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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Sacramento County, CA March 2, 2004 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 9; Democratic Party

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 Donna Begay:

Fix the Financial Management Systems of California State Government. Each state department has its own budget, position tracking, procurement, and other financial applications. We don't have an integrated method of planning/budgeting, accounting, reporting, and auditing. There are the "have's and the have not's" of technology and enterprised systems within the State. It will take legislation and funding to address these issues.

Answer from Dave Jones:

We will need a combination of tax increases and budget cuts.

Answer from Leslie J. Cochren:

There are four ways out of our budget crisis: controlling fraud and abuse, cutting spending, raising taxes and deferring some cuts through borrowing. In order to solve our problem we must apply all four approaches. In terms of fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars we need to create legislation that incorporates fiscal and administrative controls to close loopholes. We also need to create laws that have built in penalties for fraud and abuse. I am a firm believer that any state programs that can document waste and has not developed an intervening strategy to reduce the fraud and waste should have funding cut based on a reasonable formula. However, cutting programs and raising taxes require that we look at certain tradeoffs and consequences. Increasing taxes and fees may solve only a certain portion of our problem, borrowing is another factor in our equation. We must ensure that we do not borrow to such extent that those who wish to perpetrate fraud and abuse "mug" us and our children out of our future.

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

Answer from Donna Begay:

K-12 Priorities should include proper teacher-student ratio, flexible categorical funding and educational curriculum, "live-able" wage for teachers, and improved vocational education for high school students.

Community College focus should include improve funding base, level out the student fees, and get students and faculty involved in long-term curriculum planning.

Answer from Leslie J. Cochren:

The first priority is greater fiscal flexibility for school leaders. I believe that school districts need a significant new fiscal flexibility to use categorical funds to better meet local needs. For this reason I support the block grant approach that would allow a district that currently receives funding from one program to be able to redirect the funds to a different program that satisfies a higher priority for the district.

We need to continue to work on the "real cost of education" model for community colleges This also involves developing a stable, substantial, and ongoing funding mechanism to address the equipment needed to ensure the currency and excellence of community college educational programs.

I support the redefining of the community college share of the Proposition 98 guarantee and its implementation. I am in favor of using student fee increases to augment, not supplant, the state and community college budgets.

I would like to secure a guaranteed property tax back fill for community colleges.

Answer from Dave Jones:

We must ensure that k-12 students are receiving the best education possible. Regardless of how poor the neighborhood is, each child should be able to go to a good school.

For Community Colleges, we must ensure that the opportunity to attend is available to all Californians

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

Answer from Dave Jones:

More water conservation.

Answer from Donna Begay:

I worked for over nine years with the Department of Water Resources. District 9 is surrounded by two rivers. We must ensure proper flood control, improve on water conservation education and implementation, ensure proper water management of the Central Valley Water Project and State Water Project, and seek alternative water sources for coastal metropolitan areas.

In addition to water, we need an energy capacity-planning tool for this state. In about two years, we can experience more "brown outs".

Answer from Leslie J. Cochren:

I do not favor deregulating water primarily because water is so important to our lives that we must be certain the profits and fraudulent practices do not over shadow the public safety. I do support the use of long term agreements in the purchase of water for example, the long term agreement purchases from Imperial Valley to augment California's effort to reduce the use of Colorado River water to 4.4 million acre-feet per year. This agreement helps California to live within its water allocation.

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

Answer from Donna Begay:

We should promote universal health care for our state. We must also include cultural sensitivity in the delivery of quality health care. Cultural sensitivity includes languages and traditional medicines.

Seek additional federal funding for our Healthy Families program.

Answer from Dave Jones:

Establish universal health Care coverage.

Answer from Leslie J. Cochren:

I am in favor of SB 2(Burton). I believe that employers who do not provide coverage create a burden on good employers. Employers should have a choice to either provide health insurance to their workers or pay a fee to a state purchasing pool to provide coverage for workers and their families.

Another important step to providing affordable health insurance coverage is to eliminate administrative waste which amounts to about $14 billion per year in California. When also need to make pharmaceutical companies more accountable for the high cost of perscription drugs by providing access to financial data and government oversight. One of my top priorities when I am elected in the Assembly will be to use California's purchasing power to win discounts on the price of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. I support the creation of pharmaceutical reimportation center located in cities and counties which would allow residents to purchase prescriptions drugs from Canada through the use of Internet technology.

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: May 4, 2004 14:48 PDT
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