Tag Archives: Torie Osborn

Education Leaders respond to Osborn’s negative mailer in #AD50

Last week, I wrote about the negative attack mailer sent by Torie Osborn against incumbent Assemblywoman Betsy Butler on education and the state budget: http://santamonica.patch.com/b…

The mailer which aims to confuse voters, has sparked a response from education leaders and unions. Wait, a union supporting someone who caves to Republicans? Yes, that’s because Torie Osborn’s mailer is not telling the whole story. The state budget that Betsy voted for was the same one that every single Democrat voted including the only two Assembly members who support Torie (Julia Brownley* & Cathleen Galgiani). However, Torie only aims fire at Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, why? Because it is convenient for Torie to do and because it is election time! I agree, the Budget is a mess but it is not fair to attack and blame Betsy for it. She has only been there for a little over a year and California’s budget woes go back a long, long time.

Kathryn Lybarger, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, which represents University of California workers, hits back in a written statement given to LA Weekly:

“The mischaracterization of Assemblywoman Butler’s support of education was taken right out of Karl Rove’s Republican playbook. This swift boat attack is false, misleading and says nothing about the fact that Republicans were responsible for the cuts in this budget and refused to let voters decide on additional revenues. Assemblywoman Butler has been the legislature’s top educations ally.”

Mitra Moassessi, president of the Santa Monica College Faculty Association who has endorsed Betsy Butler, told the LA Weekly:

“Assemblywoman Butler stood up to Republicans and voted to protect our community colleges from devastating cuts that would have denied access to thousands of students to community college. Her continued progressive stance on education funding is why Assemblywoman Butler is endorsed by the Santa Monica Community College Faculty.”

Allan Clark, president of California School Employees Association, adds,

“This attack on Assemblywoman Butler’s budget vote could not be farther from the truth. The Democratic budget was passed only after Republican leaders refused to put up one vote for a compromise budget, because the cuts weren’t big enough.”

The bigger question here (and not asked in Torie’s mailer) is this: Would Torie vote with Democrats (just like Betsy Butler) for Governor Brown’s budget or would she have joined the Republicans in opposing it?  According to Torie Osborn’s own press release given to the LA Weekly, she would have:

“If I’d been in the Assembly, I’d have stood up against these cuts and voted no.”

Democratic voters in the 50th Assembly District: The only Assemblymembers that voted “no” for the Democratic budget presented by Governor Brown were Assembly Republicans. Is Torie Osborn really telling this District that she would have joined Republican Assemblymembers and opposed the budget presented by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown? A fair question.

Meanwhile, education leaders continue to line up in support of Butler’s re-election campaign in the 50th Assembly District. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, announced his endorsement of Assemblymember Betsy Butler a few months ago:

“We need leadership and commitment to education and Assemblymember Butler has demonstrated her ability to address the tough challenges our public schools face. Like me, Betsy wants to ensure that every child has a safe environment in which to learn and that our teachers and school professionals have the resources they need to effectively prepare our children for success in the 21st century.”

In addition to Tom Torlakson’s endorsement, Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Marguerite LaMotte has also endorsed Asm. Betsy Butler’s re-election campaign. And just recently, the Los Angeles Community College Trustees endorsed Asm. Betsy Butler in her re-election campaign for Assembly. You have a choice on June 5th, to re-elect a progressive champion to the Assembly or someone who will do and say anything to win an Assembly seat. I hope you vote for Betsy Butler.

*Assemblywoman Julia Brownley has dual endorsed Betsy Butler and Torie Osborn


AD-50: fundraising shows Osborn vs. Butler really is grassroots vs. the machine

A quick perusal of coverage of the AD-50 race between (among others) activist and non-profit leader Torie Osborn and South Bay Beverly Hills Assemblymember Betsy Butler would give you the idea, despite arguments of Butler’s supporters to the contrary, that the race is a battle between the grassroots activists of the district who are supporting Osborn (as reflected by the local Democratic clubs that have endorsed her) vs. the Sacramento machine (as reflected by the institutional endorsements Betsy has received, with varying degrees of Sacramento assistance).

Well, if the fundraising numbers are any indication, that narrative is spot on. From a release send out by Osborn’s consultant:

According to recent fundraising reports filed with the California Secretary of State, Osborn has raised $803,753 from 3,626 individual donations.   Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the donations were $100 or less, considered a sign of grassroots support and ability to mobilize new voters into the political process.

