INTERVIEWS ON ISSUES (And links to videos)

TRANSCRIPT FROM CANDIDATES’            FORUM,  FEB. 21IMG_7904

DEMOCRATIC CONTENDERS TO REPRESENT THE 27TH SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA  

(Video by Marshall Thompson’s PR-VIDEO.TV  to post shortly.)

Moderator Lance Simmens:  All right, everyone!  Thank you for coming . Good afternoon. Thank youIMG_7938, candidates, for coming and expressing your views, and responding to questions before residents here who will be making the decision to send someone to the State Senate later this year. As your moderator, I want to remind to be courteous and respectful of your colleagues, and refrain from interrupting. Unlike other debates, which you may have seen in the recent weeks, we are going to conduct this forum in a respectable and civil way, in the greatest democratic  tradition.

I would like to ask everyone to please turn off your electronic devices, so if you have not done so, either put it on buzz or turn them off completely. Also, as your moderator, I’ve reserved the right to limit your responses to the appropriate time limits and questions, that you agreed to under the terms of the forum. Each candidate will have two minutes for an opening statement and two minutes for a closing statement. Each candidate will have one minute to respond to questions, we have a timekeeper, I will run a tight ship, but I will give you a five second grace period to wrap up. You respect my grace period and I’ll respect your time limits.

We are also going to take questions from the audience at the end, so please write down both your names and your question on these cards which are being passed around, and get them to Ted. We will sort through them and try to get through as many questions as we can.

What we’re going to do, and in the best realm of cooperation possible, in order to record this, in the best, soundest, clearest way, we have to pass a microphone from individual to individual that’s attached to a cord. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. We thought we had this set up where it would be very easy to just transfer a wireless mic, but we want to ensure the quality of the recording. Bear with us on that, please.

We will go in sequential order. Everyone will have a chance to answer first and everyone will have a chance to answer last, and everyone will have a chance to answer in between.

Let us begin.

We will start here on my right with Richard Mathews:

IMG_7937Candidate Richard Mathews:  Hello. I’m Richard Mathews and I am the true progressive candidate in this race.  My background is engineering and science. I started in astrophysics at Caltech and then went on to a career designing computer components and software. I want to use that engineering and science experience, so that we base policy in Sacramento on sound science. Science does so much to tell us, to predict what it is that will be the results of our policies, so that we can pick the right policies, that will give us the results that we need. I have been working through my political career, in so many different ways, on economic issues, and environmental issues, on education; and science applies to all of these and really makes a difference. I have been working lately very hard on the clean-up, on shutting down the gas leak in Porter Ranch, massive problem that we have had there, turning the San Fernando Valley into a cloud of methane, massive problem with global warming, as well as affecting the health of the residents.

I’ve been out there, and I’ve been the only candidate who’s been out there organizing the protests, and doing the petition gathering and writing petitions, getting that out there, helping residents find the information that they need, based on science, that will help them get the health services that they need. I’ve been working a long time on the clean-up of Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where we had a nuclear power meltdown. We need to get nuclear power shut down. I wrote the state party’s position in the platform. I’m completely phasing out nuclear power, we need to be doing that. Serving on the legislation committee for the state party. I led the efforts to make our top legislative priorities be to restore Glass–Steagall banking protections, and to overturn Citizens United; and so, in many ways, I’ve been fighting for you, I’m going to be continuing to fight for you in Sacramento. Richard Mathews, thank you very much.

 

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you very much — Mr. Pollock?

Candidate David Pollock:  Good morning everyone, I’m David Pollock. I’m the mayor pro term for the City of Moorpark, which has IMG_7932a lot in common with Malibu. For one thing, your city manager and city clerk live in Moorpark. In fact, your city clerk, Lisa Pope, just lives a few doors down from me. Also, strangely enough, apparently we have the same kind of sand in Moorpark. Broad Beach has chosen the sand mines north of Moorpark to replenish the beach, over on Broad Beach; but more importantly, I think Malibu and Moorpark share the same values in terms of a rural lifestyle and maintaining open spaces. We’re in the process, in Moorpark and the rest of Ventura County, of renewing SOAR, which is our open space initiatives that have protected open space in Ventura County for, gosh, some fifteen years now. The reason I’m running is, I have a business background. I got involved with public policy issues when my kid started going to school. Found that I had a knack for it. I was able to institute some reforms in our schools that allowed them to soar academically.

My fifteen years in the school board: We won the National Academic Decathlon, five, four times. I was also selected by my colleagues, in school boards across the state, as president of the California School Boards Association, where it was my honor to represent 1,000 school boards all across the state. I also care deeply about the environment. I’m on the Air Pollution Control Board for Ventura County, and I’m also on the Energy and Environment Committee for the Southern California Association of Governments, where we look at energy and environment issues across all of Southern California. I’m running on three issues, education being one. It’s a theme throughout my entire adult life and, but there’s a lot more left to do. I care deeply about the environment, and I also care a lot about healthcare, especially mental healthcare. In addition to everything else, I also serve on the governing board of Simi Valley Hospital, and I’ve seen first-hand the issues and the problems we have with inadequate support for mental health issues. I’m David Pollock at pollockforsenate.com.

Janice Reznik: Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Janice Kamenir-Reznik, and for the last twelve years I’ve actually been IMG_7926working on the issue of genocide, dealing with the rape of the women of Congo and the genocide in Darfur. Started an organization12 years ago to combat that, and we’ve served actually half a million rape victims and genocide survivors in those areas that I work. Before that, I spent 22 years practicing law, and I represented small businesses, bringing their businesses and their properties into compliance with the new environmental regulations, which were being propounded in the ’80s and ’90s.

In my spare time, before that or during that period, I raised three children to adulthood. They’re all in their early thirties, a twenty-nine-year-old, the youngest. I also was involved with Sheila Kuehl, starting the California Women’s Law Center to protect the rights of women and girls. I worked with Zev Yaroslavsky to establish the self-help legal access centers, which have provided 1 million people access to the courts, throughout all of the courts throughout LA County, and I know we have lots of problems with court closure, is an issue that I’m very interested in. I also was president of the statewide Women’s Bar, where we advocated for more women to be appointed to the bench and also protected a woman’s right to choose. I’m interested in a whole variety of issues. Of course, I’m very interested and supportive of all of the environmental regulations, including all of those initiatives that Fran Pavley has so boldly enacted and advocated for, during her years. I would work to support those initiatives.

I’m also very interested in issues involving families, domestic violence, criminal justice, and all of the issues that affect people on a day-in, day-out basis, whether it’s access to quality education, access to legal, to the courts, access to transportation, access to good jobs. All of these things are part of what our responsibilities would be; and of course, above all, access to clean air and clean drinking water, protecting our Santa Monica Mountains and our coastal land. My leadership, that I have demonstrated over the last 40 years in the working world, has really prepared me to be able to be a great advocate. That’s what I am. I’m an advocate, and I am an activist, and I want to bring those skills and those qualities of personality, and force of my nature, to the people of the 27th Senate District. Thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you.

Henry Stern: Good afternoon, everyone. My name’s Henry Stern, I grew up here. It’s very good to be back home. I’m running for the 27th District, and a lot of people today are going to tell you about what they’re going to do. I would submit to you all, to make your decision in this election based on what we’ve done. I’m proud that, throughout my life, the work I’ve done has been standing up to bullies in all forms. I’m an environmental lawyer by training. I’ve worked in the juvenile justice system. I’ve stood up against environmental polluters throughout my caree, working for Senator Pavley, for the last four years. I started out at law school at UC Berkeley, working for Henry Waxman in Congress, trying to pass the most far-reaching climate legislation in the country, pushing through billions of dollars of stimulus when our economy was on the brink; but that all belies the greater history and the soul of why I’m running for this office.

That all starts in this room, and that all starts in this community. I can’t help but call out a few women in this room who really taught me what it means to serve. First and foremost, my mom. Because, she’s sitting in the back row. What my mom and my family taught me, and what this community taught me, is that Malibu is about more than fancy homes, it’s about more than status, it’s about a value set. It’s about how we treat our land, and how we treat each other. In Malibu, no one’s above anyone else, right? The celebrities go to the restaurant in their pajamas, and the carpenters and the gardeners are on equal footing with the biggest businessmen, in this community. That same sense of equality and that same sense of value, I’m trying to bring across this entire district, and represent a very deep legacy. It started with Fran Pavley, but I’m going to carry that on for you, for the next decade to come. Thank you all for coming out today, and look forward to having a conversation.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you, Henry.

Okay, here’s the first question for the candidates:

The methane leak in Porter Ranch has been described as the equivalent of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon leak on land. As a state senator representing this community or any others that may be similarly affected, what actions would you take on day one of your term, to ensure that residents are not exposed to any future toxic contaminations, due to fossil fuel extraction? We’ll start with Mr. Pollock. You’ve got one minute.

