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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino Counties, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
State Senator; District 29

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 Budget, Government reform, Higher education, Major issues

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. How will you prioritize the budget choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?

Answer from Greg Diamond:

While there may be exceptions that I would happily cut -- such as tax breaks and giveaways to large campaign contributors -- California's spending has generally already been cut to the point of harming to our economy, our collective health, and our future. I favor four revenue measures combined with tight controls preventing government waste:

- passing Prop 30, the "Millionaire's Tax"
- an oil depletion tax, like those in other oil-producing states
- a split roll for Prop 13, retaining the intended protections for individuals but not for corporate landlords
- regulation and taxation of cannabis and hemp as we do wine

The last of these proposals seems to give otherwise solemn people fits of giggles. As a non-user myself, I ask Californians to approach the policy issue seriously: with the sorts of ruinous cuts that we've seen in recent years, can we really allow our state's top cash crop to be untaxed, unregulated, and left in the hands of criminals and cartels? Other countries have taken this step without disaster; even for those skittish of it, it is far better than other options that been considered in recent years.

? 2. What types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?

Answer from Greg Diamond:

First, we have to stop Prop 32, which pretends to cut out corporate and union contributions -- but then makes exceptions for almost all corporate contributions.

Honestly, so long as Republicans vote in lock-step to block Democratic initiatives wherever possible, the change that matters most is for Democrats to gain supermajorities in both houses until Republicans return to their senses.

I favor "radical transparency" in government. My meetings and those of my senior staff (and perhaps beyond that) with lobbyists will be posted live on the internet. What they have to say to me, they can say to you at the same time.

? 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?

Answer from Greg Diamond:

See the discussion of revenues above. We are making horrific and life-damaging choices right now -- and it is completely unnecessary if we consider reasonable and responsible ways to enhance our revenue. The destruction of our state educational system from nursery school to post-graduate degrees is a self-inflicted wound.

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

Answer from Greg Diamond:

We need to stop the wealthy in our country and our state from taking the resources of the working class, the middle class, and now more recently the upper middle-class and nearly wealthy as well, and funneling to those who can afford the best lobbyists and need the least help. Their promises of "job creation" have been hollow; they've looted our state's wealth and stashed it overseas. We need to give the Insurance Commissioner the ability to regulate health insurance rate increases -- and then we need to move towards a state single-payer system that will reduce costs and improve service by eliminating the unnecessary middlemen.

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.

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:48 PST
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