omg, the description of Betsy Butler is straight out of the dark ages. no need to read further than that.
By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
A t the top of the Santa Monica Mountains range in Beverly Hills, standing in the middle of the "urban forest" campus of the environmental group TreePeople, California Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, a leggy blonde in a powder-blue business suit and spiked heels, looks out of place.
Butler is in Coldwater Canyon for a brief campaign stop at TreePeople's Green City Fair, where the style is determinedly casual — middle-aged men munching on organic fruit are wearing wide-brimmed straw hats and loose pants with sneakers; Millennials in T-shirts and jeans sit at booths and peddle ideas and products that promote the wonders of a "green" life.
Butler might easier blend with the ladies who lunch. But she's trying her best to woo green voters at a crunchy, Westside jamboree just off dusty Mulholland Drive. As she steps cautiously from one booth to another, she tells an energetic young hawker that she doesn't have room for an organic garden at her Beverly Hills apartment. Things seem to be going OK — then the baby bottles come up. To a middle-aged man in sunglasses who's pushing solar power, she explains that she wholly supports his line of work, and she's running for California Assembly District 50. The man gets down to business.
"Are you Democrat or Republican?" he asks.
"Democrat," Butler responds.
The man nods in approval.
"Did you send those baby bottles?"
"Yes," Butler says, now somewhat guarded.
"I don't know if that was a great idea."
The first-term state assemblywoman says nothing but visibly tightens up. For weeks, she's been taking flak for those things. Mailed to several thousand voters as a campaign gimmick to tout the new California law she sponsored, which bans toxic chemicals in baby bottles and sippy cups, the Evenflo plastic bottles have instead given detractors and a somewhat obsessed blogger the chance to question her environmental and street cred in a voting district jammed with liberal hearts that bleed green.
"It's not something anyone can use unless you have a baby," says Marta Evry, the film editor, blogger and former Butler supporter who has been writing about every detail of the campaign with the zeal of a scorned lover. "The bottles are wasteful and made in Mexico — the unions aren't happy about that. It's a huge campaign gaffe."
Torie Osborn, Butler's key rival in the four-way race, says, "I don't think the baby bottles helped Betsy a lot. They show that she's tone-deaf, that she doesn't know what's happening in this district."
Will plastic, toxic-free baby bottles made in another country be a deciding factor in who wins the California State Assembly's District 50 race? In one of the most unabashedly liberal, environmentally conscious — and wealthiest — voter strongholds in the United States, which includes cities such as Malibu, Santa Monica and West Hollywood, which have banned plastic bags or nonrecyclable food containers, yes, they just might.
"This district is La La Land," says Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science geographer Paul Robinson, an expert on social issues in California. "It's divorced from the reality of what's happening in other parts of L.A."
It's early to say whether that's a fair assessment. Assembly District 50 was created only a few months ago, carved into existence by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The independent commission drew its new boundaries without interference from California's incumbent politicians, who have long controlled the creation of voting districts to assure their own re-elections.
Stretching from the Pacific Ocean and tony Malibu eastward to the mansions of exclusive Hancock Park, and encompassing such communities as Topanga Canyon, Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Larchmont Village and the Hollywood Hills, the 50th is one of the wealthiest Democratic districts in California — and the nation.
Known in political circles as President Barack Obama's ATM, the new district is home to deep-pocketed contributors, who have donated many millions of dollars to his 2012 re-election campaign and tens of millions to his successful 2008 bid. It includes not only eye-popping wealth but also high-powered celebrity and political clout.
"There aren't a lot of districts like this in California," says Democratic strategist Darry Sragow, based in Los Angeles. He pauses. "There aren't a lot of districts like this in the country."
The Who's Who of residents includes billionaire supermarket magnate and former Bill Clinton best friend Ron Burkle; billionaire media titan and Obama supporter David Geffen; two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks; megastar and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio; talk show host and outspoken gay-rights supporter Ellen DeGeneres; and many more heavy hitters.
