Culver City Democratic Club Official web site of the Culver City Democratic Club Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:07:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 President’s Message by Sylvia Moore, April 2015 Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:06:04 +0000 April 22 is Earth Day!

sylvia_photoThis February, I was pleased to attend the Green Venice Expo at Mark Twain Middle School, an event organized by our area neighbors, the Venice Neighborhood Council. The day was filled with informative talks about waste and consumption, recycling, eating locally, and sustainable living. Transition Culver City was one of the many local environmental groups who set up information tables for the public. Luxury electric car brand Tesla Motors even brought in one of its famed Model S sedans to display, and I briefly got to sit inside!

Doing small things like buying energy efficient light bulbs, painting your rooftop white, or reusing containers makes many of us feel good. Yet, when it comes to sustainability on a grand scale, America still lags behind the rest of the world. For example, France just passed a law requiring the rooftops of all new buildings in commercial areas to be covered in plants or solar panels. Green rooftops lower temperatures and reduce energy consumption, as the vegetation absorbs carbon dioxide. I also read that an architecture firm has proposed designing a system of bike paths in London to be built above existing rail lines. If achieved, the project would be quite an amazing innovation, perhaps even surpassing the extensive bike path network that impressed me on a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, a few years ago. Canada’s largest grocery retailer is going to start selling “ugly produce” at discounted prices as a way to cut down on food waste. Germany and Denmark are leading the way in solar and wind power, with the latter country, according to the Sierra Club, aiming to be free of fossil fuels by 2050.

America certainly has wind turbine and solar energy projects, but if we are to really combat climate change, our country must treat the problem as a top priority and build solutions into public policy. That means counteracting the oil and gas industry lobby’s influence, and demanding that representatives and political candidates who take campaign money from the industry, cease doing so. It means demanding the mainstream media stop treating climate change as a debate, start relegating deniers to the fringe where they belong, and stop misinforming the public on the issue. It means stopping Republicans from derailing green projects and enacting stupid policies like prohibiting public officials from mentioning the words, “climate change” (see Florida’s Rick Scott).

Fortunately, President Obama and his administration are taking climate change very seriously. In February, the environmental community cheered when Mr. Obama vetoed the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would have had devastating impacts, while only creating a minuscule number of jobs. Years of work and protests by environmental activists, led by, pushed Mr. Obama to do the right thing. GOP Senators were unable to overturn his veto. It was a great day for the environment. While Mr. Obama is leading the way on the federal level, here in Culver City, Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells is leading the way locally. The Mayor, whom I call The “Green Mayor” for her tireless advocacy of biking and sustainable living, will speak at our April General Meeting. April is her last month as Mayor before the City Council rotates the position, so come with your questions about Culver City issues!

]]> 0 We still need ACA 2.0: “Medicare for All” Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:36:27 +0000 by Sylvia Moore

At the March 11 General Meeting, the Culver City Democratic Club voted in favor of joining the AllCare Alliance movement for universal health care. I’m very happy that the membership decided to join this important coalition of community and progressive organizations. The Alliance’s goal is to get a publicly-financed healthcare program established in California based on “Medicare for All.” There was no time to share my personal story with the membership at the meeting, so I share it here now. Last year, I injured my hand in a car accident. I briefly had employment for a few months, and got a silver health plan, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). I was eventually able to get surgery for my hand. But, the ACA just isn’t good enough. It was a first step, and only a step. The accident was in February 2014, and because of CoveredCA website hiccups, I didn’t get my coverage until May 2014 (I started the application process in December 2013, and restarted it in March 2014 because of the new job).

