Sunday, August 28, 2011

Women know how to jump the hurdles & get the job done!

By Diane Wallace

From the time I was a little girl, my two grandmothers and my mother always guided me to know and believe that if you need to get something done, ask a woman!  I offer this as an example:

I have been a career educator in the California public education system – teacher, principal, district administrator, and an administrator of a statewide early literacy project.  I love my career choice.  However, I fully admit that the public education system is a huge bureaucracy.   Tons of hurdles.   I retired in 2008 and now teach research methodology to graduate students in a master’s degree program in education, which allows me guide future educational leaders to learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of their work.  Most of my graduate students are women.

During my entire career, I have remained non-partisan.  However, I have voted in every primary, general, and special election for as long as I can remember.

In 2010 I became more active in politics. In 2011 I was asked to submit my name to be elected as a Delegate to the California Democratic Party – a process that has always been a mystery to me.  Hurdle.  I was elected and discovered that you can join different groups within the Party.  There is a caucus for nearly everything but not an Education Caucus.  Hurdle.

I was amazed!  An Education Caucus seemed to be such a good idea – to provide an organization that would provide teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, support staff, interested community members and others with the opportunity to learn about, discuss, and support our California public education system.  Everyone in pubic education exists in silos and the situation calls out for improved communication and better information about this huge bureaucracy.  

I contacted leaders of the Party – in my area, at the county level, and at the state – and discovered that a caucus could be started.  Actually, everyone thought that there was an Education Caucus.  Hurdle.  And when we confirmed that it did not exist, everyone agreed that it was an excellent idea.

Creating change within a political party is a major undertaking!  Enormous hurdle.  Initially, we developed by-laws that reflect our goal to include all stakeholders.  We needed to collect signatures.  Major hurdle.  The Party requirement is for signatures of Delegates.  But we decided that we also wanted signatures of regular Democrats.  Self-imposed hurdle!

So a group of active Delegates and many of my education colleagues sent signature pages via email.  And we collected signatures of Delegates at the State Convention.   They arrived on my fax machine and as scanned documents. We now have a total of nearly 400 signatures.

In May we were informed that the Party was concerned about creating more caucuses, due to the expense.  Hurdle.  And they suggested that we apply to be a statewide-chartered organization.   Hurdle.  

The last hurdle will be this coming November.  We will present our petition to establish the California Democratic Education Caucus as a statewide, chartered organization at the Executive Board meeting of the Democratic Party in November 2011.

I am honored to have led this effort but I could not have done it with out the support and efforts of my daughter, family, friends, and colleagues.  It takes a woman with a team to overcome the hurdles.    

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Date in Herstory

On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, was declared in effect.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Benefit Ovarian Cancer Research: Sept. 10th

is spotlighted by the LA Sparks (Women's Pro Basketball) game
Saturday, Sept. 10th at Staples Center

All funds raised benefit ovarian cancer research

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Upcoming Events

The National Women's Political Caucus of California and local caucuses, like ours!, have  important events coming up within the next few months.  Listed below are various events that will be held throughout the state. 

8/26       Women's Equality Day in Fresno: 5:30pm Equality Day Gala at the Fresno Art           
                Museum.  Two feminist comics will perform,  Event tickets are $75 each. To RSVP,    
please call (559) 717-8871Click here for more info!  
Women's Equality Day in Orange County: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM with The Honorable Loretta   Sanchez. RSVP to

9/9        NWPC Deadline for EMMAs submissions: detailed information at

9/11      NWPC LA METRO PAC SOIREE, 3:00-6:00pm, 4868 Sunset Avenue, La Crescenta, CA  
                91214,  RSVP to:

9/13      NWPC CA Deadline
for NWPC CA guaranteed room rate of $129/night, single or  
                double at the Hyatt Summerfield Suites in Emeryville.
Call 510-601-5880 to book your NWPC rate. The price includes parking, wifi, and breakfast. 

9/15      Woman of Achievement honoree submission and payment due

9/17      LA Westside partners on Women Taking Action in West Hollywood: 8:30AM- 2 PM

9/18      NWPC CA co-host Fundraiser: for Betty Yee: at home of Mary Nichols in LA from 4-6 
               PM. Click here for more information!    

