Supervisor (D1): Where they stand

On June 3, Los Angeles County voters in District 1 will pick among three candidates to succeed termed-out Supervisor Gloria Molina. The contenders are Juventino “J” Gomez, an El Monte city councilman; April A. Saucedo Hood, a Long Beach Unified School District police officer; and Hilda L. Solis, a former U.S. Secretary of Labor.

The Times sent questions to each candidate. Click the issue list at left to see their responses, which are abridged but otherwise unedited. Some are summarized, but include a link to their answers.

FULL COVERAGE: Supervisor's race

Public safety

1. Two supervisors have proposed setting up a permanent citizen’s commission to oversee the Sheriff’s Department. Are you in favor of that?

Juventino Gomez: There is no question that there is a need of reassuring our public that the Sherriff Department needs improvement to be effective in completing its mission… At this time I do not favor a permanent Citizens commission. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I oppose the creation of an independent oversight commission. It would be difficult to create a true independent commission because members would be appointed and lack the necessary expertise to make meaningful recommendations. More »
Hilda Solis: I would support a citizen’s commission that would provide public input and greater accountability – ideally a commission that has statutory authority. More »

2. What role should the supervisors play in the management and operation of the Sheriff’s Department?

Juventino Gomez: County Charter implicitly gives the leadership responsibility to our Sherriff as an elected official. More »
April Saucedo Hood: The Board of Supervisors needs to play a more active role in monitoring the Sheriff’s Department. Supervisors should work with the Sheriff and the Sheriff’s upper management to solve ongoing problems.
Hilda Solis: Although there is a need for more independent oversight, management and operation should continue to be the role of the Sheriff… since the Board of Supervisor’s is accountable for the budget, there needs to be better collaboration with the Sheriff’s Department on risk management. More »

3. Former Sheriff Lee Baca has proposed replacing the Men’s Central Jail complex. What do you think should be done with the facility? If you believe it should be replaced, how large should it be?

Juventino Gomez: On the contrary, I intend to work with the other Supervisors to reverse the damages AB109 is causing to our residents. Not expanding the men’s central jail complex. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I believe Men’s Central Jail should be replaced with a new jail utilizing modern design and technology to reduce inmate-deputy contact… The size of any new jail should be based on the future needs of our counties’ jail system and the success of alternative sentencing programs. More »
Hilda Solis: I don’t think it should be replaced at this time, but in the future as a comprehensive reorganization of the custodial responsibilities of the County. More »

4. Some officials believe the Sheriff’s Department should use vacant jails outside the county to relieve crowding and reduce the need to release inmates early. Do you agree?

Juventino Gomez: I would need access to empirical data for inmate population growth predictions to be able to determine the need for utilization of empty jails to relieve current and future overflow challenges. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I am in favor of using other counties jails to deal with the influx over the short-term, but we need to look at long-term solutions to address this problem. More »
Hilda Solis: The County has several options before them, including split-sentencing which would help reduce the time “non-violent” offenders serve in the jails and “split” their time between jail and community-based supervision and education programs that will curb recidivism… More »

5. What would you do to improve the juvenile detention system, which is under federal review following the misuse of force against children?

Juventino Gomez: Our Juvenile system as all other County departments is suffering from the same ailment, lack of proper funds to modernize the systems and a realistic plan to attract, recruit, train and supervise departmental leadership to execute the mission of each department. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I would make sure that the juvenile detention system is in compliance with all the issues addressed by the Federal government. I think that the detention centers need to be geared to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and provide better mental health services. More »
Hilda Solis: Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. I will work hard to ensure that every measure is taken to protect those that need our protection the most. As Supervisor I will work hard to implement the remaining recommendations of the federal monitors. More »

6. State prison realignment has shifted more felons to local law enforcement oversight. How well do you think it has worked? Would you do anything to alter it? Has the program had any impact on public safety?

