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Decision '93 / A LOOK AT THE ELECTION IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY : The Issues

April 11, 1993

On these pages, the 11 leading candidates give their views on the local economy, racial tension, gangs, higher taxes for more police officers. . . They also respond to questions on gun control, the city's homelessness, mass transit, the city budget and where they would look for new revenue.

* Tom Houston

* QUESTION 1:

If you are elected mayor, what will be your first important official action?

Convening an anti-gang task force and attacking street gangs; diverting city resources and seeking fee increases to build toward a 10,000-officer police force; seeking mandatory six-month prison terms for having unlicensed firearms; having the police cooperate with federal officials in arresting and deporting illegal aliens in criminal gangs.

QUESTION 2:

Do you have a plan for improving the city's economy? If so, please describe it briefly.

Maximize public works projects like the Alameda downtown-harbor rail-truck corridor (22,000 jobs); help move defense companies into other manufacturing; make the Community Redevelopment Agency concentrate on rebuilding manufacturing and lend to companies considering leaving; streamline the new-business permit process; help firms submit training grant proposals.

QUESTION 3:

Do you have a plan for reducing racial and ethnic tensions in Los Angeles? If so, please describe it.

Appoint three deputy mayors: an African-American, a Latino and an Asian; organize interracial town hall meetings, attended by top officials and me, for discussing racial grievances; give investment and contract preference to multiracial firms; encourage ecumenical conferences with religious and ethnic leaders.

QUESTION 4:

Do you support the ballot measure to raise taxes to add 1,000 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department?

Yes. However, 1,000 are not enough. We must build toward a 10,000-officer Police Department.

QUESTION 5:

What do you think should be done about street gangs in Los Angeles?

Increase police numbers, community involvement and coordination between federal and local agencies; create legal weapons that don't require vulnerable witnesses, like automatic six-month prison sentences for having unlicensed firearms; work with U.S. authorities to deport illegal alien gang members; bar convicted gang criminals from public housing.

QUESTION 6:

Do you support any restrictions on the right of people to own firearms? If so, what restrictions do you support?

Anyone arrested in L.A. with an unlicensed gun should serve a six-month prison sentence. At the federal level I support the Brady bill; at the state level, extending the waiting time for buying handguns.

QUESTION 7:

Do you believe the city government should try to alleviate homelessness in Los Angeles? If so, how?

It should be doing much more. I favor a tax on restaurant meals over $50 and hotel stays over $60 a night. This could raise about $35 million a year to help feed, clothe and house the homeless. We must find the kindness and compassion necessary to help our homeless, including the provision of mental health services.

QUESTION 8:

Do you support continued growth of rail mass transit, despite low ridership and high per-passenger cost to government?

Yes, I support the construction of a complete and integrated L.A. mass transit system. The $183 billion in construction funds which will be provided over the next 30 years by Measure C will create jobs and help rebuild our economy.

QUESTION 9:

Do you have a plan to balance the city budget? If so, please describe it.

With a $500-million-plus shortfall, impose trash-collection fee, increase harbor fees, bid out newspaper recycling, borrow from special funds, cut nonessential workers; privatize trash collection, explore selling Ontario Airport if the economy does not rebound within 18 months. And somehow increase the police force, by 1,000 officers if possible.

QUESTION 10:

Do you support any tax increase or other source of additional revenue for the city? If so, please describe it.

Given the budget shortfall and police needs, I support revenue enhancements including the police tax on the ballot, a trash-collection fee, an increase in dockage and unloading fees for oil tankers using L.A. Harbor, selling recyclable newspapers on the international market.

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