Jim Smith

How Venice Voted

This review of how Venice voted carries on a Beachhead tradition established by Arnold Springer many years ago. These are semi-final results of the June 8 election. The final results can be found on http://www.lavote.net after July 8.

In the June primary, Venetians once again proved two things about their politics. First, they are more progressive than the rest of Los Angeles, and second that they are too lazy to actually get out and vote. Less than 17 percent went to the polls. Not to worry, soon the corporate oligarchy will relieve all of us of the burden to vote because it is too expensive.

One might think that this year there would be ample reason to spend a few minutes at a local polling place. Marcy Winograd, whose views are simpatico with most Venetians was taking her second crack at defeating Jane Harman, the darling of the spooks and generals. In the Assembly race no less than three Venetians – probably a record – were in the running in the hotly contested Democratic primary.

One other fact that emerged in this election is the divergence in the amount of “leftness” between Venice north of Washington Blvd. and Venice south of Washington Blvd. In the Peninsula, they even favored Harman over Winograd. What’s wrong with those people? Aren’t they reading the Beachhead?

Most of those Venetians who did vote went with the candidate who spent the most money, Betsy Butler, and not with any of their neighbors. Meanwhile, Winograd did well in Venice, but not well enough to offset aerospace country in the South Bay which voted hugely for Harman. Winograd did marginally increase her percentage district wide, rising from 37.5 percent in 2006 to 41 percent this time. Let’s see at that rate, she might defeat Harman in only four more elections. Harman again outspent Winograd by a 2-1 margin ($520,847 to $267,825)

In the Assembly race, surprise, surprise. Those who spent the most, got the most votes. Butler spent more than $400,000 to win 26 percent of the vote district wide. Also district wide, Venetian James Lau came in second with 18 percent, and it only cost him $360,000. But in Venice 90291, another Venetian, Nick Karno came in second with 23 percent. He finished third district wide, while Lau finished third in Venice. Another Venetian, Peter Thottham finished forth in Venice and sixth district wide.

Once again, Venetians voted for someone, Butler, who they had probably never heard of before the election. The current occupant of the 53rd Assembly seat, our “in Lieu of a representative,” failed to achieve stardom as the Democratic candidate for Attorney General as he had hoped, coming in forth out of seven candidates.

My conclusion is that Marcy Winograd could have easily won the Democratic primary for State Assembly, where she could have been a helpful resource for Venice and other communities. In four years or so, she could have used her strong record in Sacramento to run, and win, a seat in Congress.

In November, Butler will face Lisa Green, appropriately the Green candidate, Libertarian Ethan Musulin and Republican Nathan Mintz. Trying to unseat Harman will be Republican Mattie Fein and Libertarian Herb Peters. Neither the Greens nor Peace and Freedom put up a candidate against her.

-Jim Smith

Categories: Jim Smith, Politics