BLOG: Education Leaders Respond to Osborn's Negative Mailer

Education leaders say the attack on Assemblywoman Betsy Butler's budget vote is untruthful.

Last week, I wrote about the on education and the state budget.

The mailer which aims to confuse voters, has sparked a response from education leaders and unions. Wait, a union supporting someone who caves to Republicans? Yes, that's because Torie Osborn's mailer is not telling the whole story. The state budget that Betsy voted for was the same one that every single Democrat voted including the only two Assembly members who support Torie (Julia Brownley* & Cathleen Galgiani). However, Torie only aims fire at Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, why? Because it is convenient for Torie to do and because it is election time! I agree, the Budget is a mess but it is not fair to attack and blame Betsy for it. She has only been there for a little over a year and California's budget woes go back a long, long time. 

Kathryn Lybarger, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, which represents University of California workers, hits back in a written statement given to LA Weekly:

"The mischaracterization of Assemblywoman Butler's support of education was taken right out of Karl Rove's Republican playbook. This swift boat attack is false, misleading and says nothing about the fact that Republicans were responsible for the cuts in this budget and refused to let voters decide on additional revenues. Assemblywoman Butler has been the legislature's top educations ally."


Mitra Moassessi, president of the Santa Monica College Faculty Association who has endorsed Betsy Butler, told the LA Weekly:

"Assemblywoman Butler stood up to Republicans and voted to protect our community colleges from devastating cuts that would have denied access to thousands of students to community college. Her continued progressive stance on education funding is why Assemblywoman Butler is endorsed by the Santa Monica Community College Faculty."


Allan Clark, president of California School Employees Association, adds,

"This attack on Assemblywoman Butler's budget vote could not be farther from the truth. The Democratic budget was passed only after Republican leaders refused to put up one vote for a compromise budget, because the cuts weren't big enough."


The bigger question here (and not asked in Torie's mailer) is this: Would Torie vote with Democrats (just like Betsy Butler) for Governor Brown's budget or would she have joined the Republicans in opposing it?  According to Torie Osborn's own press release given to the LA Weekly, she would have:

"If I'd been in the Assembly, I'd have stood up against these cuts and voted no."


Democratic voters in the 50th Assembly District: The only Assemblymembers that voted "no" for the Democratic budget presented by Governor Brown were Assembly Republicans. Is Torie Osborn really telling this District that she would have joined Republican Assemblymembers and opposed the budget presented by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown? A fair question.


Meanwhile, education leaders continue to line up in support of Butler's re-election campaign in the 50th Assembly District. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, announced his endorsement of Assemblymember Betsy Butler a few months ago:

“We need leadership and commitment to education and Assemblymember Butler has demonstrated her ability to address the tough challenges our public schools face. Like me, Betsy wants to ensure that every child has a safe environment in which to learn and that our teachers and school professionals have the resources they need to effectively prepare our children for success in the 21st century." 


In addition to Tom Torlakson's endorsement, Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Marguerite LaMotte has also endorsed Asm. Betsy Butler's re-election campaign. And just recently, the Los Angeles Community College Trustees endorsed Asm. Betsy Butler in her re-election campaign for Assembly. You have a choice on June 5th, to re-elect a progressive champion to the Assembly or someone who will do and say anything to win an Assembly seat. I hope you vote for Betsy Butler.