Juventino Gomez: I have been and continue to be at the forefront in denouncing the negative effects of AB109 on the communities throughout the State of California. More »
April Saucedo Hood: Although violent crime has seen a dramatic decrease in recent years, AB109 has been linked to increases of crime (especially property crimes) in certain communities. Under AB109, several loopholes exist that allow offenders to get out of AB109 supervision. More »
Hilda Solis: The County is still experiencing historically low crime rates. However realignment has impacted the County’s ability to provide the best quality services due to the bigger caseloads across our social service and law enforcement networks. More »

7. Is the Sheriff’s Department doing enough to lower the cost and frequency of use-of force, harassment and traffic-related lawsuits against the agency? If not, what should be changed?

Juventino Gomez: Agents of the Sherriff Department are also prone to human error and corrective actions should be swift yet fair. I will also work to defend all County departments from victimization by unscrupulous litigants who seek to profiteer at the expense of the integrity of our public servants. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I believe enough is not being done to reduce liability and litigation costs… Furthermore, I would propose adding video cameras in patrol cars and require deputies to audio record all initiated contacts (traffic stops and pedestrian stops). More »
Hilda Solis: In my opinion we still need to augment training and education for our deputies. I also believe that keeping the Academy open continuously would help avoid having to train larger, less-qualified classes of future deputies.

8. Would you support state legislation that would give more authority to Sheriff’s Department civilian monitors? Would you support legislation that would make county sheriffs less autonomous and more accountable to county supervisors?

Juventino Gomez: At this time I would not support enlarging the bureaucracy that oversees the Los Angeles County Sherriff Department. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I oppose supporting state legislation giving more authority to Sheriff’s Department civilian monitors. I would oppose legislation that would make county sheriffs more accountable to the county supervisors. The county sheriff is elected and ultimately is accountable to the people. More »
Hilda Solis: In concept, I would support legislation to allow for the creation of a civilian oversight commission with the authority to be truly independent and effective. I’m aware of the spot legislation by Assemblymember Bradford and will monitor it as it is drafted and considered. More »

Child welfare

1. What would be your top priority in improving the county’s child welfare system and how would you accomplish it?

Juventino Gomez: Fortifying the systems that work well and modernizing theses that are deficient. I intend to work with department heads and plotting a realistic plan that will address the challenges in the present as we plan solutions for the medium and long term.
April Saucedo Hood: My top priority for the Department of Children and Family Services is to make sure the employees are properly trained to do their job and identify abuse. More »
Hilda Solis: It is clear that there are problems when DCFS social workers are burdened with large caseloads, inadequate training, technologies that are not up to date and a need for better coordination with local law enforcement and other agencies charged with caring for our children. More »

2. The Los Angeles County child welfare system has been criticized for mishandling victims of abuse or neglect. Many experts say social workers are insufficiently trained to know when to separate a child from a parent. Do you agree, and if so what would you do to improve the system? Do you believe social workers should be required to hold a master’s degree in social service, as some others counties require?

Juventino Gomez: Certainly there are insufficient amounts of social workers to effectively manage their caseload… I do not see adding an addition requirement of holding a masters degree as a solution. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I agree. Training and field experience is crucial to making the right decisions at the right time… I do value education, but I do not believe social workers need to hold a master’s degree to be effective at identifying abuse and/or neglect. More »
Hilda Solis: We must find best practices and apply funding where it is needed most. Additional training and education is something I would advocate for along with providing a career ladder from our current labor pool of social workers. More »

3. The Children’s Special Investigations Unit looks into problem cases and recommends ways to prevent the deaths of juveniles under the oversight of county workers. Because findings in each case have been declared confidential, the public and front-line case workers never learn what happened and how it might have been prevented. Would you support making the unit’s final reports public?

Juventino Gomez: There are existential limitations on what consent law allows disclosing. I certainly support finding a legal manner in which front line caseworkers are involved in preventing the deaths of juveniles.
April Saucedo Hood: I would support making the Children’s Special Investigations Unit reports public. Confidential information can be redacted to protect the involved individuals. More »
Hilda Solis: It is a difficult balance between accountability and confidentiality, but I tend to agree with Judge Nash. I believe that we can find that balance, through legislation, that gives judges discretion, allows social workers to provide input and includes legal representation to protect the interests of the children.

4. A special commission on child welfare is expected to recommend overhauling the child protection service and imposing greater oversight on private foster care providers. The group also wants to create a child welfare czar to coordinate services. Would you support such recommendations?

