Last week I got a robo-call from Eric Bauman, Chair of the Democratic Party of the County of Los Angeles, breathlessly reminding me that the Party’s endorsed candidate in the 50th Assembly District, Betsy Butler, was being “attacked by corporate agricultural interests.” “Don’t believe their lies” Bauman intoned.
This was on the heels of a mailer from the Butler campaign claiming that she was victim of “an untruthful smear campaign.” Butler’s mailer indignantly stated “their smear campaign is not only false, it is deeply offensive.”
But if you want to see something truly offensive check out the CNN Anderson Cooper’s exposé on how Betsy Butler cynically killed a bill passed by the State Senate to streamline the cumbersome procedures for firing teachers who molest their students.
Senate bill 1530 was introduced by State Senator Alex Padilla, (D-Pacoima), in response to the problems school districts were having terminating teachers who were clearly guilty of sexually or physically abusing students. The story aired on CNN by Anderson Cooper related to the Mira Monte Elementary school teacher who was offering semen laced cookies to his students. He was ultimately given $40,000.00 to quit as the school district did not want to subject itself to the expensive and tedious termination process. These union supported procedures cost school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, dollars that could be spent on keeping school libraries staff, providing art supplies or musical instruments to enrich the educational experience of California’s children.
Cooper revealed how the California Teachers Association, (CTA), flexed its’ political muscles and was able to get pliable professional politicians such as Butler to do their bidding. Butler helped kill the bill in the Assembly Education Committee even though it had sailed through the State Senate with bipartisan support. The smirk on Butler’s face as she refuses to be interviewed by CNN tells the whole story.
Former State Senator, Gloria Romero, a certified progressive who now leads Democrats for Education Reform, blasted this behind closed doors power play. If Butler had legitimate concerns about SB 1530, she could have moved to amend it or bring it to a floor vote where it could be openly debated. Instead Butler conspired to kill the bill anonymously in committee.
The Cooper piece is based upon a prior story from the LA Weekly. Both the CNN video and the LA Weekly article have been circulated by grassroots Democrats on the Westside, bucking the Democratic establishment.
Now that the CNN video is going viral, the Democratic Party is circling the wagons around Butler, a mediocre first term back bencher whose only apparent talent is being a reliable vote for the Speaker. Butler’s paltry record of achievement is a mish mash of minor reforms that have little bearing on the crisis facing California. Yet to read her mail you would think she is a bold legislative leader. The Cooper exposé shows Butler for what she is: an ambitious political hack who is willing to compromise her supposed progressive beliefs in order to kow-tow to powerful special interests.
This week I got two more slick Butler mailers. One called her “a courageous champion” while the other proclaimed her to be “a real champion for our schools.” If only it were true.
Fortunately the residents of the 50th Assembly District, which runs from Malibu to West Hollywood, have a viable progressive alternative in Richard Bloom. Currently serving as Mayor of Santa Monica, Bloom has real world experience dealing within his own school district where he was able to expand school budgets in tight economic times. Unlike Butler, Bloom is putting two kids through college. He has been to parent-teacher meetings and knows the challenges parents face when trying to meet the rising costs of tuition. A former Coastal Commissioner, Bloom is the proven progressive.
Check out Anderson Cooper’s report yourself on www.thetruthaboutbetsybutlercom.
Decide for yourself if you believe Betsy Butler or Anderson Cooper.