Election Day primer


With Election Day less than one week away and the long campaign season drawing to a close, local candidates for the California State Assembly and State Senate and proponents of major ballot education items are that much closer to learning their fates. What follows is an overview of the candidates, propositions and a local education measure.

District 50 State Assembly Candidates

In the newly redistricted 50th Assembly District, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler is battling Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom for a spot in the State Assembly. Butler has served in the assembly since 2010, while Bloom has served three terms as Santa Monica’s mayor and been a city councilman since 1999.

Butler and Bloom, both democrats, were the two top vote-getters in the primary election to represent Malibu, Santa Monica, Topanga, Pacific Palisades, West Hollywood and Miracle Mile.

Despite having the same party affiliation, the passage of Prop. 14 in 2010 changed electoral rules so that the two top vote-getters during the primary election move on to compete in the general election. Under Prop. 14, primary elections by party in California are no longer held.

Butler currently represents California Assembly District 53, which encompasses Marina Del Rey, Hermosa Beach, El Segundo and Manhattan Beach.

Before her election to public office, Butler was involved in environmental conservation work, the Department of Commerce and the California Film Association. As an Assemblywoman, she serves on 11 committees and chairs the Select Committee on Aerospace. Gov. Brown recently signed a bill authored by Butler which bans the use of BPA (a toxin) in sippy cups and baby bottles.

Bloom, the mayor of Santa Monica, has been a family law attorney for more than 30 years, has held a seat on the California Coastal Commission since 2009 and chairs the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. He has run on a record highlighting his work on environmentalism, local school success and aid to the homeless as notable accomplishments.

Pavley, Zink face off for State Senate District 27

In the new District 27, which includes Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Topanga, Moorpark, Calabasas and the San Fernando Valley, Democratic incumbent Fran Pavley is running against Republican Todd Zink.

Zink, a political newcomer, is running on a platform to reform California’s public education system. He also has prioritized small business growth and keeping “felons off our streets to secure our peace of mind.”

He served with the Marine Corps in the Iraq War and obtained a law degree from Loyola University Law School after returning from Iraq. He remains a member of the Marine Corps Reserves. He currently works as a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County DA’s Office where he is in charge of prosecuting serious and violent offenders in the San Fernando Valley.

Pavley, who currently represents District 23 in the State Senate, entered the world of elected politics in 1982 when she was voted the first mayor of Agoura Hills. She sat on the City Council until 1997. She was elected to three terms as a State Assemblywoman beginning in 2000. In 2008 she went on to the State Senate where she has authored bills to curb mortgage fraud and create clean-energy jobs that were later passed.

Proposition 30

Set forth by Gov. Jerry Brown, Prop. 30 would increase income taxes on California’s wealthiest for seven years. Earners making $250,000 or more per year would see their state income tax rate increase to 13.3% from 10.3%. Additionally, statewide sales taxes would go up 1/4 cent for four years.

Prop. 30 sets aside temporary tax revenue funding for K-12 schools and community colleges. It also guarantees realignment of funding for public safety agencies.

If the proposition passes, Brown has said the state would avoid cuts to education programs that are set to begin this fiscal year. Opponents say that since Prop. 30 does not explicitly guarantee money for public schools, California lawmakers could spend it elsewhere and not on education. The proposition also does not lay out structured budget reform, something critics believe is necessary for California’s economy.

According to California’s Voter Guide, Brown’s measure could bring in up to $6 billion every year through 2019.

Proposition 38

A rival to Brown’s Prop. 30, Prop. 38 plans for gradual income tax increases over a 12-year period. Civil rights attorney and activist Molly Munger is the main force behind the proposition, having placed it on the ballot and spent $33 million in campaigning for its passage this election season.

Unlike Prop. 30, the income tax increases are not limited to the state’s highest earners. Estimates show Munger’s proposition bringing in $10 billion annually, with most of the funds guaranteed to public schools in the first four years of its implementation. Earners making $7,500 or more per year would pay into the proposition, something opponents have criticized. Proponents of the bill emphasize that the proposition skips the Sacramento legislative process and revenue goes straight to public school districts.

If both Props. 30 and 38 pass, the proposition with the most votes will become law. If neither passes, Santa Monica and Malibu schools could lose up to $5 million in funding, according to school district estimates.

Measure ES

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District rushed to get this $385-million bond measure on the local ballot in August, citing a crucial need for facility improvements throughout the district, especially at Santa Monica High School.

The measure needs 55 percent voter approval in Santa Monica and Malibu. Malibu is slated to receive at least 20 percent of the bond money, roughly $77 million. For the next 25 to 30 years, property owners would pay approximately $185 more annually in property taxes if Measure ES passes. Malibu taxpayers are expected to pay 30 percent of the bond money.

“Projects for Measure ES funding will be selected based on a District-wide facility assessment and draft Master Plan,” Superintendent Sandra Lyon said in a statement. “That Master Plan identified more than $1.2 billion of needed facility repairs and upgrades for our schools.”