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Progressives Celebrate Seventh Birthday
September 6, 2012 - By Annemarie Donkin
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky honored State Sen. Fran Pavley and the group acknowledged Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum and anti-war activist S. Brian Willson.
As a lovely breeze cooled the canyons, about 80 people gathered for the Seventh Annual Birthday Party for the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM).
Dorothy Reik, president of the PDSMM, held the event on Aug. 18 at her home high up on Saddlepeak Road that has spectacular views of the mountains and Santa Monica Bay.
Topangans included Julie Levine, David Troy and Terrie Brady of the Topanga Peace Alliance.
Russell Greene and Jean and Archie Gillet from the Progressive Democrats of the San Fernando Valley attended with many Progressives from throughout Los Angeles County.
While guests filled up on delicious food from Abuelitas, emcee and musician Brad Parker of the Valley Democrats United opened the evening with a rousing version of This Land is Your Land, sung with Russell Greene, Tom English and actress Mimi Kennedy.
Fascism is not the way we want to go, Kennedy said. Citizens United must be repealed and Occupy is still in the house; we are still cleaning up the detritus from the Bush Administration.
Dorothy Reik, president of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains and Lila Garrett, host of “Connect the Dots” on KPFK radio, accept a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum to honor them for their democratic activism over the past 70 years.
Lila Garrett of KPFKs Connect the Dots, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum, who have been involved in Democratic issues for 70 years.
They are still at the center of progressive thought and action, Garrett said. Stanley defines the word conscience.
Stanley Sheinbaum is the publisher of the New Perspective Quarterly and was a senior fellow at the Center for Study of Democratic Institutions.
He was also Chairman of the ACLU of Southern California and Regent of the University of Southern California, board member of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East and one of the founders of Human Rights Watch and People for the American Way.
Betty Sheinbaum is also a longtime political and social activist and a successful artist whose work reflects political sensitivity and concern.
The Sheinbaums really are heroes, Garrett said. It is their monumental contribution to peace, love and fairness among good people.
AWARD FOR SEN. PAVLEY
Andy Pavley and former CA State Sen. Sheila Kuehl with L.A. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky accept an award on behalf of CA State Sen. Fran Pavley at the 7th Annual Birthday Party for the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains in Topanga on August 18.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky presented State Sen. Fran Pavley with the Teddi Winograd Courage Inside the Party Award.
Accepting for Pavley, who was fundraising in Moorpark, were former State Sen. Sheila Kuehl and Frans husband, Andy Pavley.
Yaroslavsky credited Pavley with coordinating state, county and local governmental entities with private interests to acquire 15,000 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains and putting them into the public domain to be preserved for all time.
We have a close partnership; no one is as dependable, clear thinking and courageous as Fran, Yaroslavsky said. She speaks to the interests of Californias mountains, water and air quality.
Yaroslavsky again praised Sen. Pavley for her efforts on her groundbreaking climate change legislation that was implemented in 2010 by President Obama as the national car emissions standard now known as Pavleys law.
Expressing her gratitude, Pavley wrote: "It was a tremendous honor to receive this award. Topangans are well known for their dedication to open space and the environment, so this award is particularly meaningful. Working together, I know we can protect our environment for future generations."
Due to redistricting, Pavley is facing a tough reelection battle. The PDSMM has always been a strong supporter of her actions on the environment, climate change and land acquisition in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Likewise, Pavley said she supports Progressives for their pro-active style, taking action when and where its needed.
S. BRIAN WILLSON VETERANS FOR PEACE
As the keynote speaker at the 7th Annual PDSMM Birthday Party, Vietnam Vet and international peace activist S. Brian Willson spoke of his harrowing experiences after the war, including having his lower legs cut off by a train at the California Naval Weapons Station in Concord while protesing shipping arms to Nicaragua during the Reagan Administration.
Author and filmmaker Frank Dorrel introduced the keynote speaker, anti-war activist S. Brian Willson.
I am outside of the party and outside of the system altogether, Willson, a founder of Veterans for Peace, said as he addressed the audience.
As a lawyer and writer, he studied in more than a dozen countries documenting the policies that violate U.S. Congressional and international laws prohibiting aggression and war crimes.
In 1987, while protesting the shipping of U.S. weapons to Central America from the Naval Shipyard in Concord, CA, Willson was struck by a train and lost both of his legs below the knee.
In his book, Blood on the Tracks, he chronicles his life from growing up as a loyal, politically conservative patriot who supported the war in Vietnam until he realized its full range of horrors. As an Air Force Ranger he witnessed the bombings of innocent Viet Cong fishing villages.
I got the lie at that moment, he recalled. I was sent home and remember thinking how could this be? I did everything right and it was all wrong,
After he spoke, Louise Rishoff, Deputy to Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, presented Willson with the Teddi Winograd Courage Outside the Party Award.
UPDATE ON TORIE OSBORN
After losing her primary bid for the 50th Assembly District in June, Osborn revealed that she accepted a job with Mayor Villaraigosas office as Deputy Mayor, Neighborhood and Community Services.
I started on the first of August, she said. I took over from Larry Frank, who moved on to become Deputy Chief of Staff; now I oversee ten departments.
Osborn said she has a wide range of responsibilities, from anti-poverty workshops, work force, and field operations, but said she was not out of the political race just yet.
Your support gave me wings, she told the assembled group. I learned how to be a candidate.
MOVE TO AMEND
There was also an update from Mary Beth Fielder on her success at getting the Los Angeles City Council to support Move to Amend and vote to revoke corporate personhood. She announced that 200 municipalities nationwide have now adopted similar measures.
Fielder handed out flyers for a Nov. 17 conference at UCLA about changing the Constitution to get money out of politics. For more information, go to www.MoveToAmend.org.
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) was founded in 2004 to transform the Democratic Party and the country.
As a grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice, the PDA played a key role in the electoral victories of November 2006 and 2008.
In just a couple of years, the PDA and its allies have shaken up the political status-quo on issues from ending the Iraq war, voter rights, protecting Social Security, a full employment economy, national healthcare and economic justice.
Even so, Dorothy Reik feels the group still has a long way to go. I think PDA/PDSMM's main accomplishment has been having our positions adopted by the California Democratic Party platform positions against the war and for ending the death penalty for example, Reik wrote after the event.
Seven of our members are delegates to the state party where we have not been as successful in getting our candidates elected we also need to work on getting our positions on the Democratic National Party platform.
Asked what he feels is a main thrust of the organization, PDSMM member Michael Goldman of Woodland Hills said it is really about fighting the corporate takeover of the world. n