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State Dems Back Butler for 50th Assembly Seat

Opponents say most of Betsy Butler's votes came from delegates indirectly appointed by California Assembly Speaker John Perez.

State Assembly candidate Betsy Butler picked up the endorsement of the California Democratic Party this past weekend at the organization's convention in San Diego. But as has been the case for many of the endorsements in the 50th Assembly District contest, this one came with controversy.

Butler, a current Assembly member who represents a South Bay district, received 62 of the possible 85 delegate votes. Rival Torie Osborn, a political activist, had 20 backers and Santa Monica Mayor/California Coastal Commissioner Richard Bloom earned no support. Three delegates voted for no endorsement.

"These numbers represent the heart and commitment of Los Angeles Democrats," said Butler, according to a press release issued by her campaign. "People in my district worked so hard for this. They took me from a solid majority locally to nearly a three-fourth super-majority across the goal line. This was not just a victory for me, it was a victory for their passion and dedication to the work we have done together.”

Osborn supporters looked at the win differently. Several said Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is a Butler supporter, made sure his pick got the victory.

"Thirty-eight of Betsy Butler's votes were handed to her by Speaker John Perez, who had party officials and legislators from outside the new 50th A.D. appoint delegates who lived in the district who were pledged to vote for Betsy," wrote Malibu resident Ted Vaill, one of the delegates at the convention, in an email to Patch.

Osborn's campaign did not immediately respond to Patch's request for comment.

Osborn has received endorsements from several local Democratic clubs, including those in ,  and .

The endorsements from Malibu and West Hollywood-Beverly Hills were controversial, because in both cases large numbers of Osborn supporters joined those Democratic groups at the last moment. Detractors said these people did not live in the cities the clubs represented and the new members joined with the sole purpose of getting the endorsements for Osborn. In both cases, checks in excess of $1,000 were submitted to cover the membership dues of all the Osborn supporters joining the clubs.

The 50th District was created last year as part of . It includes West Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, part of Hollywood, Pacific Palisades and Agoura Hills, as well as other areas near those cities and neighborhoods.

In addition to the three Democrats, West Hollywood Republican Brad Torgan is in the contest to claim the Assembly seat. The primary election is June 5. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will face off in the general election in November.

Stay up to date on West Hollywood news and events, by following @WehoPatch and “like” on Facebook.

