The next representative for the 27th Senate District – which takes in a western slice of the Santa Clarita Valley but includes cities and communities in western Los Angeles and Ventura counties – will be a newcomer to elected office. The two contenders for the seat are Democrat Henry Stern and Republican Steve Fazio, seeking to replace longtime state Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, a strong advocate for environmental and educational issues who is being termed out of office. Fazio, a 56-year-old Woodland Hills businessman, said if elected he would seek to lift business-stifling legislation and to halt the state’s march toward reduced sentencing and early release of convicted felons. Stern, 34, a Canoga Park environmental attorney, adviser to Pavley and UCLA law instructor, cited the Aliso Canyon gas leak as a reason environmental regulations are needed. He says the biggest challenge to small businesses is difficulty obtaining loans and promotes “smart small business loan incentives.” Both Fazio and Stern displayed knowledge of Santa Clarita Valley issues during a summertime debate sponsored by Signal Multimedia and College of the Canyons. Fazio is endorsed by Kenneth R. Lord, dean of CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics; Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander and former L.A. City Councilman Dennis P. Zine; business executives including Anthony Pritzker, managing partner of Pritzker Group, and Jamee Natella, founder and producer of Blueyed Pictures Inc; and Genethia Hudley-Hayes, former chairwoman of the L.A. Fire Department Commission who currently works for Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Stern is endorsed by Pavley. He counts among his supporter’s state senators Ben Allen and Mark Leno, both Democrats; former State Senator Tom Hayden; many labor interests including SEIU California State Council and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; and elected local officials from western Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Neither seemed governed by party politics, and it seemed both would rank high in the qualities of character, competency and civility. Based on the comparative our initial call on the field was Fazio; however, that was before his campaign turned hyper-negative. Recently his campaign has launched crude television commercials that attack Stern for his Malibu upbringing and expensive education. As if the state Senate contender, while a child, should have renounced his parentage and moved somewhere downtrodden so that he might seek out a humbler origin to claim during his campaign. It was unwarranted, unseemly, and more importantly stereotypical of how politics are played in our country today. Such negative campaigning not only takes the focus of the race completely away from the issues facing voters in the 27th Senate District, but it also throws into question Fazio’s own character. To tie a cow bell around the neck of a competitor simply because his family was successful and provided a good life for the child they loved is beneath any campaign. Further, to suggest that such a lifestyle makes you appreciate hard work less is insulting and would be a disqualifier for a high number of elected officials. If adopted, it might well make Mr. Fazio’s own children unsuited for public office. Instead of sticking to the issues, Fazio took the easy but low way out, casting aside integrity and civility in the process. This board is not certain what Mr. Fazio hoped to gain, but it cost him our endorsement with his negative campaigning. We encourage a vote for Henry Stern for the 27th Senate District.