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P. McKeon cools to debates

Spokesman says she won’t likely attend other forums in Santa Clarita Valley

Posted: April 24, 2012 10:06 p.m.
Updated: April 24, 2012 10:06 p.m.

Assembly candidate Patricia McKeon is not likely to speak at any more public forums in the Santa Clarita Valley, her campaign spokesman said Tuesday.

“I think we’re done with public forums,” Joe Justin said before a forum scheduled Tuesday evening by the League of Women Voters and the 34th District Parent-Teacher Association.

Her campaign strategy hinges now on meeting voters directly, he said.

“There are no undecided voters in this area,” Justin said, referring to the Santa Clarita Valley. “We’re now going to be talking to real voters.”

“We may do a forum in Simi Valley,” Justin said.

McKeon has appeared only once at a public forum with her Democrat opponent, Edward Headington, and in front of at least three Republican-only events.

McKeon, wife of Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, told a luncheon forum at the Lincoln Club last month that she would not shy away from public debates and forums, but was not about to give the same talk to the same audience over and over.

McKeon, school board member Paul Strickland and college Trustee Scott Wilk are seeking the Republican nomination for 38th Assembly District in the June primary. The lone Democrat in the race is Headington.

McKeon did not attend the Tuesday night forum that drew Wilk, Strickland and Headington.

Education topped the list of issues discussed at the forum hosted by the 34th District Parent Teachers Association and the League of Women Voters.

About 40 people showed up at Wiley Canyon Elementary School Tuesday night to hear how candidates would deal with issues impacting how our children are taught.

After delivering their two-minute opening statements, candidates were immediately asked about cuts to education.

Specifically, they were asked to define adequate funding.

Each candidate began his response saying the state should honor Proposition 98, which calls for a minimum percentage of the state budget to be spent on kindergarten to age 14 education.

Strickland said: “We have to honor Proposition 98. We have not been doing that. What they’ve been doing lately is lowering the mix by not including enough of the revenue that was initially scheduled to go to 98.

“The state is taking this money and moving it elsewhere,” he said. “That’s what they’re doing with a lot of things. We can’t have that happen. All the schools will be in a terrible, terrible situation if we do.”

Headington said: “If we’re going to have Prop 98 as the will of the voters, then it has to be fully funded. Legislature needs to stop borrowing about $1 million a year. We also have to give the districts flexibility.

“All four of us — the Fab Four — I think the only time all of us were together, was at a private meeting with the five superintendents here in Santa Clarita Valley,” he said referring to the himself and his three opponents. “And one of the key questions they asked all us was ‘Would you be willing to lower the threshold from super majority to simple majority?’  I think you have to give local control back to local government.”

Wilk said: “We need to move to a two-year budget cycle. And when we do that, we need to move to performance-based budgeting. Right now, it’s baseline budgeting which means we take last year’s budget and add 7 percent. That’s the new budget. That’s not how you do it in your household. That’s not how we do it at College of the Canyons. What we want to do is go in and set proper priorities.

“We’re going to grow the economy by holding the line on new taxes, reforming regulations through eliminating them or streamlining them,” he said.

An all-candidate forum is still scheduled to take place at the Hyatt Regency Valencia hotel on May 7, hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, Valley Industry Association and Valley Industry and Commerce Association.


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