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Assembly Race Web Chat/orangevale


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#1 bilbee

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

All Orangevale, Fair Oaks, and Folsom voters will be faced with a choice for the new 6th Assembly District seat. A transcript of the Sacramento Bee's recent web chat follows:

Torey Van Oot:
Welcome to The Beeís live chat on the Sacramento regionís 6th Assembly District race. Today we are taking questions for Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin Attached File  Beth Gaines.jpg   37.56K   0 downloads, and Democratic challenger Regy Bronner Attached File  Regy Bronner & wife Anita.jpg   17.81K   0 downloads. The third candidate in the race, Folsom Republican Andy Pugno, declined to participate. His campaign manager said he had a scheduling issue

Torey:
My name is Torey. I will be moderating today's discussion. I cover California politics and the state Legislature for The Bee. You can check out recent election coverage on our Capitol Alert blog at this link: http://blogs.sacbee..../election-2012/

The newly drawn 6th Assembly District includes Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Roseville, Folsom and Granite Bay. You can see if you live in the district using this SacBee.com interactive map: http://www.sacbee.co...r-congress.html

OK, let's get started! Please welcome Assemblywoman Gaines and Mr. Bronner to our chat. Thank you for joining us. Could you both please introduce yourselves to our participants and tell us why you want to represent the 6th Assembly District?

Regy Bronner:
We have 45,000 district residents who are either out of work (25K) or underemployed (20K) and it is getting worse all the time with police, fireman and teachers being added to the list. I will begin the process of turning that growing number back.

Beth Gaines:
Hello everyone. Iím Beth Gaines and am running for state assembly in the 6th district. Iíve spent the last 25 years raising my family and working in my local family insurance agency. My focus as a state legislator is to create jobs and limit the size of government. Iím also working to reduce the red tape and regulations that hurt small businesses and to be as accessible as possible to my constituents.

Torey:
Ok time for our first reader question....

The whole issue of predatory ADA lawsuits is a huge issue facing our state's small business community, even US Senator Diann Feinstein has entered the fray on the issue, possibly Assemblywoman Gaines could discuss some of the recent legislation she has introduced to try and resolve this serious problem.

We'll give Mr. Bronner an opportunity to chime in on this issue after Assemblywoman Gaines gives her response.

Beth Gaines:
Thanks for the question. Iím fed up with the amount of frivolous ADA lawsuits. When an individual attorney can single handedly shut down a business overnight, it is wrong. And current law supports it. Thatís why I have introduced legislation (AB 1878 and AB 1879) that will stop these frivolous lawsuits.

Torey:
To follow up, could you explain how your legislation would address those issues?

Beth Gaines:
AB 1878 will allow businesses a 120 grace period to get the ball rolling on becoming compliant before being hit with a lawsuit.
AB 1879 requires the State Architect to compile a list of all state and federal ADA regulations and identify where they conflict. As a small businesswoman, I support access for all citizens. However, it is important to give local business owners a chance to fix the problem before they're hit with expensive litigation.

Torey:
Thank you. Mr. Bronner, do you think such lawsuits are a major issue for businesses? Do you support Assemblywoman Gaines' bills on this topic? What, if anything, do you think should be done to address the issue?

Regy Bronner:
ADA has been with us for twenty years. Every business person knows about it and tries to adhere to it. The proponents of the anti-ADA legislation have failed to quantify the scope of these so-called predatory lawsuits. Disability Rights California has informed us that similiar legislation has been introduced many times in the past. Many of our district residents experience disabilities and deserve equal access to our local merchants. How many cases have their been in this district. Perhaps Ms. Gaines can tell us?

Beth Gaines:
Thousands of businesses have been hit with or threatened by lawsuits. All throughout my district I hear horror story after horror story from small mom and pop businesses about ADA lawsuit abuse. Even Senator Feinstein recognizes that this is a problem and has asked the legislature to get involved.

Torey:
Here's a question for both candidates. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove is trying to qualify a ballot measure that would create a part-time Legislature in California. Here's what the measure would do and a link to a story by Bee colleague Jim Sanders: "The measure would reduce the legislative year from nine months to three, cut lawmakers' annual pay from $95,000 to $18,000, require legislators to adopt two-year state budgets, and bar officeholders from accepting state employment or appointment to a state post while serving in the Capitol or for five years afterward." http://blogs.sacbee....-part-time.html Do you think it is a good idea? Why or why not.

Regy Bronner:
Bad idea. We already have legislators who are working effectively part-time. I will work full-time on our full-time problems. Those out of work are out of work full-time. They need my help now.

