VICTORY…and what I wore

My friend Eric Garcetti won.  July 1st he will be the Mayor of the 2nd biggest city in the USA.  I’ve been feeling on the verge of emotion for days, and had hoped to bawl last night… wine or lose.  However, it didn’t work out that way.

Victory rolled in slowly

The large venue held a few of the people I’m use to seeing at his events and about 900 more I didn’t know.  Mark was with me as were my sister Cecily, and her daughter Lily.  They had made calls for the first time for Eric that day.  My other sister is out of the country, but my nephew Charlie was there.  He has gone to Eric’s valley office often after school to volunteer.  He will probably be a senator one day and they said Lily worked the phones like a veteran Chicago Alderman.

One of my new friends through the campaign is Leonora Pitts.  Star of TV and activist mom.   There were times when she would show up to volunteer with her newborn- 2nd baby – strapped to her body.  One time I showed up at Eric’s house to make calls and there Leonora was dialing for votes with her 9 day old baby sleeping next to her.  That’s my kind of mom!

and our shoes

 

The party was large that I couldn’t get a good perch or see the TV screens.  But, lots of people were tapping on their phones.  “Wendy is up by 200 votes.”  someone said.  Then Mark saw Gil Garcetti, Eric’s father, former DA, all around nice guy.

“Mark” Gill hugged Mark.  We asked about what we had just heard.  Gil said,

“We expected that.  Those are early absentees.  Greuel had a lot of ads up then, we didn’t so, we knew they would favor her.” he said talking about the different ebbs of flows of cash in the race.

“But, you saw the exit poll?”   Gil refering to an earlier poll that day that showed Eric up.  I didn’t say, “Kerry was up in exit polls too”  but I didn’t say it.

Then I saw a man standing next to me smiling.  I introduced myself, thinking he was Gil’s buddy.  “Hi, I’m Alex” he said,  I wanted to get a picture with him.” Meaning Gil. Ah, a friend he hadn’t met yet, got it.   I feel like one of my jobs in this race has been to connect people to the Garcetti folk.  So, I said, “Gil, this guy really wants a picture with you.”  He happily obliged.

Then a loud cheer went up.  What??  Someone said, “Eric is up 2 thousand votes.” Cecily took Charlie and Lily home.  It was getting late.

I was VERY honored that the campaign asked me to stand on the stage behind Eric.  I had a special wrist band.  I saw a bunch of the “VIP’s” rushing to the stage.  I had to go up a staircase, across a big balcony, down a big staircase.  The hierarchy of these things as I see them is

1) candidates family

2) big name supporters, local politicians, community leaders

3) diversity of community groups, different ethnicities, Vets, etc.

4) regular people who worked they hinds off.  That’s my group.

People who didn’t have the wrist band were trying to get on.  It was a bit like a life boat drama on the Titanic.  As I rand up the stairs in my heels with my wrist band showing.  I was right behind Councilmember Bernard Parks who is 9 feet tall.  Crap.  There guys my “Hey mom, I’m on TV” moment.  I looked to my right and there was a friend of mine and her husband who are big supporters.  Poor thing she is short.  I said, “Get away from Parks”  I didn’t want to be pushy, cause, hey it’s not about ME, however if I’m going to be part of history I’d like a glimpse.   The crowd shifted enough so that I could move away from Parks and behind Councilman Paul Koretz.  Yes, he is short.  He is also a great councilman, btw, his office was very responsive to some issues we had when The Tar Pit was in his district. After a minute the music went up and out came Eric and his wife Amy.

my vantage point, Bernard Parks head

 

It was a sort of victory speech.  Pretty much what you say when you when, thanking the opponent, but not a “We won!”  line.  Thus, I didn’t get to bawl as planned.  I was just trying to get away from a tall councilmember’s shadow.

I did get a heartfelt hug from Amy who said she was looking forward to what I would write about the last days of the campaign– coming soon.  She is such good people.

I found Mark and we spoke to Jan Perry.  ME: “it’s going to go on for days?”

