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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.

* Richard Katz

* QUESTION 1:

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

Move decisively against crime. Put more police on the streets with money from parking meter and arts funds and the sale of Ontario Airport; seek unfreezing of police hiring; convene a summit of government and community leaders to map measurable reduction of crime in 100 days.

QUESTION 2:

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

First, reduce crime. Expand the economy, emphasizing new technologies; create a Silicon Valley of transportation. We can build light-rail trains, clean-burning vehicles and electric cars and sell them to the world. We can expand environmental cleanup, communications and fiber-optic industries. Give city-contract preference to companies that spend money in L.A.

QUESTION 3:

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

We must get our economy moving; reject divisive rhetoric; make diversity a source of strength; open City Hall to those excluded by race, ethnicity, geography and sexual orientation. I'll keep office hours on a first-come, first-served basis; conduct televised town hall meetings; meet regularly with community representatives on making L.A. work again.

QUESTION 4:

Do you support the ballot measure to raise taxes to add 1,000 police officers?

No. I won't raise taxes to add police until after the city has set budget priorities and we have looked into every possible funding alternative from selling Ontario Airport to transferring the parking meter and the arts funds to the LAPD.

QUESTION 5:

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

First, swift and sure punishment of members. Start a strike force with judges, prosecutors to get gang members off the streets quickly. Start aggressive community policing; help teachers, community leaders intervene early to keep gang "wanna-bes" from becoming "has-beens." Give kids economic opportunity and hope.

QUESTION 6:

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

I supported Assembly bills to restrict the right to carry guns and to ban assault rifles. I voted to expand the handgun-purchase waiting period to 15 days. I co-sponsored a bill to increase sentences for criminals possessing or using "cop-killer" bullets.

QUESTION 7:

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

Bring government and nonprofits together to explore providing shelter and help the homeless return to society. Ask county supervisors to meet obligations to the homeless. Push for pension-fund investment in low-cost housing. The city can't solve the problem by itself. We need money owed as a result of the census undercount.

QUESTION 8:

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

Urban sprawl has made L.A. auto-dependent. Reversing this requires user-friendly, high-technology transit systems. Use $18.3 billion in government money to take California's transportation systems into the next century with lightweight buses and rail cars, electric vehicles, high-speed trains and subways. Use money saved by merging the LACTC and the RTD, $30 million-40 million, on L.A.'s bus system.

QUESTION 9:

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

Run LAX at a profit. Audit city assets needed and ones we can sell or lease. Form a citizens commission to advise on budget priorities. Develop a five-year plan. Eliminate wasteful city departments--for example, transfer Transportation's functions to the Planning Department and the Bureau of Engineering, eliminate the Board of Public Works, making bureaus report to the mayor.

QUESTION 10:

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

I'll raise taxes only as a last resort. First we need to look at what the city owns and owes, as a business does, and see what assets can be leased or sold or used better.

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