Juventino Gomez: I would certainly support any process that standardizes and brings greater accountability to private foster care providers, but I would not want to add another layer of administrative bureaucracy without concrete evidence of effectiveness in implementation.
April Saucedo Hood: I support greater oversight on private foster care providers. I oppose a child welfare czar because I do not think we need another high paying figurehead, instead we need field personnel to inspect these foster care providers and protect children.
Hilda Solis: Yes. And I believe coordination of all the agencies involved in the welfare of children and using the county’s system of specialized clinics to screen all children entering foster care as well as babies who may be victims of abuse are two of the most important recommendations. More »

5. With more than 36,000 children under county supervision, social workers complain that they have too many cases to effectively handle. The special commission was recently told that 683 caseworkers oversee 31 or more children and that some even have more than 60. Do you believe more workers should be hired? What would you consider a proper caseload? And if more social workers are needed, how do propose to pay for them?

Juventino Gomez: Our social workers work diligently to ensure that our children are protected with the least amount of trauma… but their caseloads are strenuously heavy and although there is no magical number of cases that one particularly social worker can handle, less would be better. More »
April Saucedo Hood: More workers have been approved to be hired and I support that action… I believe 20 cases is a reasonable amount given the information I was provided by social workers I spoke with. More »
Hilda Solis: I do believe more caseworkers should be hired… I do not suggest privatizing or outsourcing this service, but I welcome the exploration of all options to find solutions to the obvious high caseloads which have proven to be ineffective, even disastrous. More »

6. What is your view of the job being done by Department of Children and Family Services Director Philip Browning and would you support his retention?

Juventino Gomez: I am very disturbed by his continued assurances that he “will look into it” and failure to produce alternative solutions. I will be diligent and fair as I review this department first. More »
April Saucedo Hood: Although the DCFS Director came to a department filled with problems that took years to compound, I would not expect him to be able to fix all the issues in such a short period of time. However, on his watch an innocent child named Gabriel Fernandez was tortured to death. More »
Hilda Solis: He oversees a very delicate department and measures and goals are in place to determine effectiveness. I also recognize the recent progress made under Mr. Browning, and welcome his advocacy of a rapid implementation of the Commission’s recommendations. More »

Homelessness

1. A $100 million plan to regionalize homeless services by placing a stabilization center in each supervisor’s district was shelved after community opposition arose in 2006. Should that plan be revived? How should the county deal with the homeless?

Juventino Gomez: The $100 Million plan you describe has merits that should be explored, just as long as we recognize that there is no equal population of homelessness in each district. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I do not believe a stabilization center should be revived. I believe the county should use public-private partnerships to maximize the services for the homeless.
Hilda Solis: We do need solutions that include permanent supportive housing, leveraging existing available funding, integrating and prioritizing services across all departments to prevent and address homelessness, and yes, quickly addressing homelessness in overburdened communities. More »

2. The county periodically assigns the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to move people off the streets, offering assistance and shelter. Many who go in for treatment, however, quickly leave. How should the county close this revolving door while making sure money is not wasted?

Juventino Gomez: It is important to recognize that there are different variations and reasons people find themselves homeless. Some are mentally ill and others are in a transitional stage. I also recognize that for a very select few of individuals, it is a life choice. More »
April Saucedo Hood: It is difficult to get the homeless to stay for treatment. We need to incentivize these programs and utilize best practices from other large metropolitan areas to maximize the success of these programs.
Hilda Solis: LAHSA has done a good job in getting out into our community to provide services and assist folks get out of such situations, but we have to provide services that provide access not just to healthcare, but job training and permanent homes. More »

3. About 60% of those on welfare are homeless. Some say they remain on the street because their monthly check of around $250 is far less than what it costs to rent. How would you address this issue? With federal housing vouchers frozen and rents continuing to go up, would you support raising the general relief amount? If so, how would you pay for it?