David Pollock:  Okay. Well, and I’ve been talking about methane for long before the Porter Ranch disaster. I know, being on the Air Pollution Control Board, how horrible the greenhouse gas, methane, is, and it’s, we need to regulate it more. Not only do I want to take care of the problems like the gas storage leaks that they’ve been having up in Aliso Canyon, I want to start clamping down on the methane emissions that are happening at dairy farms, at water treatment plants, at landfills and cattle ranches as well. It’s a priority. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, and it’s something that we haven’t paid enough attention to … What I would want to do in the first day in office is to start an initiative to start clamping down on methane emissions in general.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Ms. Reznik.

Janice Reznik: Yes. We the people gave a monopoly to this utility, and the first thing I would do, is hold the feet to the fire of the gas company, to make the people in that community whole. In addition, that same first day, it’s really pretty outrageous that they were allowed to self-regulate, and failed in their trust to the public. I would provide some kind of legislation that would ensure that they will never again be allowed to self-regulate. I don’t know what exactly, what that would look like, but it cannot continue the way it is.  Secondly, I would ensure, I think that Fran Pavley’s bill that she introduced just recently, about testing every single well. There’s 115 wells, and there was a controversy about whether the whole place should be shut down: Wells cannot be used, until they’ve been tested. If it’s not done before then, then I would make sure that every well is tested, to be able to ensure that there is no additional escaping, and retrofitting and gauging for early detection must be immediately implemented there and elsewhere.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  Thank you very much. Mr. Stern?

Henry Stern: Thank you. I’m writing that legislation she spoke of. It’s actually in the  LA Times today, that SoCalGas has come out and been secretly lobbying against the bill. The basic premise of the first bill, it’s a two-thirds vote, we’re trying to convince Republicans that you must inspect before you inject, right? Environmental policy is very ethereal for many people. Those of us who are not surfers and who don’t put our bodies in the ocean every day and expose ourselves to all of this, it doesn’t make sense, often. People in the valley don’t often connect to the pollution that feels so real to many of us out here in Malibu; but this incident has grounded this, right? You have 3,000 families that have been relocated.

I’m pushing this forward right now, you’re not going to have to wait till the next election cycle for this to happen. We’re doing that work right now, but I would raise one other issue. Beyond shutting down these leaky wells, beyond reforming the Public Utilities Commission, we need to look into the history of why Porter Ranch was developed where it was, and why all those first-generation home buyers weren’t told that they were putting … Their homes that they were buying, many of them their very first home, were sited right next to a gas field. We’re going to look deeper into that issue, and I’m going to be doing that further as your senator, but, throughout the rest of this year.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you.

Richard Mathews: Thank you. Well, Mr. Stern’s bills are important to pass, but they are extremely minimal first steps. They don’t do what it is that the residents are calling for, which is to permanently shut this down, and I have a plan to permanently shut this down. This facility can hold 87 billion cubic feet, the Public Utilities Commission says that we need only 15 billion to be able to ensure system reliability. Already we can reduce from 87 to 15. Then with a little bit of reduction in our use of natural gas, we can bring that down to zero; 15%, or 25%, of our natural gas gets used for generating electricity. If we can have a big push for solar rooftops, we will reduce our electricity usage, we’ll be able to bring that down; 40% more goes towards heating our homes and businesses. If we convert our gas appliances to electric appliances, we’ll bring our gas usage down more. We will shut this down, completely and permanently. Thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  All right, thank you. Next question, we’ll start with Ms. Reznik. In your estimation, is the Department of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, better known as DOGGR, up to the job of protecting California residents from the perils of fracking, or other fossil-fuel-related disasters that threaten air, water, public safety and/or potential earthquakes? As a state senator, do you support regulation or banning of fracking and other well stimulation techniques?

Janice Reznik:  I’ll answer the second part first. I do support regulation disallowing fracking. Fracking is unacceptable and environmentally dangerous. As far as understanding the ins and outs of DOGGR and exactly what the limits of its authority is, I cannot honestly tell you, standing here today, that I know all of the ins and outs of that regulation; but I do know that it is critical, given our earthquake vulnerabilities, and given all of the other environmental issues that we have, and the importance of protecting our environment, we must empower our regulatory agencies to be able to completely shut off and not allow any kind of destruction of our coastline, and ensuring that our pipes and all of our systems, injecting and otherwise, that we use, are either shut down or made completely safe to the satisfaction of the population.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Okay.

Henry Stern: I wrote the legislation, SB-4, that currently regulates the practice of fracking in this state. A lot of our gaps right now, in state law, are a result of the Cheney amendments during 2002, when an energy bill was written to exempt fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. We’re still trying to plug those holes. Our agency, DOGGR, has been a captive agency of the oil industry for decades. Not until Senator Pavley and I started digging deeper into this issue, did we realize, that those minding the store were really in bed with the industry. This is a serious problem, and fracking is just the tip of the iceberg, right?IMG_7911 (1)

Now we’re seeing in storage, there’s issues. Underground injection control, we found benzene in the water supply, going into agriculture in the Central Valley. This is part of a much greater  systemic problem that, for all the environmental progress we make in the state of California, what’s happening underground is very secret to most of us. I support a full overhaul of DOGGR, I tried to push through a moratorium and sat across the table from Governor Brown, trying to push this legislation through: He shut that down, but I’ll keep persisting as your senator.

Richard Mathews: I have been a big force for a long time, fighting for a moratorium on fracking and succeeding in getting that to be the state party’s position. Unfortunately, SB-4, by giving permits for fracking, has had the effect of overturning our efforts to have local moratoriums, and so we need to get that changed. On DOGGR, DOGGR has a dual mandate to regulate petroleum, but also to promote it; and we shouldn’t have the state promoting oil and gas. The oil and gas companies are quite capable of promoting themselves. What we should be doing is, changing that law, where the law says, believe it or not, that DOGGR should do everything it can, to maximize the amount of oil and gas extraction. Change one word: Change “maximize” to “minimize.” We should be conserving, not trying to use every drop we can.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Pollock.

David Pollock:  I also believe that there’s too cozy a relationship between DOGGR and the oil and gas industry. I think that that’s widely known. I worry a lot about the aquifers we have outside of Moorpark, where a lot of our water comes from, and we don’t know where that poison is going that they’re injecting into these wells. There’s a big disconnect there with water quality and what’s going on with fracking, and that’s something that really needs to be clamped down on. In the long run, however, I think in order to stop fracking altogether, we have to stop using petroleum products, as consumers. As long as we keep demanding, and we demand three times as much as we extract, in California, there’s going to be this type of practices and it’s going to be a constant battle to regulate them. My big push, as your senator, will be transitioning to a hydrogen economy and completely getting rid of the use of hydrocarbon fuels that are being burned and allowed to emit in the atmosphere.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  Next question, which is directed to Mr. Stern. Sticking with the environment, what is your opinion with regard to Governor Brown’s plan to construct the Delta tunnels? Would you support this as a state senator or oppose the plan, and why?

Henry Stern: Well, I think the plan is, again, way too big of a budget, just like the high speed rail. It’s a multi-billion-dollar effort that’s not actually going to fix this drought. In my opinion, the way to deal with our water supply challenges are all local. We can’t continue relying on imported water, whether it’s from the Delta or from the Colorado, right?

We know, in this year of climate change, that we’re going to be facing limited supplies from beyond; but right now, under our feet, in the San Fernando Valley, we have a groundwater aquifer that’s been polluted by  many small businesses out in the valley and all kinds of other industries, but we have an opportunity to clean up that groundwater. Pump it back up, run it through reverse osmosis, and get it back down there through the water bond that I helped write. Then we will have a sustainable local supply, for a decade to come. To me, it all starts local. We can’t be looking up to the Delta, because frankly, we’re at the end of the pipe, and the farmers on the way down here, they’re going to get to that first. Right? It’s an agricultural fix, but it’s not a fix for Southern California.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews: The tunnels plans started off having the bad parts, the tunnels, and some good parts, some environmental concessions that were made. Then the governor decided to split it into two, and asked us to take all the bad parts now, and put off the good parts until later. No way. We cannot do that. We look like we are heading into perpetual drought. This year we’re seeing El Niño coming up against climate change, and unfortunately, it looks like climate change is winning. We need to be looking at long-term solutions for what we do if we never have sufficient amounts of water coming down, and we need to be looking at the kinds of things that Mr. Stern was talking about. We need to be looking at conservation and how we deal with run-off.

