Nine candidates will vie for three California State Assembly seats in the local area between Santa Monica on the north and Los Angeles International Airport on the south in the election Tuesday, November 2nd.
Assembly District 41 is presently represented by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley and includes Santa Monica and also Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Encino, Hidden Hills, Lake Sherwood, Malibu, Oak Park, Pacific Palisades, Port Hueneme, South Oxnard, Tarzana, Topanga, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills.
Assembly District 51 is currently represented by Assemblyman Jerome Horton and includes Playa Vista and also Alondra Park, Del Aire, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, View Park/Windsor Hills, West Athens, West Compton and Willowbrook.
Assembly District 53 is currently represented by Assemblyman George Nakano and includes Marina del Rey, Mar Vista, Playa del Rey, Venice and Westchester, as well as El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance.
n Fran Pavley, incumbent, Democrat.
Pavley is seeking her third and final term. Assemblymembers are limited to three two-year terms.
She currently chairs two select Assembly committees — Air and Water Quality, Hydrogen and Other Alternative Fuels — and a budget subcommittee on natural resources.
In the past legislative session, 12 of 17 bills Pavley authored became law.
Some of those bills would prohibit the use of vaccines that contain mercury, require retailers to recycle cell phones at no cost to consumers, and protect homeowners who experienced a total loss from having their policies canceled during rebuilding.
“It’s an honor to be an Assembly member,” Pavley said. “I love being a part of history, reaching out to the public, and getting to know what is on everyone’s minds.”
If reelected, Pavley says she would continue her focus on the environment, consumer protection, and education.
Her husband Andy is a public school teacher and she is a former teacher. The Pavleys have two children and formerly raised guide dogs for the blind.
n Richard Koffler, software entrepreneur, Libertarian.
“I am running for public office because I feel compelled to try to help fix our state’s insane, out-of-control government, where both Democrats and Republicans recklessly burden everyone with excessive taxation, spending and regulation,” Koffler said.
He said the Libertarian Party asked him to run for office. The party platform supports individual liberty, personal responsibility, and a free-market economy.
Koffler is the chief executive officer of Koffler Ventures LLC and works in the risk investment sector of the information technology industry. He lives in the Pacific Palisades with his wife Cheryl and daughter.
If elected, Koffler said he would limit the role of government, make individuals responsible for their own healthcare, foster market-driven competition within the public school system, and “pull the plug on the absurd war on drugs.”
“The Libertarian alternative is what most people at heart stand for,” Koffler said. “There is too much intrusion by the government into people’s lives. One vote at a time, we have to take back the country from big government.”
n Heather Peters, businesswoman/mediator, Republican.
Peters said she is a centrist who is “socially moderate and fiscally responsible.” She is pro-choice, believes in protecting the environment and would extend rights to homosexuals, but with limits on marriage.
“Legislators in Sacramento have become so partisan,” Peters said. “With Democrats on the far left and Republicans on the far right, what we end up with are deadlocks.”
She owns a private mediation firm in Santa Monica and previously worked as a lawyer for ten years. She graduated in the top ten percent of her class at Southwestern University School of Law and was the first person in her family to attend college.
Peters first ran for public office during the recall election of former governor Gray Davis, but dropped out of the race to support Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
She calls herself a “Schwarzenegger Republican” and hopes to reduce government spending, find ways to keep businesses and jobs in California, and get education funding “into the classrooms and out of bureaucracies.”
A longtime Democrat donated office space for her headquarters and she has broad appeal across all party lines, Peters said.
She lives in Santa Monica and her husband Jeff is a business consultant. She attended public schools in New York and moved to California in 1987.
“I am a voice of moderation,” Peters said. “I will streamline government and do things more efficiently.
“Legislators should regulate with a sense of purpose, not just regulate for the sake of regulating.”
n Jerome Horton, incumbent, Democrat.
Horton is seeking his third and final term under term limits.
He currently chairs the Standing Committee on Governmental Organization and two select committees on horse racing and gang violence/juvenile crime.
If reelected, he hopes to focus on education, employment, economic development, public safety, and the Playa Vista site.
“As chair of the youth and gang violence committee, I have read research that indicates the solution to crime is a good, solid career education,” Horton said. “I am trying to develop pilot programs for students to attend college and find jobs in popular vocations that they can keep the rest of their lives.”
Horton also wants to keep California jobs from being outsourced overseas. He said businesses that actually create jobs within the state should get tax credits as an incentive.
He said one idea is for employers to hire people receiving state benefits who are disabled but still able to work. “It’s a win-win situation all around.”
Playa Vista mitigation concerning traffic, environment, and the Native American burial site should be watched closely, Horton said.
