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Q&A With Assembly Dist. 45 Candidates

Tuesday's election will be held in parts or all of Calabasas, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Hidden Hills, North Hills, Northridge, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka and Woodland Hills.

Assembly District 45 candidates
Assembly District 45 candidates
There will be a special State Assembly District 45 primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 17, to fill the seat vacated by Bob Blumenfield who is now a Los Angeles councilman.

Assembly District 45 includes parts or all of Calabasas, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Hidden Hills, North Hills, Northridge, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka and Woodland Hills.


Our friends at the Community Connection monthly selected those they considered to be the five leading candidates for a series of questions. Click here for a full list of candidates. The Community Connection Q&A is reprinted here with permission.

Readers and other candidates are welcome to join the conversation in the comments box below.

What are your legislative priorities?

CARROLL:  I’m running for Assembly to ensure that that every child growing up in California has access to a good education, jobs, quality healthcare, and a healthy environment.  In the Assembly, I will work to rebuild an economy that supports middle-class jobs, invest in a public education system that will educate a 21 decades-old infrastructure.

SHELLEY:  Number One: Protecting Prop 13 from the attack by Sacramento politicians who are trying to make it easier to raise property taxes. My priority is to block the effort now underway to lower the vote needed to raise taxes, and to block any attempt to “split the roll” and hit businesses with ruinous tax hikes. Number Two: Change state regulations and laws, like AB 32, that are causing huge increases in energy and water costs to homeowners and businesses. For too long, California has pursued a policy of “conservation by economic hardship.” It has been a disaster for Valley residents. The DWP bills in the summertime are like a human rights violation.

DEYOUNG: State Budget – Balanced, Realistic, Sustainable; Jobs - Reinvigorate the State economy by attracting companies and small business; Education – Demand accountability from our schools and enact legislation that will take pedophiles and drug users out of the classroom; Reduce the influence of special interests in California – pass a ballot initiative or request the Governor to sign an Executive Order that would prevent state-workers’ unions from making political contributions to influence candidates, elected officials and ballot initiatives.

EBENSTEIN: One of my top priorities is making California more business friendly. Stop runaway production and bring the film industry back. Stop unfavorable regulation on businesses in Sacramento and more tax incentives for Manufacturing. 

DABABNEH: I am committed to creating jobs, providing a high quality education to all of California’s students, protecting our environment and improving transportation. 

If you were guaranteed that the Governor would sign into law only one piece of legislation you authored, what would it be, and why is that particular bill the most important to you?

CARROLL: I would author a bill to secure state funding to clean underground aquifers under the San Fernando Valley that have been 
poisoned with industrial pollutants. This would greatly improve our ability to store clean water locally and lessen our dependence on Northern California water transfers.

SHELLEY:  I will introduce a bill to require smog checks every three years instead of every two years, because the cost to consumers goes up every year, yet the benefit to our society gradually declines as older cars come off the road. Similarly, there are many regulations that have outlived their usefulness and are harming businesses in California. We should look at all of them and not be afraid to repeal the ones that no longer pass the cost/benefit test.

DEYOUNG: Budget Reform – Add a rainy day fund of at least six months of state expenditures, require performance based budgeting at all levels of state government, create a two-year budget cycle, initiate serious pension and health care reform and increase budget transparency by removing the current practice of approving blank legislation.

EBENSTEIN:  California must have the biggest tax incentives for film, caps above any other state to insure that film and T.V. production stay in California.. Runaway production has caused havoc on our economy and effects all levels and kiNds of business statewide.

DABABNEH: California is a global leader in the entertainment industry with more movie and television production than any other state, due in large part to its existing business foundation, infrastructure, and well-trained workforce. In recent years, however, California has been struggling to retain television and film productions. I will work to stop runaway production and attract new productions by extending our film tax credit programs. California must offer better incentives for productions. Some of my proposals 
include increasing our tax credit rate, allowing animated films and TV pilots to be eligible for tax credits, and making the state tax credits permanent so the industry is no longer faced with uncertainty. I will work every day to make sure the Valley remains the heart of the entertainment industry and continues to provide our friends and neighbors with good paying middle class jobs.

By all indicators, California's schools are still underperforming.  All too often the blame is placed on educators, administrators, and the school district leadership, with little discussion about the role of parents and students. What do you believe should be  done to make parents and students more responsible and what legislation will you  introduce to achieve that end?

