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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Political Sissies Take A Bow; Encore Needed

Betsy Butler,Debra Bowen, Linda Lucks, Ruth Galanter taking their bows after the “Politics Ain’t for Sissies,” Thursday, 31 March at the Westminster Elementary School.

“Sexism is so alive and working” was the statement that the Honorables or “Politics Ain’t for Sissies” started out with. The three honorables and former Venice Neighborhood Council President Linda Lucks had some tales to tell of their terms in office, yet the program was directed to helping the candidates running for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC).

It all made for a fast two minutes (or so it seemed). So fast, that this reporter, who didn’t bring a recorder, could not take adequate notes. Hopefully, Gary Walker of the Argonaut will write the defining article. But it all bodes for an encore.

For those running for office, the Honorables all agreed that candidates should stick to their principles and go after the votes. They said: Be clear on your position. Pick your battles. If you lose, you lose. Offer to drive prospective voters to the poles if necessary, one said. Take nothing for granted; press the flesh, said Linda Lucks. Don’t waste your time on trying to change peoples opinions if they don’t agree with you. Debra Bowen said that for every 40 people, there are 60 opinions …So what if someone says ‘No’ to you? Rely on friends. Get them to email their friends and those friends to email their friends. They all agreed.

Former Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, who ran, she said, on eliminating waste and stupidity, gave examples of working together with the public and not working together with the public. She told the story of how Ocean Front Walk got cemented. But she was, as she claimed, noted for the toilet law.

Mayor Tom Bradley, she said, could not present a bill to the Council. So he asked Galanter if she thought six to eight gallons per toilet flush was too much when two to three gallons was sufficient. She agreed and he dumped his file on her desk. Consequently, she became known as the councilperson noted for the Toilet Law, she said.

On Ocean Front Walk, half the residents, she said, wanted asphalt and the other half wanted bricks. She asked the consultant that had been hired what he thought, and he said both were wrong. It should be cement he said. Galanter said half would be happy and the other half would not, so it was cement.

And then there was the story of the canals.

Former Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, who in essence got redistricted out of office, was behind the banning of plastic bags. She asked “Can I wake up with myself in the morning” … there was so much oil money behind the bags.

Butler said she was the 130th woman in the assembly, which is indicative of not many women having been in the governing body. Debra Bowen couldn’t remember her number at first but it was 52.

Debra Bowen, when secretary of state, said after she read the proposed law on the voting machine, she knew it wouldn’t work. For her courage in bucking the system, she received in 2008 the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” award, which goes to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.

After a $450 million investment by California counties in electronic voting systems aimed at modernizing elections, newly elected Secretary of State Debra Bowen ordered an independent review of the new voting technologies to ensure they adequately protected the integrity of the vote. When the study revealed troubling flaws in the systems, Bowen strictly limited the use of direct-recording electronic voting machines, and imposed significant security and auditing requirements on systems to be used in California’s February 5 presidential primary election. Bowen’s decision was met with resistance by voting system vendors and many county elections officials.

Bowen, as an assembly woman, also wanted to put the legislative agenda in Sacramento on the internet and do it for free. Sacramento wanted to charge. She got a man from Apple to write the program for nothing and all was free. Bowen, when a senator, eliminated the necessity to use a social security number for identification for everything; “there was too much possibility for identification theft,” she said.

One knew before the agenda started that these three were not sissies as the bill facetiously indicated, but to what extent, one did not know until hearing their stories in short, stark statements.

Comment (1)

  1. Liz Wright

    It was really interesting that none of the speakers intended to go into politics. As they spoke I thought – Venice is known for its artists, writers, roller skaters, and muscle beach. But here I was, looking at people who had represented Venice, wielded real power, and used it effectively to benefit both the local community and broader environs.

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