Marta Evry February 15, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Beyond Chron did a good story on how the endorsement process was rigged in favor of Betsy Butler: "Here is where State Party rules are not only stacked in favor of incumbents - but give politicians like John Perez an unsavory role in manipulating the outcome. On Saturday, delegates from the 50th Assembly District gathered to make the Party endorsement. Assembly members can appoint up to five delegates, but only three must live in the legislator's district. Therefore, Perez asked all Democratic Assembly members to set aside their two "non-resident" slots - so he can appoint delegates who live in the 50th District, and will vote for Betsy Butler over Torie Osborn. As I walked in to observe the 50th Assembly District caucus on Saturday (as a San Francisco delegate, I could not vote - but I attended to observe), aides for Perez were in full force with clipboards - keeping track of who had shown up to vote for Butler. Aides for other Democratic Assembly members like Fiona Ma had already been working the Convention for the past day, promoting Betsy Butler. This was a well coordinated effort to rig the endorsement, for the Speaker to deliver for one of his members. The Osborn campaign knew they didn't have much of a shot." Full story here: http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=9889#more
Mike Young February 15, 2012 at 07:46 PM
It's pretty hypocritical for the Osborn camp to suddenly complain about the rules being rigged, especially considering how they essentially bought endorsements in various local Democratic clubs and then defended themselves by saying how everything fell within the rules. Marta Evry, who doesn't live in the district, is one of these people who has been registered by the Osborn team and actively voted in these club endorsements. For someone so vocal about the lack of district control, she seems to have no problem living outside the district but voting like she lives inside of it. That kind of hypocrisy is beneath a progressive. More importantly, what's missing from the complaints here is that one of the most vocal Osborn supporters, Dante Atkins, helped write those rules that the state party used. Raise your hand if you can say you were "inside" the party enough to have active involvement with the party's rules. I sure didn't have any say whatsoever. Earlier this year the party even changed its rules to give local clubs more involvement at his behest. And give him credit, Dante had some good ideas. However, to now turn around and complain about the rules that your person helped create is a little silly, especially since the justification for stacking local clubs was "it was within the rules." Nothing that happened with the party endorsement was outside the rules either -rules that your own person even had a say in creating. You can't have it both ways.
Marta Evry February 16, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Hi Mike, Perhaps you'd like to disclose you work for CLCV, who has endorsed Betsy Butler for AD50, and that your former boss is Butler's campaign manager? No? That's OK, I'll do it for you. As for your assertion that Atkins wrote the CDP endorsement rules, nice try, but no, he didn't. They were written by a large committee called PERC, composed of dozens of party officials from all over the state. Atkins was but one member of that committee. Saying he "wrote" the endorsement rules is wildly and willfully inaccurate, akin to claiming Butler single-handedly "wrote" every piece of legislation that passed through Sacramento this year. As for issues with the CDP endorsement process, don't take my word for it, take the word of a self-identified Butler supporter and CDP delegate, Dan Kalb: "I've been saying (to members of the CDP Rules committee and others) for years that, while appointed delegates serve at the pleasure of their elected legislators, all legislators should be required to make all their appointments from within their district. I support this proposed restriction to increase the integrity of the CDP endorsement process, and as someone who also supports Betsy Butler for re-election."
Mike Young February 16, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Marta, who I am or where I work for (which I have never had any issue disclosing) doesn't change the problem that your argument is hypocritical, which you never address (probably because you agree). That doesn't go away because you try to spin the issue. I hope you realize that. There's something wrong when a self-described "progressive" like yourself fails to actual follow progressive principles like admitting when you're wrong and arguing in good faith. Being progressive isn't about a category you place yourself in, it's about a set of principles and a philosophy that you actually follow (especially when it's disadvantageous to do so), and if you fail to follow them you may want to re-evaluate whether or not you're actually a progressive. It's easy to give yourself a title. It's hard to live by it. Now to address your comment, I didn't say Dante wrote the rules, I said he "helped write the rules" and that he had a voice in the process in a way that most of us don't. That's certainly true. By the way, this is what I mean when I say you don't argue in good faith, and thank you for proving my point. Now if you want to say he didn't literally write them down on a piece of paper, sure I'm ok with that, but he was certainly on the committee like you admit and had his say and his suggestions were taken. That's more than the vast majority of people can say including the candidates. I stand by my comments, and your own account only supports what I've said, so thank you.
Marta Evry February 16, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Now that we've established you work for CLCV, a question for you: According to campaign finance reports, Assembly Speaker John Perez gave $5K to CLCV, which then turned around and made a $7,800 donation to Buter's campaign. Why is CLCV donating so any $$$ to a candidate in a safe Dem district while virtually ignoring Dems running in swing districts in races that could bring us a 2/3rds majority? I'm thinking specifically of AD66, the South Bay district Butler abandoned. CLCV only donated $1K to Al Muratsuchi, the Democratic candidate. Why is that?
