Sen. Fran Pavley addressed supporters at a campaign fundraiser at the Mountain Mermaid. Speaking in her behalf, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said, “Her name is associated with some of the most pioneering legislation in the country.”
The mimosas flowed as more than 100 Topangans and residents from surrounding communities gathered on a glorious Sunday afternoon to support the reelection of California State Senator Fran Pavely (D-Agoura Hills), who will run for her second and final term in November in what could be a tough fight in the reconfigured 27th State Senate district.
The senator invited residents of Topanga and the Santa Monica Mountains communities she represents, as well as those from Brentwood and the Pacific Palisades to support her campaign at a lovely brunch at the Mountain Mermaid.
Members of the Topanga Symphony QuartetMargreet Ray on oboe, Jeanne Mitchell on violin, Katherine Shaw on viola and Gavin Koon on celloplayed outside as people arrived.
Inside, guests enjoyed a sumptuous brunch organized by Gail McDonald-Tune including homemade breads, fruit, cheese and a scrumptious spinach quiche full of fluffy eggs and luscious cheese provided by Lucille Yaney of The Inn of the Seventh Ray.
Ellen Geer, Artistic Director of the Theatricum Botanicum and Melora Marshall began the program with a rousing version of This Land is Your Land.
Lets get you back into office, Geer said with a big smile after the song.
Twelve years ago we supported her for Assembly and 12 years later, we support her again, Geer said in earlier comments. We live in Topanga because we care about the earth, care about the young people and the planet. Shes wonderful and I want her to be president someday.
Then, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky stepped up to speak on behalf of Pavley.
Every now and again comes along a politician that is so exceptional you want to help them no matter what, Yaroslavsky said. Fran Pavley has been an effective and dynamic leader for California and her name is associated with some of the most pioneering legislation in the country.
(In 2011, Sen. Pavley was invited to attend a White House Rose Garden ceremony, where President Obama announced that the new national automobile emissions standards would be modeled after the Pavley law in California.)
The supervisor then revisited Pavleys record on the environment.
Fran is the Santa Monica Mountains best friend, Yaroslavsky said. Fran is the most dependable and reliable leader in the environment, on issues that are important to all of us in the area and there is no greater voice and effective legislator; she has been a partner to me and Julia Brownley, Henry Waxman, Howard Berman, Brad Sherman and Sheila Kuehl. She was essential to marshal enough money to add 11,000 acres to the Santa Monica Mountains, not to mention Ahmanson Ranch and King Gillette Ranch.
Yaroslavsky added that as a result of the redistricting, Pavley would have to run two campaigns, one primary in June against an as yet unknown Republican opponent and again in the November general election. But he pledged to do all he could to help her get reelected to her senate seat.
At the end of the day, it is who she is, the strong character she embodies, so put my name down; I dont care who else is running, even if my sister is running, she can wait her turn, Yaroslavsky said to much laughter. She may be a schoolteacher, but she is one tough schoolteacher . I know she will look out for me and for all of us; we know she will call them as she sees them. We just need you for four more years and we will sleep happy.
With that opening, Susan Nissman introduced Pavley.
CA State Sen. Fran Pavley
Prior to her election to the CA Senate, she served three terms in the State Assembly. As senator, she also serves on the Energy, Appropriations, Transportation and Housing and Environmental Quality Policy Committees.
The Consumer Federation of California named Pavley as its Senator of the Year for her tireless work to ban toxins such as lead, cadmium and BPA from childrens products; passing legislation to protect consumers from mortgage fraud; and efforts to crack down on elder abuse.
During her opening remarks Pavley thanked her husband, Andy, the host committee and co-hosts Katie Braude, educational reformer, LAC Office of Education Board Member and resident of the Pacific Palisades; Mountain Mermaid owner Bill Buerge with friend and hostess Gail McDonald-Tune; and Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation president Kim Lamorie.
Many of you were in this room 12 years ago, and there are many new people now, and I thank you very much, Pavley said. With that, Pavley explained some of the challenges she will face in the upcoming election in a newer district.
Just think about the geography and politics of switching from Santa Monica and West Hollywood to Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks that will be in this new district, she said. I represent close to 40 percent of the new district and interestingly enough, I taught in Moorpark for 25 years, so I know many former families of my students, and school board members. I have lived in Agoura Hills for 35 years and was its first mayor.
Pavley quipped that due to her outstanding success in saving open land, more than 11,000 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains alone, that the voting population is likely less than that of the deer and bobcats who wont be voting.
As a result of losing some area and picking up others, this will probably be the most competitive senate race in 2012, with a concerted effort by the opposition to support a Republican candidate to break the Senates two-thirds voting block, she said.
Currently, there are 931,000 people in Pavleys senate district bigger than seven states and Pavley has 2,000 more people in her district than a member of U.S. Congress would have in their district.
Double Challenge To Win
When redistricting maps were created, this was a toss-up district, only a six-percent registration district. It will be between me and a yet-to-be-named Republican opponent in the June open primary, Pavley said. You have to win in the top two spots irrespective of the party and the top two go on to November and it doesnt matter which party.
Pavley noted that crossover votes from Independents and Republicans in the open primary and election will ultimately decide the outcome.
And, she added, you can bet that the Republican party will pour tons of money into the race. They have targeted this district, she said.
My challenge is to reach out to those who care about quality of life, she said, citing her 10-year voting record.
Overall, Pavley promised to continue working on what she considers to be her most passionate issues, what she calls the four Es education, environment, energy and the economy.
Loyal Constituents and Supporters
Other supporters at the fundraiser, among them Topanga stalwarts and celebrities, were Leslie and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie, Randy Neece and Joe Timko, Liat Samouhi, Frances T. Tibbets, Gita Braude, Beth Burnham, Steve and Leslie Carlson, Rebecca and James Catteral, Larry and Tina Green, Hal and Nancy Helsley, Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, Pat and Jack Mac Neil, Wendie Malick, the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, Walter L. Sebring III, John and Emma Wilby, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains, Dave Brown, Norman Buehring, Lynne Haigh, Susan Haskell, Calabasas City Councilmembers Lucy Martin and Mary Sue Maurer, Michelle and Duncan Myers, Lance Roberts, William Rothbard, Joan Slimocosky, Stacy Sledge of the Topanga Town Council and Bob Harris of Malibu Ceramic Works in Topanga, who donated lovely Malibu tiles for souvenirs for the guests.
Also at the Mermaid scene were realtor Elaine Hanson, Susan Clark of Topanga Animal Rescue and singer Catherine McClenahan.
Melora Marshall, of the Theatricum, spoke of how important a leader like Pavley is to preserve arts programs in the schools. Every year the Theatricum provides hours of histor