Juventino Gomez: I would work with other governmental agencies and private entities to establish a triage system to help those that can most benefit from opportunities of job training, employment placement and housing assistance. More »
April Saucedo Hood: San Francisco has a homeless program called “Care not Cash” and data shows that it has been successful. This program provides the homeless with housing instead of giving them money. More »
Hilda Solis: Leveraging and aligning resources including federal and local sources as well as philanthropic leads, I believe will help save money and find solutions to provide permanent supportive housing for our homeless. More »

Healthcare

1. As the Affordable Care Act increases the number of people with health insurance, a once-captive client base for county hospitals and clinics will be free to seek care elsewhere—and to take their newfound insurance coverage with them. What can you do as a supervisor to insure that county facilities don’t lose these now-paying customers?

Juventino Gomez: I do not subscribe to the notion that the County Healthcare system is in the business of sustaining any particular level of “Customers”. Most users of County healthcare providers are indignant and do not qualify or cannot afford for medical services under ACA. More »
April Saucedo Hood: As the Affordable Care Act reaches its fruition, county hospitals will have to adapt and model itself as a leader in healthcare to retain patients. I believe competition is healthy and this would help bring the county hospitals improve its quality of care. More »
Hilda Solis: The county can focus on higher quality care and facilities like the new state of the art LAC-USC Medical Center and MLK Community Hospital, that not only provide a place for healthcare but also where patients can access a myriad of other services in one location. More »

2. County health officials have said they will continue to care for people who remain uninsured, including immigrants without legal status. Do you agree with this policy? Should there be limits to this care?

Juventino Gomez: I agree with the policy and will not seek to curtail the amount of accessibility to those in need.
April Saucedo Hood: I agree that if a person has a life threatening medical emergency that they should be treated.
Hilda Solis: Yes, I support this policy. Our economy is dependent on a healthy workforce, and we cannot afford to have families untreated for illnesses regardless of status. Further, we have a moral obligation to serve those in need of health care, which should not be privilege. More »

3. The projected $237 million cost for rebuilding Martin Luther King hospital rose to $281 million last summer. Its reopening has also been delayed for months. Do you think the delays and increased costs are justified? Is there more county officials should be doing to get the project completed; and, if so, what?

Juventino Gomez: Although not privy to the specifics of cost overruns in the MLK hospital rebuilding, I observe through my experience from managing similar projects that there is a combination of failure to project budgetary costs along with lack of supervisorial controls. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I don’t think the delays and increased costs are justified. The project and original contracts should be audited. The original contract should have been written to penalize the contractors for any delays.
Hilda Solis: The collapse of the King-Drew Medical Center was a great loss to the South Los Angeles community, and replacing it with quality care is a complicated process. I do believe in greater accountability and oversight, and will work with stakeholders to help complete the project. More »

4. Studies suggest emergency room use is likely to increase at least initially as newly insured people drop their reluctance to seek care because of cost. Given that most county emergency rooms are already overcrowded, what would you do to manage this growth?

Juventino Gomez: I do think we should continue to seek opportunities for modernization and streamlining costs. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I would be in favor of hiring more physician assistants to free up doctors in emergency rooms. I would propose implementing a dial-a-doctor service where persons could speak to a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse via telephone to determine if they need go to the emergency room. More »
Hilda Solis: I support expanding education efforts so that residents learn how to use and navigate the health care system – and reduce unnecessary flow to emergency rooms and trauma centers. More »

Finance/Labor

1. Do you have any concern about the amount of influence business or organized labor groups exert in county politics and this race specifically?

Juventino Gomez: Certainly Businesses and Unions have a vested interest in the outcome of this election. My goal is to ensure that my vision and proven leadership reach the electorate without compromising my commitment to all the residents in District 1. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I am very concerned about the large sums of money donated by unions and other special interest groups in this race. More »
Hilda Solis: In this race specifically, I’m proud to have the support of unions representing the working families of Los Angeles County, and many local business leaders including former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan.

2. Supervisors boast of having maintained the county’s fiscal health by keeping purse strings tight during the recession. In that same period, the jails have been overcrowded and fallen under federal investigation; the child welfare system has been accused of failing abused kids due to heavy caseloads; public hospital emergency rooms have overflowed with patients, and programs to move tens of thousands of people off on the streets have seen limited success. What would you do as Supervisor to raise new revenue or free up existing resources to address these budget challenges?