“I support smart growth that is managed and properly mitigated,” Horton said. “The Playa Vista project is already going forward. The best thing to do now is address the issues so that development doesn’t impose on surrounding communities.
He has been a Los Angeles City Council member and a legislative deputy/business tax advisor for the State Board of Equalization. He also has real estate sales experience.
n Daniel Sherman, mechanical engineer, Libertarian.
Sherman could not be reached for comment.
Assemblymember George Nakano is termed out of office.
n Ethan Boivie, rocket scientist, Libertarian.
Boivie is making his first run for public office. “I am not a politician and won’t cater to special interests,” he said.
He is campaigning to allow gay marriage, legalize marijuana, reform the public school system, and reduce taxes.
“The Los Angeles Unified School District is one of the worst school districts,” Boivie said. “Parents need to have a say in school choice.
“Competition between public and private schools will create quality education.”
He also said the prison system is overpopulated with nonviolent criminals, which leads to violent criminals being released early because there is no space to keep them.
Boivie supports community service, rehabilitation, and other alternatives to jail for nonviolent criminals and drug users.
If elected, he pledges not to raise taxes and he will focus the government’s attention on “other priorities” instead of “overspending” on LAX expansion.
n Mike Gordon, former El Segundo mayor, Democrat.
Gordon was elected to the El Segundo City Council in 1996 and had been the mayor since 1998.
If elected to state office, he would work on issues such as the $10 billion state budget deficit, public education, transportation, stopping expansion of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), healthcare, and public safety.
“As mayor of El Segundo, I was a leader for nine years against airport expansion,” Gordon said.
“I am concerned about the noise, air pollution, traffic and living next to the number one terrorist target in Southern California.”
The southern border of the airport meets the northern border of El Segundo. Gordon believes the City of Los Angeles should expand other airports “instead of trying to bring everyone to the Westside.”
Gordon said that as mayor, he also ensured that the El Segundo police and fire departments received all the necessary resources and that city funding was provided for public schools.
He said he also increased funding for parks and recreation, cable television, and senior programs.
He has a political science degree from California State University Fullerton and is president/partner in a marketing firm specializing in research, polling, and fundraising.
Gordon is married and has four children. From 1977 to 1982 he was on the staff of a member of the Assembly.
“I’m a champion for our schools and have worked to make our communities safer. We need to work in a bipartisan fashion to solve problems,” Gordon said.
n Greg Hill, Redondo Beach mayor/business owner, Republican.
Hill was first elected to the Redondo Beach City Council in 1993 and has been mayor since 1997.
If elected to the State Assembly, his top priorities would be to reduce crime, protect air and water quality, balance the budget without raising taxes, and reduce “heavy regulation” on business owners.
“I ran for Redondo Beach’s City Council 12 years ago because politicians had forgotten who they work for,” Hill said.
“I work for the people and not special interest, big business, or big unions. We should bring common sense to politics and focus on the objective rather than the process.”
He said outside-the-box thinking helped Redondo Beach reduce its crime rate by 50 percent. In 1993, the city was the first in the nation to impose gang injunctions to keep known gang members from congregating in city parks, he says.
As mayor, he also organized a sting operation funded by misdemeanor fines to catch 98 career felons in one single day. More than $1 million in stolen property was recovered, Hill said.
“Redondo Beach was also the first city to create a storm drain adoption program,” Hill said. “A private entrepreneur came up with the idea. It’s creative advertising for businesses and pollution doesn’t reach the ocean.”
He said taxes won’t have to be raised if the government finds more ways to be efficient, such as using a zero-based budgeting system.
He has an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California and owns an insurance/financial planning business in Torrance.
“All of the country is politically divided and I am hoping that California can get past the bickering,” Hill said. “People should stop worrying about labels and focus on the hopes and goals.”
n James Smith, Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council treasurer, Peace and Freedom Party.
Smith said he has been a union and community activist his whole life and plans to run a progressive campaign for the 53rd Assembly District.
If elected, he would balance the budget by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations, provide free healthcare to all Californians, provide more funding for public schools, create affordable housing options, and restore rent control.
“The other candidates are not in tune with the district’s voters,” Smith said. “The district is choked with traffic and pollution, and overdevelopment has damaged the environment.”
He said the State Legislature has not done much on local issues and Nakano “has only addressed South Bay issues and has little concern for people who live north of the airport.”
Smith’s grass-roots campaign is based in Venice. If elected, he would open a district office/service center in Venice to deal directly with local issues such as homelessness and transportation.
He wants Playa Vista Phase II stopped and cargo planes re-routed from LAX to other airports. He also would like the Assembly to approve a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Smith said he “can’t be bought” and “won’t back down when the public’s interests are at stake.”
He has a master’s degree in sociology from California State University Northridge.