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44th Assembly District : Democratic Incumbent Jack Scott and Republican Challenger Ken LaCorte Do Battle for a Seat in a Traditionally GOP Stronghold

October 18, 1998|BOB RECTOR | Bob Rector is op-ed page editor for the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County editions

Jack Scott in 1996 became the first Democrat elected to office in the 44th Assembly District, which covers an area stretching from Pasadena through parts of La Canada Flintridge, Glendale and into the northeastern San Fernando Valley.

But the 65-year-old former president of Pasadena City College may have trouble duplicating his victory in November.

The GOP is throwing its resources behind Ken LaCorte, a La Crescenta medical supply company manager.

LaCorte, 33, gained some notoriety recently when he created a Web site that listed the names of registered sex offenders.

Democrats have a 5-point registration advantage but the seat is still competitive. Although President Clinton carried the district in 1992 and 1996, Gov. Pete Wilson won there in 1994 by a substantial margin.

The Times recently asked both candidates their views on a variety of state issues.

* * *

Times: Propositon 5 would sanction casino-style gambling on the state's Indian lands. Do you favor or oppose it and why?

Scott: Although I am sympathetic to the plight of the Indians, Prop. 5 will remove all regulations on the spread of gambling in California. Rather, I voted for the Senate bill, which places a cap on video slot machines (20,000) on Indian reservations. This is both reasonable and legal.

LaCorte: There is already gambling on Indian lands, and Prop. 5 would not, by my understanding, allow any expansion of it. I support Prop. 5 because of the unfair treatment Indians have received historically. I believe Indians should retain the right to govern themselves and their activities on their reservations.


Times: Do you support Propositon 9, which would rewrite the state's electricity deregulation law to require a 20% rate cut and prevent utilities from charging customers $28 billion for the cost of nuclear plants and long-term purchase contracts?

Scott: I do not support Prop. 9 because it nullifies an agreement reached in 1996 involving consumer groups, the state Legislature and utilities. This agreement was signed by the governor. Prop. 9 is opposed by both gubernatorial candidates, taxpayer groups, labor unions, conservation organizations and the utilities.

LaCorte: I do not support Prop. 9. I believe current deregulation of electric utilities should stand, allowing its effects and benefits to be fully realized. I oppose embarking on an initiative such as Prop. 9, which would actually cost consumers money.


Times: Do you believe parents should be given vouchers to help them afford private schools for their children?

Scott: No. The costs are prohibitive--it would cost $2.7 billion just to fund the 615,000 children already in private and church schools. Our schools need more resources, not less. I join California voters who rejected vouchers in 1996. We should invest in improving our public schools for all students.

LaCorte: I have serious doubts about school vouchers. I believe we can instill real accountability in our education system through charter schools and other needed reforms. I have a plan to initiate school report cards to encourage parental involvement by telling them how their school performs in relation to neighboring districts.


Times: Do you support more rigid gun control laws?

Scott: I support reasonable gun regulations because I believe that guns are dangerous products. Last year, gunfire killed more Californians than automobile accidents. Therefore, I supported three different measures in the Legislature that banned assault weapons, that required gun dealers to offer trigger locks and that mandated safety measures for Saturday night specials.

LaCorte: My family has experienced gun violence firsthand, when by sister was shot to death in 1976. Our real goal should be reducing crime. I support a ban on fully automatic weapons and will support keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, and to keep criminals who use them behind bars.


Times: Do you support a woman's right to an abortion in all cases?

Scott: I support Roe vs. Wade, which gives the right of abortion to a woman. However, Roe vs. Wade gives the state an interest in regulating abortion in the third trimester. Therefore, abortions in the third trimester should only be permitted when a woman's life or health is at stake.

LaCorte: I support a woman's right to choose an abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is endangered.


Times: Part of the district is located in the San Fernando Valley, which is involved in a debate over seceding from the city of Los Angeles. How do you stand on this issue?

Scott: The San Fernando Valley should only be able to secede from Los Angeles if both the residents of the Valley and the residents of Los Angeles support it by a majority vote. No portion of the city should secede without considering the impact it has on the entire city.

LaCorte: L.A. is too big and run by bureaucrats detached from real people. I support citizens' right to choose their own local government.


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