Juventino Gomez: I certainly agree that holding robust reserves is overall in the best interest of the constituents. I will continue to promote holding strong reserves, but not at the expense of diluting needed services for the community. More »
April Saucedo Hood: An audit of all departments needs to occur to see exactly where the money is going and if it is being used appropriately. More »
Hilda Solis: I think my experience at the state and federal level can help leverage L.A. County’s dollars, and perhaps develop revenue sources such as alcohol taxes that can directly offset related expenses to the County, such as health care and emergency care. More »

3. The county currently requires many contractors to pay a “living wage” that amounts to $11.84 an hour. Given the current national and local movements to raise the minimum wage to a much as $15.37, do you believe the county’s required living wage should be increased; and if so, to what amount?

Juventino Gomez: I do not hold quantitative data to support additional increase to any “living wage”. My philosophy is that we must attract business opportunities to the county not deter them. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I oppose increasing the “living wage” for many reasons. I believe the higher costs will place a burden on lower and middle class families. More »
Hilda Solis: I do support the “living wage,” but determining to what level it should be changed requires thoughtful planning and research.

4. Los Angeles County government has the largest workforce in Southern California, with about 101,000 employees. Many went without pay raises during the recession. Would you vote to give county workers higher pay at this point in the economic recovery?

Juventino Gomez: Our County Employees deserve a fair compensation for their services and provide them good working conditions. I look forward to open conversations with their bargaining units to ensure that both the employers and employees have an equitable agreement.
April Saucedo Hood: I oppose any new raises for county workers at this time. Many county workers don’t pay anything for medical coverage and most will receive a defined pension benefit upon retirement. More »
Hilda Solis: I believe in the collective bargaining process. I’m open to discussing pay increases, but such negotiations require research and should not be conducted via the newspaper.

5. Los Angeles County is one of the few remaining jurisdictions that does not offer peace officers “3% at 50,” which would mean sheriff’s deputies can retire at age 50 and receive 3% of their highest year’s pay for every year of service. Do you believe the county should move to that standard?

Juventino Gomez: County Peace Officers and all other employees are entitled to fair compensation commensurate with what the market can bear to retain highly qualified professionals servicing our communities. More »
April Saucedo Hood: No, many local police agencies and state agencies have moved away from the 3 at 50% retirement formula due to the costs of such a plan and the increasing life expectancy of retirees.
Hilda Solis: I believe in the collective bargaining process, and such negotiations require research including fiscal and economic impact evaluation.

6. Current civil service protections prevent the county from moving some veteran employees to posts where their experience may be most needed; for example, social workers who have already spent time in a difficult region of the county cannot be sent back without their permission.

Juventino Gomez: Having worked in the human resources department for the County, I have clear knowledge of this rule. It was constructed to ensure that no individuals would be subjected to unfair assignments based on their experience and proficiency alone. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I would approach this problem in contract negotiations and not through a civil service rule change. Forcing employees to work somewhere they don’t want to work is counterproductive. More »
Hilda Solis: I need to study the extent of this problem. I would consider incentives, and I believe this is part of the collective bargaining process.

Environment/Development

1. Oil extraction is on the rise in parts of the county and residents fear that some techniques might pollute the air and water. Do you believe it is acceptable to extract oil and gas in urban settings? Do you believe hydraulic fracturing is safe.

Juventino Gomez: It seems clear to me that you are referring specifically to a process commonly known as “Fracking.” This process can be implemented in urban settings in a safely manner with constituents consensus. More »
April Saucedo Hood: No, I do not favor extracting oil and gas in urban settings. There are many uncertainties and little conclusive data that has been made public on whether these practices are safe.
Hilda Solis: Studies have yet to show that hydraulic fracturing is safe. We need further research on the seismic safety of displacing layers of rock to extract oil and gas to make sure hydraulic fracturing doesn’t put our communities at an increased risk.

2. What is your position on the proposal to develop a 14,000-square-foot San Gabriel River Discovery Center in the Whittier Narrows wildlife sanctuary, which would be equipped with interactive exhibits and a 7,000-square-foot model of the San Gabriel River featuring flowing water?

