In our ongoing immersion into all things political, we held the first fundraiser in our home last Saturday. We’re not exactly social butterflies, so the idea of having dozens of folks over for Stella, Brie, and polite conversation is more than a bit daunting.
But then friends and family pitched in, the two LA Superior Court candidates—Lori-Ann Jones and Cynthia Loo—charmed the guests, and the event stretched pleasantly into the sultry evening, long past the scheduled ending time.
Right up to starting time we didn’t know if we’d have eight guests or 80—or even 180 if everyone of the Facebook “Maybes” put in an appearance. We had used our weekly LA Progressive newsletter, the LA Progressive website itself, and our Facebook page to invite people, so hundreds of people likely saw the invitation, maybe more—a good-news, bad-news proposition that fed our nervousness.
And lots of folks responded. On Facebook alone, 34 people said they’d be there for sure and another 88 said they might make it. Having put out similar invitations for events held elsewhere, we knew these numbers were “soft.” We put the few friends and family who had told us directly they’d make it into the “certain” column. The rest, we figured somewhere between one in five would make it, tops, and more likely one in 10.
But what if we guessed wrong?
By pulling out every chair we have and turning a couple of boxes into chairs, we had seating for 40, figuring the house and deck could hold 50—60 if folks took turns breathing. But up here in Mt. Washington, parking is sparse. Most times, you can find maybe 10 open spots within a couple blocks and no parking lot handy.
That’s where the friends and family came to the rescue. Sharon’s friend Sandi Thomas volunteered to cater the event and Dick recruited Sharon’s son Wade Kyle and brother Martin Williams and our brother-in-law Dan Empfield to stand ready with Dick to ferry guests back and forth between the house and San Raphael, a curving street on the other side of the hill with lots of parking.
Then, magically many of our neighborhoods took their cars for drive that afternoon, the day was sunny but not overly hot, and just the right number of guests—35—showed up. Nobody had to walk more than a few hundred feet from their cars, we had more than enough of Sandy’s wonderful appetizers—and beer and wine and sodas—to go around, and everyone could get within easy earshot when Sharon introduced the two candidates so they could discuss their progressive credentials for election to LA’s Superior Court.
It was almost like we knew what we were doing.
We have come to admire and support Cynthia and Lori-Ann starting with their appearances before our Northeast Democratic Club where they were seeking our endorsement for the June primary. Both Cynthia and Lori-Ann received more votes than their opponents then, but both also fell short of am absolute majority, so they have to stand for LA County-wide election in November—an expensive proposition even for candidates with deep pockets, which Cynthia and Lori-Ann both lack.
We dove into our work on the LA Progressive to help shine a light on local progressive social justice issues here in Los Angeles that the mainstream media too often and too easily overlooks. The Superior Court races fit right there as precious little information is available about these contests and only the most dedicated voters can make informed decisions.
As a third-year law student at People’s College of Law, Sharon has a particular interest in these races, and a fair number of the guests were either lawyers or Sharon’s fellow law students from PCL.
Cynthia Loo has served since 2000 as a Superior Court Referee, working out of the Juvenile Court in East Los Angeles. She is endorsed by the LA County Democratic Party, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times, the United Farm Workers, and many dozens of organizations and liberal-minded leaders throughout the county, including our own local representatives Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and Councilman Ed Reyes. She is also a volunteer instructor at People’s College of Law.
At our event, she spoke eloquently about her desires to continue serving in Juvenile Court, using the court system to redirect young lives that have gone astray, rather than passing them along to adult courts and our prison-industrial system.
Lori-Ann Jones serves as an LA County Superior Court Commissioner after spending 16 years as a Deputy District Attorney, prosecuting hardcore gang and family violence cases. She is also endorsed by numerous liberal-minded local leaders, including our own Anthony Portantino and LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, the LA County Democratic Party, the UTLA, Crime Victims United of California, and our Northeast Democratic Club.
As a policeman’s daughter growing up in South LA not far from where the Crips Gang was formed in her youth, she told how that, but for the grace of God, she could have become a gang member herself and how that understanding of life in Los Angeles helped her decide as a prosecutor, now a court commissioner, and hopefully a Superior Court judge when compassion is warranted, and when it is not.
Smart Voter has compiled a nice comparison of these candidates, their opponents, and the candidates for other Superior Court seats.
We encourage you to vote for Lori-Ann and Cynthia this November.
Articles by Dick & Sharon:
- 02 Sep 2008 Talking Heads
- 22 Aug 2008 Turning the Ship
- 14 Aug 2008 Lessons Learned Along the Way
- 09 Aug 2008 The Bradley Effect
- Top: Dan Empfield, Lori-Ann Jones, Tanya Williams, and Lori Anne Odding
- Second: Annette Green and Cynthia Loo
- Third: Jan Tucker, Martin Williams, and Wade Kyle
- Fourth: Norma de la Pena and Tanya Williams