On Wednesday, February 5, the League of Women Voters – Whittier and American Association of University Women held a public forum at Whittier City Hall for Assembly District 57 candidates. Of the nine candidates, those who participated included Jessica Martinez, Vanessa C. Tyson, Primo Castro, Josué Alvarado, and Dora D. Sandoval.
While the forum was broadcast live on the city’s Channel 3 cable station, the recording failed, so the city is unable to produce a video for viewers not in attendance. If you recorded this important broadcast at home, please let us know: Text or call Sustainable City News at 562-318-8694.
Meet the Candidates for AD57
In this issue, we reprint content written by candidates for Assembly District 57 about themselves and their reasons for running. This content can be found on candidates’ websites and on VotersEdge.org. Voter’s Edge “Get the facts before you vote” is a nonpartisan voter resource provided by the League of Women Voters. Candidates’ excerpted statements are presented in random order.
Josué Alvarado (Democrat) Councilman, City of Whittier
“Many issues have been challenging our communities over the past few years. Our schools, police officers, and even city representatives are tasked with handling these issues with limited resources and authority from the State to address them. According to Education Week, California is ranked 28th in funding per capita for education and according to the latest Homeless count done by LAHSA our homeless crisis continues to be on the rise. As a City Councilman I have had to deal with these and other issues that are putting a strain on cities throughout California. As your Assembly Member, I promise to make my priorities for this district:
“Routing the state’s surplus funds back into education from Pre-K through Community Colleges and Universities; Work with Legislators on assisting local funding for the construction of affordable housing already mandated by the State; Combat our homeless crisis by passing legislation to reform the Lanterman-Pertis-Short Act to allow trained professionals to admit service resistant individuals into shelters to receive mental health services they desperately need; Find regional solutions to the funding and operating of homeless shelters with supportive services; Provide the needed legislation to help chemically dependent individuals off the streets that may no longer have the capacity to make decisions for themselves.“
Lisa Calderon (Democrat) Businesswoman, Mom
Clean Air & Water: For too long, rich and powerful polluters have gotten their way. Lisa Calderon will go after the polluters who make our air toxic and our water unsafe to drink. She’ll pass tough new laws mandating clean-up of contamination and make the polluters pay. That means reducing air pollution and cleaning up our drinking water, which mainly comes from groundwater supplies in this region.
Homelessness: Voters have passed taxes to pay for it, the Legislature and Governor added $1 billion this year in the state budget. There’s money, experts who know how to help, and voter support for fixing the problem. Why are so many communities struggling with growing numbers of homeless people. What is missing? Leadership and oversight. Lisa will bring both. She will work every day with the city, county and state to forge solutions and make progress. She’ll demand that drug treatment, new housing, and mental health services providers work together on this crisis or lose their funding. No excuses, no passing the buck.
Healthcare Costs: Insurance companies are getting rich while people receive skimpy coverage and bills they can’t pay. We can do better. It’s time we expand the Affordable Care Act and Covered California, protect coverage of preexisting conditions, bring down costs, and require insurers to pass on the savings to patients, not pocket the money. Similarly, Lisa will support the Governor’s efforts to lower prescription drug prices.
Vanessa C. Tyson (Democrat) Professor/Author/Researcher
A proud Whittier native who graduated from La Serna High School in 1994, Dr. Vanessa Tyson currently teaches in the Department of Politics at Scripps College.
“We need more affordable housing that extends across the price spectrum: California must build more than 100,000 new units of housing per year just to keep up—and that’s before we address our shortage. In the Assembly, I’ll advocate for pragmatic, innovative policies that make it easier to build housing around transit in already-dense areas. This will increase housing supply, make housing more affordable for families, protect our environment, and maintain the character of our neighborhoods.
“Statewide, homeless populations continue to grow at an alarming rate—a problem that demands state intervention. Our local governments are overwhelmed by a crisis they have a mandate to tackle with inadequate resources. In the Assembly, I’ll fight for the resources our cities need to provide the services and permanent housing that research and evidence shows works – and that will allow us to return our parks, public spaces, and sidewalks to their intended uses. With increased resources must come increased accountability, and I’ll require it from local agencies that use voter-approved bonds to fund homelessness services.“
Primo Castro (Democrat) Cancer Patient Advocate
Primo serves as a Cancer Patient Advocate for a prominent and global cancer prevention & research advocacy organization where he is charged with championing for policies that aim to protect the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. He is the proud son of immigrants and is a first-generation college graduate leading the way for his siblings and extended family. Primo obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach.
“Every Californian deserves a world-class education afforded by our public-school system. I am committed to investing resources to give educators and parents in our communities the means to ensure that our students have a competitive edge.
