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|Sonoma, Humboldt, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity Counties, CA||June 5, 2012 Election|
North Bay Leadership Council Q&A
By Tom LynchCandidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 2
This information is provided by the candidate
Questions and Answers to questionaire from the North Bay Leadership Council, the top employers of the North Bay (http://www.northbayleadershipcouncil.org/).Candidate Questionnaire
June 2012 Primary Election
Candidate's Name: Tom Lynch Office Sought: 2nd Assembly Address: P.O. Box 1452, Guerneville, Ca. 95446 Manager (campaign treasurer ): Stephen Radeljic (707-888-4321) Campaign Personal Phone: 707-529-1890 Email address: email@example.com Campaign Phone: 707-583-9340 Campaign Website: http://www.tomlynchforassembly.com
Narrative Questions: Please limit your answer to 200 words. You may answer on a separate page and return with your completed Candidate Survey.
Our legislature is fiddling while California burns!
The State of California and most local governments are in flat-out denial, willfully blind, to the extreme threat posed by unfunded public retirement benefits. The longer it takes to reform these benefits and reverse the terrible demise of public services and infrastructure imposed by these debts; the worse it's going to get.
To me this is the issue of the day, the challenge of our generation. Our elected leaders in Sacramento need to LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!
As an Assemblyman I would be part of the effort of reinventing government to better serve the needs of All the people. We are long overdue in renegotiating a new social contract. Government is what we do together that we cannot do by ourselves. It is not working. I have been advocating reforms for five years now; and will continue to be a strong advocate of ways to reform the system.
2. What are the top three issues facing the state? What will you do to address them?
-An erosion of essential services government once was able to provide for generations; much of this due to massive unfunded retirement obligations and continuing salary increases. There is an incredible disconnect, a willful blindness, on the part of our managers, electeds and union heads alike as to the problems ahead. The fact is,in private industry salaries and benefits are being cut in order to survive; while in the public sector they are increasing salaries and benefits, through retirement without rehiring, fee increases, and laying off less senior workers.
-A doubling of tuition costs at most Universities and Colleges due to an almost twenty year pension holiday; again due to massive unfunded retirement benefits unlike anything in the private sector or among the trade unions. These increases are being paid by 25 year college loans of up to 6.8% interest creating a generation of indentured debt slaves, due to the utter failure of adequately funding the current benefits.
-Death of a thousand cuts of the economic engine of California. As a former member of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, and an independent businessman for almost thirty years (Tom Lynch Construction), I marvel at how often and to what extent our government can be at cross purposes with itself in trying to achieve economic goals.
3. What assets do you bring to the Assembly? Why should someone vote for you over another candidate?
I would bring to the Assembly the intelligence, courage and vision I have exhibited throughout my thirty plus years living and raising a family in the 2nd Assembly District. This includes environmental activism, work toward social justice, efforts to develop the economy, and the ability to spend thousands of hours going over complex budgets, reviewing fiscal policy issues and working toward finding solutions.
I feel best qualified as the candidate to represent the new 2nd Assembly District as I have a keen understanding of many of the problems we face and what the solutions entail; as well as the ability to learn and change as circumstances dictate. As a project manager, ombudsman--problem solver for many years overseeing sometimes multiple multimillion dollar projects with hundreds of workmen from numerous trades, I feel comfortable going through the learning curve of being an Assemblyman.
4. Transportation is one of our top priorities. Do you support: a. The SMART project?
Yes, but I would be tempted to outsource the administration and staffing if we can't come up with a sustainble system of salaries and benefits.
b. The expansion of Sonoma County Airport?
Yes, I was the chairman of the Sonoma County Planning Commission in 2011, overseeing the EIR and community hearings over the expansion. I voted for the expansion and greatly appreciate the role of air transportation in maintaining and expanding job opportunities thoughout the North Bay.
c. The widening of the Sonoma/Marin Narrows?
Yes, I support widening the Narrows.
d. Funding the maintenance and repair of roads?
Yes, I am working with citizen groups in advocating more resources toward roads and infrastructure, the lifeblood of commerce, through fundamental reforms with local and state government.
We need to try to honor the obligations of past service by changing the terms of future service. I know hundreds of people who work for the government and have talked with many who agree.
Retirement benefits (pensions and retiree medical) given for present service must be fully funded the year given, NOT over the next 20 -30 years as with the current system. If you can't pay a benefit the year given, how will you pay it in the future, without suffering a storm surge of wave upon wave of unfunded obligations.
Employers with employees, who are members of trade unions or are non-union alike, are not on the hook for unfunded retirement obligations due to unrealistic target rates of return. Many employers in the private sector as well as some European countries, have reformed unsustainable pension obligations out of economic necessity; why can't we?