No, she said, “It will be over by 3am.  Look” she pulled out her phone. “he is trending up, she is trending down.”  Then, “I have to go soak my feet.”   I agreed with the council woman and limped to the car.

So, sure doing the best for our community is important, but what did I wear?  I chose the same dress I wore when I gave a luncheon for Eric last year for mom bloggers.  That lunch helped him win support from some smart ladies who were with him till the end ( more later).  I had asked for his mom Sukey to be at the lunch, knowing she would be a hit.  She was.

When Campanile announced it’s closing I had emailed Eric and said something along the lines of, “well, I’m glad we could help you when could.”  He wrote back in part, “Campanile has been the site of so many memories” Writing this, I’m finally, tearing up. Little did I know my husband would make more memories breaking out his grilled press by himself, at our home several more times to help Eric and make Grilled Cheese for Garcetti.  For canvassers, to win over undecideds.  I worked the room, he worked the press.

I wore a bracelet that Rex INSISTED I wear.  You can see it hear on the outstretched arm over Bernard Parks shoulder ( his left, our right).  An arm outstretched in hope of good times.

last sign on the right is mine

 

 

too nervous to write: election night for Los Angeles

Okay, I have more to say about my deep involvement in the LA Mayor race, but right now it’s less than an hour till polls close and I can’t get thoughts together.  We first did something to help Eric Garcetti become mayor of LA in the summer of ’11.

Tonight I will stand behind him on stage at the celebration party.  I hope it’s a victory party, but for me it will be a celebration no matter because I have experienced so much.  Met so many great people.

Fingers Crossed.

Mama chat : LA Mayors race

I am a guest on this podcast. Donna Schwartz Mills and Cynematic of Momocrats host.  Since it’s audio this the kind of thing you listen to while you walk or clean up the piles in your house.  Oh, maybe that’s just me.

I’m  extremely partisan, of course, for my friend Eric Garcetti, but I really tried to be as even as I could in this.  Sometimes that meant putting my hand over my mouth so I didn’t blurt out “Oh, come on Eric has a proven track record in his district and he is a super sweet guy!” I could go on…

 

Do I have to vote with my vagina?

This was originally posted on Momocrats.com earlier this week.  I have touched on this subject on coolmom.com, but I think this was a more thoughtful exploration of the issue and bit less “bloggy”  for me at least. I added a couple of personal snap shots to this.  Thanks to Momocrats and Donna Schwartz Mills for having me on as a guest.  I’m also going to be a guest on the Momocrats podcast this Friday the 17th.  

Back in the ‘90’s when I was a budding young professional I got a call from EMILY’s List. Their pitch was they helped elect pro choice female candidates nationwide. Since as a child in the ‘70’s I participated in ERA rallies, had an account with the first Women’s Saving and Loan in West LA, wore my “Keep Abortion Legal” button in marches I participated in Junior High. I gave them money that day and continued to periodically give them money here and there over the last 15- 20 years.

But, I’m not going to any more.

When Hillary Clinton ran in ‘08 for President I was a lukewarm supporter until the media seemed to be positively howling with delight in her Iowa defeat. After her comeback in New Hampshire I was on board, even going to Texas to help work the caucus.

greueladFront side of Wendy Greuel campaign mailer, funded by EMILY’s List. View the ad in its entirety here.

Now in the Los Angeles Mayor’s race it has come down to two pro choice candidates. One was born with a penis. One was born with a vagina. The latter is getting support from EMILY’s List. Well, that is their mandate, so that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is that they spent money, money that people like me gave them, to send out a mailer smearing the candidate with a penis.

All those years I gave money to EMILY’s List I assumed that my money went to NOT electing anti choice, anti woman conservative men. Some guy who pats the waitress on the behind, loves his guns and cuts funding to for day care.

Not sure why I assumed I was defeating this cartoon Archie Bunker. But, this mailer that EMILY’s List sent out against Eric Garcetti is such a comic. It depicts an attractive blonde women in a slinky dress getting out of a fancy car. “Not everyone in LA lives like this, but Eric Garcetti does,” it says.