Juventino Gomez: I am open to the concept pending a comprehensive review of the proposal and implementation plan. I will certainly seek inputs for adjacent communities as well.
April Saucedo Hood: I oppose the development of a San Gabriel River Discovery Center in the Whittier Narrows Wildlife Sanctuary. I believe the cost of $22 million is high, and I would not be in favor of cutting down all the old trees. More »
Hilda Solis: I am in favor of the development of a discovery center in Whittier Narrows. More »

3. Should the county make another attempt to ask voters to approve a storm water cleanup fee? If not, how should the county address the cost of cleaning up storm water?

Juventino Gomez: I want to review current processes and budgets to seek immediate changes to streamline expense. More »
April Saucedo Hood: No, I oppose a storm water cleanup fee. I think it would be burdensome to Public School Districts who have a lot of land and would be required to pay a fee that can run into the millions. More »
Hilda Solis: I do believe we need to work with stakeholders to develop a strategy and a revenue source to reduce pollution from urban runoff as a matter of health and economic policy. More »

4. Given the statewide drought, should the county be doing more to conserve water; and if so, what? Would you limit new residential or commercial development?

Juventino Gomez: Engaging in frugal strategies to reduce consumption of water is always in the best interest of the county and the environment. But engaging in targeted water conservation campaign without first reviewing an effect to our residential and business communities can be counter productive. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I would not limit residential or commercial development, but be in favor of offering incentives for developers to implement sustainable urban development practices More »
Hilda Solis: I do not think new development should be limited as a policy, but that development should meet standards to minimize the incremental burden on our water supplies. More »

Open government

1. The supervisors have been chastised for violating the state’s open meetings law, as they did in 2011 when they met in private with Gov. Brown to discuss state prison realignment. What will you do to improve government transparency and avoid violating the open meetings law and public records act?

Juventino Gomez: The people and press should have access to request documentation of County business in a reasonable time frame and I will certainly champion that it is accomplished. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I would be in favor of posting public records requests online and the status of those request. If an elected official such as the Governor wants to meet with the supervisors to discuss public business, a call for a public special meeting would need to take place that is open to the public. More »
Hilda Solis: The current system for posting campaign contribution information is inadequate, for example – especially when compared to the Secretary of State and L.A. City Ethics websites. More »

2. Unlike a standard practice at Los Angeles City Hall, people paid to lobby county officials are not required to disclose the issues they work on, and they sometimes violate existing reporting standards without punishment. Would you do anything to change the county’s lobbying rules?

Juventino Gomez: Lobbyist should also be regulated to ensure that the work of the people is done without any sense of appeared or real impropriety. I commit to pursuing legislation that will curtail the obscure dealings between Lobbyist and elected officials. More »
April Saucedo Hood: Yes, I would be in favor of restricting hiring lobbyist immediately after they have left their position for one year. More »
Hilda Solis: Yes, I would support requiring paid lobbyists to disclose the issues they are hired to work on.

3. Each supervisor has a pool of money that can be spent at their discretion and without full board approval. What would you do to insure that the public easily sees how you spend your share?

Juventino Gomez: Working as a senior deputy to Supervisor Antonovich for 12 years, I have come to appreciate how this fund can be used to mitigate unexpected challenges that no one anticipates in the district. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I would be in favor of proposing that all Board of Supervisors disclose how and where the people’s money is being spent. The Supervisors should be required to disclose a comprehensive annual financial report on their websites to show how they spent taxpayers money. More »
Hilda Solis: The allocation of discretionary funds appears to be complicated. I will study what methods for constituent and community feedback work best and provide effective transparency and accountability.

4. The county’s current campaign finance law is designed to reward candidates who stick to a voluntary spending limit for elections. But critics say the current limit of $1.4 million is too low. Do you believe the campaign finance law should be changed; and if so, how?

