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Muslim Public Affairs Council's Profiles of California Candidates

by LA IMCer Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2002 at 5:15 PM

MPAC cannot endorse candidates, but it will provide a profile of the candidates running for constitutional offices in the state of California. The profiles include races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and Superintendent for Public Instruction. MPAC analysts took a close look on the candidates' stands on civil liberties, education, homelessness, and labor:

Bill Simon: To improve all schools across the state, Mr. Simon would cut state and district bureaucracies and empower local schools, teachers and parents to determine the best educational program for them. Through his personal and financial contributions to groups such as the Covenant House, Mr. Simon has helped develop programs like The Rights of Passage Program. It is a program that supports a 24-bed facility, designed to meet the needs of emancipated and homeless street youth who are not yet equipped to live independently.

Gray Davis: Mr. Davis convened a summit of homelessness with more than 200 business leaders, homeless advocates, government and law enforcement officials, homeless and formerly homeless children and adults, housing providers, and nationally recognized homelessness experts. For education, Mr. Davis worked to reduce class sizes, invest in teacher recruitment and training. He has sought to increase funding by 30% and raise student achievement scores. And this year, he signed into law a .2 billion program guaranteeing financial aid to any needy student who maintains a B average in high school. Mr. Davis signed into law the Halal Meat Bill, which made it unlawful to market meat that is not butchered in accordance with Islamic dietary law as Halal. Also, Mr. Davis was accessible to the Muslim community. Since the tragic events of 9/11, hatemongers have been calling on our elected officials not to include Muslims in the political process, but Mr. Davis maintained the contacts with the Muslim community and its leadership. Dealing with labor issues, Mr. Davis approved an increase in the state minimum wage from .75 to .25 effective Jan. 1, 2001. Mindful of those workers who drive the economic engine of California's Central Valley, Mr. Davis signed legislation that provides 0,000 in tax credits to builders of farm worker housing, another bill that increases family services for farm workers and their families and improves the safety of farm labor vehicles.

Peter Camejo: Mr. Camejo and the entire Green Party advocate for passing a living wage and promotion of affordable housing. Mr. Camejo stresses the need to create a minimum car insurance program and provide hardworking immigrants with amnesty and driver's licenses. He wants to stop all racial profiling, including Muslims and Arabs. Increase employment and job training programs for welfare recipients. Provide childcare for welfare recipients who work. Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work. Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to expand state services to include the working poor. Support tax credits to developers for the construction of low-income housing. Increase funding for state job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market. Provide tax credits for businesses that provide childcare for their employees. Increase state funds to provide childcare for children in low-income working families. He feels that it is unacceptable that many people, who work full-time are earning so little that they are still in poverty. Enact "living wage" laws statewide. Fight for the rights of workers, unions, and prevailing wage rules. Our labor laws need to be updated. As employers have hired fancy consultants and lawyers to get around labor laws, the balance between working people and corporations has gotten out of kilter. We need to have real penalties for employers who fire workers merely for union membership. Employers need to have sanctions to impel them to reach a contract agreement after the employees vote for union representation. For farm workers, this means that employers and workers must submit to binding arbitration if a contract is not reached in a reasonable length of time.

Narrative of Candidates for Lieutenant Governor:

Donna Warren: In America 40,000,000 people are without adequate health care. Universal health care should be a right for all Americans. She feels every worker must receive a living wage. California must provide advanced job training and placement that strengthens our communities now and in the future. She wants to empower unions by repealing the Taft-Hartley Act. Her position on standardized testing is that it is racist and does not sufficiently evaluate the intelligence or ability of children. It does not address the needs of our kids.

