Marcy WinogradBefore I introduce you to, or re-introduce you to, Marcy Winograd, I need to make a little disclaimer. One of my closest friends in the world– and a good friend of this community– John Amato of Crooks and Liars is contemplating a run against Jane Harman, the Representative for his district. Marcy, having challenged Harman in the 2006 primary, is finished contemplating. She’s filed her papers and will be officially kicking off her primary campaign for CA-36, the district John lives in and Harman represents, with a rally on Monday afternoon (4pm) at the Venice Pier.

Marcy, who is a kind of West Coast Donna Edwards, founded the Los Angeles chapter of Progressive Democrats of America and built a good solid base from which to start her race against Harman. Three years and one week ago I urged Down With Tyranny readers to support her bid against the aloof, imperious Harman. Yesterday I asked her what will be different this year than in 2006.

"The critical factor will be time; I have more time now. We have over a year to organize on the ground. And that’s what it’s going to take– a lot of on the ground organizing, particularly in the two opposite ends of the district: the harbor area, where you have a very strong working class base, and in the West L.A./Mar Vista/Venice area where lots of liberal Democrats… You’re looking at 40-45,000 high frequency primary voters. Last time I jumped into the race very late– with only three months, barely enough time to even reach the absentee voters. Another important factor is Jane Harman herself getting caught with her hands in the cookie jar… [It appears that she was] taking favors, agreeing to backroom deals, to work on behalf of a foreign government to drop charges against 2 people accused of spying and then colluding with Alberto Gonzales to support warrantless wiretaps and be their posterchild! Even though I did not win last time, the fact that I came close– with almost 40% of the primary vote– sends a message that she is not invincible and the Machine is not invincible. This can be done.

Marcy can’t talk about the urgent priorities facing the country in terms of health care, education cuts, and the rest of the catastrophic consequences of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy– the veritable impoverishment of the country and hollowing out of our government’s ability to do its job– without talking about the billions, if not trillions, of dollars wasted on pointless wars. "We really do have to connect the dots between war, education and health care. A lot of guns leaves you with very little butter. We can’t have this bloated military budget– larger than the military budgets of all the countries in the world combined– while committing ourselves to a trillion dollar war and occupation in Afghanistan, and still provide our people with health care. We have 45 million Americans with no health care… Jane Harman is not going to challenge any administration, be it Republican or Democratic, on war, whether the war be in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan. I think it’s terrific that President Obama is the leader of our country; I think it’s unfortunate that those who served under George Bush, who led us to war, have Obama’s ear. It’s really crucial that people who want to see peace in the world speak out for diplomacy and engagement and step up and support challenges to Blue Dogs and Democrats who really are uncritical about war and, worse than that, who are pandering to the military-industrial complex. When I ran, Jane Harman wore a pin of a B-2 bomber; we know who she is hoping to appeal to."

Marcy teaches English at Crenshaw High School and public education is certainly one of her top priorities. "If we continue on the path of perpetual war and economic privatization," she told me, "public education will become a mere memory." Since 2006 she’s been a tireless activist in L.A., an Obama campaigner, A co-founder of LA Jews for Peace, an Executive Board member of the California Democratic Party, who successfully introduced resolutions to protect our vote, bring our troops home, and implement parole and sentencing reform. She also helped organized a Progressive Caucus within the California Democratic Party. When I asked her, as I do all candidates now, if she would pledge not to join the Blue Dog caucus or any other group or reactionary Democrats in Congress she laughed. She’ll be joining the congressional Progressive Caucus on day one.

She’s already been endorsed by Mitch Ward, Mayor Pro Tem of Manhattan Beach; Carl Clark, Vice-President of the Redondo Beach School Board; David Greene, President of the San Pedro Democratic Club; Julian Burger, President of Progressive Democrats- Wilmington/Harbor Area; Mickey Oskey, Pres of Westside Progressives; and Nativo Lopez, President of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), which has thousands of members in the harbor area. She is adamant about voters in CA-36 being represented by someone with their best interests first and foremost, rather than unbridled personal ambition, and she is certain that residents of this west Los Angeles district– which Obama took with 64%– deserve a member of Congress who the ability to think through Big issues and do more than run with the herd.

"Jane Harman should never have supported the bailout of the banks without at least requiring some accountability. There was absolutely no critical thinking: there was a crisis; give them whatever they want. Meanwhile the banks are hoarding the cash and homeowners are being foreclosed on. I say freeze the foreclosures and set up mediation teams in every city in the 36th district– and beyond– to mediate between the banks and the homeowners so we can modify these loans. Once a homeowner goes into foreclosure, it’s disastrous for everybody. What results is lower revenue from property taxes, blight, rats, neighborhoods that are torn assunder."

Marcy is still getting her website up and going, but there is a place for donations. Please join Marcy in the comments section (below) for a free-flowing discussion.