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Valley Perspective | VALLEY PERSPECTIVE INTERVIEWS

41st Assembly District

Democrat Pavley and Republican Shapiro Seek Election in an Area Stretching From Malibu Into the Valley

October 01, 2000|BOB RECTOR | Bob Rector is opinion page editor for the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County editions of The Times

Each election cycle, The Times Valley Edition editorial board interviews candidates from select races about their views on the issues and about their campaigns. Today's interviews are with Fran Pavley and Jayne Murphy Shapiro, who are campaigning for the 41st Assembly District seat vacated by Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), who is running for state Senate. The largely affluent, well-educated district stretches from Malibu over the Santa Monica Mountains into the western San Fernando Valley.

Pavley, a Democrat, is a schoolteacher who served on the Agoura Hills City Council and was a four-term mayor of that city. She also has served on the California Coastal Commission and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Committee.

Shapiro, a Republican, is a nurse and community activist. She is the founder of KidSafe, an organization dedicated to strengthening laws against child molesters and increasing awareness of child abuse. She is a member of the executive committee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and an appointee to the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women.

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FRAN PAVLEY:

Question: What do you think you offer this district that your opponent does not?

Answer: I think the primary difference is my experience. It seems that local government has become the new training ground for state office. So I think voters are looking for people who sort of hit the ground running when they get to Sacramento in January. It's somewhat frightening to think that when you get up there, less than two months after being elected, you have to be ready to go. And there's not a lot of institutional memory left in Sacramento. Only one-third of the Legislature will have served more than two years.

Q: Registration in the district favors Democrats. But your opponent seems to think she can draw from that Democratic base because she has a somewhat middle of the road stance. In an era of centrist politics, do you think this will work?

A: I have not seen that deterioration at all. The reason I won the primary was I was able to win every precinct in Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Malibu, Topanga, all the unincorporated areas, which is really a swing part of the district. It's really a lot more evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, and so I was very effective in keeping my Republican friends voting for me, and I'm sure they will again in the general election. I think that comes from being a nonpartisan local elected official. I haven't really been engaged in partisan politics, and they know me for my record.

Q: We talked about term limits and the effect they have on the Legislature. Are you in favor of term limits?

A: I think the voters are in favor of term limits. But I think they're much too short. What if we expected that kind of turnover in any other profession? It takes years to develop that kind of expertise. I think of my effectiveness as a City Council member--I would say by my second or third term, I was really doing great things for the city because I had developed very good relationships with county, state and federal officials. I was able to get involved in the League of California Cities on a statewide level, and I think I served the public to their betterment, being around enough years. I don't think the public's ready to change term limits, though, right now. I wish the Assembly terms were longer than two years.

Q: What is your stand on the school voucher initiative?

A: I'm absolutely and unequivocally opposed to vouchers for a variety of reasons. Financially, it's coming at the exact wrong time to hit the public schools. The public is now trying to reinvest in its schools. Education is the No. 1 issue of all interest groups, no matter what age group--people with kids in schools, senior citizens. It's equally as important to the business community. I think people realize it's going to drive California's economic engine in the 21st century. We've got to invest in our public schools. I'm also very concerned about the voucher initiative because of the lack of accountability. As a public school teacher, we're required to be more and more accountable, whether it's test scores or curriculum, and the voucher initiative requires no accountability. You don't have to teach a particular curriculum. You don't have to have the standard tests that we have. You don't have to have teachers with credentials. You can pick and choose whoever you want to have in your program. And I really don't think $4,000 a year is adequate for many people who are looking at other options.

Q: What about the initiative that eliminates the two-thirds requirement on the school bond votes?

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