It was not easy for me to find a surgeon because of the limited networks of ACA/Covered California plans. Even with my silver plan, I still had to pay high out of pocket costs for an MRI ($400), and co-pays for my primary care doctor ($55 a visit), and specialist visits ($65 a visit). At the time, my job didn’t pay a whole lot. When that job ended, I paid premiums and costs out of savings I accumulated. I did, however, get some of these medical costs reimbursed from my auto insurer. I’m unemployed again and was eventually forced out of my silver plan, and put into the MediCal application process. Unfortunately, I could not locate a physical therapist who would take MediCal. I delayed possibly effective treatment trying to locate a PT who would take MediCal. For the PT I chose, my mother (who’s helping me out) ended up paying $75 out of pocket (this was a discount!) for each visit.

My thumb has improved, but not enough where I have restored range of motion. I am going back to the surgeon, this time, uninsured. He does not take MediCal. The visit will cost $250. I may need more surgery, and if I don’t get employment with health benefits soon, I shudder to think how much more surgery will cost. I will have to try to get all of these costs reimbursed by the other driver’s insurer (I was not at fault). My auto insurer will not pay out for most of the out of pocket costs. Granted, this is not a life or death situation, but since I am a writer, having a bum hand is potentially career-affecting.

For some Californians on MediCal, they still have problems finding a doctor because of low-reimbursement rates. We have a two-tier health system in this country: a pretty good one for the affluent, employed and middle class, and a lesser quality one with harder or no access for the unemployed and low income. To me, that is unfair. When so many of us are still struggling to land jobs in a difficult economy, especially jobs with good health coverage, when wages are stagnant for many, having employment and/or access to a good income stream shouldn’t determine the kind of coverage you get or whether you get coverage at all. That is unfair. In my opinion, health coverage must be decoupled from employment/income level. Health care is a right and should be paid for through taxation. Everyone accepts that public schools, police and fire are paid through taxation – why not health care?

If we had a universal system like Canada, Japan or Europe, I would have been able to seek treatment immediately or fairly soon after my accident at little to no cost. I would have been able to see any specialist no matter my employment/income situation. I wouldn’t be “churning” in and out of MediCal/the private system and have my care interrupted because of bouts of unemployment. So, for those who have been lucky enough to have had continuous employment and generous health benefits most of your life, and consider the ACA to be the best we can do, please consider my experience and that of other people – particularly freelancers – who routinely experience bouts of unemployment. I have a good friend who is a freelance artist who is also experiencing coverage affordability issues despite the ACA.

I know President Obama and Congressional Democrats did as much as they could in getting some sort of improvement to our healthcare system passed. The ACA was what we got under the difficult circumstances at the time. But, we STILL need a publicly financed health system that covers everyone. Four million Californians will remain uninsured even when the ACA is fully implemented. What about them? This is where the states and the AllCare Alliance come in. California can lead the way to passing a truly universal healthcare system based on the ones in Canada, Japan, Europe, based on Medicare for All. California can be a model for the rest of the country. I’m imploring our state Democratic legislators, and Gov. Brown to support this effort.

]]> 0 Former CCDC Recording Secretary Cecilia Guttenberg Has Died Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:52:45 +0000 by Diane Rosenberg

Beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother Cecilia Guttenberg passed away peacefully in her sleep at home on Friday March 20, 2015. She was 83 years old.

She was buried Tuesday morning, March 24, 2015, at Hillside Cemetery.

Her energy, passion and enthusiasm informed her life and all those around her.

Born July 15, 1931, Ms. Guttenberg was a dedicated educator for many years in the Culver City Unified School District.

Her students benefited greatly from both her knowledge and her caring.

Committed to political activism, she served over the years in several different capacities on the board of the Culver City Democratic Club.

An avid bridge player, she used her skill as a Life Master to teach others the game.

Most importantly, Ms. Guttenberg poured her love and energy into her three children, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Though she is gone from this world, she lives on through them.

]]> 0 Former CCDC President Lee Sanders Fondly Remembered Tue, 10 Mar 2015 20:36:26 +0000 by Diane Rosenberg

On Sunday February 1st, Herb and I drove to Ojai to attend Lee Sanders’ memorial service which was given by his school alumni. Lee’s sister, brother-in-law and many of his lifelong friends and associates attended as well.

