The Times asked the nine candidates in Tuesday's election for the Los Angeles County Board
of Supervisors to answer several questions on pressing issues facing the county and the 1st
District. The following are their responses, which have been edited for space. One candidate, Louis Chitty III, declined to respond.
Charles Calderon, 40, Democrat, state senator
Joe Chavez, 54, Democrat, computer analyst
Sarah Flores, 53, Republican, supervisorial aide
Khalil Khalil, 48, Republican, engineer
James Mihalka, 32, Republican, paramedic
Gloria Molina, 42, Democrat, L.A. city councilwoman
Gonzalo Molina, 64, Democrat, schoolteacher
Art Torres, 44, Democrat, state senator
TAXES: Should a license tax on businesses in unincorporated communities be levied that would raise $16.6 million for mental health and health programs?
Calderon: I do not support an additional tax on unincorporated communities. The unintentional result would be a heavy burden on businesses on the largest unincorporated area of the county, East Los Angeles, and that would discourage businesses from locating there.
Flores: I would be opposed to a business license tax that would only affect the unincorporated communities. What we need to do is to ensure that the state of California pays the county of Los Angeles for programs it mandates.
Khalil: Health care is on the state level and the state as a whole should work together to solve it. So, if taxes need to be levied, it should be on statewide basis.
Mihalka: The county can't afford to impose taxes on businesses or individuals. Higher taxes would cause individuals to move and businesses to relocate to another state, causing more unemployment and exacerbating the budget problems.
Gloria Molina: The business license fee is a reasonable tax levied in cities throughout the country. However, the county has not imposed it on businesses in the vast unincorporated area. It is only fair that a business in Malibu should pay the same tax as one in El Monte.
Gonzalo Molina: Yes.
Torres: No. The unincorporated areas are among the least affluent--and the hardest hit by cuts in existing services. Rather than raising taxes--and discouraging new business--we need to create incentives to encourage economic development in these areas.
FEES/TAXES: Should the county consider other fees or taxes to raise more money for crucial programs?
Calderon: I support an immediate audit of the county's expenditures to identify any waste or surplus of funds before there is any discussion of raising taxes.
Flores: I walked door-to-door in November urging voters to support the nickel-a-drink proposal. I would support this measure again to increase county revenue. I would also support a change in the formula of car registration fees to increase revenues.
Khalil: If the crucial programs will help the people of the unincorporated areas, specifically, the raises are justified.
Gloria Molina: I would not consider additional taxes until I was certain the county was operating as efficiently as possible. Then, and only then, would I be willing to consider revenue enhancements earmarked for specific and vital services.
Gonzalo Molina: Taxes should be raised among those who have the ability to pay only.
Torres: We don't need new taxes, we need to manage existing resources better. And we need to begin by cutting the fat in county government. No more fat pay raises for county executives who don't perform. No more wasteful contracting out practices.
SHERIFF: Should there be a citizens review panel to oversee cases of alleged abuse by sheriff's deputies?
Calderon: I do not support the creation of additional layers of bureaucracy to monitor the activities of sheriff's deputies. That is clearly the role of the Sheriff's Department and current personnel commissions.
Flores: I support creating a special panel within the Grand Jury to review abuse cases. In addition, I believe the Los Angeles district attorney's office special investigation section should conduct a review of all allegations of abuse.
Khalil: The sheriff is elected by the people, to serve the people. Part of his oath of office is to protect people's rights and his job is to do his best to see that cases of alleged abuse have no place in his department.
Mihalka: Yes. It should be made up of people from both the community and those familiar with police operations.
Gloria Molina: Absolutely. It is imperative to establish an objective, independent panel of citizens to oversee and monitor the performance of the Sheriff's Department and assure that they are accountable to the community.
Gonzalo Molina: Yes, definitely. No harm could come of that.
Torres: Yes, I've already proposed that this be done. The Sheriff's Department needs to be more accountable to the community and to the Board of Supervisors.
PRIVATIZATION: Should more services now provided by the county be contracted out to private firms?