Questionnaires were distributed to candidates at the end of March. Answers have been edited to fit the available space.
The answers of the nine Republicans in the race are printed first in alphabetical order; the answers of the three Democrats next. Republican Maurine Petteruto, a Temple City resident, will be on the ballot but said she is not an active candidate for the post. Libertarian Ken Saurenman is uncontested in the primary.
Q. Do you believe businesses are leaving California due to a hostile business environment? If yes, how would you make California more attractive to business?
Acker: Yes. Lower taxes; workers' compensation and tort reform; more realistic enforcement of environmental rules.
Begley: Yes. Remove all laws forbidding free-market transportation, like jitneys. Clean up the air, going pro-nuclear power.
Bell: Yes. Lower taxes in the business sector. Restructure CALOSHA and the AQMD.
Choi: Yes. Simplify the paperwork process. Cut unrealistic regulations. Tax incentives for incoming manufacturing companies.
Hoge: Yes. A serious change in attitude by the bureaucracy. The recent tax increase seriously burdened many retailers and added internal costs for compliance. Reform workers' compensation.
Oltman: Yes. Reverse the anti-business attitude in California. Cut taxes, provide tax incentives and reform workers' compensation laws. Also, eliminate conflicting regulations, and reduce permit fees and inspection costs.
Pieper: Yes. Lower taxes; reform workers' compensation system; improve the quality of education; streamline bureaucratic red tape and permitting practices; tort reform to reduce health insurance costs; balance the budget; keep California "competitive at the bottom line" in retaining business.
Smith: Yes. Decrease any unnecessary regulation. Reduce taxation. Reform workers' compensation.
Fuhrman: Yes. Kill regulations that create paperwork burdens without solving problems. For example, Hughes Aircraft had to collect file cabinet after file cabinet of data on the use of volatile organic solvents. No regulators ever looked at these records, nor did this record-keeping cut emissions.
Hurst: Yes. Reform workers' compensation laws to reduce costs and lower fraud. Consolidate environmental agencies into one department.
Vollbrecht: Yes. Tax policies have to be more friendly toward small business. The small-business incentive program that is federally sponsored should get matching funds from the state. We can't do give-away programs, like the deferred, reduced or no taxes for new businesses, but the bureaucratic red tape certainly can be reduced.
Q. Do you think state government contracts should be awarded on a "Buy American" basis, with winning bidders being those who promise to use specific percentages of American workers to produce goods and services?
Acker: Yes. Provided the cost and quality are competitive.
Begley: No. Free trade is the answer. Tariffs caused the depression. People retaliate overseas with their tariffs.
Bell: We should always look in our own back yard to buy an item first. But to say we must buy an inferior product is not good business.
Choi: No. Not mandatory but voluntary cooperation from the contractors.
Hoge: Yes. We must think of our domestic economy. Government contracts consume tax dollars, and winning bidders should consider American workers without question.
Oltman: No. I would encourage state government to award contracts based on a "Buy American" basis, but I would not require it. I want the best that money can buy.
Pieper: No. Percentages of American workers should not be limited. Government jurisdictions should consider the effects a contract will have on the local economy when awarding them. I do not support imposing rigid quotas on local governments.
Smith: No. Such a policy would contradict the premises of our free-enterprise economic system.
Fuhrman: No. I don't support a blanket "Buy American" policy or requirement, but I do support awarding some preference to domestic bidders, and additional preference to local bidders.
Hurst: No. The number of Americans employed by a project should be a factor in deciding to award contracts but not the primary factor. The bid amount and company expertise should be of paramount importance.
Q. Do you support requiring California businesses to provide health insurance to employees or contribute to a fund to provide health care for the uninsured?
Acker: No. It will drive many small businesses out of business unless health-care costs in general are contained.
Begley: No. Not by legislation. This adds to the cost of doing business. Encourage it wherever you can.
Bell: No. I don't believe the complete burden should be put onto the small businessman.
Choi: No. Let the businesses make the decision. The businesses must be able to make profit first and then share the profit with the employees.
