Senator Ted Kennedy Dies

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Senator Edward Kennedy, 77, died early  this morning at his home in Hyannisport, Mass., after a 16-month  battle with brain cancer.

Known as the “Lion of the Senate,”he served 47 years, more than any other Senator except the late Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.  But, more significantly,  he wrote more  important legislation than any other senator in history. He represented the people of Massachusetts, and all the people everywhere who had been left behind by society. He fought for civil rights, voting rights, health care, minimum wage increases, and so much more. He was Congress’s leading advocate for the poor, the disenfranchised, minorities, children, older people, and immigrants.

In the 1980s, when President Reagan made “liberal” a dirty word, virtually all of the leading Democrats ducked for cover, while Teddy Kennedy made a point, gleefully, of describing himself as a liberal.

Senator Kennedy’s death comes hard on the heels of the death of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In a very real sense, they were engaged in the same work: changing and making the world a better place.

He came to Santa Monica many times —- most recently to  campaign for his nephew, City Councilman Bobby Shriver.

What’s a Democrat? Wednesday

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“What Does It Mean to Be Democrat?” will be the topic of a

Santa Monica Democratic Club meeting on Wednesday, August 26.

Is “Democrat”  a label we put on to be part of a group, or is there an obligation that comes with the title?

Leigh Brumberg will lead the discussion.

In addition,  Frank Gruber will talk about his new book, “Urban Worrier: Making Politics Personal .” He was   involved in the development of the original Civic Center Specific Plan and a member of the late Ocean Park Community Organization,  the  Housing and Planning Commissions, and School District’s Prop. X Oversight Committee. Since 2000, he has written a weekly column in Surf  Santa Monica.

This week’s column is devoted to his frequently stated belief that Santa Monica is not a beach town.

The meeting will be held at  7  St. Anne’s Church, 2017 Colorado Avenue, at 20th Street. Free and open  to the public. Refreshments. Free parking.

PCH = Parking Lot Today

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According to KNBC News, a Eucalyptus tree fell across Pacific Coast Highway between Temescal Canyon and Sunset Boulevard this morning, blocking all traffic and   knocking out power to about 1200 customers.

PCH became a parking lot  immediately, with cars, trucks and buses lined up for miles on both sides If the fallen tree, as well as jamming up the 10 Freeway and alternate   routes.

The tree was removed, power was restored, and traffic was moving again by  mid-afternoon – but very slowly.

Recalling the Generosity, and Smarts of Eunice Shriver

By Susan Estrich

For The Philadelphia Inquirer

She was the candidate’s sister, the former president’s sister, the wife of the former vice presidential candidate. Legend had it that she was smarter than any of them. I was nobody, 25, working on my first presidential campaign, the senior and junior woman in almost every meeting. I was, for want of any competition, in charge of what they used to call “women’s issues” in the campaign.

She did not agree with me on what was, then and now, the most explosive of those issues. Did not agree is putting it mildly.

One of the guys probably told her I was in charge so she’d stop   asking them why all the briefing papers said “Sen. Kennedy supports Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.” That was my carefully constructed effort to avoid both excommunication (for him) and hell to pay (for both of us). “Ask Susan. She wrote it,” they must have told her, assuming she’d never go to the trouble of even figuring out who I was.

She did. She called. Then she invited me to dinner.

I was seated next to the priest.

“Father,” she said to him, “Susan is handling women’s issues for my brother. Perhaps you have some thoughts to share with her.”

I have never met smarter, more interesting, or more challenging dinner companions than the priests I sat next to in my many dinners at the Shrivers’. They didn’t change my mind. The truth is, they didn’t really try. As the campaign progressed, we even dropped the “as the law of the land.”

But this isn’t about abortion. It’s about a woman who had all the cards, who could have run right over me and insisted on dealing with the guys who really had the power.

Eunice Shriver was probably born shrewd. She certainly understood power as well as any woman I’d ever met. She knew I didn’t have it. So she gave it to me.

By treating me with respect, she made me – in the crazy, topsy-turvy world of campaigns – someone deserving of respect. If she thought I had power, I must; if the candidate’s sister calls you directly, you must be someone. “Going to dinner?” the guys would tease me, only half in jest.

There weren’t too many powerful women around in those days, and the last person many of them wanted to deal with was a girl half their age. I understood why they wanted to talk to the men; after all, they had the power. Eventually, I’d have to go to them anyway. Why not cut out the middle woman? It happened. Some of the time, even world-famous feminists did it.

It takes a pretty special woman to understand that by extending a hand to a junior woman, you make her path that much easier than your own; that power is a gift that can be shared, and the one who receives it will never forget that generosity.

A great lady died last week. But her memory lives on in the millions she touched.

Susan Estrich’s column appears regularly in The Inquirer.

Whither Ugg Boots

By Ava Tramer

Partly cloudy
Highs: 69-71; Lows: 60-62

Mostly sunny
Highs: 94-95; Lows: 60-64

Clear and hot
Highs: 106-108; Lows: 77-80

And Santa Monica…

Since our weather is even more boring and self-predictable this week than usual (highs between 69 and 71, lows between 60 and 62, partial sun and clouds, day after day after day after day), I will provide an instructive weather list for your benefit.

Weather: The List.

1.Things that don’t apply to Santa Monica, at any time of year:
1a. The song “Let it Snow”

2. Things that do apply to Santa Monica, at most times of year:
2a. A new version of the song “Let it Snow” that goes: “Oh the weather outside is delightful, but the fire is frightful”

3. Things that shouldn’t apply to Santa Monica, at any time of year:
3a. Ugg Boots.