Politically, this hate mail doesn’t jibe with the man I know at all. He is a pro choice feminist endorsed by NOW, who as a councilman put aftercare programs in all the schools in his district and unlike his female opponent says there should be no age barrier for getting Plan B. I know this doesn’t jibe with the guy I know personally. He has a Prius, never wears dresses and has brown hair with a little grey at the temples. The other night I was at his house while I and other volunteers phoned for his campaign. Eric came in tired after a day of campaigning. He went upstairs to put his little girl to bed. When he came back down he looked at the fridge for something to eat. I felt bad for him. He was pooped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were going to be here or I would have brought you some food from Mark.” I said. My husband is chef Mark Peel who first met Eric when his sister worked at my husband’s then bakery. Not a job of privilege, by they way.

“Oh, that’s okay” he smiled, sense of entitlement not be found. Tired, he sat down to answer his emails. A family friend started chopping onions in the kitchen. “I’ll make him something.” she said. What, no servants? 7 cars? Loot he collected from city services? He asked his friends about things in their life. Wait, Emily’s List said he is “in it for himself?”

Eric and my daughter Vivien. I cropped it so his daughter wouldn't show. (My policy I don't post pics of other people's kids.)

Besides being a mischaracterization of a friend, the mailer is divisive toward women. The attractive, slinky dressed lady is the “bad” one. The one who doesn’t take care of the citizens of LA. The other side is a picture of a slightly older lady holding a child. A mom or a nice looking baby sitter I assume. She is part of the verbiage of why Wendy Greuel is the better pick for mayor. Oh, that old saw. Sexual female is bad. Non sexual woman is good. That one takes care of the city.

I feel naive that I ever trusted EMILY’s List to do the right thing. Why couldn’t they have sent out a mailer with positive statements about the candidate with the vagina and not smear the candidate with the penis? Why should they waste their money on the LA Mayor’s race when women are systematically being denied access to reproductive freedom in Kansas and North Dakota? A candidate who isn’t pro-woman in LA would be run out of town on the speed train, whenever it’s built.

When I worked for Hillary was it partly because I wanted a women president? Absolutely. But, I also strongly believed she was the best, most qualified candidate. I went to Florida for Kerry in ‘04 as well. I work hard for people I believe in. I wasn’t going to hit the bricks for Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sarah Palin. Sometimes the candidate who was born with the penis is the best candidate. People speak of a Post Racial period, are we ready for a Post Sexual period? To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr, I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, or by their reproductive organs, but by the content of their character.

As a mother of a daughter and a son I have this dream.

 

I’m in deep

GAS! ( Garcetti Action Squad, what my sister and I call ourselves) were fired up to meet Jan Perry and the other primary candidates who are all supporting Eric Garcetti for Mayor of LA.  None of them have the worldwide impact of a Bill Clinton.  But, I think for the 243 people in LA who vote they could have more impact.  Kevin James, the lone Republican ( a Republican in LA is a Pinko anywhere else.)

my sister Carole and Kevin James

Emanuel Pleitez, who is a gracious young Latino who  garnered a loyal cadre of supporters.  Jan Perry, she was my 2nd fave in the race all along.  She is a Council Member, representing Downtown and South LA.  So here comes the  gasp-able ( like teachable, but more astonishing) moment in the primary.  Wendy Greuel put out an ad saying that Jan Perry was not a good fiscal watch dog for the city because years previous her now – ex husband business failure forced them to declare personal bankruptcy.

Not cool sister, not cool.

1) personal attack, yuck

2) Greuel wants traction for potentially being the first female mayor of LA.  How about being a woman who doesn’t tear down another woman who could be the first female mayor of LA?

3) Are any of us in complete control of our spouses financial decision?  Their business?  Dang, I know I’m not. Ask Hillary Clinton if a woman should be blamed for her husbands failures!

