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ELECTIONS ASSEMBLY : Voters’ Guide to Issues Facing the Candidates in District 38 Races

Overview

Nine candidates crowd the primary slate in the 38th Assembly District, vying to fill the seat held by retiring Assemblywoman Marian W. La Follette (R-Northridge). On the GOP side, Paula Boland, backed by Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson, Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) and former Rep. Bobbie Fiedler (R-Northridge), faces stiff competition from Rob Wilcox, a longtime aide to La Follette who has her support and that of major law enforcement officials. Bob Scott, another well-financed GOP candidate, is also considered a key player in the race. Republicans Hal Styles and Al Thomas are newcomers to politics and less well known. The Democratic candidates are Irene Allert and Gary Crandall. On the Peace and Freedom ballot are Charles Najbergier and Leah Parker. The names of the three primary winners will be on November’s general election ballot.

Contenders

Democrats

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Irene Allert, 45, a longtime teacher and co-founder of a company that provides science and health instructors and materials to schools, is active in local and state Democratic politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Immaculate Heart College, and has done graduate work at UCLA and Cal State Northridge. She has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party and California NOW. She and her husband, Robert, live in Kagel Canyon.

Gary Crandall, 51, is a Granada Hills computer manual writer. He is a member of the Greens, a political group that emphasizes environmental issues, and his campaign has stressed global warming, landfills, overpopulation, deforestation and faulty urban design. Crandall received a bachelor of arts degree in social science and English from UC Santa Barbara and was an administrator for the city of Santa Barbara for two years. He is single.

Republicans

Paula Boland, 50, has worked for various Republican campaigns for 20 years, but has never been a candidate until this race. A former Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce president, she owns a Red Carpet Realty franchise. She was chairwoman of the 118 Freeway Committee and is a member of the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission. Boland and her husband, Lloyd, live in Northridge and have three grown children and two grandchildren.

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Bob Scott, 44, of Granada Hills, holds a law degree from LaSalle University in Chicago and has an independent law practice. Before that, he founded and directed a printing and advertising company in Van Nuys. He was a founding committee member of the Proposition 13 property tax-cutting measure, and served as president of the Greater Van Nuys Chamber of Commerce and Vitalize Van Nuys Inc. He is engaged to his campaign coordinator, Ellen Fitzmaurice.

Hal J. Styles, 61, is a high school teacher and retired investment counselor and stockbroker. He spent two years at the U.S. Naval Academy and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Cal State Northridge. A political novice, he has pressed during his campaign for doubling out-of-state tuition at state universities as a way to increase state revenues. Styles’ wife, Barbara, is a vocational education teacher and they have a grown son.

Al Thomas, 58, is a Burbank martial arts teacher and retired captain of the Marshal’s Office of the Desert Judicial District in Riverside County. He was access control manager of the judo portion of the 1984 Olympics. He has stressed law enforcement and his anti-abortion stance during his campaign. Thomas is separated from his wife and has four grown children. He is engaged to former model Jeannine Jackson of Dallas.

Rob Wilcox, 24, is an aide to incumbent Assemblywoman Marian La Follette. As the executive director of the Los Angeles Task Force for Better Education, he is a strong proponent of breaking the Los Angeles Unified School District into smaller districts. Politically active since his teens, he is former executive director of the California Commission on Drugs. Wilcox’s hobby is doing impersonations. He is single and lives in Northridge.

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Peace and Freedom

Charles Najbergier, 55, is a psychiatric nurse who lives in Northridge. He holds an associate arts degree in nursing from Los Angeles City College. A first-time candidate, he has been endorsed by the Socialist Feminist Slate of the Peace and Freedom Party. Najbergier and his wife, Barbara, have a son and a daughter, both college students.

Leah Parker, 33, is a seasonal tax preparer and a bookkeeper for a steel company. She has attended USC, Iowa Lakes Community College and Glendale Community College, studying drama, computers and accounting. She and her husband, Rich, live in La Crescenta and have two sons, ages 9 and 12. This is Parker’s first bid for public office.

Questionnaire

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Questionnaires were distributed to candidates and were returned this month. Answers have been edited to fit the available space.

Q. Under recently introduced legislation, state sales taxes would be raised a quarter-cent for 10 years to help finance school construction. Do you favor an increase in sales taxes to underwrite new school construction?

Allert (D): Yes. It would provide $700 million a year for school construction.

Crandall (D): Yes. I support expanding use of lottery money and the “Peace Dividend” for new schools.

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Boland (R): No.

Scott (R): Yes, but I would prefer to improve efficiency of present facilities.

Styles (R): Yes.

Thomas (R): No.

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Wilcox (R): No.

Najbergier (P&F;): No.

Parker (P&F;): Yes.

