By Jim Smith
Since February, when Jane Harman abruptly resigned her seat in Congress, 16 candidates have been working hard to discuss important national and international issues with the voters of the 36th District, including Venice. Unfortunately, Venetians and other voters failed miserably to hold up their end of citizenship. In fact, a lesser percentage of people in Venice – around 15 percent – voted than in the district as a whole (18 percent).
If Venice were its own Congressional District (not a bad idea), there would be a runoff between Debra Bowen with 35 percent and Marcy Winograd with nearly 23 percent of the vote. Janice Hahn and Craig Huey who finished first and secord district-wide (and coincidentally spent the most money) were third and forth choices in Venice. However, Huey, an evangelical Christian Republican right-winger who exclaimed that he feared for his life when he came to Venice for a candidates’ forum, attracted 303 votes in our community. When is the next Tea Party meeting?
Janice Hahn won the election early-on when she suckered Bowen into signing a pledge to defend Israel, right or wrong, thereby causing the entry of Marcy Winograd into the race. What possessed Bowen to sign a pledge that even casual campaign observers spotted as a devious ploy by Hahn? Without Winograd in the race, Bowen would probably have come out on top in the primary, and Hahn knew it. Bowen, who most of us regarded as a savvy politician, further compounded her woes, as reported in last month’s Beachhead, by refusing to sign the Veterans for Peace pledge to vote against funding the wars, thereby losing even more votes from her progressive base.
So now, Hahn has by default become the progressive candidate fighting off a tea party-birther-make medicare a voucher-cut social services to the bone-right winger-multi-millionaire, Craig Huey, who doesn’t even live in the district. Venetians will now have to forget Bowen and Winograd and fall in line with the mainstream Democrat come what may. Even so, Hahn is not likely to take the lead in Congress in ending the wars and bombings, cutting the military budget, creating a public jobs program to reduce California’s 23 percent real unemployment rate (shadowstats.com) or backing the country off of Harman’s vision of spying on everyone. She might not even save our post office. Our best hope now is that years of JH (Jane Harman) will be followed by the election of JH (Janice Hahn). If only the other 85 percent of you had voted.
The chart below shows how the candidates did in the various Venice hoods. It includes the top three Democrats, the top three Republicans and the top Libertarian, Peace and Freedom and Coffee Party candidates. Read it and weep.
The final results won’t be issued until June 17 and will include a few more votes across the board. Check lavote.net for updates.