Important Race Is For Second Place in 40th Assembly Contest

(May 28) Given the party affiliations of the four candidates in next Tuesdays contest in the 40th Assembly District, the interesting competition appears to be that for second place
Three Democrats and a single Republican are vying against one another for the voters’ nod to represent the geographically dispersed 40th, which runs from Rancho Cucamonga, and then spans the narrow and virtually unpopulated swath across the I-15 Freeway into the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, then down into a portion of the city of San Bernardino, and then all or most of Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda and Grand Terrace. Squaring off in the contest are Democrats Art Bustamante, Kathleen Marie Henry, Melissa O’Donnell and Republican Marc Steinorth.
At this point it is a foregone conclusion that Steinorth will garner the most votes in next week’s primary. There is only nine-tenths of a percent difference in the number of registered Democrats versus Republicans in the district. It is a fair assumption that Steinorth will pull in most of the Republican votes and at least a portion of the votes of those who have declined to state a party affiliation. At the same time, most of the Democratic votes are expected to be divided among O’Donnell, Henry and Bustamonte. The winner among those three – i.e., the  second place finisher overall – will then face off against Steinorth in November.
Kathleen Henry, a current San  Bernardino Community College District Board Member, said she is seeking election to the Assembly to spur economic growth in her district and throughout the state by facilitating “the sustainable growth of small businesses” and to improve the quality of childhood education and ensure high school graduates have access to affordable quality instruction at public universities and colleges. Moreover, Henry said, she wants to dispense with divisiveness in politics and governance.
She said her work as an educator and her experience as a college board member gives her a leg up on the competition in seeing how education can be applied to boost the economy.
“Education flows into different things – economic growth, diversity of business, creating jobs,” she said. “Our work is not just about creating jobs. We need a diversity of business. We have to create a diversity of work opportunities for individuals who are getting educated.  We do not now necessarily educate our students into programs that offer them assurance of employment. There are only a certain number of jobs out there and only a certain number of types of jobs. We have jobs that are technology related. We have jobs that are not particularly technology-dependent. We have jobs in the hospitality field. There is land here that is under-utilized. We could interest corporations and employers to locate here if we had the infrastructure in place to support their business operations. Infrastructure could create opportunities for our educated students.  Economic growth is often about infrastructure: roads, public safety, sewer treatment systems. San Bernardino has an aging sewer system.”
There should be investment in infrastructure and she said citizens will support new taxing regimes if they understand that the taxes will result in a long term economic progress.
“If we impose taxes, we are imposing taxes upon the already taxed, but if that tax creates something that allows companies to set up here or flourish and make a profit off that, people will realize the benefits and accept the tax, even if they don’t see too much of a return on it right away. It just takes time,” she said.
Melissa O’Donnell carried the standard for the Democrats in 2012 when she ran against Bill Emmerson in California State Senate District 23, garnering 45 percent of the vote in that Republican-leaning district.
O’Donnell has worked as a teacher, has sold real estate and she now owns an education company, Time To Learn Fast.
O’Donnell characterizes the residents of the 40th District as “hardworking” and she said they deserve representation that will create opportunity and support for their efforts.
“I would concentrate on convincing corporations to take advantage of our trained and skilled workforce,” she said. “I would give those corporations incentives to come to the area and with that I think we can bring a lot of progress to the area.”
O’Donnell said she is acutely conscious of the range of diversity and different opinion within the sprawling 40th District and that she believes she can bridge the differences between Republicans and Democrats.
Art Bustamonte, a seventeen year member of the Chaffey Joint Unified High School District Board of Trustees, is a former police officer who is now working as an investigator for the public defender’s office.
“I want progressive policies to promote the  middle class because the middle class has been neglected,” he said. “I want to be able to bring jobs to the district, help single parents, especially single women who have children, with daycare so they can work, and I want to be able to provide jobs with higher wages.
Saying he sees the main issue in San Bernardino County as rejuvenating its economy, Bustmonte said, “We need to improve our schools. We need to have a more stable political arena. To stabilize our politics, we need to end corruption in government because companies will not come here or relocate here unless we have good schools and the politics are stable. No company is going to want to come into an area where we have unsafe streets and neighborhoods. We need good law enforcement and political stability and an educated workforce. The first thing companies look at is will they have employees who are trained or who they can easily train, and is there police protection and  political stability that allows government to function and be fair. We need to work on those things.”
Bustamonte said a more coordinated effort among the various political and governmental entities and jurisdictions is needed.
“The counties and cities have their own economic development departments to lure business into their respective cities or into the county,” he said. “We are not working together in unison. It is important that we get everyone working together to bring manufacturing jobs to the county. We have good infrastructure to make that possible. We are not working in unison.  We need to bring jobs to the county.”
Bustamonte said the district and San Bernardino County in general have to attract businesses that produce finished products, and an end needs to be brought to the local economy’s dependence on poorer paying jobs in the service industry.
“I believe I can help create a consensus and work with cities to lure more business to this area through tax incentives if those businesses commit to hiring a certain number of employees,” he said. “We’re losing manufacturing companies. More are going out to other states are than are coming in. California has twelve percent of the nation’s population. We should have twelve percent of the manufacturing activity. We need to stop the migration of jobs to other states and overseas.  The state needs to look at the reality that businesses are needed to create jobs. The most important challenge to the state is to stop businesses from leaving. By being a part of the majority party – because I am a Democrat – I should be able to do something about that. My goal as part of the majority is to have a voice in getting things done versus if I were in another party.”
Marc Steinorth, a member of the Rancho Cucamonga City Council, said he believes he can offer representation to the 40th Assembly District on the strength of his experience in both the public and private arenas.
“I have 20 years of private sector business experience,” said Steinorth, who runs an advertising and marketing firm in Rancho Cucamonga, Atlas Buying Group. “In addition to understanding the daily challenge of running a small business, I also have public sector experience on the city council. I have seen the impact of the state government’s action on the business community. I am equally aware of what many in the private sector and in the general public do not realize, which is the degree to which local governments are challenged by having to deal with mandates by the state, every bit as much as small businesses must deal with mandates by the state. I am convinced that the state government does not have enough private sector business representation. It is easy to say you want to go to Sacramento and create jobs. That is the mantra we have heard for the last four or five years from our politicians. What is different about my candidacy is I have actual experience in helping to create and grow businesses.”
Steinorth said that to be effective as an advocate for the private sector within the context of serving in government, one has to be prepared to tirelessly promote the application of common sense to the regulatory function of government. Steinorth addressed the impact of state mandates on local government.
“AB 109, the public safety realignment or prison realignment to reduce prison overcrowding was not intended to be a threat to my family’s safety but that is the end result,” Steinorth said. “The state has simply ignored the prison overcrowding problem for more than 20 years.  This most recent emergency is really nothing more than an example of poor planning by our legislative leaders.”
Steinorth, the best funded of all of the candidates in the race, said he saw the campaign as “one of multiplication and addition, not subtraction.”He said he is enjoying the exchange of ideas among those running for the office. “I don’t feel I am running against any opponent as much as I am running for opportunity. My key care-abouts are helping the businesses in the region navigate the state bureaucracy and directing the district office toward providing constituent services, including both businesses and residents. My second major goal is to restore funding to our local courts. I understand the challenges [San Bernardino County] Presiding Judge {Marsha] Slough is faced with, but our county is much too large to be undergoing a reduction in its judicial forums and our residents need to have access to the justice system.”

Leave a Reply