Osborn dwarfs Butler in those small individual donations. Osborn has received 2,481 small donations, while Butler pulled in a mere 123 such donations.  In another indication of broad grassroots support, 1,488 donations were made online to Osborn’s campaign, totaling $251,503, vs. 119 to Butler for $41,285.

Butler, a lawmaker who represents the South Bay and moved to Beverly Hills to run for this seat, trailed Osborn miserably in raising local money and showing support from the 50th District.  Osborn raked in 1,658 contributions, totaling $403,430 from the new district.  Butler drew less than ten percent of that – 107 contributions totaling $59,463.

Let’s some this up nicely. Osborn has over 20 times as many small-dollar contributions, and about 15 times as many in-district contributions. So where’s Butler’s money coming from? The answer is obvious:

Torie Osborn has received 9 contributions from Sacramento totaling $8,625. Betsy Butler has received 142 contributions just from Sacramento that come to $291,044.

And there you have it. There could be no clearer indication. Torie Osborn is looking to represent Assembly District 50 in Sacramento. Betsy Butler is looking to represent Sacramento in Assembly District 50.

One would have thought that Sacramento would have looked at the grassroots fundraising prowess of Torie Osborn and sought to elevate that and channel that into productive, progressive change. Instead, protecting incumbents is such a priority that they’re willing to throw not just the kitchen sink, but everything else in the entire house, into AD-50 just to try to defeat her.

#AD50 Candidate Torie Osborn goes negative

The candidate that says “I’m not politics as usual” plays politics as usual. Irony?

If it wasn’t enough for Assembly Candidate Torie Osborn to stuff the homes of AD50 residents with 16 pages of non-recyclable paper in one day. She has decided that her best chance to win this race is to attack Betsy Butler by calling her a Republican. The same Betsy Butler who worked for President Bill Clinton. The same Betsy Butler who worked for Democratic Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy. The same Betsy Butler who is endorsed by the California Democratic Party and by the California League of Conservation Voters.

Torie Osborn then goes on to attack her record on funding Education. Betsy Butler was raised in a union household and understands the need to give kids the best opportunity possible in our schools. Betsy’s mom worked for years for the California Teachers Association and instilled in Betsy from a young age that Education was the most important solution for most of the world’s problems. Betsy has been fighting for Education since then and that is why LAUSD School Board Member Marguerite LaMotte, Los Angeles Community College Board Trustees Miguel Santiago, Steve Veres & Scott Svonkin support Betsy in AD50.

Read more here: http://ruizari.tumblr.com/

Planned Parenthood PAC endorses Assemblywoman Betsy Butler

Assemblymember Betsy Butler today announced the endorsement of Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County Action Fund. As women and families continue to face cuts on health care and family planning funding, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County Action Fund is the organization leading efforts to ensure all women have access to affordable and quality reproductive choice.

“Assemblymember Butler is an extraordinary advocate for women and families throughout California. We know that with her leadership, women will always have a fighter who can deliver on her promises,” said Sue Dunlap, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County Action Fund.  “We have worked closely with Assemblymember Butler in her first term in the Assembly, as well as for decades prior to her service in elected office. We are honored to endorse her for re-election and look forward to continuing our partnership and effort to ensure women and families have access to affordable health care.

“Over the last two and a half decades, Assemblymember Butler has fought to protect reproductive rights and ensure equality for women on a number of issues, including pay equity, accessibility to healthcare, education and home, child and elder care. Betsy is a past President of the LA Westside Chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus and is endorsed by NWPC California, as well as the Women’s Political Committee.

“As long as I am in elected office, I will guarantee that funding for women’s health and family planning will always be protected,” said Assemblymember Betsy Butler. “Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County Action Fund impacts millions of women and families across California and I am honored to stand as their partner to ensure everyone has the care they need and deserve.”

Assemblymember Butler has focused on fighting for consumers, advocating for working families and protecting the environment. In the State Assembly, she serves on the Assembly Budget Committee, the Budget Sub Committee on Resources and Transportation, the Committees on Business and Professions; Education; Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media; and Rules.


AD-50: Betsy Butler, not content with misleading voters, resorts to flat-out “untruth”

Probably the hottest race for Assembly this year is the race in Assembly District 50, where progressive legend Torie Osborn, who has the support of just about every single local Democratic club, as well as that of Julia Brownley and Sheila Kuehl, is going up against South Bay Assemblymember Betsy Butler, who currently represents about 1% of the new 50th Assembly District. The race has a classic “insider vs. outsider” dynamic: Osborn is well known for her nonprofit work for LGBT equality and against poverty, and has a ton of local grassroots support, including just about every single Democratic club that has endorsed in the race. Butler, meanwhile, is taking full advantage of the the money and endorsements that being a sitting legislator can provide. It’s well known that I’m an avid Osborn supporter; for a full rundown of all the stories that have made this race a fun one to watch, just check out this summmary from Marta Evry.

