State Senator Ted Lieu is running for Henry Waxman's District 33 seat in Congress, opposed by about 8 other Democrats and 5 from other parties. Senator Lieu won 73% of the votes in a Democratic Party pre- endorsement meeting. For a good example of his work in Sacramento, he has authored SB 1272, which would put on the statewide ballot for November 2014 the following proposition: "Shall the Voters adopt a resolution that there should be limits on political campaign spending and that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of human beings and instruct California elected officials and legislative representatives to promote that policy through amendments to the United States Constitution?" This has already been endorsed by the Los Angeles City Council. The argument for it will be presented to our March 12 meeting by Michele Sutter, co- founder of M.O.V.I. (Money Out, Voters In) Our meeting agenda will also include discussion of the California Democratic Party Convention, held March 7 to 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Bonaventure Hotel. I expect our members who attend shall bring back to our meeting copies of endorsement lists of candidates and propositions and resolutions, as well as personal reminiscences of the meeting and listening to our party leaders. We can use that information to help us make our Club's endorsements. For more help with our choices for the June 3rd Primary Election, our neighbors in the West L.A. Democratic Club have invited us to two candidates' forums, at a location TBD near Culver City. On Saturday, April 5th, from 10 am to 3 pm, we can hear candidates for Congressional District 33 (Waxman's seat), State Senate District 26 (Ted Lieu's seat), and Los Angeles County Supervisor (Zev Yaroslavsky's seat). On Saturday, May 3rd, from 10 am to 3 pm, there will be appearances by candidates for California state offices, and Los Angeles County (Assessor, Sheriff, and some Judgeships). After hearing the above, and studying the Propositions, our Culver City Club may choose to make endorsements at our meetings on April 9th and May 14th. I expect the choices will be easy for most State offices, except Secretary of State (Derek Cressman, Alex Padilla, Leland Yee), Controller (John A. Perez, Betty Yee), and Supervisor of Public Instruction (Tom Torlakson, Marshall Tuck). The County offices will be hotly contested, since no incumbents are running. Other contested primaries will include Congressional Districts 31 (to replace Republican Gary G. Miller) and 35 (to replace Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod), and Assembly District 62 (six Democrats are running to replace Steven Bradford). There has been much written lately about Democrats losing their 2/3 majority in the State Senate, because Ron Calderon and Rod Wright will be absent from voting. This will not be nearly as big a problem as when a 1/3 minority blocked the Democrats' state budget, and they had to make a deal with Abel Maldonado, who was then hounded out of office by furious Republicans. The deal was to put before the voters the winning Proposition that the top two vote- getters advance to the run-off election, regardless of party affiliation. I think that makes parties weaker, which is not good. Our Club should discuss the practical effect of this on elections, and also the effect of the new process for redistricting. I also remember that Calderon and Wright were among the six Democratic Senators who chose to kill S.B. 810 (Leno), a single- payer healthcare bill that would save the state billions, while providing every Californian with guaranteed, quality healthcare. The other Democratic Senators who didn't vote for this were: Lou Correa, Alex Padilla, Michael Rubio and Juan Vargas. All received big contributions from insurance companies and "Big Pharma".