Hoge: No. Government-dominated mandatory health programs will provide poor service, be costly and further drive businesses from California.
Oltman: No. This would further harm small businesses. Too much regulation already exists.
Pieper: No. Additional economic burdens on business will force jobs out of the state. I support tort and workers' compensation reforms to lower costs, and the use of tax incentives to encourage businesses to provide health-care insurance. Access and affordable health care are legislative priorities.
Prentiss: No answer given.
Smith: Health care should be available to all, especially those who work in our less desirable, minimum-wage jobs. Many who make beds in our medical facilities can't afford to lie in that same bed if or when they become ill. I support the establishment of incentives for businesses to provide health insurance.
Fuhrman: Yes, with an exception for small businesses. Group health can be a tremendous cost, one that could put small businesses out of business. But by the same token, health-care costs can bankrupt employees. We need some way to control health costs, which will make insurance more affordable. Also, virtually all large--and even medium--businesses already offer health-care insurance.
Hurst: Yes. Healthy workers are better workers.
Vollbrecht: No. I support Sen. Bob Kerrey's single-payer health-care plan.
Q. Do you support state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi's proposed $34-billion plan, financed by a state payroll tax, for health care for California workers, people with pre-existing medical conditions and the unemployed? Acker: No. It is too expensive and will create yet another government bureaucracy. A private system that allows some options in coverage is better.
Begley: No. Nutrition of the proper sort and exercise remove the need in most cases for medical care. I have seen no plan pushing this.
Choi: I haven't made a decision yet.
Hoge: No. This is just another proposal for state-controlled health insurance. Socialized medicine simply does not work.
Pieper: No. Government will probably make the problem worse, not better. A state-run insurance program funded by higher taxes will not be efficient. Access to health care and affordable health care are legislative priorities--along with tort reform.
Prentiss: No. The plan needs more streamlining to work effectively. Certain clauses of the plan need caps to control it in possible cases of overspending.
Smith: No. Taxes are too high and need to be reduced.
Fuhrman: I'm not familiar with the details of Garamendi's proposal, so I can't comment. However, the magnitude of the cost makes me uneasy--that's over half the entire state budget.
Hurst: No. Too expensive.
Vollbrecht: Yes, in essence, although I haven't seen the details. I would even go as far as to support a system similar to the Oregon plan at least as a start and step in the right direction.
National Health System
Q. Do you support a national health-care system in which the federal government would establish fees, pay all the bills and collect taxes to cover the cost? Acker: No. See answer to above question.
Begley: No. There is never a cap. Costs rise all the time. Increase the supply of medical care. Restructure the delivery system along market lines.
Bell: No. Nothing run completely by the government works as planned. Leave the solution to private individuals, and a system that can work will be devised.
Choi: No. In general, the responsibility of providing employee benefits is not government's. I don't want the government to waste valuable tax money.
Hoge: No. See answer to previous question.
Oltman: No. This would create another massive and ineffective federal bureaucracy.
Pieper: No. Socialized medicine has not worked. Great Britain is now moving back toward a private fee-for-services system.
Prentiss: No. We would be destroying the private medical sector unnecessarily. It would be wiser to attempt a health-care system "cleanup," restructuring and realigning, but not a federally created disaster.
Fuhrman: No. Administering massive programs is not one of the government's strengths. When cost control and customer service are critical, the task is usually better left to the private sector.
Hurst: No. The federal government rarely runs projects efficiently, and I don't think it would run socialized medicine any better.
Vollbrecht: Yes. I would vigorously support Sen. Kerrey's Health USA Act.
Q. Should state and federal air-quality rules be eased to reduce the financial burdens on California industry?
Pieper: No. We need to streamline permitting and not sacrifice standards. Regulations that do not work should be eliminated.
Fuhrman: No. Standards should not be lowered; paperwork burdens should be reduced.
Vollbrecht: No, not one iota.
Q. Do you support giving state money to parents to allow them to enroll their children in schools of their choice, public or private? Acker: Yes.
