By Jim Smith
Venice voters nearly topped the state on November 2 in support of legal marijuana. We were beaten out only by Berkeley, and then by a little more than 1 percent.
Venice 90291, north of Washington Blvd., voted by 75.8 percent to support the initiative which would have legalized small quantities of cannabis. Venetians who live south of Washington, in zip code 90292, voted by nearly the same margin, 70.2 percent. This may indicate that those of us living in the tonier districts of the peninsula and “Marina adjacent” are toking nearly as much as their unwashed brethren north of Washington.
In spite of Venice’s best effort, Proposition 19 went down to defeat statewide, gathering slightly more than 46 percent of the vote. However, more Californians voted for pot legalization, 4,534,837, than voted for either Meg Whitman or Carly Florina, the Republican candidates for governor and senator, respectively.
The overall support in Venice for Prop. 19 was 74.8 percent, while Berkeley came in at 76.5 percent. Other local votes for Prop. 19 included the city of Los Angeles – 53 percent; Santa Monica – 65 percent; San Francisco – 64 percent; city of Santa Cruz – 72 percent; and Oakland – 68 percent.
Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, both Mendocino and Humboldt Counties voted against Prop. 19. Illegal production of the weed accounts for about 50 percent of the local economy. Prop. 19 backers promised to take the profit out of illicit marijuana, a campaign slogan that in retrospect may have backfired.
In any case, backers of legal pot promised a new initiative soon that would be better written than Prop. 19. Let’s try to “Beat Berkeley” when that happens.
Two Venice residents, Debra Bowen and Lisa Green, where on the Nov. 2 ballot. Bowen ran successfully for reelection as state Secretary of State. Bowen received 74 percent of the vote in Venice and 53 percent statewide. Other Big Democrats were not far behind.
Lisa Green ran as the Green Party candidate for state Assembly. Her low-key campaign, which was also supported by the Venice Peace and Freedom Party, captured 7.5 percent of the vote in Venice 90291, where she mainly campaigned. She received more votes than Republican Nathan Mintz in three precincts and came close in several others. However, Democrat Betsy Butler beat the field with 66 percent of the vote in Venice and 50 percent district-wide. She will replace termed-out Ted Lieu who is planning on running for the state senate seat held by the late Jenny Oropeza. A special election for the seat, that includes Venice, likely will be held in March or April.
If you don’t know your precinct number, you can get it on the web at <www.lavote.net/OnlineDistrictmapApp>. Then go to http://bit.ly/fmz4vJ to find out how your neighbors voted.
NOTE about the chart, below: On the left is voter turn out, then our assembly district (53rd AD), Debra Bowen’s vote and percentage, and on the right, Prop. 19 results.