DOWNTOWN

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom will have some pretty stiff competition for the 41st District Assembly seat.

Social activist Torie Osborn officially announced her bid to succeed Assemblywoman Julie Brownley Thursday, touting high-profile endorsements from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), activist Tom Hayden and former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane, a co-founder of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, the city’s leading political party.

Villaraigosa, along with other heavy hitters in Los Angeles politics, will be present at a campaign kickoff event and fundraiser for Osborn scheduled for June 12 at a private home in the Pacific Palisades.

“I’m running because California is in trouble and needs the strongest possible leadership in Sacramento,” said Osborn, a 25-year resident of Santa Monica who ran the Liberty Hill Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. “I believe in a California with world-class schools and colleges, a clean environment, and affordable high-quality health care. I believe we can make California’s government as smart and creative and progressive as its people.”

Osborn earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School and served as a senior advisor to Villaraigosa on homelessness and poverty policy, served as chief civic engagement officer for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and is currently a senior strategist for California Calls, a network of 25 organizations throughout California committed to government reform.

“Throughout my career, I have brought people together to create solutions and organize for results,” Osborn said. “That’s energy I want to bring to this campaign, and that’s the spirit I want to bring to Sacramento.”

The primary for the Assembly seat is scheduled for June 2012. The 41st District comprises parts of the coast, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the San Fernando Valley, including Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades.

Osborn’s connections in Los Angeles, as well as her ties to former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, still politically engaged even though she no longer holds public office, will surely make her a strong contender and pose a serious challenge to Bloom, who is not as well known outside the confines of Santa Monica.

Bloom officially announced his candidacy last week when he schedule his own campaign kickoff event on June 5 at the Santa Monica Art Studios.

CITYWIDE

Tutors needed for homeless kids

School on Wheels, a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless children excel in school, is desperately seeking volunteers to tutor children at homeless shelters and group homes in and around Santa Monica.

“Every day we are seeing more and more homeless children and we need more tutors to be able to help these kids with their homework and studies,” said Sinead Chilton, marketing consultant with School on Wheels.

Last year, School on Wheels helped 6,200 kids, but there are more than 290,000 homeless children in California, Chilton said.

“We need more help.”

Tutoring takes place at the Upward Bound House family shelter, local libraries and the Salvation Army.

Those interested can go to www.schoolonwheels.org to learn more.

School on Wheels was founded in 1993 by Agnes Stevens, a retired teacher who began tutoring homeless kids in a park in Santa Monica, encouraging them to stay in school.

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