With a playful title that sounds like the beginning of a bar joke, a night of “Politics, Sex, and Cocktails” gathered former West Los Angeles representative Henry Waxman, Representative Lois Capps, First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, and dozens of the tri-county’s most influential leaders in support of Planned Parenthood’s Central Coast Action Fund last Thursday evening.
Planned Parenthood has five primary facilities catering to thousands of women in the tri-county area (Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo). Through the group’s Central Coast Action Fund — its political fundraising branch — the women’s health care group is able to “make sure those services are available to the women who need them,” said Jenna Tosh, director of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast Action Fund. (The area Planned Parenthood changed its name in July from Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties.) Thursday’s event, hosted on the rooftop of the Canary Hotel, raised approximately $10,000 in the live auction for items like phone banking, social media marketing, and transportation and lodging for volunteers.
“We share a lot here, and this is what tonight is about,” said Geoff Green, chief executive officer of the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College, as he addressed the crowd before the program began. “It’s about making the dollars that are going to support the folks who do the right thing at all levels of government.”
Greeted by a slew of pink parasols, refreshments, and a list of Planned Parenthood endorsements for federal and local nominees, many longtime donors, like Ruth Lassell, traveled from as far as Ojai to show support. Third District supervisor nominee Joan Hartman, Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, former Goleta mayor Margaret Connell, and school board members were also present.
A supporter of women’s health, Capps was happy to take a break from Washington for the cause on a local level. “Planned Parenthood has always been integral in improving women’s health through prevention and education,” said Capps, who, according to Tosh, has a 100 percent rating in voting to approve measures that benefit the organization.
Beth Parker, featured speaker and chief legal counsel of Planned Parenthood Affiliates in California, echoed such sentiments as she outlined the gravity of the impending election on the fate of reproductive care. She applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down Texas abortion restrictions and pushed support for current nominees so that they can continue to encourage such progress.
Waxman, who retired from Congress last year, rallied support for Planned Parenthood, but also took a break to remind Capps, who will leave office at the end of this term, that “there is life after retirement.”