Q. A measure on the June ballot would raise taxes on gasoline sales by 9 cents a gallon to finance highway projects. Do you support the concept of higher gas taxes to underwrite road construction?

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Allert (D): Not always. I support Propositions 111 and 108 as environmentally sound.

Crandall (D): Yes. I support financial incentives for using mass transit, solar cars, bikeways.

Boland (R): No.

Scott (R): Yes, so long as money is used solely for transportation, especially mass transit.

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Styles (R): No. Not to this extent. Three cents or four cents would be OK.

Thomas (R): Yes, if funds go to this project only.

Wilcox (R): Yes, as a short-term solution. Long term, I favor privatization of mass transit.

Najbergier (P&F;): No.

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Parker (P&F;): Yes.

Q. Do you support a woman’s unrestricted right to an abortion within the first three months of pregnancy? Allert (D): Yes.

Crandall (D): Yes.

Boland (R): No.

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Scott (R): Yes.

Styles (R): No. I would allow abortion in cases of rape or incest or where mother’s life is endangered.

Thomas (R): No.

Wilcox (R): Yes. With parental consent.

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Najbergier (P&F;): Yes.

Parker (P&F;): Yes.

Q. Do you support capital punishment? Allert (D): No.

Crandall (D): No. True deterrence starts at beginning of life.

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Boland (R): Yes.

Scott (R): Yes.

Styles (R): Yes.

Thomas (R): Yes.

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Wilcox (R): Yes.

Najbergier (P&F;): No.

Parker (P&F;): No.

Q. Do you support the idea of breaking the Los Angeles Unified School District into smaller districts? Allert (D): Possibly. I support decentralization and school-based management.

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Crandall (D): No. School-based management provides sense of pride and self-determination.

Boland (R): Yes.

Scott (R): Yes.

Styles (R): Possibly. I favor trying school-based management for two years to see if it works.

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Thomas (R): Yes.

Wilcox (R): Yes.

Najbergier (P&F;): No. It would amount to de jure segregation.

Parker (P&F;): No.

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Q. Under current law, the state Legislature is responsible for redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. Do you believe that this system should be changed? Allert (D): Yes. We need process to maintain “one person-one vote” rule, not special interests.

Crandall (D): Yes. Should be carried out by politically unbiased committee, as in Proposition 119.

Boland (R): Yes. Democrat-engineered plan of 1981 protected the very incumbents who drew the maps.

Scott (R): Yes. I support Proposition 119. We must have ethical, nonpartisan redistricting.

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Styles (R): Yes. I support Proposition 119, which appoints 12-member commission.

Thomas (R): Yes. Now the controlling party has the ability to stay in power due to gerrymandering.

Wilcox (R): Yes. I support Proposition 119, taking it out of politicians’ hands.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes. To prevent division of neighborhoods, the people themselves, with access to census data and modern technology, would do it best.

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Parker (P&F;): Yes. Look at the 38th District, specifically gerrymandered to fit the needs of the legislator currently in power--not necessarily reflecting needs of the community.

Q. Do you support the so-called “Big Green” ballot initiative, which would eliminate ozone-depleting chemicals by the year 2000, phase out pesticides known to cause cancer and require that trees be planted in all new developments? Allert (D): Yes. Measure acknowledges interconnection of every environmental problem.

Crandall (D): Yes. Sustainability and ecological wisdom must be incorporated into all aspects of society.

Boland (R): No.

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Scott (R): No. I support the concept, but measure is too drastic and expensive as written.

Styles (R): Yes.

Thomas (R): Yes.

Wilcox (R): No. I do not believe we need another elective bureaucracy.

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Najbergier (P&F;): Yes.

Parker (P&F;): Yes.

Q. Do you think the state should require private employers to subsidize day-care services for employees who request them? Allert (D): Yes, for large businesses. Not economically feasible for small businesses.

Crandall (D): Yes. The cost should be shared by allocation of Peace Dividend funding.

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Boland (R): No. Responsibility of raising children lies with parents, not taxpayers. I support volunteer program where employers choose to help their employees with day care.

Scott (R): No. California business cannot be burdened with the costs of mandatory social programs and still compete in national and global market. I support tax incentives.

Styles (R): Employer-supplied day care should be encouraged with a small tax break, but not required.

Thomas (R): Yes, depending on size of business.

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Wilcox (R): No. We must reform child-care facility standards so child care can be provided in the workplace.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes. Ironically, they would be the ultimate beneficiaries! But child care is a right of all working people.

Parker (P&F;): No. Since most businesses in California are small businesses, it would be a hardship on them. State should provide tax breaks or subsidize day care themselves.

Q. Do you support the state’s efforts to build prisons in Lancaster and East Los Angeles? Allert (D): I support much-needed prisons, but not in urban areas.

