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Decision '92 : SPECIAL VOTERS' GUIDE TO STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS : STATE SENATE RACE : 19th District

October 25, 1992

State Sen. Ed Davis (R-Santa Clarita) is retiring from the seat representing the 19th District, which now includes most of Ventura County and parts of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. Republicans hold the registration edge, and Assemblywoman Cathie Wright won a brutal primary for the GOP nomination. Her Democratic challenger is attorney Hank Starr, a political newcomer with less name recognition and a smaller campaign treasury than Wright.

Richard N. Burns

Age: 62

Party: Libertarian

Occupation: Lawyer

Education: Bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Michigan; law degree from New York Law School.

Background: A Northridge resident; Superior Court arbitrator in Ventura and Los Angeles counties; temporary judge in Los Angeles Municipal Court; former board chairman of the Bethune Ballet in Los Angeles; served in the U.S. Army; plans to spend about $1,000 on the campaign; has never held elected public office.

Issues: Burns said he believes the main issue is the economy. He says the state government must make California more attractive to the business leaders who create jobs. To do this, he wants to reform workers' compensation laws and cut down on counterproductive regulations, including rigid environmental and zoning laws. He favors reducing the size of state government and making it less intrusive to private business and personal lives.

Charles D. Najbergier

Age: 57

Party: Peace and Freedom Party

Occupation: Registered nurse

Education: Two-year degree in nursing from Los Angeles City College.

Background: Resident of Northridge; has been a member of Peace and Freedom Party since it was founded in 1968; as an employee of Kaiser-Sunset Hospital he helped organize its registered nurses for the American Federation of Nurses; has demonstrated against the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars and in support of human rights for African-Americans and Latinos; ran unsuccessful Assembly campaign in 1990.

Issues: Najbergier wants to promote a "peace economy" that does not rely on military-related industry. He favors affordable housing and a 30-hour workweek with the same pay to create more jobs. He advocates free child care funded by the government and free education, including college classes. He believes police officers should be licensed by the state and elected by people in the communities in which they live. He favors the legalization and government control of drugs. He opposes the death penalty.

Hank Starr

Age: 60

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree in speech from UCLA; law degree from UCLA.

Background: Bell Canyon resident for 10 years; active in grass-roots Democratic clubs; has served on boards of San Fernando Valley Bar Assn., Northridge Chamber of Commerce and Encino Chamber of Commerce; former president of Bell Canyon Assn.; served two years in U.S. Air Force as a staff judge advocate; was a member of Law Review at UCLA; has never run for public office before.

Issues: Starr advocates abortion rights for women. He wants to reduce the maximum school class size to 25 students and provide more supplies and equipment to public schools. To pay for this, he wants to review the state's existing education budget and provide further funding, if necessary. He favors campaign financing reforms that would limit individuals, corporations and political action committees to donations of no more than $250 to any specific candidate.

Cathie Wright

Age: 63

Party: Republican

Occupation: Assemblywoman

Education: A two-year degree from Lackawanna Junior Business College in Scranton, Pa.; attended drafting and surveying classes at Scranton University.

Background: Simi Valley resident for 26 years; elected to Simi Valley City Council in 1978, served as mayor in 1979; elected to California Assembly in 1980 and reelected five times; vice chairwoman of Assembly's Ways and Means Committee; named one of the Assembly's most conservative voters by a taxpayers' watchdog group in 1991; authored law creating the Ventura Project to aid emotionally disturbed children.

Issues: Wright wants to make California more attractive to business by reforming workers' compensation laws, streamlining the process to get permits and making environmental rules less restrictive. She wants to reform the tort system to discourage lawsuits that she believes increase the costs of health care. She seeks to expand throughout California the Ventura Project, a program to aid emotionally disturbed children now operating in four counties. She believes education must be provided more efficiently, without extra tax dollars.

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