10/6:    NWPC CA deadline to register for October Board meeting for $70. Registration will  
                go to $80 on October 7, so register at

10/14:  NWPC CA Trainings 12 - 4pm: Train the Trainer & Starting a Local Caucus. More  
               information on these trainings will be on
              NWPC CA Board Networking Dinner 6:30 - 8:30 PM, location TBA

10/15    NWPC CA INC Board Meeting 8:30am- 3:30pm at Bridgecourt Room (next to the 
                Chamber of Commerce), Emeryville
NWPC CA VIP PAC Reception: before WOA & Celebration of 100th Anniversary of Womens Suffrage in California in Emeryville 6-7 PM at Emeryville Memorial Center, 4321 Salem Street Emeryville 94608
Women of Achievement Awards & Celebration of 100th Anniversary of Womens   
Suffrage in California, Emeryville Ca

10/16    NWPC CA WLF Board Meeting 9am-12pm Bridgecourt Room (next to the                   
     Chamber of Commerce), Emeryville  

10/20     LA Westside Calendar Event: 6:30 PM at The Mark 9320 West Pico Blvd. LA 90035
11/4        NWPC National Executive Committee Mtg in LA: 6-8 PM, location TBA
11/5        NWPC National Board Mtg in LA: location TBA

11/6        EMMAs in LA at the Skirball Cultural Center

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Women are still under-represented at all levels of government!

Women hold only 17% of the seats in Congress.
Only 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions are currently held by women.
State Legislatures are only 24% women.
Only 6 out of 50 states have a female governor.
The United States trails behind much of the world—ranking 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. (*Note: The U.S. is listed as 73rd, but after accounting for tied rankings of other countries, the ranking for the U.S. is 90th. Source)
On average, male cabinet appointees outnumber women cabinet appointees in our states by a ratio of 2 to 1.
50% less women than men consider of running for office. Of those, 30% less actually run, with only a fraction seeking higher office. (Lawless, Jennifer and Richard L Fox. It Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.)
Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators.
Women of color represent only 4% of Congress and 23% of women Members of Congress.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Should Vote!

By Devin Ford, NWPC Board Member

I went out for drinks with a friend to our favorite pub last night. We love the place for the great music and more importantly always lively conversation.  A young man struck up a conversation with me about politics specifically the BP Oil Spill and the War.  Subjects close to my heart because I grew up on the Gulf Coast and my family lives there. Also, my brother-in-law is in the military and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Comforting my sister as she cried wondering if her husband was safe and him coming back and over a year later his eyes are filled with sorrow gave me a renewed passion to end the war. The Gulf Coast disaster destroyed an ecosystem and a way of life. The media would have you think it is all okay.

I thought how exciting that this 22 year old young man is fired up and so I said he should get involved. He said he doesn’t vote because it takes too much time to research the candidates. Now maybe I over reacted, but I said “That is despicable and people like you are what is wrong with this country. You sit here and say our country is crooked and that our leaders are criminals and you are too lazy to even vote. We live in a free country where we are can vote, protest, say what we want and you do not deserve it.” Maybe tough words, but in my opinion the truth.

Now when I was younger I only voted in Presidential elections. When I grew up and realized that I want my neighborhood to be safe, a speed bump on my street, better public transportation, cleaner air, and more trees. There is no such thing as an unimportant election and so I decided to get involved.

Today on a national level radicals are trying to take away our freedoms with the patriot act, internet blacklist laws, and the right to control my own body.  BP has profited from destroying my home.

The young man said “How can you trust the news?!” I said, “I don’t; look at their records to see how candidates have voted, who they are endorsed by, and what they truly stand for, then make your decision.”

Women protested and struggled for me to be able to vote, have the right to choose and soldiers lay their lives on the line for us. If they are willing to give their lives literally and figuratively then the least I can do is show up on voting day and make an educated decision on the best person for the job. The least we can do to honor them is click on our computers and research our candidates. It is now our job, our duty, to take up the fight for the next generation.

