Mark Leno (State Senate Dist 3)

Includes the April Special Election for Tom Lantos' district

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Mark Leno (State Senate Dist 3)

Postby Jeff_W on Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:35 pm

Questionnaire for candidates

California Primary Election: June 3, 2008

Candidate/Campaign Information:
Candidate name:
Mark Leno
Office sought:
State Senate 3rd district
Contact person:
Jennifer Longley
Mail address:
P.O. Box 2892, Petaluma CA 94923
(415) 485-LENO (5366)
Email address:
Web address:
Anticipated Budget:
$1.5 million
Funds raised to date:
Percentage of donations under $50

General Questions: Please write a brief response (less than 150 words) to each question. You will have additional opportunities to address these issues.

1. Why are you running? Why should we vote for you?

Although I'm breaking one of the rules of status-quo politics by running against an incumbent from my own party, I happen to hold the peculiar belief that Democracy is best served when the voters have a choice. Whether you're running for an office for the first time or as an incumbent, the voters have the right to hear an open, vigorous discussion and debate on the issues that matter most to them before they cast their votes.

2. What sets you apart from your opponents?

If you examine both of our voting records you will see that the current senator and I vote similarly on many issues, although there are some clear differences between us. A major difference is leadership. Not only have I authored or co-authored bills on such important issues as Clean Money, Single-Payer Healthcare, Affordable Housing, Environmental Protection, Renewable Energy, A Woman’s Right to Choose, Education and Equal Rights (see partial list of bills I’ve authored or co-authored at end of questionnaire) I also take a leading role in moving those bills forward, lobbying colleagues, attending rallies, press conferences, fundraising and writing op-ed pieces.

A second difference between my opponent and me is style. I am a firm believer that you should be judged as an elected official not just on the business you conduct, but also on how you conduct that business. My entire career in public service has been about inclusion, accessibility, ethical behavior and responsiveness to the voters who put their trust in me.

As you know late entrant candidate Joe Nation describes himself as a moderate. He does not support single payer healthcare, Clean Money, or Jackie Speier’s bill protecting consumers from companies selling their private information to other companies.

3. What are the top three issues facing California? What will you do about those issues?

California has the highest proportion of medically uninsured residents and the lowest rates of employer based coverage in the nation. With nearly 7 million Californians uninsured, many of whom are women and children, and millions more underinsured, healthcare is the number one problem that California faces. I am proud to say that I have been a principal co-author of Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840 Single-payer healthcare bill since she first introduced it over three years ago. Sheila is being termed out this year, and I hope to pick up the mantle and push for single payer with her same passion and dedication.

The environment also remains a top issue for Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco voters. Thankfully, our district is extremely aware and pro-active when it comes to the environment, but they are rightfully concerned about the effects of greenhouse gasses, toxins in the environment, fossil fuel and transportation alternatives, conservation implementation and encouraging green businesses and jobs to grow the economy. I have recently introduced bills to protect the Bay against Cosco Busan like oil spills in the future, and to halt the spraying of pesticides into the air without properly testing their effects on health and the environment.

Education is always a primary issue in every campaign and with thousands of teachers being handed pink slips across the state because of Governor Schwarzenneger’s deficit, it is especially so this year. Next year we will be spending more on incarcerating criminals than we will be spending on higher education. Revitalizing California's education system is essential to the future of our state. Right now California ranks 46th out of 50 states in dollars spent per pupil. By looking at some concrete solutions like restoring the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) and allocating funds based on enrollment rather than daily attendance, we could put more money into our schools.

4. SF4D PAC is committed to grassroots involvement. Please explain how you have involved ordinary citizens in your campaign.

I am proud to say that my campaign is a bottom-up, grassroots endeavor that relies on the support and efforts of the people that I hope to represent. I have already enlisted hundreds of supporters who have volunteered to help me win this race one vote at a time. Together we will be working the netroots, going door to door, standing in farmer’s markets and in front of shopping centers, appearing at house parties and community events, and taking the time to listen to the issues that matter most to people. My entire political career has been one of inclusion, accessibility and responsiveness to the voters who elect me. To me there is only one special interest group and that is the people that I represent.

