November 6th is almost upon us, and we find ourselves wanting, no, needing, to speak out on behalf of Richard Bloom, candidate for the 50th Assembly District. We were sufficiently impressed by Richard that we hosted a Meet and Greet for him back in September, and since then our regard has only grown.
Richard is a principled and evenhanded leader who, in 13 years as Santa Monica Mayor and City Council Member, has followed a progressive agenda while encouraging a vibrant business sector and done both within the bounds of a fiscally responsible budget.
Under his leadership, confirmed by his election to four consecutive terms, Santa Monica has great schools, great services, and is a great place to live. (So much so that we are moving there next year!) And he is incredibly decent. We need people like him in Sacramento.
The reason we are picking up our pen (metaphorically speaking) this late in the campaign process is the avalanche of lying mailers issuing from the Betsy Butler campaign. In the last week of the campaign Richard has worked hard to stay positive. But we feel that we have to speak up.
Betsy Butler’s greatest shortcoming is dramatically demonstrated by her abstention (the equivalent of a no vote) on SB1530, a bill that would have made it easier to fire teachers for physically or sexually abusing students. She did this not because she likes sex offenders – we don’t accuse her of that – but because the bill, which was proposed by a Democrat, advocated by LAUSD and passed overwhelmingly by the State Senate, would have diluted the teachers unions’ lock on the disciplinary process. This is something the California Teachers Association will not tolerate, and Butler toes their line. Anderson Cooper did a damning report on this example of legislative corruption, which you can watch if you are interested. The unavoidable observation from this episode is not just that Butler showed incredibly poor policy judgment but her behavior clearly put the lie to her claims to being independent and ethical.
Now Butler has a flyer out claiming that the only reason she is being targeted for this vote is that the agribusiness lobby is out to get her and that they have Richard Bloom in their pocket, an allegation with zero substance. Butler, a South Bay area legislator, placed a higher priority on a farm bill - which Governor Brown ultimately vetoed - than the need to reform our disastrous urban education systems.
Although Butler’s agribusiness foes are campaigning against her, Bloom had nothing to do with any farm legislation, pro or con, and to suggest that he is involved in their campaign activities is pure fabrication. By comparison, Butler’s loyalty to the Party status quo has garnered huge campaign contributions, both direct and through various PACs. (It’s a bit tedious but very instructive to scroll through the lists of contributors to the two campaigns. Almost all of Bloom’s are from West LA residents and businesses while Butler’s are heavily from Sacramento-centric organizations, $20,000 from the Mendocino County Democrat Committee to pick an example.)
Butler claims that the existing laws governing teacher discipline are perfectly adequate. (Reminds us of how the NRA always say the gun control laws on the books are perfectly adequate!) Well, in that case, why was it so difficult to fire the Miramonte Elementary sex offender teacher whose case triggered the introduction of SB1530? LAUSD was so desperate to get him out of the classroom that they ended up paying him $40,000 to quit because the existing process could have taken months or even years. (If you missed it, the article in the LA Weekly says it in greater detail.)
That doesn’t sound like the laws are perfectly adequate to us! Her vote was unconscionable, and now she is trying to squirm out from under it by a torrent of misdirection and misinformation.
Richard Bloom clearly offers the principled, independent representation that the 50th Assembly District needs and deserves. Betsy Butler equally clearly does not.
Sincerely, if heatedly,