4) it was bad politics.  Perry wasn’t going to win the primary, so why attack her, risk alienating African American voters?  Not a smart choice.

Team of Rivals and my hand

I was holding the Garcetti sign over my face, partly so it was visible to the cameras, partly because the sun was in my eyes.  I was listening to the primary foes speak to why they support Garcetti.   They didn’t say this, but I thought that part of this is because he is a more likable person.  Not to say that his record in his council district isn’t stellar, which it is and  he is worthy of endorsement. But, they did 42 debates with each other, they spent a lot of time together.  He is most likely just a more likable person.

My sister Carole and I were thrilled to meet Councilmember Perry.  We told her how rotten we thought her treatment was by Greuel and how elegant her statement was in response to it.  She quoted Maya Angelou by saying “Thank you for showing me who you are”. Snap.

Being a political nerd in general and an LA nerd specifically we fawned over Perry like we were 9 year olds at a Justin Bieber concert.

A couple weeks after this  we spoke again at Maverick Flat’s, at another Garcetti event.   I told her she won my area in a landslide during the primaries and she offered to come and speak to my neighborhood and speak on Eric’s behalf. Very cool.

So, long story short. Jan Perry is coming to my backyard!!.  I’m very excited and honored and of course have to clean that heap of toys and weeds out there!   I’ve started sending out the word to my neighbors.  I am hoping to get Jan fans who can convert to EG, undecideds and people who haven’t tuned in yet.   I don’t need the hard core Garcetti faithful, though a few ringers are always good.

Now, what refreshments should we serve..?

 

LA Mayors Race: me pissed at Emily’s List

UPDATE: notice ping back in comments, this post was picked up by some outlets regarding this subject.  Yeah, for once it not just me!

 

LA Mayors race is STILL going on. Some developments have caused me to BREAK TIES and SPEAK OUT against politicos who I use to respect.   To recap, my pick Eric Garcetti came in first in the primary.  No one got 50% so now it’s between him and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

I left town for 2 weeks over spring break and somehow the Garcetti campaign cobbled on without me! Cobbled meaning continued endorsements and a rise in the polls.

two of the best guys in LA!

As soon as we got back I felt I needed to jump back in and within a day Rex and Vivien were playing at Chez Garcetti with Eric’s adorable little girl while I phoned voters downstairs with other volunteers and his wife Amy. Two days later Mark was cooking a show stopping dinner at a friends fab house to raise money for the Garcetti campaign.  The food was extraordinary. It was great to see not only Eric, but it was really great to see his whip smart wife when we weren’t canvassing!  Those of us seated by her were transfixed as she told us about  why they chose to be foster parents and some of the connections they have made over the years.  When she got up the rest of us were saying stuff like, “oh, what a great thing to do, how wonderful, don’t think I could do it.”  But, that’s not for the mics.

In front of the mic, my former old favorite Bill Clinton really ticked me off because he announced his endorsement for Wendy Greuel.  Sure, that’s his right, but why?  It’s a race between two Pro Choice Democrats in a city that Clinton has NO connection or history too. Keep your nose out of it. I haven’t been this mad at Bill since the Blue Dress.  Greuel supported Hilary in ’08, but dang it so did I.   Bubba, don’t you have enough going on?  Go bring medicine to Africa, somewhere you can be useful. Ironic, because I think Eric Garcetti has Clinton-like intelligence and charisma.  An ability to speak from the heart to all types of people. To be fair, Clinton hasn’t said anything bad about Garcetti. But, a group I USE to like has.

MY deep rage I save for Emily’s list.  They endorsed Greuel and have given her a pot of money.  Now, this group is about supporting pro choice women candidates, so I’m not mad at them for following through with their mandate.  Over the years I have given them money.  I gave them money to support women, not make sexist ads and tear down a feminist man.  Check this out:  Wow, Eric has nice legs and pretty blond hair. I’ve been to Eric’s house, I’ve seen what he drives, he does not live like Paris Hilton.   Garcetti was endorsed by NOW (California chapter of National Organization of Women)  He has a great record of supporting women’s issues, hiring women on his staff and addressing everyday concerns of women.  He increased parks in his district and put after school programs in the schools in his district.  This is about him being up 10% in up in the polls.