5. SF4D PAC endorses fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates. Please give examples of why you fit these criteria.

During my two terms in the State Assembly I have fought for universal affordable healthcare, better schools, access to higher education, a cleaner and sustainable environment, renewable energy, a woman's right to choose, clean money campaign finance reform, affordable housing for seniors and the disabled and many other progressive issues I care deeply about. I have won passage of almost 50 laws, including laws that promote better educational outcomes for foster youth, expand solar power generation, ocean protection, protection for children from sexual predators, and protection for men and women experiencing domestic violence.

One of the greatest frustrations in my job as a State Assemblymember has been having to deal with the disastrous and irresponsible fiscal policies of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. On his first day in office he sent us spiraling into deficit spending by rescinding the Vehicle License Fee, a 50 year old progressive tax on automobiles that pays for schools, parks, libraries, and other municipal services in our cities and towns. Ever since then he’s been charging California’s spending on credit cards with money we don’t have. The first thing we need to do to get our house in order is to restore the Vehicle License Fee. Then we have to come together and find innovative ways to create the revenue sources that are needed to pay for running the largest populated state in the nation.

Issue Questions:

1. What do you think the California Legislature should do about the current budget crisis?

The current budget crisis is entirely manufactured by the Governor. On his first day in office he rescinded the Vehicle License Fee throwing the state into a $5 billion (now $6 billion) deficit hole every year. He then exacerbated the fiscal problem by putting California’s expenses on a charge card, forcing us to pay interest on his borrowing with money we don’t have.

2. Do you support SB 840? If so, how would you seek to implement it?

Yes, I have been a principal co-author of the bill since it was first introduced. With Sheila Kuehl’s leaving the Senate at the end of the year, I plan to step into her shoes as the leading advocate for SB 840 in the legislature, and when it’s signed into law, campaigning for it at the ballot box where the insurance agencies will surely bring it for referendum.

3. Do you support AB 583? If so, why and how would you seek to implement it?

Not only do I support AB 583, I believe that it is the reform that will make all other needed reforms possible. I have been a principal co-author along with my colleague Loni Hancock on Clean Money. I’ve lobbied for it in the legislature, appeared at fundraisers, rallies, and press conferences, written op-ed pieces promoting it, and campaigned for the passage of Prop 89.

4. How would you seek to remedy prison overcrowding?

California incarcerates more people than any other state in the country. We also have almost double the nation’s average rate of recidivism, which accounts for our overcrowding. Clearly our prison system is broken. The solution to the problem is multi-faceted. First, we need to get rid of the 3-Strikes law for non-serious offenders. Stealing a bicycle or breaking into a car should not be life sentence crimes. We also need to reform our parole system so that non-serious felons are released from supervision after 12-18 months instead of the current 3 years. We need some intermediary steps for parole violation, such as drug rehab for parolees with drug infractions. Right now they go straight back to prison. Finally, we need to get serious about rehabilitating prisoners so when they leave prison, they are drug free, literate and employable. Without a serious rehabilitation program, the prison gates turn into one big revolving door.


Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:00 pm

Re: Mark Leno (State Senate Dist 3)

Postby Jeff_W on Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:39 pm

Partial List of Legislation Authored or Co-Authored by Mark Leno

AB 706: California Furniture Safety and Fire Prevention Act This bill bans the use of all brominated and chlorinated fire retardants in upholstered furniture as well as bedding products such as pillows, comforters and mattresses. These chemicals have been linked to a wide variety of health problems including cancer, birth defects and reproductive difficulties.

AB 1056: California Ocean Protection Council (Leno & Huffman) This bill authorizes the California Ocean Protection Council to establish a science advisory team to improve the Council’s ability to wisely spend $90 in bond funds approved by the voters in 2006.

AB 1451: Solar Exclusion Renewal This bill renews a successful exclusion from property tax assessments for solar energy systems.

AB 2573: San Francisco Solar Power Expansion This bill authorizes a power exchange between municipal solar power facilities with excess solar generation capacity and new municipal development sites which can use the excess solar-generated electricity.

