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Seat fillers Staff | Sat, May 11 2013 12:00 PM

STEVE CASTANEDA

Q: Why are you running for assembly district 80?

We have very, very high unemployment, higher than the rest of the region. We have school districts and schools that are not performing well for the students that attend. And we have specialized issues as it relates to the border, as it relates to the military, as it relates to commerce, that I think need to be focused on very, very closely.

And I believe I have the experience, the background and the track record to represent the people of the 80th Assembly District better than anybody that’s in this race.

Q:Provide at least two concrete examples of how you would put people back to work in Chula Vista, National City and San Ysidro. what industries would you focus on?

First of all, serving eight years on the city council we’ve dealt with a number of economic issues and tried to arrive at solutions that boost our economy and add jobs.

I think one of the things that we were able to do was get the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan approved through local channels, as well as the state of California. That will be an important economic engine for South County, for not only Chula Vista but for National City, South San Diego and other parts of the 80th district because it will generate the demand for thousands of jobs.

Also,  we have had a vision in Chula Vista, and we have been successful in securing enough land and zone that property for both a university, or a cluster of universities as well as a regional technology park which will drive job creation in South County. And those are good high-paying jobs.

We have a very significant maritime component District 80. We have the 10th Avenue Terminal. We have the National City Marine Terminal. And those are significant economic drivers that can create jobs, beyond what they’ve done today, and we need to have someone focus on what kinds of rules and solutions we can have to entice and attract more businesses to invest in our Bayfront. Along with that investment they’ll bring the good-paying jobs.

Q: Do you support immigration reform?

The fact is every level of government deals with immigration issues. In the city of Chula Vista for instance, we have, from a public safety standpoint, had to deal with individuals who may or may not be documented that have been in our criminal justice system, and we’ve had to deal with that. And now the federal government is no longer reimbursing localities like Chula Vista and San Diego for housing inmates that frankly should be housed by the federal agencies. And we have to ensure that however immigration reform— and I do support it— however it is implemented to ensure that the state and the local governments are active and informed and resourced entities that can ensure the safety and security and the well-being of not only the people that are effective by immigration reform but the people that are here today, our own residents.

Q: How would you make college tuition more affordable?

We need to re-prioritize our education system to ensure that those students that want to go to college, that want to graduate, that want to make their time there meaningful have the opportunity to do so at an affordable price. We’ve put a financial bind on these institutions...they’re shunning or bowing away from local resident-students and opting for foreign students because they pay a higher tuition level and they generate more income for the institutions and that is wrong.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. The governor, I believe has a good plan for community college and CSU where those successfully completing community college coursework at a requisite level are guaranteed entrance into California State Universities and UCs. That was implemented years ago and then they kind of watered it down because they were trying to get foreign and out-of-state students to enroll because of the money issue. We need to focus back on California students and California jobs.

Q: What alternative to redevelopment districts do you offer? What ideas do you have for local government to generate local revenue?

I think there should have been maybe a reformation of redevelopment to ensure that places that weren’t struggling with blight and unemployment and poverty shouldn’t’ have access to that funding mechanism. But areas like District 80 vitally need that. And as a member of the assembly, if I am elected, I will work to ensure that we in this district, and our inner-city and urban areas have a funding mechanisms so that we can continue to create those jobs that people need.

Q: Do you support or oppose gay marriage?

I believe in marriage equality. That’s a decision that’s up to the people.  And there is a Supreme Court case that is going on right now that could potentially determine the fate of the existing law in California. And if that is unclear then perhaps the state of California should re-vote on the matter, it would probably be a much cleaner issue and then we would know once and for all how the state of California sits on that issue.

With regard to the state legislature, I am not interested or thinking about passing or writing any legislation or supporting any legislation that damages equality for all citizens.

I firmly believe that if people aren’t satisfied with whatever the outcome of that court case is that it should go back to the people. Clearly, public sentiment in that area is changing day by day, and every public poll I’ve seen shows that it would pass.

 

LORENA GONZALEZ

Q: Why are you running for assembly district 80?
 
I was asked to run for this seat and at first I was hesitant because I really enjoy what I do now. But when I started thinking about ways that I could really affect change and the types of jobs that were created, and that I could take my own advocacy and not just advocate on behalf of the workers but advocate on behalf of creating good middle-class jobs in a region that needs it so badly. 
 

 Q: Provide at least two concrete examples of how you would put people back to work in Chula Vista, National City and San Ysidro? what industries would you focus on?
 
The main industry I want to focus on is bringing manufacturing jobs to the area. There was a time, obviously, when manufacturing in San Diego and the South Bay was much bigger. 

But after NAFTA so many of our jobs went overseas and down to Mexico. We were left with a lot of people who would have sought out jobs that required you to use hands-on skills but those jobs weren’t there. And so one of my main focuses that I want is to try to find ways (for) those manufacturing jobs come back to the United States to actually come back to California and to the South Bay in particular, and so that’s one of the things I really want to focus on.

The other arena that we can continue to work is the Chula Vista Bayfront. I’ve been happy to be able to be a part of getting a Master Plan together that everybody could buy into.

After 20, 30 years of litigation and inviting, we literally locked ourselves into a room, the developers, the city, the port, the unions, the environmentalists and hammered out a plan that all of us, as part of the community, could live with and now that plan’s been approved by the Coastal Commission, so it’s time to get started on that.
 
Q. Do you support immigration reform?

 
I absolutely support immigration reform.