Begley: Yes. It's our money.
Bell: No. This will only bring government into the private schools.
Oltman: Yes. Parents have a right to determine what is best for their children and how their money should be spent.
Pieper: Yes, but only within the public system. The value of private schools is their independence. Public funding and state regulation will destroy that independence. I support implementing choice in a variety of ways.
Fuhrman: No. The proposed voucher system would bring back segregation--not racially, but linguistically and by socioeconomic class.
Vollbrecht: No. It would be detrimental to public education.
Q. Should tuition at state universities and colleges be increased to help offset state budget deficits? Acker: No. Too much money goes to the public sector already. Tuition increases, if any, should be offset by corresponding tax cuts.
Begley: Yes. Encourage more corporate scholarships.
Bell: No. State universities should pay for themselves, not fix the state's problems.
Choi: Yes. Those who need financial assistance can be benefited by the student aid program that the state already offers.
Hoge: Yes. The answer to higher education is to cut administrative costs. The education bureaucracy devours tax dollars like a blast furnace.
Oltman: Yes. Assuming the question refers to educational dollars in the state budget, there is nothing wrong with students paying their fair share. Yet, I am not interested in having students make up for the state's budget deficit.
Pieper: No, but it should be considered if it means keeping those institutions open.
Fuhrman: Yes. I don't like the idea, but given our dramatic budget deficit, everyone will need to bear some added burdens. The tuition hike is not egregious.
Hurst: No. Increasing tuition will force some people to drop out of college. Public education should remain affordable to the public.
Vollbrecht: No. To balance their own budget, yes. Sen. Art Torres' plan to limit the increase to only 10% is the best compromise.
Q. Do you support reducing the votes needed to pass a school-construction bond issue from two-thirds to a simple majority? Acker: Yes. A simple majority is more democratic.
Bell: No. The budget is there. We only need to manage it correctly.
Pieper: Yes. Education is a top priority, and this state needs buildings to house the huge rise in student population.
Fuhrman: Yes. Absolutely! Our schools need all the help they can get! I would also push for allowing bond money to be used to rehab existing schools, as well as building new schools.
Q. Do you support capital punishment for any crimes? If so, which ones?
Acker: Yes. Murder.
Begley: Yes. Murder, drug dealers, child molesters.
Bell: Yes. Murder with special circumstances, any in-the-line-of-duty police officer death.
Hoge: Yes. The current capital requirements.
Oltman: Yes. Crimes covered by current law.
Fuhrman: Yes. First-degree murder with aggravating circumstances. Generally, I support the laws as they are currently. The only extension might be for repeat major drug distributors (over 100 pounds of cocaine or heroin.)
Hurst: Yes. First-degree murder with special circumstances. However, the burden of proof should be increased from beyond a reasonable doubt to beyond any doubt.
Q. Do you support any form of limit on the sales of guns to individuals? Acker: No. Except for convicted felons.
Begley: Check on criminal record of gun buyers.
Bell: Yes. For convicted felons and others who have shown disrespect for the laws.
Oltman: Yes. Current regulations, especially those governing assault rifles.
Pieper: Yes. I do not support the sale of guns to persons convicted of serious crimes or the sale of semiautomatic assault rifles.
Fuhrman: Yes. I support the current ban on sales of assault and automatic weapons. I would be inclined to accept recommendations from law-enforcement leaders--like Sheriff Sherman Block--on extending the ban to other semiautomatic weapons.
Vollbrecht: Yes. I support the Brady Bill. It's a start. According to a former chief of police, there are more guns in America than there are people. To control guns, he says, would be like trying to control sex. Yet like me, he believes in slowing down the access to guns and increasing gun education.
Q. Do you support making it a crime for a police officer to fail to intervene if he or she witnesses a fellow officer using excessive force against someone?
Acker: No. If you can't trust the police, passing another law isn't going to help. Besides, it's already against the law to use excessive force.
Bell: Yes. Changing "intervene" to "report" in the question.