*Assemblywoman Julia Brownley has dual endorsed Betsy Butler and Torie Osborn

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Susie Shannon May 31, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Ari, I know you have strong opinions, but you do not live in the district. I am tired of people outside the district trying to force us to vote for a candidate who just moved into the district. The fact that you can write a blog like this and not even mention the kids who will suffer from these cuts is really disturbing to me. I DO live in the 50th Assembly District. I am a mom and I have a child going off to Kindergarten next year. My family will be directly impacted by these cuts to education. We want a representative from our district who is going to stand up and fight for our kid and other school age children like her. That is why we support Torie Osborn for Assembly. If Butler believes that her vote cutting education is a good thing, then that is disturbing, too. As my mom used to say, just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right. Last time I checked, cutting public education was a Republican principle. Maybe you should talk to parents at our local school who are losing their library next year and explain to them how this was a good vote for a Democrat. The budget is voted on by a simple majority, and not one Republican is needed to pass it! It's about time someone started holding elected reps responsible for their bad budget votes. They are against our California Democratic Party Platform! I know one Democrat who suffered serious retribution from the Assembly Speaker for voting against it, so your comment that every Dem. voted for it is false.
John Londono May 31, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I agree. I am tired of politicians not fighting for what is right. This article implies Betsy Butler did the right thing because she "voted with" the Democrats and not the Republicans. Doing the right thing is voting for what is right, regardless of whose party you belong to....
Ari Ruiz May 31, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Susie, With all due respect, I am not an outsider. I spend most of my volunteer work in the new AD 50 working for LGBT Rights. Most recently, we raised over $7,000 dollars for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. There is a bunch of people living outside of AD 50 who are also supporting Torie Osborn, so forgive me if I too, exercise my right to support Betsy. In addition, Torie's mailer is far from the truth and education leaders who are supporting Betsy called it was it was - a gotcha kinda politics from Osborn. The votes that Torie eagerly distorted were, of course, part of the first budget that started cleaning up the Schwarzenegger mess. And contrary to the last-minute misrepresentations against Betsy, last year's budget did not, in fact, reduce per-pupil classroom spending and some senior programs were given more money than the previous year. But who cares that we didn't cut education, right? It's election time, so anything goes in winning.
Richard B May 31, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I will vote for Torie, she is the real deal. Betsy is the one playing politics, I don't trust her to follow thru with her promises.
Bennet Kelley June 01, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I live in this district and found this attack to be very misleading. The mailer suggests that Butler somehow was trying to curry favor with the Republicans by voting for Governor Brown's budget. The reality is not a single Republican voted for this budget and, in fact, people endorsing Ms. Osborn voted for it as well because they have a constitutional obligation to balance the budget. Ms. Osborn's website claims the banner of "Common Sense. Creativity. Courage" but in criticizing Butler's vote she totally punts by saying "My plan to balance the budget is something I've talked about throughout this campaign -- I am an advocate for revenue and budget reforms . . . ." Not very creative, not very courageous and defies common sense because of the 2/3rd requirement that handcuffs all such reforms. This is a pandering attack that insults the voters intelligence. Unfortunately, that has how she has run her campaign throughout and I'm glad to see people are seeing through this and realize that Torrie is an insider playing politics as usual. If you want courage and common sense you might want to vote for candidates that have actually balanced a budget, rather than one who just talks about it.
Susie Shannon June 01, 2012 at 07:31 AM
Bennett - The budget is voted on by a simple majority. Democrats have a clear margin and no Republican votes are necessary. Proposition 25 passed Nov. 2, 2010. http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_25,_Majority_Vote_for_Legislature_to_Pass_the_Budget_(2010)
Bennet Kelley June 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Susie: 2/3rds would be required for the "revenue reforms" Torie speaks of.
Susie Shannon June 01, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Bennett - But the mailer was about budget. Don't you think it is misleading to say that Butler needed to vote for the budget in order for it to pass? Democrats have well over a majority in the State legislature.
Bennet Kelley June 01, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Susie - let me clear because I think you are trying to obfuscate your candidate's blunder and attributing to me statements I never made. There are two issues about the mailer - (1) it is misleading since it attempts to portray Betsy Butler as voting with Republicans which is not the case, she was voting for the Democratic budget without a single Republican vote. (2) What would Torie have done given the requirement to balance the budget? This is classic case of tough decisions having to be made and your candidate trying to have it both ways by criticizing Butler's vote without offering any meaningful alternative other than some pixie dust that she would push for reforms that are DOA absent a 2/3rds majority.
