Two opposites face off in forum debate

Jen Cornett / Roundup , Mariana Enriquez / Roundup

What started as a calm and informative night ended in a heated discussion with a pending debate at the Proposition and Candidate forum Thursday in the Pierce College Campus Center.

The event was sponsored by the Women’s Organization Coalition collaboration with Pierce.

The Candidate and Ballot Measure Forum informed citizens of the pros and cons of Propositions R, 1D, 83, 85, 87, 89 and 90, seven of the 16 total on the November 7 ballot.

Fourteen candidates from all parties including Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Green who were running for congressional and assembly districts spoke.

Each speaker received a two-minute opportunity to either support or reject the particular proposition presented to the public.

Following their two-minute debuts, candidates were allowed a one-minute rebuttal.

Additional attendees included the Women’s Organization Coalition, The American Association of University Women, Business and Professional Women, National Women’s Political Caucus, League of Women Voters, National Organization of Women San Fernando Valley.

“We never take a position on issues or political candidates,” said WOC member Fran Lapides. “We are completely nonpartisan.”

Although the crowd was dismal at first, each seat available was full by the end of the night. The most memorable propositions addressed were 83, 85 and 87.

The debates began with Proposition 83,which deals with Sex Offenders, Sexual Violent Predators, Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring.

If passed, sex offenders would be required to wear a Global Positioning System that would monitor their proximity to parks and schools.

A 2000′ proximity would be enforced and if it were violated the offender would get longer prison sentences and paroles.

Speaking against Proposition 83 was Erich Miller, former chair of the Libertarian Party of the San Fernando Valley.

“We are American, but this is the country of freedom and liberty and as a libertarian I am strongly and adamantly against anyone who aggresses against anyone else,” said Miller. “We have to protect those freedoms and those individuals. This bill sounds great, but what it’s really telling us is that our politicians and us as voters are failing. We have to do the job they are supposed to do. It’s passing the buck to us.”

California Taxpayer Protection Committee member Steve Frank was there to voice his views supporting Proposition 83. “This law gives law enforcement the tool they need,” said Frank. “…can’t make our children safe then what good are we as a society.”

Proposition 85 states that there needs to be a waiting period and parental notification before termination of a minor’s pregnancy.

If passed, a 48-hour notification would be required of parents prior to any termination of a pregnancy.

“Yes on Prop 85” campaign official Jessica Chastek said, “It’s a common sense proposal. We require parents not just to be notified but, to give their consent to all sorts of things that relate to their children.”

Sarah Burns of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles responded by saying, “Not all teens can go to their parents. Although it seems like a good idea, if we do not defeat this we will put thousands of California’s most vulnerable teens at risk.”

Concluding the proposition debate was Prop 87, which includes proposing alternative energy sources, research, production and incentives.

In addition, Prop 87 also states that there would be a tax on California oil producers.

There were six Assembly candidates running for the position, yet one Republican candidate for the forty-second district, Steve Sion, arrived late and apologized to the crowd since he had to attend another forum.

Finishing out the evening was the final debate between Congress candidates for the 27th district, Republican Peter Hankwitz and Democrat Brad Sherman.

These two candidates were the only individuals to get crowd participation throughout the entire forum.

Due to the fact Hankwitz is an openly gay Republican, one of the questions asked had to do with his views on gay marriage and civil unions.

“I get this question all the time. But, this time, I’m going to give you my personal answer rather than my political,” said Hankwitz,

“We all feel we have protection under the fourteenth amendment. As a gay man I don’t have that protection. Call it what you want, civil unions are still not marriage. In addition, I don’t feel its right for supporters of this to rub it in other persons of religious beliefs either. Just like they don’t have the right to rub their beliefs in ours.”

With regards to Prop 85, Hankwitz said, “The federal government should not be involved with a woman’s body or her right to choose.”

Congressman Brad Sherman informed the crowd about his policies, and insisted attendees pick up the free combs with his name and information on it.

“You all clearly have more use for a comb than I do,” said the balding Sherman.

As the debate continued, a frustrated younger woman was not satisfied with Sherman’s claims and felt that he was more “talk than action.”

Hankwitz chimed in and said that he would be happy to accompany Sherman in a debate they were previously scheduled for that was cancelled by the League of Women Voters.

Overall, the evening ended with a heated challenge to be observed in future forums.

For more information on the Propostions and Candidates go to: www.smartvoter.org or http://www.voterguide.ss.ca.gov/

Republican Peter Hankwitz (left), along with icumbent Democrat Brad Sherman (right), face off at Thursday’s debate in the Campus Center. ()

Peter Hankwitz openly gay Republican congressional candidate tackling questions from the crowd at the Campus Center Oct.19,. Brad Sherman Democratic candidate looks over notes. Sherman branded U.S. diplomacy towards North Korea a “colossal failure.” ()