By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
We said, "Here come 75 bills."
He said, "Okay, well, maybe I’ll look at five."
We said, "Here come 35."
And that’s part of what Marty and I did, was to hone him down and hone him down and hone him down until we could get him to say, "Okay," to this package, which turned out to be, I think, 17.
I like working with a man who can be moved. He was going to veto the nurse-to-patient-staffing-ratio bill right up to the eleventh hour. And I kept sending in more arguments, but not, "You should," kind of arguments. Really, here’s, "Do you know the situation in this hospital or these hospitals?" "Do you know, you know, what this patient went through or that patient?" "Do you know how many people really love this?" "Do you know that the London Times has already opined that this is the most important bill that California can pass?" Something, I don’t know, you know, like that.
But just patiently sending in more and more information, because that’s what he wants. He wants to understand that this is a moderate bill. And if he has the opinion that it’s not, then he needs to understand why. Because all my bills are not that radical. They might make change. But they are not so radical in notion, you know, they’re in the public consciousness and people really want them.WEEKLY: So if you’re in the Senate, you’ve already said you want to deal with education funding and you said you will continue your interest in domestic abuse issues and victim’s right issues. KUEHL: Right, equality, anti-discrimination, social justice. WEEKLY: Any other interests you’d like to get into?KUEHL: Special education, which is posited these days in conflict to other kinds of education, but it’s an aspect of the school funding piece. And one of the reasons why I want to get my arms around it -- I honestly do -- because if you’re going to pit one set of parents against another set of parents, it’s not useful. It’s not useful for them, or for the kids, or for the schools. I have a big interest in serving on Education [committee] to take a more global view of how the schools are funded and how we can take some of that pressure off. WEEKLY: How do you solve that special ed. issue? KUEHL: Well, it depends. First of all, we need much better information, because frankly what we know is what we read in the papers -- like Will Rogers -- and it’s not bad, but it’s in conflict. One report says, half of the kids that are in special ed., they’re only there because they were never taught to read. Another study says, these are very seriously needy students and they’re being mainstreamed unnecessarily. All the studies are probably right. But how you put them together to adequately fund a special education system just for those who need special education, that’s a tough one.
I mean, in term limits, you have to learn as much as you can as fast as you can. That’s the same thing I’ve done with health and the same thing I’ve done with water. I mean, the question of how we allocate water in California, it’s like oil is in Texas. So I asked to be on the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and – its’ relationship to smart growth, which is going to be one of the things that I want to focus on if I get into the Senate. It’s affordable housing, transportation, water and how we grow, because we’re not going to be turning people away at the border. You can’t just say, "Don’t build it here. Oh, don’t build it there either." I like these complicated and interdisciplinary issues. I have a sense that in the Senate, it’s possible, you’re such a small group, to work in a more interdisciplinary way, so that it’s not just an issue for the Housing Committee or just an issue for the Water Committee.WEEKLY: And you have a little more time. KUEHL: You have a lot more time. If I win this primary, it’s conceivable that I can serve for nine years, this year and eight in the Senate. And that really does allow you to do some good thinking. The health stuff is really interesting to me too. No one has done anything in tackling the question of the health of women in prison, which is just abysmal. I had a hearing on it as the Chair of the Select Committee on California’s Women -- Women and Health, and I had a whole panel on women -- health care for women in prison. Well, you might as well have had 30 seconds. There is no health care for women in prison. And no one’s concentrating on it. So I was talking to [Assemblywoman] Jackie Spier yesterday about doing something together down the line. You know, there’s just a lot of things that one can do. And if you’re there, you can accomplish a lot. Fifty-five bills in five years -- that’s a lot of legislation -- and that’s just what I’ve done. WEEKLY: How much of that was signed this year by Gray and how much of that was before by Wilson? KUEHL: I had 17 bills in ‘99. So 38 by -- by Pete Wilson. Nineteen in each session. Some of them little things. Some of them big. I did a bill so that the oil companies have to pay for replacement water when they’ve fouled your water supply. That was for Santa Monica, but it’s a statewide bill. I introduced a bill so that you had to pay a fine if you put stuff into the storm drain, you know, polluting industries without a permit. Or if you didn’t go for a permit, to keep it out of the storm drains. There’s a whole scheme that had no enforcement in it. And there’s a lot more to do with that bill. WEEKLY: Speaking of interdisciplinary issues, and growth management being one of them, what’s been your stance towards the LAX expansion?