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Campaign '94: Issues and Answers

August 21, 1994

Three candidates are running in the Nov. 8 election to represent the 34th state Senate District. They are Democrat Donna L. Chessen of Garden Grove, Libertarian Thomas E. Reimer of Orange and Republican Rob Hurtt, the incumbent, of Garden Grove.

"Three Strikes" Crime Law

Chessen: "I favor 'three strikes.' It's a giant step toward telling criminals that there are mandatory consequences for breaking the law. I think there should be penalties at least as stringent for all crimes and, in some instances, I favor 'one strike and you're out.' There certainly are other avenues we should pursue as well in the war against crime. I support crime prevention, education, rehabilitation and more police on the street. But none of it works without enforcing stricter penalties."

Reimer: "The 'three strikes' initiative has many flaws in it. The basic reason for even proposing it is because most everyone is frustrated by our legal system. We have an inconsistent system of punishment and retribution whereby violent crime is punished less severely than victimless crime. If a murderer would be sentenced, and no parole given except in unusual cases, we wouldn't need a 'three strikes' initiative. One 'strike' would be enough as determined by a court. Crimes with victims should require compensation to the victims and their families by the perpetrator."

Hurtt: "In the Legislature, I was a co-author of AB 971, the 'three strikes' measure signed by the governor. I also fully support Prop. 184, the 'three strikes' measure that will appear on the ballot. Critics who contend we cannot afford this new law have been proven wrong. The Office of Planning and Research estimates the 'three strikes' law will save the state $23 billion by keeping dangerous felons off the streets, where they were costing society lives and dollars. Additionally, I released a report itemizing how we can incarcerate more prisoners, saving billions of dollars."

Save Our State Initiative to Curtail Benefits to Illegal Immigrants

Chessen: "I am sympathetic to the SOS proposal. Like many Californians, I am concerned that full implementation could increase public health risks and hurt innocent children. I am also concerned the measure could jeopardize billions of dollars in federal funds. However, it is my belief that the full SOS initiative will never be completely implemented. By the time it is sorted through the courts and the federal government, some of the provisions will be modified or thrown out. . . . The SOS measure will put the issue on the front burner and force the Legislature and the federal government to meet their responsibilities. For that reason, I am inclined to support it."

Reimer: "I am opposed to the SOS initiative. The purpose is to eliminate the cost due to illegal immigration. This may not be accomplished according to some studies. It will become discriminatory and helps promote animosity toward other nationalities. . . . The best way to settle this problem is to eliminate the welfare state. Encouraging people to receive benefits and entitlements causes poorer people to leave their country and come here only to collect from our system. This country was founded on a moral work ethic where anyone can become successful. I see nothing wrong with a more open border policy provided we require people to support themselves."

Hurtt: "I am fully supportive of Prop. 187, the SOS initiative, because it is the only way the people of California can express to the federal and state government that illegal immigration must stop. The initiative route is the final one we can take, as the federal government has failed to relieve this mandate. Granted, this isn't the only wasteful spending in our government, but it is a good place to begin reforming how our valuable tax dollars are spent."

Single-Payer Health Initiative

Chessen: "The single-payer plan on the ballot includes massive tax increases for businesses and wage earners; I can't support that. I would support health care reform that provides all citizens with access to basic coverage without jeopardizing broader coverage for people who want it. No matter what the health care proposal, however, we must demand that it produce better coverage, not additional bureaucracy and paperwork."

Reimer: "A single-payer health plan is a giant step toward socialism. The private sector has been proven to provide more service for the dollar than any government bureaucracy ever has. We definitely have flaws in the system. One problem is a legal system overburdened by medical lawsuits. If we could encourage binding arbitration wherever possible, it would help. Another problem is deductibility of insurance premiums is allowed only for corporations and large businesses, not for an individual or self-employed person. Perhaps the biggest problem is the lack of competition in the medical establishment. . . . If more people bought their own insurance and paid for their own care, they would be more responsible and selective in services."

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