CARROLL: First, we need to increase state investment and accountability in our public schools.  This would be one of my top priorities.  As a public school parent and the husband of a public school teacher, I know firsthand how our students are impacted by recent state budget cuts.  Second, I agree that of we can get more parents engaged in the schools, we will absolutely have more successful schools.  I would support legislation that encourages schools to establish parent committees that directly engage parents in 
student curriculum and give them the tools they need to advocate for their children.

SHELLEY:  I don’t think it’s a good idea to pursue legislation that attempts to make parents and students more responsible. I wouldn’t support a law that puts pressure on parents to pressure their kids to study. In a free country the government has limited power, and if we let the government become powerful enough to interfere in the parent-child relationship, there will be no limit to what the government can order us to do. The unintended consequences of this well-intended legislation could be very troubling. A 
better solution is to create incentives for individual achievement by students. Education is hard work, and a positive motivation for excellence will encourage kids from all backgrounds to work toward positive goals. 

DEYOUNG:  Parents should be more involved in their childrens’ schools and demand more local control of budgeting priorities.  We should encourage more charter schools and parental involvement in all K-12 schools.  Statewide, California educates 1/8 of the nations’ students, yet we rank 36 in the country academically and 49th for spending per pupil. Right now 1 out of 4 students in the western San Fernando Valley attend private schools and 50% of our LAUSD high school students are not graduating.  
   
I would re-introduce SB 1530 which was introduced by Alex Padilla in 2012 to streamline the process for removing pedophiles from the classroom.  The California Teachers Union successfully pressured the members of the Assembly Education Committee to kill the bill and it never got to the Assembly floor, where it would have likely passed.

Also, I would support a ballot initiative that would eliminate teacher tenure.

EBENSTEIN: We need to provide the resources and tools for parents and students to work together with Teachers and Administrators to stay focused on the goals and empower students and parents to take an active role and responsibility for their own education.

DABABNEH:  Growing up in a single parent household with a mother who made our education her top priority, I understand the importance family involvement plays in a child’s education. As legislators, we may not be able to provide every child with the support of a parent like I had but we can insure that extracurricular activities and electives are in place and well-staffed by quality teachers. 

If you could wave a magic wand and get rid of three of the most anti-business laws in California, what would they be, and why?

CARROLL:  First, amend Prop 65 to protect small businesses from abusive lawsuits while preserving the law’s core protections for water and consumer health.  Second, fast track infrastructure bonds that have already been sold to get stalled projects moving.  Third, create a state loan and loan guarantee fund to help manufacturers meet the environmental standards of AB 32 and to build clean energy products, such as solar panels and related energy efficiency products.

SHELLEY:  1) The renewable energy standard goal of 33% by 2020, because it raises energy costs for businesses while accomplishing virtually nothing; 2) any law that incentivizes lawyers to sue businesses for minor violations of regulations, even when no one was harmed; 3) the state’s punitively high personal income tax rates, which crush small business owners and reduce hiring.

DEYOUNG:    Repeal AB32 – California Cap and Trade – this one bill is estimated to cost California 1 million jobs.  Make California a statewide enterprise zone where we provide tax incentives to small businesses and allow private sector market forces to revive our economy.    Reduce the gasoline tax (already highest in the nation) and reduce energy costs and pass real reforms of workers’ compensation laws and pass a “no fault” auto insurance bill.

EBENSTEIN:   I would like to make California a more business friendly state by reducing regulation, getting rid of red tape and the onerous permit process for starting new business. The punitive tax code needs to be reexamined.

DABABNEH:   1. Waive upfront state business license fee to encourage the creation of new small businesses. 2. Reform CEQA to make sure we are protecting the environment but also allowing legitimate projects that provide economic growth to go forward without meritless delay. 3. Reform Proposition 65 to protect consumers while also offering relief to small business owners.

What can be done to make California a more attractive state for businesses to want to relocate to or expand?

CARROLL: We need to invest in our state’s decades-old infrastructure to keep business, customers, and goods moving.  These public infrastructure projects ensure public safety, support industry and local businesses, and create good paying jobs.  One of my first bills will be to repeal the Robbins Bill so we can start the process of converting the Orange Line to Light Rail.

SHELLEY:  Four things: Lawsuit abuse reform; lower energy costs; competitive tax rates; and a crackdown on fraud in our State Disability and Workers’ Comp programs. Businesses are burdened by the threat of nuisance lawsuits, and I will vote NO on current bills identified by the Chamber of Commerce that would invent new reasons to sue businesses. Energy costs could be lower if we repealed AB 32 (requiring an increase from 20% to 33% in renewable fuel use for electricity generation by the year 2020), and if we allow the safe extraction of the plentiful natural gas and oil resources in our state. Our tax rates are driving businesses to states like 
Nevada and Texas, so lower rates would be better for jobs in our state. And finally, lax management and fraud in our Workers’ Comp and State Disability programs have jacked up the cost of insurance for businesses. We can do better.

