Republican kick-off party and a meet and greet with a Democratic senator highlight the week.
By Jason KUROSU
“Hickory dickory dock, in 2012 we’ll be rid of Barack” read signs which lined the path outside the Jeffers Estate in La Cañada, site of the local Republican Campaign Kickoff Party on Sunday. Despite the shade the trees provided, it was a sweltering afternoon, but the guests seemed well at ease on chairs dotted about the vast lawn. Each person’s attendance contributed towards the Republican campaign fundraising effort.
Candidates for the 2012 election year were present, including Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James, State Senate candidate Gil Gonzales, State Assembly Candidate Tim Donnelly and State Assembly Candidate Greg Krikorian, among others. The candidates gathered onstage with the party’s emcee, actor Basil Hoffman, and were greeted by the crowd with fervent applause.
Hoffman opened with a parable he’d written entitled, “Barack the Roofer,” illustrating the story of a fictitious roofer named George who left a woman’s roof full of holes after eight years of service. His work was to be inherited by another roofer named Barack, who left the roof in even worse shape and blamed his shoddy work on the previous roofer.
Hoffman’s story was an apt tone-setter for the remainder of the speakers, who touched upon a variety of issues but particularly the election of Mitt Romney and the removal of Barack Obama from the Oval Office. Amidst the food, live music and raffle giveaways, several impassioned speeches were delivered from the stage just across the lawn.
Popular singer, member of the recently formed Beverly Hills Tea Party and keynote speaker Pat Boone offered his approximation of Obama’s tenure as president.
“Of course the President is blaming his lack of success on the obstructionist Republican Party. ‘They just wouldn’t let us do anything.’ Right! We did not let you pass a lot more debt-increasing bills and lay more burdens on the American people,” said Boone, adding “Hallelujah.”
Boone also compared Obama to a czar, saying, “They [czars] were men appointed by the British government, in charge of all the various aspects of life and commerce. What they said went, meaning the people were expected and had to do whatever the king demanded. We’ve got a guy like that in the Oval Office now. We didn’t want the healthcare plan. We didn’t want the stimulus, but he did it anyway.”
Boone was extremely confident in the ever-growing presence of the Tea Party.
“Both political parties still seem to not understand who we are. They think that somehow that we’re just going to filter away. Even some Republican leaders have said, ‘I don’t think they’re going to be much of an influence in the upcoming election.’ I beg to differ.”
Religion played a large part in the proceedings. The party began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner, but also a prayer. Conservative radio show host Dennis Prager expressed concern about what he sees as the secularization of American society.
“This country is absolutely, inexorably moving towards a godless society,” said Prager. “You will not make a good society if you render it godless.”
Yet other speakers focused on what they felt makes America great rather than what is bringing it down, such as former USMC sergeant Nick Popaditch’s speech, highlighting what he called “American Exceptionalism.”
Popaditch, who lost his right eye after being struck by a rocket propelled-grenade in Fallujah, spoke about various soldiers he’d met throughout his military career, including the men who shielded him shortly after he was blinded using their bodies to save his while under fire.
“We talk about courage. We talk about honor. We talk about commitment, American exceptionalism,” said Popaditch. “I don’t think those words are big enough to talk about the two men who saved my life that day.”
An Evening With Carol Liu
By Mary O’KEEFE
While Sunday afternoon was busy for Republicans, Monday night local community members were invited to a meet and greet with California State Senator Carol Liu at the home of Desiree Portillo-Rabinov and Paul Rabinov in La Crescenta.
The evening was an intimate gathering where Liu was introduced and an opportunity given to highlight her long career in education. Attendees had a chance to speak one-on-one about issues concerning Crescenta Valley and California.
Desiree read Liu’s impressive biography that included two terms as mayor of La Cañada Flintridge.
“And she is the product of the public school system,” she said.
Liu has been a champion of education since well before her election to the California State Assembly. She served from 2000 to 2006, then went on to the State Senate in 2008 to present. She was the first Asian-American woman to win a seat in the California State Senate.
“She is an educator at heart,” Desiree said.
Liu talked about why she was running again for office.
“In the ’60s, I was at [University of California] Berkeley,” she said. She had gone to the rallies. “I said my peace, I did my duty and made my opinion known, then went home to go on with my life. Well guess what? You don’t just go on.”
She said that after that experience of activism she started getting involved and, whether it was from organizing with the PTA, city council or state senate, it was all about getting and staying involved.
California politics have always been complicated, but when Liu began in 2000 the rollercoaster started at the top and headed down quickly.
“In 2000, California had an $8 billion surplus,” she said. “Do you remember the surplus?”
“Then came the energy crisis and that [money] was gone in three weeks,” she said. “Then the next year the dot com [investment bubble] fell apart.”
The surplus was long gone and a large deficit took its place. Through it all, Liu said she has worked to keep money for the schools – although it has not been easy.
Liu will be working on a committee to look at the testing that is now required as early as kindergarten.
“I think second graders are too young for [a benchmark] test,” she said.
In addition to education, on Monday she covered issues and questions concerning poverty, early release of parolees and low-income housing. On the 710-freeway issue, she is still gathering information on the project.
Liu did talk about the importance of Prop 30 passing this November. Proposition 30, a sales and income tax, raises California sales tax to 7.5% from 7.25% and will increase taxes for those making $250,000 or more.
She said without the passage of Prop. 30, education, in addition to other programs, will see more cuts.
“If it fails, we [will have to make] significant cuts to schools,” she said.
Liu’s district again includes La Crescenta, a change that occurred after redistricting and is reflected in the November 2012 elections.
Liu invites anyone with questions concerning local and state issues to contact her office. She is also planning on visiting Crescenta Valley Town Council in the future to speak to residents.
For information about Senator Carol Liu, visit www.carolliu.com.