First off, thank you for taking the time to get to know the Independant and third party candidates. I was born in Santa Monica at St John's Hospital in the 60's. I grew up in Westwood in the 70's. However, my family story, which has shaped me quite a bit, started long before the disco days of the 70's. My family moved to America from Scotland in the mid 1800's after part of the Herd clan was expelled from Scotland for union organizing. My great grandfather, William Herd, was a coal miner in Scotland and because of the horrible working conditions he became a union organizer. As an activist he was fighting for two things for his fellow Scottish coal miners, a bell to let the miners know dynamite was going to blow, and an air vent so the miners could breath. Not guaranteed wealth in the form of a budget breaking pension program. William Herd and part of the Herd clan in Scotland moved to Colorado where they continued to mine coal and fight for air vents and bells. William then became an activist, union organizer and leader in Colorado. My grandfather told me stories of how William would come home bloodied up from baseball bat hits to the head from union busting corporate scumbags. My grandfather, Al Herd was a Real Estate broker in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's and started out as a car dealer auctioning off Model 'T's at Sunset and La Brea in the 30's and early 40's. My grandfather Al Herd was Williams 13th child, as having kids proved to be an asset back in 1905. My dad, Alan A. "Scotty" Herd is a former President of the Beverly Hills / Greater LA Association of Realtors and a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. My mom, Sydney Whittlesey was a housewife. We lived in the Hollywood Hills with my two brothers Easton and Adam, and my sister Angela. I was six when my parents divorced and that's when I arrived in Westwood. There I attended Fairburn Elementary, Emerson Jr. High, Harvard-Westlake and Uni. My father eventually remarried a wonderful Jewish woman, my stepmom Carla Jean who made the hardest matza balls on the planet, but they tasted great and I love her for raising me with values. I went on to the University of Arizona where I joined the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and played Rugby for the 3rd ranked University of Arizona Rugby team. After graduating the U of A in Dec. 1989 I soon had the itch to start my own business. A friend and I started up HTH Enterprises, a marketing company that specialized in hiring handicapped workers. We ended up shuting down four competitors in 3 years. We did that by watching our dollars closely and spending them wisely. In 1995 I moved back to Los Angeles and in 1999 I bought a place in Westwood less than a mile from my parents house and just 4 blocks from where I grew up in the 70's. I got into politics in a very strange way. In 2004 someone on my HOA asked me to run for the board, I did, and was elected President that same night. After looking at the books I became alarmed at all the rif raf going on so I made motions to change the property management company and several venders. At the next meeting I was replaced as President for trying to do good and I was upset to say the least. A couple years later some friends and I organized, campaigned, and eventually I was elected President of the board again, but this time things were different, I had an agenda and I believed in it. Once we had an honest board I was able to continue with the changes I wanted to make 3 years earlier. Next I set out to join the Westwood Homeowners Association Board of Directors. I had become quite comfortable presiding over board meetings and understood Roberts Rules well enough to explain them to others. I joined the Westwood Homeowners Associations Board of Directors in 2009 and low and behold I found some interesting activites there as well, like an 18k traffic study to NOwhere and 500k sitting in a bank acct. locked by two disputing Presidents. Motivated by my great grandfather William I snapped into activist mode and started an online website, The Westwood Village Press. The idea came to me after reading Ben Franklins biography. Ben started the Philadelphia Gazzette and his paper went out to the good people of Philadelphia, population 80K in Franklins day. It just so happens that the population of the Westwood is about 80k when UCLA is in session. Anyway, I pushed the issue of the 500k sitting in a bank acct (for 7yrs) on the new website and at the Westwood HOA meetings. I spoke with the former President and invited him to the meetings. I admit I was new and fairly unknown to the political community of Westwood at that time but I was determined not to let the issues slide. The board was not happy with my actions and I was not happy with this board of homeowners representing me. It took about six month's, but the the 500k was eventually released (after 7 yrs) and the President sold his house and left the board. I won't get into all the details but being on the WHA bod was part of what motivated me to start the Westwood Neighborhood Council. I'm very happy to say the new President of the Westwood Homeowners Association, Steve Resnick is an outstanding leader of the community