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Candidates Vie for Redrawn Districts
October 18, 2012 - By Annemarie Donkin
Sen. Fran Pavley stood behind her record on education, jobs and the environment; Deputy District Attorney Todd Zink stood for public safety, education and small businesses, but failed to denounce the libelous dark money ads.
From left, Mayor Pro Tem Fred Gaines, Calabasas Mayor Mary Sue Maurer, CA State Sen. Fran Pavley, Lt. Col. Todd Zink, Councilman James Bozajian and Richard Sherman, president of the Calabasas Park Homeowner's Association at the 27th Senate District candidate's debate at the Calabasas Library on Sept. 30.
The Calabasas Park Homeowners Association hosted a forum on Sept. 30 for the two candidates running in Californias newly formed 27th Senate District.
Republican Todd Zink is challenging incumbent State Sen. Fran Pavley, a Democrat.
About 200 people filled Founders Hall at the Calabasas Library; about half of them were Pavley supporters from homeowners associations, environmental groups and political organizations.
Topics covered during the nearly two-hour debate included education, the environment, jobs and the State budget.
Calabasas City Councilmembers Fred Gaines and James Bozajian served as moderators.
Richard Sherman, president of the Association, introduced the moderators and acknowledged local politicians and community leaders in the audience, saying he was happy to host the discussion about such important issues in a free and open forum.
We believe what goes on in Sacramento has a direct impact on our local community, he said.
The newly drawn Senate district comprises the eastern portion of Ventura County, the western San Fernando Valley and includes Topanga, Agoura Hills, and Calabasas, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Newhall and Camarillo.
During a candidates debate in Calabasas on Sept. 30, CA State Sen. Fran Pavley holds up attack ads from an independent expenditure committee called the California Senior Advocates League funded by Chevron, Philip Morris, Anthem Blue Cross and other multi-national corporations who have been funneling campaign money for her rival through various PACs to hide their identities.
Fran Pavley grew up in Sherman Oaks and currently lives in Agoura Hills with her husband, Andy, and their family.
She taught middle school for nearly 30 years while raising her two children. Later she became a community leader, where she was a longtime member of the City Council of Agoura Hills and served as its first mayor.
In 2000, Senator Pavley was elected to the California Assembly where she served three terms.
During her time in the Assembly, Pavley authored a variety of reforms benefitting Californians including establishing a property tax postponement program for seniors and the disabled; protecting consumers from identity theft on credit applications; protecting children in licensed childcare facilities and ensuring the prosecution of child sexual abuse cases.
She also authored landmark laws, AB 32 and AB 1493, to combat climate change by capping greenhouse gas emissions in California that have become models for other states and nations.
In 2010, President Obama implemented national clean car regulations, modeled on AB 1493 (Clean Car Regulations), also known as the Pavley law.
During a special ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, the president personally thanked Sen. Pavley for her work on creating a clean, safe, secure energy future for California and the United States.
After serving three terms in the CA State Assembly, she was elected to the Senate in 2008.
Currently, Pavley is a member of Senate committees on Energy, Utilities and Communications; Transportation and Housing; and Environmental Quality.
Locally, Pavley secured funds for many local transportation projects including the construction of the Orange Line busway; installation of traffic signals in the San Fernando Valley; and worked with the CHP to coordinate funding to reduce DUIs on Highway 101.
I know the issues. Im the most qualified, and experience matters, Pavley said. Ive been there for you, I will be there for you in the future.
She adamantly refuted Zinks claims that Sacramento is broken and the claim that she cant work across the aisle.
We need to go back and look at that formula that made us great, invest in education, innovation and infrastructure, she said. I cant wait to go back to Sacramento because those are my priorities and Ive been working on those for 10 years; I love passing legislation to make the planet a better place.
Todd Zink, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves and a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles, is running for State Senator in the newly formed 27th District on a platform of public education, reform, eliminating red tape for small businesses to allow for job growth and increased efforts to keep felons off the streets in order to secure peace of mind.
Todd Zink is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.
Following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq after 9/11, Zink was appointed as a deputy district attorney prosecutor for Los Angeles County.
He later served in Afghanistan where he helped found a school in the Helmand province and led more than 800 Marines and Sailors, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star.
Zink and his wife live in Westlake Village with their two sons.
As a father with two young children, Im concerned about the long-term consequences of decisions made by our elected officials, he said. California faces $617 billion of debt. Our economy is shaky and our education system is failing to prepare our children for the 21st century.
Zink said he is running on a platform of reform for public education; to eliminate red tape for small businesses to allow job growth; and keeping felons off the streets to secure peace of mind.
