Butler the best choice for state Senate
Re: Argonaut endorsement of Sandra Fluke

We strongly support Betsy Butler for the 26th California Senate District seat. Quite simply, Betsy has a remarkable and proven record of accomplishments in Sacramento and locally. Attention paid to local needs has been the hallmark of her service throughout the 26th State Senate District. As in her previous campaigns, Betsy is running against opponents well funded by special interests.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed 14 of Betsy’s bills into law — bills that focused on protections for seniors, veterans and the environment as well as on consumer product safety. And all that happened over just two years! Betsy has demonstrated her effectiveness as a legislator and deserves our vote to return her to state government.

Betsy has been a resident of Marina del Rey and a leader in the area for over two decades, fighting against overdevelopment and working to maintain open space for healthy, sustainable communities. In our community, Betsy collaborated with former City Councilman Bill Rosendahl to clean up and increase the safety of the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel under Los Angeles International Airport. She has staunchly advocated against moving the runways at LAX and for protecting our wetlands.

As our state Assembly member, Betsy introduced a resolution to create and place a Japanese American Memorial Marker in Venice, at the site where local Japanese American citizens were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. Betsy has personally supported and participated in the Venice Neighborhood Council’s annual BBQ and the Great Venice Toy Drive.

In Torrance, Betsy led the effort to turn fallow land into multi-use sports fields and, in March of this year,  dedicated 6.2 acres as sports fields which are now enjoyed by hundreds of people daily. Betsy also worked with Redondo Beach leaders to ensure the Seaside Lagoon remained open and accessible to the community, and she personally led the effort to address ongoing water contamination affecting the lagoon.

Betsy has been endorsed by current and former elected leaders from across the district, including Bill Rosendahl, Howard Fishman, Jeff Duclos, Hany Fangary, George Schmeltzer, Steve Sammarco, former Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin, Bill Brand, Pat Furey, Gene Barnett, Kurt Weideman and Portia Cohen as well as the Santa Monica firefighters, the Torrance firefighters, the Torrance Police Dept., the Redondo Beach Police Dept., the Los Angeles County Lifeguards Assoc. and the Los Angeles Airport Police Officers Assoc.  Iconic leaders Dolores Huerta and Lilly Ledbetter have also endorsed Betsy’s candidacy.

Betsy also received over 70% of the votes cast at the West LA Democratic Club’s 26th Senate District Candidates Forum in April, at which every candidate running participated, and has been endorsed by the Beach Cities and Torrance Democratic clubs.

On June 3 we will be supporting Betsy Butler, our neighbor and ally in fighting for the entire Westside.

Linda Lucks, S. Scott Mayers, David Barish, West LA Democratic Club President Cara Robin, James Evans , Daniel Samikow, Sylvia Aroth, Don Novak, Dave Lumian, Marc Saltzberg, Helen Stotler, David Ewing, Karen Wolfe

Lieu’s affirmative action stance a deal-breaker
Re: Argonaut endorsement of Ted Lieu

California campuses are going backwards in terms of educational opportunity for black and Latino students. While rising costs are a factor, the shutdown of affirmative action has had a brutal effect on black and brown enrollment at UC and elsewhere. As the courts keep closing the already narrow window on equal opportunity in their wrong-headed affirmative action decisions, those of us who care about social justice need to be monitoring the political arena for chances to keep some windows open.

The upcoming congressional race to replace Rep. Henry Waxman turns out to be one place where affirmative action advocates could weigh in and make a difference.

To rectify some of the damage done by Proposition 209, minority legislators in Sacramento, backed by other progressives, were shepherding through a proposed state constitutional amendment (SCA 5) to reinstate affirmative action in higher education. This seemed well on track to passage until a few Asian-American legislators — including state Sen. Ted Lieu, the leading contender among would-be Waxman successors — made a sudden U-turn and decided to pull their support, bringing these remedial efforts to a halt.

In response to Lieu’s abandonment of the cause, six minority legislators withdrew their endorsements of him, issuing a public statement citing “inclusion and diversity” as “core democratic values.” As educators and alumni/alumnae we strongly share that commitment to an inclusive educational system, reflective of the diversity of our minority-majority state. We hope you do too. While Sen. Lieu has in several ways been a constructive and progressive legislator, we view the abandonment of this goal as a deal-breaker.

