U.S. Representative Henry Waxman with Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky at the PDSMM event on
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and former City Councilman Bill Rosendahl helped the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains celebrate its efforts working for change inside and outside of the Democratic Party.
As a lovely breeze cooled the canyons and the fog dissipated, about 90 people gathered for the Eighth Annual Birthday Party for the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM).
Dorothy Reik, PDSMM president, hosted the event on Aug. 17 at her home high up on Saddlepeak Road with spectacular views of the mountains and Santa Monica Bay.
Award recipients this year were Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, former L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and CODEPINK activists Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry.
U.S. Representative Henry Waxman made a special appearancehis first in eight yearsin support of the group, as did State Assemblyman Richard Bloom.
Lila Garrett (host of Connect the Dots on KPFK-FM radio), Kim Lamorie of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation (LVHF) and Jodie Evans of CODEPINK presented the awards emceed by KPFKs Alan Minsky.
Russell Greene from the Progressive Democrats of the San Fernando Valley attended, as did many Progressives from throughout Southern California including Mimi Kennedy, Torie Osborn, Susie Shannon and Mary Beth Fielder.
As part of its action campaign this year, PDSMM ran their own phone bank for CA State Sen. Fran Pavley and had two important resolutions passed by the California Democratic Party, one calling for a moratorium on fracking and another calling for withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.
Additionally, Reik was elected to the board of the Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party and five members are delegates to the California State Party Central Committee.
U.S. REP. HENRY WAXMAN: EIGHT YEARS OF ASKING! IM HERE!
Former Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl presents U.S. Representative Henry Waxman with some fresh chicken and turkey eggs. "When I lay an egg, I'll send them back," Waxman quipped.
Im here physically and here politically, Waxman said. You have chosen terrific honorees. Zev and I have worked together, especially on health care, and he is the person I worked most closely with in Los Angeles. Bill [Rosendahl] has done an outstanding job and deserves the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The other two, Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, I know from Washington because they were always present on the committee I chaired.
Last May, CODEPINKs Medea Benjamin was not sitting in on Waxmans committee. Instead, she was attending President Obamas first major counterterrorism address of his second term and interrupted him by shouting and criticizing his use of drones and the policy on Guantanamo Bay detainees. She was unceremoniously ushered out, but the President responded to her, saying, "The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to."
Waxman expressed his agreement with Progressives against fracking and for reasonable public policy.
Fracking is something that should be illegal when it infiltrates and poisons our drinking water, he said. We pushed for a moratorium on fracking in Sacramento and be sure we wont grant full-scale fracking in our state, before we vote for it. There are so many carcinogens and chemicals, it would curl your hair if I had any, he joked. The Republicans are the last vestiges of the Flat Earth Society.
Waxman went on to make the larger point to appeal to all reasonable people for intelligent governmental policy making.
You dont need to be a progressive to say we dont want climate change and we dont want our government spying on us, he said. Those are progressive policies, but ones that most people want. Im sorry its [taken] eight years to get here, but Im here, God bless you all!
BILL ROSENDAHL: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Bill Rosendahl was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in the 11th District in 2005 after a successful career on radio for 16 years hosting Week in Review.
Lila Garrett presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a forceful advocate for neighborhood empowerment and better government.
Rosendahl resigned his office mid-term when he developed cancer. During his term of office, he championed public safety, mass transit and traffic improvements. He was the first openly gay elected official in Los Angeles and is now among the first elected officials to advocate for medical marijuana that he firmly believes caused his cancer to go into remission.
He was an official who kept his campaign promises when he got elected, Garrett said. He is recovering from cancer; hes a medical miracle but a miracle in many ways.
When Rosendahl accepted his award, he offered tribute to the many people at the event and spoke of his cancer remission, quite possibly as a result of medical marijuana.
One of the benefits of cancer is your emotions are raw. I cried about the state of affairs and the frustration of wanting to do things. I was literally at deaths door, Rosendahl said. Henry Waxman is one of the most powerful super-progressives we have in the Democratic Party. He took everything of significance for us and made it his own. I just felt so good we were digging the dirt at the groundbreaking for the Veterans Administration property.
SUPV. ZEV YAROSLAVSKY: INSIDE THE PARTY AWARD
Kim Lamorie followed to present Zev Yaroslavsky with the Teddi Winograd Inside the Party Award for his work on the environment.
Zev is our much beloved Mountain Man, Lamorie said. He is a force like no other; he saved 15,000 acres of space, trails and woodlands in the Santa Monica Mountains through his tenacious actions or, as he says, let the land dictate the use.
He saved the Ahmanson Ranch, King Gillette and protected the wild and wonderful places, Lamorie continued. He did not allow the West to be bulldozed as a whisper of what once was.
With that, Zev stepped up and accepted his award from the PDSMM, as well as a commendation from State Assemblyman Richard Bloom.
It was worth the drive, Yaroslavsky said. The question is whether our children or grandchildren will have this experience with the Santa Monica Mountains; these are the people we are talking about; we have a responsibility; we have to be about the people we dont see but who see us.
From left, Tighe Barry, Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans of CODEPINK accept the "Teddi Winograd Courage Award, Outside the Party" from Dorothy Reik, president of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains and her dog, Chloe.
Then it was time to introduce the recipients of the Outside the Party Award, to Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry of CODEPINK. Jodie Evans, a co-founder of CODEPINK, presented them with their awards.
Medea Benjamin, of Global Exchange, as well as a co-founder of CODEPINK, has been an advocate for peace and social justice for more than thirty years.
In 2010, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Since the 2008 Israeli invasion, Benjamin has worked for justice in Israel and Palestine and has taken many delegations to Gaza.
After 9/11, Tighe Barry left his 20-year career in Hollywood to join CODEPINK.
Since then, he has led seven delegations of Americans to Gaza, including a delegation to build pink playgrounds for the children of Gaza.
Thank you for letting me be the male ally of CODEPINK, he said. Its been a funny, wonderful, exciting experience, but I am more used to being thrown out of Congress.
Then Benjamin spoke about drone strikes, war and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
We have a government message of fear, she said. We have to come back with alternatives, we have to democratically move toward peace . It is the drones that make people hate us. Stop drones, stop drones! Close 800 bases and bring our troops back home.
ABOUT PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA
Progressive Democrats of America 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.