6 Questions with Assembly Candidate Michael Cacciotti

Michael Cacciotti, one of five candidates for the 41st Assembly District, has worked for the state of California for more than two decades.

First, he served as Deputy Attorney for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and then Deputy Attorney General with the State of California Department of Justice handling consumer fraud.

He says this experience combined with four years working for former Speaker Pro Tem of the California Assembly Mike Roos has given him the institutional knowledge to excel as an Assemblyman.

Cacciotti is also a passionate environmentalist, who serves as a board member on AQMD and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. As a city council member of South Pasadena over the past decade, he has helped save the city thousands of dollars in conversions like compact fluorescent light bulbs, drought tolerant plants and hybrid fleets.

Patch: You began serving as a councilman of South Pasadena in 2001 and are on your third term as Mayor. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment while in office?

MC: Turning the city around fiscally. When I got on the council, there was no money being spent on infrastructure. There were millions being spent on fighting the freeway, which you have to fight the freeway—but in a smart way.

It’s a great council, and we have worked together to embark on a massive infrastructure program—basically rebuilding the entire city from scratch. The leases—stuff like that is very important. Cities have these concessions in municipal leases where at the state level, here’s what I can do:

They did an audit just last year, and the state has thousands of leases, and they only audited about 32. They found out the state was losing tens of millions of dollars by not reviewing—like we did here in the city [of South Pasadena]. There’s potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.

Patch: Let’s talk about your stance on Caltrans homes. What do you feel the state could gain from selling the approximate 500 homes it owns along the 710 corridor?

MC: When I worked at Caltrans, I’m the one who did all that stuff with eminent domain. I handled a lot of lawsuits when people tripped and fell at those properties; the state got sued for a million dollars—because someone was electrocuted or [there was a] faulty wire, an explosion … a roof caved in …that costs us millions of dollars a year, so the savings there would be in the millions. … in staff to oversee that, litigation in the legal department and then the sale [would put] $500 million to a billion dollars in the State Treasury for transportation projects. The cities and municipalities will get that tax increment back, which was lost for the last 40 years. Everyone wins all the way around.

Patch: You are the only candidate who has been a teacher. How would this affect your role as Assemblyman if elected?

MC: I’ve been in classrooms. My first year, most classes were 25 students, but some were over 35, [and in those classrooms] I was a babysitter almost. I couldn’t teach. Class size is very important. I experienced it personally. It was a nightmare for teachers and nothing gets done for the students. I know the importance of technology and resources.

If it were three years ago … I worked for the state three years ago, I knew the snap shop then when we had a billion dollar budget, and I wouldn’t have supported a tax increase. In those three years, we’ve cut to $700 million. We’ve cut jobs; we’ve furloughed people. My caseload went from 40 to 80 cases.

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