This Saturday attendees of the 2015 AltCar Expo and Conference will have the chance to view an exclusive clip from the documentary “My Lunch With The President,” a documentary about Santa Monica resident, Paul Scott, and his purchase of a $32,400 ticket from the Democratic National Committee to attend a fundraiser at a home in Santa Monica in June of 2013.
Scott is the co-founder of the national nonprofit group Plug In America and a world recognized expert on electric vehicles and solar power. Purchase of the ticket was supposed to guarantee him two minutes of time to talk to President Obama about a national electric vehicle policy.
Scott, who received a great deal of public attention for spending roughly half of his retirement fund on the ticket, had his money accepted by the DNC and his topic of discussion approved. But at the last minute he was disinvited from the event without being given a concrete explanation as to why.
The director and producer of the film, former Santa Monica city councilman and planning commissioner Kelly Richard Olsen, believes it was because the DNC felt the media attention being drawn to this “little guy” giving up so much to attend the expensive event was bad PR.
“Just for some reason the Democratic National Committee got nervous about people talking about the ticket price to the fundraiser,” Olsen said.
“But this is not a secret. They have websites promoting the event and what the price is. George Bush had 440 of these for the exact same ticket price.
“Paul didn’t do anything wrong here, he played by the rules. He was just trying to gain admission to talk to the president for two minutes about something that would benefit the country.
“He was told before hand the message you want to give is good. This was approved beforehand. Paul just wanted to make EV policy even bigger and they said ‘Yes that’s a terrific message, you’re in.’ But they got nervous because of the controversy of the ticket prices in general, not because of Paul. They didn’t kick anyone else out. Paul got excluded because the conservatives got upset.”
Scott did get his money back, and what’s more, Olsen said the story has a happy ending.
“While Paul did not get to meet with the president, he was vindicated, because shortly after he was invited as an honored guest by the government of the Netherlands to attend a European environmental summit where he was asked to give a 30-minute version of his intended talk with the president to the leaders of England and other European countries,” Olsen said.
Olsen, an old friend of Scott’s, initially began filming his story without the intent to create a film from it. But once Scott received the attention he did for the outcome of the event, they decided to proceed with a feature film.
Olsen shares Scott’s values and views on energy and fuel, having created Santa Monica’s Alternative Fueled Vehicle policy while in office. He is also the proud owner of a 100 percent electric car, though he is a renter without the ability to charge at his residence.
The clip will be shown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19 at the AltCar Expo 2015, as part of the featured lecture and panel series events. It will be followed by a panel discussion.
“Our panel will consist of some of the people that are in the film such as Paul, Alexandra Paul, who is an actress, as well as being a co-founder with Paul of Plug In America, Ed Begley, also an actor and well known EV activist and environmentalist and John Densmore, who is an author, actor and environmentalist, but probably most famous for being the drummer of one of the biggest bands in rock music history, The Doors.”
Olsen hopes a couple of things will come from the event.
“One is this is an interesting story, because it is not just about electric vehicles it is about what can be achieved by a person who is passionate and has a firm belief in something. It honors the average guy who steps up and tries to get something accomplished. The film shows the little guy can make an impact. And in this place it’s an impact on the environment.
“The other objective is to show the joy and practicality of owning an electric vehicle. We’ve had our car for a little over two years now, and we have an apartment. And we don’t have the ability to charge our car. Cause we have no parking. But we also don’t have the oil changes. None of that stuff. And I want the film, the film is going to show, people how easy it is to own an electric car, even for somebody who doesn’t have a place at home to charge their car.”
The AltCar Expo is the region’s first car show dedicated to alternative fuel vehicles and transportation. The expo began as a grassroots exposition in response to a growing need for non-gasoline fueled vehicles
The two-day event will be held at the Santa Monica Civic parking lot and East Wing, 1855 Main St., Friday Sept.18 and Saturday, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is free to the public. To register to attend or learn more about the vehicles visit http://altcarexpo.com or call (310) 390-2930.