Candidate campaign page: http://www.henrysternforsenate.com/
The contest to succeed Senator Fran Pavley in California State Senate District 27 is a tight race between five accomplished candidates. The district is so important that we sent out our own questionnaire to all five candidates to better understand their respective platforms on active transportation. While we did not hear back from three of the candidates, we received very thoughtful and promising responses from Henry Stern and Janice Kamenir-Reznik. Both candidates laid out an encouraging understanding of what it will take to develop a more sustainable transportation system. And each focused on prioritizing active transportation for the benefit of District 27, which encompasses the western San Fernando Valley (including Encino, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, Porter Ranch, Reseda, and Tarzana) as well as parts of Ventura County.
We are particularly encouraged by Henry Stern’s first-hand experience in advancing sustainable transportation options as the senior policy advisor to Senator Pavley, his commitment to double funding for the state Active Transportation Program, and his own personal experience as a daily bicycle commuter in Sacramento. With his depth of experience advocating for a more sustainable California, it is no surprise that he is endorsed by the Sierra Club and the California League of Conservation Voters. As an advocate for sustainable transportation options, Henry Stern earns our endorsement for California State Senate District 27.
(See below for Henry Sterns’s full Bike The Vote L.A. questionnaire response)
1. What is your opinion on the state of transportation options in your district? How would you improve street safety and transportation quality for your constituents who depend on walking, biking, or public transit?
It’s easy to say that we need more bike lanes, more carefully signed intersections, and better walking and recreation paths—that’s easy—but it is quite another thing to mean it and to know how to get it done. I have helped develop the sustainable communities program within the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to fund new active transportation infrastructure, and will also be supporting the LA County transportation measure to provide additional funding for these critical resources.
2. The California Air Resources Board estimates that transportation accounts for 37% of California’s 447 million metric tons of carbon emitted yearly. What actions would your office take to ensure that California creates a more sustainable transportation system?
My district drives more than anywhere else in the state. While some areas have better air than others, the overall contribution of our region to the South Coast pollution challenge is substantial and problematic. This problem actually presents an opportunity. If we can diversify our vehicle fleet with more zero emissions vehicle options, provide citizens better choices to live within biking and walking distance of local services and dependable transit options, we will not only reduce pollution but also save families money on their fuel budget and reduce our oil dependence.
I have devoted my career to fighting for our climate and a more sustainable way of living. In Sacramento I plan to carry on Senator Fran Pavley’s work creating a cleaner and safer California. Over the last four years, I have worked with Senator Pavley to pass some of the most critical legislation to create a more sustainable California, including SB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act), SB 1204 (Clean Energy Security Coordination Act of 2009), and AB 8 & SB 11 (Vehicular Air Pollution: Greenhouse Gas Emissions). These policies have made California’s the strongest market for sustainable economic growth in the nation, if not the world. SB 11 serves as a model for what we can accomplish on sustainable transportation, and should be the groundwork for a great deal of legislation to come.
3. The Active Transportation Program (ATP) serves as the State’s sole dedicated funding source to provide and improve infrastructure for walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School programs. Though Caltrans’ 2015 Strategic Management Plan goal to triple bicycle trips by 2020, the fact remains that current funding levels have not been increased since the ATP was created. Do you support doubling ATP funding?
Yes. While working in Sacramento, I rode my bike to work every single day for four years. Unfortunately it’s impossible for me to get around the 27th senate district on my bike and public transit alone, and I would like to see that change.
4. Cap & trade funds offer a unique opportunity to prioritize sustainable transportation, particularly in low-income neighborhoods negatively affected by pollution, but are sometimes considered for use in highway expansion projects. Do you support use of cap and trade funds to expand vehicular roadway capacity? How should California use cap and trade funds to minimize transportation-based pollution in low-income neighborhoods, especially those in your district?
Yes I do–the money we generate from the cap and trade system needs to go to expanding sustainable transportation systems. Often when transportation dollars are allocated, they go to high-profile projects in high-income neighborhoods, whereas places like Canoga Park, where I live, are ignored. I’ll fight to ensure that our transportation investments go to benefit all Californians. While we need more rail systems, we have to think beyond trains and really invest in walking, biking, and sustainable alternatives.
5. Hit and runs continue to be an immense problem in the Los Angeles region, with over 28,000 hit and run crimes reported in Los Angeles County in 2015 alone. Current California law actually incentivizes hit and run crimes due to the fact that penalties for fleeing the scene of a collision are less than that of a driving under the influence (DUI). Do you support bringing penalties for hit and run crimes in line with penalties for DUIs, and how would you address hit and run crimes more broadly?
Yes, we should be enhancing hit-and-run penalties, because it doesn’t make sense to have a double standard. Further, to make any punishment effective as a deterrent there also has to be a large-scale communications program alongside any change in the law.
6. Bike Share systems are being implemented throughout California cities, but use fees and credit requirements often restrict low-income residents and communities from using them. Do you support providing state funds to remove barriers for bike share as a transit option for low-income users?