Everyone had many good things to say about Lee and it was clear he was well liked in the community.

Lee Sanders

Apparently Lee was very fond of being President of the Culver City Democratic Club. Giving Lee the plaque honoring his service to the Club was one of the best things we could have done for him. When he was in the hospice the only thing that he held on to and kept close to him was the plaque that the Club presented to him at our August General Meeting.

]]> 0 March 3rd, 2015 Election Results Thu, 05 Mar 2015 07:42:51 +0000 Congrats to Culver City Democratic Club endorsed LACCD Board candidates Andra Hoffman, Sydney Kamlager, Scott Svonkin and Mike Fong!

The following results of the March 3rd election are from LA City’s final bulletin from March 4th @ 1:32AM. Culver City voting precincts have been included in the overall LA City results so we won’t know how Culver City voted until the full results are released later in March. We do know who won and what the turnout has been.

All of the Culver City Democratic Club endorsed candidates for the LA Community College Board of Trustees were elected.

Voter turnout was 8.62% within the City of LA and 5.49% outside the City of LA. 54% of all voters used Vote-by-Mail.

LACCD Board of Trustees Results:

Seat #1: Winner -Andra Hoffman 34.79%

Andra Hoffman is leading over Francesca Vega 34.79% (61,307) vs 34.48% (60,762). Vega outperformed Hoffman in cities outside LA by 352 votes but Hoffman picked up 897 more votes in LA City to lead by 545. Final ballot counting is to be done by March 13th.

Seat #3: Winner – Sydney Kamlager 50.07%

Former District Director for Holly Mitchell, Sydney Kamlager won against 3 challengers in every city but Rolling Hills (where 3rd place finisher Essavi had a mere 8 more votes.) Kamlager won over 50% of Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

Seat #7: Winner – Scott Svonkin 61.24%

Challenger Steve Schulte won 3 cities but was 592 votes short of winning out of town. Incumbant Scott Svonkin dominated with 62% of the vote in Los Angeles to handily win.

Seat #9: Winner – Mike Fong 57.49%

3rd place finisher Joyce Garcia made a very strong rally in South cities Bell, Commerce, Cudahay and Huntington Park but failed to capture majority elsewhere. Winner Mike Fong had the race’s highest margin of victory – he collected 36% more votes than 2nd place finisher John C Burke.

Other races of interest:

Hermosa Beach upheld their ban on Oil Drilling by voting “NO on Measure O” by a Four-to-One Margin. Close to 60% of voters turned out to vote.

LA had 2 charter Amendments seeking to consolidate LA City and LAUSD elections to even number years- Both passed:

Amendment 1: LA City elections – 76.93%

Amendment 2: LAUSD elections – 76.46%

In LA Council races incumbents* had no problem being re-elected and Social Justice Organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson in District 8 was the only newcomer to win a seat outright.  With 50% of the vote was needed to win, District 4 will have a run-off May 19th as none of the 14 candidate received over 16% of the vote. District 4 second place finishers David Ryu and Tomas O’Grady are separated by 61 votes.

LA Council Districts:
District 2: Paul Krekorian* 75%
District 4: Run-off: Carolyn Ramsay vs ?
District 6: Nury Martinez* 61%
District 8: Marqueece Harris-Dawson 61%
District 10: Herb Wesson* 64%
District 12: Mitchell Englander* 100%
District 14: Jose Huizar* 66%

]]> 0 President’s Message by Sylvia Moore, March 2015 Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:21:14 +0000


Housing in Los Angeles County is now unaffordable even for those residents in the middle class. One needs to make at least $33/hour to afford the average basic apartment at about $1,700/month in L.A. County, according to a recent report by researchers at USC. Yet, the minimum wage is only $9/hour. So buying a house at that income level is pretty much out of reach.