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Crandall (D): No. I would reduce prison populations by decriminalizing victimless crimes and putting self-esteem programs in schools.

Boland (R): Yes.

Scott (R): Yes. The lack of prisons makes a mockery of our criminal justice system.

Styles (R): Yes.

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Thomas (R): Yes.

Wilcox (R): Yes.

Najbergier (P&F;): No.

Parker (P&F;): No.

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Q. Proposition 112 on the June ballot would ban speaking fees and limit gifts to state legislators while creating a commission that could pave the way for higher legislative salaries. Do you support this ballot initiative? Allert (D): Yes. Proposition 112 would disallow indirect financial influences.

Crandall (D): Yes. It would curtail influence of special interests and open process to public.

Boland (R): Yes. I support an independent salary commission, but unsure salaries would rise.

Scott (R): Yes. Legislators shouldn’t set own salaries or take payoffs for influence.

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Styles (R): Yes. But I don’t want higher salaries. We’re servants of the people.

Thomas (R): No. Speaking fees attained off duty should be allowed. Limit on gifts is fine.

Wilcox (R): No. Would support sweeping reforms only if they are not tied to pay raises.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes, with serious reservations. Elected officials should receive minimum wage.

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Parker (P&F;): No answer.

Q. Do you support Gov. Deukmejian’s proposed constitutional changes that would require state prison inmates to work in privately sponsored industries to pay for their incarceration? Allert (D): No, not until we have enough jobs for Californians who aren’t incarcerated.

Crandall (D): Yes. Programs that make criminals aware of consequences of actions are beneficial.

Boland (R): Yes.

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Scott (R): Yes, including making restitution payments to victims.

Styles (R): Yes.

Thomas (R): Yes.

Wilcox (R): Yes.

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Najbergier (P&F;): No. This is slavery by another name. The Nazis did something similar.

Parker (P&F;): No.

Q. Do you believe our present system of criminal prosecution, interdiction of supplies and imprisonment of users and dealers will ever significantly reduce the level of drug use in the United States? If no, what should be done? Allert (D): I support more police officers and educators, a drug paraphernalia law, drug education grades K-12, mandatory drug rehab for juveniles.

Crandall (D): No. I support controlled legalization to diffuse profit motive. Improve quality of life through shift to environmental values that give people sense of participation in life.

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Allert (R): No. Current backlog of criminal cases is a public disgrace. Proposition 115 will allow speedy trials. Legislature should pass tough anti-crime laws. Victims’ rights should be considered.

Scott (R): No. Process must include speedier trials and stronger enforcement, combined with drug education. Parents of delinquent minors should be held civilly, criminally accountable.

Styles (R): Yes.

Thomas (R): No. I support increased penalties for users and sellers, simplified forfeiture laws, with money going to local agencies. Feds should do something pertaining to the border.

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Wilcox (R): Yes. But California must have more help from the federal government.

Najbergier (P&F;): No. Seize corporate and personal assets of money-laundering bankers and other major traffickers. Abolish CIA and other agencies that have engaged in drug dealing.

Parker (P&F;): No. Decriminalize drugs, taxing them to pay for treatment and education. People are much less likely to go for treatment of a drug problem if they fear imprisonment.

Q. Would you consider the possibility of decriminalizing the use of drugs? Allert (D): No.

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Crandall (D): Yes, along with establishing programs of drug education and environmental values.

Boland (R): No.

Scott (R): No.

Styles (R): No.

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Thomas (R): No.

Wilcox (R): No.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes.

Parker (P&F;): Yes.

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Q. Do you support raising sales or other taxes to finance anti-drug law enforcement efforts and/or anti-drug education programs? If yes, by how much? Allert (D): Yes. Sales tax on candy and increased alcohol tax could finance enforcement and education. Sale of confiscated goods of drug dealers should be used for education.

Crandall (D): No. The military Peace Dividend should be used for drug and environment programs.

Boland (R): No.

Scott (R): No. I support present practice of seizure of drug assets to finance enforcement.

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Styles (R): Yes, by a quarter-cent.

Thomas (R): No.

Wilcox (R): No.

Najbergier (P&F;): No.

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Parker (P&F;): No answer.

Q. Do you support full or partial public funding of political campaigns? Allert (D): Yes. Public campaign funding would limit spending, significantly decrease influence of special interests and provide fair opportunity for challenger against an incumbent.

Crandall (D): Yes. Campaign contributions cause corruption and undue influence in legislative process. Public funding would invite greater participation by the average citizen.

Boland (R): No. There are far too many problems with education, transportation, crime and tax dollars are stretched too thin. Government is not a bottomless money pit.

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Scott (R): No. However, I do believe public resources could be used to educate voters without significant cost, such as including candidate statements with sample ballots.

Styles (R): Would support partial public finding, with a limit, but for major offices only.

