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Letter: Rebutting The Signal Editorial Board

Posted: October 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Rebutting The Signal Editorial Board

For the last seven years, The Signal has named me one of the “51 Most Influential People in the SCV.” Through my work on the COC Board of Trustees as well as my public affairs work — our valley has benefitted from greater access to health care, more upscale retail, more open space to recreate in, and, of course, one of the finest community colleges in the nation. According to The Signal, the 51 Award is based on, “those in the community whose efforts have played a role in creating a rewarding living experience for residents in the SCV.”

So I read with interest the Signal Board’s editorial endorsing my San Fernando Valley opponent for the open 38th Assembly District seat. I know my commitment to smaller government and holding the line on taxes didn’t resonate well with the majority of the board, but I was stunned by their characterization of the interview. So I’m taking the opportunity to rebut some of the more egregious statements made.

First, they state, “Neither has a tangible voting record that would indicate their effectiveness in the state Legislature.”

While it is true that my opponent doesn’t have a record, I do. As chief of staff to two state legislators, I managed major legislative bills that became law relating to public safety, education reform and San Fernando Valley secession. Some of this legislation passed even though my member was part of the minority party. I have had success building bipartisan coalitions and bringing ideas into law.

I also have a voting record as an elected official. For the last six years on the College Board of Trustees, I have shown an independent streak, a willingness to engage all stakeholders and do what I believe is in the best interest of the college and community. When the Signal endorsed me for re-election to the COC Board, they wrote, “We are endorsing Wilk … because of his fiscally conservative position, his commitment and his knowledge of the college and community.” That sounds like someone with a record to me.

Again in the editorial they stated, “Wilk relished a discussion of the power committees he might serve on….” First, the board asked me which committees that I’m interested in — I never brought it up. They are Higher Education; Health Care; and the Arts & Entertainment Committee. None of those committees are considered “power” committees, which are Rules, Appropriations and Governmental Organization (they regulate gaming). I’m hoping to serve on committees where I can do the most to assist my future constituents.

They continued, “He discussed consolidation of political power, not specific solutions to issues, rightly offered Whittaker-Bermite as a primary local issue needing Sacramento attention, yet offered no specifics when asked what his first legislation would be, instead saying he would “shop ideas around.”

This is probably the most unfair statement. I identified three local issues: the Cemex mega mine, Whittaker-Bermite cleanup and the impending penalties that will be assessed on our community if chloride levels are not reduced in our discharged wastewater.

I focused on the chloride issue that could possibly cost local ratepayers as much as $250 million. I discussed how I’m researching ways to reform the unaccountable Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. I have met with numerous water professionals, elected officials, as well as downstream users who are seeking the lower chloride levels. I’m in the midst of gathering all my facts and I stated I thought my first piece of legislation would be addressing that subject.

The board further stated I would be “shopping ideas around” for legislation. That is not what I said. During the 15 months we have invested in this campaign, we have met with many people who have ideas on how to make California more business-friendly and state government effective and efficient. It is the ideas of my future constituents that I will be “pitching” to see what level of interest there is working on these ideas within the Legislature. A legislator is an advocate for his or her district and that is what I intend to do.

During the course of the general election I participated in three newspaper editorial board interviews. The other 38th Assembly District papers the Ventura County Star and the L.A. Daily News both endorsed me as the more qualified candidate. The Signal Editorial Board is entitled to its view, but not entitled to changing the facts.



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