“Keeping our neighborhoods, schools, and families safe is a central concern, in our new context of increased technology, hate crimes, and active shooter tragedies.
“Every Californian should have access to affordable healthcare, which provides screenings and preventive care to support health and avoid lasting financial impacts to families.“
Dora D. Sandoval (Democrat) School Board Member
Dora has served as chairperson of the Lake Center School Site Council, a member of the Lakeview PTA, SSC, and a member of the District Advisory Council. She is currently on the board of directors of the Little Lake Educational Advancement Foundation, and also on the CSBA Delegate Assembly and was one of the Board of Directors of the CLSBA.
Dora is running for State Assembly to be a leader in the fight for more education funding, quality schools, career technical education and affordable college. In addition, Dora wants to work towards affordable housing and access to mental health care. As a member of the Little Lake District School Board, Dora has seen first-hand how the life of students are disrupted because of the lack of access to mental health resources. Currently, school districts and cities are limited to these types of resources.
Not only do we have an immense need at our schools, but our cities as well. The homeless epidemic also needs these resources. Dora wants to work to identify the reasons of homelessness. She would like to better assist people with not only affordable housing, but with jobs, healthcare, mental health and rehab centers. These resources are critical in addressing and tackling the homeless crisis.
Jessica Martinez (Republican) Educator
“Socialism impoverishes and enslaves nations while free enterprise liberates people and builds wealth. Government is in place as the servant of the people and exists for the benefit of the people.
“re Homelessness: Whittier’s Parnell Park to close due to homeless encampment‘ My view: This nonsense should be stopped! The homeless have rights but so do the non-homeless. Like every other situation in life, we have to identify the issues, the options and find solutions. Providing some long-term shelter beds at a reasonable cost is a great option, but building $200,000 apartments is not. What about those homeless who chose to live without rules about cleanliness, sobriety, drug-taking, not smoking, etc.? Can they sleep in shelters or apartments without rules? Or can they continue to live on any public property they chose (per the Boise decision)?
“The clearly mentally disturbed must be treated (with or without their consent) and the rest must be provided (at this time, per Boise decision) with public camping sites. So, designate one acre of vacant land for the homeless in an industrial area or away from schools and residences. Pour gravel, divide into 250 square foot sections (should provide about 150 spaces), bring in Porta-Potties and wash stations, and if affordable, provide a few picnic tables and charging stations. Then, enforce the vagrancy laws! We can then decide what to do long-term about this situation. BTW: having a concentration of homeless in one area will make it easier for social services workers to visit and counsel them, and policing to be provided.“
Sylvia Rubio (Democrat) Businesswoman/Community Representative
“We need to tackle the homeless and housing crisis in Assembly District 57 and California. This is a serious issue, with the homeless population growing at record numbers. We don’t have enough housing to keep up with the housing demands, and we need to encourage affordable housing development while also making sure there is local control over planning.
“We need to provide support to small businesses. When I operated my restaurant, I was struggling to stay afloat. I thought my case was particular because it was during the 2008 recession. But here we are 10 years later, and our businesses are still struggling to stay open. We must ease the bureaucracy and regulations that are needlessly hindering innovation and expansion.
“Education is important to me. I’ve volunteered for 10 years in the classroom and helped coordinate programs for schools. Not only do students need resources but teachers also need support. We are still ranked at the bottom of other states in per pupil spending, and I think we can do better for our students and teachers. As a mother with two children in college, I understand the challenges families have to overcome to ensure their children get the proper skills to succeed academically in higher education.“
Oscar Valladares (Democrat) Community College Trustee
“I’m running because I believe that we need more from Sacramento. I want to bring our local energy to fight for greater action and investment from Sacramento. Our local communities and leaders are on the front lines; they know what works—let’s set a model of policy making informed collectively by our local leaders and residents—to get solutions that work and matter.
“I see our local residents doing their part for California; buying and expanding homes, starting small businesses, and paying taxes. I see tremendous innovation and creativity from our residents, local elected officials in cities, school districts and the county. They are working hard to address issues that threaten our health and prosperity from affordable housing and homelessness to education and youth development. We need a leader that will carry our collective voices of creativity and courage to Sacramento.
“What do resilient communities look like? They are economically resilient — growing small business sector, workforce that excels in new industries, increased educational attainment and career pathways. They are climate resilient — addressing local impact of climate change, building smarter, protecting and preserving our natural resources. They are socially resilient — investing in strong education, strong community development, and strong civic participation. A strong Assembly District 57th is only possible if we invest in Education, Healthcare, Economic Development, and the Environment.
Gary Mendez (Democrat) Governing Board Member, Rio Hondo Community College District, Area 4
The candidate has not provided information on Voter’s Edge. If you have information about the candidate’s campaign website or Facebook page, please text an update to 562-318-8694.