Glendale resident Greg Krikorian brings 20 years of community service to his bid for the 43rd District of the California State Assembly. In addition to La Cañada, the new 43rd Assembly District includes the communities of Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta and Montrose and part of Los Angeles.
Krikorian, a Connecticut native, has been a member of the Glendale Unified School District since 2001, and has served as board president. Krikorian has been a member of the Verdugo Hills Boy Scouts of America Council for more than 20 years. Additional organizations the Republican candidate belong to include the Kiwanis Club of Glendale and the Burbank YMCA.
Krikorian has been endorsed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, former California Governor George Deukmejian, the California Congress of Republicans and the Filipino American Business Association of Glendale. Krikorian faces incumbent Mike Gatto. Although challenger Alfredo A. Hernandez pulled papers, he did not qualify in time.
Ahead of Tuesday's primary, Patch asked Krikorian the following questions via email. These are his answers:
1. What are some of the important issues facing the 43rd District?
You don’t need to look too hard to see the problems we face in our state and local district. Simply put, Business and Education are easily the two biggest issues we face. With 11% unemployment, all California residents either are, or know someone who is, unemployed, under-employed or under the constant threat of possibly losing their current job. It’s no wonder when CEOs and business owners across the country rank California dead last when listing business friendly environments. Their reason: Excessive Taxation and Burdensome Regulation imposed by our out of control and out of touch legislature. Our schools remain at or near the bottom in testing, per student funding, and graduation rates. As a Glendale Unified School Board member, I know first hand the devastating effect deep cuts imposed by the legislature and our current legislator, Mike Gatto, have had. With just over $700 million in cuts to California Schools in the last two years, do we really wonder why our schools suffer at this time?
2. What would you hope to accomplish if you are elected?
I want to get our state back to fiscal responsibility. I want to reach out to members of both parties and establish coalitions of legislators that will be willing to take a good hard look, with the help of California businesses, at our bureaucratic organizations, tax code, and business killing regulation. With these coalitions we can arrive at a mutual understanding and institute common sense solutions to the problems we face. I will work with my fellow legislators to get a 5 to 7 year extension for, and an expansion of, the film tax credit so we can keep runaway productions here in the Los Angeles area. I will also work toward instituting a tax credit for businesses that move to California and create 500 or more jobs.
I want to consider alternatives to school funding beyond Proposition 98 requirements. When State revenues decline, so does the 40% slice of the pie that our schools receive. Unreliable funding projections from the state cause uncertainty at our local districts when planning budgets for the coming year. Unfunded mandates and mid-year cuts severely handicap many school districts. I will advocate for adequate funding along with greater flexibility for our k-12 public education systems, so each school district’s challenges can find the most effective solutions. This strategy would continue into our Community Colleges and UC Systems so they, and taxpayers, can more wisely invest in training our future workforce. We should plan school funding on a 5-year average of revenues, so that our schools have a more reliable number on which to plan their budgets. I will advocate for a full evualtion and assessment of state programs and services to ensure our tax dollars are being spent sensibly for the greater good of all residents of California. New bills before the legislature should also face this scrutiny before being brought up for a vote. Education can no longer afford to be the sacrificial lamb of the legislature’s failures.
3. What makes you a qualified candidate?
As a 22-year resident of Glendale, I have always owned and operated a business here in the 43rd district. My business requires that I work with other business owners and executives and help them to better understand the California business climate. I know what it requires to be successful in business and know intimately of the restrictions and limitations that certain regulations place upon our economy. My business experience draws a stark contrast between me and my opponent.
Additionally, my 12 years as a school board member have given me the experience to best understand what our schools need. We have sought for sensible alternatives to funding constrictions placed on us by the state. As part of one particular initiative and with some help from the community, we were able to secure a reliable source of funds for our local schools for decades to come. Again, my opponent has very little experience in education and yet figures that cutting hundreds of millions in funding for our schools will not devastate our ability to properly educate our children. From my experience I can tell you that those cuts not only will have an adverse effect, they already have.
On a personal note, I have gladly given countless hours of volunteer time, through little league, AYSO, Verdugo Hills Boy Scouts of America and various business organizations like our chambers and Kiwanis. I've walked side by side with, and in the shoes of the residents of this district. These experiences have given me many wonderful memories, and I have shared in the joys and in the tears of so many who have become dear friends. My life and my heart are here. I know this community and what it stands for, and have been committed to serving it for the past 22 years.
4. What Crescenta Valley issues are most important to you?
The 710 extension, though outside of our district, could definitely have a great adverse effect on our district. With that extension, traffic amounting to thousands of cars and truck would be funneled onto the 210 freeway, leading to an increase in accidents, noise, and pollution, traffic jams, and a subsequent decrease in safety, security, and quality of life for the residents of the Crescenta Valley and La Canada.
I will do all I can to prevent this from occurring. Blocking the 710 extension goes hand in hand with protecting our limited open space and hillsides from over development. Also, I’m committed to revisiting our disaster preparedness plan and take steps to avoid the types of delays that occurred in the station fire which severely impacted the residents of Crescenta Valley and La Canada.
Additionally, with a bill passed by the legislature (and voted for by Mr. Gatto), thousands of prisoners were sent from State Prisons to local jails. With Local jails already overcrowded, local Sheriffs had little choice but to release these prisoners into our neighborhoods, much ahead of the end of their sentences. Since October of last year when this plan known as ‘Public Safety Realignment’ was implemented, the property crime rate in the Crescenta Valley has risen over 60%. As your Assemblyman, I will forward legislation that will look for alternatives to house our prisoners and to develop a more cost efficient system, so we will not be hurt in the future by mass early releases.
5. How would you like to see the 43rd District and greater Los Angeles County in five years? How can you help contribute to this vision?
My heartfelt goal is to see the 43rd district and our County become, once again, a region where dreams come true, and where new families want to come and raise their children and build new businesses or join existing companies and know their contributions are valued and held in high esteem. And from this renewed foundation, create an environment where generations have the desire to stay and not to feel forced to move out of state for a better education, a better career or to raise a family! I would like to see our region back on the road to recovery from the destructive policies passed by previous sessions of our legislature.
I would like to carefully, and with wisdom, curtail the growth of big government and of government (meaning taxpayer) handouts to those able to provide for themselves. That means targeting waste and fraud. I would like to see our children receiving the school funding they deserve, our businesses operating successfully without choking on burdensome regulations, and I would like to see our communities safe from the threats we all currently face due to mass prisoner releases stemming from “Public Safety Realignment.” The days of $20 Billion budget deficits due to unrealistic revenue projections must be put behind us as we implement more honest ways of determining what money we expect to come into the state’s coffers, and learn how to live within our means. I know that the reasonable, common sense reforms that I have suggested and will fight for can help us create our mutual vision of a thriving region. With your help and your vote, we can share in this future together.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Alfredo Hernandez would be on Tuesday's ballot. He will not.