Over at UCLA, researchers concluded that Los Angeles is the nation’s least affordable rental market, due to lower median incomes, compared with San Francisco and New York City, and the scarcity of federally- subsidized and rent-controlled housing. The Great Recession worsened L.A. County’s affordable housing shortage, as people who lost their homes in the financial crash turned to rentals. Unfortunately, the problem of unaffordable housing only exacerbates wealth inequality.

Culver City is one of the most desirable places to live in California, with its tree-lined streets, walkable downtown, and many venues for fine eating and entertainment. Though I do not live in Culver City – I spend a great deal of time and money as a visitor – I am aware that it is a struggle for some residents to pay for living in such a wonderful place, as it is in the rest of L.A. County. The issue of rising rents in Culver City came up at a recent city council meeting. At the March 11 General Meeting, we will continue the discussion of rental housing in Culver City with a forum on tenants’ rights that I’m sure will be highly informative. The concerns of middle-class homeowners are given a lot of attention in the mainstream media and in Democratic Party discourse, but we also need to pay attention to the interests of renters as well.

In addition to the tenants’ rights panel, we will have a short presentation from the AllCare Alliance about what’s next in the movement to achieve universal health coverage in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. Although the ACA has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured Americans, 4 million Californians will remain without coverage even after the law is fully implemented. Even though the rate of premium increases has slowed somewhat, many Americans still struggle to pay medical bills. And some of those newly covered – either under expanded Medicaid or ACA- subsidized plans – have trouble finding doctors who will treat them because of these health plans’ low reimbursement rates. Personally, as one of those people who had an ACA-subsidized plan once, still had a hard time finding a doctor, and still has out-of- pocket medical bills – I prefer Medicare for All.

]]> 0 First Vice President and Correspondence Secretary Elections Report Thu, 19 Feb 2015 22:17:09 +0000

At the Wednesday, February 11, General Meeting, elections were held to fill the positions of First Vice President and Corresponding Secretary for the 2015 Executive Board. This re-vote was held because at the January General Meeting, there were too many invalid ballots to ensure a fair result.

In the First VP election, Khin Khin Gyi was the candidate nominated by the Nominating Committee, and Stephen Murray was the candidate nominated from the floor at January’s meeting. Both candidates appeared on the written ballot. Nominating Chair Darryl Cherness conducted the election. Both Mr. Murray and Ms. Gyi made two-minute speeches. The election was then held by secret ballot. Per the CCDC bylaws, a quorum of at least 25 paid members must be present to vote. Twenty-six ballots were cast, and none were invalid. Ms. Gyi received 20 votes, and Mr. Murray received six votes. Therefore, Ms. Gyi is the newly elected First VP.

For the Correspondence Secretary election, the Nominations Committee previously nominated the current Secretary, Stephen Murray. Mr. Cherness asked three times for nominations from the floor. There were no further nominations from the floor. The membership voted by acclamation to re-elect Stephen Murray as Correspondence Secretary.

Congratulations to the 2015 Executive Board:

President – Sylvia Moore
First Vice President – Khin Khin Gyi
Second Vice President – Amy Cherness
Treasurer – Eric Fine
Membership – Diane Rosenberg
Correspondence Secretary – Stephen Murray
Recording Secretary – Pat Levinson

Just a reminder that our 2015 Installation Luncheon is coming up on Sunday, Feb. 22 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Culver City. Our featured guest speaker and Democratic Activist of the Year is Sandra Fluke. Our Trudy Cherness Democrat of the Year is Bill Wynn. if you haven’t yet bought tickets, you can go to our Act Blue page at

