Political Demographic & Opposition Research

For Assembly Campaign in Santa Monica

In 2006, term limits would force the retirement of California Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, serving the 41st Assembly District, along the coast from Santa Monica north to Oxnard and several miles inland. Because this wealthy and influential district is heavily Democratic, the winner of the primary would surely win the general election. Among the candidates who would declare was Kelly Hayes-Raitt, a nationally known community organizer and Los Angeles County Woman of the Year.

Because I knew and respected Kelly, I was happy to lend my efforts to her campaign. My two most significant contributions, at her request, were research into her political opposition — although she never ran a negative campaign — and also a demographic handbook of the cities in AD 41.

Although Ms. Hayes-Raitt failed to win the nomination, she did attract significant support — as from actors/activists Martin Sheen and Ed Begley Jr. and the Sierra Club — and she was most appreciative of my assistance. I am happy to report that Kelly is still organizing grassroots efforts nationwide and beyond, in support of truly progressive causes.

AD 41 Handbook of Cities

California Assembly District 41 comprises the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Monica, and Westlake Village as well as the unincorporated areas of Newbury Park, Oak Park, and Topanga. It also includes some of the western communities of the city of Los Angeles: namely, Encino, Pacific Palisades, Tarzana, and Woodland Hills.

Typical Data for Each City

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Opposition Research

Click here to explore the Web site I created, whose functionality is greatly reduced here, for the sake of privacy (although all reports were published online).

The likely opponents of Ms. Hayes-Raitt were Calabasas City Councilmember Barry C. Groveman, District Director of outgoing Assemblymember Fran Pavley and former Mayor of Agoura Hills Louise Rishoff (who would eventually drop out), Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District Boardmember Julia Brownley (the eventual winner), and attorney Jonathan Levey. For each of them, I amassed from online sources, particularly the Los Angeles Times and various local newspapers, reports published over the previous 20 years. The information presented was by no means exhaustive, nor was its selection unbiased. However, it was intended to be representative and illuminating.

In order to most efficiently present this wealth of information, I designed a Web site (with a private URL, known only to Ms. Hayes-Raitt and me) based on “frames.” At the top of the site one could select a candidate and then any general area of interest, based upon the candidate’s published record. In the left-hand frame, there were chronologically ordered summaries of articles (Those that posed potential political liabilities, such as reports of special interests donating to his or her campaign, were displayed in red): That allowed the reader to quickly scan through a great deal of information very quickly. If one wanted to read more about any particular article, one could click on that article’s summary, in the left-hand frame, and bring up extensive highlights or even an entire article in the right-hand frame. Instructions were also given about how to download or print any article.

By scanning through the well-ordered summaries of articles, one could quickly learn not only the achievements and shortcomings of these candidates but also, to a certain extent, “what made them tick.” What’s more, from how all this was reported in the newspapers, one could readily appreciate what was most important to the voters in District 41.

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