Retirement benefits must be significantly restructured for new employees, but it's certain they must be changed for current employees regarding their work in the future. I believe we should honor the commitments made for past work if we can, but today's unfunded liability is the biggest problem. Any solution must address today's unfunded liability.
We're increasingly burdening the next generation, to fund retiring generations that did not fund their own retirements. This is a human rights issue. Like the suffragette movement at the turn of the 20th century, and the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's. It's up to us to protect future generations unable to protect themselves from us!
8. Given the budget crisis and slow economic recovery, what are your plans to reduce the state's spending and match it to existing revenues?
I ran for Sonoma County Supervisor in 2008, at a meeting in an auditorium filled with SEIU workers, I said in order to preserve their jobs we need to freeze salaries and benefits.
In 2010 I ran for State Senate, and said to a room full of union heads, we need to replicate what they're doing in Ireland to survive hard economic times; graduated paycuts based on salaries, and reform of the pension system.
Today in Sonoma County, 4 years later, many in the public sector have seen their compensation (salaries and benefits) increase by up to 20%. While cutting our children's bus services, increasing class sizes, laying off teachers and closing schools, many of our public servants are continuing to get raises.
There is a huge disconnect between what is being done in the private sector to survive economically and what is continuing to happen in the public sector. I would argue my support for paycuts and pension reform are toward increasing the amount of jobs and services in the public sector and is not in any way to be thought otherwise.
I'd like to see all of our public servants, all of us for that matter, receive more for what we do. But we simply can't afford it. Being fiscally responsible is not being against unions, government workers or retirees; it is about MATH...what can we do to sustain these essential services government once was able to provide for generations.
9. What is your position on public/private partnerships? Do you support contracting out services/programs if the private and/or nonprofit sector can provide them at a lower cost or higher efficiency?
Yes, but I want to try to make government work with reforms first. I've seen many times, if not for the incomparable benefit costs in the public sector, they may be able to compete with the private sector. In San Diego they are doing just that, having departments bid on services in competition with the private sector.
10. If North Bay Leadership Council endorsed you, would you use our name publicly as an endorser? Are you interested in receiving a campaign contribution from us? If so, how much of a donation would you like to receive?
Of course I would be honored to get your endorsement or duo-endorsement; and I would appreciate receiving any campaign contributions from the NBLC or any of your members.
It appears the race for the new 2nd Assembly District will be historic with two Democrats facing each other in the November general election. The better we do in the June primary the better our odds to win in November. Any assistance from the NBLC would be of immensely helpful.
DEADLINE: To be considered for an endorsement, the responses to the questionnaire must be received no later than March 30 at NBLC's office. Please fax to (707) 763-3028, or scan and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please contact me at (707) 283-0028 or at the email listed above. Thank you!
Employers Committed to Regional Prosperity and Quality of Life Over twenty years ago, business leaders founded the North Bay Leadership Council on a simple premise: We can accomplish more by working together.
Today, the Council includes over 43 select employers in the region. Our members represent a wide variety of businesses, non-profits and educational institutions, with a workforce in excess of 25,000.
North Bay Leadership Council is an employer-led public policy advocacy organization committed to providing leadership in ways to make the North Bay sustainable, prosperous and innovative. As business and civic leaders, our goal is to ensure economic health by promoting better education, infrastructure, and governance to make our region a better place to live and work.
To learn more about the work of the Council, visit our website at http://www.northbayleadership.org or call (707) 283-0028.
Our Members Agilent Technologies, Inc. American AgCredit Autodesk, Inc. Bank of America Basin Street Properties BioMarin Pharmaceutical Buck Institute for Age Research Burr Pilger Mayer Canine Companions for Independence Catholic Charities CYO Codding Enterprises College of Marin Comcast Cornish & Carey Newmark Knight Frank Dominican University of California Fireman's Fund Insurance Company Ghilotti Construction Hanson Bridgett, LLP Infineon Raceway Kaiser Permanente KRCB Radio & Television Lucasfilm, Ltd.
Marin Sanitary ServiceMedtronic CardioVascular Midstate Construction Corporation North Bay Business Journal Nelson Family of Companies Northbay Family Homes/SALT Novato Community Hospital Pacific Gas & Electric Company Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz LLP Press Democrat Queen of the Valley Hospital Redwood Credit Union Santa Rosa Junior College Securitas Security Services USA Inc. SolarCraft Sonoma State University St. Joseph Health Systems + Sonoma County St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin Sunny Hills Services Sutter Health & Sutter Health Partners W. Bradley Electric, Inc. Wells Fargo Bank Woodruff-Sawyer & Company
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