Campaign ’94: Issues and Answers

Four candidates are running in the Nov. 8 election to represent the 38th state Senate District. They are Democrat Thomas Berry of Laguna Hills, Libertarian August Anderson of Encinitas, Peace & Freedom candidate Mary Ann Nikl of Carlsbad and Republican William A. Craven, the incumbent, of Oceanside. Here’s where they stand on four issues.

“Three Strikes” Crime Law

Berry: “An alternative might be a boot camp for all Californians between the ages of 19 and 22 who are not in higher education. The camp could be paid for by parents, the state and federal government.”

Anderson: “I favor the ideal behind the ‘three strikes’ law. However, I believe the law as written is our elected officials’ feeble attempt to put a bandage on a broken arm. Criminals found guilty of violent crimes should serve full sentences without parole. However, this law does not fix the underlying problems that exist within the entire criminal justice system. The entire system needs an overhaul.”


Nikl: “I oppose the ‘three strikes’ law. It violates the freedom judges must have to ensure that the punishment is proportional to the crime. Violent crime is actually down. Crime hysteria is up and the ‘three strikes’ law feeds that hysteria. It is no coincidence that the U.S. has the highest percentage in the world of citizens being imprisoned and the lowest academic test scores of any industrialized country. ‘Three strikes’ will fill up prisons while draining billions of dollars that can be used for social programs. I favor lighter sentences and more money for education.”

Craven: “I favor the law. I firmly believe tougher penalties act as a deterrent. Endless appeals and the lack of punishment have only exacerbated our crime situation.”

Save Our State Initiative to Curtail Benefits to Illegal Immigrants

Berry: “California needs to secure the international border and should end economic incentives for people to cross the border seeking work.”


Anderson: “Again, the S.O.S. law is a minor attempt at fixing a major problem, but it is philosophically a step in the right direction. The entire welfare system needs to be virtually eliminated. The United States Constitution does not create ‘entitlements’ for anyone. We need to fix the underlying source of all these problems, not just treat the symptoms on a piece-by-piece basis after the problems have reached emergency status.

Nikl: “All immigrants, including undocumented workers, provide benefits to the economy by doing work that Americans are unwilling or unable to do. At both ends of the spectrum, immigrants fill a void: In math and sciences, Americans are behind; at the low end, Americans won’t do needed work for low pay. Californians need to know that people immigrate to other places when their way of living is destroyed by big corporations and farmers are forced to look for a way to feed their families.”

Craven: “I favor SOS. By definition, illegal immigrants are here without the acquiescence of government and therefore should have no expectations of receiving government services. Stricter border enforcement is essential, but the issue is largely within the purview of the federal government. If the federal government mandates services by the states, then federal matching dollars must be made available.”

Single-Payer Health Initiative


Berry: “I would like to see health care for all Americans and reduce the cost of health care.”

Anderson: “The answers to these first three questions take far more than 100 words each to address. I would suggest that if a reader really wanted to understand all the issues, problems and solutions facing our state and our nation today, they should read my book ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ (penned under the name Rasputin).”

Nikl: “I favor the single-payer health plan. It will save billions of dollars that under the present system are wasted by allowing insurance companies to run an inefficient system that requires an enormous administrative bureaucracy. I favor full universal coverage for all with an emphasis on preventive health care. I believe that if all other industrialized countries can provide health care for all their citizens, we must do the same. Do not forget that Medicare is an efficient government-run system.”

Craven: “I oppose it. It’s been estimated that the combined cost would be greater than the entire state’s budget. Further, a comprehensive solution is needed on a federal rather than state-by-state basis. Otherwise, California invariably becomes a health-care magnet for residents of other states in search of health care.”


Future Uses for El Toro Marine Corps Air Station

Berry: “The El Toro base should be used as a regional park or as a desalination facility selling water to California.”

Anderson: “The El Toro base is not within my district and it would take a significant amount of research along with an understanding of the people’s views within that jurisdiction to be able to answer that question from such a distance. However, in general I believe that military facilities that no longer serve a military purpose should be put to the highest and best civilian use.”

Nikl: “I oppose an airport at the El Toro base. This facility was bought with tax dollars and it would be unfair to continue subsidizing big business. If the airlines want another airport, let them build one with their own money. The facility should be converted to a park and recreation area for public use. Runways can be converted into ball courts, biking and running trails. Undeveloped areas could be used as a green belt by planting trees that all citizens can enjoy.”


Craven: “It is premature to develop a plan for El Toro until the Base Reuse Authority studies are completed. El Toro represents a unique asset. Decisions as to future use deserves careful consideration after all options have been presented.”

Source: Individual candidates; Researched by ERIC BAILEY / Los Angeles Times