Vote and honor our sisters and the soldiers who fought and died for your right to do so.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Re October 20th, 2011

LA’s Leading Women’s Political Group Announces Honorees for Annual Event
National Women’s Political Caucus – LA Westside Chapter to 
Honor Twelve Remarkable Women at Gala Event

(Los Angeles, CA) – Twelve accomplished women in California and Los Angeles politics, including California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Assemblymembers Holly Mitchell and Betsy Butler, will be honored at the National Women’s Political Caucus, LA-Westside’s annual “Calendar Event,” the group announced today.  The honorees, which will all appear in the NWPC LA-Westside 2012 Remarkable Women’s Calendar, are scheduled to be in attendance at the gala, which will take place October 20, 2011 at The Mark for Events in Los Angeles.

“The women selected to appear in NWPC-LA Westside’s 2012 calendar are inspirational,” said NWPC LA Westside President Lindsay Bubar.  “By working to improve their communities through political action, these amazing women demonstrate why it is so important that we continue to strive for gender equity in politics.

“Women represent more than half of the population, but less than a quarter of people serving in elected office,” continued Bubar.  “We have a long way to go to achieve true equality and these 12 remarkable women are leading the way to a better future.”

In addition to celebrating female elected leaders such as Attorney General Harris and Assemblymembers Mitchell and Butler, NWPC-LA Westside’s 2012 “Remarkable Women” calendar features women who engage in politics through a variety of avenues, including consulting, community organizing and non-profit work.  Honorees to be featured in the 2012 calendar include:

·       Kafi Blumenfield, Liberty Hill
·       Assemblymember Betsy Butler
·       Sue Dunlap, Planned Parenthood
·       Bettina Duval, California List
·       Attorney General Kamala Harris
·       Assemblymember Holly Mitchell
·       Wendy Mitchell, WM Consulting, Planned Parenthood
·       Torie Osborn, California Calls
·       Natalie Parmenter, CSUN Young Democrats
·       Elena Popp, Attorney, Former Candidate
·       Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City Community Organizer
·       Debra Spector, Planned Parenthood Board

The gala calendar unveiling event will take place October 20th, 2011 at 6:30pm at The Mark for Events (located at 9320 West Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles).  Tickets for the event, as well as calendars are available at  

Lindsay Bubar

- # # # -

The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) is a multi-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to increasing women’s participation in the political process and creating a women’s political power base to achieve equality for all women. NWPC LA-Westside is a Chapter of the NWPC State Organization, and works to recruit, train, and support pro-choice women candidates for elected and appointed offices at all levels of government.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Comedy Goes Wrong

By Carrie McFadden, NWPC Board Member

Last month, a friend of my boyfriend's came to visit us from Canada. One of the things we decided to do, in order to share a true taste of LA, was to take him to one of the many comedy clubs on the Sunset Strip. By the time we arrived the only seats left were those in the front row, often a questionable place in such a venue. The lineup that night featured about a dozen various comics, the first two thirds of which were sufficiently amusing and started the night off well.

A few hours into the show, the tone of the room and the evening changed considerably. The comic that took the mic next immediately turned his attention to me, and the fact that I was wearing a low-cut top, as the majority of the women in the audience were for such a night out in West Hollywood. He began badgering me about the way I was dressed and the way I looked, strongly implying that I was an individual of below average intelligence. When I mentioned I had a degree from UCLA and had a job right after college working for a high-level politician (not naming names, of course), he turned his ire to someone else in the audience, who also just so happened to be female. She had the apparent misfortune of being alone at that particular moment of time, and this is where things turned even more sour. He began making "jokes" about how she'd need a man that night, whether she gave her consent or not, and encouraged the members of the audience to approach her and even follow her after the show, to give her the attention she obviously needed. He pointed to me, to the other woman, and the others in the audience, and said something along the lines of, "If these girls tell you no, and especially if you can make them cry, you know that means they really want it, right?"

Although the mood in the room was tense, one of the integral parts of this comedian’s (and I use that word loosely) act was giving his number out at the beginning and reading text messages from the audience. There was very little laughter during his set, but he read several texts from men in the audience echoing his sentiments -- “Oh, you just made that one cry, that means she’s enjoying it.”  The remainder of the sets and comedians after this one finally exited the stage were much less offensive, and the mood in the room became much more positive. However, the comments of the initial comedian and some of the men in the audience hung over me for the rest of the night.