Desalination has been mentioned, but it has serious environmental problems, and so we need to be very careful about that. We don’t really need to go in that direction. We can succeed in doing this with conservation, especially in the agricultural area, where they need to use much better methods and be planting much more logical crops, that use less water.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you, and, Mr. Pollock:

David Pollock: Thank you. I recently went on an inspection tour of the California Water Project, which includes the Sacramento Delta. I’ve told people I worry about an earthquake in Northern California as much as I do in Southern California. The reason is, a lot of our communities are dependent solely on that Sacramento Delta water for their drinking water: In Moorpark it’s about 70%, Thousand Oaks is 100% dependent on imported water. Imported water is a whole other issue, I’ll talk about that later if I can; but the tunnels need to go in, and the reason is, where the pumps have been put in the south end of the Delta, they never should have been put there to start with.

They are having all sorts of ecological effects like reversing the flow of the rivers that naturally would flow out under the Golden Gate Bridge. When they start those pumps up, it starts sucking things in the other direction, reversing the flow of the river, confusing salmon, and the Sacramento smelt and a lot of other things. The tunnels are an ecological solution. It’s to put the inlet up further upstream, where it’s not going to cause these kind of ecological problems. I agree we also need to return the Delta to its original marshy state, that’s taken a hundred years for it to get to where it is now; it’s going to take time to get it back.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Ms. Reznik.

Janice Reznik: Given the longevity of this water crisis that we’re looking forward to over the next many, many years, I don’t think there’s a single solution we can really say is absolutely out of the question. We need to look at conservation first and foremost, but we cannot throw out other options, because cleaning up the ground water in the San Fernando Valley, that project’s been going on for forty years, and while it can be expedited, and I’m sure people can do a better job doing it, between Boeing,  and Lockheed, they’ve been working on it for a long time and we’re not getting real far, and all the water from the San Fernando Valley, it’s not enough to serve Los Angeles.

It just isn’t. Right now it’s not serving anybody in the valley at all; so that, I agree with expediting the valley clean-ups, I agree with looking into options to make this tunnel proposal a better proposal, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but we just can’t throw out any option, because we are in a very, very serious water crisis. I do think conservation is what we have the most control over, and we need to change the culture on conserving water.

Moderator Lance Simmens: All right, thank you. Mr. Mathews, what is your position with respect to renewal of permits for Diablo Canyon?

Richard Mathews: Well, like I said, I wrote the state party position that says that we need to phase out all nuclear power. I have been very active in the fight to shut down the Mark I reactors round the country. Those are the same ones that have the same design as what failed in Japan, and they are a serious risk here. I fought for what we eventually got, to shut down San Onofre, and I’m fighting to get Diablo shut down. We need to keep that fight up, we need to keep that pressure. With San Onofre, we ended up getting a break, the Edison made a big mistake. They tried to sneak through a design change that they didn’t get approved. We leveraged the fact that we had been fighting, so that we could actually turn that mistake into a shutdown. We need to keep that same kind of pressure on Diablo, because they’re going to make a mistake, and we’re going to get it shut down.

Moderator Lance Simmens:

All right, thank you, Mr. Pollock?

David Pollock: I always was hoping that we’d find a safe way to use nuclear power and it just, it’s never happened. I thought … I’m surprised we haven’t discovered a way to make nuclear fusion safe; but the concern I have about shutting down Diablo comes from what I saw with San Onofre. It needs to be shut down because it’s not safe, I get that, but it was providing 12% of our electricity, and now Southern California Edison, the other utilities, are running around building gas, fire, electrical generator, which hurts the environment; so it’s, if we’re going to do that, we need to invest more in solar power, so that we can replace that, because we keep still demanding energy, and that’s one of the things that I’m doing with my business practice is, I’m working with a company called PFMG Solar, and we’re installing solar panel systems all over Southern California, mostly at schools, but also I just got a contract to do the roof of Westlake City Hall and, I understand an RFP is coming out for Malibu as well.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Your position on the renewal of the permits is?

David Pollock:  I’m sorry, decision on?

Moderator Lance Simmens: On renewal of the permits . . .

David Pollock: No, I agree that they should not be renewed, and we need to find alternatives.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you.

Janice Reznik: I agree with that as well. We must shut down that facility, because until we do, I do not think we’ll ever really come to the task of creating alternatives. We need to shut that down: No good is coming out of it, no good has come of it, and it’s just a major source of problem. We will find alternatives when we’re really, when our feet are to the fire and we have to, people will make conversion to solar, and all the other strategies that our scientists are coming up with to be able to find alternative energy sources.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thanks.

Henry Stern: Before I start, I just want to go back to the last question briefly. It was not talking about taking tunnels or any of these other water solutions off the table, but I’m talking about expediting the most near-term opportunities for ourselves out here, and waiting on the tunnels and all the litigation to make that happen, we’re going to be holding our breath forever. Frankly, again, thinking back to the work that we’ve done, not saying what we’re going to do and the clients that we’ve represented, and the work we’ve done, we need to get very serious up here. Because when you have a history defending polluters, who are polluting our ground water aquifer, versus fighting for those protections, we’re now subsidizing that clean-up as taxpayers.

Make no mistake, everyone up here can talk about how progressive they are, but you have to look into our past and look who we are, right? It’s very easy to stand up here and spout platitudes. Now as to Diablo, we need to push to a 100% clean energy future, if we’re going to be meeting our climate change goals; and Diablo is one other element, of a fuel system, that is very, very risky, to our health and safety, right? In order to accomplish those goals, we need to plan for more conservation, more clean energy, and move past Diablo and the fossil fuel industry.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Your position, just to be clear, on renewal of permits is?

Henry Stern: Renewing the permits should not be done if they’re … If we can’t prove the health and safety of that facility. I mean, there’s, period.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Okay, thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Next question for Mr. Pollock. As you all know, PCBs are known carcinogens and dangerous to human health. This is a particularly dangerous situation in Malibu schools, as it would be in any schools throughout the state. Yet there are indications that PCBs in violation of federally specified limits exist in schools here in Malibu, putting both children and teachers in harm’s way. As state senator representing Malibu, how would you proceed to rectify this problem? What specific steps would you take to ensure that our children and teachers are protected from breathing unhealthy air in our schools?

David Pollock:  Okay, I’m glad I get this one first. I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with school construction issues, I’ve built schools and added onto schools in Moorpark, and I’ve also dealt with the bond money that makes that happen. We’re about to put a new school bond, a statewide school bond on the ballot, and I think that there should be a carve-out in that bond to provide for exactly those kind of situations. We dealt with it, with having asbestos in schools, and we had to remediate that, and when there’s PCBs that are found, we can’t allow children to stay there. We have to have first call on the state school bond to be able to either remediate or build an entire new school, if it can’t be remediated.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Ms. Reznik?

Janice Reznik: If I’m not mistaken, in the history of Malibu, there was a bond measure about the PCBs in particular, and there was money that was supposed to be spent and has been spent, to be able to have the PCBs removed from the schools. I understand, when I read the history of that matter, there seems to have been a failure to have complete disclosure to the people, and to the students and the teachers, about the conditions in the classrooms, and the testing doesn’t seem to have been done with full disclosure as well; so I think it’s very, very important that, when there are PCBs, which are very dangerous, they were outlawed completely more than thirty years ago, we find PCBs around children or around teachers, anybody …

We need to be able to close down those facilities, get them completely remediated, so children and other humans are not exposed to the dangers of PCBs. I would make sure that we have alternatives to be able to … As difficult as it is, you can’t fail to disclose conditions, because you don’t know where you’re going to put the school, where it’s going to operate in your … As you’re doing your remediation. The first and foremost is the safety of the people who are in the facility.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Stern:

Henry Stern: I went to Malibu High. I’ve been in those classrooms, and I frankly think that this issue has just taken way too long to resolve. It’s been mired in politics and in the courts. We need to get out of the courtrooms and get past the politics, and just clean up those classrooms. It’s not going to take that much money, it’s not that complicated. We’ve already started to analyze these issues. Now, we’re stuck in these legal battles, there’s a lot of reticence from the district and from the EPA to acknowledge the problem; but we need to push past those politics, and clean up.

Remove the windows, do the retrofits to all the caulking in there. It’s not that complicated. We just need to get on with it. We need to get on with it, and I’m not talking about shutting down the school either, or relocating all the kids, because, I, frankly, that kind of dislocation is going to be very, very complicated for everyone who’s in there studying for their AP test right now, like I was; but we need to make a quick overhaul. We should have done it last year, so I don’t even want to be talking about it right now, frankly.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews: We need to just get it cleaned up, and thank you to Jennifer, to Bruce, to others who have worked on this issue here, who have talked to me about this, I really appreciate that. I want to make a comparison with another clean-up that I’ve been working on, which is Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where we had a nuclear power meltdown. We had dumping of toxic waste, and we set a great precedent there, to clean it up to background levels, meaning, eliminate all detectable pollutants.