]]> 0 February 2015 General Meeting Minutes Wed, 11 Feb 2015 23:40:37 +0000

Culver City Democratic Club – 63 Years

General Membership Meeting – Veterans Auditorium Rotunda

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

  1. Call to Order at 7:25 p.m. by Sylvia Moore, President.
  2. Pledge of Allegiance – led by Isabell Cherness.
  3. Approval of January 12, 2015 Minutes. Moved to approve by Darryl Cherness, seconded by Neil Rubenstein. Approved.
  1. Special Speaker: Vito Trilgia from “Raise the Wage” campaign. He raised 3 points: Raise the wage to $15/hr; enforce workplace laws currently in place, and raise and; in many cases, create earned sick days. He distributed a flyer with the information. Discussion followed. LACDP supported a resolution to raise the minimum raise in Los Angeles to at least $15/hr.
  2. Officer Reports
  1. Treasurer’s Report (Eric Fine) Total funds as of January 31, 2015 were: $2,416.06.
  2. Membership (Diane Rosenberg) 89 paid members.
  3. Fundraising (Amy Cherness) – Club Installation on Feb. 22, which is a major fundraiser. $40 ahead, $45 at the door. Democratic Activist of the Year is Sandra Fluke. Trudy Cherness Democrat of the Year is Bill Wynn. Ad space and sponsorships for the Program Book available.
  4. Outreach (Sylvia Moore) – Continuing to work on the Facebook page, Have to reapply for the MOE list.
  5. Correspondence & Legislation: (Stephen Murray) Flyer for Community College Board wrongly says that it was the “Officially Endorsed by Democrats” flyer. Resolution to condemn that mailer by LACDP.
  1. 2015 Executive Board Officer Elections – 1st VP and Corresponding Secretary (quorum established by 8:08 pm)

Darryl Cherness facilitated the corrected election. Darryl reiterated the duties of the 1st VP: facilitates the Executive Board meetings and runs the meetings in the absence of the President. Stephen Murray and Khin Khin Gyi were the candidates.

Stephen won the coin toss and went first for his two minutes. Khin Khin spoke her two minutes. Questions followed. Twenty-six ballots. None were spoiled. Twenty votes for Khin Khin Gyi and six votes for Stephen Murray. Khin Khin received over 60% and , therefore, won. Nominations were open for Corresponding Secretary. Stephen Murrary accepted the nomination. Rick Tuttle moved and Ronnie Jayne seconded that nominations be closed. Stephen Murray was elected by acclamation.

  1. Program: Discussion of President Obama’s State of the Union Address – Forcefully liberal according to Sylvia Moore: Free community college tuition, immigration, Cuba, raise the minimum wage and healthcare were some of his topics. Rick Tuttle felt that this will galvanize the Democratic base and has positioned Democrats to take back both houses. Sylvia was critical of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Charlotte spoke of the overthrow of the Yemeni government and the confiscation of autos and ammunition. Brandon spoke of the passage of the XL pipeline by the House and Senate.
  2. Program: State of the Culver City Democratic Club (Sylvia Moore) – Sylvia facilitated a brainstorming session and ideas were generated on chart paper. Members were invited to select those ideas important to them by putting marks by their top three idea choices. Pat will type up, put in order of most tally marks and will send to Stephen Murray. Topics included recruitment, membership, Vote by Mail campaign, establishing a Demo Club at WLA College, encouraging high school students to join, membership gradations including a Lifetime membership, and more!
  1. Announcements
  1. Executive Board Meeting will be held on Monday, February 16, 2014 at the home of Ronnie Jayne and Tom Camarella at 7 pm
  2. The Pan African film festival ends Monday.
  3. Reminder of Installation Luncheon on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at 11:30 am at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Motion to adjourn this meeting by Ronnie, Seconded by Darryl. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Pat Levinson, Recording Secretary ]]> 0 President’s Message by Sylvia Moore, February 2015 Thu, 05 Feb 2015 21:03:23 +0000 sylvia_photoPresident Obama’s State of the Union address last month was the moment many Democrats were waiting for: a full- throated endorsement of liberal, Democratic ideas. The President showed where our country has made great strides in strengthening the economy, shrinking the deficit, boosting scientific research, and ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But he also showed where we still have room for improvement. And of course, everyone was buzzing about Mr. Obama’s off-the-cuff jab at a group of heckling lawmakers: “I have no more campaigns to run…I know, because I won both of them.”