It is a heavily white district in an increasingly brown part of America. Seventy-two percent of voting-age residents are white, 11 percent are Asian and 11 percent are Latino. Just 4 percent are black. Although it has several middle-class neighborhoods — such as Hollywood, Pico-Robertson and Miracle Mile — other areas in the district don't share the same concerns as poor, working- and middle-class neighborhoods in Middle America.
Geographer Robinson says that a lot of residents in the 50th escape Los Angeles' "day-to-day reality" of unemployment and failing schools. AD 50 even lucks out when it comes to smog, because much of it is buffeted by the air-cleansing ocean breeze. And he adds, "Where L.A. is much more diverse, ... this is the remaining bastion of white L.A."
omg, the description of Betsy Butler is straight out of the dark ages. no need to read further than that.
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The voters are smarter then the average bear and they chose the two best candidates in incumbent Betsy Butler and longtime Santa Monica Councilman & Mayor Richard Bloom. Clearly the most articulate, thoughtful and experienced of the pack, Bloom's inclusion in the the top two only confirms his status as a top tier candidate. The bluster and static of other candidates was finally ignored and the delusion that Speaker John Perez is a political boss wasn't even believable. Either Butler or Bloom will serve the district well.
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Honestly, Los Angeles seems to have become one giant insane asylum.
The economy is in ruins, suffering is exploding in the city, and the Hollywood-types mouth liberal platitudes while acting in more elitist ways than slaveholders did at the height of slavery in the south.
What is utterly amazing is that the people who are suffering, the tiny sliver of non-government-employed middle class and the lower class people ALSO mouth the same idiotic liberal platitudes, and keep voting for the same liberal morons who have destroyed what was America's greatest state.
And please, let's note something here: with all the discussion of the gay credentials of the various people, less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is gay. (http://www.theatlantic.com/pol...
When what the rest of us are going through catches up with this crowd, they are going to think they've died and gone to hell. They have no clue that their money is going to dry up like a water plant in the desert.
I'm sorry but why isn't anyone talking the fact that Torie Osborn is backed by the LA City Hall Machine?
Interesting that you bring up Senator Fran Pavley. Let me quote her comment on Betsy Butler:
"Betsy's unmatched tenacity and commitment has ensured that California children will finally be adequately protected from dangerous chemicals. Betsy Butler is among our most effective fighters for consumers, our environment and our children."
Now even Torrie Osborn can't argue with those wise words from Senator Pavely.
If Sen. Pavley felt so strongly about Butler, why didn't she endorse her? Because she didn't. Instead, Butler has to resort to using quotes made years ago for a different election.
Au contraire, Ed, the fact that Pavley explicitly did not endorse in this race is a testament to the strength of Torie Osborn.
None of them are or have been Fran Pavley, who you all lost with this crazy redistricting, and who is now confronted with over 60% of her new district never having elected a Democrat. This mind-boggling new State Senate District 27 stretches from Magic Mountain through Simi Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains to Malibu, with little ole Topanga --- not rich, but mostly white -- at its eastern edge. As a longtime Topanga resident and actively involved, I have a suggestion to Westsiders: sure, pick one of the 3 Dems who will ultimately win in the 50th, but send money and support Fran's way ASAP! What happens in this race will have far greater impact for years to come on all of us who care about the health of our environment, the welfare of children and the future of public education. It's a race none of us can afford to lose.
If A.D. 50 is a new district, then it has no incumbent, and no candidate should be able to claim incumbency. Just sayin', Ed Buck.
Whatever the name of the district, Butler didn't live here until she decided to run here. Torie Osborn lives here and is a part of the political fabric in this district. I've been an active member of the Santa Monica Democratic Club for 28 years, and I wouldn't recognize Butler if she knocked on my door. I've worked with Torie Osborn in the women's movement, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the peace with justice movement here in Los Angeles over the years. We encouraged her to run before the lines were even drawn. The Speaker is trying to slap down a grassroots movement, and the people will win in the end. Torie Osborn for Assembly!
