(January 11, 2003) -- Roughly three months after announcing their intention to launch a grassroots political action committee (PAC), organizers of the "ThisLand" PAC showed they mean business. The group held its first fundraiser on January 9, 2003 at the LB Community Playhouse, and at $35 per person, $70 per couple began building a political war chest for change.
Attendees were enthusiastic at being part of the first step in a "grown up" grassroots political effort. Veteran neighborhood activist and 2d district resident Bry Myown shares a friendly hug with 5th district resident and Bixby Knolls business owner ("The Book Connection") John Donaldson.
Among those attending -- flying in from out of town (though not pictured due a late arrival caused by an airline delay) -- was William Molnar, CPA. Mr. Molnar was the co-author (with Norm Ryan) of an alternative financing plan that countered a City Hall proposed garbage collection fee, supposedly needed to fund a new 911 center. (City Hall, which ditched its proposed garbage fee after the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n threatened to sue, eventually built the 911 facility without the garbage fee.)
ThisLand PAC leader Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, with husband Steve and daughter Erin. Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp led a successful grassroots campaign to save Stearns Park from a City Hall planned Emergency Communications & Operations Center (later relocated to Spring/Redondo). She frequently uses the CA Public Records Act to obtain access to illuminating city documents.
Prominent physician Dr. Sy Alban (left side of photo) with LB attorney Rich Poland and wife Tina Poland.
Tireless LB park supporter, open space campaigner and Audubon advocate Ann Cantrell.
Veteran downtown neighborhood activist Don Darnauer wore a "giraffe" lapel pin and thought it might be an appropriate emblem for the ThisLand PAC. "It shows we're proud to stick our necks out," Mr. Darnauer quipped.
Frequent City Council communicator Colette Marie McLaughlin with daughter Corinne.
4th district resident and former LB Airport Advisory Commissioner Derek K. Brown.
LB area political consultant Lou Baglietto.
Mary and Darwin Thorpe; we caught Darwin in an atypically lugubrious moment; he was actually quite jovial (as were most attendees).
Diane Rush, independent aficionado of the Queen Mary.
Kathy Ryan (no relation to Norm Ryan), a relative newcomer to LB politics, takes it all in.
Veteran LB activist Sharon Cotrell (left side of photo) checks in on arrival.
Octogenarian Jim Sturm partakes in political caucusing over dinner.
Gary Shelton, expresses surprise at something. (No, it wasn't the arrival of any incumbent politicians; they all avoided the event.)
The ThisLand PAC maintains a web site at www.thisland-lb.org.