The battle for California’s 25th Senate District seat arrived in South Pasadena Thursday, with Sen. Carol Liu (D- La Cañada Flintridge) squaring off against Republican challenger Gil Gonzales.
The two agreed on a few things — uniting in their opposition to a proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway — but disagreed sharply on immigration and taxes during a debate at the South Pasadena City Council chambers. The event was sponsored by Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action.
Antonio Villaraigosa who now handles government affairs for Vons and Safeway, said he opposes both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38, competing measures that would raise taxes to fund public schools and address the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit.
“I’m not going to continue rewarding the people who mismanage your tax dollars with more tax dollars to mismanage,” he said.
Liu, a former educator who crafts much of her legislation on school-related measures, said she supports Proposition 30, introduced by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Proposition 30, she said, “is an absolute yes. I can’t imagine taking another $6.5 billion out of our public school system.”
Liu also said she supports the Dream Act, federal legislation that if passed would allow those who have entered the country without documentation to attend public colleges and universities.
“California has taken a good step forward in trying to be inclusive of all of our young people,” she said. “After all, the best and the brightest are going on to our university system. We should take advantage of every person that can give back to the state.”
Gonzales, noting that he comes from an immigrant family, said undocumented students should not be given opportunities at the expense of citizens.
Liu and Gonzales both said they want regional transportation officials to give up on a proposal for a 4.5-mile tunnel extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway from Alhambra to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena. They would like to see the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority take a closer look at other alternatives, including a light rail system and improved bus lines in the so-called 710 gap.
Gonzales said no project stands much of a chance when residents of the area are strongly opposed.
“Until the community has buy-in and until the community gives a green light, I don’t think any of the options are going to move forward,” Gonzales said. “Shoving it down somebody’s throat and saying, ‘This is what you’re going to get and you pick your poison,’ isn’t fair for anybody.”
Starting next year, the boundaries of the 25th district will include Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Cañada, San Marino and cities as far east as Upland. The current district includes the tri-city area, Chinatown and a sliver of the San Fernando Valley, but not the eastern San Gabriel Valley.
Donna Lowe and Chris Holden, candidates for the 41st Assembly seat representing the area from Pasadena to Claremont, also spoke at the forum. Lowe, a Republican and businesswoman from Claremont, has said California can rekindle its economy by reducing regulatory burdens on business. Holden, a Pasadena City Council member, has touted his decades of local government experience and says public works projects such as the Gold Line are key economic engines for the state.