Susie Shannon June 02, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Bennett: If you believe Butler's vote to cut education was the right thing to do, and this vote was a positive thing, than why didn't Butler send her own mailer touting these education cuts that she believes are so great? Because the truth is that budget cuts to public education appeal to Republican voters and Butler just moved into a progressive Democratic district. You would be hard pressed to find a progressive who agrees that we should cut education. It is also counter to the Democratic Party platform, see www.cadem.org. I understand you want to put a positive spin on Butler's education cuts by stating other Democrats voted for these cuts and it makes it OK. Like this is some kind of fashion statement. That may go over well in Sacramento, but it certainly won't go over well in our district, or at a local PTA meeting. "I voted to cut your school's library and your kid's favorite teacher, but it's ok because a lot of people voted the same way I did." These are real kids, with real teachers and books and libraries. They deserve a real advocate & leader in Sacramento like Torie, not a legislator who tries to hide her vote and then tries to hide behind other legislators when her vote is exposed. Osborn's mailer talks about Republican voters and says nothing about how Repub. legislators voted. By the way, it is rank and file Democratic voters who decide what it means to be a Democrat, not the elected officials who stray from our Party values. Best to keep that in mind.
Bennet Kelley June 02, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Susie: You can't have it both ways. WHAT WOULD TORIE DO? While you guys hide behind your attack piece and pixie dust solution, Governor Brown has praised Butler saying that "Assemblywoman Betsy Butler has made the tough decisions we need to balance our budget, protect Democratic priorities, and get our state back on track. That takes political courage and integrity, and Betsy Butler has both." Democratic voters value integrity. Democratic voters value people getting the job done and not grandstanding on the sidelines. So if Torie is the "real advocate and leader" why have you constantly dodge the real question. How would Torie have fixed the deficit at that time?
Ari Ruiz June 02, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Susie, Torie Osborn has given every single Republican a talking point to use against Assemblymembers running for office. Since you're not supporting Betsy Butler due to the supposed budget cuts and are so worried about a library and schools; I hope you also not support Julia Brownley in the Congressional race for CD 26 and Cathleen Galgiani in Senate District 5. Both voted for the Democratic Budget. Have you hammered Julia Brownley for voting for the budget too? Or only Butler? Has Torie Osborn told voters that too? PS: I'm supporting Julia Brownley in CD 26, I like her very much!
Steven Jones June 02, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I tend to support Osborn. However, I must agree that the very deceptive and demagogic negative attack ads of TO in the last few days are really bad. In fact, I think even if only looked at tactically, a major mistake of the Osborn campaign, which will only hurt TO and not help her. People are too educated in this district to respond positively to that kind of smear campaign, and those ads will only hurt TO. I hope she wakes up to that, and stops the negative campaigning. There has been a lot of dishonest from both campaigns though. A flyer from Butler yesterday claimed that Julia Brownley enthusiastically endorsed her, while in fact Brownley has endorsed Osborn. There is also a picture of and statement from Fran Pavley on that flyer that imply that Pavley has endorsed her, while in fact Pavley has endorsed no one in the race. Another flyer from Butler yesterday features a picture of Cesar Chavez, with almost an implication that he endorses her (from the grave?) (No mention of CC's closest compatriot in that struggle though, Dolores Huerta, who I understand has endorsed Osborn.) (continued in next comment)
Steven Jones June 02, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Also, it is BS for the Butler campaign to talk about re-election. Re-election means running for the same office, If Butler was running in the same district where she had been elected to the assembly before (yes, including some changes and different number due to redistricting), she would be running for re-election. If Julia Brownley could run now in district 50, she would be running for re-election. Butler moving here to another district where Boss Perez told her to run, is not in any way running for "re-election". I don't think it is correct for the California Democratic Party to endorse one Democrat against another in a primary. It is only their job to support the Democrat against the other parties. Again though, that is due to what seems to be the immense power of Speaker Perez. (Which also explains the endorsements of Butler by many organizations. They all need to be on good terms with the speaker, in order to have their agenda heard in the legislature. Way too much power invested in one guy!) (Note--Perez's pushing of Butler turns me off to her.) The dishonesty from both sides, and the negativity of the recent Osborn ads, is turning me off to both, and I may just therefore vote for Mayor Bloom in this election, although I know the November runoff will be between BB and TO.
Ari Ruiz June 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Assemblywoman Julia Brownley has endorsed Betsy Butler for AD 50, she dual endorsed. Also, Senator Fran Pavley authorized Betsy Butler to use the quote on the mailers that you have received. Lastly, the United Farm Workers have ONLY endorsed Betsy Butler in the AD 50. In addition, Betsy Butler, this year introduced AB 2346, Fight to Protect Farm Workers from the Deadly Effects of Heat Illness: http://www.asmdc.org/members/a53/thirst-for-justice?layout=item
Susie Shannon June 03, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Bennett - Governor Brown has not endorsed in the AD 50 Race. But, Gov. Brown is praising Butler for agreeing to vote on his budget which dumps 900,000 children from the healthy families program into medi-cal, leaving many without any access to a doctor in a non-emergency situation. This is reprehensible. Read the story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/california-budget-cuts_n_1553228.html Is this what Brown and Butler mean by Democratic principles? Elected officials do not define what it is to be a Democrat, the Democratic constituents do and we elect people to follow those values in government. You see everything from the POV of Sacramento and believe they make the rules that everyone else should follow. . These elected officials are abandoning everything we stand for so they can play political games with our children. Once again, everything that is wrong with Sacramento. Do you stand behind Brown's proposal to rip children from their doctors? Do you stand behind Butler's decision to cut these children from their doctors?