Juventino Gomez: I do believe that today’s electoral races the system is stacked for those that have deeper relationships with big donor bases. I do not think that the $1.4 Million is too low, but the individual contribution limits are well below those of constitutional offices in the state. More »
April Saucedo Hood: No, I believe $1.4 Million dollars is a lot of money for a campaign and even if this campaign finance law were to be changed, PACs would still be able to pour millions of dollars to independently campaign for the candidate who they believe will best serve their interests. More »
Hilda Solis: I do not think the current limit of $1.4 million is too low. I think one of the greatest weaknesses in current campaign finance law is the relative inaccessibility of contribution information, so that residents can easily see who is contributing to candidates. More »

5. Should the supervisors create or seek voter approval of a regulatory body similar to Los Angeles’ City Ethics Commission, which attempts to shape, administer and enforce laws regarding governmental ethics, conflicts of interests, campaign financing and lobbying?

Juventino Gomez: In concept such office sounds like a viable solution to ensure ethical process of the peoples business. In practice adds just another hurdle of bureaucracy to be concurred by those in power. More »
April Saucedo Hood: Yes, no one is above the law.
Hilda Solis: I think the L.A. City Ethics Commission and ethics laws provide a good model as a starting place, but again, we need to solve the problem created by the undue influence independent expenditures have on elections.

Transportation

1. Supervisors also serve as members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, overseeing billions of dollars in subway, light rail and bus transit services. Do you use public transportation? If so, how often and what routes?

Juventino Gomez: Although challenged by a wartime disability and geographic residency, I still ride our local bus system to ensure that the public is receiving quality service. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I do not use public transportation.
Hilda Solis: Given the nature of my work my use/reliance of mass/public transportation has changed. However, I come from a working class immigrant family and when I was a young college student, public transportation was the only type of transportation that was accessible to me. More »

2. Should Metro’s rail system be extended all the way to LAX; and if so, how?

Juventino Gomez: Only if we can identify funds that will not cause additional strains other services. More »
April Saucedo Hood: I oppose the Metro rail system being extended to LAX because I think it would be costly, and communication interference with the air traffic control may pose a hazard. Currently, there are ways to get to LAX that reduce congestion (bus companies, shuttle services, public buses)
Hilda Solis: I think it is worth exploring further Councilmember Mike Bonin’s proposal to build a rail spur from both the Crenshaw and Green lines to a new transportation center built on airport land. From there, passengers would board the people mover to the airport. More »

3. What do you believe is the most pressing transportation issue that county residents face right now and how would you address it?

Juventino Gomez: Certainly our freeway system posses the highest concern to our communities. Not for the inconvenience it provides its users, but for curtailing the ability to attract new business opportunities and the environmental impacts it has in our County.
April Saucedo Hood: I think the most pressing transportation issue is roadway congestion. More »
Hilda Solis: In addition to the rail system not reaching LAX, another pressing issue is the lack of parking at Metro stations—especially in East L.A and MacArthur Park. More »

4. A sales tax for transportation projects (a new Measure R) will likely be on the 2016 ballot. Do you support a tax increase for transit? If so, what specific projects do you think such a tax should fund?

Juventino Gomez: I do not have sufficient evidence that compels me to support another tax hike on our cash strapped residents at this time.
April Saucedo Hood: Yes, I believe this will create more jobs and the specific projects I support would be more carpool lanes, bike lanes and expanding the parking lots of those areas where people park and take public transportation on the metro. More »
Hilda Solis: Yes, I support a sales tax for transportation projects, particularly in the underserved areas between Downtown, the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona.

5. A year ago, Metro and Caltrans converted the carpool lanes on the 110 and 10 freeways into experimental toll lanes that solo drivers are allowed to use. Would you support a similar conversion to toll lanes on other county freeways, like the 405 or the 5?

Juventino Gomez: The State of California is investing in expanding the freeways but I feel people are rightfully upset that the state used public funds to build the freeway system in the first place and now they turn around and sell a lane to those that can afford to pay for fastrack. More »
April Saucedo Hood: No, I have heard many complaints from drivers not wanting to pay the cost of the device and the fees associated with riding on the toll lanes. Also, some have said traffic has worsened for those who cannot drive on the toll lanes.
Hilda Solis: I’d like to see more data on the effectiveness of the 110 and 10 experimental toll lanes before making such determinations.

Credits: Bill Nottingham, Samantha Schaefer