AB 1099: Solar Tax Exemption This bill removes the sunset clause on a tax exemption for the construction or addition of solar energy systems on public or private buildings.

AB 1685: CPUC Reauthorization of Self-Generation Incentive Program The California Public Utilities Self-Generation Incentive Program is a critically important subsidy for the growth of solar energy in California.

AB 594: Implementation of Proposition B, the Solar Revenue Bond This bill closes a loophole in state law to allow the City of San Francisco to implement Proposition B, the solar revenue bond supported overwhelmingly by San Francisco voters.

AB 1669: SF Trauma Recovery Center This bill would ensure funding for the San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center which provides critical services to crime victims suffering from severe economic, psychological and other trauma-related symptoms.

AB 1201: Collective Bargaining for Direct Care Nurses This bill would ensure that California’s direct care nurses preserve their collective bargaining rights, thereby preserving their rights under their existing contracts to challenge hospital staffing and effectively advocate for quality health care for their patients.

AB 50: Trauma Recover Center This bill provides $1.3 million for fiscal year 2006-2007 from the $100 million surplus in the Restitution Fund of the California Victim compensation and government Claims Board for the continued funding of the Trauma Recovery Center at San Francisco General Hospital.

AB 2280: Improved HIV Test Counseling This bill directs the Department of Health Services to establish a new HIV counseling model that allows clinics to increase the number of people getting HIV tests and appropriately reimburses clinics for the services provided.

B 2660: Pharmacists: This measure would require pharmacists to register with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, who would recognize these pharmacists as “Mid-level Practitioners”. These pharmacists will then be able to provide regular and timely pain management care to those in need of end-of-life care.

AB 2384: Healthy Food Purchase Pilot Program This bill requires the California Department of Health Services to develop and implement a Healthy Food Purchase Pilot Program that will improve access and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables for food stamp recipients in low-income communities.
AB 2968:Assisted Living Waiver This bill creates a designated Medi-Cal reimbursement rate structure for community living support services in San Francisco that assist beneficiaries who would otherwise be homeless, living in shelters or institutionalized.

AJR 13: Medical Cannabis Resolution Based on a letter signed by 50 state legislators, this resolution urges congress to pass legislation that secures a state’s right to regulate medical cannabis and allows individual patients to possess and consume medical cannabis, and allows individuals deputized by states and localities to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis appropriately.

AB 807: Prevailing Wage This bill closes loopholes around the timely payment of the health and welfare portion of the prevailing wage, requiring payment on at least a quarterly basis.

AB 43: Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act This bill would define marriage as a civil contract between two persons, a definition that was in effect prior to 1977. It would also reaffirm that no religious entity is required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to its religious tenets.

AB 196: Ban on Gender-Based Discrimination in Housing and Employment This bill expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to ban discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of gender which includes a person’s “identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s s-- at birth.”

AB 1217: Residential Hotel Exemption This bill clarifies that tenants may not be evicted from residential hotels under the Ellis Act. It will prevent local landlords from pre-empting local land use controls meant to preserve affordable housing. Local ordinances would govern the sale of such properties.

AB 620: Revision of Multi-Lender Law The Department of Real Estate (DRE) does not allow multiple lenders to engage in financing of properties based on their future value. This means that if a group of lenders wish to develop property, they can only put as much money in the project as the bare land is worth, rather than the project’s worth upon completion. This measure would allow multiple lenders (mortgage brokers) to lend based on future property value, rather than “current market value” as defined by the DRE.

AB 728: Pre-Sale of Condominiums Under current law, condominiums cannot be sold until the project is fully completed and the Department of Real Estate (DRE) has issued a “white paper” or final report on the property. This measure would allow for the sale of condominiums prior to their completion as long as a “condition public report” was in place through the DRE.

AB 2858: Mentally Ill Defendant Placement & Notification This bill allows district attorneys more of a say in determining where a defendant ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial is placed in the community after their time in a treatment facility.

AB 3064: Re-entry Advisory Committee for Parolees This bill establishes a committee to advise the Secretary of the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation on policies and procedures for parole.

