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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.

* Joel Wachs

* QUESTION 1:

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

Create 100-plus strong neighborhood councils. They'll work on planning, community policing, neighborhood improvements, historic preservation, emergency preparedness, mediating disputes; study citywide issues including water and power rates, charter revision, budget and spending priorities; nominate for key city commissions; meet quarterly as a Congress of Neighborhoods.

QUESTION 2:

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

Yes. It's a 17-point plan emphasizing small- and medium-size ethnically diverse companies specializing in high value-added niche products and services; training for these companies; rooting out waste in government; reforming workers' compensation; removing unnecessary barriers and excessive regulations, and making capital available to local entrepreneurs.

QUESTION 3:

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

As mayor, remain dedicated to the historically basic principles that discrimination against one is discrimination against all, that economic opportunity for one is opportunity for all. Give the Human Relations Commission resources to build bridges, mediate disputes, begin economic development programs. Convene a citywide summit of community leaders.

QUESTION 4:

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

Yes. QUESTION 5:

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

Hire more police and implement community-based policing and Neighborhood Watch. Provide more resources for community efforts, to extend gang truces, to create job training. Provide at-risk youths with hope and a positive alternative. I support strong law enforcement action against hard-core gangs using all legal means.

QUESTION 6:

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

Law-abiding people who know how to use a gun properly should be allowed to do so, but I do not believe this right is absolute. I support the Brady bill. I supported law enforcement officials' request for a ban on assault rifles. I introduced the ordinance banning the sale of ammunition one week before New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July.

QUESTION 7:

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

Call upon every church and synagogue in the city to take responsibility for at least one homeless family. Put brooms and paintbrushes in their hands, and put them to work cleaning up this city. We need to make the homeless a high priority--because it's right, and not because it pays a dividend.

QUESTION 8:

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

We spend a lot of transit dollars to bring suburbanites downtown, $22.50 per Metrolink passenger compared with $1.17 for bus riders. That's wrong. I have proposed a 50-cent bus fare, reduced from $1.10. Most bus riders are low-income, minorities, seniors and young. We also must spend more on community transit serving the elderly and handicapped.

QUESTION 9:

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

Yes. Cut waste out of the sewer service system; lease airport operations to private business; require banks, S&Ls and insurance companies to pay the business license tax. Eliminate the Board of Public Works; be more businesslike in negotiating concessions, use of city land; create a Little Hoover Commission to root out waste and inefficiency.

QUESTION 10:

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

The state has blocked cities from taxing favored industries like banks, S&Ls, insurance companies, liquor companies and cigarette companies. A modest 5-cent sales tax on aircraft fuel at LAX would generate $70 million a year. Banks and S&Ls paying the city business tax would produce more than $40 million a year.

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