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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Los Angeles, Ventura County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 38

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 Choices, Budget Process, Higher Education, Major Issues and Priorities

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, and address the need for fair revenue sources that are sufficient for state and local government services?

Answer from Diana G. Shaw:

There are many difficult choices that lie before us. Simply refusing to face difficult financial decisions is not only dangerous to a civil society, but hurts the state's overall prospects for prosperity. I share conservative fiscal concerns. After all, I have to balance my own checkbook. But, the tv pundits who make big bucks out of scaring us aren't giving the whole story. When we fire first responders and teachers, and when social workers and psychiatrists and home health care workers are let go, and the state cuts aid to disabled children and the elderly, we're not only facing a moral crisis, and we're not only cutting vital services. We're taking money out of circulation, and that has a cascading effect on local small business and local treasuries. That's why the first question I will always ask when it comes to addressing budget priorities is: How does this cut affect local economies? I want to make sure that resources are directed to areas that stimulate local economies. That these same resources provide a social safety net is an extra bonus. California must be creative regarding revenue sources. With political will and leadership, we can have a balanced budget. The fat is already cut from the budget. Now it is time to make some difficult choices focused on balancing the budget so that we can once again be considered a good investment. I will examine the elimination of corporate loopholes, broadening our tax base to include untaxed commodities (e.g. some experts have suggested areas such as entertainment, admissions, parking, golf and skiing, hotels and digital products, telecommunications), reinstating top income tax brackets, closing corporate property tax loopholes, improving tax collections, instituting an oil extraction fee similar to that of Alaska and Texas, and lowering the current sales tax by 1/2 cent to stimulate local purchasing.

? 2. What proposals, if any, do you support to fix the budget process? What other types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?

Answer from Diana G. Shaw:

California is one of only three states that requires a 2/3 vote to pass a budget. That's because 47 states understand that it is virtually impossible to reach a consensus among 2/3 of the legislators. I support returning the budget process to a simple majority rule. Additionally, the well intentioned concept of term limits has developed a system that encourages representatives to rely upon lobbyists to draft 60% of the legislation passed in Sacramento. Californians established term limits to diminish the influence of lobbyists. That bold move has backfired. It is time to do away with term limits and focus on other ways to ensure that the people of California have true representation.

? 3. Many members of the Legislature say that education is a high priority for the state. Yet fees for public higher education have gone up dramatically and funding has been cut. What is your vision for California’s higher education future, and how do you propose to get there?

Answer from Diana G. Shaw:

As a beneficiary of former Governor Pat Brown's vision for universal access to education, I graduated from UCLA and went on to law school. From this personal experience, I know that public education is an investment from which society reaps many rewards, including social mobility. Higher education is also an economic necessity for California's economy, given that we will require one million more college graduates in the next 15 years than we will have if we don't change our policies (Public Policy Institute of California/April 2010). We must strengthen our community college system and ensure that every community college graduate is prepared for and receives automatic acceptance to a California State University. I also support coordinating union apprenticeship programs with a community college curriculum, especially where clean energy technology, the key to future prosperity, is concerned. It is also important to remember that access to education does not equal guaranteed graduation. High school standards must be rigorous so that college bound students are prepared for the experience. Again, community college offers an opportunity to fill in the gap for students who are not prepared for a college level education following high school graduation. We should develop a specific remediation program within the community college system for students who want to commit to a higher education but may not be ready. We should consider supplementing this approach with online/distance learning programs.

? 4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address in 2011? What are your priorities?

Answer from Diana G. Shaw:

My priority is to end the 2/3 vote requirement. No wonder our Legislature is unable to function! Forty-seven other states in the union have figured out that a super majority vote is simply untenable. I am focused on finding revenue sources to strengthen the social safety net.

Education is not only a necessity, it is an industry that keeps people working and puts money back into the community thereby ensuring that small business prospers.

I also support efforts to make California the leader in clean energy technology. We need to continue policies that the attract venture capital connected with this industry of tomorrow. If we don't focus on making our state the clean energy capitol of the world, then the potential that is inherent in this industry will flee to Asia.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' responses are not edited or corrected by the League. No candidate may refer to another candidate in the response.

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 6, 2011 15:01 PST
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