We are a committed group of neighbors and community participants seeking to make the place in which we live and work a friendlier, more pleasant, and more attractive place.
DRRA’s Fall General Meeting Brings Candidates and Del Reyans Together
by Tobyann Mandel
A standing-room-only audience of Del Rey residents had the opportunity to hear directly from candidates for State Assembly and State Senate at the Del Rey Residents Association’s Fall general meeting on Wednesday, October 22nd.
Participating in the locally unprecedented gathering of hopefuls were State Senate District 26 candidates Ben Allen and Sandra Fluke; State Assembly District 62 candidates Autumn Burke and Ted Grose; State Assembly District 54 candidate Glen Ratcliff, and District Director Scott Malsin, representing Assembly District 54 incumbent, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.
After brief introductory remarks by Del Rey’s City Council Representative Mike Bonin, who thanked DRRA and President Elizabeth Pollock for creating this important forum for discussion with potential State representatives, Pollock introduced the candidates’ panel, and each candidate was given two minutes to make an opening statement.
Scott Malsin spoke for Ridley-Thomas, noting that the Assembly member feels that the aftermath of the recession is still affecting L.A. economy: his first priority is jobs and support for small business. Malsin continued that he believes that education needs a boost to have an educated work force, including a program for business-education internships. Regarding traffic, Malsin noted Ridley-Thomas’ view that only way to alleviate the great gridlocks faced by commuters is more support for public transit systems. These themes were echoed by the other candidates.
Glen Ratcliff said that he is native to the area and was educated locally. He has been a small business owner, providing staffing for special events. Ratcliff believes the educational system needs an overhaul and should emphasize the basics: reading, writing, mathematics, history, geography. He feels that with a basic grounding in the essentials, students can go anywhere from there. Ratcliff would try to attract industries that have left Los Angeles, especially the movie industry, by reducing fees and easing permitting requirements. He would keep Proposition 13 as is, and feels that there should be more concern for seniors.
Autumn Burke has been involved in various business ventures, including real estate. She described her platform as also including new jobs, affordable housing, and quality schools.
Ted Grose, a native Californian, and a longtime Los Angeles resident, thinks more dialogue and thought is needed in government so that there is more accountability and concern for the long term effects of the laws that are passed. He feels that business and environmental concerns can be compatible. He also wants to simplify the education system so that the funding goes to the schools and not the bureaucracy. Grose also stated he would include a “vocational” education track as well as preparatory college track in the school system. He wants to bring more business to California, but says there is a need to have well prepared artisans and craftsmen to work in these industries.
Sandra Fluke, an attorney, noted her interest in social justice, the educational system, environmental causes, and election reform.
Ben Allen, an attorney and school board member for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, is also interested in educational reform, environmental-open space projects, and public transportation issues.
After the opening statements, as a “kick-off” question, each candidate was asked his/her vision for Ballona Creek and the Ballona Wetlands. All the candidates agreed that these Wetlands need to be protected. There was some agreement that there was no way that it can be “restored” to its origins, but feel that much can be done to preserve them as a Wetland providing open breathable space, refuge to indigenous flora and fauna, and educational opportunities for the humans. They were all opposed to the Annenberg plan to build on the Wetlands and to construct buildings and a dog and cat sanctuary in this particular parcel. All are in favor of having the Wetlands having an educational purpose but do not think a big building is needed to do this.
Then, the audience had 90 minutes to ask questions of the panel. Virtually all members of the audience remained for the entire meeting, making clear their interest in the role of State politicians and legislation in the community’s quality of life. DRRA President Elizabeth Pollock expressed the DRRA Board’s pleasure with the event. “It was a lot of work getting busy political candidates to attend an event such as ours so close to the election. But the community’s tremendous turnout and great interaction with the candidates proved it was all worthwhile!”. Pollock also thanked the Westside Neighborhood School for hosting the evening in their excellent facility.
DRRA’s monthly board meeting is on Monday, October 6th, at 7 p.m. at the Venice Japanese Community Center (12448 Braddock Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90066.)
The agenda will include discussion of the worsening street parking situation on Avon Way (across from St. Gerard’s) and the surrounding area. Our plans for participation in Del Rey Day will also be reviewed.