Beth Gaines:
A part-time legislature is a good idea. What I like about it is that it forces more legislators to go to work in the private sector and deal with the laws they have created. Part of the reason I ran for the Assembly is because I got tired of dealing with the regulations that government forces onto my business. Having more real world business owners in the Legislature is a good thing.

Torey:
So do you support the proposal introduced by Assemblywoman Grove?

Beth Gaines:
Yes.

Regy Bronner:
No.

Torey:
OK time for another reader question. Regy Bronner, how will you help create jobs for Assembly District 6? Another reader asks a related question: Mr. Bronner, how do you propose to turn around the high unemployment numbers?

Regy Bronner:
We need to attract high tech and green light-manufacturing to the district. This requires getting the inputs from the cities of what they would be willing to do to attract manufacturing companies. I have already talked with four city managers and have a good idea. Then these lists have to be matched up with the legislation that going through the assembly to help out the distressed cities. Last, the investers in these projects, primarily located, in the Silicon Valley, the "nursery of California business". I had to do exactly the same things as a Business Development executive for twenty years in the Silicon Valley. This should get us started.

Beth Gaines:
Creating jobs should be our number one focus. We still have over 11% unemployment. We need to enact policies that reduce government regulations on job-creating businesses and lower the tax burden on families so more people can invest in the economy. Bottom line, the government needs to get out of the way and allow businesses in California to hire more people and grow.

Torey:
Mr. Bronner, can you elaborate on the sorts of proposals you think could attract such industries to the district? Are you talking about targeted tax breaks?

Regy Bronner:
And how will Ms. Gaines attract the jobs here? A year ago the SacBee had an article about 20+ companies being attracted to Sacramento and only 1 to Placer County. Someone was not minding the store. I will do whatever it takes to put my neighbors back to work. Tax breaks per se are not the answer. Empty commercial space, private-public partnerships, etc. all have a place in the negotiations.

Torey:
And Assemblywoman Gaines, please give examples of current regulations you feel are hurting businesses that you would support repealing or changing.

Beth Gaines:
Thanks for asking. To help get rid of the regulatory burden on businesses and change the anti-business climate at the Capitol, Iíve introduced legislation to put a moratorium on all new regulations for the next two years.

Torey:
Are there any current state regulations you believe should be repealed to help small businesses and promote job growth? Mr. Bronner, you can chime in, too, if you have an answer to this question.

Beth Gaines:
I actually have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Bronner. I think that we need to enact more incentives and targeted tax breaks for small businesses, including high tech and manufacturing.

Regy Bronner:
"Pledges" and moratoriums tie the hands of the legislators. This is the fundamental cause of legislative gridlock. My neighbers want me to "reach across the aisle" and seek solutions not "pledges".

Torey:
It's great to see such a spirited debate on the issues, but let's get back to the question at hand: Are there any current state regulations you believe should be repealed to help small businesses and promote job growth?

Beth Gaines:
AB 32 and its subsequent regulatory mandates is one of the biggest complaints I hear from local businesses in my district. Iíve heard from local school districts that are being forced to install expensive devices on their busses because of the over-reaching regulations caused by AB 32.

Regy Bronner:
One major problem pointed out to me by a developer who lost a large project was "all mandated costs were included including EIR and CEQA regulations and developer fees but I still lost my loan guarantee because it took too long to get the process finalized." That has to change.

Torey:
Time for another reader question: What retiree health and pension reforms will you support?

Regy Bronner:
I am a financial guy. We struck a bargain with others to work for us at a certain rate with benefits. It was a contract and contracts are sacred in my world. If we have to ask the retirees to suffer financially then I want everyone else to share the burden equally.

Beth Gaines:
Everyone knows that the current pension system is not working and cannot be sustained into the future. An unsustainable state pension system hurts everyone, including current employees. However, we need to be very careful when looking at reform ideas. I wonít support any quick-fix or temporary solutions. In the meantime, we need to get rid of pension spiking and the ďairtimeĒ purchases for time not actually worked.

Torey:
Do you support or oppose the 12-point pension plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown? And why or why not.

Beth Gaines:
I agree with a lot of what the Governor is proposing, as I said in my last post. However, I want to be very careful and read the proposal in legislative format before committing to vote for the plan. I've found that often times the devil is in the details when it comes to legislation.

Regy Bronner:
Governor Brown has gotten a number of unions to mediate their pension programs already but they have asked him to offset these with increased revenues. I support the plan as much as i understand it but I do not see where the revenues are going to come from without laying off more employees and adding to our communitiesí fiscal grief. Other than that, I will have to look into it more carefully when the Governor comes up with a final plan that gets the minority in the legislature on board. (If) they don't show up it doesn't matter what is in the plan.

