Letter: Bipartisanship needed to achieve common goals

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I was surprised that a letter published in response to my guest column about the Utility Tax I’m working to stop before it takes effect focused on my party affiliation. It seems irrelevant to me in this context, but I’ll clarify a few points for the record.

First and most importantly, the Utility Tax provision in AB 205 would be bad for most Lagunans, regardless of party, and we should all do our part to get it repealed. Current proposals could drive electric bills up for most of us by anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars a year, no matter how hard we work to conserve energy. The increase would be especially dramatic for those with limited fixed income who do not qualify for discount programs, including seniors, and those living in smaller homes such as cottages and artist studios.

AB 205 was adopted quickly as a budget trailer bill. At the time, no one knew the proposed fixed utility charges would be astronomical. Once they came to light, lawmakers swung into action to stop the damage before it was done by introducing AB 1999 to repeal the utility tax. My guest column was about supporting them in that effort.

I am and always have been a Democrat who reaches across the aisle. The 73 bills sponsored to date by my nonprofit, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), have been authored by legislators from both parties. Twenty-four of those bills have been signed into law by Republican and Democratic governors. Since SCIL is all about saving and protecting animals and the planet, causes that people from every political persuasion care about, we bring bipartisan coalitions together all the time.

Laguna Beach City Council is a nonpartisan office, and if elected, I will bring this same spirit of pragmatism and cooperation to everything I do. In my 29 years as a resident and five as vice-chair of the Environmental Sustainability Committee, I can say that most people I’ve met, regardless of party, have the same priorities. We want to live in a safe, beautiful, and sustainable town with clean air and water and infrastructure ready for the future. And we want leaders who will advocate for us on issues big and small, promote civility and respect, and work to keep Laguna Beach well-run and financially sound. These will be my goals.

Judie Mancuso, Laguna Beach City Council Candidate

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