That’s what we need to do in the Malibu schools. That’s what we need to be doing with Whittaker-Bermite in Santa Clarita, that’s what we need to be doing with the pesticides in Moorpark. We have these pollution problems all over this district, and we need to get them all cleaned up as thoroughly as we possibly can, as quickly as we can; and at the state level, the Department of Toxic Substances, we need to have them pushing very hard to turn that precedent into something we do everywhere

Moderator Lance Simmens:  All right. Thank you. Ms. Reznik. As you are all aware, the level of distrust of elected leaders in governmental intuitions is a toxic cocktail that threatens the fabric of our system of representative democracy. What steps are you willing to take, either in your campaigns, or once elected, to remove the corrupting influence of money in politics and government, and do you support public financing campaigns?

Janice Reznik:  Yes, I do, actually. I’ve never run a campaign before, this is my very first experience and venture into politics. Frankly, it’s a grueling and sort of eye-opening experience to see how much money is needed to be able to enter a race and to be able to prevail in a race, and it should not all be about money. There is no level playing field. People who want to come into a race later in the day have a huge disadvantage, people … It’s just a very undemocratic process. I’m in favor of campaign finance reform.

You asked, the beginning part of your question was asking, I thought, a little different question about sort of the sinister attitude people have about elected officials. I wasn’t sure if that was part of the question, but I think the antidote to that is these kinds of forums, which allow you to get to know your candidates, to make as many contacts as you can between the people who are being served and the people who are running for office, so you can judge their character. What we all have to tell you is about our character, our experience, what we have done, and who we are as human beings. I think that is the most important thing you have to judge us from, to ensure a greater relationship of trust between us.

Henry Stern: Most politicians spend about half their time just raising money and not working for you all. That’s a serious problem and it’s something I’ve had to go through as a candidate, something we’re all going through. I don’t have the funds to throw a bunch of money into my campaign, so I have to go get it from the community, right? I do think there is something to having an equity stake in people’s campaigns. I’m so pleased that people around this district have stepped up to support; but the reform, make no mistake, it’s going to hinge largely on this next Supreme Court nominee, and we need to push that through in this Congress, and we need to put all the pressure we can on our federal representatives, to get that done. This next President of the United States is going to make all the difference in the world, in terms of what we do about Citizens United, because corporations are not people, and we all know that. We all know that.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Mathews?

Richard Mathews: Well, my campaign is mostly funded by myself, together with the small contributions from so many of you, and I really appreciate that. We do need to change the way we finance campaigns. I was a leader in the state party’s legislation committee, in making it our party’s top legislative priority to overturn Citizens United. I went through and helped pick out which of the constitutional amendments that have been proposed that the party put on its list to support. We need to have public financing of campaigns. It’s really the duty of any government to ensure that every candidate is able to get their message to the voters, so that the voters can make an intelligent choice. That’s just part of the business of being a government; and so, we need to have government helping out with listing on the ballot, what your web page is, giving phone numbers. In so many ways, helping get that information out, but also directly financing campaigns. We need to get that done, thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Pollock?

David Pollock: I’ve been elected seven times, and I’ve had to deal with this for a long time. Citizens United has made a mockery out of campaign finance reform. We’re actually making progress, but it’s always bothered me that we judge candidates based on their ability to hustle money. That shouldn’t be a big criteria in who we pick to be our elected officials; but what you’re going to see, unfortunately, what you’re going to see in this election, because it’s a hot seat in the state of California, is you’re going to see the full force and effect of Citizens United. Because it doesn’t matter how much we raise individually, we’re going to have independent expenditures. The Super PACs are going to come in down on one side or the other, and you’re probably going to see some ugliness, if not in the primary, and hopefully not in the primary, but certainly in the general race. Keep in mind, when you start seeing mud being slung, it’s not necessarily us, the candidates. It’s most likely an independent expenditure that has an agenda of its own and is using us as a proxy war for what they’re trying to do.

Moderator Lance Simmens: All right, next question for Mr. Stern. Development, and more particularly, over-development, is a very serious issue in this community, as reflected in the successful propositions, measures R and W, that placed the power to limit development to a referendum percentage of the residents. Measure W passed in the most recent election by a large margin, 57% to 42%. Yet there is movement afoot towards, to overturn the will of the people, as expressed in the ballot box. If given the opportunity to represent this community in the State Senate, what is your position with respect to the referendum passed by the citizens, and protracted legal battles that seek to overturn the will of the people?

Henry Stern:  Well, I wasn’t here to vote on W or R preceding it, I was living in my new place out in Canoga Park; but, to me, the effective accord overturning the will of the people is a serious problem. I’m a strong proponent of conservation. The over-development and all the pressures on this community, but also beyond, they’re going to keep hard charging, they’re going to keep coming for us, and I think listening to the voice was an overwhelming vote, right, in Measure W, but the fact that it’s been overturned by the courts is a huge problem. What you can do at a state level, though, just to hone in on this, right?

CEQA is the law that requires all the developers to disclose their risks to the people before they build. That’s been a backbone of our state’s environmental integrity for decades. I would stand up for that law, but, as someone standing here, again, talking about records, I’m standing next to somebody who spent their life helping develop, right, helping put more homes in, where there shouldn’t be. That’s a serious problem. I’d hope you all take a look at that, and again, not what we’re going to do, but who we are and what we’ve done, that’s what you need to judge this on.

Moderator Lance Simmens: All right. Thank you. Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews: We all need to fight to defend R and W, and if the city won’t fight for us, then we have past precedent that can show that we can intervene and fight that lawsuit ourselves to make sure that we get that protection restored. If that doesn’t work, what the court had said was that state law overruled Measure R, even though that same state law says that zoning decisions should come locally; and what we need to do at the state level is in clarification to that law, simple little change to say, “No, we didn’t mean what the court thought that we meant. We really mean local areas should be able to control this kind of over-development.”

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Pollock.

David Pollock: I’m a big supporter of direct democracy. We have a great example of it in Ventura County with our SOAR initiatives that have effectively stopped cities from sprawling, like we saw in the San Fernando Valley. If Measure W has a legal problem in it … Because courts are really reluctant to go against the will of the people; but if there’s a constitutional problem with W, then we’ll just need to redo it and take care of the problem and make sure that the will of the voters is respected, so either way it’s going to end okay.

Janice Reznik: Yes, there’s CEQA, which of course I support, but I would say that if the local people here, 60% of them, if their voice was heard, I would say it’s really something that you have to talk to your local government about as well. Why wouldn’t you then have that same 60% voice to tell your local government to pass a law that has the same effect of those initiatives which the people have passed? I think that’s a challenge to your local advocacy, and to your local democracy, in your community. All of the other things, yeah, I agree with that, but I would really support and encourage a lot of local activism to be able to have your local government, which is accountable to you, revise the laws in your community.

Moderator Lance Simmens: All right. Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews:  We all need to fight to defend R and W, and if the city won’t fight for us, then we have past precedent that can show that we can intervene and fight that lawsuit ourselves to make sure that we get that protection restored. If that doesn’t work, what the court had said was that state law overruled Measure R, even though that same state law says that zoning decisions should come locally; and what we need to do at the state level is in clarification to that law, simple little change to say, “No, we didn’t mean what the court thought that we meant. We really mean local areas should be able to control this kind of over-development.”

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Pollock.

David Pollock: I’m a big supporter of direct democracy. We have a great example of it in Ventura County with our SOAR initiatives that have effectively stopped cities from sprawling, like we saw in the San Fernando Valley. If Measure W has a legal problem in it … Because courts are really reluctant to go against the will of the people; but if there’s a constitutional problem with W, then we’ll just need to redo it and take care of the problem and make sure that the will of the voters is respected, so either way it’s going to end okay.

Janice Reznik: Yes, there’s CEQA, which of course I support, but I would say that if the local people here, 60% of them, if their voice was heard, I would say it’s really something that you have to talk to your local government about as well. Why wouldn’t you then have that same 60% voice to tell your local government to pass a law that has the same effect of those initiatives which the people have passed? I think that’s a challenge to your local advocacy, and to your local democracy, in your community. All of the other things, yeah, I agree with that, but I would really support and encourage a lot of local activism to be able to have your local government, which is accountable to you, revise the laws in your community.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  All right. Mr. Mathews. What are your respective positions with respect to the recent firing of Charles Lester, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, and do you think the California Coastal Commission does an adequate job of protecting our cherished coastline? If not, how would you attempt to influence the direction of the commission, should you be elected to the State Senate?

 

Richard Mathews:  The Coastal Commission has not done enough to protect our coasts. It’s been an improvement over what we had before the commission, but in many ways, they have come up short and they certainly did here. The arguments against Lester seem to be that he was difficult to work with; but the only thing that anybody ever said that made him difficult to work with was that he didn’t agree with the commissioners, and he was fighting for us, and we need to fight for him. My girlfriend is RL Miller, the Chair of the State Party’s Environmental Caucus, and I hope you will be coming up to San Jose for the convention; and the environmental caucus will be focusing on this decision, and we will be fighting and trying to get this reversed, trying to get back where the commission will be fighting for us, and we need to be changing who the commissioners are, and getting people on there who will, like Lester, really fight for us.

