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NOW Cover Letter

NOW Cover Letter

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Published by: Editor on Dec 30, 2012
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Dear Members of the San Fernando Valley NOW Chapter PAC and its partnerorganizations:I wanted to thank you for your dedication to the full range of issues affecting womenand girls of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds as well as your commitment toprogressive issues. I want to follow-up on your questionnaire with some additionalinformation on some of the issues that aren't explicitly addressed in that questionnaire.I believe my experience and record as an activist, academic and public servant distinguishes me in the field of candidates running for Mayor of Los Angeles innumerous ways:1
. I bring to my public service a life-long personal commitment to issues of gender equity
that dates back to my activism in college and graduate school, when Ichaired a national organization (the National Student Coalition Against Harassment)that fought for gender equity and human rights, and that specifically addressed theepidemic of sexual harassment and assault and racial and homophobic hate crimes oncollege campuses across the country. In my early twenties, I proudly founded andjoined groups that demanded that men play a role in halting sexism and sexual assault in our society
(included among them was the Columbia Men’s Discussion Group on
Sexism and Gender). I also worked on feminist issues on a global basis, as a humanrights activist, joining, for instance, the board of an organization working on women'sempowerment and health in Afr
ica (called the Kembatta Women’s Center
, whichspecifically works to combat the practice of FGE in Ethiopia). I continued with thishuman rights work on behalf of women and girls through my service on the boards of organizations like the Southern California Committee of Human Rights Watch and theCoalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, and through my personal philanthropiccommitments to numerous organizations that work to redress human rights abusesagainst women and girls. These organizations range in nature from small, grassrootsorganizations in the Los Angeles area like Khmer Girls in Action, Immigration Center forWomen and Girls, Girls Today Women Tomorrow, Black Women for Wellness, amongothers, to large and nationally well-known organizations like Planned Parenthood, that work to maintain the integri
ty of a woman’s right to choose
. I have personallysupported numerous reproductive rights organizations and campaigns dedicated toproviding reproductive rights services to women who live in medically underservedareas of our country through organizations like Medical Students for Choice and
Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP)
I have a long-standing personal commitment to the NationalOrganization for Women
. I am a long standing member of NOW, and have been adonor to both its national and state Foundation. In addition, I have participated in
several of NOW’s advocacy campaigns
(working with Lindsay Horvath, for instance, inHollywood; with Patty Bellasalma and others at the state level; and with Kim Gandy at the national level).3.
I have a record of meaningful accomplishments on behalf of women andgirls
, the highlights of which I include at the end of this letter, which demonstrate mywillingness to lead on issues of import to women and girls.4.
I have an unparalleled track record of 
leadership on NOW’s multi
-issue,progressive agenda
in comparison to other candidates seeking to lead Los Angeles asits Mayor. I authored the City Council resolution opposing unilateral war in Iraq at atime when 70% of the country was in favor of that war. I wrote the legislation that implemented the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW)
see LA City Council File 00-0398-S2. More recently, while other candidatesremained silent, I immediately voiced my opposition to the privatization of pensions inLA, when former Mayor Riordan sought to place this issue in front of the voters of LA. Ihave worked to improve women
’s position
in the workforce and to protect low-wageworkers from workplace abuses by supporting legal actions against Wal-Mart and otheremployers who bring anti-worker agendas to the workplace. I authored the nation'stoughest anti-sweatshop ordinance and the nation's largest anti-superstore ordinanceand the legislation that extended the Equal Benefit Ordinance to cover same-sexpartners of employees in companies doing business with the port, airport andDepartment of Water and Power.
I performed LA’s first legal same sex marriage (as
well more than 18
others after that). My focus on NOW’s multi
-issue progressiveagenda extends to a considerable legislative focus on environmental issues as well, andto the important problem of ensuring the families can afford to live in Los Angeles. I
authored the nation’s largest green building ordinance; I authored the nation’s largest 
clean water initiative of its kind
; and I authored the nation’s largest solar initiative of i
Where affordable housing and tenants’ rights are concerned,
I authored the
nation’s largest housing trust fund legislation, and I authored the nation’s first tenant 
foreclosure moratorium.5.
I bring an unequaled record on immigrant rights issues to this race.
Mygrandfather was a dreamer who came to this country from Mexico and was only able tobecome a citizen more than 30 years after arriving as a result of his service in WWII. Ifight for dreamers and for immigrant rights in general. In my twenties, I worked as astudent organizer against Prop 187
(see George Ramos’ column in
the LA Times about my efforts:
“Prop. 187 Protest Has Sympathizers an Ocean Away”)
. More recently, I was
proud to have held workshops (the only candidate to do so) with CHIRLA and otherimmigrant rights groups to help more than 500 people learn how to participate in
President Obama’s new deferred action program immediately after it was announced.
During my years on the City Council, I wrote the legislation that recognized the
matricula consular 
(consular ID cards) as a legally acceptable form of identification inLos Angeles. In addition, I wrote the resolution calling for full immigration equality forsame sex partners, and I helped create the first Office of Immigrant Affairs in the city'shistory.6.
I have an unparalleled record on hiring and advancing women
duringmy years on the City Council. I am the only city councilmember to my knowledge toemploy two women who were the parents of young children on a part-time basis inimportant management positions during my council service. For numerous years, mymanagement team at City Hall was exclusively women (Chief of Staff Ana Guerrero,Communications Director Julie Wong, Policy Director Sarah Dusseault, EconomicDevelopment Director Kelli Bernard, Director of Scheduling and Senior Advisor HeatherRepenning, and District Directors Shane Goldsmith, Heather Repenning and MartaSegura were among those who led my office during those years). Currently, mycampaign team includes a majority of women in leadership roles; including CampaignManager Mollie Culver, Deputy Campaign Manager Mary Hodge, Finance DirectorStephanie Daily Smith, Political Director Heather Repenning, Field Director MollyFowler, Senior Policy Advisor Sarah Dusseault and Senior Political Advisor JulieGutman.My long-standing commitment to women and girls and to the advancement of women in leadership positions has resulted in the endorsement of leading grassrootsactivists on issues of gender equity including (all in their individual capacities): RobynRitter Simon (immediate past President, NWPC LA
Westside); Lindsay Horvath(president, Hollywood NOW); Monica Rodriguez (President, HOPE PAC board); NilzaSerrano (HOPE PAC board member), Ana Ponce (HOPE PAC board member), WendyBruget (HOPE PAC board member); Jodi Evans (co-founder and co-director, Code Pink),among others. I am also honored to have the support of long-standing NOW memberJackie Goldberg; activists like Salma Hayek (who I first came to know on a policy basiswhen working with her on Congressional testimony on the issue of domestic violence);and of a long list of prominent women involved in the environmental movement likeLaurie David, Dayna Bochco, Heather Thomas, and Amy Smart.
The reason I’m in this race is to make Los Angele
s a great city again, with an agendabased on prosperity and equity and grounded in the values we share. I am more than a
“reliable” supporter on women’s and human rights i
ssues. I am a committed to making

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