DEYOUNG: California must reduce the excessive state income tax and allow the sales tax increase to sunset which is strangling our businesses and costing jobs every day. California must reduce the excessive environmental restrictions, lower workers comp costs and sales taxes, and lower the outrageous licensing fees on vehicles and provide some economic incentives to stay in California. According to Kiplingers’, California ranks as one of the worst states for retirees – this is bad for business and jobs.

EBENSTEIN:  We need to create legislative oversight to review all new legislation to make sure there are no unintended negative 
impacts for business.

DABABNEH:   I will work to help make the state more competitive by overhauling outdated regulations and by streamlining and modernizing government services. I also support creating new tax incentives to help attract and grow business in the state, like the manufacturing and research tax credit signed by the governor. I also believe we must greatly expand in amount and scope the state’s film tax credit to make sure that we protect our signature industry.  

Will you oppose all new tax proposals, and if not, under what conditions would you support one?

CARROLL:  As we’ve learned over the last few years, our state’s economy is constantly changing and it’s hard to say that new taxes won’t be needed at some point in the future.  I can pledge that I will carefully consider any potential new tax and its impact on the ability of businesses to grow and thrive in our community.  We need to rebuild our economy and not stifle job creation.

SHELLEY:   I will vote NO to new taxes. What is needed in California is economic growth. Sacramento politicians should stop impairing the ability of businesses to profit and grow in our state. Passing higher taxes to solve our economic problems is like swallowing more of the poison that’s killing us. 

DEYOUNG:   In my opinion, there is no room left in this state for higher taxes:  State Sales Tax – highest statewide rate in the USA, currently almost 10% in LA; Gasoline Tax - highest in the USA; Personal Income Tax - highest in the USA; Corporate Income Tax – highest in the west; Property Tax –15th highest in the natiion.

EBENSTEIN: Right now our economy is in recovery, and the budget has stabilized, therefore I don’t see any need for new taxes that might stifle our 
current recovery.

DABABNEH:   I believe that tax increases should be viewed as a last resort and that any new revenues should go to a vital interest of the state; short fall in funding public education, reducing the budget deficit and providing necessary funding for infrastructure and public safety. Gratefully, new revenues resulting from the passage of Prop 30 have afforded the state the opportunity to get out of the red and to begin to set California on a responsible and sustainable fiscal path. I will make it a priority to work to grow our economy to make sure that when the tax increases in prop 30 sunset that the state is in a fiscal position not to have to renew them.

Do you support amendment of Proposition 13 to make it easier to raise taxes or impose new taxes?

CARROLL: We need to fully evaluate our current tax and revenue codes to ensure that the needs of government and taxpayers alike are being met.  A stable tax system should provide protections for businesses and residents but also give government the funding it needs to get our public schools, transportation, open space, and more back on track.  We must ensure that government is transparent and accountable for every dollar spent.

SHELLEY:  I will protect Proposition 13 and vote to block any attempt to make it easier to raise taxes or add new taxes. There are currently half a dozen measures pending in the state Senate that would lower the vote needed to pass parcel taxes and bonds from 67% (as required by Prop 13) to just 55%. Sacramento politicians are trying to get these measures on the ballot, but they are one vote short in the state Assembly. And MY vote will be NO. I’ll make sure these changes to Prop 13 never get on the ballot and never put anyone at risk of losing their home.

DEYOUNG:   No.  We already have among the highest property taxes in the nation and amending or gutting Prop 13 for either businesses or homes will only increase the exodus of taxpayers out of California.

EBENSTEIN:  No.

DABABNEH:   I fully support Proposition 13 and will work to protect it in the State Assembly. 

Can you identify a wasteful government activity that you would either eliminate or "fix"?

CARROLL: I would like Special Elections to be run as instant-runoff votes, so we don’t have to spend public dollars for a primary and runoff election for off-year races.

SHELLEY:  I would cancel that bullet train at the speed of light. If we’re going to borrow $68 billion for anything, we should use it to fix the roads and bridges and other vital infrastructure, not to build a roller coaster to Bakersfield.

