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Tomorrow’s primary election a doozy
By WeHo News staff, West Hollywood, California
California’s Primary Election will be held tomorrow, June 5, and residents will vote for candidates vying for the two run-off positions in November in several levels, including those for the US Senate, US Congress, California Senate and Assembly.
West Hollywood resident Brad Torgan is running for Assembly.
West Hollywood does not vote for a State senator this election because of redistricting. Senator Ted Lieu will become the area’s senator in the new session of the State Legislature.
US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the incumbent, faces challenges, but is expected to cruise to re-election with ease.
West Hollywood, due to redistricting, has a new congress member as of January, and running for that seat (District 28) as incumbent is US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). He, too, faces minor opposition and is expected to serve another two year term.
The real race is for the newly drawn 50th Assembly District, which encompasses West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Malibu, Los Angeles’ Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Carthay Square, much of Hollywood, Hancock Park, Miracle Mile, as well as Pacific Palisades, Topanga, part of the Santa Monica Mountains and Agoura Hills.
That race between three Democrats and one Republican for the two spots on the November ballot has turned out to be hard fought, especially between the incumbent, Assembly member Betsy Butler, who moved from the South Bay into the district to Beverly Hills to defend the seat and Santa Monica activist Torie Osborn.
Also running is Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, also a Democrat, and West Hollywood favorite son attorney and Historic Preservation Commissioner Brad Torgan, a Republican.
Ms. Butler has run a well-funded, Democratic Party supported race, while Ms. Osborn has run an insurgent campaign against the official party.
Along with the other gay-friendly candidate in the race (Ms. Butler is considered a solid-gay ally, having served on Equality California’s board), and Mayor Bloom, that vote has been split.
Another Assembly candidate, Torie Osborn is known to many for heading the LA Gay & Lesbian Center as well as advising LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Ms. Butler’s way to this primary race got cleared by a Sacramento bulldozer, Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, who asked WeHo Mayor Jeffrey Prang to step aside (which he did) after he began raising money to jump in.
Mayor Bloom and Ms. Osborn, however, dove into the battle, even though the establishment had hoped for an uncontested primary.
The elector battle had been hard fought between Ms. Osborn and Ms. Butler, with the Osborn camp sending mailers accusing Ms. Butler of being a carpetbagger and of voting to cut education and senior funding.
Ms. Butler noted that the Speaker asked her to move into the position to maintain Democratic dominance in the Assembly – and the 50th is as safe a seat as any in the state for Dems.
In addition, she defends her vote to cut education as only one of 52 Democratic votes for the same budget bill.
“In fact, we’re not cutting spending, per capita spending for seniors and students is actually increasing,” she told WeHo News.
She also brandished a statement from Governor Jerry Brown that lauded her courage in helping to “solve the budget deficit while protecting Democratic priorities.
"Assemblywoman Betsy Butler has made the tough decisions we need to balance our budget, protect Democratic priorities, and get our state back on track," Gov. Brown said. "That takes political courage and integrity, and Betsy Butler has both."
Assembly member Betsy Butler is running for the newly-drawn Assembly District 50.
Ms. Butler told WeHo News, “The only people who voted differently than me [on the state budget] were Republicans. Does that mean [Ms. Osborn] would have voted with the Republicans?”
In response, Ms. Osborn said, “It’s not true that that budget does not cut education. That’s just spin. Look at the front page stories that show Californians going to school in other states because it’s now twice as expensive to go to UCLA than Arizona State University.
“The voters want a change-maker. My campaign is about change,” she said. “Hers is about going along to get along.”
According to Ms. Butler in a last minute interview, she has raised in excess of $1 million dollars for her campaign.
Asked if she had raised as much, Ms. Osborn said, “Hell no. I wish. We have raised close to $800,000 over nearly two years.”
What gratified her, though, was the difference in the source and number of donations her campaign received.
“We’ve had 2300 donors give us 3800 donations. Of those, 68 percent gave $100 or less." she told WeHo News.
Asked about charges she made that Ms. Butler is a carpetbagger, she did not back down.
Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom also seeks the newly-drawn AD 50 seat.
“That’s the word for somebody that is running a ‘re-elect campaign’ trying to fool voters into believing that they have voted for her before,” she said.
For his part, Mayor Bloom has stayed above the fray, choosing to let the two women battle between themselves.
Mr. Torgan has taken slaps at Ms. Osborn over her tax reform stance and especially around the subject of Prop 13, the property tax initiative.
“Torie Osborn has repeatedly said that she is running for Assembly to repeal parts of Prop 13 to raise taxes on commercial properties. Creating a split roll will dramatically increase property taxes on apartments, which are taxed as commercial property, and set no limits for how high they can go,” he said.
“Higher taxes will get passed through to renters, and undermine rent control laws like those in West Hollywood and Santa Monica. I want to protect renters and protect Prop 13.”
The race has drawn special attention from around the state, with Around The Capitol’s Scott Lay writing, “While relatively irrelevant in the overall picture, this has emerged as one of the most interesting races in the state. Richard Bloom has $133,415, Betsy Butler has $134,506, and Torie Osborn has $255,830 on hand. That's a lot of early money for Dems to spend fighting each other for a safe seat.
“The "big-name" endorsements seem to be moving to Butler and Osborn” he writes, “and Bloom is hoping to be the beneficiary of a war between the two. While conventional wisdom may be that he's running in third, he has a good shot of parlaying his Santa Monica base into being in the top-two following the fight between Butler and Osborn.”
The FPPC does not have a report for this candidate
Source: California Secretary of State
In a County-wide race, six candidates aim to become Los Angeles County’s new district attorney.
Those candidates are deputy district attorney Bobby Grace, of Los Angeles; chief deputy district attorney Jackie Lacey, of Northridge; senior deputy district attorney Danette Meyers, of Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, of Encino; deputy district attorney John Breault III, of Downey; and gang homicide prosecutor Alan Jackson, of Long Beach.
Additionally, Californians will vote on two state measures.
Proposition 28 would allow state lawmakers to serve 12 years in either legislative house instead of the current limits of three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate.
Prop 29 would bring California into line with the rest of the nation with the first cigarette tax increase in ten years.
It imposes an additional $1 tax on each pack of cigarettes to fund cancer research.
Facing LA County voters are two county measures.
Measure H continues an existing ordinance that levies a 12 percent tax on hotel rooms for use in the county’s general fund and Measure L continues an existing 10 percent tax on gross receipts received by operators of landfills in unincorporated parts of the county.