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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
State Senator; District 13

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 candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

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

Answer from Shane Patrick Connolly:

1. Prioritize our state's spending
2. Target funding toward these top priorities
3. De-fund non-priority agencies / boards / commissions.
4. Extend our budgeting time horizon.
5. Allow executive (the Governor) to make necessary mid-term budget cuts when projected revenues fall, with legislative 'veto' power.
6. Reform exorbitant pension plans given to certain state employees to more closely match those offered in the private sector.
7. Increase the time horizon for budgeting - reform process to institute multi-year budgets.
8. Eliminate legislator's vehicle allowances, reduce per-diems.
9. Explore selling under-utilized state assets, returning these assets to the tax rolls and producing tax revenue for the state and localities.

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

Answer from John H. Webster:

It is an absolute conflict of interests for the Government, either State or Federal, to be directly involved in running the schools and in deciding what is taught to our children.

For example, the teaching of ethics which one would think would be an important topic that all children need to learn, is not taught, apparently because it would teach the children to recognize that the Government itself and even our system of Democracy is unethical and immoral.

So in its place, the child is taught that "obeying the Laws" is somehow the ethical way to live.

It is imperative that the Government must get out of running or even paying for schooling (which it does with taxes of course).

As far as how to get there from here the best solution is to start charging tuition for Public Schools and reduce over time the amount of money that the schools are subsidized with tax money. This will allow private and parochial schools to compete on an even footing with public schools. In such a market place, the Public schools just can't compete with either the cost or the provided curriculum.

As far as availability of money to pay the students tuition, the laws need to be changed so that even at the age for a freshman in high school that the student needs to be able to sign for the student loan, and have him/her be accountable for paying back the loan NOT the parents. This way the availability of money for student loans would be related to the ability of the student to perform and to later get a job, not just related to the credit rating of the parents.

Answer from Shane Patrick Connolly:

Government should reduce subsidies to private universities while expanding funding for Community Colleges, vocational education, and K-12 eduction.

In K-12, state should set high standards but not try to micro-manage local schools. Reduce mandates set by Sacramento. Empower local educational professionals - teacher, administrators, and local boards of education, to develop the methods of meeting high standards.

Encourage competition between schools, public, private, and parochial.

Utilize technology to quickly and widely disburse the latest data on educational innovations and best-practices to education professionals/teachers.

Hold administrators / teachers / school boards accountable for results. Eliminate the existing tenure system for K-12 educators. These systems protect the few poor performers at the expense of their well-performing co-workers and, most importantly, these systems sacrifice some students' educational futures.

Reward high-performing educators. Provide flexibility to offer pay differentials for high-demand disciplines such as the sciences and mathematics.

Provide greater interaction between our teachers, students, and the job-creating business community.

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

Answer from Shane Patrick Connolly:

I support Governor Schwarzenegger's plan to increase storage and update our aging water delivery systems. Encourage increased water reclamation by business and municipalities. Encourage creative solutions by developing a system to reward those who develop an idea that is ultimately implemented that significantly contributes to addressing water needs.

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

Answer from Shane Patrick Connolly:

Expand the market for health care, increase competition. Provide a refundable State tax credit to cover the average cost of a health care policy. Allow individuals to pool together to increase buying power. De-link employment and health care coverage so that health care coverage is more like auto insurance market where more choice and price competition abounds. You shouldn't lose your health care just because you lose a job or change jobs. Create greater transparency in the cost of the services provided by doctors, hospitals, emergency rooms, labs, etc.

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

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: January 24, 2009 10:43 PST
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