Thomas (R): No. Public funds should not be used, even though my campaign could use some funding.

Wilcox (R): No.

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Najbergier (P&F;): Yes, but a qualified yes. If funds would be distributed fairly, to include small parties, and no other financial support in any disguise were allowed.

Parker (P&F;): Yes. A set amount of funds for a campaign would make for much fairer politics. Currently, one buys the office: The more money you have, the more likely is your success.

Q. A ballot initiative now in circulation would prohibit foreign individuals and corporations from owning land in California. Do you support this? Allert (D): No.

Crandall (D): No. The world has become a global village.

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Boland (R): No. Our economic system is based on concept of free enterprise.

Scott (R): No. This is an impractical concept which is the federal domain. It could backfire.

Styles (R): Yes, to the extent that they are limited to 49% ownership.

Thomas (R): Yes.

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Wilcox (R): No.

Najbergier (P&F;): No. Racist, xenophobic and self-destructive.

Parker (P&F;): No.

Q. Rising property values in the Santa Monica Mountains have made it more difficult for state and federal parks agencies to buy land for public use. Land prices have escalated in part because local officials have allowed developers to build more houses than provided for under zoning laws. To keep property prices more affordable to parks agencies, should governments in Los Angeles and Ventura counties refuse such so-called “upzoning?” Allert (D): Yes. Upzoning is the beginning of overdevelopment; greed versus public need.

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Crandall (D): Yes. Los Angeles needs more parks, not parking lots. Wildlife corridors, open space, parkland are priorities on my agenda.

Boland (R): There is no blanket yes or no answer. Each case should be reviewed by local governments. Sacramento is making concerted attempt at taking away all local control.

Scott (R): I am opposed to upzoning, not because of prices but for purposes of controlling density and preserving quality of life.

Styles (R): Yes.

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Thomas (R): Yes. I am pro-business. I believe in reasonable development and growth, but we also need affordable open space and parks.

Wilcox (R): Yes. We must preserve the Santa Monica Mountains.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes. You said it! More affordable!

Parker (P&F;): Yes. High property prices do no public good, only lines developer’s pockets.

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Q. Are you willing to publicly release your tax returns and those of your spouse before the election? Allert (D): Yes.

Crandall (D): Yes.

Boland (R): No.

Scott (R): No.

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Styles (R): Yes.

Thomas (R): Yes.

Wilcox (R): Yes.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes, if other candidates agree also.

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Parker (P&F;): No answer.

Q. A development project called Porter Ranch would create 3,395 residential units and nearly 6 million square feet of commercial office space in the Chatsworth hills. Opponents say it is too big. Proponents say it represents orderly growth. Do you support the project at this size? Allert (D): No. Contrary to recent study, residents of north Valley know a project of this magnitude would strain schools, traffic, trash and water to the breaking point.

Crandall (D): No. Design for such a development is ecologically obsolete. It is a blind perpetuation of everything we’ve been doing wrong for the last 50 years.

Boland (R): Approval of project is very much a local government decision. I am a candidate for Assembly and therefore will not cast a vote on the issue.

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Scott (R): No. We lack resources to support the project, and it would overtax our roads and landfills.

Styles (R): No. Maybe a quarter of the size, with developer paying for all infrastructure to be built first.

Thomas (R): No. It should be scaled down to what city services can handle.

Wilcox (R): No.

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Najbergier (P&F;): No. Opposed to any development.

Parker (P&F;): No.

Q. Do you support limits on the number of terms state legislators can serve? If yes, how long should they be? Allert (D): Yes, 16-year limitation.

Crandall (D): Yes. Two or three terms. Enough to provide fresh solutions, but not become corrupt.

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Boland (R): No.

Scott (R): Yes. Eight years.

Styles (R): Yes. Ten years max.

Thomas (R): Yes. No more than 10 years.

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Wilcox (R): Yes. Assembly, five terms, 10 years.

Najbergier (P&F;): No. I oppose all term limits, but all elected officials should be recallable, quickly and easily.

Parker (P&F;): Yes. Eight years.

Q. A ballot initiative now in circulation would prohibit the spraying of pesticides on private property without the written consent of the owner. Do you support this measure? Allert (D): Yes.

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Crandall (D): Yes. I would like to see pesticides and toxic chemicals phased out and replaced by biological methods that have already proven effective.

Boland (R): Yes.

Scott (R): No. Government must have ability to abate health hazards such as mosquitoes and agri-pests to protect health and welfare of community and state.

Styles (R): If you are talking about the Medfly spraying, we must have it.

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Thomas (R): Yes.

Wilcox (R): No. I oppose malathion spraying, however, there may be some future emergency that would require such an action.

Najbergier (P&F;): Yes.

Parker (P&F;): Yes.

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