Anthony Rendon, executive director of Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services, and Democratic candidate for the 63rd district of the California Assembly, answered five questions on why he would be a good assemblymember, as well as on some of his proposals to better the economy of Southeast Los Angeles.
Rendon's South Gate supporters include Councilmembers , Henry Gonzalez, Gil Hurtado and City Clerk Carmen Avalos. In Lynwood, the list includes Councilmembers Salvador Alatorre, Aide Castro and Jim Morton and Lynwood Unified School District board members Maria G. Lopez, Alfonso Morales and Jose Solache.
Patch Latino: How will your experience as an educator come into play should you win an assembly seat?
Rendon: As an educator, first as a professor at Cal State Fullerton and now as the executive director of an early childhood education organization, I understand the impact that education, at any and all levels, can have on an individual and their family. As a young student myself, I benefitted from California's low-cost, high-quality public education system.
In fact, when I began college in the late 1980s, the fees and tuition for the state's community college and California State University systems were fractions of what they are today. Their relatively low costs then made a university education and eventually graduating from college possible for someone like me, who had to pay his own way through school.
Similarly, the organization that I currently manage, Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services Inc., offers no-cost child development and comprehensive medical services to over 2,100 children. Our programs enable families and their children to receive pre-school educational services that they would otherwise not be able to afford and which will have a positive impact on them throughout their lives.
Should I get elected to the state assembly seat, I will work to ensure that no-cost publicly funded pre-school services for income-qualifying families and high-quality, low-cost public community colleges and universities are made available for all Californians.
Patch Latino: What laws have you helped get passed regarding water and air quality while serving as interim director of the California League of Conservation Voters, and how will you continue to work toward improving them?
Rendon: I served as the interim executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) from June 2008 to February 2009. Under my leadership, CLCV enjoyed the greatest legislative victory in its 36-year history with the enactment of SB 375. Sponsored by CLCV and the Natural Resources Defense Council, SB 375 was a first-in-the-nation law that gave local and state officials the tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making housing and transportation planning decisions that will reduce urban sprawl, long-distance commutes and vehicle miles traveled per household.
In addition, I led CLCV through the successful passage of a bill which banned substances that contain cancer-causing perfluorinated compounds and another which allocated $400 million to build and expand neighborhood parks in communities like those in the 63rd Assembly District. I also helped to protect our water quality by working to pass bills which improved regional water and water systems and expanded the authority of the state’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program to inland water.
Patch Latino: As a supporter of social services, how will you work to ensure these are not slashed as budgets become tighter?
Rendon: Simply put, the state needs to generate more revenue in order to ensure that our vital social service programs are not cut. There are a number of means for generating additional revenue, including creating a "millionaires tax," split roll property taxes, instituting an oil severance tax and eliminating all corporate tax loopholes that do not create jobs.
Patch Latino: What would you say to comments from Ali Saleh, mayor of Bell, that you have not lived long enough in the district that you hope to serve?
Rendon: As a resident of Lakewood and through my extensive work experience throughout the 63rd Assembly District the past two decades, I know first-hand the issues facing my district.
I have worked for community-based organizations, like the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services, which have provided social and educational services to residents throughout the 63rd Assembly District.
I also owned a small business which worked with MTA to help provide jobs and job training services to residents throughout the district in conjunction with the Metro Gold Line's Eastside Extension Project.
Furthermore, as the president of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and the executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters, I worked hard to help elect candidates and to pass legislation that had positive impacts on the environmental quality of the cities of the 63rd Assembly District.
Patch Latino: What ideas or plans do you have in regards to curbing unemployment and helping the economy of Southeast LA?
Rendon: I strongly believe our short- and long-term economic and job growth is dependent on investment in education. Our public education system cannot sustain the cuts already incurred, let alone more. Corporate tax loopholes at the federal and state level — particularly in California — are draining our school funding.
In addition, California schools have been devastated by a combination of the expiration of the upper income tax bracket in the early 1990s along with the inequities of Proposition 13. In addition to additional investment [from] federal funds, we need a complete review of all tax loopholes, and close those that only serve the wealthy and that don’t really create jobs.
Watch for future Patch Latino interviews with the other candidates in the California Assembly 63rd district race.