Choi: Yes. An officer must follow the departmental guidelines. The officers must honor the law in order to enforce the law.
Hoge: No. This is an internal police matter and must be handled within the police agency.
Pieper: No. Police officers should be held accountable and prosecuted for clear negligence and abuse. We must remember that those in law enforcement fight violent criminals and drug dealers every day. They need our help if we are to protect the lives of innocent citizens.
Prentiss: No answer given.
Smith: No. Situation would be too dangerous.
Fuhrman: Yes. It seems to me that an officer who countenances excessive force is already guilty of aiding and abetting assault under the color of authority. If we need new legislation to clarify that, I would support such legislation.
Hurst: Yes. Officers are supposed to protect and serve. Currently, an officer must stop someone from committing an assault. That the perpetrator is wearing a badge and uniform should not matter. I endorsed Charter Amendment F.
Q. Should political campaigns be taxpayer-funded to reduce the importance of special-interest money? Acker: No.
Begley: No. Taxpayer money is a special interest, too.
Bell: We should eliminate all special-interest money.
Hoge: No. This would favor incumbents.
Oltman: No. This is not the way to reduce influence by special-interest money. It is better to allow Fair Political Practices Commission regulation of current laws.
Prentiss: No answer given.
Smith: Some form of public financing, but no restrictions on other givers.
Fuhrman: If we combined public financing with additional ethics and campaign reform, I would support it.
Vollbrecht: I am an ardent proponent of Proposition 68 and would support it in a heartbeat. I am chair of the California Democratic Council Campaign Reform Committee.
Q. In general, do you think affirmative action in employment of women and members of minority groups has not gone far enough, or has gone too far, or is about right? Acker: About right but should be removed from courts and handled administratively. The present system is far too expensive for the results obtained.
Begley: Things are about right.
Bell: I am against quota systems. I believe that businesses should strive for equality by hiring the most qualified.
Choi: We need to assess the affirmative action on what the positive and negative results are. The action needs an overhaul to meet the needs of the community.
Hoge: I do not support quotas in any guise. Affirmative action leads to quotas.
Oltman: About right. Current laws protect women and minority groups.
Pieper: I do not support any type of a quota system. I do support equal rights and equal opportunity for all.
Prentiss: No answer given.
Smith: Question is vague, needs further consideration.
Fuhrman: We still have a "glass ceiling" for both women and minorities, and we need continued pressure to encourage businesses to prepare women and minorities for, and promote them into, senior management. But we are definitely making progress.
Hurst: Affirmative action has not helped minorities or women. An incentive program such as the disability program would produce better results.
Vollbrecht: It's on track.
Q. Do you support a woman's unrestricted right to an abortion within the first three months of pregnancy? Acker: No.
Fuhrman: Yes, absolutely.
Q. Do you support state funding of abortions for women who cannot afford them?
Pieper: Yes. Abortion is not birth control. Money must be spent on family planning in order to avoid the need for many abortions.
Fuhrman: Yes, as with any other medical procedure.
Q. Do you support the adoption of new measures such as increased border patrols and physical barriers to try to stem the flow of illegal immigration from the south? Acker: Yes.
Fuhrman: Increased border patrols, yes. Physical barriers, no.
Vollbrecht: Yes. And from the north to south?
Q. Do you support the so-called "right-to-die" initiative on the November ballot that would allow doctors to end the lives of people who are terminally ill in a "painless, humane and dignified" manner? Acker: No. Personal beliefs.
Begley: No answer given.
Oltman: No. Depending upon special circumstances.
Pieper: No, but we should review laws affecting the terminally ill.
Prentiss: No answer given.
Fuhrman: Yes, with safeguards.
Hurst: Yes. People should be allowed to die if they wish.
Vollbrecht: Yes. With many stipulations and legal caveats for patient protection.
Q. Do you support Gov. Pete Wilson's proposal to reduce welfare benefits for a family of three by 10% immediately, to $597 a month, and by another 15% for families with able-bodied adults who were not working?