David Pollock:  I’m a supporter of having the Coastal Commission and Lands Commission to protect our environments, a big deal in Ventura County, and we have a unique resource in the thousand miles of coastline that we have in California, so I support having a Coastal Commission there that has teeth, that can enforce the laws. As for the firing of Lester, I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s always something else. Something that, I don’t understand what happened there, it looks really bad and there’s probably things going on that have not been revealed publicly, but I certainly … These type of things only serve to bring down the Coastal Commission and its real authority with the public; and appearances are reality, and we need to fix it so that we don’t end up with this kind of a black mark on the Coastal Commission in the future.

Janice Reznik: We are a government of laws, and what happened here with the Coastal Commission, the lack of transparency, the backroom dealing, really flies in the face of democracy. I think it’s unacceptable that half of the dealings and anything of substance happened without public disclosure, without public ears hearing it, and it certainly is not an acceptable way to manage our government and our public bodies. I would say that, demanding full transparency, there should not be conferences and meetings that go on behind the scenes, on one of our governmental bodies. We have a right to know. I support fully, the Coastal Commission, existence of the Coastal Commission and feel that it needs to protect our entire coastline and all the coastal areas that are governed by it.

Henry Stern: This has been a very hot issue. Those of us who live in Malibu know the Coastal Commission all too well, those of you who tried to put an annex on your home or have, dealing with access issues. I would say that, if I had been sitting on the Coastal Commission, I would not have pushed to have Lester fired, but, frankly, I think the commission can get through this, and there’s been way too much fanfare, and we’re going to be able … If we get a strong environmental champion in there again, we can put all this behind us; and that’s a big if, but I think the real focus of the advocacy pressure needs to be about getting someone in there who has the values of upholding the values behind that Coastal Act, right?

Senator Pavley stood up for that for many years. We wrote the letter in defending Lester, but now we need to move forward. As much as all the conservation principles matter, I think out here, the access really does matter too, and the more we open up that access, without any plans to account for the new traffic, and the new incursions on the integrity of the community, I think we need to be very careful about that. I think finding someone with a real steady hand, who’s going to be accountable to the people, and who’s going to respect the environmental integrity of the coastline is going to be critical. Let’s move forward, let’s get going.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  We’ll go to Mr. Mathews here.

Moderator Lance Simmens:This is the last question [prepared] for the panel, and then we’ll go to questions from the audience. What is the most difficult decision you have ever made? How did you decide what to do, and how is this reflected in the difficult decisions you will be forced to make as a state senator?

Richard Mathews: That is a tough question. We often have to face difficult situations. With Santa Susana, we want to be able to get it thoroughly cleaned up. We also need to make sure that we do it in a safe way that doesn’t threaten residents, and so you try to balance these issues. Unfortunately, we have opponents who have said, “No, we shouldn’t do any clean-up at all,” and that’s not the right answer, to be able to deal with that difficult conflict. The right answer is to find better routes that we’re able to get the material out; and so I’ve tried to apply the science, and I go to the scientists, and I talk to them, and I read the research papers, and find the right solutions to be able to deal with those difficult situations.

David Pollock: When I was president of the California School Boards Association, one of the privileges was sitting on the board of the Education Coalition, which is the 800-pound gorilla in Sacramento, and they’re mostly there to protect Proposition 98. When Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor, his first act was to repeal the vehicle license fee, which was about to get reinstated. He blew a three-billion-dollar hole in his budget on day 1. Then, he came to us and asked if we would give him two billion dollars out of Proposition 98, which is the guaranteed funding for public schools. That was a gruesome decision.

I mean, it’s money we did not have to give him, but he was the new governor, he was popular, and people were wanting to try at least to appear to support him. I regret having made that decision, because I had a veto on that body and could have stopped it, and in retrospect, he made a deal with us that he did not honor. He was going to hold Prop 98 harmless from the future, and calculated as if it were, the two billion were never taken out. Anyway, that was my biggest problem and mistake.

Janice Reznik: This is a very difficult question, because most of the really tough decisions are very personal decisions. Like, for example, deciding whether I should run for this office. That was a very tough decision that I really took. It took me a year and a half to think about that decision before I made that decision and other personal decisions. I was once in a … I suppose, one of the very difficult decisions I made, I was actually in Congo in a mine, where there were child soldiers, and we were asked to go on a tour of that mine, and I confronted the warlord; and we actually, I was with three other people, and we actually had a confrontation with the warlord, and that was a big decision to make, because we didn’t know what the consequence of that would be.

I’ve had many difficult decisions like that. I can’t say, in the policy realm, I’ve had any decisions that I’ve found that difficult, because I’ve always found myself to be an advocate for what I really believe in. Therefore, I haven’t really had decisions that are difficult, because even if I’m in a minority, I’m totally comfortable with my decision. It’s not a difficult one for me to make. I would say that the personal decisions in my life have been the most difficult, policy decisions and things I’ve done as president of organizations, they’ve always been consistent for me, and therefore I have not struggled so greatly with being on my own on a decision.

Moderator Lance Simmens: All right, thank you.

Henry Stern: I think the decision to run for office is incredibly tough, to put yourself out there, all the way, to take the slings and arrows of this, and know that people are going to drag you through the mud but …

Janice Reznik: No.

Henry Stern: Well, mud of one’s own making or not, but, back in high school, actually in eighth grade, I was in my geometry class. There was these bullies in that class, that … [We’re one’s one making or not, but, back in high school, actually in eighth grade, I was in my geometry class. There was these bullies in that class, that … [We’re one’s one making or not, but, back in high school, actually in eighth grade, I was in my geometry class. There were these bullies in that class, that … [knew we were] Jewish, and they would always write these little swastikas on my friend Robert’s notebooks– right–and always would be pushing us. This was back when we were studying the Holocaust, and the origins of all this conflict, right?  One day, Robert and I went out to the hall, and we stood up to these guys, and they roughed us up a bit.

During that moment, we turned around from that bullying incident, and I found someone named Ellie Somerfield who’s sitting here today, and we started a program, through the diversity forum, to start a Holocaust memorial week. It turned that terrible moment and that moment of fear as a young man to say, “Do I have the guts to stand up to a bully for real?” To turn that into a bigger movement at that school, to say, “Never again will this happen,” and Ellie rallied a group of Holocaust survivors, and we built an incredible program that has lasted throughout people’s lives now. I’m just so grateful to have her here today, and have it come full circle. It’s very strengthening to see you in the audience, so thank you. Thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens: This is a question from Doug Rosen. As a member of the State Senate, would you be willing to add a statement to any proposed legislation, which reads. “How it would affect future generations”?

David Pollock: That’s a very interesting idea. One of the boards I serve on is a group called CAUSE, which fights for social and economic justice on the Central Coast. We have a concept of seven generations there, and we take the long view on things and how it’s going to affect not only our children, but our grandchildren and the next seven generations. I originally got into this political arena because of my children. I still care a great deal about the next generations, and I think that’s a fabulous idea, I like that.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you.

Janice Reznik: Can we just answer with a yes or a no? I mean, yes. Yes, I think it’s a beautiful idea, and I think it’s something we should all be thinking about, and putting into our regulations and legislation.

Henry Stern: ‘ll just go brief and say yes.

Richard Mathews: Yes, we often do start bills off with a list of whereas clauses that do exactly that kind of thing, and specifically, we need to look forward to the effect on future generations.

Moderator Lance Simmens: All right, Ms. Reznik, this question is from Stephen Frantz. Please give your opinion on the mandatory labeling of all foods and feed … Foods and feeds?

Stephen Frantz: Feeds, they are animal feeds …

Moderator Lance Simmens: Yeah, okay, foods and feeds, containing genetically engineered ingredients, and do you favor banning the herbicide glyphosate?

Janice Reznik: Yes, I’m in favor of full disclosure, and full disclosure of all of the, you said ingredients in feeds and food, right? I am in favor of that. I think people need to know what they are consuming and what they are introducing into the environment, through feeds. The second part of the question?

Stephen Frantz: Do you favor the banning of glyphosate?

Janice Reznik: Yes, I do.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Herbicide?

Janice Reznik: Yes, I do.

Henry Stern: I want to thank Dr. Frantz for his fearless work on this. You’ve been doing it when everyone else told you “No,” and everyone else said, “Go away,” and the persistence over time is what it takes to make progress in this state, so thank you. I’m going to stand with you and everyone else trying to push … I, [was]walking my mom’s horse out through Thousand Oaks the other day. You look down, the horse is feeding on the ground. You look at the sign, it says, “Glyphosate, warning. Don’t let any animals eat around here. No one should make contact, there’s a risk.” That’s crazy, along a horse trail, to have that exposure to our animals, to our bodies, to our people. I stand with Dr. Frantz on this one; and on the labeling front, there’s all kinds of toxins we don’t label in our buildings, in our food, in our schools, so this is a much, much bigger issue, and the transparency to earn public trust out there is everything; so absolutely. Absolutely.

