From left, Joseph Rosendo of TravelScope, environmental activist Gail McDonald-Tune and Elizabeth Barris of Topangans for a Radiation Free Community, rally around Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, following a cookies, coffee and conversation Meet and Greet at the Inn of the Seventh Ray on Saturday, Oct. 6.
About 15 people arrived at the Inn of the Seventh Ray on a glorious Saturday afternoon for coffee, cookies and conversation with Assemblymember Betsy Butler in her bid for re-election.
Butler, a democrat, was elected to AD66 in 2010, but decided to run in AD50 after the districts were redrawn last year.
The newly drawn assembly district reaches from the super-wealthy areas of Malibu to Hancock Park and includes Topanga, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills.
For this election, Butler is running against Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, also a Democrat.
Joseph Rosendo of Travel Scope hosted the event, with support from Roger Pugliese of TASC and Ben Allanoff of the Topanga Watershed Committee.
According to Rosendo, Butler was the first Assembly candidate to respond to the news that Caltrans was spraying pesticides on Topanga Canyon Road last year.
QUESTIONS AND ISSUES
After breezing in from another event, Butler settled in and took questions, creating an environment for a dialogue within the small group.
Since being elected, Butler has been an advocate for consumers, working families and the environment. Currently she is working on bills regarding elder abuse, veterans and identity theft.
Butler currently is a board member of Equality California; served as President of the National Women's Political Caucus (LA Westside Chapter); and as Director of Development for Consumer Attorneys of California.
She also served as an appointed member of the California Film Commission, where she worked to keep the film industry driving the state's economy.
Butler said it is vital to pass Proposition 30 to bring back much-needed funds into the State.
From left, Joseph Rosendo of "Travel Scope," Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, Roger Pugliese of the Topanga Association of Scenic Communities and Ben Allanoff of the Topanga Watershed Committee during a meet and greet with Butler at the Inn of the Seventh Ray on Saturday, Oct. 6.
If they dont pass Prop. 30, they will cut $9 billion out of the state government, she warned. We tried to hold on as long as we could, but on Nov. 7 they will cut $5.5 billion out of the schools and $2 billion out of health and human services.
Regarding Topanga, Butler emphasized her record that includes the time she worked for the California League of Conservation Voters and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Butler said she is currently working with the United Farm Workers on providing shade, water and bathrooms, for its field workers.
When Liz Barris of Topangans for a Radiation Free Community asked Butler about Edisons rollout of Smart Meters in the Canyon, Butler expressed outrage at the $75 opt-out fee and said she would look into it with the PUC.
She also made a commitment to look into the issue of Smart Meters and perhaps author a bill if she is re-elected.
Going further into the issue, Butler advocates going on renewable technology and going off of oil.
Im not afraid to take on the oil companies, she said defiantly. We should put a moratorium on fracking until regulations are in place; we should all be very concerned.
Dorothy Reik, president of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains asked about the long-standing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), saying that the new streamlining process that Butler advocates is being weakened in the Assembly.
CEQA was put in place so that developers would have to prove that their projects would do no harm, Reik said. They have to get approvals from the various agencies, public hearings have to be held, Environmental Impact Reports have to be approved. As can be expected the business folks hate this they want to build what they want, where they want and how they want.
Butler promised that she would never do anything to undermine CEQA.
Finishing up, Butler told the group that while in the Assembly, she would always be responsive to contituents needs.
I am that conduit to State Agencies, she said. Government has a lot of opportunities to think outside the box; I promise to work with local communities and governments to effect change.
Among those endorsing Butler is Topangas former Assemblymember Julia Brownley, and a list that includes, among many others: the California Democratic Party; United Farm Workers; AFL-CIO; Sierra Club; National Women's Political Caucus; LA County Federation of Labor; Assembly Speaker John Pérez; Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg; Assemblymembers Steven Bradford, Ricardo Lara, Mike Eng and Holly Mitchell; Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca; Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel; and a host of city and county endorsements.
For a full list of endorsements go to www.betsybutler.com.