Acker: Yes. There's not enough money to continue to pay the benefits now being paid. People shouldn't live permanently on welfare. Eligibility should not continue indefinitely.
Bell: Yes. I also believe in incentives for continuing education.
Choi: Yes. The welfare is not helping a needy family. We have helped them to stand up and take their own responsibility.
Hoge: Yes. The reforms in welfare must address the bureaucratic waste in federal, state and county welfare agencies.
Oltman: Yes. The welfare system was designed to help those in need rather than to allow individuals to become dependent on it. It is important to have a welfare system that helps the needy but allows them to return to the work force as quickly as possible. Special emphasis needs to be placed upon the children caught on the welfare treadmill.
Pieper: Yes. California ranks highest in the nation for welfare benefits. It is a heavy burden for taxpayers. Welfare reform should also encourage putting people to work.
Smith: Case-by-case examination before further reduction in grants.
Fuhrman: No. We face a major budget deficit, and everyone will have to share the pain. I support deferring cost-of-living increases and limiting payments to new residents to the level they receive in their prior state of residence. But I do not support this sort of punitive reduction. The entire savings would be less than 10% of the deficit, by which standard this is really a minor initiative.
Hurst: No. Wilson's proposal provides no incentive to work and has provisions giving the governor dictatorial powers over the Assembly.
Vollbrecht: Yes, if it will spring people from the trap of the welfare treadmill.
Q. Should businesses be required to subsidize child care for employees? Acker: No.
Bell: No. But having tax incentives and hiring certified welfare mothers caring for them is positive.
Pieper: No. However, business should be encouraged in this area, so more women are able to work and produce in California.
Fuhrman: No. They should be encouraged and enabled but not required.
Vollbrecht: Large corporations, Yes. Small businesses, No.
Q. Do you support any change in the laws enacted by voters in 1978 as Proposition 13? Acker: No.
Smith: Too complicated to respond. Budget pressure requires re-examination. Economy dictates holding taxes down.
Fuhrman: No. Although I do believe we should look at the 2% annual cap on assessed-value increases; that is unrealistically low. Five percent, or cost of living, whichever is lower , would be more appropriate.
Thomas or Hill?
Q. Who do you think more likely told the truth, Anita Hill or Clarence Thomas?
Acker: Anita Hill.
Begley: Clarence Thomas.
Bell: Mr. Thomas seemed to have more credibility.
Choi: Anita Hill.
Hoge: Clarence Thomas.
Oltman: Clarence Thomas.
Pieper: While we may never know the complete story, the Hill-Thomas hearings hit deeply with women across America. Sexual harassment does not belong in the workplace or any place.
Prentiss: Clarence Thomas.
Smith: Clarence Thomas.
Fuhrman: Anita Hill. It is flatly not credible that Thomas never discussed the choice issue. Also, I was amazed at how little understanding some senators showed of the career options available to a black woman, and of how difficult it would have been for Ms. Hill to walk away from her political career.
Hurst: I have no idea who really told the truth, but I feel both Thomas and Hill were unnecessarily damaged by the hearings.
Vollbrecht: Anita Hill.
Q. What single change would most improve life in Southern California? Acker: A far greater emphasis on values--education in the schools to teach individual accountability and responsibility to young people and the importance of traditional families to any successful society.
Begley: As an alternative to using your car or waiting an hour for an RTD bus, or longer for Dial-a-Ride, provide private small vehicles, jitneys, every two minutes on the main roads.
Bell: Reducing the underlying stress about the business climate.
Choi: Cut crime and graffiti.
Hoge: A resolution to the conflict between the environment and the economy; a better tax structure; lessened bureaucratic domination.
Oltman: Increased crime protection and a more efficient transportation system.
Pieper: Cut taxes.
Prentiss: Stop the growth of Los Angeles.
Smith: Job creation.
Fuhrman: Truly implement mass transit, which would dramatically improve air quality, reduce freeway congestion and improve the economic viability and attractiveness of the region.
Hurst: An improved educational system.
Vollbrecht: Less stress and more breathable air, which is even more laced with chemicals when it is aerially sprayed with malathion.
