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San Fernando
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022
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Easy Choice for State Senate: Fazio

If you run a business in the Valley area – or if you’re sympathetic to the plight of business in California – your choice for state senator in the upcoming election is an easy one: It’s Steve Fazio. In fact, you can quickly determine which candidates favor the private sector just by listening to them or reading their campaign messages. Fazio is unafraid to place business front and center. He introduces himself as the pro-business candidate in the race, and his campaign material prominently mentions his long tenure running a small family business. In fact, his introductory letter on his campaign website immediately makes the pitch for creating a business-friendly environment. He points out that a stronger economy would give the government money to enhance public safety and fund public education. This is the third paragraph of that letter: “It is our elected leaders who are responsible for shaping common-sense policies that create an environment where our economy can grow, our children can learn, and our residents can feel safe in their homes, yet California’s leaders have failed to build a system for success.” Contrast that with Fazio’s opponent, Henry Stern, an environmental lawyer, whose campaign focuses heavily on the environment. To his credit, his campaign does address the need for a thriving local economy. But he offers few specifics, other than the desire to create clean energy programs and clean tech jobs, which is fine but would contribute a teeny amount to an economy as diverse as ours. Stern has been a senior advisor to the termed-out senator, Fran Pavley. Stern links his campaign closely to Pavley, implying his tenure would be similar to hers. So how is Pavley’s record when it comes to business? Not good. The California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business last week unveiled its annual ranking of state senators and assembly members in terms of their voting record for small businesses. Pavley came in at the bottom, getting a “Failing Small Business” rating. Fazio, by contrast, is a small business operator. He emphasizes the fact that he has been involved in a family dry cleaning business, Fazio Cleaners, since 1978. He has expanded the operation to nine locations. “I understand what it’s like to run a business in California,” Fazio told me, adding that it’s challenging because of the public sector. “We are bombarded with regulations and new labor-centric laws. “Those who are legislating, never having been in business, have no idea of the abuses taking place,” he added. Among his complaints: the lack of tort reform, workers’ compensation lawsuits and the much higher minimum wage mandate. Fazio and Stern are running in the 27th District. The heart of that district is the business-rich 101 Freeway corridor from about Sherman Oaks through Thousand Oaks. But the district also includes much of the western half of the San Fernando Valley, including Valencia; eastern Ventura County, including Moorpark and Simi Valley; and runs south to the ocean, including Malibu. The district since 2008 has been represented by Pavley, known for her environmental advocacy. Now that she’s leaving, Stern says, “we’ll need another effective champion to stand up to the oil and gas companies.” Actually, we have an abundance of champions in Sacramento standing up to the oil and gas companies. Environmentalism is not an orphan in the California statehouse. The voice of business is the lonely whimper in the night. That’s why Fazio, and the few other candidates like him, are so needed. The alternative voice, the counterpoint from the private sector, is what the statehouse needs to hear, and hear more often and more articulately. That makes Fazio the easy choice in the 27th District. • • • How about the other senate districts in the Business Journal’s coverage territory? In the 21st District, which includes Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley, Scott Wilk is the better choice to protect businesses. He and his wife have owned small businesses, and he emphasizes the need to reduce regulations and taxes. His opponent, Johnathan Ervin, is an Air Force veteran who’s still in the reserves and believes strongly in protecting the aerospace industry in his district. He also emphasizes the need to reduce taxes and regulations for small businesses. However, business-oriented voters may be unsettled by the fact he gets much stronger support from labor groups over business groups. There is no election in the 20th District in the eastern part of the San Fernando Valley because this is the year for elections in odd-numbered districts. Charles Crumpley is editor and publisher of the Business Journal. He can be reached at ccrumpley@sfvbj.com.

Charles Crumpley
Charles Crumpley
Charles Crumpley has been the editor and publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal since March 2016. In June 2021, it was named the best business journal of its size in the country – the fourth time in the last 5 years it won that honor. Crumpley was named best columnist – also for the fourth time in the last 5 years. He serves on two business-supporting boards and has won awards for his civic involvement. Crumpley, a former newspaper reporter, won several national awards and fellowships for his work, and he was a Fulbright scholar to Japan.
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