Democrats hoping to succeed Rep. Waxman square off in Pacific Palisades
By Jean Merl
State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who is vying for a high-profile congressional seat, picked up the endorsement Sunday of the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club.
The endorsement came after a club-sponsored forum featuring four of the 10 Democrats on the June 3 primary ballot to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills).
Club officials said they believed the forum would be more helpful to members if it included only the most viable contenders in their party. They did not want to dilute the two-hour session by spreading it too thinly over a large field that included some with little or no chance of winning the seat that Waxman has held for four decades.
Those who met the club's criterion -- demonstrating that they had at least $200,000 in their campaign coffers by April 8 -- were Lieu, former Los Angeles city controller and councilwoman Wendy Greuel, journalist and radio talk show host Matt Miller and defense attorney David Kanuth.
Not surprisingly, the four candidates displayed similar views on most issues: Protect the environment, improve public education, boost the minimum wage and take other steps to ease the income diversity between the rich and the poor.
All said they would like to see the Affordable Health Care Act improved upon by extending Medicare to all Americans and not remain limited to those over 65. Miller also called for finding ways to cut medical costs so healthcare dollars can be spent more efficiently. Savings also could be funneled to other needs, such as education, he said.
First-time candidate Miller, in a dismissive swipe at Greuel and Lieu as "career politicians," said he offered a "fresh voice" with experience in important policy issues. He cited his role as an economic advisor in the Clinton White House and the books and columns he has written over the years.
Kanuth, also a first-time candidate, said his law experience, including practice in negotiating on behalf of defendants, made him the best suited to help break the partisan gridlock in Congress.
But Lieu said his experience in getting climate change and other legislation through in a tough, partisan climate in the state Capitol would be invaluable in Congress.
And Greuel cited her work for former Mayor Tom Bradley and in the federal department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as an elected city official. "I'm a deliverer," Greuel said. "I understand how things work."
There are 18 candidates on the ballot in the 33rd Congressional District, which runs from Beverly HIlls and Malibu south through the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Besides the Democrats, there are three candidates with no party preference, two small-party candidates and three Republicans.
The district is strongly Democratic in both registration and voting patterns.
Later Sunday, Greuel won the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Young Democrats.