and is doing great work for Westwood both as the WHA President and as the WWNC Secretary. Once I set my sights on starting a NC in Westwood, I had to organize trusted help. My brother Easton, who is battling leukemia, a friend and I gathered signatures, wrote bylaws and held community meetings in an effort to start the Westwood NC. Five attempts before ours failed mainly due to the strength of the HOA's. But I was motivated by two people, Mike Newhouse and my great grandfather William. I saw what my friend Mike Newhouse did for the stakeholders of Venice as he presided over the #1 Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles at that time (The Westwood NC was going to change all that). While living in Venice I attended numerous Venice NC meetings and homeless committee meetings. I was a member of the Oceanfront Walk committee when ordinance 42.15 passed and I had a burning desire to bring something like the Venice NC to Westwood. I felt Westwood, the neighborhood that brought me so many wonderful memories growing up, deserved a community council that could bring open, transparent govt to Westwood. I felt an NC in Westwood would bring more activists and volunteers out to help address many issues from education to sidewalk repairs, from underfunded school programs to public safety, from GMO labeling to fracking. So my brother, a friend and I set out to do just that. We wrote bylaws, created petitions, gathered signatures, chaired monthly formation meetings and my poor brother and family tolerated all of it. For me it was a hobby, something I couldn't wait to do after work, something I knew could bring BIG and POSITIVE change to my community. I had preyed a lot those days because so many people were talking crap about me and I heard all of it second hand. After much of the political community of Westwood (450) showed up on Jan 19.2009 to voice their opinions on the subject, the City of Los Angeles Board of Neighborhood Commissioners approved the Westwood Neighborhood Council. Much to my surprise we beat the Venice NC our first year with the highest voter turnout of any NC in the city. Westwood was moving in a positive direction, political activism was growing and great Westwood leaders like Steve Sann, Sandy and Jerry Brown, Wolfgang Veith, Mike Stajura, Lisa Chapman, Connie Boukidas and so many others came together to improve the community in their own ways. Westwood now has 2 councils and a Business improvement district. As a Councilman in Westwood I helped pass motions to label GMO's, stop fracking, save our beloved parking structures, stop commercialization of our parks and about 50 other great things. We secured funding for our local schools and helped plant new trees in the Village. We helped our public library and supported our veterans. All of our local schools like Fairburn Elementary, Emerson Middle School and Warner Elementary received funding when they requested it, although not always as much as they asked for. We started a Business Improvement District that has done so many things from repairing our sidewalks to finding solutions for the unhoused. So much good has come to the area where I grew up but we noticed something as time went by, that our City Councilman Paul Koretz wasn't responding to our needs as well as we wished. He tried to sell off our parking structure in Westwood as well as Hollywood. He approved liquor licenses when the stakeholders of Westwood didn't want them. Worst of all, he campaigned to RAISE taxes on EVERYONE. So eventually I joined the race/campaign against him. The race was successful on some levels even though I didn't win. We took 26.1% of the vote with only a $1,000 budget. I hate money in politics, it sickens me to even ask for it. Even worse it saddens me when other candidates say they want money out of politics only to pump millions into the race to hopefully buy the election. This election we will not raise a penny over 1k. We will make campaign finance reform a major issue and will show our competitors in this election that you can bring a message to light and get votes without the corrupting influence of money. To me a 100 from Katy or 100 from Exxon is still 100. And worse 1 million can literally force good candidates out of the race, like Brent Roske. My dad was a US Marine and he raised me to understand that it's not about who wins, it's about how you play the game. It's important for voters to understand this. Voters can switch parties and refuse to vote for the money/status quo candidates. Shame on Ted Lieu, Wendy Gruel and Marianne Williamson who allow so much money into their campaigns. They talk campaign finance reform but they don't walk the walk. Marianne Williamson has raised over one million already but says she doesn't want money in politics. If she doesn't want money in politics then she shouldn't take so much campaign money and put it into politics while spinning as if she's truly against money in politics. Marianne is as bad as Ted Lieu and Wendy Gruel when it comes to money in politics, it's that simple. The voters understand this and will do their homework and get good gov't if they campaign for money out of politics and campaign for candidates who mean what they say.
