Plea for Decency and Transparency


The elections are over, people are assessing failures and successes and preparing to move on. Before we do, let’s ask ourselves: In this age of rampant dirty politics how much of our integrity are we willing to sacrifice to win?

We’re used to low standards of behavior in elections, but dirty tactics are still shocking when schools and children are concerned – as in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) election.

On Nov. 2, our friends and neighbors in Santa Monica came home to find a political advertisement hanging from their front door. It contained a photo of school board candidate Craig Foster, Photoshopped to add a menacing frown and dark circles under his eyes, and stated in stark black and red: “VOTER ALERT” “We cannot trust candidate Craig Foster.” It went on to accuse Mr. Foster of “oppos(ing) policies aimed at closing the achievement gap.” The flip side had smiling faces of board candidates Laurie Lieberman, Oscar De La Torre, Ralph Mechur and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein.

L.A.-based hotel workers’ union, UNITE HERE, claimed responsibility in the advertisement’s fine print and implied that the message was endorsed by the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, Service Employees Union International (SEIU) Local 99, and Santa Monica and Malibu parents.

Immediately, the Classroom-Teachers Association publicly disavowed any approval or prior knowledge of this flyer. Unfortunately, the other parties listed have yet to publicly condemn the message.

This type of dirty politics leaves a sour taste in the mouths of most decent people in our community. The Malibu Schools Leadership Committee (MSLC) is issuing a public call for decency to all the organizations listed as endorsers on the flyer. Let’s dispense with the racial jabs, the mud-slinging, the win-at-any-cost mentality, especially when it comes to our schools and children. Please publicly repudiate this flyer and demand an apology from UNITE HERE Local 11 PAC.

Karen Farrer


Malibu Schools Leadership Council



Like everyone else, I’m really glad the election is over but before we put it completely to bed, I’d like to point out something that happened at my polling place in Sunset Park on Election Night.

I walked over to the little church on 20th St. that is my polling place to find proponents of both Measure LC and Measure D standing right outside of the church on church property and on either side of the narrow path leading around to the back door to the voting booths. They were holding signs supporting their positions. There was a car parked on the street, right next to the front of the church, with a Measure D sign on top of it. As I walked to the path, one person on the LC side asked me if I needed a slate to take with me into the voting booth! I had my own already marked, thanks.

I was shocked to find campaigning right at my polling place, so shocked that I went home and looked to see if CA State law forbidding campaigning closer than 100 feet to a polling place had been revoked. It has not. The signs that the polling personnel are required to post stating the law were nowhere in sight either.

I have used my privilege to vote in every election since it was given to me. This is the first time that I have ever experienced campaign signs at my polling place, not to mention actual people campaigning. I was deeply offended by the illegal actions of both sides. A polling place is the property, not just the back door to the booths. Santa Monica should know better.

Sharon Hagen

Santa Monica

Task force thanks


The Lincoln Boulevard Task Force “Clean Sweep” happened in spite of the rain the night before. The skies cleared and a rainbow came out just as our volunteers assembled. The event was a success primarily due to the efforts of Sustainable Works which sent us the bulk of our clean up volunteers. Armed with shovels, rakes, and brooms and bags, litter and other debris was removed from near the Interstate 10 south to Ozone Ave.

Thanks go to Albertson’s on Lincoln Blvd. for letting us set up “command central” in their parking lot and for donation of bottled water. Event fliers and posters were provided by local printer Printing Palace, bags, gloves and dust masks were provided by the City’s Public Works Dept. which picked up on Sunday morning the orange bags of litter which decorated Lincoln Blvd. at the end of the event. Although most volunteers were underage, we appreciate Trip’s offer of a free beer to volunteers over 21.

Killeen Pilon

Santa Monica

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