Safe Seat Gives Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi Opportunity to Advance Environmental and Public Safety Measures

by Kevin Cody

Four-term National Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi is using old-school politics to advance his progressive platform this election season, starting with the $34 million in public funds he secured for his district since the beginning of this year. The funds include $15 million to help Redondo Beach acquire the AES power plant and restore its wetlands; $500,000 for the Redondo Homeless Court; $5.5 million for Torrance homelessness programs; and $2.3 million for improvements to the Hermosa Pier.

“I hope Manhattan Beach doesn’t feel left out. But he will receive a 13% increase in his foundation grant school funding as a result of a bill I drafted,” Muratsuchi said. The Manhattan Beach School District has long complained of being underfunded compared to other school districts, due to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2013 Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which favors low-income districts. .

Muratsuchi also backed the $9.5 billion middle-class tax refund bill. It will provide direct deposits of up to $1,050 to taxpayers with household incomes of up to $500,000. Issuance of the funds began this month, at the same time as mail-in ballots for the Nov. 8 general election were sent out.

The payments are compensation for inflation, Muratsuchi.

“I’ve heard people say hell will freeze over before the Democrats ever return the taxpayers’ money. But we do,” he said.

The Democratic Party nominee was first elected to the seat of the 66th Assembly District in 2012. The 66th District represents 481,000 residents. It runs north to south from Manhattan Beach to Rancho Palos Verdes, and east to west from Gardena/Torrance/Lomita/Carson to the ocean.

He lost the seat to Manhattan Beach Republican David Hadley in 2014 and won it back in 2016, despite Trump winning the presidency that year.

“I have an idea for my first bill: for California to secede,” he joked to supporters at the Doubletree Hotel in Torrance on election night 2016, when Trump’s victory was announced. .

Muratsuchi won re-election with comfortable margins in 2018 and 2020.

Muratsuchi followed a traditional career path in the Assembly. He served as a prosecutor for the Los Angeles County Attorney and the State Attorney General’s Offices, then served served two terms on the Torrance School Board before running for the Assembly seat.

“After a redistricting in 2011, incumbent Betsy Butler thought the district had become too conservative to re-elect her and decided to run in a Westside district. I saw an opportunity and jumped on it,” he said.

Muratsuchi defies the reflex democrat label.

“My record on cannabis and public safety is more in line with conservative Republicans than Democrats,” he said.

He opposed Proposition 64 in 2016, which legalized marijuana sales in California, subject to approval by local courts. He also opposes the three measures in the Beach City ballot that would legalize local retail cannabis sales (Measure Q in Redondo, M in Hermosa, and MB in Manhattan).

“I smoked marijuana. I am no holier than you. But as a matter of public policy, legalizing recreational marijuana was the wrong way to go. We have created a new market for drug cartels, which pays no taxes and has lower costs. Cannabis operations fund local ballot measures and intimidate local officials who don’t do what they want,” Muratsuchi said.

Two weeks ago, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party approved cannabis sales measures on all three Beach Cities ballots and opposed Manhattan Beach Measure Z, which would ban retail cannabis sales. . Last week, proponents of the cannabis measure touted the Democratic Party’s endorsement in red, white and blue campaign mail.

“It was a late night vote that Beach City voters, myself included, were unaware of. I’m afraid this vote is just the beginning. I would compare it to the measures of gambling initiative on this year’s ballot,” Muratsuchi said.

Redondo Beach Mayor-elect Bill Brand with State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi at Brand’s victory party in March 2017. The two have since collaborated in shutting down the AES power plant and the return of local zoning to local jurisdictions. Easy Reader File Photo

Supporters of the three Beach City cannabis measures have spent nearly $1 million qualifying the initiatives for the ballot box. The same group spent more than $250,000 recalling Redondo Beach Fourth District Councilman Zein Obagi, Jr. [See related cannabis measures, and recall stories elsewhere in this paper.]

“I don’t know the solution, but we’ve opened a Pandora’s box,” Muratsuchi said.

Muratsuchi attributes his conservative approach to public safety to his work as a prosecutor and his role as a parent.

This year, three of the eight bills he has drafted and seen passed relate to public safety.

Its AB 557 provides grants to district attorneys’ offices to prosecute hate crimes.

Its AB1740 prohibits automakers from buying catalytic converters from anyone other than car owners or authorized dealers.

A third bill, AB 2390, was intended to address smash and grab offenses. This would have allowed felony charges will be filed against individuals who have committed multiple thefts under $950. Proposition 47, passed in 2014, prohibits thefts under $950 from being prosecuted as crimes.

“A Lomita Sheriff Captain told me he actually saw thieves using a calculator to calculate the value of what they stole to be sure it was below the $950 threshold,” Muratsuchi said.

“The bill died in committee because of my fellow Democrats’ focus on criminal justice reform,” he said.

“We have to find a balance. We need more mental health and addiction treatment. But we must also hold repeat offenders accountable,” he said.

Muratsuchi said he was one of the few Democrats to oppose SB 330, SB 9, and SB 10. The three bills are intended to encourage home building by exempting builders from most local building requirements. zoning and permitting. Pending projects in beach towns that are permitted by legislation include the development of 79 Highrose apartments in Manhattan Beach and the development of 2,700 residential units at the Redondo Beach AES Power Plant site.

Muratsuchi said he was working with Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot that would return control of zoning to local governments.

Muratsuchi’s more progressive efforts reflect an emphasis on climate control.

Its AB 2432 authorizes cities to create neighborhood electric vehicle plans, including micro-routes for electric vehicles similar to bicycle paths.

Its AB 1279 sets the year 2045 as the target year for the state to achieve carbon neutrality.

In response to the water shortage, he advocates the construction of the state’s largest water recycling plant in Carson.

“It’s not a toilet for tap water. But instead, treated sewage and storm sewer runoff would be returned to the aquifer,” he said.

Given the Democrats’ registration advantage, Muratsuchi is expected to retain his seat until 2026, when he will have reached the 12-year limit in California. The 66th District is 41 percent Democrat, 27 percent Republican, and 19 percent state naysayer.

In the June primary, Muratsuchi received 62% of the vote (67,618). His Republican opponent, former Hermosa councilman George Barks, won 38% of the vote (41,918).

Muratsuchi received $476,666 in campaign contributions between January and September this year, and spent $395,990. Barks received $20,261 in contributions this year, including $18,500 in the form of a personal loan.

“I never take an election for granted,” Muratsuchi said. Emergency room


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