Misterbee1 February 16, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Mike, I can certainly understand your loyalty to your old boss. What I don't understand is why the CLCV is pouring money into safe democratic district races, instead of working towards getting a 2/3 majority in the Assembly. I have been a member of the CLCV for almost 30 years. I am very proud of my membership. I am proud of the work the organization has done, because it always appeared as though the organization was issue-driven, and results-oriented. I find it very troubling that the organization that i have supported for decades now seems more interested in taking care of it's friends than in getting a majority in the Assembly. The next time they call with one of their detailed updates, and ask me to renew my membership, I am going to ask them why I should support an organization that does not support winning that majority.
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Rigging the process -- something Torie Osborn is very good at doing, as we saw at all of those local Democratic clubs recently. Marta, your posts are completely transparent.
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Marta -- Perhaps you'd like to reveal for all of us what your connection is to the Osborn campaign. Since you're asking others to put their cards on the table, please, you go first.
Profes Shivers February 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I'm a progressive dem who will never vote for Butler, a Perez puppet. WE pick our candidates. And though I was never at any meeting or voted for anyone for anything, if Osborn used idiotic party rules to get legit votes, use that info to change the rules so that only RESIDENTS can join clubs. Just common sense folks. And to waste all that money on safe Dem districts instead of fighting the Republicans, idiocy again. Shame!
Mike Young February 16, 2012 at 06:09 PM
@Marta - Always with the spin. So sad. @Misterbee1 - Thanks for your long patronage to CLCV. It has certainly not been misplaced. As a non-partisan organization, CLCV's mission is to elect the best environmental candidates not Democrats. In AD 50 the comparison is between an environmental champion with a 100% voting record and who authored and passed landmark environmental legislation to ban BPA from baby bottles that the community has been trying to accomplish for more than half a decade and has a long track record of understanding and being involved in our issues and working for the environment (Betsy Butler) and three other candidates who are not likely to perform nearly as well. Please don't be fooled by Marta's comments. She has very limited knowledge about CLCV and our focus and is more driven by an interest in helping her candidate win than actually learning the situation or even helping Al Muratsuchi win in AD 66. Since it is not in CLCV or our candidates' interest for us to discuss political strategy in a public forum, as a member I invite you to call us to discuss this further. CLCV has a long track record of supplying the necessary resources of helping our candidates win, and our candidates in 2012 are no exception. AD 66 candidate Al Muratsuchi knows for a fact what we've been doing for him, as we've already long discussed this with him and his campaign.
Southpaw February 16, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I've never felt the need to comment before, but CLCV has become so partisan in this race through this spokesman, it's really turned me off. Why aren't they working to defeat Republicans who want to slash funding to our state parks and beaches? Do they really think the other Democratic candidates in this race would be worse than Republicans? I'm also a longtime member of CLCV, but I'll be looking to donate my money to other groups like the Sierra Club and Heal the Bay from now on.
Rudolf Martin February 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
i somehow agree with "southpaw". as an outside observer (and a voter) looking at what happened and at the manipulative process for both candidates to get endorsements and the ensuing bickering from campaign managers and party lackeys I would have to hold my nose to vote for either of those candidates. I pray for an independent that is untarnished by dirty party politics. There is not a word being said about issues that people actually care about and that's why people don't vote. this whole process is a complete farce.
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Rudolf -- I'm not aligned with either candidate, either. But I disagree with what you've said. There HAS been a word about issues -- Mike Young has pointed out why his organization is supporting one candidate over the other, and says it has to do with environmental concerns and who would be best on those issues. So there has been a word -- but just that one word. I don't think Mike is working for the Butler campaign, just defending a group's endorsement. I don't know his group, but his views seem to make sense to me -- certainly more sense than those who have responded to him (or rather, AT him). We still have no idea who Marta Evry is. She tries to call others out while ignoring any of us who ask her to identify her own affiliations. I just know that she started popping up on PATCH in December, and ONLY posts about this single issue, and always to fling mud at Butler, never to actually support in a positive way the candidate I suspect she supports (or works for?). That tells me a whole lot.
Rudolf Martin February 16, 2012 at 07:38 PM
point taken, MarkD. any light to shed on this, "marta evry"? since you're calling out others so eagerly?
Steve Ward February 16, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Nasty politics and politicians prior to the nomination. http://vimeo.com/35677810 The transcription is below... "Thank you all. Come back to West Hollywood soon. We're not going to work for you, Torie. This is bullshit. This is bullshit. You violated our community. You violated our community. It's not like we won't remember this. [Something something aside to another gentleman] ...you're working for a woman. Their not all lesbians." -Esteemed West Hollywood Mayor John Duran
