Osborn for Assembly

May 24th, 2012

From Beverly Hills Weekly by Rudy Cole

My choice for State Assembly: Torie Osborn.

Even though the district boundaries have changed many times through the years, for decades Beverly Hills has helped send some really outstanding leaders to the State Assembly.

This year, we have an opportunity to do it again by voting for Torie Osborn.

Some of the finest public servants have represented us in the legislature, including Anthony Beilenson, Alan Sieroty, Gray Davis, Paul Koretz, Tom Rees and, most recently, Mike Feuer. But, amazingly, never by a woman.
The gender imbalance in the legislature is obvious, with less than 30 percent women members. But that is hardly the only reason why we should elect Osborn.

I have this feeling that if a disparate group of citizens, who had no connection other than a desire to accomplish some civic objective, met to organize and Osborn was one of those in attendance, she would inevitably be chosen to lead.

Osborn’s whole career has been aimed at public service, from community organization leadership to public policy advocacy, she has an enviable record of dedication to improving the human condition. Those are
precisely the qualities that will make her an effective and forceful legislator.

Many of the other candidates would also vote right on issues, follow party leadership and represent our values in the legislature. But Osborn would be a star and we will be proud to say she is our voice in
Sacramento.

Certainly, my choice is based in part on the recommendation of one of the persons I most respect in politics, our former assemblyman and state senator Alan Sieroty, who is backing Osborn. However, some
other highly regarded community leaders have endorsed Democrats Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom and Republican Brad Torgan.

Butler has represented a neighboring district in the assembly before moving into our new district to seek election. She has a very good voting record and is highly regarded by Democratic Party leaders. Bloom has
been an effective mayor and councilmember in Santa Monica, earning the respect of city workers, including public service unions. Torgan, an attorney and the lone Republican on the ballot, is a social issue liberal and fiscal conservative. He strongly opposes Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan.

It is not that I am against any of the others, it is just that I feel Osborn is enormously qualified and will be an incredible legislator—exactly the kind of person we need to encourage to seek public office.

As for the ballot measures, the mild reforms proposed in Prop.28 that would permit longer service in one body of the state legislature—a total of`12 years, is a step in the right direction.

What is really needed is a far more realistic look at term limits. Present rules often mean the loss of truly qualified and dedicated public servants, including Mike Feuer in our own district. Also, officeholders now must spend far too much time raising money for their next race.

The state needs a constitutional convention to restructure the mess various ballot measures have created, including term limits. Basically, the present laws inhibit voters from returning to office candidates who
have served with distinction.

As for the tobacco tax measures, I am far too conflicted to offer an objective opinion. I smoke a pipe, and the tax would increase the costs of my Captain Blacks. While I strongly support anti-smoking campaigns, including ways of preventing youths from smoking, I have opposed bans on outdoor smoking in dining areas. Note: The other newspaper once dubbed me a “chain smoker.” I have never, ever smoked a chain.