44th Candidates Featured at Forum

Three candidates and one surrogate spoke at a Pasadena forum on the 44th Assembly District last week, as the race to choose a successor for Assemblymember Carol Liu nears an end.

The forum, held at Monte Vista Grove Presbyterian Home, began with a prayer and a hymn, and featured a substantial turnout of residents, despite competition from a vacation cruise.

Democrat Anthony Portantino spoke about his endorsements from Liu and state Sen. Jack Scott. The New Jersey native and La Cañada resident said he came to California to work in the film industry, and first ran for office because he perceived an apathetic view toward council elections.

"I lost 25 pounds in my first election, and lost by two votes," he said. He said he encourages constituents to call him at home. "The number is 952-3432, and it rings in my kitchen," Portantino said.

Republican Scott Carwil identified himself as a small businessman and a believer in the economic future of the state. "California is the sixth largest economy in the world," he said. Carwil said he is a believer in vouchers and school choice for parents.

Green Party candidate Ricardo Cortez said he is running to support his party's basic principles, calling for grassroots democracy, social justice, community-based economics and ecological wisdom. The Pasadena resident said his party is working to focus attention on the Iraq War and the damages it is causing to society.

Murray Levy said he was speaking for Libertarian candidate Baron Yanaga. Levy himself is a candidate in the 22nd Senate District. The Glendale College professor emphasized the need for redistricting to create more competitive districts, and talked about Libertarian support for limited government and economic initiative.

The 44th District includes Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, portions of Northeast Los Angeles and parts of Arcadia and Monrovia. The district has a plurality of voters registered as Democrats. The election takes place on Nov. 7.

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