NORWALK – A continuation of an interview with the California Democratic state Senate District 32 candidate Bob Archuleta. An interview with his opponent, Republican Rita Topalian, is scheduled for later this month.
ON PUBLIC SAFETY
Most elected officials cite Public Safety as their primary concerns. What are your concerns regarding the 900,000 plus population of the 32nd district?
“Public safety is going to be right up there at the top of the list…But guess what? One city may have a formula that we can use in another city. That’s important in bringing people together.”
“[In] the city of Pico Rivera, we’re protected by the LA County Sheriff (Department) and their Deputies and I have a great relationship with the LA County Sheriff.”
“Of course the other cities, the city of Downey, Montebello, they have their city police. The city of Whittier has their city police. So I’ve got to deal with them in a different way because of the fact that each city has different procedures, but all under the umbrella of the state of California.”
“One of the things I want to make sure, that God forbid, there is an issue, a shooting, an earthquake, whatever it might be, that all these different entities can talk with one another.”
“[They should have] all the same radio frequencies that they can talk with one another.”
“They’ve got to unite their communications, their procedures.”
ON AN ARMED DEPUTY IN ALL HIGH SCHOOLS
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department reports a huge shortage of deputies. In Norwalk, we have allocated resources for five additional deputies but have not met those goals. Also in Norwalk, there is one deputy assigned to two high schools, Norwalk and John Glenn. How can we gain the personnel?
“In Norwalk, I would like to meet with the Mayor, the City Manager and the Captain, who’s in charge of the Norwalk Station, because I want to ask, how is it that you have one Deputy [for] two high schools?”
“I’d like to start meeting with the school districts and the various police Departments and Sheriff to start training and teaching our Teachers on how to prepare our kids. We need to be proactive.”
Regarding the arming of Norwalk based high school deputies with weapons of war, the AR-15:
“I think most of us, who like myself, I served with the Montebello Police Department, we always had to be ready. Every law enforcement who’s out there must be ready for the tragedy that may face them in the next twenty, ten minutes.”
“The equipment they carry in their automobile is ready to handle any situation. We need to make sure they’ve got all the equipment they need.”
Additionally, Archuleta shared, “What that may be, should remain confidential. We don’t need to have that out in the public, but to assure the public that our sheriff Deputies and police officers are well trained, well informed and ready to take on any emergency.”
Many would regard the homeless situation in the nation at epidemic levels. What are your views on homelessness and what can the State, county and local entities do to help/assist those in need?
“Charity begins at home. If somebody in your family looks like that they need help, I would hope that they would turn to their family first, their church second and then of course comes all the social [service] side of it all, the County of Los Angeles, the State of California. But I think we need to start working within our own.”
“There are some success stories. In Pico Rivera, along our river banks (Pico Rivera is bordered between the San Gabriel on the East and the Rio Hondo River on the west); we’ve had the homeless there on the river banks. We started working with the county and bringing Caltrans over there. We are continuously cleaning up. We have one deputy and his job is to stay near the riverbed and to make sure there isn’t any activity violating the law. He’s there on call all the time.
"We’re doing it with a soft heart. That’s why we call it hearts of compassion.
“Remember, we have three types of homelessness: one is, they’ve just had a hard time. Mathematically. So they can be helped right away with resources. The other one has mental issues and of course there are those who just don’t want to give up their freedom.”
“I would be careful of putting a tag on any of them, but we know of three types.”
“As an elected official of the 32nd State Senate District, I [would] want to go to the state hospital. I want to know what they have, what they’re doing; the land that they have, is there room and why haven’t we addressed that.”
“We want everyone to participate. What may be working in Pico Rivera, may not work in Norwalk or Cerritos.”
“We have some of the brightest elected officials of all these cities.”
ON PERSONNAL ACCESSIBILITY
You pride yourself on “Taking phone calls and returning them.” With the added responsibilities of the 32nd State Senate District, can you continue that personal policy or will you delegate more responsibilities to your qualified subordinates?
“Everyone in the State Senate has a staff, and having a staff able to think like you with the passion which you have and also have the sense of duty that you have; that’s the staff that I’m going to put together.
“Maybe my phone calls will be three minutes long instead of twenty.”
“I believe everyone deserves an answer. If you’ve got time to put the question on the table, then I should have the time to do the research and give you the answer. It may not be the one you like, but it will be the one that you can research, backup and hopefully we can find a solution if we discover there is a problem.”
THE GAS TAX
What are your views on the recent enabled gas tax and what are your plans regarding its future?
“The gas tax hurts. When you go to the gas pumps, no doubt. But when you’re driving to the gas pumps did you hit a pot hole? Yes, you did. In most cases, yes you did. And did you curse out the window? Yes, you did. Did you have to repair your flat tire? Yes, you did.”
“Why does everyone want to be driving on the freeways at 5:00 when we have empty trains? That’s exactly what we’re talking about.”
“We are very unique in California. We like our automobiles. That means more wear and tear on our roads. We have to think 25 years in advance.”
“Every city in the 32nd District is going to be allocated millions of dollars over time to repair their roads and make sure they are safer and better.”
“I don’t like it. You don’t like it, but let’s make sure it accountable. Our infrastructure is very vital to the state of California.”
ON CALIFORNIA’ S BEAUTY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
How important is the protection and equal access to the beauty of California’s natural resources (IE, Coastal drilling for fossil fuels, tapping ground water reserves, higher entry fees to recreational areas)?
“Well, you’re speaking about the environment. How do we best protect our environment? I’m going to do everything I can to protect our natural resources because that’s what makes California different. We have the most beautiful countryside, the mountains that any state can brag about.”
“I just want to thank everyone who voted in the June primary. I’d like to personally thank everyone. I thank the good Lord. I honestly do. I went to all the churches…everyone came together…That is the voice of the people and I’m taking that to Sacramento and I’m going to show them that the 32nd District is a united district.”
“I’d like us to be an example to the state of California that we can come together as a united front to protect our environment, our schools, our children, our seniors, honor our veterans and do it all with God’s help.”
Interview conducted by Raul Samaniego.