Possibly worse than the offensive statements posing as comedy that came out of his mouth was the fact that it made me temporarily doubt and even blame myself. Should I have worn something more conservative? Should I have opted not to sit in the front row? Should I have excused myself as soon as he started in on me and left before making something of a scene?

I have found situations like this to be a tragic common thread weaving their way through many of my day to day interactions, and the interactions of female friends and colleagues of mine. There are bigger, larger-picture issues facing women all over the country -- the constant war on women’s reproductive rights; workplace sexual harassment cases in courts every day; and of course the under representation of women in elective office everywhere. Taking all of this into account, it doesn’t make media representation and daily interactions any less important. I understand that a big part of making it as a comic is being offensive and pushing the envelope, but there’s a difference between saying something shocking and actually encouraging members of the audience to rape / sexually assault and harass female peers, especially while pointing out potential “targets” sitting five feet in front of them. The fact that something which is a reality for women everywhere, something which has been inflicted upon members of the audience or women they know, can be made light of in such a way is unacceptable. The other dozen or so men who performed that night proved that it is indeed possible to be funny without encouraging violence and misogynistic behavior. Of course, anyone who has been to a comedy show can expect offensive things to be said and I’m not making light of those comments, nor am I condoning them.

I should not have had to deal with being harassed publicly for showing up in public in anything less than a turtleneck. The woman behind me should not have been targeted for being at a comedy club alone. Women and (perhaps even more importantly) girls everywhere should not be given the message that sexual violence is something to be laughed at, and men and boys should not be encouraged to commit such acts. Rape is not a punchline, and the struggle of the millions of women who have had to deal with it should not be used in order to garner cheap laughs for an entertainer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Board Member Spotlight: Robyn Ritter Simon

Robyn Ritter Simon is a seasoned business and civic leader with more than 20 plus years’ experience as an advocate, executive and mentor in Los Angeles. Robyn recently completed a yearlong project with the launch of her 50th Birthday Blog, a daily memoir chronicling life’s muses from her 49th Birthday leading up to her 50th birthday which she just celebrated in April.

You can read Robyn’s life lessons and postings on her website's blog and learn about her triumphs, passions and her commitment to run the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon, which she completed.

Robyn began her professional career as a broadcast journalist for the NBC affiliate in Palm Desert, CA specializing in politics.  She was the producer and host of an award winning public affairs program titled “Robyn Ritter Reports”  before returning to Los Angeles where she free-lanced as a journalist for the ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara and then eventually for Los Angeles’ public access station Channel 35.  She is a powerful public speaker with the ability to energize any audience she is invited to speak in front of Robyn holds a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Management from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from San Francisco State University.

Robyn’s association with the National Women’s Political Caucus began more than a decade ago when she ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council.  NWPC endorsed her candidacy and a partnership was cemented and continues strong today. She has remained a committed advocate for women pursuing careers in politics and has served as the past President of NWPC LA Westside and as a NWPC State Board member as VP of Communications.  Under Robyn’s tenure at both the state level and locally, membership sky rocked, NWPC’s visibility grew, and a monthly statewide Newsletter, The Caucus Connection was created and produced monthly by Robyn as well as a monthly electronic newsletter for NWPC LA Westside.  In addition, Robyn is credited with launching and co-managing LA Westside’s’ Calendar project for three consecutive years.  The NWPC Remarkable Women calendar recognizes outstanding women leaders and serves as the groups signature fundraiser for NWPCs Political Action Committee.  Robyn was a calendar honoree in 2009.  She was also nominated for the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women of Achievement Award, and received the 2010 SHero Award from her State Senator Curren Price.

