PPDC Hosts Local Leaders at Annual Garden Party

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

The Pacific Palisades Democratic Club hosted its annual Garden Party on Sunday, September 9, at a home in The Riviera as part of the club’s latest effort to bring the Palisades community closer with local officials. 

This year’s guest speakers included Councilmember Mike Bonin, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Congressman Ted Lieu and Assemblymember Richard Bloom. 

Funds raised from over 120 people in attendance will be used to support the Westside Democratic Headquarters, as well as efforts to hold on to seats in the House and flipping new ones in future elections, according to PPDC President Erika Feresten.

While the Democratic Club has not endorsed a specific candidate yet, another portion of the funds raised will go toward supporting the Democratic nominee in the next election, whoever that may be.

Sunday’s event gave a glimpse into the future of the PPDC and politics in general, as local Palisades Charter High School students were in attendance. A new student rate was offered to make it easier for younger political minds to attend.

“It was an event where people and elected officials can come and hang out in a casual setting,” Feresten said. “I’d say it’s the biggest turnout we’ve ever had.” 

Bonin took note of the young attendees and brought them front and center to highlight the work they’ve done and the drastic changes that their demands have brought to the political climate. 

Councilmember Mike Bonin

The group included Pali High student Maya Deganyer, who has taken advantage of a PPDC new internship and co-founded the March For Our Lives chapter in Los Angeles, a group focused on fighting for legislation to prevent gun violence.  

“There are very few people in this room who had to go to school, myself included, with the thought, ‘Boy, I might get shot at school today,’” Bonin said.

“We have not done collectively well enough by this generation. But we have the opportunity to fix that now in this election. Our job is to keep the window open for them to come running through and making the change.” 

Lieu gave an update on what he’s been working on in Washington, D.C., to solve the country’s gun violence problem, including legislation to ban high-capacity magazines and weighing in on the current news cycle surrounding the Trump administration.  

Lieu said he and the House Judiciary Committee are working to pass legislation to ban high-capacity magazines, pass red flag laws where family members of a dangerous gun owner can alert authorities, and a law where people with records of domestic violence and hate crimes can’t buy guns. 

“My view is that we’ve been in Afghanistan for far too long, 18 years,” said Lieu when talking about the news of President Trump’s plans to meet with the Taliban. “There are soldiers in Afghanistan who were toddlers at the time that this war started. And we have not won in 18 years, I don’t see any evidence that we will win in another 18 years.”

Known for being an outspoken critic of the president, Lieu told the crowd his latest concerns surrounding the White House. 

“My concern is because this president lies all the time, not only do Americans no longer trust him, people across the world no longer trust him,” he said to applause. “And that’s with North Korea, no deal with China, no deal with the Taliban, no deal on infrastructure, no deal on healthcare—he actually hasn’t been able to get a deal on anything.”

The Democratic Club will next host economist and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich at an event on November 3.