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Candidate & Issues : ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 37

The district includes all of Chatsworth, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Santa Clarita, Castaic, Gorman and the remaining unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley, and parts of Northridge, Canoga Park, Quartz Hill, Leona Valley and Lake Hughes in Los Angeles County; all of Ojai, Fillmore, Piru, Bell Canyon and Oak Park, and most of Simi Valley in Ventura County, and all of Solvang, Lompoc, Buellton and Los Olivos in Santa Barbara County.

Assemblywoman Cathie Wright, 59, a Simi Valley Republican, was first elected in 1980. Wright, who co-chairs the Utilities and Commerce Committee, has one of the most conservative voting records in the Assembly. She has said she plans to run for the 19th Senate District seat held by Ed Davis, but decided not to challenge him this year. A former Simi Valley mayor and graduate of Scranton College, she is widowed and has one child.

Jeffrey H. Marcus, 42, a Chatsworth Democrat, owns a lighting and sales consulting firm. He has not been active in politics since college and is making his first bid for public office. His mother, Ann Marcus, is a longtime administrative assistant to Assemblyman Tom Bane (D-Tarzana). Marcus has an associate of arts degree from Los Angeles Valley College. He and his wife, Denise, have two children.

Michael Bachwansky, a Leona Valley Libertarian, is also in the race.

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SUMMARY: Wright is emphasizing her role in a local pilot mental health program that may be replicated elsewhere in the state. Marcus is calling for improvements in education, affordable housing, health insurance and care for the homeless.

THEIR VIEWS

Questionnaires were distributed to candidates in September and were returned in October. Answers have been edited to fit the available space.

Q. Do you favor additional limits on campaign contributions to make officeholders less beholden to special-interest groups?

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Wright: I would like to see how Proposition 73 works before we make further changes in the system. Proposition 73, passed by voters in June, places restrictions on contributions.

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Would you support a ban on speaking fees for legislators from special-interest groups?

Wright: Wants to see the impact of Proposition 73, which also limits speaking fees that lawmakers may accept from special-interest groups, before making additional changes.

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Who is your first choice for Assembly Speaker?

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Wright: The Assembly Republican leader.

Marcus: Willie Brown.

Bachwansky: Self, unless another Libertarian is elected.

Q. Briefly, what, if anything, should the state do to ease traffic congestion?

Wright: Redirect gasoline sales tax to the state highway account, encourage public and private car pools and flexible work hours, try to get our fair share of federal dollars from the gas tax, increase pro-active planning by Caltrans and interaction between state and local governments on impact of development.

Marcus: Offer incentives to commuters and private industry to reduce peak-time traffic, increase funding to improve rapid transit system.

Bachwansky: Privatize the transportation system. Zoning restrictions should be removed to allow residences and businesses to locate closer together.

Q. Do you favor an increase in the gasoline tax to pay for road improvements and construction?

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Wright: No.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Should the state offer tax incentives to encourage private industry to institute staggered hours, car-pooling and other measures to reduce traffic?

Wright: No.

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Do you believe that the state should try to contain the cost of automobile insurance? If so, how?

Wright: “I do not believe containing costs of any business or industry is a proper role for the state. Regulations should be directed towards consumer protection from exploitation and unfair business practices.”

Marcus: Yes. Eliminate antitrust exemption for insurance industry. Regulate auto insurance rates through a consumer-oriented insurance commission.

Bachwansky: Yes. “Insurance rates will, in general, decline when the state ceases its tax incentives, subsidized freeways and taxpayer-provided mass transit.”

Q. Do you support a “no-fault” automobile insurance system, under which a driver would be compensated for damages by his or her own insurance company regardless of who caused an accident?

Wright: Yes.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: “Yes, if implemented by the free market and not forced by the state.”

Q. Do you favor a mandatory reduction of insurance rates for all drivers and homeowners unless an insurance company can show that this would threaten its solvency?

Wright: No.

Marcus: Rates should be subject to review by an insurance commission.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Do you support imposing a limit on the percentage of an insurance settlement that a lawyer may accept as a fee?

Wright: Yes.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: Not directly. Remove licensing for lawyers and legal prices will drop.

Q. Should the state raise the spending limits imposed by the Gann Initiative on state and local governments to make more money available for health, education, transportation and other programs?

Wright: No.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Do you believe that the Legislature should take urgent action to improve the performance of public schools? If so, what? (Money for lower class size? Higher pay for teachers? Testing to insure teachers’ competency? More demanding graduation requirements?)

Wright: Would like to see business become more involved. “The schools cannot do everything. Parents, teachers and students must make the commitment together.”

Marcus: Yes. Reduce class size, increase teachers salaries; school board should work more closely with individual schools and react to the needs of the local community.

Bachwansky: Remove the state monopoly on education. “Private schools provide a better ‘product’ at a cheaper price.”

Q. If it can be done legally, should the state help parents pay to send their children to private schools?

Wright: Supports the voucher system.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: Yes.

Q. Do you support significantly greater state funding for AIDS research, counseling, testing and treatment?

Wright: “We are already committing additional monies for research” and must not duplicate efforts at various levels of government.

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Should public health officials trace the sexual contacts of anyone with AIDS or the AIDS virus?

Wright: Yes.

Marcus: “Public health officials should have the right to monitor AIDS in the same manner as they would any other communicable disease.” Confidentiality should be respected.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Do you support more state funding to aid the homeless?

Wright: “No. We need to tighten the accountability for the programs already out there and maximize our resources.”

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: Not directly. Less state social-service spending will reduce dependency.

Q. Do you support the death penalty for any crimes? If so, which?

Wright: Yes.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. With the state’s prisons at capacity, should the state build more prisons, shorten sentences or punish nonviolent criminals in other ways?

Wright: Build more prisons and look for other ways to handle certain offenders, such as using an electronic monitoring device to allow a nonviolent offender of a victimless crime to be confined to home.

Marcus: Favors alternative sentencing of nonviolent criminals.

Bachwansky: “Release all of those incarcerated for drug use, prostitution and other victimless crimes.” Legalize drugs and prison populations will fall.

Q. Do you think that a woman should have the unrestricted right to an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy?

Wright: “While I personally oppose abortion, I realize that we have not, as a society, reached a consensus on this issue. Every woman who chooses an abortion must take the financial burden of her choice rather than presuming the taxpayers will pay for it.”

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: Yes.

Q. Do you believe that the state should impose additional restrictions on the right to own a handgun? If so, what?

Wright: No.

Marcus: Yes. Longer waiting periods for handgun purchases and mandatory instruction in handgun operation.

Bachwansky: Favors no restrictions.

Q. Should motorcyclists be required to wear helmets?

Wright: No. Prefers better training and a special motorcycle operator’s license.

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: No.

Q. Should the state re-establish Cal/OSHA, the state’s worker safety agency that Gov. George Deukmejian eliminated?

Wright: “The state should re-establish Cal/OSHA concurrent with reforms in the workers’ compensation system.”

Marcus: Yes.

Bachwansky: “Not if funded by the taxpayers.”

Q. Would you support a bill to automatically extend developers’ building permits for 6 months when cities pass slow-growth measures?

Wright: Yes.

Marcus: No.

Bachwansky: Cities should not be allowed to pass slow-growth initiatives.


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