Cruz Bustamante: For education Mr. Bustamante helped launched the College Opportunity Outreach Program (COOP) to promote public awareness of the state's new .2 billion Cal Grant guarantee program and other policy changes that give California high school graduates unprecedented opportunities to attend college. He also actively led efforts among UC Regents to repeal SP-1, which contained discriminatory admissions guidelines. Advocated for the revamped admissions process -- which includes a more comprehensive evaluation of applicants; elimination of the use of the SAT exam; and a dual admissions program, in which students may be granted conditional acceptance after completing a transfer program at a community college. For issues related to tolerance and promoting diversity he developed the innovative Commission for One California to address issues of race, tolerance, and diversity. The Commission held several hearings in 1999, 2000 and 2001, discussing topics such as racial profiling by law enforcement, diversity in the media, and teaching tolerance in schools. After the September 11th terrorist attacks, he led outreach effort to Sikh and Arab American communities to assure them and the larger community that they were not the enemy.

Bruce McPherson: Mr. McPherson authored legislation to establish first-ever statewide uniform standards of achievement for career and technical education. He fought to restore 98 million dollars in funding for community colleges slashed from the budget by Governor Davis. He authored legislation to reduce tuition by one-half at UC and CSU. He co-authored of 9.2 billion dollar Class Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 1998.

Narrative of Candidates for Attorney General:

Bill Lockyer: Mr. Lockyer has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to the principle of equal protection under the law over his three decades of public service. As a legislator, Lockyer wrote and supported hundreds of laws to expand and improve civil rights protections for Californians. In 1977, then-Assemblyman Lockyer undertook a comprehensive reform of California's Fair Employment Practices Act to bolster civil rights protections by restructuring the commission, permitting a class action to be filed with the FEPC, and authorizing the State itself to initiate complaints regarding discrimination. Lockyer authored SB 716 in 1987, which made void any provision in any deed or written instrument that would forbid, restrict, or condition the right of any person to sell, rent, lease, use, or occupy property because of race or color. In a unique partnership with Rob Reiner and the Children's and Families First Commission, Attorney General Lockyer created the Safe from the Start program to educate law enforcement, school and social service workers about the harm caused to children exposed to violence. There have been 11 Safe from the Start forums held throughout the state and local officials are implementing the ideas learned at the forums to create a safer, healthier future for California. Mr. Lockyer has been generally supportive of Patriot Act.

Dick Ackerman: Mr. Ackerman feels that our laws are constantly under attack by prison inmates, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and criminal defense lawyers. Mr. Ackerman also advocates a statewide Zero-Tolerance Policy for Gangs, Guns and Drugs in school and supports the right of school principals to expel from public schools troublemakers who disrupt classrooms. No comments on the U.S. Patriot Act.

Glen Mowrer: His primary goal as Attorney General will be to assure that Justice is pursued, obtained and protected for all the people of California. He created the Legal Project of the Committee for Social Justice in Santa Barbara where he volunteers to represents homeless people in legal causes for which they cannot otherwise find representation. At the end of his first year in office, he will have prepared a report for the California Legislature recommending changes in our criminal justice laws based on the results of the work detailed above and more. The major emphasis in such report would be evaluation of the application of the death penalty, the need for the high level of incarceration and the potential for alternative sentencing, which would emphasize education, treatment and reintegration of convicted persons into society.

Narrative of Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction:

Katherine Smith: Ms. Smith is stressing the need to teach the basics. She also wants to improve the public school learning environment by insisting that students start wearing appropriate academic attire. She feels that this will lead to less violence and vandalism. Teachers also must be models for students: she feels professional attire for teachers will set an example for their students to follow. Also, greater emphasis must be placed upon trade and technology course so that all students are prepared to become productive members of society.

Jack O'Connell: He feels that schools need to have greater parental involvement and top quality training for teachers. As a State Senator, he wrote the law that began to reduce the class size and provide up-to-date textbooks. He is the only candidate that committed to further reducing class sizes and increasing the quality of instruction for students. Mr. O'Connell would like to introduce performance audits to ensure schools are accountable for how they spend taxpayer's money. These audits will ensure that every child has a certified teacher, modern textbooks and can attend a clean, safe school. He wants to increase the per-pupil spending, and he is opposed to vouchers.

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