So far, Butler’s strategy in the race has been to attempt to convince voters that there’s nothing particularly special about this election: that she’s just your run-of-the-mill incumbent seeking re-election to her district. And even though it might be misleading to claim that when you’ve only represented 1% of the district, she’s technically correct: both the California Elections Code and the rules of the California Democratic Party allow her to claim that (and would also allow her to claim that if she were running in Shasta, but that’s a story for another day).

Today, however, changes the equation. I got a piece of mail today from the Butler campaign touting her credentials on women’s issues. The piece was obviously designed to be mailed to women, given the introduction–“mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts”–but I received it anyway. It was your typical mailing, except for one part:

Our Assemblywoman, Betsy Butler

And with that, we’ve transcended from “misleading” to “flat out not true.” I live in AD-50, and I don’t live in just the 1% that Betsy Butler currently represents. I live in the part that’s currently represented by Mike Feuer. The letter is signed by several people who are supporting Butler, and perhaps they could be trying to claim that the signatories are represented by “their Assemblywoman, Betsy Butler.” Problem is, that’s not true either, as the piece contains the signatures of activists in Beverly Hills (Mike Feuer) and Malibu (Julia Brownley), as well as some who don’t live in the district at all.

I’m not sure whether Butler’s claim that she already represents me is a sign of desperation given Torie Osborn’s strong campaign, or simple disrespect for the intelligence of the voters of the 50th District. All I know is, I’m not a fan.

Wherein Betsy Butler Decides A Part-Time Blogger Is Her Main Opponent In The AD50 Race

So here’s my question for Betsy Butler. At what point did you decide you were running against me, Marta Evry, a part-time blogger, and not the three other candidates whose names will appear on the June 5th primary ballot for the 50th Assembly District race?

Let’s start with this post written by one of your surrogates which begins with this:

The 50th Assembly District was treated to a display of bullying last week: One of the candidates running against Betsy Butler’s bid for the new district launched a prolonged attack against her campaign promotion.

Does the author link to candidate Torie Osborn’s website? Or to the LA Weekly article about the 8,000 plastic baby bottles you dumped on district voters, an article which quotes candidate Richard Bloom as saying your team “is ‘milking’ her BPA legislation for all its worth.”?

No, instead she links to an article I wrote about the environmental concerns raised by district voters regarding those 8,000 foreign-made plastic baby bottles.

Also, imagine my surprise when I heard my name mentioned in the KCAL-TV follow up to the same baby bottle story. Why? Because the “reporter” for the story never bothered to contact me. But he was more than happy to take your word for it that a part-time blogger was somehow able to bully (there’s that word again) a sitting Assembly member with a war chest of half a million dollars.

Girlfriend, we need to talk.

This may be news to you, but this race isn’t about me. And it’s not about you. It’s about the people of the 50th Assembly District, the people of California, and how we have to solve the awful, intractable problems that decades of political dysfunction, indeed malpractice, has brought to this state.

I have nothing personal against you, Betsy. I supported you in 2010 when you ran against Tea Party candidate Nathan Mintz (for anyone who’s keeping score, I live in Betsy’s current district) and I was grateful for your support of Debra Bowen in the Bowen/Hahn race last year.

But for a whole host of reasons I believe you made a poor choice in abandoning your current district to run in AD50.

Mainly because:

A) In choosing to leave my district vulnerable to Republican takeover to run in another district where the registration advantage is so great, a democratic corpse could get elected, you’ve made it that much harder for the Assembly to reach the 2/3rds majority needed to break Republican obstruction in Sacramento.

B) You seem to have forgotten that voters like to make informed choices about who will represent them in Sacramento.

For better or worse, I find myself to be the only person writing about this campaign in a consistent and substantive way. Do I have a point of view? Absolutely. It is all out there on public display. But I think it also means I have to work twice as hard to make sure everything I write is accurate, sourced and backed up by the facts. Voters are already ill-served in this state by a news media unwilling to do even the most basic legwork to inform the public, and by politicians willing to exploit that weakness to their own advantage. I shouldn’t be adding to the problem.

