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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Jack M. Guerrero
The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
Questions & Answers
1. How will you prioritize the budget choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?
-Cut wasteful government spending immediately
-Renegotiate all union contracts in good faith; approximately 70% of the State's General Fund pays for compensation and benefits of government workers
-Gradually phase out all non-essential government programs
-Serious pension reform now; current benefits (at $500 billion in unfunded obligations) are egregious and economically unsustainable
-No more $100k lifetime pensions starting at the able-bodied age of 50
-Reform the prison industrial complex, which expends nearly $50k per inmate; consider cheaper rehabilitative and educational alternatives for youth and nonviolent drug offenders
-Reduce compensation (and eliminate perks)for state legislators and Sacramento bureaucrats
2. What types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?
-Reduced state government workforce
-Part time legislature
-Respect for constitutional limits
-Bring back the supermajority requirement for tax increases
-Automatic triggers for reduced spending across the board
3. Fees for public higher education have gone up dramatically and funding has been cut. Is this a priority concern, and if so, what measures would you propose to address it?
I understand first-hand the powerful impact that an education can have on individuals and their families. I am the son of hard working Mexican immigrants who instilled in me respect for education early in my life. By the age of 15, I enrolled at Cal State Los Angeles for university coursework to supplement my high school education. After high school, I attended Stanford University on academic scholarship, and later, Harvard University for graduate school. Today, I support non-profit organizations focused on education, and serve on the Southern California Advisory Board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Given my background, I support a properly funded and high-quality education for all Californians. However, I also believe that funds need to be managed responsibly, and that the focus of the education system needs to be on core academic disciplines, and not wasteful social experiments or useless curricula. In our local school district we spend approximately $30,000 per pupil and produce a 50% drop-out rate.
This is simply unacceptable and funding levels are no longer a reasonable excuse for failure. We have some of the largest and most expensive non-teaching bureaucracies in the country and the most expensive school construction costs in the history of the United States.
At the state university level, wasteful spending is even more pronounced with operating costs increasing faster than inflation and comparable costs at private institutions. Yes, schools must be properly funded, but they must also be held accountable for their spending priorities and cost management practices.
In addition, we must raise academic standards, demand accountability from teachers and students alike, and empower parents to choose schools for their children.
I support school vouchers, public access to standardized test results, charter schools, and parent trigger laws to remove status quo administrators if necessary. I also support a teacher evaluation process that values results over seniority, and a performance-based system that rewards exceptional teaching.
4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address? What are your own priorities?
My platform is clear and unwavering:
1. Government Accountability - I will demand transparency in all proceedings, and I will vote to eliminate perks and excessive compensation for all politicians, at every opportunity. Elected officials must serve the citizenry, not the other way around.
2. Pension Reform Now - As an economist and former pension auditor, I believe our state has a serious problem with approximately $500 billion in unfunded pension obligations for CalPERS, CalSTRS, and the UC systems combined. The unfunded obligations continue to accrue at alarming rates, and we can no longer afford to ignore this. We must renegotiate prudent contribution policies, manage assets in ways that limit volatility, and reset benefits to sustainable levels for current and not just future public employees.
3. Serious Education Overhaul - This issue is very personal to me, because I graduated from an underperforming public school. We MUST raise academic standards, demand accountability from schools and students alike, and empower parents to choose schools for their children. I support school vouchers, public access to standardized test results, charter schools, and parent trigger laws to demand reform. I also support a teacher evaluation process that values results over seniority, and a performance-based system that rewards exceptional teaching.
4. Private Sector Jobs and Economic Growth - At 12% unemployment and 1.2 million California jobs lost in three years, we need a better business climate to promote investment in the private sector. This means lower taxes, less regulation, and a reduction in wasteful government spending. California must attract more businesses, and encourage entrepreneurship.
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.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 17, 2012 18:01
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