By Carl Goldman, KHTS AM-1220 co-owner
When former California State Assemblyman Dr. Keith Richman walked into a room all eyes would turn. Keith had that rare combination of charisma, intelligence, humility and a biting sense of humor. In college, he was a star baseball player. His life was cut short on July 30, 2010 after a several year battle with brain cancer. He was only 56. We lost one of the great ones.
Keith’s memory will be honored at a special gala for the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita on March 19, 2011 at the Elks Lodge in Canyon Country. A special “Keith Richman Humanitarian Award” has been created. This year’s recipient is Keith’s successor, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth. Local attorney and agency volunteer, Hunt Braly will receive the “Above & Beyond” award.
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Keith was a humanitarian. As a doctor he created one of the largest medical facilities in Northern Los Angeles, Lakeside Medical. As a politician, he was one of the few sensible California legislators who reached across the aisle to come up with sensible solutions for fixing California’s problems. He and his friend, Contra Costa County Democrat, Joe Canciamilla sacrificed their political lives to try and keep California from falling down the economic cliff. Keith was screaming about State Pension plan reform many years before it was on anyone else’s radar screen. Richman the Republican and Canciamilla the Democrat formed a centrist bridge that was forced to meet in secret to prevent their party leaders from nipping any discussions. And you wonder why Sacramento is so dysfunctional?
Keith wanted others to see just how dysfunctional Sacramento had become. He gave me a few eye openers when we came up for Capitol Clear Speak in 2005. Clear Speak was an annual event, put on by the California Republican leadership inviting radio stations, from throughout California to spend two days interviewing Sacramento’s leaders.
Later that spring Keith and I were at an Arthritis Walk at Bridgeport Park in Valencia. Keith started ranting about his frustrations in Sacramento. He looked at all the people at the walk and said to me, “If only they could come up to Sacramento and see for themselves. I’d even pay to have them bussed up there.”
The following year, we launched our first annual KHTS Sacramento road trip. Since then, we have brought hundreds of Santa Clarita community leaders to Sacramento. Our annual KHTS Sacramento Road trip, now partnered with State Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, has become an eye-opening event for many leaders in our valley. Each year, 75 of them travel to our state Capitol, lobbying for education, transportation, water, business and funding for mental health services.
It stands out from normal lobbying trips because instead of an organization bringing in their specific lobbyists to advocate, our legislators are hearing about the challenges of our schools from not just school board presidents, but from our mayor, our chamber president, the owner of our local radio station, and the head of our auto dealer’s association. We stand out because no one else is doing anything like this.
Our trip’s impact continues throughout the year as our participants spread the word throughout Santa Clarita.
This has become one of Keith Richman’s legacies. Another will be taking place on March 19 at the Elk’s Lodge. Proceeds from the event will go to Clara’s house, a project created by the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita.
For details on the event, click here .