1. Why are you running for state senate?
I’m not part of the political establishment. I’m a local Mayor who is a problem solver – not a partisan. My record demonstrates the courage to take a stand against entrenched special interests. I was the first elected official to oppose the BART strike and support a permanent ban on transit strikes, like they have in New York and San Francisco.
I’m a father of two daughters who have gone through our public schools. We need education policies that put students first and allow local school board to ensure quality teaching in classrooms regardless of seniority.
I support pension reform that creates a sustainable financial model and ends pension spiking. We need to prioritize road improvements I oppose high-speed rail without a sound financial plan because it drains money from local transportation needs.
I’m fiscally conservative. As a local elected official and Mayor, I balanced 10 straight budgets without ever taking a salary. As Trustee of the 23-campus California State University system, I fought for affordable and accountable higher education. I oppose the proposed Delta tunnels.
Our legislators exercise poor financial discipline that contributes to billion dollar deficits and tax increases. They use a loophole so they can receive tax-free income for being in Sacramento on weekends and holidays even when they are not there.
It’s time for smart priorities that focus on education, job creation, the environment and caring for those in need without new taxes.
2. What philosophy would guide your legislative decisions?
I should conduct myself in the campaign and in office with honesty and transparency.
Government closer to the people will be more responsive and trustworthy. Always ask why state legislation is needed rather than leaving those choices to local government, school boards, and commissions.
We should strive for be-partisanship and consensus when ever possible.
A balanced budget and fiscal responsibility is a foundational requirement if you want government to help people.
Always advance accountability and efficiency in every government program.
Education is the gateway to opportunity and prosperity.
3. Would you oppose any new taxes?
Yes. We just increased taxes by $8 Million dollars. Californians cannot afford a government that won’t balance its books and live within its means. And Sacramento cannot continue to look to taxpayers to bail it out from bad decision-making. I will work to avoid new State tax burdens. Fiscal security requires greater focus on creating jobs and growing the economy. The best way for California to pay its bills and keep its promise to future generations is to build a strong economy, which will increase tax revenues.
4. Do you support or oppose changes to Proposition 13?
Oppose. I am committed to maintaining Proposition 13 and the protections from higher taxes that it provides homeowners.
5. What steps would you take to improve education?
We need to continue to invest in our schools and universities. The State Senate plays a critical role in education. It goes beyond funding – which is vital – to creating educational reforms to ensure that each student who attends a public school has an equal opportunity to succeed. There isn’t a one-size fits all solution to improve public education. My priorities include:
Local empowerment. We need to empower local school boards to lead on educational issues.
Restore School Reserve protection. We need to restore school reserve protections that were stripped away by the Legislature in a last-minute budget deal in 2014.
Teacher Accountability. We need to support our teachers in every way possible, while holding them accountable for performance.
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. I don’t support private school vouchers as they siphon vital tax dollars from public schools.
Greater educational resources. As a Member of the Senate, I will work to strengthen California’s economy and bring greater resources to our K-through University education system.
Accessible and affordable higher education.
6. What steps would you take to reduce crime?
I support our law enforcement officers. They are doing all they can to combat crime, but they need adequate resources to do their jobs.
Eleven years ago, in October, 2003, I was shot in the neck by a high-powered pellet rifle while driving with my family. The .17 caliber projectile just missed my carotid artery and lodged next to my spine. The perpetrator was caught but never charged with a crime because pellet guns were classified as toys in the criminal code. I was able to get the law changed to treat these guns as serious weapons.
I have provided critical support to ensure perpetrators of rape are caught and prosecuted, and strongly support victim’s compensation.
One of the expectations of living in a free and civilized society is that citizens follow the laws of the land. Lawbreakers must be swiftly and justly prosecuted.
7. What steps would you take to deal with homelessness?
I would support another affordable housing bond, as well as other legislative efforts to address California’s housing affordability problems.
I have organized campaigns to fund homeless shelters, affordable housing and residences for abused women and foster children.
We need increased state involvement in helping homeless veterans to find safe and adequate housing.
8. Do you support or oppose the Twin Tunnels project?
Oppose. The current plan to build massive tunnels to take Delta water to Southern California does not make environmental sense, and increases the dependence on the Bay-Delta as a water source. We need to protect California’s long-term water availability through recycling, reuse and better groundwater practices.
9. What is your position on AB 60, “driver’s licenses for undocumented workers?”
Licensing and verifying the true identity of all drivers in California, with proper background checks and other security measures, contributes to improved security for all Californians.
10. What is your position on AB 1266, regarding gender confused youth using opposite sex school bathrooms and locker rooms?
I appreciate and recognize the unique challenges and obstacles faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth, and I support efforts at the local level to protect the rights and safety of these students. I feel that local school boards should be responsible for setting policies to protect the rights and safety of all students.