Torie Osborn IS Assembly District 50. She's the ideal person to represent our beliefs and interests in Sacramento. Betsy Butler jumped in the race late and underestimated the free thinking of District 50's residents. We have a track record of electing leaders to the Assembly -- Julia Brownley, Sheila, Tom Hayden, etc. -- and we're not going to budge just because John Pérez thought Betsy would have a safer election here. In other words, AD50 just isn't that into Betsy.
Regarding Richard Bloom:
His Santa Monica support in this race is overestimated. He has a few signs up, but no one expects him to place in the top two. The fact that he has won reelection to the council is a non-issue. Incumbent city council members in SM are virtually guaranteed reelection and are notoriously difficult to unseat. Ask anyone in Santa Monica; it's common knowledge here that his candidacy for the Assembly is an effort to raise his profile and rise up out of the council, as his options (politically and professionally) becoming increasingly slim.Most important, Bloom failed to capture even a respectable percentage of votes at the Santa Monica Democratic Club endorsement meeting. Bloom, the audience's mayor, garnered only 9% of the 65-odd voting members, leading me to believe his only votes were his wife, his campaign manager and perhaps one or two friends. I, along with 77% of the membership, voted for Torie, who won the endorsement on the first vote. Keep in mind, this club has been endorsing Richard for the better part of two decades, and it dumped him because Torie's performance in the prior discussion was stellar and Richard tentatively supported the death penalty in certain circumstances (a petition to end the capital punishment was signed by almost everyone in the room before the meeting began).
PS AD50's influence will outlive that of the Speaker. Something to keep in mind.
RE: Dem Clubs
Torie Osborn bought 40 votes in EVERY SINGLE CLUB to secure the endorsement. Give me a break kid, you're new to politics and Torie seems the cool thing, I get it. But this district deserves someone like Betsy who has the experience.
PS. Can you pick up Torie's non-recyclable 16 page mailer?
Westladem, you should know what you're talking about before you post. You can't buy memberships to the Santa Monica Democratic Club for other people. The rules forbid it. Same with SMRR. Same with the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, where the membership is fixed. The vote at the Stonewall Democratic Club was 154-55. Let me repeat that: 154-55. The vote at the Malibu Democratic club was 41-5. Butler has little support among grassroots Democrats. You can only go blaming that on Torie for so long.
Look, you're supporting Butler. Fair enough--there are plenty of good reasons for doing that. But that doesn't mean you should go spreading falsehoods about the support that Torie has received--which is also for very good reasons.
It is interesting how you speak about assembly district 50, as though it has existed since time began. It is brand new, just months old. So all of your crap about "We" in the 50th AD is bunk. Brownley, Shelia, Tom Hayden etc, never represented the 50-th AD. That said, I live in the new AD50. I am a gay progressive Democrat with a long history of activism and involvement. I'm voting for Betsy Butler. She is supported by the entire LGBT caucus, the Democratic party, and most of the LGBT community.
I'll take toxic free baby bottles over reams of wasted glossy paper any day. I'm voting for Betsy Butler because she has kept it all positive and focused on working for the public good while Torie has tried to divide progressive democrats.
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Great post about Torie: http://www.democraticundergrou...
Can someone explain to me those odd photos that are supposedly meant to compliment this article? WTF? And don't give me that art school confidential jive: Because it's art, you don't necessarily have to get it.
Wow. Leave it up to the LA Weekly to distill complicated issues in the race to a "catfight" between two women.
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It's funny, when I interview with Patrick for this article, it was clear from talking with him that he had a very specific narrative he wanted to write. It appears a month, and I don't know how many interviews later, that narrative didn't change one bit - that this race is just a cat fight between Betsy and Torie over a district full of over-privileged white people.
Here's an article that does a much better job of seeing the forest for the trees: http://www.thenation.com/artic...
The top-two primary is not an “an experimental election reform.” It’s in the California Constitution and it’s not scheduled to expire.
I'm voting for Betsy Butler because of what she has done. The other candidates tell you what they hope to do.
Honestly this is the saddest state of affairs for this race.
But honestly, can Torie Osborn stop sending me so much mail? I feel so sorry for the trees