Review the stances of the various candidates for Congress on these educational opportunity issues. Choose carefully, and vote June 3.

Natividad Vazquez, Santa Monica College faculty

Sylvia Hurtado, Mignon Moore, Concepcion Valadez, UCLA faculty

Erin Aubry Kaplan, Antioch University / UCLA Black Alumni Assn.

Devin Murphy, president, Associated Students UCLA

Conrado Contreras, vice president, Associated Students UCLA

John Seeley, Americans for Democratic Action

Plenty of Riordan to go around
Re: “The money behind the mailers,” news, May 22

Both Amy Howorth and Ben Allen, candidates for the 26th state Senate district, sent me political mailers.

Howorth’s mailer quotes L.A.’s Republican former Mayor Richard Riordan as saying, “I am pleased to endorse Amy Howorth for the state Senate.”

Allen’s mailer quotes Riordan as saying, “I’m proud to support Ben Allen for California’s 26th state Senate seat.”

How can Riordan endorse both Howorth and Allen?

Lest you think Allen leans Republican, yet another Allen mailer quotes Democratic state Sen. Fran Pavley as saying, “I wholeheartedly endorse Ben Allen for the state Senate.” The Riordan and Pavley endorsements are touted in separate mailers.

As during every election season, voters are being flooded with confusing and contradictory political mailers. We’re just supposed to peruse the feel-good photos of candidates and their smiling families, note that they’ve been endorsed by powerful people, and not think too much beyond that.

Thomas M. Sipos
Santa Monica

A vote for Williamson is a vote for Earth

Great news! Marianne Williamson supports the full protection of the great blue herons and their nesting trees at Mariners Village, and she also supports the designation of Mariners Village as an historic site, perhaps part of an historic district — a designation that the National Park Service can make.

In addition, Marianne, when elected, will immediately introduce a study bill for the National Park Service to look at the possibilities for establishing a Los Angeles Coast National Recreation Area, which would have the Ballona Wetlands as a centerpiece and consider the possibility for other areas along the coast to be included. Such a designation would not only bring the strongest possible protection for wildlife and native plant populations, it would also bring the possibility of federal funds for land protection in the coastal areas as well as funding for ecotourism-related transportation, such as ferry service and other transportation options that could assist in clearing up some of our gridlock.

Vote for Marianne Williamson for Congress. I have no question in my mind about Marianne Williamson’s loyalty — she is loyal to you and me. That is everything in my book. What are you loyal to: a political party? Has it worked? I am not challenging any particular party’s values, but I am questioning their loyalties. When do we begin voting for the person instead of the party? How many disappointments will it take? It is time for some common sense back in government.

Yes, Marianne is spiritual. Our country was founded on spiritual principles. Marianne is non-partisan, and our Founding Fathers warned us about a two-party system. They said to get in and get out … take care of political business and then get back to work. Marianne is a self-made entrepreneur who is not running for a new career, she is running to make a difference. She is running to get special interest money out of politics. Marianne is a product of our free-enterprise system.

Benjamin Franklin said, “We have given you a democratic-republic … if you can keep it.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild said, “Give me control of a nation’s currency, and I care not who makes the laws.” Which path do you choose:  Benjamin Franklin’s or Mayer Rothschild’s? Vote for Marianne Williamson and you vote for freedom and the democratic process; vote for a two-party system, and you vote for business as usual.

William R. Hicks
Marina del Rey

Know before you vote
Re: Argonaut endorsements of Ted Lieu, Sheila Kuehl

In 2011, Ted Lieu opposed a law which would ban the practice of cutting fins and tails off live sharks and dumping them back into the ocean to die. It’s a brutal, non-sustainable practice that’s decimating many shark species.

