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Santa Monica City Councilmembers Back Ted Lieu for Congress

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By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

March 6, 2014 -- Three Santa Monica City Councilmembers Wednesday endorsed State Senator Ted Lieu in his bid to represent the bayside city in Congress.

Citing Lieu’s record on the environment, affordable housing and transportation, City Councilmembers Kevin McKeown, Ted Winterer and Tony Vazquez threw their weight behind the State Senator in his race to replace retiring Congressman Henry Waxman.

“Ted is for real,” McKeown told The Lookout in an email Wednesday. “He’s genuine.  He radiates honest enthusiasm for making progressive change.”

Waxman’s announcement in January that he would retire after 40 years representing Los Angeles’ Westside in Congress drew a crowded field, including KCRW radio show host Matt Miller and former L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, who lost her bid to become L.A.’s first female mayor in 2013.

L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr is the only Republican in the race to represent Congressional District 33, which covers West L.A., Beverly Hills and the costal cities from Malibu to Palos Verdes.

But the for the three Santa Monica Councilmember, Lieu, whose current State Senate District overlaps with much of CD 33, is the right choice.

McKeown, who said he has supported Lieu’s work ever since he was first elected as a legislator in 2005, said he was particularly happy with the State Senator’s work on affordable housing.

In 2013, Lieu signed on to Assembly Bill 1229, which would have reversed a ruling that prevents cities from requiring developers to build low-income housing.

While the bill was vetoed by the Governor, McKeown celebrated Lieu’s willingness to support it. (“Governor's Veto Frustrates Santa Monica's Affordable Housing Advocates,” October 15, 2013)

“It’s unfortunate that Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1229, but Ted certainly showed his stuff.” said McKeown.

Winterer pointed to Lieu’s responsiveness to his constituents as a factor in his decision to support the State Senator’s run for Congress.

“(H)e has consistently championed the priorities of constituents in Santa Monica and the district,” said Winterer.

“He has repeatedly taken on air and noise pollution issues, is a fighter for sustainability and open space, and has stood up to powerful interests on behalf of his constituents,” he said.

Winterer was referring to the fact that, in his nine years as a legislator, Lieu has supported efforts to mitigate the environmental impact of Santa Monica Airport (SMO). (“‘Champion’ of Airport Neighbors to Represent Santa Monica in State Senate,” January 31, 2013)

“He has in particular led an investigation of the pollution from airport operations and been vocal about the need to address these negative consequences for our local air quality,” Winterer told The Lookout in an email.

“I have no doubt that when he's elected to Congress he will be a vital ally in the grassroots battle against powerful and vested interests either to curtail flight operations or to close SMO,” he said.

Vazquez agreed.

“Ted Lieu has always fought for quality of life issues for the residents of Santa Monica and the constituents in his district,” he said in an official statement issued by Lieu’s campaign Wednesday.

Lieu and his competitors will face off during the June 3 primary election. Only the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will go on the November ballot.

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