Also, if that picture of the blond came from a male led group cries of sexism would be immense.

Last year I stopped giving to the Democratic Senate fund because I realized, hey some of those people I don’t like.  I would rather pick my own candidate.  I feel that way about Emily’s list now. I will do my own picking.

 

Cruel online week

In case we had forgotten the past week reminded us that there are evil people in the world.

Most people are not evil.  More people ran to help the wounded in Boston than set the bombs off.

Online though mean comments run rampant.  I just got one

You are not a cougar. You are an old incompetent wrinkly cat that has lived beyond its years. You are so disgusting that your husband looks suicidal in every one of his pictures. You are the type of person they pictured when they added instructions to a bar of soap. If human intellect was all the water in the world, you would be the single drop of sweat rolling down a fat man’s ass crack. Shut the fuck up.

Thanks Mom.

Really, since there are millions of site I don’t have to shut the fuck up, you kind person can go to another site.  Gwyneth Paltrow totally bugs me, but I wouldn’t go on her site and tell her.

Worse than being told I have wrinkles and husband would rather die than be with me. I have two friends whose children have died and at some point amidst the out pouring of loving messages on their blogs they have both gotten the MEANEST comments in a sense blaming them for their children’s passing or saying that their kids are in hell.

Clearly, that’s not someone who has a beer and an ax to grind but truly CRAZY.  Crazy and Evil.

Look, if you won’t go up to someone you see at Trader Joe’s and say it to their face don’t write it online.  I saw someone at TJ’s I have no love for, or she for me, but I just buried my head in the yogurt section till she had moved on.

Oh, but wait I forgot, I’m not CRAZY.  Just wrinkly.

 

There better be WMD’s if you are calling me at 4am

Remember during the ’08 elections, the primaries when Hillary and Obama were going at Hillary had that commerical about who would do best when the phone rang at 3am?  Now, they were thinking about a national security issue.  “Russia has invaded Puerto Rico.”(see spoof here)

Then and now I think Hillary could do a good job in the middle of the night so I was wondering if she could answer my phone when it rings at 4am, as it did last night. It also rang at 4:16am, 4:31am, 4:40am, 4:52. It’s scary to be woken up in the middle of the night. Rather it should be, but I wasn’t rattled, I was just tired and pissed.  See, I knew there wasn’t crisis.

Cousin Floyd” was agitated.  New parents know the sleep deprivation of a newborn. But, grown up people can be more exhausting.  THERE IS NOTHING CUTE ABOUT THEM.  I don’t can’t have another Black Smoke day, but I’m exhausted.  When Rex kept me up with his stomach bug we did spend parts of the day cuddled up on the couch watching cartoons.  Now, I think I need to sleep and or find a support group.

But, most urgently, How do you block a number from calling your phone?  Would Hillary know? Do you?  Because I can’t function like this and my kids can’t either.  Vivien was so upset at being woken up and I don’t blame here.  It’s hard to have compassion at 4am, and 4:16, 4:31, 4:40…

Then the texting started.  That’s easier to turn off.

My letter to the editor

The LA Times published a letter I wrote them.  I was a little surprised they did as they must get so many. But, was pleased they did. I wrote it after reading an article that was sympathetic towards the LA Pot clinics in regard to treating a councilman’s cancer pain.

Here is the letter that was published.

Re “Medical pot is here to stay,” Column, March 8 

I’m glad that Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has the marijuana he needs to help him cope with symptoms related to his cancer and treatment. But I’m sorry that his remarks at a City Council hearing on banning pot shops – “You want to kill me”? – were not balanced by someone like me, who could have said, “You are helping to destroy a family member.”  

Pot can be helpful for patients like Rosendahl, but it can also be a powerful addictive drug that ruins the mind. I’m tired of people saying that “it’s just pot.” It’s just wine unless you abuse it.  

