21st century.

We must systematically and methodically address climate change and invest more in protecting and restoring our natural resources.

Answer from Pamela Elizondo:

Use taxpayer's money only for restoring Earth & Inhabitants, provide total healthcare instead of new land & water wasting highways, new unneeded buildings. Do not allow unneeded surgeries like C-sections, mastectomies, gallbladder removal, joint replacements, bringing babies early so as to create huge fees for doctors & hospitals, expenditure of social security for resultant infant through adulthood disabilities that restrict long time workers from receiving social security. Create small homeopathic hospitals & clinic that use hands on medical care instead of mechanical, don't allow any "bad" medications, or research that can kill you in any field including gmo's.

Answer from John Lowry:

I think that housing is underestimated in its significance to the wellbeing of our people and of our economy. It is the largest single cost for most people and especially for low income people. Safe and decent housing is very important for people to make progress in all other areas of life. Homeownership is usually the only way that low-income and many middle-income people can invest and gain assets. California's high housing costs are as important as taxes and regulations in business decisions to locate and stay located in California.

I favor a new approach to environmental regulation that would replace our current conflict ridden reactive approach with a proactive and results oriented approach, where we identify the preservation and restoration goals and act on them in a systematic way. This policy direction would be less expensive, more effective, and in line with a strong economy.

I favor a full-on commitment to renewable energy, including small, medium and large scale renewable energy development. New approaches to financing and regulation are the keys to making this happen.

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: July 9, 2014 18:45 PDT
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