By Robyn Ritter Simon
SIMON SAYS - It will come as no shock to readers that
candidates seeking elected office or even those already in office and
running for re-election, pander to constituents for votes and money. No
revelation here, that’s for sure. But what makes the offense even more
egregious is when a candidate is an out and out poser.
A poser is
a candidate who bounces from one constituent group to the next saying
how much they support that group and its mission, yet when given an
opportunity to advance the organization’s agenda, the candidate is
nowhere to be found. Give it a rest political poser; we know what’s up
with your behavior.
Let me elaborate.
Let’s take a look at
some women candidates and elected leaders who have been posing,
resulting in a disturbing scenario brewing at LA City Hall. Their posing
has sadly contributed to the reality that after next year we may not
have one single woman serving on the LA City Council. You say what!?
more women has been a passion of mine for a lifetime. I have a
demonstrated track record of recruiting, training, and supporting women
to run and then sticking with them the entire way, regardless of their
chances of winning. I’m sometimes loyal to a fault. I have run for
political office in my hometown of Los Angeles twice and know exactly
who’s been truthful and who is a poser.
As an active Board member
of the National Women’s Political Caucus, an organization striving to
reach 50/50 by the year 2020 (50 percent representation by women and men
by 2020) I am heavily submerged in encouraging women to run and I put
my money and time behind them if I believe they are a formidable
candidate who meets my bottom line issues. Yet, sadly, this is not
always true for my fellow sisters who have been elected and who don’t
reciprocate the love to those who helped propel them into office. So
This past weekend I received a phone call from a
recently elected US Congresswoman from the LA area asking me for money
and my support. Before I hit the delete button I had to chuckle at how
out of touch this woman is with her own past conduct. I hope Washington
is treating her well, because her inaction to cultivate a woman to
replace her has contributed to us potentially not having one woman out
of fifteen council members fill the LA City Council horseshoe come 2013.
I was a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council (5th District) this
very same woman barely met with me let alone lend her endorsement, even
though I had been endorsed by every prominent women’s organization in
the community – the same organizations that had endorsed and stood by
her all these years. When she was a candidate she would attend the NWPC
endorsement meetings and pontificate about how we need more women in
public office, yet when given a chance to ensure that our LA City
Council would not be left absent of a single woman, she chose not to
She of course is entitled to support whomever she
chooses, but she should know that her inaction has consequences. Several
trips to the community that has helped put her in office with her hand
out, without reciprocating the love, even if it means using up some of
her political capital along the way, has left many of us who work hard
to elect qualified women, shaking our heads with disbelief.
should be offensive, not just to women, but to all Angeleno’s that not
since 1953 when Roz Wyman was first elected to the Council that we may
not have a single woman serving on this governing Board. How did this
happen? Well, several of the women who have occupied a seat there
recently share the blame in this sad commentary. They too will face
consequences as they ramp up for their next campaign and push back from
stalwart women leaders who are tired of financing campaigns to not see
their goal of more women in office realized.
If you truly support
the mission of organizations such as NWPC, which believe that it’s good
public policy to include women’s voices at every level of government,
then do what it takes to ensure this happens. Identify a woman in your
community, cultivate her, encourage her, offer her the training
necessary for assembling a competitive campaign, raise her money,
support her and see her through to the finish line. That’s what true
leaders do who support those people and groups who have been there for
them when they were candidates.
A candidate and an elected
official’s inaction have consequences sometimes greater than their
actions. So for me and my like minded friends, we’ve been hitting the
delete button to demonstrate we don’t support political posers, male or
Ritter Simon is a long time NWPC LA Westside Board Director. She ran
for Los Angeles City Council, 5th District, in 2001 and again in 2009.
She is a champion for ensuring more women serve in public office and
spends her time actively supporting candidates who meet her bottom line
issues. She is a sought after empowerment speaker encouraging young
girls and women to engage more in the political arena. She was nominated
as a Forward Thinker by the think tank, California Forward. She
currently works with LA's Best in City Hall. This post reposted from 2/17/12
"RRS Birthday Blog"