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PACIFIC PALISADES PALISADIAN-POST: Council Greets Ted Lieu
July 05, 2012
By Reza Gostar, Staff Writer
Last Thursday during a meeting of the Pacific Palisades Community Council, local residents were introduced to Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who will be representing the Palisades in California's State Senate after November's election.
'I am very excited to represent Palisades later this year,' said Lieu, noting that this has come about because of statewide redistricting and not an election. The town's current representative, Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), is running in a newly created district this November. Lieu will not have to run for reelection until 2014.
Elected in a special election in 2005 after incumbent Assemblyman Mike Gordon died of complications from a brain tumor, Lieu served three terms before running for senate in 2010. He currently represents South Bay communities that will be joined by Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes and others. His new District 28 will be one of the wealthiest in the state. In fact, residents of Pacific Palisades have contributed more than 65 times the national average in political funding in the past 18 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Lieu, who has undergraduate degrees in both computer and political science from Stanford University and a law degree from Georgetown University, answered several questions from Community Council members.
'Several issues have come to our concern on the state level,' said Janet Turner, outgoing Council president. 'One is certain legislation that could jeopardize the power of the Coastal Commission ' are you familiar with that?'
Turner was speaking about a bill being pushed by lobbyists in Sacramento that could limit the commission's powers in regards to private land deeds and judicial processes. The bill made recent headlines because of a controversial proposed land development in Malibu by U2 guitarist, the Edge.
Lieu said he would not support the bill and agreed that the Coastal Commission was a critical component in protecting California's coastline from development.
In terms of his stance on open space, Lieu said: 'I always believed in a Native American philosophy that we don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrowed from our children. I have almost never seen something developed and then later turned into open space.'
Richard Cohen, chair emeritus of the PPCC, brought up the issue of the Mountains Recreation and Conservancy Authority's use of stop-sign cameras in Temescal Gateway Park. Cohen said the MRCA's management of parkland seems to have no accountability or oversight. Lieu invited the Community Council to send a brief about the issue to his office.
Lieu also expressed his support of Governor Jerry Brown's purposed bullet train, which would connect San Francisco, Anaheim, Sacramento and San Diego with a high-speed rail system.
'I will likely support it because I view it right now as economic stimulus,' said Lieu, noting the project would bring money to his district and would provide an environmentally beneficial form of travel in the future.
The $2.7-billion bullet train project is up for a vote in the State Assembly this week. Lieu also said that Proposition 13, which placed limits on property taxes, was 'extremely damaging to California in terms of shifting a whole bunch of power to Sacramento.' He said he would like to see corporations and businesses not enjoy the same protection as homeowners.
Lieu, who served on active duty for four years as a prosecutor in the JAG corps, is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force reserve.
Striving for a better life, Lieu's family migrated from Tawain to the U.S. when he was 4 and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. From there, his family went into the retail business, selling gifts at flea markets and eventually opening up a gift store where he worked as a young man, Lieu said. His family eventually was able to expand to six stores.
'In my mind, my family achieved the American dream. We went from poverty to a home and gave my brother and me an amazing education,' said Lieu, who lives in Torrance with his wife Betty, and their two children, ages 9 and 10. 'That's why I joined the U.S Air Force on active duty because I believe I can never give back to America what this country gave to me.'