The race to represent the 26th state Senate District pits two Democrats with similar ideas but distinct priorities.
Ben Allen, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education, understands first-hand the many complexities faced by government entities. Mr. Allen, an attorney and lecturer at UCLA Law School, cited education, job creation and environmental sustainability as his top issues.
Mr. Allen spoke to the Register about the need for the state of California to get serious about infrastructure issues and finding ways of attracting and retaining jobs in the state. Mr. Allen argued that the state must be creative, open to new ideas and approaches to getting these fundamentals of state government accomplished.
Mr. Allen’s opponent, activist Sandra Fluke, received national attention two years ago after being verbally tarnished by talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh after Ms. Fluke testified in Congress about the importance of mandating contraceptive coverage by health insurance companies.
Ms. Fluke, who moved to the district in 2012 after graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, is a strong advocate of many issues dear to her. Ms. Fluke remains as strong an advocate for women and reproductive issues as ever.
Ms. Fluke argued in favor of universal pre-kindergarten for students, overhauling or eliminating Proposition 13 and advocated for reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals. While we certainly concur with this latter suggestion given the state’s incredibly high recidivism rate and growing prison population, the other two policy ideas give us pause.
Ms. Fluke could not point to a clear funding stream for universal pre-kindergarten that didn’t sound like it was dependent on the state finding money elsewhere. That would lead us to the issue of Prop 13.
Mr. Allen has supported tweaks to Prop 13 as a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu school board, but Ms. Fluke is proudly making her commitment to tax increases a top priority.
The last thing politicians need is more money. The last thing Californians need is another barrage of tax increases so that state politicians can waste tax dollars on their grand ideas. The state of California has a general fund of more than $100 billion and even more in assorted special funds. It is difficult to believe that what Sacramento needs right now is more money to squander.
California needs a Legislature that focuses on the fundamentals of state government, especially as the state struggles to maintain a balanced budget. Sacramento has to deal with closing massive unfunded liabilities, get itself out of debt and ensure that the basics of state government get done.
We believe that Mr. Allen has the right balance of experience in government, working with budgets, all the while appreciating the complexity of government finances.
The Register endorses Mr. Allen because of his stated commitment to shoring up California’s infrastructure and identifying ways of making the state a friendlier place to do business.