Stephen Frantz: Thank you.

Richard Mathews: Absolutely yes, on labeling. People should be able to make that decision for themselves, and the reason that the companies fight so hard against it, is that they know what decision so many of us would make. Absolutely yes, on banning Roundup, and I’ve also worked hard on banning atrazine, which is sterilizing frogs in the Central Valley and causing reproductive problems in humans. We need to be getting that one, rid of that one as well, as well as the pesticides they are putting on the strawberries in Moorpark.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you.

David Pollock: That’s mostly in Oxnard. That’s a whole other issue; but Dr. France, thank you for your work on this. It’s an important issue to me. It’s something that we’re fighting over in Oxnard with the CAUSE group, because we have pregnant women being exposed to these pesticides and herbicides that are being used in the strawberry fields, and they are being sprayed right next to elementary schools. It’s a huge battle, and I, to answer the specific question, yes, I do support labeling foods and feeds that have GMO contents to them. If there’s nothing wrong with it, then the manufacturers shouldn’t be afraid of the labeling; but what disturbs me most about the GMOs, is the reason Monsanto’s doing it, particularly with soybeans, to make the soybeans resistant to Roundup so that they can spray Roundup freely on these crops, and it’ll kill everything except the part that we’re going to eat. That’s what really disturbs me about GMOs, and yes, I think we need to do a lot more of.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Okay. Next questions.

Mr. Stern?

Henry Stern:  Glyphosates?

Yes, I would ban glyphosates as well.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Stern, I don’t know if this is indicative of whoever submitted the question, but they did not include their name, so there may be something personal here. What is your position on the death penalty?

Henry Stern: Well, the death penalty has been tremendously ineffective in our state at deterring violent crime, because it’s often caught up in court for decades. Now, there are some egregious crimes out there where that penalty is almost undeniably appropriate, but, frankly, at this point, we can’t keep going forward until we reform that system. It’s very hard to sit here and say, you have a double rape, double homicide, where that shouldn’t be on the table; but at this point in the justice system, it’s not a functional tool of deterrence; so we should be reforming the death penalty if we’re actually, as a people, going to decide that that’s a punishment that we want to have on the table.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews: I have long opposed the death penalty and became very active in this with the more recent data that’s now shown how much it is costing us to continue with the death penalty; and so I sponsored several years ago the Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s resolution, that called for ending the death penalty and replacing it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. That went on, that has now become the state party’s position, and we’re very close to getting this eliminated in California. We need to keep fighting, we will get this done, I will keep fighting for this.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Pollock?

David Pollock: I also oppose the death penalty. I believe that there are fates worse than death, and it really bothers me that when we sentence these people to death, they have a new cause to live for, and they almost gain celebrity status. It’s absolutely ridiculous. As far as I’m concerned, they should just be put away for life with no possibility of parole, and be forgotten about. I think that would be the worst punishment we could mete out, and so I definitely am in favor of repealing the death penalty.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Okay. Ms. Reznik?

Janice Reznik: For economic and moral reasons, I’m completely opposed to the death penalty and always have been, and I support the position of the Democratic Party.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Okay, we’ll start with Mr. Mathews on this question from Dorothy Reik. In either of your professional capacities, have you ever represented developers?

Richard Mathews: I have not represented developers, I have not taken money from developers, I will not take money from developers.

David Pollock: I’m actually quite the opposite, I’m on the Economic and Community Development Committee for the City of Moorpark and I sit across the table from developers that are wanting land use decisions. I’ve always been on the other side, and I’ve been in the process, even when I was on the school board, I would have to negotiate with developers to make sure that schools were fully taken care of.

Janice Reznik: I do not paint all developers with one brush. There are good and responsible developers and there are irresponsible developers, so I cannot say that every single development is bad, because all of your homes, or many of them, have been built by developers, as have many of the buildings that you use every day, so I think there is responsible development. I, personally, in my law practice, I did not personally represent developers, they were represented by others in my law practice, but I would represent a responsible developer, because I don’t think that they are all evil. I think people, there may be some developers in this room. The fact is, it’s all about responsible development, it’s about complying and being sensitive to the laws, and respecting CEQA.

Henry Stern: No, I haven’t represented any developers, so that’s the simple answer to that question, and all my records stand for standing up to over-development and irresponsible development and not making any money off of that work, right? That’s not how I’ve made my living in my life, my profession, so, no and no.

Moderator Lance Simmens: In an effort to finish up on time, I’d like to do a closing statement, but I will offer to anyone in the audience, if you feel you have a pressing question, which absolutely must be asked, to speak now, or forever hold your peace.

Ted Vaill (audience question) : I’ve got a question.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Ted.

Ted: An issue in Malibu is rehab centers. We have a proliferation of rehab centers, [the little models 01:00:00] have been instrumental in getting a bill just introduced, which would essentially control rehab centers, and I would like to ask each of you if you will push hard for this bill, which is particularly important to Malibu.

Moderator Lance Simmens: We’ll start with Mr. Stern. You’ve got the mic.

Henry Stern: That’s fine. I would say not just particularly important to Malibu, I would say it’s an issue all across the state. We see it out in Tarzana, we see it out in Chino, we see it in low-income, medium-income, high-income. I think there’s an easy tendency to say, “This is a rich person’s problem,” but I don’t believe that’s the case. I think the law itself is being abused all over the place and the original intent of the law, when you have a home there that’s intended for use by, say, three or four people, and it’s being used by, say, twenty-five people because they made a bunch of sub-residences within that, and then you park forty cars around there and then, TMZ piles on top. That’s not a good solution, to dealing with drug treatment issues. I’m thrilled that council member La Monte has persisted year after year on this issue, again, in the face of huge resistance, to keep standing up. Thank you for continuing to push, and I’ll do it , too.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Mathews?

Richard Mathews: We need to deal with the drug treatment problems and mental health problems, and this connects into the homeless problems. We’ve had a tendency to push these from one community to another. You push the homeless over to here, you push the mentally ill over to another area. That doesn’t end up solving anything. They end up just being pushed by that community back, and so we do need to have statewide solutions that make sure that we are treating people fairly and not overburdening communities, with these centers.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Mr. Pollock.

David Pollock: In my work with Simi Valley Hospital, we had to deal with a crisis of rise in heroin use, especially among teenagers. We established the detox and rehab program in the hospital itself, but it’s a much larger issue, and it includes mental health, and that’s something that I promise to make a priority, as a senator, is to focus on prioritizing more resources, for helping people with drug and rehabilitation problems, and particularly mental health.

 

Janice Reznik: Like other issues, this is actually a personal issue for me. Actually, one of my three children had a drug addiction problem, and I’ve suffered for many years, trying to figure out what to do about that, and seeing the total lack of resources to be able to deal not only with my son, but all of the various people that I’ve encountered during this process. I’m actually on the board of directors of Beit T’Shuvah drug rehabilitation center, which is a non-profit facility. I do feel that it’s a unique facility, and it should not be, so I do agree wholeheartedly with Richard Mathews, who talks about the need for statewide mental health and drug addiction facilities, all as part of our overall healthcare system that has failed so dramatically on this particular issue.

Because parents, like me, who love their children and want them to survive, need a place, a healthy place to be able to help your kids get better. I don’t know the particulars of exactly what is at stake in your particular statute, but I do know that this is a very, very serious problem, and it’s tied in with our problem of homelessness and mental health.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Thank you. Next question, Jennifer de Nicola?

Jennifer de Nicola (in audience) : We’ve seen, in Porter Ranch and Flint, Michigan, we’ve seen government malfeasance, both local, state and federal government, where our government agencies are sitting idle, while children are being poisoned. We see that also going on in our community, here in our state. We don’t see a lot of people Michigan, we’ve seen government malfeasance, both local, state and federal government, where our government agencies are sitting idle, while children are being poisoned. We see that also going on in our community, here in our state. We don’t see a lot of people Michigan, we’ve seen government malfeasance, both local, state and federal government, where our government agencies are sitting idle, while children are being poisoned. We see that also going on in our community, here in our state. We don’t see a lot of people championing children’s rights right now, and for example their right to go to school, to a safe school. It is, parents, if we do not send our kids to school, we go to jail for truancy; so shouldn’t our government have the right or have to be obligated in the same way, to ensure that our schools are free from toxins, illegal toxins, make sure that they are healthy, protective of their health? Would you be willing to, in your first year in office, propose a bill in the state of California to get ahead of this problem, and to set a bill that would require the testing and identification of PCBs in our schools, and then to find a way to make sure that they are removed in accordance with federal law, current federal law, the way it is right now?

Moderator Lance Simmens: Richard.

