Focus is on 21st Assembly race

Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 30, 1996

STATE ASSEMBLY: Focus is on 21st Assembly race

Race pits former Assemblyman Lempert against former Councilman Laliotis

The race for the 21st District seat in the state Assembly is pitting a former state assemblyman and a former Los Altos city councilman.

And the race is drawing much attention among the state's major political parties. Democrats are eager not to lose one of their established seats, held for 15 years by Byron Sher. But Republicans are hoping to pick up the seat in their quest to control the Assembly.

The 21st Assembly District runs from Foster City down to Los Altos and to the Santa Cruz county line, and from Half Moon Bay to East Palo Alto.

The major candidates are San Mateo County Supervisor Ted Lempert, who served in the state Assembly from 1988 to 1992. Lempert lost his seat to redistricting in 1992.

The Republican candidate is Ted Laliotis, a former Los Altos City Councilman who served from 1987 to 1995.

The two candidates have squared off at 10 debates since the beginning of the campaign.

Other candidates: Also running are Chris Inama, the Libertarian Party candidate and Ron Whitehurst, the Natural Law Party candidate.

Name: Ted Lempert

Age: 35 Residence: San Carlos

Background: Lempert went to local public schools before attending Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He later earned his law degree from Stanford University. Lempert worked as special counsel and associate with a San Francisco law firm before winning the 1988 election for the 20th Assembly District.

He was re-elected in 1990. After redistricting placed him in the 21st District, he ran for Congress and was defeated. In 1993 he was elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in the special election and then re-elected for a full term in 1994 where he still serves.

Where he stands: Lempert supports local control and class size reduction in public schools and opposes education budget cuts. He also advocates streamlining social services and enacting stricter work requirements on welfare recipients while providing job training and child care.

Along with cutting out state regulations on businesses that are contradictory or unclear, he supports consolidating regulatory agencies without lowering environmental standards to create what he calls "one-stop permit shopping." He supports continuing protection for the state's coastlines and old-growth redwood forests and also expanding the mass transit system to help reduce air pollution. Lempert would also like to introduce an amendment in the state constitution limiting campaign spending.

Name: Ted Laliotis Age: 56 City of residence: Los Altos Background: Laliotis earned a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from University of California in Berkeley and a master's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from San Jose State University. During his 32-year career in the technology field, Laliotis has worked as a scientist at IBM San Jose, a scientist and engineering manager at Fairchild R&D, vice-president for Advanced Technology for ASI and a scientist and Engineering executive at HP Laboratories.

Laliotis was appointed Planning Commissioner of the City of Los Altos in 1985 and two years later won a seat on the City Council. In 1991 he was re-elected.

He has also served on the Santa Clara County Transportation Commission and the Housing Action Coalition Committee and has been a board member with the Congestion Management Agency and the Transportation Agency. Where he stands: Laliotis advocates local control over public schools and class size reduction. Besides requiring teachers to pass proficiency exams, he supports "zero tolerance" for anyone selling drugs on or near schools.

He also supports limits on cash damages in lawsuits against businesses and in malpractice lawsuits. Laliotis supports increasing prison facilities, increasing law enforcement and expanding the use of the death penalty.

Laliotis also advocates streamlining government agencies and environmental regulations. He said he would like to encourage self-regulation on the Internet instead of government censorship. Along with allocating more funds to support recycling and toxic cleanup efforts, he also supports providing financial incentives to farmers who conserve soil and minimize their use of fertilizers and pesticides.

--Leslie Donaldson 

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