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Sparks fly at 43rd District Assembly debate

Mike Gatto, Greg Krikorian trade barbs and campaign points.

October 26, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • State Assemblyman Mike Gatto, left, and Glendale Unified School District board member Greg Krikorian participate in a debate Thursday night at Glendale City Hall. The debate was moderated by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank.
State Assemblyman Mike Gatto, left, and Glendale Unified… (Photo by Mike Mullen )

The two candidates in the 43rd District Assembly race — incumbent Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and longtime Glendale Unified school board member Greg Krikorian — squared off in a sometimes contentious debate Thursday in front of a spillover crowd at Glendale City Council chambers.

The debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank, ranged from the candidates' positions on everything from job creation and education funding to political attacks lobbed from either side of the forum.

“If we want to get serious about creating jobs in this state, we need to make sure that companies that send them out of our state are penalized, and penalized in a meaningful way,” Gatto said.

He pointed to bills he wrote that would have reduced the amount of red tape businesses have to wade through to open up shop in California. The measures, which did not pass, would have cut the wait time from two years to roughly six months.

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He also co-authored a measure that extended the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program by an additional two years and another $200 million to help keep movie and TV production work in the state.

Gatto also pointed to legislation he co-wrote that would have closed a loophole for companies that outsource jobs by imposing a penalty for doing so. That bill also did not become law.

Krikorian, meanwhile, said that as a small-business owner, he knows how difficult it can be to succeed in today's economy: “We don't need more taxes, we don't need more laws. We need jobs — jobs, jobs jobs.”

He also pledged to work hard to bring film and television production work back to the area.

“I'm committed to do responsible, sensible laws that [are] funding businesses to grow, not drive them out of the state,” Krikorian said.

Both men said they are committed to improving the state's public education system, with Gatto saying more revenue streams need to be found and Krikorian pledging to make cuts in state government and direct those funds to schools.

In discussing their abilities to work across the aisle, Gatto said he had 10 pieces of legislation pass both houses of the Legislature this past session, all with bipartisan support.

“Think of that. That is a rarity and quite an accomplishment to build that kind of consensus in the modern political world,” Gatto said.

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