- Written by Robyn Ritter Simon
17 Feb 2012
SIMON SAYS - It will come as no shock to readers of CityWatch that candidates seeking elected office or even those already in office and running for re-election, pander to constituents for votes and money. No revelation here, that’s for sure. But what makes the offense even more egregious is when a candidate is an out and out poser.
A poser is a candidate who bounces from one constituent group to the next saying how much they support that group and its mission, yet when given an opportunity to advance the organization’s agenda, the candidate is nowhere to be found. Give it a rest political poser; we know what’s up with your behavior.
Let me elaborate.
Let’s take a look at some women candidates and elected leaders who have been posing, resulting in a disturbing scenario brewing at LA City Hall. Their posing has sadly contributed to the reality that after next year we may not have one single woman serving on the LA City Council. You say what!?
Electing more women has been a passion of mine for a lifetime. I have a demonstrated track record of recruiting, training, and supporting women to run and then sticking with them the entire way, regardless of their chances of winning. I’m sometimes loyal to a fault. I have run for political office in my hometown of Los Angeles twice and know exactly who’s been truthful and who is a poser.
As an active Board member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, an organization striving to reach 50/50 by the year 2020 (50 percent representation by women and men by 2020) I am heavily submerged in encouraging women to run and I put my money and time behind them if I believe they are a formidable candidate who meets my bottom line issues. Yet, sadly, this is not always true for my fellow sisters who have been elected and who don’t reciprocate the love to those who helped propel them into office. So what gives?
This past weekend I received a phone call from a recently elected US Congresswoman from the LA area asking me for money and my support. Before I hit the delete button I had to chuckle at how out of touch this woman is with her own past conduct. I hope Washington is treating her well, because her inaction to cultivate a woman to replace her has contributed to us potentially not having one woman out of fifteen councilmembers fill the LA City Council horseshoe come 2013.
When I was a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council (5th District) this very same woman barely met with me let alone lend her endorsement, even though I had been endorsed by every prominent women’s organization in the community – the same organizations that had endorsed and stood by her all these years. When she was a candidate she would attend the NWPC endorsement meetings and pontificate about how we need more women in public office, yet when given a chance to ensure that our LA City Council would not be left absent of a single woman, she chose not to engage.
She of course is entitled to support whomever she chooses, but she should know that her inaction has consequences. Several trips to the community that has helped put her in office with her hand out, without reciprocating the love, even if it means using up some of her political capital along the way, has left many of us who work hard to elect qualified women, shaking our heads with disbelief.
It should be offensive, not just to women, but to all Angeleno’s that not since 1953 when Roz Wyman was first elected to the Council that we may not have a single woman serving on this governing Board. How did this happen? Well, several of the women who have occupied a seat there recently share the blame in this sad commentary. They too will face consequences as they ramp up for their next campaign and push back from stalwart women leaders who are tired of financing campaigns to not see their goal of more women in office realized.
If you truly support the mission of organizations such as NWPC, which believe that it’s good public policy to include women’s voices at every level of government, then do what it takes to ensure this happens. Identify a woman in your community, cultivate her, encourage her, offer her the training necessary for assembling a competitive campaign, raise her money, support her and see her through to the finish line. That’s what true leaders do who support those people and groups who have been there for them when they were candidates.
A candidate and an elected official’s inaction have consequences sometimes greater than their actions. So for me and my likeminded friends, we’ve been hitting the delete button to demonstrate we don’t support political posers, male or female.
(Robyn Ritter Simon is a CityWatch contributor. She ran for Los Angeles City Council, 5th District, in 2001 and again in 2009. She is a champion for ensuring more women serve in public office and spends her time actively supporting candidates who meet her bottom line issues. She is a sought after empowerment speaker encouraging young girls and women to engage more in the political arena. She was recently nominated as a Forward Thinker by the think tank, California Forward. To learn more about the NWPC 50/50 By 2020 Project visit www.NWPCLAWestside.org.)
Tags: Robyn Ritter Simon, politics, women in office, women in LA City Council, City Council, women candidates, National Women’s Political Caucus
Vol 10 Issue 14
Pub: Feb 17, 2012