In addition to her passion to elect more women and achieve NWPCs goal of 50/50 by 2020 Robyn is a seasoned public affairs and communications executive. She served as CEO of the Century City Chamber of Commerce and as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. While at the LA Chamber she also managed and led the well-respected Leadership LA program which aims to train future civic leaders. She herself is a graduate of the New Leaders Project, a program sponsored by The Jewish Federation

Robyn was appointed by former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn to the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission serving as a commissioner from 2001 – 2005.  Robyn is recognized as an education reformer from her earlier work galvanizing her neighborhood to make a difference at the local public school.  As co-founder of the Beverlywood Moms, she coordinated and implemented a successful, precedent-setting grassroots effort, recruiting neighborhood families to support Canfield Avenue Elementary School in West LA. Robyn recognizes the immense importance education contributes to our community. The groups work was extensively profiled in the LA Times!

While Robyn’s talents are well documented, the work she is most proud of accomplishing is that of mother to her three sons, Brandon, Harrison, and Spencer and her marriage to high school sweetheart Brian Simon.  She credits motherhood and her family for fueling her passion to be the best woman she possible can be, and for that she is eternally grateful. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Message From Kirsten Gillibrand

From: Kirsten Gillibrand
Subject: five women

Here are some sad statistics:
  • I am one of just 17 women in the Senate.
  • Just 17% of all members of Congress are women.
  • There are currently only six women governors in the US today.
  • Fewer than 25% of state legislature seats are filled by women.
These are trends we absolutely must reverse. That is why I created Off The Sidelines, to mobilize women and make their voices heard. The best way to make sure our values are represented is if we run and win.

That's what I did in ’06 and what Kathy Hochul did this year. And that's what five strong Democratic women are doing in the Wisconsin recall elections against Scott Walker's allies next Tuesday – just four days away.

Five amazing women need your immediate support in the final hours to win on Tuesday. It’s time to get off the sidelines.

Click here to rush a contribution to these five extraordinary women on ActBlue. They’re fighting back in Wisconsin, and it’s time for us to get off the sidelines and win.

I couldn’t be more pleased that out of the six recall elections against Republicans in Wisconsin next week, five of the Democratic candidates are women. If they all win, the percentage of the Wisconsin state senate that are women will rise from around 25% to a third. That is the very essence of getting off the sidelines.

If you're not familiar with these women, please take a moment to get to know them below:

Nancy Nusbaum, former President of Wisconsin NARAL and former Mayor of DePere, WI, is running against Rob Cowles in WI-SD-02.

Sandy Pasch, a member of the Wisconsin state Assembly since 2008, is running against Alberta Darling in WI-SD-08.

Shelly Moore, a former high school teacher who was elected to the National Education Association (NEA) Board of Directors in 2005, is running against Sheila Harsdorf in WI-SD-10.

Jessica King, Deputy Mayor of Oshkosh, WI, is running against Randy Hopper in WI-SD-18.

Jennifer Shilling, a Wisconsin State Assemblywoman since 2000, is running against Dan Kapanke in WI-SD-32.

With under a week until the recall elections, now is the time to contribute whatever you can to these five excellent candidates. Not only will your support help ensure that Democrats retake the Wisconsin State Senate and block Governor Walker's extreme agenda, but it will increase the representation of women in Wisconsin government.

I truly hope that in 2012, we will see a resurgence in women's participation at all levels of public life. Let's kickstart that resurgence this year by helping to elect these five women to the state Senate in Wisconsin.


P.S. And if you’d like to support my effort to mobilize women, please sign up with my campaign at and "Like" the Facebook page at

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What makes a great leader?

By Betsy Johnson
VP of Communications & former Co-President, NWPC LA Westside

I recently completed a 10-month leadership program with the Southern California Leadership Network and in one of our forums (this one happened to be during a joint lobbying effort with the LA Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento), one of our guest speakers summed it up like this.  Two characteristics of a great leader are 1.)  fierce determination and 2.) tremendous humility.  Wow, I thought, it’s really that simple?   Ok, I have the determination, even the passion but I think we can all agree that as we climb that political, corporate, social or whatever kind of ladder you might be climbing these days, that humility can be challenging.  Whether you hold a title as a CEO or Chief Bottle Washer, titles can mean egos and frankly egos and humility don’t go hand in hand.

