More Election Thoughts and a Little Re-Thinking: Props, Initiatives and Some Great Candidates

WORDS FROM THE BUTCHER SHOP-Recently I wrote in support of Proposition 62 to repeal California’s death penalty in the name and memory of my murdered son, Matthew Benjamin Butcher (March 17, 1983 – June 24, 2010). The support and love I have received as a result of this expression of opinion, This Mother of a Murdered Son Says: ‘Repeal the California Death Penalty’ by Voting YES on Prop 62  is surprising, humbling, and overwhelming. 

Within the Butcher family, there is deep division of opinion on the topic of the death penalty. I love that! Don and I are both originally from New York and New Jersey and we raised our kids to argue as a way of life. 

Since publishing my recommendations for the state initiatives, my son Steven Butcher has changed my voting recommendations on two of the props. I should have asked him about Prop 54 to begin with -- he's more knowledgeable than I about these things these days. His winning argument? I said “gut and amend.” Really? When he said, “Yeah, but good stuff sometimes happens at end of session that otherwise might not if it had to wait 72 hours.” He raised several other points that made good sense, closing with, “Plus, Jackie Goldberg's against it.” The kid still knows how to win an argument with me! 

No on 60, he says, as well. The industry is already closely regulated, and the San Fernando Valley is in danger of losing jobs to New Hampshire. Good points. I’ve changed my recommendation on that one as well. 

On Prop 51, I easily convinced him that while $9 billion in school bonds would be a great thing, it’d be better if they pass locality by locality rather than statewide (like Measure CC in LA and Measure O in Riverside, for instance.) That way the wealthier districts don’t get funding ahead of more needy school districts likely disadvantaged by a seemingly fair “first come, first served” schema. 

We have joyfully survived “the Move.” Note that I’m writing now from La Crescenta, 10.7 miles from “the kids” and “the baby.” Fifteen minutes up the 2. That’s us, here in Grandparent Heaven. 

Who knew there’d be ancillary political benefits fun enough to make me smile when I our absentee ballots arrived just as we did? 

First, I know Ardy! Ardy Kassakhian is a sincere, good man and I couldn’t be happier to cast a vote for him for Assembly. Ardy and I got to know each other as cohorts in Coro’s 2011 Executive Fellows program. He is driven by love, by service, and by the love of service and I know him to be thoughtful, visionary, and genuine. Plus I always love those candidates originally from the localest of government. 

I’ve known Anthony Portantino for a long, long time and he’s gonna be a phenomenal State Senator. The union formerly known as Local 347 vetted, tested, and supported Portantino like a Brother, and he worked hard for workers in local government and in the Assembly. Anthony Portantino is one of those few rare birds – an honorable, decent, and wise elected official. We’re happy to cast two Butcher votes for him here in our new home. (Never moving again, not ever!) 

Casting a gleeful YES vote for LA County Measure M, hoping LA can begin to fix its past transportation snafus. The word “infrastructure” is my own personal drinking game word. Imagine tons of infrastructure and transportation spending? Cool, huh? 

And finally, I was delighted to vote for Kathryn Barger for LA County Supervisor.  (Photo above.) When I was briefly assigned to the County part of the Union, Kathryn, personally and formally, welcomed and helped me. She’s smart – a badass who knows how to get things done. She will be an amazing part of Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors!


(Julie Butcher writes for CityWatch, is a retired union leader and is now enjoying her new La Crescenta home and her first grandchild. She can be reached at or on her new blog ‘The Butcher Shop- No Bones about It’ Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.