AB 1237: Tasers Following seven deaths involving tasers in Northern California, this bill would prohibit the possession or sale of tasers to the general public. It also requires law enforcement agencies to report information about their training protocols and use of tasers to the Department of Justice.

AB 799: Vehicle License Fee Option for San Francisco This bill would authorize the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to put a measure on the local ballot that would reinstate the Vehicle License Fee to its historic 2% level, with the proceeds going to fund critical local health, safety, and transportation services.

AB 2946: Initiative Reform This bill is a comprehensive approach to reforming California’s initiative process, requiring signature gatherers to disclose if they are paid or volunteer and requiring petitions to list the top three financial contributors to the initiative. It would also prohibit paying a person on a per-signature basis for gathering signatures, registering voters, or distributing absentee ballot applications, and would hold signature gathering firms and initiative proponents liable for violations of these and other provisions of election law.

AB 1391: Political Reform Act Loophole Closure This bill closes a loophole in the Political Reform Act by requiring that any committee that participates in a local election must follow disclosure requirements.

AB 714: Disabled Voting Rights Federal money has been recently made available through the Help America Vote Act to help improve voting accessibility for individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments. This bill would help make resources available during all elections, as opposed to just during federal elections.

AB 2842: Campaign Finance Loan Loophole Closure On January 27th of this year, a judge determined that governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $.5 million in bank loans to his campaign for Governor were illegal and that the monies must be paid back by Mr. Schwarzenegger personally rather than raised through contributions. Since that time, legislative candidates have continued taking out bank loans in violation of the spirit of the Court’s ruling. This bill would make that ruling law.

AB 1393: Public Records Act: This bill requires all state agencies with an internet website to include specific information on how a person may make a California Public Records Act request, including the name and contact information of staff trained to provide this information. It also requires specific public records to be maintained on the public agency’s website and establishes penalties for failure to disclose records that are obviously public.

AB 1668: Open File Format Standard This bill would help preserve unfettered access and use of electronic documents by creating an “open file format” demonstration project in up the three state agencies. Today, many electronic documents are locked in closed, proprietary files that restrict and limit their use by the state and its residents. This use of open formats allows software developers to incorporate the file format into multiple software solutions and help reduce barriers and increase access to electronically stored information.

AB 2302: Limiting Corporate Executive Compensation in Bankruptcy This measure prevents a public utility from giving executive bonuses while in insolvency and at the expense of ratepayers. This measure is a direct response to the exorbitant bonuses given to PG&E executives while the company was in bankruptcy.

AB 2761: Rental Car Contracts for Business Customers In 1998 the Legislature enacted significant protections for rental car consumers in order to ensure that these customers are given a fair and accurate quote for their rental car before entering into a rental car contract. These protections were never meant to apply to the unique circumstances of the business renter whose company has entered into a pre-negotiated agreement with a rental car company. This measure would allow businesses to pre-negotiate contracts outside the confines of the rules created for individual renters.

AB 499: Local Small Business Contracting Preferences Current law creates a scoring preference for small businesses competing for local contracts. Right now there is no opportunity for local agencies to encourage contracting to small businesses in their communities. This bill would offer an optional preference for local agencies that wanted to include more local small businesses in the contracting process.

AB 2914: Deletion of Architect LLP Sunset Date In 1991, legislation was enacted to allow architects to form Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), with a sunset date of January 1, 2007. In the eight years since, architectural firms have successfully operated as LLPs. This bill removes the sunset date in order to allow them to continue operating as such.

AB 2592: California Travel & Tourism Commission This bill would modify the membership of the California Travel & Tourism Commission and clarify the parameters for serving as a commissioner.

AB 655: Arts Funding and Restructuring in California Given California’s abysmal ranking in nationwide funding for the arts, this bill imposes a 1% fee on theater admission tickets to fund arts programs across the state. The bill will also look at reorganizing arts funding entities within state government, including the California Arts Council, the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, and the Department of Parks and Recreation to streamline administrative costs and improve accessibility.

AB 2533: Museum Tax Credit Current law exempts the sale of original works of art from one non-profit organization to another from sales tax. This bill would expand the sales tax exemption to include the long-term lease of artwork from one non-profit organization to another non-profit.
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