Candidates face off at forum

Gretchen Hoffman

Candidates for the 27th and 29th Congressional districts and the

43rd Assembly District tackled tough questions, including health care

and education, in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of

Glendale/Burbank.

The candidates faced off in front of about 30 spectators at

Burbank City Hall on Wednesday. The forum will be re-broadcast at 6

p.m. today, 1 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday on Charter Communications

Channel 6. Check www.BurbankUSA.com for viewing times.

Participants included Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and the

challengers for his 29th District seat: Republican Jim Scileppi and

Libertarian Ted Brown. Also participating were 27th Congressional

District contenders Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Mission Hills) and

Republican Robert Levy. Because of redistricting that takes effect

after the election, part of Burbank will fall into the 27th

District.

Two candidates for the 43rd Assembly District -- Assemblyman

Dario Frommer (D-Burbank) and Libertarian Sandor J. Woren -- faced

off following the congressional forum. Republican candidate Ingrid

Geyer did not attend the event.

Health-care reform and the current Los Angeles County

health-clinic crisis were topics that resurfaced throughout both

forums, in addition to energy and water conversation and campaign and

election reform.

Incumbents Sherman and Schiff cited health-care legislation that

had been introduced in Congress and stressed the need for more

coverage.

Schiff said he supports expanding the Healthy Families program,

which offers low-cost health insurance to low- to moderate-income

families, both through outreach programs and eventually extending the

coverage to parents.

Scileppi said he was against a nationalized health-care system,

and Brown said the federal government has no place in health care

whatsoever.

"There should be a free market in health care," Brown said. "I

think [the HMO system] is assuming incompetence on the part of the

elderly."

Schiff also spoke of his support for a resolution giving President

Bush authority to use force against Iraq.

"I think it's very important that, through the United Nations, we

sent the weapons inspectors back into Iraq," he said.

In the Assembly candidate's forum, Frommer and Woren addressed

funding for the public-education system.

"We've jumped dramatically in per-pupil spending, but we have a

long way to go," Frommer said. "We need to keep education as out

first priority in the budget. It's going to take more time to get us

where we need to be."

Woren said government has no place in education.

"It seems like every election we have a new bond measure on the

ballot to raise money for the schools, but they're never satisfied,"

Woren said. "We need to move toward privatizing the school system.

That's the only real solution."

Both Assembly candidates said they favored giving more control at

the local level over community colleges.

"I think we should give them the independence and the funding they

need to be independent," Frommer said.

Woren said he would take that one step further: "I would return

local control down to the level of the student himself."

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