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Meet Carole Lutness

Posted: October 14, 2008 8:02 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Candidate Carole Lutness sat punctually at the table, waiting for Carrie and I to arrive for a lunch meeting. Carole had asked to get together to explain her candidacy for Assembly District 38.

Carole was a true blue sight, and you should have been there to see her. Picture a Democratic "favorite eccentric aunt," adorned with a fashion sense one can only describe as "flamboyant campaigner."

From her large rhinestone "Vote" necklace and a "Bring Them Home" bracelet to her large "Lutness for State Assembly" name tag, Carole is a 500-watt bulb lighting up the campaign trail.

And then the oddity of three large felt-tip markers protruding from her suit coat pocket. "Carole," I queried, "Why are there three large felt markers in your coat pocket at lunch?"

"Fortune favors the prepared mind," she smartly replied - and with that, Carole retrieved a marker to highlight points on her campaign literature - setting an astute tone for the balance of our discussion.

Lutness radiates intelligence and education, sincerity and seriousness - all with an eager yet humble attitude.

Humility is important in this race. Running against local scion Cameron Smyth, Lutness knows she's got an uphill fight in the SCV portion of the district.

But she insists she's not jousting at windmills. She recites a poll indicating a new diversity in the 38th District, and she says she stands a reasonable chance of turning back the old-school Republican tide.

"I like Cameron Smyth," she says. "He's a nice local boy who made good. He's handsome and gracious and sincere.

"But Cameron and I fundamentally differ on priorities for our district. Cameron puts business first, and I'm people first."

It does seem "business first" has disproved itself of late as viable public policy.

Personally, I don't know much about Cameron, other than he's respected in local politics and made a living lobbying for Shell Oil.

Carole Lutness pursued a much different life path than Cameron. At 22, she signed up with the NAACP in the heart of KKK territory in West Virginia.

She earned a master's degree in social work in grad school. For three decades she worked as a professional family counselor and social worker.

Concurrent with her career, she's pursued Democratic causes of environmental protection, family care and enhancement of public education.

Thirty years of social work gives Carole a razor-sharp understanding of societal issues.

She explains, "I'm running for the 38th AD seat because I want to restore the proper balance between corporate ‘wants' and the people's ‘needs.'"

"Legislating business before people has been catastrophic and caused environmental degradation, the plundering of our resources, a health care crisis - and even unending wars.

"Locally, government bias of business over people has caused bad air, bad traffic, infrastructure decay, declining schools and unreliable water supplies."

"In our recent past, voters believed ‘what's good for business is good for us.' But now, with so many jobs shipped overseas, with people hurting at the pump, the grocery store, at the doctor's and the bank - everyone recognizes the necessity of a well-functioning government providing oversight to commerce and balance to community interests."

Carole opens her notebook and pulls out what she says is a "smoking gun" against Cameron Smyth. It's a document titled "State Taxpayer Protection Pledge."

The pledge is an effectual blood oath Cameron and other rightists signed to forever forsake tax increases - for any cause and for any purpose.

While superficially sounding attractive, the document is a de facto Neocon jihad against properly funded, operationally sound governance.

Neocon Pooh Bah Grover G. Norquist crafted this crafty pledge. Norquist, you see, is a lead architect of the Neocon movement that ushered in eight years of the Bush Plague.

Norquist lives and breathes to see government asphyxiate and die; he personally coined the famous statement:

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Norquist and his acolytes want to murder functional government. Their mission is to subversively shrink our government so it's so starved that all functions must be replaced by private-sector business (think Blackwater and Halliburton).

Sounds like another insider money scam, right? Yes, but Norquist's chickens came home to roost this month with the financial meltdown - and we've all again learned the hard way why good governance over commerce is a very smart idea.

"Right here, in black and white, Cameron plays his Neocon card," Lutness says. "How much more of Bush and Co. do we want in our local politics?"

Gary Horton lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Full Speed to Port" appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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