Doctors have told my family that marijuana can cause psychotic breaks. Sadly, we have found this to be true.  

Within a mile of my house in one direction, there are eight pot clinics. Must this unchecked threat to our mental health continue? 

Daphne Brogdon

Los Angeles

Let’s just say I wrote this because of “my cousin Floyd”  I don’t have a cousin Floyd, but I can’t discuss the real person in honest terms here.  I stand by the letter despite the negative comments.  Typical anonymous online comments.

We have a weird thing in California.  Pot is basically legal if you have a prescription, which is as easily obtained.  A while back a doctor with a face like a “Real Housewife” had a billboard saying to come see her for marijuana prescriptions.  The federal government does not recognize it as legal, but it’s not enforced.  I would be thrilled if people who need it like the aforementioned Councilman could go to CVS or Rite Aid pharmacies and get what they needed.  But, cousin Floyd gets pot with a prescription with greater ease than I was able to buy pot in in my twenties.  It’s also FAR more powerful than it was in the olden days.  The last time I smoked pot was the early zeros.  It was no longer the giggly, “let’s eat chocolate” experienced I remembered, but a numbing agent that made it impossible to go to sleep as my mind kept churning.

In Amsterdam they have the coffee houses that people can get pot like we do a beer.  Holland does have issues with that.  Many there would like it to be just for residents and not for the tourists.  However, there seems to be something more honest about saying “here it is for recreation” than hiding behind the cloak of medicine.  My cousin Floyd has called it his medicine.  It is not.  It changes Floyd’s personality utterly. I think pro pot advocates think someone like me is basing my views on an old copy of “Reefer Madness”.  I am not.  I know there are plenty of people who can imbibe pot and be just fine.  Go to work, love their kids, mow their lawns.  But, don’t tell me these are pot “clinics’.  Don’t tell me pot isn’t addictive. Don’t tell me pot can’t be a trigger for mental illness.  It can.  I’ve seen, lived it and still live with it.

out of sync

As so often happens in my life.  I’m out of sync.  I’ve been working for my chosen mayoral candidate like I’m getting paid, I’m encouraging voters like, I dunno, it’s a right people have DIED for and then I see this:  Only 16% of LA voters voted.  It’s not just the mayors race I was keen on.  The school board race is darn important and a battle between entrenched LAUSD ( a behemoth) and parental choice.  Comic and former co worker John Fugelsang recently twittered “If you supported the Iraq War you don’t have a right to complain about the deficit.” Here, here. If you live in LA  and you complain about city services, pot holes, the schools, and you didn’t vote SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.

Don’t tell me candidates don’t talk about what they would really do to solve problems.  Yes, they do.  I was front and center, and not looking that good, the day after the election.

from LA Daily News

Eric Garcetti came in first, but didn’t get 50% of the vote so he and Wendy Greuel now have a run off for May 21st.  Sure, he starts with general campaign stuff, but then did get into specifics  ( I’m sure it’s the same for all the candidates).  On TV that night they only showed a quick clip of him saying something general.

Do parents understand that the school board makes choices that directly affect their children’s schools? That even if you don’t have children you have a stake in how our future generations are educated? In other cities they must.  Chicago has 48% for city elections.  One of my picks was defeated, one won and the other Antonio Sanchez is in a run off.  I do not live in his district, but I still go and hear him speak and wrote a little check for the dude and while I did I yammered on about changes I wanted to see to the school system.  Do you think they listen to people who don’t show up, knock on doors or write checks ( not Bloomberg money here, probably enough to get some subs for hungry volunteers)?  Why would they?

In this country people have died trying to vote.  In other countries they still do.  It’s your responsibility to be educated about the issues and the politicians.   If candidates seem to have a narrow scope it could because they are targeting the handful of people who come out to vote, unions and old people.

In LA everyone else is too busy complaining about the pizza and pining for snow.  Be where you are, live where you live.