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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Contra Costa, Alameda County, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 16

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Fiscal Choices, Water, Education, Your Priorities

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. How would you prioritize the fiscal choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?

Answer from Steve Glazer:

1. I strongly support Governor Brown's current budget plan to pay down California's remaining debt and to create a stronger rainy day fund to protect state services.

2. I will fight to curb excessive public pension costs, establish independent leadership on pension boards and limit public pensions to 70% of what an employee earns while working.

3. I am a strong supporter of our K-12 public school system and colleges and universities. Their funding would be a priority.

There is a lot more information about my issue positions at

Answer from Newell Arnerich:

Education should not be the budget `hostage'. We have decimated our public universities by fiscalizing tuition to make foreign and out of state students a priority over our own children. Nearly all of the cuts in the State budget over the past eight years have only been to education. This needs to stop. Children do not get a `second chance' at learning and we need to make education a priority and not a partisan football. Proposition 98 attempted to set a solid education funding allocation, but the legislature has consistently found ways to circumvent voter approved Prop 98 to fund their pet projects/programs. There is significant new revenue coming into the state and at least 50% of these funds should set aside to help smooth out future funding years for education. Other areas of State government need to be looked at as a fee-for-service model such as DMV, State Parks and many other areas to eliminate budget subsidies to a variety of state agencies. The legislature would set minimum goals and operating standards and service levels for each agency while holding them responsible to achieve preset financial goals. Education and other essential services will be less likely to have significant year-to-year funding levels.

? 2. Given our current drought condition, concern for water rights and usage is an important issue. What solutions would you support to address our water problems?

Answer from Steve Glazer:

1. I support enhanced water conservation efforts for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural uses.

2. I strongly believe in water recycling, reuse and better groundwater management.

3. I support the expansion of water storage facilities that can provide much needed water for personal and business use, as well as to protect various species in our lakes, rivers and streams.

4. I am opposed to the plan to build giant twin tunnels to move Delta water from northern California to southern California as it does not have adequate environmental protections.

Answer from Newell Arnerich:

The Governor's twin tunnel water diversion project is not the solution to our water problems. We need more water storage - not diverting our limited resource. Safe drinking water and adequate water supply for our agricultural economy must be a shared priority and not a partisan issue. Californians as a whole have done a good job in water conservation as our population has doubled since the mid-sixties while our water consumption remains the same. Agriculture has done a lot to improve drip irrigation systems while there is still room to improvement on conservation in floor irrigation regions. Both environmentalists and business need to agree that there is a water shortage problem in California and that the solution is both added storage capacity and more conservation measures. We should prioritize the areas with the greatest water needs and fund the infrastructure improvements to accomplish capacity, conservation and quality through a ten year capital program. This should be financed through 25-30 year state bonds with a dedicated revenue source from general fund and user fees + in public private partnership approach.

? 3. California high school students rank lower than many states in student performance. What do you see as the ongoing role of the Legislature in addressing this problem?

Answer from Newell Arnerich:

At first glance, the difference between state education rankings and the average per-pupil spending seems clear: Generally, states that spend more on their students tend to rank higher, and states that spend less rank lower. The Western states spend the least per pupil while the Northeast and Midwest spend the most. The top education ranking is Massachusetts with the lowest being Nevada at 50th and California close to the bottom at 43rd. The No.1 education ranking state spends $13,361 per student and while California spends $8,667 (2012 data). The more you spend per student is not necessarily true with the top 1-8 ranked schools spending at least $11,000 per pupil and while the lowest 8 state funding levels rank no higher than 25-50. The role of the State legislature with respect to education needs to change + more movement toward stable per pupil funding levels should be a common basis to move forward. Secondly, the legislature believes it knows everything about education, but really cannot find a common ground other than `all of them' were educated at one time. Stop the cover story about changing the way our children are taught as a cover-up for reducing funding for education. Last year's Local Control Funding Formula has some good ideas, but was really a cover to reduce funding levels from the previous year (-$1.5 billion) and forced districts to fight with each other how the new formula would reallocate funds.

Answer from Steve Glazer:

1. Local empowerment: We need to empower local school boards to lead on educational issues. The centralization of educational decision-making in Sacramento is not healthy and should be reversed.

2. Teacher Accountability: I believe in accountability at all levels of government, including the public schools. There are few jobs more important or difficult than being a public school teacher. We need to support our teachers in every way possible. But they should also be accountable for performance.

3. School Choice: Allow families to select the best schools for their children. I support the ability of families to select the best school environment for their children, be that a public charter school or a nearby public school. However, I do not support private school vouchers as they siphon off tax dollars from public schools.

4. Classroom effectiveness: State law should set a framework for helping schools hire and retain high-performing teachers in the classroom. Local communities are in the best position to make these decisions that promote classroom effectiveness. A good example: school districts that follow existing law in using test results as a part of a comprehensive teacher evaluation.

? 4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address? What are your own priorities?

Answer from Newell Arnerich:

The biggest problem facing the State is the unfunded liability of state retirement systems and promised public employee healthcare benefits. The legislature created the problem in the first place by not analyzing the total cost of promised benefits at starting in 2000. The unfunded state retirement liability is nearly $218 billion dollars. There is going to have to be more changes for future state employees and negotiations with current employees and retirees at some level of accountability on both sides. The second major area of concern for the state budget is deferred maintenance which is nearly $65 billion dollars. The short term budget forecast of 12 months is unacceptable, on while I base my city's forecast on 10 year planning cycles that recognizes down turns in the economy as a regular recurring condition + not something that is a surprises at the last minute when every reasonably economist has forecasts showing economic downturns. My priorities are to address the state budgeting process and get it into 21st century planning strategies and; 1. Give first preference to California students + not foreign or out-of-state applicants + at state universities and colleges; 2.Streamline regulations to attract businesses and jobs+ without forfeiting our commitment to the environment; 3.Create long-term strategies to fund roads and schools + not short-term ballot initiatives that raise taxes.

Answer from Steve Glazer:

In the Bay Area, we sometimes take our beautiful environment for granted. This is risky, because environmental stewardship requires ongoing vigilance. Our clean air and water, bays, forests, grasslands and creeks won't stay protected unless they are a part of every discussion.

I strongly believe in an ethos of conservation. It has driven a big part of my three decades of public service. Here are some highlights:

1. In Northern California, I led campaigns to protect old growth redwood forests, San Francisco Bay, parks and open spaces.

2. Working with the Trust for Public Land, I helped pass measures in more than 25 states that protect clean water and thousands of acres of open space.

3. I led successful campaigns to pass multi-billion dollar water and park bonds, which protect clean water, clean air, parks and coastal habitats throughout California

4. In five years of service on the Contra Costa County Solid Waste Authority, I supported programs to significantly increase recycling and reuse practices.

My environmental priorities for the State Assembly include:

1. Conserve water. Protect California's long-term water availability through recycling, reuse and better groundwater practices.

2. Oppose Delta tunnels. The current plan to build massive tunnels to take Delta water to Southern California does not make environmental sense and I firmly oppose it.

3. Protect urban growth boundaries. Voter-approved growth boundaries prevent sprawl and protect the quality of life in our communities.

4. Reduce carbon emissions. One of my key priorities will be to keep California on track to reduce our carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: July 9, 2014 18:45 PDT
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