Of course it is a federal issue, but there are some things I think in the interim that could be done. Students who are here legally with the legal right to be, need to be able to get to and from work and school. It means they need to have a driver’s license. The same issue may come up if immigration reform is passed there’s going to be a lag time between the time when these immigrants who are qualified ... will be here legally but won’t have the ability to get a driver’s license.

We need to fix that. We all are safer on the road when people have  a driver’s license. I think that’s good for all of us.

I think also when immigration reform passes, that we’re going to have to be very strident about the businesses that open up very quickly to assure people that they could get them their documents, when they’re really cheating immigrants out of a lot of money. 
 
Q: What are you going to do to make college more affordable?

We used to have guidelines about, for example, how much a unit could cost you in a community college. I think we need to get back to doing that. I think one of the things we have to do is to make sure that what we’re paying the top administrators at these universities aren’t out of whack.
I am talking about the top administrators or the presidents of these colleges who are now in public colleges making millions and millions of dollars. I think we have to review that, and if it is a public school then we have to treat it like a public entity and ensure that we are not continuing to increase the very top salary at the expense of the kids who want to go.

I also think that we need to make sure that it’s a sliding scale, where if people can’t afford college that we’re providing grants and opportunities for them to be supplemented as long as they’re doing well and staying in school and working.

Q: What alternative to redevelopment districts do you offer? what ideas do you have for local government to generate local revenue.

I think one of the things we’re going to have to do is look at is tax increment financing for infrastructure, in particular when we look at the South Bay and the Otay area, where you have industrialized zone land.

Land that could flourish in an economic sense, but they need help. The landowners need help. They need the pipes put in.

They need electricity put in. They need roads put in. These are things that  we would always provide in society as a government, and yet we now find ourselves, partially because of redevelopment and partially because of political will, saying if you want to create business down here, you’re going to have to put in your own infrastructure.

That makes no sense. We’re all going to benefit from those jobs, from the taxes that it’s going to create for us in the commercial areas. I think government has to find a way to help bond, even if the private landowners are paying that bond back that they’re not paying the up-front cost. A bonding mechanism or a tax increment mechanism for infrastructures is one of the things that I see coming.

Q: DO YOU SUPPORT OR OPPOSE Gay Marriage?

I support equality for everybody.

 

LINCOLN PICKARD

Q: Why are you running for assembly district 80?

It’s easy for Democrats to get on the ballot because there are more Democrats than there are Republicans. The Democrats tend to not want to sign a Republican’s paper and vice versa.

I just wanted somebody to vote for that had a different point of view than the Democrats.

Q: provide at least two concrete examples of how you would put people back to work in Chula Vista, National City and San Ysidro. what industries would you focus on?

One of the main reasons we’re having problems in California is that we got high taxes and  extreme regulations that’s put on businesses. Small businesses like my business are affected throughout the state, it’s had to attract new businesses when you have one of the highest tax rates and one of the most extreme regulatory procedures and policies in the whole country.

It just makes it very difficult for businesses to survive. People are losing jobs because of it. And the businessmen are not creating new jobs because of it.

Plus, this Obama Care thing is hurting businesses because they feel uncertainty. People don’t invest money when there’s too much uncertainty.

You got to let the small businesses be able to grow and expand, and you want to encourage those businesses to try and get started, and you gotta find a way they can do that. California is not doing that. We used to do it but not anymore.

Q. Do you support immigration reform?


I think we should be obeying the laws, the laws that are there. The laws need to be enforced.

Q: How would you make college tuition more affordable?

One of the interesting things about that is the government has gotten more involved in the process in loaning more people more money and they have a list of all these extra things,  when we should be sticking to the basics has actually made college more expensive. Students have to take out loans that are bad. The government really needs to really back off on some of this stuff and let the  business market more rule to bring some of the cost down. Just stick to the basics.

Q: What alternative to redevelopment districts do you offer? What ideas do you have for local government to generate local revenue?

I think the government is probably bringing in enough money, and the weird thing about it that the Democrats don’t seem to understand is when you lower tax rates, you actually increase the actual money that comes into government.

You have lower tax rates and you get regulations where they should be instead of these the state regulations, businesses thrive, people make more money and payout actual cash into the government with a lower tax rate because businesses are more in tune to making more money and it gets more people working.

You can’t make a lot of money without putting other people to work, working with you. So it creates a lot of jobs when you do that. It takes people off unemployment and cuts down the cost of government when the private sector is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. The government needs to get the hell out of the way because the government right now is the problem.

Q: DO YOU SUPPORT OR OPPOSE Gay Marriage?

I  firmly believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and that’s it. Just one man and one woman that makes it a marriage.

Editor’s note: Kaiden Degas did not qualify for the ballot prior to the deadline to participate in the candidate question and answer. Degas has qualified as a write-in candidate.

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Lincoln Pickard Says:

Mon, May 13 2013 10:58 AM

I want to thank the Star News for exploring the positions of the candidates.
1. Killing Human beings, unborn or about to be born, is not acceptable.
2. Ours is a Christian country despite the oratory of Obama.
3. Lincoln will fight and vote for your right to keep and bear arms; CCW's.
4. Low reasonable tax rates increase prosperity.
5. Too many regulations and too much interference by government destroys jobs and job creation.
6. Our culture and laws have created more wealth, health and happiness in some 250 years than all previous cultures did in 5 thousand years. Say "No" to changing our culture.


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