Following the rout from the 2014 midterm Congressional elections, Mr. Obama could have lurched to the right in order to pander to the smaller, more conservative electorate that showed up in November. Instead, he doubled down on progressive values with a new list of priorities he wants to work with the Congress to deliver on: free community college, tax credits for child care, paid sick leave, a free and open Internet, tax fairness, fighting climate change. With bold moves such as protecting immigrant children from deportation and taking the first step toward normalizing relations with Cuba, Mr. Obama is demonstrating that he will be no “lame duck.”

Still, though the President proclaimed that the “state of the union is strong,” it may not feel that way to many Americans. Since the beginning of Mr. Obama’s administration, the United States has regained the amount of jobs lost in the Great Recession. According to the White House, 11.2 million jobs have been created in the past five years. Yet, there are still millions more people looking for work, and for the majority of those who are working, wages remain stagnant. The Affordable Care Act has significantly reduced the number of uninsured Americans nationwide, and has halved the number of uninsured in California. But, experts say, 30 million Americans will remain uninsured, even after the ACA is fully implemented. And finally, as the recent protests against police brutality and the aftermath of the high-profile murders of two NYPD officers showed, America’s racial chasm still runs wide and deep.

As with any society, America remains an experiment, in constant need of update and repair. And, what is the state of the Culver City Democratic Club? That is what we will discuss at our February general meeting, as well as your thoughts about President Obama’s address. Let’s share ideas on what we can do to improve the Club. What topics would you like to see featured at future meetings? Should the Club take a more active role in grassroots activism? What ideas do you have to boost membership and/or fundraising? Are there any particular activities you’d like to see the Club do that hasn’t been done before or recently? Should the Club do some things differently? Come with your suggestions, and we’ll take notes. In addition, we will be voting on the positions of CCDC First Vice President and Correspondence Secretary for the 2015 Executive Board. The new Board will be installed at our annual luncheon on Feb. 22, which will also feature our special guest speaker, grassroots activist and women’s rights champion, Sandra Fluke. We will be presenting Ms. Fluke with the Democratic Activist of the Year Award, and former CCDC President Bill Wynn with the Trudy Cherness Democrat of the Year Award. We hope to see you there! ]]> 0 2015 Installation and Awards Luncheon Mon, 02 Feb 2015 23:30:26 +0000 Come join the Culver City Democratic Club on Sunday February 22, 2015, when we will be holding our Annual Installation and Awards Luncheon at the Courtyard by Marriott. The 2015 Executive Board will be sworn in, and we will honor two Democrats whose work embodies our Party’s values. Receiving the Democratic Activist of the Year Award is women’s rights champion and progressive activist, Sandra Fluke, who will also be our keynote speaker. Receiving the Trudy Cherness Democrat of the Year Award is CCDC President Emeritus Bill Wynn. We are also planning a terrific raffle with fabulous prizes!

The Lunch will be held from 11:00 AM to 2 PM on Sunday, February 22, at the Courtyard by Marriott, 6333 Bristol Parkway, Culver City.

Tickets are $40 per person ($45 at the door). The menu features, in addition to salad and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, your choice of Chicken Piccata or Grilled Vegetable Stack, and Double Chocolate Fudge Cake or Fruit Plate. Please purchase your ticket from the list of menu combinations. Parking is included in the ticket price. You can purchase tickets and sponsorships at our next General Meeting on Feb. 11, pay by mail, or you can pay online on our secure ActBlue page at To show your appreciation for ActBlue, consider adding a small tip if you pay online.

If you would like to make an additional contribution as an event sponsor, you can choose from four levels: Platinum ($200), Gold ($100), Silver ($50), or Bronze ($20). Your name will be listed in our Luncheon Program Book. IMPORTANT: The deadline to buy a sponsorship is Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. You can also purchase sponsorships online

If mailing your purchase, use in the event form attached below and make your check payable to the
Culver City Democratic Club
P.O. Box 4254
Culver City, CA 90231-4254

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