Assemblyman Richard Katz, 38, a Sepulveda Democrat, was first elected in 1980. Chairman of the Transportation Committee and a close ally of Speaker Willie Brown, he generally votes with the Democratic majority, although he takes a harder line on crime. He is considering a bid for statewide office in 1990. A graduate of San Diego State, he ran a graphic arts and printing company prior to his election. He married Gini Barrett last year.
Jim Rendleman, 32, a Granada Hills Republican, is seeking public office for the first time. A politically conservative attorney, he is chairman of the Los Angeles County Young Republicans. He served nine years in the Air Force. He has a law degree from Whittier College, a master’s degree from the University of San Diego, and a master’s of business and a master’s of public administration from Golden Gate University. He is single.
Alexander M. Newton, a Sylmar Libertarian, is also in the race.
SUMMARY: Katz is touting passage of his transportation and anti-drug measures as well as constituent services. Rendleman maintains that Katz is too liberal for the district and is more concerned with special-interest contributors and Brown’s agenda than constituents.
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?
Katz: I supported Proposition 68--the Common Cause Campaign Reform Act. The act included limits on campaign contributions.
Rendleman: Yes. Prohibit monetary and in-kind contributions by corporations, labor unions and their related political action committees.
Q. Would you support a ban on speaking fees for legislators from special-interest groups?
Rendleman: Yes. Would also support prohibiting legislators from voting on legislation in which they have a vested interest.
Q. Who is your first choice for Assembly Speaker?
Katz: Speaker Willie Brown.
Rendleman: The best ‘good government’ Republican Assembly member.
Q. Briefly, what, if anything, should the state do to ease traffic congestion?
Katz: Encourage ride-sharing, van-pooling, light rail and train routes, staggered work hours and an increased commitment to mass transit. Require cities and counties to tie any future land-use decisions to transportation planning.
Rendleman: Add lanes to high-ways, double-deck freeways where feasible, support development of mass transit systems, encourage privatization of bus systems.
Newton: Eliminate any restrictions on the operation of vans or buses for car-pooling purposes and see to it that cities and counties follow suit.
Q. Do you favor an increase in the gasoline tax to pay for road improvements and construction?
Katz: I support increased user fees for transportation. Any voter-sponsored gas tax increase should include a truck fee increase and be spent for fixing potholes, more efficient mass transit and new capacity.
Rendleman: I support a tax on gasoline that is pegged to the rate of inflation. However, any tax increase should be approved by a vote of the people.
Q. Should the state offer tax incentives to encourage private industry to institute staggered hours, car-pooling and other measures to reduce traffic?
Q. Do you believe that the state should try to contain the cost of automobile insurance? If so, how?
Katz: Yes, by increasing the power of the insurance commissioner to control rates, eliminating insurance company antitrust protections and eliminating redlining.
Rendleman: Yes. Raise small claims tort limits to about $5,000 to $10,000. Institute pure “no-fault” system.
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?
Rendleman: Yes, but not Proposition 104 on the November ballot.
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?
Katz: Yes, unless the driver has a record of DUI (driving under the influence) convictions or other serious driving offenses.
Rendleman: No. I support the free market system.
Q. Do you support imposing a limit on the percentage of an insurance settlement that a lawyer may accept as a fee?
Rendleman: Depends. I oppose limits on the freedom to contract, even with one’s lawyer, unless the fees charged areunconscionable.
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?
Katz: By law, only the voters can modify the Gann spending limit. Any changes should involve the growth formula only, not the Gann limit.
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 ensure teachers’ competency? More demanding graduation requirements?)
Katz: The Legislature has acted to increase the pay for teachers, test to ensure teachers’ competency, demand more graduation requirements. The Legislature should take immediate action to reduce class size.
Rendleman: Yes. Increase local control. Make graduation requirements more demanding. Reduce funding for non-teaching personnel and non-back-to-basics classes. Apply savings to increase teacher salaries and buy supplies, such as books.
Newton: No. Parents do not take enough responsibility for their children.
Q. If it can be done legally, should the state help parents pay to send their children to private schools?
Rendleman: Perhaps. If it can be done without inequities to our least fortunate citizens, and public schools are strengthened, not weakened.
Newton: Yes, voucher system or replace government schools.
Q. Do you support significantly greater state funding for AIDS research, counseling, testing and treatment?
Rendleman: Spending should only be increased with sound management practices in mind.
Q. Should public health officials trace the sexual contacts of anyone with AIDS or the AIDS virus?
Katz: Yes, under guarantees of strict privacy.
Rendleman: It is an option that should be seriously considered.
Q. Do you support more state funding to aid the homeless?
Katz: Not as a giveaway, but to address the homeless’ basic problems: job skills, mental illness, affordable housing and child care.
Rendleman: No. Supports revamping treatment of mentally ill, encouraging private-sector job opportunities and removing constraints on the private sector that limit housing construction.
Q. Do you support the death penalty for any crimes? If so, which?
Katz: Yes, I support full implementation of California’s death penalty statutes.
Rendleman: Yes, for first-degree murder with special circumstances. Also for rape and incest with children. Same for federal level, plus for espionage and treason.
Newton: Yes. Murder and sale of drugs to minors.
Q. With the state’s prisons at capacity, should the state build more prisons, shorten sentences or punish nonviolent criminals in other ways?
Katz: We must build new prisons and also look at alternatives to incarceration for first-time nonviolent offenders only.
Rendleman: Build more prisons. Put nonviolent prisoners on probation into an aggressive California Conservation Corps-type program to clean up California.
Newton: Decriminalize drugs and release drug offenders.
Q. Do you think that a woman should have the unrestricted right to an abortion during the first 3 months of pregnancy?
Q. Do you believe that the state should impose additional restrictions on the right to own a handgun? If so, what?
Katz: A waiting or cooling off period should be instituted in order to do a background check when someone buys a handgun.
Q. Should motorcyclists be required to wear helmets?
Q. Should the state re-establish Cal/OSHA, the state’s worker safety agency that Gov. George Deukmejian eliminated?
Q. Would you support a bill to automatically extend developers’ building permits for 6 months when cities pass slow-growth measures?
Katz: Supported a bill that would have allowed projects that already had permits to be built.
Rendleman: Yes. But only for existing permits, not new permits.