Friday, May 24

California Assembly members to debate their issue at UCLA

Tuesday, October 29, 1996


Panel of students will hear candidates’ arguments

By John Digrado

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Wally Knox doesn’t seem all that worried about losing his seat
in the California State Assembly. In fact, he’s quite certain that,
come Nov. 5, he and his Democratic cohorts in both the Assembly and
state Senate will emerge victorious from what he considers one of
the most important races in the election this year.

Despite assurance in his victory, Knox and fellow Democratic
state Sen. Tom Hayden will take their stance on the issues to the
debate floor against their Republican challengers in Ackerman Grand
Ballroom tonight at the UCLA/Westwood political debate.

Facing a panel of representatives from the Bruin Democrats,
Bruin Republicans, the Westwood/Bel Air News and the Daily Bruin,
the incumbents will face off addressing the issues of the upcoming
election in an attempt to win votes within their respective

Knox, an Assembly freshman elected by the largely Democratic
42nd district in 1992, points toward the Assembly Democrats’
advances in education ­ specifically funding for K-3 class
size reductions and the California legislature’s success in buying
out UC student fee increases two years in a row ­ as reason
enough to give his party control of the Assembly, which is
currently split in favor of the Republicans, 41-39.

"When I entered the Assembly in 1992, I wondered, ‘What’s so big
about a one-vote majority?’" Knox said. "I soon found out: It’s

Control of the Assembly, Knox said, would give the Democrats an
edge in further cutting elementary school class sizes and keeping
higher education fees lower.

"If on November 5, 41 Democrats win (in the Assembly), we will
have an Assembly that sincerely (will) want to improve health care
and K-12 education," Knox said. "We will have a return to the real

Republican challenger Adam Ross, while stressing the importance
of California’s educational system, proposes a kind of reprisal of
Proposition 174, the failed 1993 California School Voucher
Initiative to revitalize the state’s ailing public schools. Such a
move is essential to the state’s long-term economic success and
would contribute to lower crime rates and dependency on welfare, he

"Parents of children in private schools have long known that the
ultimate guarantee of a quality education is the freedom to enroll
their children in the school of their choice," Ross said. "Isn’t it
time the rest of us had that same opportunity, regardless of
financial ability?"

In the race for control of the largely Democratic 23rd Senate
district, Hayden has a commanding lead over Republican challenger
Scott Schreiber. Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education,
Hayden and Senate colleague Quentin Kopp led the committee’s
investigation into last spring’s UCLA admissions scandals.

Among constituents in his district, Hayden has drawn both
acclaim and criticism for his environmental agenda. Issues such as
water quality, protection of endangered species and park system
reform have all come up as bills presented before the Senate by
Hayden over the course of the last legislative session, which ended
on August 31.

Over the course of his elections campaign, Schreiber has accused
Hayden for printing slanderous literature against the challenger
saying that Schreiber is a "tool for the ultra-conservative

Political mudslinging aside, however, the pro-choice,
pro-environmental Republican believes that some of the best
solutions to California’s problems lie in getting tough on crime
and instating proactive programs to prevent high-risk children from
getting involved in criminal activity.

"The best way to eliminate crime is to stop it before it
happens," Schreiber said. "By targeting community leaders who
believe in our youth, by forging private/public partnerships and by
fashioning programs that will provide alternatives to gangs, we can
guarantee a brighter future for our kids."

The debate will take place at 7 p.m. in Ackerman Grand Ballroom.
Admission is free.

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