At the February 12th general meeting of the Club we held a forum for Culver City Council Candidates. The Democratic Club is proud to announce its endorsement for two candidates for the Culver City City Council race on April 8, 2014. The two winners were Christopher Patrick “CPK” King and Jim Clarke. These candidates exemplified true compassion for their community, deep understanding of the issues, and will uphold our City’s values if elected. Both candidates were handily endorsed in the first round of voting. To volunteer for Christopher King's campaign, go to his web site at http://www.cpk4culvercity.com/. To volunteer for Jim Clarke's campaign, go to his web site at http://clarke4council2014.com/. Christopher King received the most votes for the endorsement. He is a 9 year resident who serves as the President of the Culver City Rotary Club and Vice-Chair for the Culver City’s Homelessness Committee. He is also a Board Member on the Chamber of Commerce and volunteers as Coach for the Beit T’Shuvah Marathon Team at his temple. He served on Holly J Mitchel’s Small business advisory panel is the only candidate who not only works in Culver City but is also a business owner. He hopes to bring new leadership and new ideas to city council this April. His first priority is a comprehensive economic development plan; by bringing in all the stakeholders and creating specific and measurable goals regarding housing stock and business development. Christopher graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a double major in Sociology and Political Science. Christopher hopes to bring his passion, energy, and new ideas to Culver City this April 8th. http://www.cpk4culvercity.com/ A long time club member, this is Jim Clarke's second time winning the Club's endorsement. The first was for his Council run two years ago and winning the unexpired term of Scott Malsin. In the past two years Clarke has voted to increase the sales tax, to ban plastic bags, called upon the Governor to ban fracking and supported major improvements in residential parking. Clarke earned a Masters of Public Administration from CSU Long Beach and a Bachelors of Science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. He spent 23 years as an active and on reserve duty, retiring as a Commander from the Coast Guard. Some of Clarke’s previous credentials include being the Chief of Staff Congress Members Diane E. Watson and Brad Sherman as well as serving as executive director to two non-profit organizations: California Clean Money Campaign and the Southern California chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. Clarke hopes to be awarded a full term this election and continue to “follow through” on his promises. http://clarke4council2014.com/ If you need to find out your polling place, go to https://www.lavote.net/.
How Does Our Club Fit Into The Democratic Party? We have heard the jokes about Democrats not being an "organized party." It is our responsibility to take that criticism seriously. I have learned, from the lead front page article in the New York Times of January 24, that Priorities USA Action, the largest Democratic "super PAC", which helped re-elect President Obama, is now formally aligning itself with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The move is perhaps the earliest ever start to big-dollar fund- raising in support of a non-incumbent presidential candidate. Now that 2016 is settled, we can consider the importance of the 2014 Congressional elections. We could lose our slim but powerful majority in the U.S. Senate; and we cannot win a majority of Congress: the experts tell us that only about 40 seats will be contested, the rest are locked in by gerrymandering. California's Congressional delegation will lose by retirement of our most effective progressive representatives, George Miller of Northern California and Henry Waxman of West Los Angeles' coastal District 33. Both are from the Watergate class of 1974. Waxman's award-worthy achievements are legendary and numerous, and are getting a belated review in the popular media. His career disproves the foolish claims that Congress cannot function. Where do such legendary careers begin? That is where you and I and our Club come in. Waxman was an activist and organizer before he ran for office, campaigning for Adlai Stevenson, founding the UCLA Young Democrats, and then the powerful Berman-Waxman machine, with Howard Berman and Michael Berman. Our Club has recognized and endorsed activists and organizers, such as Karen Bass, Holly Mitchell, and Meghan Sahli- Wells, and they have grown and proven themselves qualified for office beyond Culver City, while maintaining their local ties. Every time a politician speaks to our Club, we can speak back about our concerns and issues, and help her to do her job as our representative. The above thoughts suggest that our in-person attendance, meeting and possibly endorsing candidates for Culver City Council, may be our most important political activity, along with actually working to inform other Democrats about those we endorse. The California Democratic Party seems to be under-funded, under- staffed, and not too well organized. Most of us don't even know when or where they meet. But I may be proven wrong about that at the Statewide Convention in Los Angeles, March 7th to 9th. They will be endorsing for the June 3rd primary, voting on resolutions, and creating a party platform that endorsed candidates are supposed to stand on. Some of our members will be delegates; all of us can attend as observers. For schedule and location, try www.cadems.org. Pre- endorsement meetings are already being held in the party's 20 districts. Region 12 is near us, including Henry Waxman's CD 33. Culver City is in Region 14, which includes Karen Bass' CD 37. Next month, I'll write about the best news sources for political activists; send me your suggestions!