It only happens once a year—last Sunday, about 40 members of the Malibu Democratic Club tuned in for the annual general membership meeting on Zoom, headed up by President Jane Albrecht.
California Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D), Malibu’s representative in the state assembly since 2012, was a featured guest at the meeting. Bloom announced his candidacy for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (District 3) back in January, a week after Sheila Kuehl confirmed she would not seek a third term (her current term ends Dec. 5, 2022).
“One of the reasons I’m running for the board of supervisors is that their work is central to the issue of homelessness, and I want to step up and provide a leadership role on it,” he said.
In the meantime, Bloom is working on a number of bills and committees in the state assembly. He co-sponsored AB 3088 to prevent tenants from being evicted during COVID-19, which was extended into June.
“We were facing a tsunami of potential evictions,” he noted. “We got $2.4 billion in funding to help tenants and landlords, and not increase the number of homeless [people].”
Bloom is also concerned about the “epidemic” of hate crimes, and to that end serves as chair of the assembly select committee on the “state of hate,” hoping to make it a permanent committee, which would allow them to “get a handle on this behavior and lower the temperature.”
Bloom said he was also trying to get a billion dollars in wildfire prevention funding and get the state to start differentiating between the chaparral of Southern California and the woodland forests of Northern California, which “need to be treated differently.” He hopes the funding will kick in as “early action” funding which allows monies to be given out right away.
“Every succeeding year, wildfires seem to be worse than the year before,” he noted.
Bloom reminded his audience it was time for LA County redistricting, which happens every 10 years, and said it’s possible district lines will change for the 2022 elections. Districts are supposed to be grouped by “communities of interest” and he’d therefore like to see all of the Santa Monica Mountains finally grouped into one district. He cautioned that there may be a delay in the redistricting, because it relies on 2020 Census data, which is coming in late this year.
Mayor Mikke Pierson gave an update on the innovative “fire follower” program he is trying to set up, working closely with the LA County Fire Department. This program would allow citizens to assist the department during wildfires by “mopping up embers, putting out spot fires, and clearing out neighborhoods to a safe place.”
When Pierson first presented this idea to LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby right after the Woolsey Fire, he got a hard “No” in response, “but the reality of the situation has since sunk in that they just don’t have the resources available in some situations, and that we’re all in this together,” Pierson said.
“Last Wednesday, we met directly with nine fire chiefs and the president of the Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Foundation and it went very well,” the mayor added. “I think the chiefs all showed up ready to say, ‘No,’ but left with a ‘Yes.’ The passion of the presenters and our answers to their questions impressed them. We represent neighbors and neighborhoods, and want to be part of the solution. We’d love to roll out a pilot program here and prove the model.”
The Democratic Club voted to approve the following slate of officers and board members for a two-year term: President - Jane Albrecht; Vice-Presidents - Lance Simmens, Ted Vaill, Lou La Monte; Treasurer - David Kramer; Secretary - Ted Vaill; Board Members - Dianne Landau, Garen Kosoyan and Bill Swartout.
“We got rid of Trump, but Trumpism is still alive and well,” Albrecht remarked in statements after her re-election as president. She noted the biggest challenges for California Democrats in the near future will be defeating the recall of Governor Newsom and winning back or keeping house seats in the mid-term 2022 elections. She also expressed concern about campaign finance reform, gerrymandering and the future of the filibuster.
In an open discussion, other officers and board members brought up local issues that could benefit from the club’s political clout, including what the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) and Joe Edmiston are doing in Malibu neighborhoods and the fight for Malibu to have an independent school district.