Ted Lieu also decided to investigate air pollution emanating from the state’s airports. In November 2011, he held a Senate Select Committee on Air Quality hearing on airport air pollution in West L.A. According to a Senate press release, the committee was to review issues of air pollution around the state, but Lieu’s taxpayer-supported “statewide study” covered one airport — Santa Monica airport — and none of the general aviation airports in his district. Obviously, Lieu was grandstanding for his West L.A. and Mar Vista constituents who’ve wanted to close the airport for years.

In December 2012, after Lowe’s Home Improvement centers pulled their ads from a TLC reality TV series about a Muslim family, Lieu sent a letter to their chief executive officer accusing him of “naked religious bigotry.” Lieu threatened legislative action, including a Senate resolution asking for a boycott if Lowe’s didn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. Worse yet, when interviewed about it on Fox 11 News, Lieu seemed totally unaware that 65 other national advertisers had also pulled their ads.

Last year, Lieu broke a promise to seniors at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus College to oppose a Senate bill that would have banned state funding of emeritus college programs for older adults.

Wendy Greuel or almost anyone else would be a better choice than Lieu.

In 2008, Sheila Kuehl repeatedly misled Santa Monica voters about ballot Measure T, which would have placed an annual 75,000-square-foot cap on the city’s commercial development for 13 years. The measure failed at the polls in November 2008.

Developers spent over $800,000 to defeat it — a record for a local campaign at the time — and outspent T’s proponents by 10 to one.

Kuehl was featured on a number of mailers stating that Measure T would encourage landlords to demolish affordable apartments and displace renters. Measure T addressed only commercial development and specifically exempted residential property. It had nothing to do with renters and it didn’t encourage landlords to demolish affordable apartments.

Kuehl’s a smart woman. She knew better, and her statements completely misrepresented the measure.

What else will Kuehl misrepresent if she acquires Yaroslavsky’s seat? That’s why I’m supporting Bobby Shriver. He won’t sell us out. The Third District needs a Supervisor with integrity. That’s Shriver.

Bill Bauer
Santa Monica

Candidates promise more of the same
Re: “The Year of the Woman in Local Politics,” feature story, May 15

Really? Regardless of their sex, all the women on the front page of The Argonaut are Democrats. They will continue to bow to the state’s Democratic political machine that has seen California go down to 47th in the nation as the best place for businesses. It’s the same party that has run down the schools and presided over the underfunding of pensions while spending the money on pet projects. All they represent is more of the same failures and high taxes that have been heaped on citizens of this state for 20-plus years.

Sexual preference only matters to leftists. I could care less what race, color or creed a candidate is. Give me candidates that will fight the political machine that ruined this state. Until that time, why bother going to the polls?

André Belotto

It’s about policy, not gender

Re: “The Year of the Woman in Local Politics,” feature story, May 15

The Argonaut recently spotlighted the many women running for office in the Santa Monica Bay.

Former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel claims that women making up 18% of congressional representatives is “not good enough.” However, her reasons for getting elected are not good enough, either. From blaming the Tea Party for the ills of Washington, D.C., to replaying the tired and broken “War on Women” rhetoric about reproductive rights and the glass ceiling, Greuel ignores real policies and attacks straw men (or women?) to distract from her “not good enough” record.

Marianne Williamson has a non-special-interest following, yet for most supporters her “special interest” includes disaffected leftists who want someone to stand outside of both parties. At least Williamson is relying on individual donations with a commitment toward restoring civil liberties.

Former Assemblywoman Betsy Butler switched her campaigning from an Assembly race to the state Senate seat. Contrary to The Argonaut’s description, she did not lose her Assembly seat by a “razor-thin” margin, but by 1,000 votes, in part because of her abstention on a key teacher reform bill, SB 1530, which would have expedited the process to terminate teachers guilty of misconduct.

Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth offered that a representative government should have “over 50% women.” Why? How is a war on men supposed to bridge a disconnect between elite politicians and everyday voters?

Sandra Fluke’s campaign is a fluke (and a joke). Claiming that ten years of legislative advocacy qualifies her, Fluke trumpets standing up to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that she has a right to demand the government pay for her birth control. Really?

Why should voters evaluate anyone based on gender? Based on the issues, policies and their views, none of the featured female candidates offered candid reasons for voters to support them.

Arthur Christopher Schaper