CVCC Candidate Forum CA State Senate District 27

CandidatesCornerBy William Hicks

The forum was held at The Lundring Event Center at California Lutheran University starting at 6:00 pm and ending at 7:00 pm. The forum was sponsored by The Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Cohen Begun & Deck LLP, and Waste Management. The moderator was Dr. Herbert Gooch and the Candidates were Steve Fazio, Republican Independent Businessman and Henry Stern, Democrat Educator and Environmental Attorney.

The format for the Forum was a mix of predetermined questions and questions from the audience. There was a open and closing statement from the Candidates. First to speak was determined by a toss of the coin and Mr. Fazio started first.

Steve Fazio

Steve Fazio

Henry St ern

Henry Stern










Opening Statement:

Fazio – I am a small businessman with the challenges that all small businessmen have. I am stuck with regulations  and an economy where it’s hard to get a loan. I was a Reserve Officer for The Los Angeles Police Department while crime continues to grow. My heart goes out to The Owen Family for their loss. 

California is rated poor when it comes to being a business friendly State. What we need is Tort reform to avoid frivolous lawsuits and government policies that encourage business. 

Our education is rated poor due to the high drop out rate and unpreparedness of students after graduation.

Unlike many other candidates I am not funded by special interests.

Stern – It’s nice to see all the students in the room. I hope this forum helps you in your class project. I believe in long term sustainable growth goals. Also that we have safe communities and infrastructure projects improve our roads. 

Californians Gross Domestic Profit is twice the growth of Texas. Ventura County is a job producing machine. We can improve our education starting with Pre-K. I will make California a place to grow and thrive.


  1. Jobs are leaving our State. Along with them Millennial’s go with them. How will you fix this?

Stern – For our youth, the world is your oyster. Stay in school so you can fill jobs in businesses like Amgen. Debt will be your biggest challenge. This could be a long term issue maybe lasting decades to pay off. If elected, I would propose renegotiating government provided loans to give you relief.

Fazio – It costs between $45,000.00 to $50,000.00 per employee for an employer to hire a person. Much of that cost is related to government regulations. The $15.00 an hour minimum wage plays less a role in the cost of running a business. To stay in business that cost can’t be passed on to the customer without bad results. 

Amgen and Newhall Land are businesses that are downsizing due to the regulations put upon them. There is no housing growth in Ventura County. We need Tort reform and community regulations to become more business friendly.


  1. Is Cap & Trade working in California?

Fazio – Frankly, it’s not working. It’s just has accomplished to make it harder for businesses to stay in California. Other than the life support given by SB-32, it is failing.

Stern – Green energy is working and the plus is that we have clean air. Green energy is growing faster in California than fossil fuel energy sources. The rest of the world comes to California to see how green energy is working.


  1. how do you stand on Prop 64, the marijuana initiative?

Stern – Marijuana has a serious negative impact on youth. This initiative allows TV. advertising. The current crops of marijuana has an increase of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is 70 – 80% stronger. I do not like legislation from the ballot box.

Fazio – How can it be alright for marijuana but be wrong for cigarette second hand smoke? This is not the way to develop a responsible society.


  1. How would you answer the transportation problems in our area?

Fazio – Where we live is far away from where we work. Community planning where business is closer to our homes would be my way of dealing with heavy traffic.

Stern – Infastructure investment with improved Highway Trust Fund for a start. Also, we need a  sales tax to fund these investments. I will seek a bipartisan report on these investments. 


  1. what do you feel about The High Speed Rail proposed by Governor Brown?

Stern – I was with Ms Pavley when she opposed the High Speed Rail System. She opposed it because it starts in the middle of California and it will be decades before it is of any benefit to Southern California or San Francisco. I agree with her.

Fazio – Only in the government halls of Sacramento would such a project sound good. Governor Brown, with a one party rule, could make this kind of project happen without the consensus of citizen approval.


  1. How would you deal with income inequality?

Fazio – I would propose Tort Reform to make it more economical for businesses to hire people at good wages. Lowering taxes for everyone would increase income.

Stern – I would encourage more apprenticeship programs as early as 15 – 16 years old. Not everyone wants or needs a College Degree. I would check in to Career Pathways Trust as well. This will make it a competitive economy.


  1. How would you deal with the housing scarcity?

Stern – Regulations are unfairly easy to blame for this. I would let the communities determine what they want to look like. But there is a need for growth.

Fazio – All you need to do is ask any Developer. No sooner is a project being proposed and a special interest group files a CEQA lawsuit. This puts the project in a position to spend lots of time and money defending itself. This is just a simple supply and demand issue that makes existing housing expensive.


  1. how would you deal with the water crisis?

Fazio – To start with we must continue to not be wasteful. But we must also increase our water storage capacity. This can’t be done as long as there are environmentalists directing water away from human use. We must consider Governor Browns pipeline that will increase water from our not to the south.

Stern – There is a quote…”Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.” Too much water is being pumped from our underground aquifers. There has been improvements with production agriculture with such things as drip irrigation. We have to capture run of water and consider recycling water.


  1. What would you do with a 10% surplus in State funds?

Stern – I would consider the following possibilities; a) pay down the debt, b) add to rainy day fund and c) consider mental and elderly health.

Fazio – 10% is not much to work with but I would consider the following; a) homeless shelter services, b) mental health services  c) education, and d) crime prevention.


Closing Statements

Stern – Thank you all for coming out to the forum. You must lean on local politicians and that’s why the down ballot is so important. I’m optimistic about the future. Today, one in four children are live in poverty in California and that must come to an end. I’m a listener to my constituents and I read bills before I sign them. I’m ready top be your servant.

Fazio – I’m running for office because our children’s future is important. I know what it takes to run a Small Business and the difficulties businesses face. I worked as a Police Officer and have a knowledge of how to face crime. I believe in supporting senior citizens by keeping Proposition 13 alive. This will not be a political stepping stone for me. Regardless of how the federal government goes, we must support our local government.


My Closing Statement:

These candidates have some things in common from the answers to the questions. They also have many differences from the same source. The differences as I see them is that one candidate sees our answers from funding through increased taxes while the other candidate sees our answers with reduced restrictions upon business. It’s not hard to figure out which one is the Republican and Democrat candidate. Much is at stake in this election and it’s not just the Presidential Office that is at stake. Currently we do not have a one power party that can do what they want to regardless of the will of the people. It will only take a small change and that will not be the case. Be wise citizens and thoroughly read your ballot and then vote.


Event video


William Hicks is a long time resident of Newbury Park and is retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District

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