So I started thinking about the leaders I know, have interacted with or generally come across my radar as being “great”.  And you know what?  Those that truly are in the upper echelon of greatness do have tremendous humility, or at least that’s what it appears on the surface.   Regardless, either they have really great PR folks or they truly check their egos at the door.  It’s not enough to have passion, determination and want to make the world a better place.  The true test is doing it for the right reasons regardless of what title or office it brings.  I look at some up-and-coming leaders around me and I already see those that can put the ego aside and join us all in the trenches and get the job done, and I see those that can’t.  Whether male or female, it makes no difference (although we like to think it’s always the men that have this problem).

In a world of political and corporate scandals that seem to break regularly, sometimes that power can bring about a sense of entitlement (ok, don’t get me started on this one) and “I’m above it all” mentality.  But, really, where did some of these folks go wrong?  Did they start out as “great” and lose it somewhere along the way?  Did they get caught up in the hype of the job, position, celebrity or otherwise?  We’re not doing to taint everyone with the same brush but you get what I’m saying.

I’m actually going to add a third point to being a great leader, and I know you’ve heard this one before.  3.)  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  At the end of the day, we’re all human, we all screw up and being able to laugh about it (and at yourself) is really important.  I think a great leader needs to recognize that.

So I challenge you as leaders (all in your old rite) to keep these three important points in mind as you journey on your path to greatness.  Let’s help each other, encourage each other & don’t be afraid to have that conversation with someone you care about if you see them slipping behind or taking a side street.  No one’s perfect but everyone needs a guide, mentor or friend who can help along the way.  And let’s not forget to smile, laugh and have fun.   After all, isn’t it all about the journey anyway?

If you want to know more about the Southern California Leadership Network (honestly, this really wasn’t a plug but what the heck), visit Programs include Leadership L.A., Leadership Southern CA (I just graduated with the Class of 2011) and now California Connections, a statewide leadership program.   It truly is a fantastic organization with amazing leadership programs.  Tell them Betsy sent you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wendy Greuel leads fundraising

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel pulled ahead of her early opponents in fundraising for the 2013 mayoral race, outperforming Councilwoman Jan Perry, former mayoral aide Austin Beutner and radio host Kevin James, according to reports filed Monday.

Greuel collected more than $518,000, according to contribution statements covering the first six months of the year. She said her sizable haul showed that people want someone who can bring "needed reforms" to City Hall.

"There has been such a tremendous outpouring of support all across the city, and that response has led to this strong fundraising showing," she said.

Other potential candidates to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, including county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, City Council President Eric Garcetti and developer Rick Caruso, have yet to form fundraising committees.

Councilwoman Jan Perry reported collecting more than $456,000. Perry consultant Eric Hacopian said the sum demonstrates the councilwoman's ability to run an aggressive campaign.

Beutner consultant Sean Clegg said his candidate performed more strongly than Greuel and Perry because his money — $405,000— was raised over a shorter period of time.

"Austin Beutner is clearly setting the pace," he said.

When Beutner submitted his reports last week, he showed money from a number of people aligned with Villaraigosa, including former Mayor Richard Riordan. Beutner spent 15 months as Villaraigosa's "jobs czar," overseeing such agencies as the Department of Water and Power and the Department of Building and Safety.

Greuel has shown her own considerable mayoral ties. She received $1,000 from Ari Swiller, who has been a close friend, campaign fundraiser and advisor to Villaraigosa. Swiller's wife, Martha, who has been a Villaraigosa appointee, also gave $1,000. Charles Stringer, Swiller's colleague at Renewable Resources Group, gave $100.

Richard Katz, a top transit advisor to Villaraigosa, gave Greuel $1,000. So did Jonathan Parfrey, one of Villaraigosa's appointees on the DWP board.

Greuel's take included $2,300 from employees of Loeb & Loeb, a law firm that lobbies City Hall on behalf of such clients as Casden Properties. She received $2,000 from Peter Lowy, an executive at the shopping mall company Westfield, and his wife. That company has had business before the city in the San Fernando Valley and Century City.

Meanwhile, a major portion of Perry's donations came from real estate interests in and around her district, which stretches from downtown to South Los Angeles. She received at least $4,000 from executives with Thomas Properties Group, co-developer of the planned Wilshire Grand Hotel, a project approved earlier this year with heavy support from Perry.