DEYOUNG:   I would eliminate the High Speed Rail – this is a “Trillion Dollar Train” to nowhere.  This year more money was spent on that project than for all 23 of the CSU’s combined.  Last year, each of the four construction firms who did not receive a contract from HSR received a $2 million payment – just for bidding.  According to the LAO’s office, the State will waste $6 billion during the construction of the HSR.  Also, there are new emerging technologies such as the Hyperloop that have the potential to provide the same service at a fraction of the cost and make the train obsolete. 

EBENSTEIN:   The burdensome permit process to open up a new business needs to be changed.

DABABNEH:   Recently news reports have shed light on the rampant fraud and abuse within the state's alcohol and drug counseling program for low income residents, called Drug Medi-Cal. Because of lax oversight hundreds of millions of dollars  in reimbursement have been paid out to fraudulent providers who were not providing any legitimate service and in some cases fraudulent providers were paying completely healthy people to sign up for fake rehab in order to collect reimbursement. Since the report, the state has closed dozens of clinics and has started a program-wide investigation and audit. I believe this is too little too late and I will make it a priority to protect taxpayer dollars by making sure all government programs are audited regularly, that providers of services are subject to strict background checks and that their operations are monitored to insure fraud and abuse are detected and prevented. I will also work to increase incentives for whistleblowers who help expose this type of fraud and abuse and help save tax payer dollars. As a Board member of the Hope of the Valley rescue mission and advisory committee Member of the Phoenix House Drug rehabilitation academy this is especially troubling to me because I see the consequences of drug addiction in our communities and I know how limited 
funding is for legitimate programs that are truly saving lives and improving our communities

The SEIU, representing 700,000  government employees sent you an 11 page questionnaire, and the California teachers Association sent you a 33-page questionnaire.  Did you respond to either of them?  Would you accept their endorsement or financial support?

CARROLL: I have responded to every questionnaire sent to me by an organization that impacts the Valley community, regardless of whether I agree with their mission or not.  I welcome everyone’s endorsement.

SHELLEY:  I did not respond to the SEIU questionnaire, which demanded to know what I would do to “raise more public revenue.” I think taxes are too high in California and it’s strangling businesses, so I would not do anything to “raise more public revenue” except pursue policies that enable businesses to grow, hire, and succeed in our state. With more businesses and more jobs, public revenue would increase without higher taxes. California’s record-breaking budget of over $96 billion should be intelligently prioritized, and I oppose the governor’s decision to spend the taxpayers’ money on a 4.5% raise for the 95,000 state bureaucrats represented by the SEIU. (The California Teachers Association did NOT send me a questionnaire. Maybe they’ve heard me say that I will never take orders from any union leader.)

DEYOUNG:   I declined to complete any questionnaire or request endorsement from all unions, organizations, corporations and other special interest groups.

EBENSTEIN:   Yes. If an organization or person wants to support my campaign that is their right.

DABABNEH:   I responded to both and would be honored to have the endorsement of either organization.

Readers and other candidates are welcome to join the conversation in the comments box below.

Zookeeper91326 September 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Four Democrats and only one Republican chosen to debate? Talk about a biased selection. This article is not worth reading.
Carl Petersen III September 15, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Zookeeper91326 September 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM "Four Democrats and only one Republican chosen to debate? Talk about a biased selection." _____________________________________________________ You find it surprising that four of the five leading candidates in this area are Democrats?
Zookeeper91326 September 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Who decided who the leading candidates were, CARL??? Don't try to BS us. We know exactly where you stand, and your comments are usually ignored by individuals who base their opinions on FACT, not emotion or political agenda.
Larry Levine September 15, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I don’t know who made the selection of the supposed top 5 candidates, but whoever it was embarrassed you. Left off the list was Andra Hoffman, the only viable Democratic woman in this decidedly Democratic District. As of the last finance reporting deadline she had more cash on hand to finish the campaign than Carroll, Ebenstein, DeYoung, or Shelley. Yet your included the four of them and not Hoffman. In addition Hoffman is the endorsed candidate of the California Federation of Teachers and the very popular city councilmember Bob Blumenfield. I suggest you fire whoever it is that’s advising you on things like this. Or did you do this on purpose?
Carl Petersen III September 16, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Zookeeper91326 September 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM "Who decided who the leading candidates were, CARL???" _____________________________________________________ If you bothered to read the article, it was the Community Connection newspaper. ______________________________________________________ Zookeeper91326 September 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM "your comments are usually ignored by individuals who base their opinions on FACT, not emotion or political agenda." ______________________________________________________ To ignore a comment would usually imply that you were not going to answer it.

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