Torey:
Assemblywoman Gaines, one reader wants to know where you stand on the federal budget proposal introduced by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, including its changes to Medicare. Mr. Bronner, please weigh in on this as well.

Beth Gaines:
While I haven't read the entire Ryan Federal Budget proposal, I support anything that reduces government spending and lowers the national debt. That is how I approach the state budget, as well.

Regy Bronner:
It is a direct attack on our Medicare and my children's as well. It would contribute to our national indebtedness by lowering the corporate tax level from 35% to 25%. That is a trillion dollar tragedy in the making.

Torey:
Speaking of the state budget, here's a reader question related to revenues... In the absence of other acceptable budget deficit-reducing legislation, would you favor a temporary surtax on the incomes of some portion of the wealthiest Californians?

Beth Gaines:
No. Raising taxes during the worst recession since the Great Depression is the wrong thing to do. Iím proud to have voted against $58 Billion in tax increases last year (over $1000 per family!) and Iím going to continue to fight against tax increases.

Regy Bronner:
Yes including corporate California which was given a pass by Proposition 13. C'mon lets share the pain together. It is the only way we are going to return our State to prosperity.

Torey:
Mr Bronner, do you support the tax proposal Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to qualify for the November ballot?

Regy Bronner:
Yes.

Beth Gaines:
For the record, I believe that Prop 13 needs to be protected. It is one of the best protections for senior homeowners on fixed incomes. We have a spending problem in California... not a revenue problem.

Regy Bronner:
Not true. We do not have a tax problem. Rather, we have a revenue problem. Unemployed people do not contribute to our tax base, or spend money with our local merchants. Put them to work and you will probably not neet long-term new taxes.

Torey:
Assemblywoman Gaines, absent additional revenues, what do you propose doing to balance the state's budget?

Beth Gaines:
We need to protect our business community and right size government. Just like everyone does at home and I do in my business, California's government needs to live within our means. We shouldn't balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers and job producers.

Torey:
How would you balance the budget?

Beth Gaines:
I think we should also focus on making government more efficient. State government will have to share in the cuts that everyone else has made during this recession.

Regy Bronner:
So, should we balance it on the backs of our least fortunate? Furlough all the state workers in Sacramento and watch all the small business fold. It is happening right here already.

Torey:
Just to be clear, Assemblywoman Gaines do you support the budget proposal introduced by your GOP colleagues? Here's our post on the plan: http://blogs.sacbee....er-pay-cut.html

Beth Gaines:
Torey, just like the pension issue, I'm going to look at the final package very closely when it comes to me in legislative format.

Torey:
One last reader question: High Speed Rail - Yea or Nay? Do you support building the proposed high-speed rail? Why or why not?

Beth Gaines:
No. High speed rail is a huge boondoggle and a waste of taxpayer money. I didn't support it when it was voted on before, and I don't support it now.

Regy Bronner:
At this point I am not sure which High Speed Rail plan we are being asked to OK. There is a vast difference between using existing rails, engineers do not like that idea, and putting down new lines which are electrified on the other hand. Billions of dollars differece. And, then there is the issue of the spur lines to Alameda and Sacramento? On the other hand, it means a lot of jobs and I am for it. Like I am for repairing our bridges and roads which also creats jobs.

Torey:
The new plan would rely on some existing rail lines.

Regy Bronner:
Yes it would but to what extent. I used to be on the Stanislaus County Citizens Oversight Committe on tax expenditures for road and highways. We looked into the project at that time and found it somewhat misleading.

Beth Gaines:
Thanks to everyone who joined us today in the chat. As I said earlier, Iíve spent the last 25 years raising my family and working in my familyís insurance agency. My focus as a state legislator is to create jobs and limit the size of government. Iím also working to reduce the red tape and regulations that hurt small businesses and to be as accessible as possible to my constituents. Iíd be honored to represent you in the Assembly. For more information, please visit my website at www.BethGaines.com or on Facebook.

Regy Bronner:
The is a "single issue" race. However we do have the same issue. My issue is JOBS for my neighbors thoughout the district. I want to put the 45K financially-strapped neighbors back to work as soon as possible and I will work with anyone to that end. The other candidates have their issues: one wants to legislate personal and family choices. The other uses "pledges" to obstruct legislative functioning for ideological reasons. My neighbors mean more to me than that. You can learn more at bronner4assembly.com.
Wednesday April 4, 2012 12:43 Regy Bronner

Torey:
That's a wrap! Thank you to both candidates and for our readers for participating in today's chat.




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