ALPERN AT LARGE-While many liberals on the coastal Westside might be stunned to hear of Congressmember Henry Waxman's retirement after a lifetime in politics, they should be relieved to know that retired liberal Councilmember Bill Rosendahl quickly came out and endorsed California State Senator Ted Lieu. Ted Lieu's subsequent announcement to run for Waxman's seat is great news for moderates and conservatives, too.
I suppose that we're in a new era, a new century and a new millennium, so folks like Henry Waxman--despite his solid history as a stalwart Southern California liberal (too liberal for some, perfectly fine for others) arguably need to be replaced by young blood in an era where the ethics and economics of old-school liberalism need some temperament and pragmatic reality.
Ted Lieu is both a leader and someone who has turned tragedy into victory throughout his entire political career, having been thrown into the Assembly and State Senate by the untimely deaths of Mike Gordon and Jenny Oropeza, his allies and mentors...but he's not only carried out their own agendas but pursued his own in a way that makes Ted as much a thought leader as he is a man who IS there whenever and wherever he is needed.
Those who have walked with Henry Waxman know that, despite his short stature, was one heckuva fast walker that made others have to run to keep up with him. Well, enter Ted Lieu, who was and is perfectly willing to run up and down the corridors of Sacramento to pursue support for the initiatives for which he is so passionate, such as getting Metro Rail linked to LAX (one of my pet priorities).
Furthermore, as with Waxman (who had a lot of bills and initiatives passed through years of hard work and persuading others), Lieu has a slew of amazing bills to his name, which range from pressuring banks/lenders to modify home loans to prevent foreclosures, preventing health insurance companies from incentivizing their employees for terminating health care coverage, and allowing schools to discipline students who engage in cyber-bullying.
Most of my interactions with Ted Lieu involved transportation, and from the very first time I met him he loved my map of a future Metro Rail network to serve the Westside and South Bay (circa 2040, and one to which I adhere is likely to become reality). Much of why we're able to see the light at the end of the tunnel for connecting rail to LAX is because of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" in Sacramento, where Ted teamed with Bill Rosendahl to cobble together a political alliance to encourage statewide support for that endeavor.
Ted is also adored by Bill Rosendahl, Mike Bonin and many grassroots Westsiders for fighting to decrease the impact of Santa Monica Airport on its neighbors (both in and out of Santa Monica or Los Angeles). Clearly, his impact in Washington would be helpful for limit-setting with a noncompromising Federal Aviation Administration that doesn't appear to give a rip about the health and other impacts of airports on residents of adjacent neighborhoods.
What I didn't know, amidst all the transportation work I did with Ted and his office, is that Ted also authored a bill to create the first statewide ban on indoor tanning for minors, which is now a model for other states in our nation, and for which Ted was honored by the American Academy of Dermatology (as a dermatologist, that means a lot to me).
Ted was born in Taiwan, grew up in Cleveland, graduated from Stanford and then got his J.D. from Georgetown while both graduating magna cum laude and was Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal. As the brother of a Harvard Law School graduate who edited his own law journal, I can tell you that is quite a lot of work.
Ted is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves and served for 4 years as a member of the JAG Corps (I don't know if they modeled the television show after him, but it would be a humorous if not entirely untrue rumor I'd like to start). Certainly, his ongoing role as a devoted father and husband to his wife and two young children makes his political record even more heroic.
For those of us who communicate with Ted through Facebook, it's evident that he's a moderate who doesn't tolerate any trampling on the Constitution from either major political party, and has been critical of anyone from the President to any GOP leader when he feels that power is being abused or rights are being trampled upon.
Ted may officially be a Democrat, but he doesn't strike me as anyone's puppet (which is important to achieve popularity in the conservative South Bay as much as it is to achieve popularity in the liberal Westside).
Ted's his own man. And he's been OUR man in Sacramento for many years, and belongs as OUR man in Washington for many years to come.
Both Ted Lieu and Wendy Greuel have been gathering endorsements as the current two frontrunners for Henry Waxman's 33rd Congressional District seat, yet the explosion of Ted's first-day endorsers range from Westside City Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz to U.S. Representatives Alan Lowenthal and Maxine Waters.
That former Mayor Villaraigosa endorsed Wendy Greuel, and he did so five days after she entered the race, is of questionable benefit for Ms. Greuel. As a Westsider, and as someone who has a good idea of political opinions from South Bay residents who are NOT Angelenos and who WILL vote to replace Henry Waxman's 33rd Congressional District representative in Congress, I'm not sure Villaraigosa's endorsement means as much as Lieu's endorsers will for Lieu.
Arguably, Villaraigosa's endorsement might hurt Greuel...but frankly, Greuel hurt herself (potentially forever) in the political arena by garnering the outspoken support of that current "Darth Vader" of City politics, Brian D'Arcy, who with his DWP union thugs have upset even those liberals who still ideally favor public sector unions...but public sector unions who behave and act on behalf of their constituents.
So it's nice to know that merit and past experience will hopefully guide the Westside and South Bay towards electing a new man, an energetic man, and an independent and politically moderate man, who will potentially fill not only Henry Waxman's shoes but create a mark that will lift Southern California's impact on federal budgetary priorities and policies for the next generation.
Feel free to meet Ted, either online (http://tedlieu.com/) or at one of his upcoming political events. It's very easy to support and like Ted, and I hope that conservatives, liberals and moderates alike realize that he is the "real deal", and both one of US and someone who will represent US in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Vol 12 Issue 11
Pub: Feb 7, 2014