Why run for Congress?
As I look at the big picture I realize that Washington needs changing, big changing, the kind Ron Paul wants. I also noticed that no one was running as a Libertarian, Ron Paul's original party. After Snowden told the world about the NSA domestic spying and other constitutional violations that OBAMA was keeping from the American people, I decided to switch from Democrat to Libertarian (after 20 years as a Democrat). I wanted to push the Ron Paul agenda forward. His campaign for President and the ideas he ran on were what I believe the country needs. I understand that motions need to be made on the floor of Congress to stop NSA Domestic Spying. I am as upset as all stakeholders should be by the unregulated enormous amounts of campaign donations that buy elections and strip this country of true democracy. Like many Americans, I'm tired of being represented by corporate money sucking puppets who push this country into unnecessary foreign wars that drain our economy and waste our tax dollars while Americans want to see our troops come home, see taxes go down and see our economy actually grow again. Instead of giving 4 billion every year to Pakistan, 4 billion to India, 4 billion to Saudi Arabia, 4 billion to Brazil and on and on, we should give half a billion to Southern California for Schools, Hospitals, Housing, public transportation, infrastructure etc. The Democrats under Obama and the Republicans under Bush have only pushed our country into more and more foreign conflicts which only benefits the Military Industrial Complex, keep this industry subsidized, vibrant and profitable while tax payers see their paychecks taxed more and their cost of living rise. Next year Obama and the house, with democrat and republican support, will send 85.5 billion to Afghanistan, that's enough to pay tuition for one yr for every college student in the US. But that's not the direction most Americans want to go. Most Americans want a gov't that's honest and transparent, a gov't that has a non interventionist foreign policy, promotes trade and doesn't spyon it's people. Democrips and Rebloodlicans are two of the same gang. Both don't care about campaign finance reform which is why we get bad politicians elected over and over again. Our politicians are simply lobbyists for corporate America and whether they are Democrat or Republican, IT DOESN'T MATTER! They are both bought and paid for. If America doesn't start electing 3rd party candidates like Independents, Libertarians, Greens and Peace and Freedom candidates and others than we all should accept Government by the Corporations, for the Corporations or in other words, by the 1%, for the 1%. Campaign finance reform is the only way to stop the 2 party system of corruption in politics from continuing indefinitely. Neither Democrats or Republicans will ever introduce Campaign Finance Reform legislation with teeth (ie. publicly financed elections, 100k limits w/media blackout dates) to the floor of Congress, I will and I will do it in my first 100 days in office. I will also introduce legislation to stop NSA Domestic spying and reduce military spending and foreign payouts. I will continue to push for clean energy solutions to sustain a planet that is falling apart. I will push for more tax incentives for new and growing sustainable green energy solution businesses. I will push for a reduction in taxes on lower and middle class earners and push for a new tax bracket for billionaires. I will try to make gov't get out of the way so businesses don't have so much red tape to deal with while struggling to get their businesses off the ground. I will push for more transparency in gov't (internet streaming/replaying of ALL gov't mtgs.) and will call out politicians who are really just lobbyist puppets for corporations who help them buy their seats in Congress. I will continue to push the Ron Paul Revolution forward and with your vote on Jun 3rd I can go to Washington. I will bring my crew of Westwood activists and ask a few of the candidates in this race to join me and help make the motions on the floor of Congress that YOU deserve. It's time to shake things up in Washington by sending a different party, a different candidate and a different message. If you want to get money out of politics, then vote it out. Join the Ron Paul revolution. Vote for real change in Congress on June 3rd, vote Mark Matthew Herd, Libertarian for Congress.
Mark Matthew Herd
Libertarian Candidate for Congress CA District 33