Richard Mathews: Yes, I would. We need to be cleaning up environmental problems all over the area. It affects our children, it affects our elderly. In so many ways, all of us are affected, and we need to follow the precedents that we’ve gotten from Porter Ranch, from Santa Susana, to get thorough clean-ups and to clean up the Department of Toxic Substances Control and make sure that they really represent us, and fight for us.

David Pollock: I think I mentioned before, one of the things I’m concerned about is the use of herbicides and pesticides near schools. Children have to have a safe place to go to learn, and I like the idea of a bill, especially about PCBs, and we’ll probably need to expand it to do lot of areas too, because of what we’re seeing going on with the strawberry fields in Oxnard; but I also want to make a point about homeschooling too, is that, too often, parents are vilified for keeping their kids out of schools and schooling them at home. In Moorpark, I pushed to make sure that parents that are homeschooling are supported by the public school system, not vilified by them.

Janice Reznik: Yes, I would. I’m frankly a little surprised that that bill does not already exist, and I’d want to first investigate to see if it does exist; but the health and safety of our children has to be government’s first priority. If we’re not protecting the health and safety of the people, especially the children, who are more vulnerable, then what are we doing? What is everybody doing? I think that’s super important. It’s as important as, or even more important than, the quality of education, because you can’t learn if you’re getting sick from the chemicals that are surrounding you. It’s shocking to me, thirty years after most of these chemicals have been banned, that all of our schools haven’t been tested and remediated. It’s just very surprising to me.

Henry Stern: It’s a no-brainer to be out there testing and inspecting this, right? I mean, we sometimes just don’t want to know, and Prop 65, which we’ve had on the books for years, is one of the many laws out there to disclose those risks to people. It’s unfortunately not applying in some of these cases. Right? I’ve worked for years to require this kind of community right to know, not just for PCBs, not just for that, but for fracking chemicals, for pesticides; this is work that I did in Congress, so it dates back a very, very long time. It should have been done years ago, but if it’s not done by then, are pursued through the courts, I actually think there’s a pathway, through the existing code, to require some of these disclosures, and I think we could be pursuing that before a bill is required, but if not, we should absolutely be exploring legislation.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Okay, we’ve got time for three more questions, one here, one there and one there, okay? Yes.

Female: Okay. There’s a lot of drilling for oil near urban areas in this district, and I would like your position on steam injected extraction methods …

Female: … fracking, and the consequential need for injection of … Excuse me, they call it scaling of the water injection wells, that include hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid, and the consequential problem that we have, which is the transports of those toxic chemicals by both truck and rail.

Moderator Lance Simmens: One minute.

Henry Stern: That’s a big one. I’ve got one minute on that?

Henry Stern: I’ve spent the last four years in the capital, actually working on reforming our entire oil and gas system for the state of California, and we’ve run into roadblock after roadblock, so everyone’s probably going to sit here and agree with you and say, “We need to be overhauling our state system,” but actually who has the willpower and the know-how to get that done? We have a bill that ran into a wall, it’s called the SB-248, it’s currently stalled out in the assembly because many Democrats who, during their elections, would tell you, “We’re the green candidate, we’re environmental,” when they get up there, and the rubber meets the road and the vote has to be taken, and you have an army, the Chamber of Commerce, and millions and millions of dollars that are going to pile up against you to hit you for that, which, by the way, will happen to me in this race, do you have the guts to stand up.

That’s what makes this decision to run so hard, because they don’t know where I stand on these issues. It’s a totally corrupt oversight system. Again, we found benzene in the water going into our almonds. That’s unacceptable. They said acidizing isn’t fracking, so why would you shut that, then? That’s pushing hydrofluoric acid into our water supply; so I’m going to stand so strong on that, and I stand by my record, very, very proudly.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Just give it to Ms. Reznik.

Henry Stern: Sure.

Janice Reznik: Just as was predicted, of course we’re all going to agree with you, and I do, but I think this brings us back to the whole need that’s been discussed earlier today about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. All of these extraction methods, all of them, are terrible for the environment and not only in this part of the district, but there are many such instances, throughout Los Angeles and throughout the state, that, and all of our groundwater is ultimately connected. The aquifers, they provide, hopefully, one day water, clean water, for all of us to use, especially in Southern California. I would be very supportive of all of the legislation, and I would even be a leader on this legislation, especially that, measures that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Pollock?

David Pollock: I think we’re all in violent agreement about getting off of fossil fuels, and I think we’re all on the record as opposing fracking, but I do want to say that, it’s not just in urban areas that we have to worry about fossil fuel extraction. I’ve been fighting an expansion of a refinery up in San Luis Obispo, where they want to add rail spurs, so that they can bring oil trains all the way through this district, through the San Fernando Valley, and through Ventura County, all the way up to Santa Luis Obispo, trains that have had horrible accidents in the past, and expose people, especially people, disadvantaged people that live along the tracks are especially exposed to catastrophic accidents; so we need to address oil and gas as a whole, and as I said before, I’m all for transition to a hydrogen economy.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  Mr. Mathews?

Richard Mathews: I was a member of Save Porter Ranch even before the gas leak started, because the group was created to fight fracking that was going on in the adjacent property, and now it turns out that the gas company has also been doing fracking. I have been a leader on that fight. I’ve pushed to get the LACD council to pass a moratorium on fracking. They asked the city attorney to write up a law, and the city attorney refused, because he said that SB-4 would preempt it and keep the city from being able to stop fracking in our neighborhood.I fought against the oil trains, wrote the resolution that was passed by Los Angeles County Democratic Party, and that then convinced the city council to fight that, and we are very close to stopping those oil trains. We have so many of these things that we need to be stopping. I have worked with hydrofluoric acid. It’s a really, really nasty chemical. I know this woman who got some on her hand, and you don’t feel it when you get it on your hand. It soaks through your skin, gets to your bones and dissolves your bones. The only thing more painful is the sodium shots down deep into your bones, in order to push the fluorine back out. Nasty, nasty stuff, we shouldn’t have this in our environment.

Moderator Lance Simmens : All right, we have … I’m go over to this gentleman back here, and then you, and then we’re going to wrap it up.

Richard Mathews: Sorry about that.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Could you please tell us your positions on an independent Malibu school district, and what you will do in that regard during the campaign, and after you’re elected?

Moderator Lance Simmens: Richard, you can just start.

Videographer, Marshall Thompson:  You guys, could you repeat the question? Because we weren’t able to get you on the record. Thank you.

Richard Mathews: Okay.

Videographer, Marshall Thompson: Thank you.

Richard Mathews: The question is, do we support an independent Malibu school district? That is a local thing that I think that Malibu has to decide for itself. If Malibu wants to have its own independent school district, I support that.

David Pollock: In my work for the School Boards Association, I’ve visited about 350 school districts all up and down the state, including one-school school districts, and some of them are the best-performing in the nation, so I think there’s some merit to having small school districts, and certainly if it’s the will of the people of Malibu, I would support that

.Janice Reznik: I’ve heard that there’s a lot of sentiment in Malibu of people who feel that too much of your tax dollars are going to support Santa Monica schools, so I am completely supportive of whatever the people of Malibu would want. Your quality of your kids’ education is your destiny, and it’s your choice, and if you feel that that would be a more productive and more effective way to educate your children, then I would be very supportive.

Henry Stern:  Thank you for the question, Craig, and for your leadership on the board. One-seventh of a voice for our kids is not enough. One-seventh of an education is not enough. We need more than that, and this school, Malibu High, and all the elementary schools out here, can be the gem of the state of California; but I will say, I’ll stand behind this community, and we will make this an independent school district, but we all need to step up in this room, and the residents of Malibu need to step up and lead on this, right? To be willing to administer this district, to go do the PTA meetings, to raise the money, to go to those parent-teacher conferences, to serve on the board itself; so it’s really going to be a test of our civic-mindedness as a community, whether we’re willing to govern this board, and they’re going to doubt us, out in Santa Monica, that we can do that; so I think it’s an incredibly important challenge that your school district representative has laid down, and I hope Malibu rises to the occasion.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  Last question before we go to closing statements.   Would each of the candidates just tell us three endorsements that were important to you, whether family, corporation, or environmental group, and your three largest monetary donors to your campaigns?…. The question was the endorsements, three largest donors, and three most important endorsements. We’ll start with Ms. Reznik.
Janice Reznik: I have twenty-four donors that have maxed out to my campaign. That’s $4200, and I can’t, so there’s not three largest; those are twenty-three or twenty-four max-out donors to my campaign. My three endorsements that have been most significant to me were, starting off with Zev Yaroslavsky and Sheila Kuehl, who endorsed me before. Before I decided to run, they said they would endorse me, and they have, they are people I’ve worked with for the last thirty years, and their endorsement means a great deal to me; and Dianne Feinstein’s endorsement, a couple of weeks ago, was an incredible gift to me, and a demonstration of the fact that she believes that I have the leadership to be able to make an important difference for the people of this district.