Perry and her colleagues voted in March to provide the project up to $249 million in subsidies. She also received at least $2,000 from employees of AC Martin, an architectural firm on the Wilshire Grand team.

Another $4,000 came from employees of Gensler, the firm designing the $1.2-billion NFL stadium planned in Perry's district.

Perry received $2,000 from billionaire Eli Broad and his wife. Perry endorsed the redevelopment agency's decision earlier this year to spend up to $52 million on parking and other public facilities around the planned downtown Broad museum. The Broads also gave $2,000 to Beutner, who was overseeing the redevelopment agency at the time of the critical vote.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords — showing up and showing us up on the debt ceiling

By Alexandra Petri, The Washington Post
Original Article
Photo By Tom Williams

The most impressive feature of last night was not the vote itself, acrimonious as usual. It was the slender woman with short dark hair and glasses making her tentative way across the floor of the House. Gabrielle Giffords later said in a statement: “I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what’s going on in Washington. I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy.”

So she made her careful way across the floor and voted. For once, the catcalls gave way to applause. This story has already been told again and again, in increasingly rapturous language. Her vote was “an existential declaration,” said a Post piece. The Times spoke of the visitation as though the only more impressive thing would have been if she’d swept in on the wings of actual eagles. But that might have provoked more hobbit comparisons.

Coverage is often rapturous and a little fulsome, but this is a case where it should have been. In the Lifetime Original Movie that the world is just itching to make about Giffords's struggle, this may be among the climaxes — Giffords, on the arm of her astronaut husband Mark Kelly, swooping in to place a vote that stole all the acrimonious thunder away from the debate.

Giffords’s vote is a reminder that sometimes the system does work. Cooler heads prevail. Sausage — whatever you think of the sausage — is made. Congress has done its job.

But her presence reminds us of the price simply doing one’s job can exact. This is all harder than it looks.

It’s enough to make one feel a bit like a heel. Here we are, supposedly hale and sound of limb, squabbling and name-calling about Satan sandwiches and moons of yogurt and brides at altars. And there is Gabrielle Giffords, who has been fighting a far more personal fight — first for her life, then for the ability to walk, eat, speak, perform the myriad simple tasks that we dispatch without a moment's thought. And she is the one who manages to show up and vote.

Democracy, like walking, is something we tend to take for granted. We assume that the complex and garbled apparatus will — until the moment it nearly doesn’t. This was a time when it did. Amid worries that perhaps the process will break down this time, a slender woman walks carefully across the floor and presses “Yes.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

National Women's Political Caucus Elects New Leadership

The new National Board elected during the 40th Anniversary Convention brings impressive leadership and diversity to NWPC.

At the close of a dynamic 40th Anniversary Convention, NWPC elected a Super Slate National Board to govern through 2013. The new board members are from all over our nation, including Teray Stephens, NWPC CA President who is the new 1st Vice President and VP of Board Operations, and Donna DeBerry, another NWPC CA member, in the new VP of Diversity.

Linda Young, newly elected President from Texas, proudly proclaimed "Life Begins (again) at 40" as she provided an exciting vision for the future. All of the new Board members are listed below.

Linda Young - Democrat, TX

First Vice President and VP of Board Operations:
Teray Stephens - Democrat, CA & President of NWPC CA

Vice Presidents:
VP Development: Judy Chavis - Democrat, TX
VP Communications: Pat Lynch - Independent, NV
VP Political Planning: Donna Lent - Independence Party, NY
VP Education & Training: Lisa Kaado - Democrat, NJ
VP Membership: Teresa Ruiz - Democrat, MO
VP Diversity and Outreach - Donna DeBerry - Republican, CA

Linda Knight- Democrat, CA

Veronica Rivera - Democrat, MD

Political Planning & Appointments Committee:
Sharon Ball - Democrat, CA
Marguerite Cooper - Democrat, CA
Lulu Flores - Democrat, TX
Karen Hosto - Democrat, FL
Marion Sullivan - Democrat, NC
Tammi McIntyre - Democrat, CA
Carmen Schaye - Democrat, CA
Joyce Ferriabough Bolling - Democrat, MA

See Press Release

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