Mike Young February 16, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I'm sorry you feel that way. CLCV is always working towards achieving and maintaining environmental majorities in the legislature, not Democratic or Republican majorities. We also want to elect the best environmental candidates in each of the races across the state. We certainly spend the vast majority of our campaign resources helping to elect environmental champions and often that becomes a race between a Democrat and a Republican, but we also spend resources supporting candidates who may be running against people of the same party. Coastal seats historically offer candidates with better environmental voting records, but we also need legislators who understand the complexities of environmental issues enough to author strong legislation, especially in the world of term limits where there's so much to know but legislators get so little time to learn about it and then do something. This quality is much more difficult to come by. The problem is, if you have a majority of good environmental votes but not enough people working on good legislation, it still doesn't move environmental progress forward. In AD 50, Betsy Butler is a legislator with a proven track record of doing so. So while none of the Democrats in this race would necessarily be a terrible environmental vote, there are significant distinctions between the candidates that would impact the environmental community.
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Other than offer proof that tempers flare when candidates play games to get endorsements they can't earn honestly, I fail to see what point you think this video makes. John Duran has a long, long, well documented history of behavior. You may disagree with his political position, but you can't say that his actions don't match the ideals he strives for. And the latest tactic of screeching "misogynist" at someone like Duran -- whose record on this is public and unblemished -- just because he doesn't support a *particular* woman in a race is ridiculous. It's even more ridiculous when, as in this race, he actually endorses a different woman.
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Profes Shivers -- Both your accusation and defense applies equally to both situations. I would quibble with your suggestion that Osborn got "legit" votes. Osborn got votes that she flat-out paid for herself. Not once. Not twice. THREE different times, three different places. Could she not earn ANY of those three endorsements without buying the votes for herself? At least the Perez situation demonstrates that *someone* endorsed the candidate besides the candidate herself. And last time I checked, Perez actually has a pretty good record on progressive issues.
Steve Ward February 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM
@MarkD I never mentioned I did not agree with Duran's political position. As you state, "you can't say that his actions don't match the ideals he strives for." THIS[video] is exactly what concerns me, along with his "actions". As Mayor, even when stepping outside your doorstep, I would hope a person of his position would carry himself better in the public, especially when he not only is there touting his horn, but also damaging respect to our party. Hey, it's what keeps me out of politics and keeps me objective without drinking anyone's juice. Perhaps you may rethink your attack on why I posted this demonstration of the leader of WeHo Council. What? Are you proud and seriously supportive? Sheesh... Pull your head out and maybe be a tad more thoughtful?
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM
So... people who hold largely ceremonial political posts are not permitted to register genuine reactions in the moment. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up for me while you tried to rip me a new one!
Steve Ward February 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Ceremonial? Huh? Didn't realize he was the "Queen". ;-) Seriously though, as Mayor, he should have handled himself better regardless of the passion behind it. That's all. So be it. Relax. There are many folks troubled by this example. If someone freaked out in Chamber, he would have gone off on the person for that kind of outburst, don't you think?
MarkD February 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I think context is important. And contextually, there is a big difference between a governmental body officially in session in a business meeting (on one hand) and a meeting of the local Democratic Club, where more frank discussions are the norm and participants feel more like it is an "in-family" discussion. If I were in charge of the Democratic Club meeting, I'd question the presence of a video camera in the room before I'd question one of the delegates having an emotional outburst.
Marta Evry February 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I am a current constituent of Betsy Butler, and voted for her in the last election. I'm also a lifelong progressive Democrat, a delegate to the California Democratic Party since 2006, a volunteer Regional Field Organizer for the Obama campaign in 2008, and our family has been members of CLCV for longer than the aptly named Mr. Young has been alive. My primary focus this election season isn't AD50, but achieving a 2/3rds majority in the State legislature. We're only 2 seats away in the Assembly and state Senate. If we achieve that, a Republican minority will no longer be able to continue to block the fundamental structural reforms our state needs. Without it, the best we can hope for is triage. My preference had always been to support both Butler and Osborn, but Butler's choice to abandon us in the South Bay made that impossible. But while I support Osborn and would prefer she win in AD50, the reality is this race will in no way shift the balance of power in the legislature. A Democrat will win in AD50 no matter what. However, AD66, the South Bay district Butler left, is a different story. There's a real possibility a Tea Party Republican can win this seat. It's why I cringe when I read this from Mike Young, "CLCV is always working towards achieving and maintaining environmental majorities in the legislature, not Democratic or Republican majorities.", because it betrays his fundamental ignorance of how CA government works and why the state is in crisis.

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