David Pollock: My most important endorsements are Jack O’Connell and Delaine Eastin, who are the immediate two previous State Superintendents of Public Instruction. I also enjoy the endorsement of Steve Bennett and John Zaragoza, who are Ventura County supervisors, and as far … I have far fewer max-out donors, but there are about a half-dozen max-out donors that are all a matter of public record, and they’re mostly family members and friends that have done that.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews: I’m endorsed by top world climate scientist Michael Mann, just recently got endorsed by Naomi Klein, and I am endorsed by the leader of our progressive Democrats of the San Fernando Valley and National PTA board member Russell Greene. My three biggest contributors are an old friend from college who has built a massive solar system that he gave me a maximum contribution. One of the lawyers who was working for the Porter Ranch residence has given me a maximum contribution; and North Valley Democratic Club gave me a lot of money, and they are one of the two Democratic clubs that has already made an endorsement in this race, and both have endorsed me.

Moderator Lance Simmens: Mr. Stern.

Henry Stern:  I’d say, first and foremost, I’m proud to have the sitting senator, Fran Pavley’s endorsement, and my former mentor, though, and the person who really got me into public service in the first place, was Henry Waxman, and so the Congressman has endorsed me, as well, that’s very important to me; but much more important than any politician is the tens of thousands of working people who are standing behind this campaign, so now I have the endorsement not only of the sheriffs of LA County, the Teamsters and the below-the-line workers, and the entertainment unions, the hotel workers, the service employees, and all the janitors; so these are the people who can’t afford those max checks. They’re standing behind this campaign because they know that the max checks aren’t what are important. It’s them. It’s them; so I have the max donors, too, we all have that, because you need money to run for these offices, but I truly don’t believe that’s what you should judge this election on, so … Thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  Before we go to closing statements, I just want to remark that, Richard, if you have an endorser who’s created a solar system, you’re really reaching high. I want to get to know him. I couldn’t resist. Okay, we’re going to go to closing statements. Each, come on, we’re almost there. Each candidate gets two minutes. I’m going to start with Mr. Pollock.

David Pollock: Well, thank you all for coming out, and thank you for arranging this. I think this is very helpful for you to see us all side by side, answering all your questions, and it’s going to be a tough choice. You see there’s very little sunlight between our answers here. I do want to point out, though, you now know where I stand on all the issues, you see that I’m a progressive Democrat, and you may wonder, how did I get elected seven times in the most conservative corner of this district? Let me explain that.I have a business degree from Pepperdine University, just up the road here, and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and the reason that they like me over in Moorpark and Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, is because they know I have a business background, so they trust that, even though I have progressive ideals, they trust me to balance budgets and to look at government expenditures as investments, so I know that, the way we spend money in government is not exactly the same as we do in investments, but still, it helps to have that mindset and that perspective to consider things, like I consider what we spend on schools to be an investment in our children, not an expense that we try to minimize; and I look at trade-offs between things.For example, I believe if we invest more in public schools, that we’ll be spending less in incarceration down the road. I mean, it’s no coincidence that most inmates in state prisons don’t have a high school education. Hello? You don’t have to be a financial genius to figure that out; and I think there’s too few people in the legislature that have that mindset and can look at those trade-offs and look at what’s a wise investment of public funds. Again, I want to thank you all for coming out here, and you’re going to be hearing a lot more from all of us in the next few months, as the campaign heats up, but I invite you to give me a call, get involved. You can find out more about my campaign at pollockforsenate.com, and I’ll be staying afterwards to talk to all those that may have individual questions, so thank you.

 

Moderator Lance Simmens:: Next will be Mr. Mathews.

Richard Mathews: Thank you very much. I’m a scientist and engineer, and I will be looking to see that we use that type of information so that we base policy on good, sound science. I have been active in politics my whole life, going back to marching for Cesar Chavez boycotting grapes, to make sure that the farmer workers would be able to form a union, and so many other things that I have done through my political career, you know what I will get done in Sacramento, because it is what I have been doing within the Democratic Party to make the party more progressive, more responsive to us. Now, something that we have not talked about here today, unfortunately, has been jobs and the economy; and some things we need to be doing in that area is, we need to be increasing the minimum wage to fifteen dollars per hour, and tying it to inflation so that we don’t keep fighting this fight over and over again, and that will make money move faster through the economy, so that it will help many, many people be able to do much better.

We need to have debt-free education, and that may not be obvious as something that’s an economic thing, but we have so many good students from our excellent educational institutions, including the one right down the street here, who graduate, and they aren’t able to afford the expensive cost of living in this area because of the huge amounts of debt that they have. They leave the area, as a result, and that means that businesses leave our area. We’ve lost so many high tech businesses because they don’t feel that we have the workforce here anymore. We need debt-free education, and we need fair trade. We need to fight the TPP. Trade is very important to California. TPP will be disastrous to the Internet, be disastrous to our high tech companies here in California. We need to fight that, to preserve the California economy. I’m Richard Mathews. Voterichard.org. Thank you so much for your support.

Moderator Lance Simmens:  Thank you. Next would be Ms. Reznik?

Janice Reznik: Just want to tell you a little story: Twelve years ago, when I first started Jewish World Watch, the organization that I co-founded with Rabbi Schulweis, the refugees were coming into a refugee camp from Darfur into Chad, and the women were being raped when they went out of the camp looking for firewood that they needed to be able to cook their food; and from this city, right across the hill where I live, we came up with an idea of bringing solar cooking into the refugee camps, and we were able to get cardboard and foil brought into the camps, and we were able to reduce the incidents of rape for the women in those refugee camps by 86%, with over 200,000 women using solar cooking. That project was the largest solar cooker project in the world, at its time. We had to suspend the project because there is no more food right now in those refugee camps.

I bring up this story, not to talk to you about Darfur, about refugees. It’s, I brought a common-sense, easy solution to a very complicated problem, and that’s the kind of person I am. I’m a practical person. By training, I’m a social worker. I’m a mother. I have my degree in non-profit management, and I’m a lawyer, and I’ve worked for forty years doing all kinds of different things. The common thread is that I embrace a problem. I do not shy away from it. I roll up my sleeves. I work with other people, and I get stuff done, and I’ve always gotten stuff done, and that’s … If you want to know more about me, we have our résumé, I have my résumé here. Go to my website, janice2016.com, and I would welcome the opportunity to get to know you better and to tell you more about me, and what I’ve accomplished, and what I can do, as a leader, as a person with a lot of energy, passion, and skill. Thank you.

Moderator Lance Simmens:: Thank you. Mr. Stern.

Henry Stern: There’s a lot more I would like to actually have talked about today, in terms of our education system …

Male from audience: Okay, well, we’ll stay for another two hours.

Henry Stern: … so let’s do it; but you all know how to find me, and we’ll spend time working on that, but I want to go back to where we started, which is: You know what you’re going to get with me. Right? We’re not starting from scratch. As your next senator, you know that I’m going to carry this legacy of Senator Pavley. You know the work I’ve done in my life. I’m not trying to hide anything in my resume or talk about, make you promises. Everyone up here, like I said, can make a lot of wonderful assurances to you all. We can promise chocolate milk in the drinking fountains, right? That’s the classic go-to, right? Everything is possible.

Don’t judge it based on what we’re promising you. Judge it based on what we’ve done. Look at our resume. Study us. Look into our history; and I hope that when you do that, you’ll know that my heart is true, and that my competence, and that moment, that pressure moment when you’re sitting across the table, and you’re getting an onslaught from you, from the other side: I’ve been there, and I’ve made the right decision. I’m so proud to stand before you today as a product of this community. I’m so proud to be a lifelong resident of the 27th district, and I hope you’ll instill your confidence in me to carry on this incredible legacy we’ve built over the last decade to represent you up in Sacramento; so thank you all for engaging, and keep digging. It’s on you. It’s your responsibility to win this election. We can stand up here and talk all we want, but you’re going to be the deciders. You’re going to be the deciders; so thank you for coming out.

Moderator Lance Simmens: I just want to conclude this portion of the meeting by asking everyone to give these candidates a hearty hand-clap. It is absolutely refreshing to see this ability and the comity, not comedy, comity, with which you conducted yourselves here, and I personally want to thank you, as the moderator. The focus was on issues, the personal recriminations get left at the door. Hopefully there are none anyway, but they don’t serve any purpose in a forum like this, and I think each of you acquitted yourselves admirably, and I want to thank you for that, and the only admonition I want to leave you with is, please continue to keep the campaign on a higher plane. Thank you very much.

Malibu Democratic Club President Ann Doneen:  I want to ask members of the Malibu Democratic Club to stick around. Those of you who are non-members are also welcome to stick around, but we have some important business to conduct. We’re going to have a fifteen-minute break, and after that.

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 END TRANSCRIPT OF CANDIDATES’ FORUM

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