A new chapter opens

August 10th, 2012

Life is full of surprises:

  • I’m leaving the campaign chapter behind with a great sense of accomplishment and gratitude, even after losing. Go figure.
  • I started a new, big job August 1 as Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood and Community Services — happily helping my friend and mentor Mayor Villaraigosa’s wrap up his final year at City Hall.
  • My campaign debt is fully paid down, thanks to 147 of you!

I FEEL SO LUCKY. Yes, even though we didn’t make it out of what pundits are calling “the crapshoot primary,” I feel bursting with pride for the vibrancy of the experience. On July 4th this year, I felt especially patriotic and American — so lucky to have had the opportunity at age 60 to run for the first time, and wage such a valiant and exciting and near-winning campaign. We ran one hell of a race, not only nearly toppling the odds, but raising the bar forever for Assembly campaigns.

WILL I ENDORSE OR RUN AGAIN? No and Yes. I’m staying out of the 2012 AD 50 race for now, and, yes, if the opportunity arises and we can reprise — this time with a win! — I’m there, and I hope you will be too.

HIGH RISK, HIGH GAIN. On a personal level, I’ve been trying to figure out why, after a few weeks of the blues that are now gone, I feel empowered and alive as never before. This TED talk helped me understand it. When you “lean into the discomfort” — live outside your comfort zone — and do it in a strong, connected community that shares a purpose, even losing pales next to the richness of the experience. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for contributing of yourself to Team Torie.

NEXT UP: CITY HALL! A couple of weeks ago I got a call from Mayor Villaraigosa, one of my fiercest supporters, and a longtime friend and political mentor. He said: “I know what it’s like to lose a close race, and need to put all that pent-up energy somewhere: how’d you like to come back to City Hall as a Deputy Mayor and help me make a strong finish?” I enthusiastically said yes! For those of you who know the players, good friend and progressive organizer extraordinaire, longtime Deputy Mayor Larry Frank, moves up to Deputy Chief of Staff, and I take over most of his portfolio, overseeing an amazing 22-person staff that works on a range of services and departments — from the neighborhood councils, to anti-poverty programs, to the Mayor’s field offices, constituent services, and all the special events. I’m already loving it. I’ve wrapped up my two-year project with California Calls, the extraordinary Anthony Thigpenn and his team who are changing California forever by changing the electorate by 5%, and organizing for fair taxation. I remain committed and connected to that work.

I’ve spent the past few weeks writing some campaign reflections that political blogger Marta Evry will feature on her Venice for Change site soon. And from here-on-out, I’ll also be blogging occasionally here on my own website, so be sure to check back there.

The summer has been healing, and I admit it’s been wonderful to get the chance to watch hummingbirds in my garden for the first time in two years. And to sleep more than 3 hours a night. I’m rested and ready to roll in my new position at City Hall.

As we enter this crazy political fall season, I hope you will remember fondly the energy and excitement of Team VicTorie and work like hell to re-elect the President, pass the progressive tax measure Prop 30 and defeat the heinous anti-union Prop 32. We have a chance to abolish the death penalty and reform Three Strikes this November as well; I’ll send out more information on other propositions as we get closer. Remember that it is only the power of collective civic action by passionate, engaged people that brings democracy alive, and gives hope that we can reverse the concentration of money and power in fewer and fewer hands. AT TO 2012, we were all in training for something great, I believe. Stay in touch and let me know what that was for you!

I am honestly humbled by what we were able to accomplish together. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.