I have the real experience to take on real world issues; she has been there for 10 years, Zink said. Sacramento is broken, the state is failing,
Zink also said he declined to sign the Grover Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose all tax increases.
Political gridlock and lack of accountability are hurting the state; its time to put the people first; not special interests, he said. Im results driven. Ill work to fix California.
Education is one of the reasons Im running, Zink said. Our education system is failing our children. Its now one of the worst in the nation. California should be the best run in the country.
Zink said one way he would fix the budget would be to cut education spending and teacher pension funds.
We need to get serious about education; its a self-inflicted problem. Other states are doing a better job with fewer resources, Zink said. California does not have a revenue problem; 53 percent of the budget goes to education but we rank 47th in the nation California has a spending problem.
Pavley strongly refuted the idea that teachers pension funds were bankrupting California.
She spoke of the critical need to help fund the school and the university systems in California and advocated for a budget adjustment to separate K-12 from the colleges and universities, citing the need to administer them separately.
We need an educated workforce and attract the best and brightest, so we need to have a way to go back and create opportunities to attract new teachers, Pavley said. How about an exchange for loans if they work five years in the schools?
Pavley also said she was leaning toward Prop. 30, with a four-year quarter percent sales tax increase for the general fund to fund schools over rival Prop. 38.
We are down $30 billion, Pavley said. We need to separate K-12 in the budget and give higher education all the support it deserves.
Pavley said she has worked across the aisle for years to pass a workers comp reform bill, pension reform, environmental legislation and the $11 billion water delivery system for the State.
We do work across the aisle, Pavley said. But we are short of money. How are you going to pay for it?
Zink said he would set spending priorities to responsibly balance the budget.
We are drifting without any direction, taking on water, he said. Special interests have taken over from the interests of the people.
Zink said he opposes higher taxes on families and small businesses.
Last year, Senator Pavley said she authored a new law improving Californias business climate by implementing regulatory reform.
The bill requires agencies to more rigorously assess the economic impacts, including the benefits of major regulations, before they are adopted.
Pavley created the Valley Advisory Council, which is comprised of business and community leaders from the San Fernando Valley, meeting regularly on issues affecting the Valley.
We have brought $20 billion of venture capital back in just a few years, she said. Im going to work very hard with clean tech companies; we should be the engine of growth with clean tech companies.
Zink said he would work with small businesses to fight Sacramentos red tape.
We have to look at the last 10 years and the failure of the budgets, he said. They have spent more than $600 billion over the past 10 years.
Zink also had sharp words for Sacramento and its budget woes: I believe that it is a fiduciary duty to treat that money like it is yours, the budgets are through the roof; Sacramento does not treat it like it is your money. We need performance-based budgets; if Los Angeles can do it, California can.
Sen. Pavley currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.
For more than 30 years she has worked with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to acquire and protect open space, develop trails and public access to lands throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
She was instrumental in the successful acquisition of Ahmanson Ranch in Eastern Ventura County and King Gillette Ranch in Los Angeles County and helped to secure funding to acquire and develop Legacy Park in Malibu.
That makes a difference, at the local and state level, she said. To be in the right place at the right time.
Zink said he feels privileged to live in Westlake. He described going outside at night to marvel at the stars and described seeing rabbits and coyotes in his neighborhood.
Im as much in favor of open space as anyone else, he said. Deer come to my yard; we like our open space.
SHADOW PAC ADS
Halfway through the debate, Pavley held up some attack print ads put up against her.
An independent expenditure committee called California Senior Advocates League produced the print and TV ads that assert that Pavley pays no taxes on a six-figure salary of $261,000, which she said happens to be the exact amount of her housing stipend as a state legislator in Sacramento.
According to public records, as a state legislator, Pavley is paid $95,291 per year and pays federal and state taxes on that income at the same rate as all other wage earners.
Pavley said those phantom senior advocates are funded by Chevron, Philip Morris, Anthem Blue Cross and other multi-national corporations who have been funneling campaign money through various PACs to hide their identities.
Its dark money, I have no control over expenditures, Zink said. This applies to every candidate.
True, the small print says a candidate does not authorize them or a committee controlled by a candidate.
The address for the League provides only a street address in Sacramento and no website or phone number.
I think they did a fine job of keeping it an even playing field, said Calabasas Councilman David Shapiro. It would have helped Zink to go into detail; any candidate should repudiate dark money.
Dorothy Reik, president of the PDSMM, also criticized Zinks answers.
It is appalling that Zink refused to repudiate the false attacks on Fran Pavley, Reik said. He also refused to answer any substantive questions but kept repeating talking points, which not so subtly accused Fran and other legislators of wasting what monies they had to work with. No disrespect, but right now we don't need a Marine to protect us; we need a legislator. We need Fran Pavley.