Q. Which public figure do you most admire? Acker: Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.
Begley: Mother Teresa.
Bell: Bruce McNall--sports club owner-collector.
Choi: Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Hoge: Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf.
Oltman: Former President Ronald Reagan.
Pieper: No answer given.
Prentiss: No answer given.
Fuhrman: Mario Cuomo, Gloria Molina, Margaret Chase Smith and Lee Iacocca, in that order.
Hurst: Thomas Jefferson.
Vollbrecht: Art Buchwald.
Stephen Acker, 40, of Pasadena is an attorney. He was a Pasadena City Council member from 1979 to 1983 and served on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Commission. He also has worked for the U.S. State Department.
Roy Begley, 64, of Pasadena is a self-employed writer and entrepreneur. A conservative, the British-born Begley has long been a community activist and a volunteer in Republican politics. This is his first try for public office.
Bob Bell, 33, of La Crescenta is a self-employed computer and manufacturing consultant. He received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology at USC, where he was active in student government and athletics.
T. H. Choi, 50, of Pasadena is a gas station owner. A political novice, he is one of three Republican candidates in the race who advocates abortion rights, a position that puts them at odds with most of their party's national leadership.
Bill Hoge, 46, of Pasadena is an insurance broker. A political newcomer, Hoge has been endorsed by Pat Nolan and Richard L. Mountjoy, the two Republican assemblymen who previously represented parts of the new district.
Robert Oltman, 54, of Pasadena is a general partner in Space Bank Ltd., and founder and director of Marathon National Bank. A political novice, Oltman has never held public office before.
Barbara Pieper, 45, of La Canada Flintridge is vice president of the Los Angeles County Board of Education. She is a former member of the La Canada Flintridge City Council and considers herself a moderate Republican.
Lee David Prentiss, 46, of South Pasadena is a detective supervisor with the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division. He served on the South Pasadena City Council from 1984 through 1988 and was mayor in 1987.
Wilbert L. Smith, 41, of Pasadena is a bank executive and member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Reserves. He is a member of the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education.
Jonathan S. Fuhrman, 41, of Pasadena is a business manager for Nestle Food Co. He is a member of the Los Angeles County Citizens Commission on Efficiency and Economy and the city of Pasadena's Northwest Commission.
Daniel Hurst, 28, of Pasadena is an independent computer consultant. He is making his first bid for public office. Hurst is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton, where he majored in history, Russian and East European-area studies.
John Vollbrecht, 44, of Eagle Rock is a self-employed general contractor. He was the Democratic nominee in 1984, 1986 and 1988 in the old 41st Assembly District, losing each time to Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R-Glendale).
Assembly District 44
Overview: Ten candidates, including school district trustee Wilbert L. Smith of Pasadena and three former City Council members, Stephen Acker of Pasadena, Lee David Prentiss of South Pasadena and Barbara Pieper of La Canada Flintridge, are vying for the Republican nomination in the newly created district. Whoever emerges from that wide-open primary will face one of three Democrats vying for their party's nomination as well as a Libertarian, who is unopposed. Registered Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats in the district; slightly less than half of the voters are in Pasadena and Altadena.
Where: The district includes the communities of Altadena, Kagel Canyon, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, Pasadena, San Marino, South Pasadena, Sunland and Tujunga, and portions of Arcadia, Glendale, Sun Valley, Sylmar and Temple City. To find out if you live in the district, call the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office at (213) 721-1100.
Jonathan S. Fuhrman, manager, county commissioner
Daniel I. Hurst, computer consultant
John Vollbrecht, businessman
Ken Saurenman, contractor
Stephen Acker, attorney, business owner
Roy Begley, writer, entrepreneur
Bob Bell, manufacturing, computer consultant
T.H. Choi, business owner
Bill Hoge, small business owner
Robert Oltman, businessman, executive officer
Barbara Pieper, county school board member
Lee David Prentiss, LAPD detective supervisor
Wilbert L. Smith, banker, educator, police officer