So this isn’t complicated, Betsy. If you want me to stop writing “negative” (i.e.: accurate) posts about your campaign, then stop doing things like this:

So let me conclude with this – each of the four candidates running in the 50th Assembly District race bring unique strengths and weaknesses to the contest, but it does voters a huge disservice when you try to obfuscate your resume through the kinds of tactics you’ve chosen to pursue. So if you want to debate what I’ve written on policy grounds, I’m more than ready to have that conversation. I think that’s exactly what voters are hungry for, and what they deserve.

However, if you and your surrogates insist on playing the victim by equating me to multi-billion dollar oil and tobacco interests, good luck with that.

Because if you think a part-time blogger can bully you, how are voters supposed to believe you’ll stand up to the actual bullies, the lobbyists and special interests in Sacramento who come knocking on your office door Every. Single. Day?

Anatomy of a CDP Endorsement: How Sacramento Insiders Rig The System Against Grassroots Candidates

Grassroots activists in Assembly District 50 received a hard lesson in “Incumbent-Protection 101” this weekend. Despite losing every Democratic Club endorsement in the district, candidate (and current 53rd AD Assembly member) Betsy Butler managed to get 57% of the vote at yesterday’s California Democratic Party “pre-endorsement” caucus, beating her opponent, Torie Osborn, who had won the support of every local club who voted to endorse, often by overwhelming margins.

Welcome to the myopic world of hard-ball Sacramento politics.

Every year, CDP delegates meet a few weeks before their yearly state convention to “pre-endorse” (aka recommend) Democratic candidates they believe are worthy of their party’s institutional support.

Candidates who received between 50% and 70% of the votes at their local weekend meeting are now eligible for, but not guaranteed of, the state Democratic party’s seal of approval at the February convention. And if no one received at least 50% of the votes, Dems won’t offer any endorsement in that legislative or congressional primary.

(And don’t even ask me the rules for how Democrats in these local party meetings gained eligibility to vote. Instructions from IKEA make more sense.)

Again, these meetings and subsequent endorsements are notable because of the brave new world of party primaries, ushered in by 2010’s Proposition 14 top-two system. It’s a world unsettled, too, by new district maps that have left more open seats than at any time in recent history.

As such, a number of Democratic candidates are scrambling for an advantage. And the gold standard is thought (by many) to be the official “Democratic Party candidate” come June.

The CDP endorsement is particularly important to Butler, who has little name recognition in AD50, having moved from the South Bay to avoid running against Tea Party candidates in her home district.

Theoretically at least, the delegates voting in these caucuses are supposed to be from the home district of the candidate they’re voting to endorse. And actually, the delegates themselves are. However, the politicians who “own” these delegates don’t have to be.

Only about a third of CDP delegates are elected by popular vote. The other two-thirds are appointed by politicians or elected by Central Committees. And in contested races like the one for the 50th Assembly District, delegates can be traded amongst politicians like playing cards.

That’s exactly what happened yesterday in the AD50 pre-endorsement caucus.

Of the 64 votes Butler received, 5 of those came from delegates she herself appointed. Forty-two delegates were assigned by Assembly Speaker John Perez, who pulled them from assembly members in districts as far away as San Francisco and Riverside.

Torie Osborn, on the other hand, not being an elected official, could not assign herself delegates. The numerous Democratic club endorsements she secured weren’t particularly helpful either, since party rules severely limited the number of delegates they’re allotted. Some endorsing clubs weren’t eligible to send delegates at all.

Dorothy Reik, President of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains – one of the clubs endorsing Osborn – attended the pre-endorsement caucus.

“John Heaner, the chair of the 13th District who was running the meeting, tried to claim that other electeds had a stong interest in our district and had sent the delegates on their own.” said Reik,”That is ridiculous. Those delegates were not even in the room for the most part. What should have been an example of local democracy in action turned into a farce.”

Butler failed to get the 70% needed for unanimous consent at the CDP convention, so she’ll have to wait until February for another endorsement vote at the convention to seal the deal. It’s entirely possible grassroots activists won’t let this go without a fight, and could organize to block Butler’s endorsement.

But such moves are rare, success rarer still. The grassroots are woefully underrepresented at the State Convention, the delegation an almost perfect microcosm of Sacramento itself – insular, inclined to protect the status quo and resistant to overcoming institutional inertia.

But in the age of “occupy”, grassroots activists seem less willing than ever to put up with the status quo. As one young Osborn supporter put it, “Folks in Sacramento should take note that AD50 supports Torie Osborn without a doubt,and will fight to make her voice heard”

Fasten your seat belts, kids, this could be a bumpy ride.