Susie Shannon June 03, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Democratic voters VALUE children, seniors, the disabled community, and people in underserved communities. I have NEVER heard someone say they are a Democrat because they believe we should cut education, senior day care, disability programs and cash aid to the poorest children in the state. You may want to check out the California Democratic Party platform: www.cadem.org. Nowhere does it state that we stand for cutting any of these programs, or that we should trade them off to "get things done." If this is your idea of "getting things done," I would hate to see what you think of as "slacking off." Good luck trying to spin people into believing cutting the most vulnerable residents of our state is a "Democratic Priority." I, for one, know where I stand and that is why I support Torie Osborn. I suppose you also stand behind Butler's vote to end rent control for senior citizens who live in mobile homes? You'll probably try to spin that one, too.
Marta Evry June 03, 2012 at 04:55 PM
If Betsy is going to run on her record, then it's fair game to have that record pulled apart and criticisized by her opponents. She can't have it both ways.
Bennet Kelley June 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Marta - I agree. What I object to are misleading attacks and pandering. We've already discussed ad nauseum how this is misleading. I've asked Susie several times now how TO would have balanced the deficit that year and all I have heard is politics as usual talking points. Noticeably missing is the decades of leadership and courage TO talks about or any real answer.
Bennet Kelley June 04, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Finally Julie if the vote is sooooo reprehensible where is yours or TO's criticism of her endorsers who voted for the bill?
Ari Ruiz June 04, 2012 at 06:55 PM
This might be interesting, Bennet about TO's time at the LA Gay Center and of course, talking about budgets: Fact checking: The Center’s timeline says for 1991: “Center ends FY 91 with revenues of $5.8 million; year ends in the red with expenses of $6.2 million.” And for 1992: October Executive Director Osborn steps down and later briefly serves as executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. And that is how Torie would deal with California's budget, because the more you know...
Marta Evry June 04, 2012 at 08:46 PM
God bless you, Ari, but if you were any more transparent, you'd be invisible. Can't wait for the negative mailers should Osborn and Butler face off in November.
Marta Evry June 04, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Steve, I can't tell you how Torie would have voted - I'm not Torie. However, I can tell you Torie has been very vocal in her belief that one way to fix the budget is to reform Proposition 13 by making sure corporations pay their fair share. That's a position I whole-heartedly agree with. Since Prop 13 was passed, property tax burdens have disproportionately fallen on the shoulders of homeowners while huge corporations like Disney get away with paying very little tax.
Ari Ruiz June 04, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Thanks for giving us a heads up about Torie Osborn sending even more negative mailers. I feel sorry for the trees.
Susie Shannon June 05, 2012 at 07:12 AM
Bennett: How Torie would balance the budget is a relevant question. And, it's been answered by me several times: Not on the backs of poor children, seniors and the disbaled. You don't apparently like that answer because it doesn't make Butler look so great. Or do you think cutting children, seniors, the disabled, etc. is a good thing and justified? There are real people behind these cuts. You would do best to remember that.
Bennet Kelley June 05, 2012 at 07:37 AM
Susiee - you would be best to check your health coverage to see if covers falls from your high horse and have your ears checked for echos since you say the same thing over and over again but dodge the real issue. I doubt there was a single Democrat that wanted to make the cuts, but they had to balance the budget and had the guts to do what they were elected to do and not grandstand like Ms. Red Sea Torrie Osborn. Her position and mailer on reforming Prop 13 neglects to mention that it requires 2/3rds vote and was not possible when these votes were cast and isn't likely to be possible anytime soon. That's smoke and mirrors ala Karl Rove.
Susie Shannon June 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Voters: If you want a FIGHTER who is going to stand up for renter's rights, children and seniors - VOTE FOR TORIE OSBORN - the no excuses candidate. I'm voting for her, and so are my family and neighbors!
Susie Shannon June 05, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Bennett: It doesn't take a lot of guts to vote against children and poor women. These are two constituencies that do not have a union and do not give big money to campaigns. It takes a lot of guts to fight for this constituency. You values are topsy turvy, perhaps? It takes a lot of guts to go up against corporate money and big contributors, like, say, The Apartment Owner's Association in Butler's case,
Bennet Kelley June 06, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Signs the so-called outsider reform candidate is really just politician who will say anything to get elected number 2: she grandstands and criticizies a vote to balance the budget without saying either where she would cut or how she would generate new revenue, what a fraud
Vanoush Khatchaturyan October 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Bennet you are the one that should check your health care coverage, oops maybe you can get a protective order against others that don't agree with your tactics. Go ahead turn it into the DA's office because you are a frightened little girl that has a cloak and dagger mentality. Get your poison pen ready it is going to be a busy 2013. Obamacare is not going to benefit you or the country. If you think big insurance is going to allow the ratification of this nonsense policy you are sadly mistaken and really don't know how health care or politics is operated. the reference to "red sea" and your other cute little labels is getting old. Bennie you are entertaining but not enough to be a celebrity.


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