This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
State of California (Sonoma, Marin, Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Del Norte, Trinity Counties) June 3, 2014 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
State Senator; 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 Harry V. Lehmann:

1. We need to break the hold that public employee unions have on the election of office holders from local Councils, to County Supervisors, to members of the Assembly and Senate. These public employee unions have, in short sight, politically compelled levels of pension and benefit payment that are so unsustainable that the bankruptcy of several cities have already occurred, and many more may follow, ultimately hurting the union membership. We need to go to defined contribution not defined benefit and put a $120K maximum cap on pensions.

Answer from Lawrence R. Wiesner:

I believe the single most important tool for addressing budget deficits is to imitate our neighbors in Colorado and pass a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that will rigorously limit government spending to a defined percentage of actual revenues. The Gann Initiative sought to do this very thing, and it did, until the special interests gutted it. It's time to recover this vital lost ground. Let's set up a rainy day fund; scale back the size of state bureaucracies; bring salaries of state employees into line with those of the private sector; reduce extravagant health and pension benefits; set limits on the extension of unemployment benefits; eliminate useless boards, commissions and departments; repeal spending mandates; eliminate waste and extravagance from worthy programs.

? 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 Harry V. Lehmann:

There is no question but that as a matter of general principle we need to focus on increased water storage capacity, such as raising Coyote Dam, and increasing the capacity of other holding areas where possible. At the same time, we need to review and revise water impound release formulae, which are antiquated, so that areas which depend on water for their economy, as in Trinity County, do not see that precious resource taken away and then wasted. We need to practice conservation including appropriate water re-use for irrigation.

Answer from Lawrence R. Wiesner:

We have fallen way behind population needs for water storage facilities in California. We need to seriously consider the construction of new dams, for example the Auburn Dam.

? 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 Lawrence R. Wiesner:

The primary responsibility for the education of children lies with their parents. Accordingly, schools exist to serve parents, and should be directly accountable to them. Beneath the light of this common sense principle it is easy to see where California has gone awry. The public school system has fallen into the hands, not of parents and local teachers and administrators, but of federal regulators, state legislators, teachers' unions, and a massive educational bureaucracy that is riddled with waste and special interest pandering. The results are not pretty. Local school districts are no longer free to work with parents to hire and fire teachers, determine salaries, choose textbooks, work up curricula, and address problems as they arise. Instead, they groan under burdensome collective bargaining agreements, crippling regulations, and costly, time-consuming mandates handed down from legislators and bureaucrats.

Answer from Harry V. Lehmann:

Monies which were intended at bond issuance or by Legislative action for Education should never be raided for General Fund purposes, which raids should be prohibited entirely, with prohibition of co-mingling. Increased funding for education should be looked upon as a fundamental highest priority. Money should be found by reduction of the number of non-essential public employee positions, and by fairer pay: For example, the Marin County Parks position just filled two "volunteer coordinator" positions at over 120K annual, which is obscene.

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

Answer from Lawrence R. Wiesner:

California suffers from higher unemployment than the nation as a whole. We need to become more business friendly in order to retain an expand employment opportunities for our citizens. I would do this by: reducing taxes; reducing burdensome regulations; reducing unnecessary litigation; and placing a fresh emphasis on public works.

Answer from Harry V. Lehmann:

The Legislature should immediately and seriously study means to mitigate EMF exposure, which,despite strong science showing harsh risk, has been very wrongly sold by industry as a minor issue, in fact, severe injuries and deaths are occurring from EMF exposure. The main priority for the Legislature should be truth, and all should accept that fact based reasoning should trump Party loyalties; we need true diversity of thought, not Party dogma. On drug law: While marijuana de-criminalization for private non-medical use by adults may be overdue, this need not mean the need for further government involvement; like it or not, legalization may currently be impractical due to federal law. I mention this not because pot is important, but because those enforcement dollars need to be focused on meth, which is ruining lives every day; there we should focus. We need to reduce the number of non-essential government employees, while treasuring those who genuinely help people with their hard work.

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: July 9, 2014 18:45 PDT
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.