Stanley Sheinbaum

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Stanley Sheinbaum


Stanley K. Sheinbaum is a Los Angeles based funder of left-wing causes.

Sheinbaum is the publisher of New Perspectives Quarterly. He was a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Chairman of the American Civil Liberties Foundation of Southern California, and Regent of the University of California from 1977-89. He helped found the People for the American Way, and in 1971, he organized the Pentagon Papers-Daniel Ellsberg Defense Team. He has also been active in the Middle East peace process. Between 1991 and 1993 he was President of the Los Angeles Police Commission.

Early life

Stanley Sheinbaum grew up poor in between the wars in New York City.[1]

The Depression wiped out his family financially, plunging his father in and out of bankruptcy for years. After graduating from high school, Sheinbaum bounced from job to job, eventually moving to Houston to work in a printing plant. His hardscrabble youth, he said, gave him empathy for the poor and less fortunate that marks him to this day.

Education

After spending most of World War II in the service working in cartography, Sheinbaum returned home to go to college on the GI Bill.[2]

Unfortunately the 33 schools to which he applied failed to share his enthusiasm. Devastated but not defeated, he re-enrolled at his high school to take college prep courses and get his grades up.

He was eventually accepted at Oklahoma A&M, where he did well enough to transfer to Stanford the following year. He went on to do graduate work in economics but never completed his thesis.

After graduating from Stanford with highest honors and enrolling in a doctoral program there, Sheinbaum moved to Paris as a Fulbright scholar. Although he never completed his dissertation, Michigan State University (MSU) hired him as an economics professor.[3]

Radicalization

At MSU, Sheinbaum became caught up in America's growing involvement in Vietnam. In the late 1950s, Sheinbaum directed MSU's Vietnam Project, which helped train South Vietnam's police force.

In 1960, after souring on the war and learning that several men he hired for the MSU program were really CIA operatives... Sheinbaum was the campus director of a 54-man technical assistance group under contract to the State Department in Vietnam. Discovering that the group comprised a CIA component and by exposing such publicly, he succeeded in keeping universities apart from such clandestine activities.

Sheinbaum joined an elite Santa Barbara think tank named the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Headed by former University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins, the center attracted intellectual heavyweights such as Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas, economist Paul Samuelson and Harvard professor John Kenneth Galbraith. In this rarefied environment, Sheinbaum stood out for his formidable debating skills and supple mind, says his long time friend, radical journalist Robert Scheer.

"Stanley was one of the best and brightest," said Scheer, who helped finance a new documentary about Sheinbaum called "Citizen Stanley." Time magazine co-founder "Henry Luce liked Stanley. Everybody liked him. He could have easily gone off and worked for Time or at the White House."

During the Vietnam War Sheinbaum led teach-ins, participated in demonstrations, served as a California delegate for peace candidate Eugene McCarthy and twice unsuccessfully ran for Congress on an anti-war platform.[4]

Married into money

In 1964 Sheinbaum married to Betty Warner, daughter of movie mogul and Warner Bros. co-founder Harry Warner.[5] Betty Sheinbaum has longed shared her husband's passion for leftist causes.

Rich radicals

Sheinbaum's marriage into the Warner fortune increased his ability to support radical causes.[6]

After marrying into money, Sheinbaum embraced full-time political activism as his career, becoming one of the most influential liberal powerbroker in the country. Some years, he and his wife contributed up to $750,000 to causes and candidates in which they believed, cutting back only after they began dipping into their principal.
All that money -- which Sheinbaum nearly doubled in the early 1970s by betting the U.S. dollar would go off the gold standard -- undoubtedly bought access and influence. But Sheinbaum has done more in the past 40 years than simply sign fat checks, observers say. Like an entrepreneur, he has made investments in people and organizations that fire his imagination. And he has taken a hands-on approach to ensure their success.

Defending Daniel Ellsberg

Anti-war activism led Sheinbaum to help assemble a team of attorneys for Daniel Ellsberg, which fought charges against the former Pentagon official who leaked classified material to the radical Institute for Policy Studies and the press. Sheinbaum raised nearly $1 million for Ellsberg's successful defense.[7]

New American Movement

In 1981, Stanley Sheinbaum and Betty Sheinbaum greeted the New American Movement on the occasion of their 10th anniversary.[8]

ACLU activism

As head of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California from 1973 to 1982, Sheinbaum headed fundraising, increasing contributions tenfold. Sheinbaum (who continued to serve on the ACLU National Advisory Council into 2004) urged the local ACLU affiliate to increase its visibility, membership and relevance by educating the public on major civil rights issues.

Partly because of Sheinbaum's pressure, the ACLU of Southern California hired a public policy specialist to galvanize support for such initiatives as making the three-strikes law less punitive.

Sheinbaum's outreach has reportedly helped the ACLU to a 65 percent jump in membership over the past decade to 38,000.[9]

Befriending Yasser Arafat

From 1982 to the present Sheinbaum has been a board member of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East in Tel Aviv. Similarly, he has been on the board of Americans for Peace Now since 1988. In 1988 he led a delegation of five American Jews who succeeded in getting Yasser Arafat to recognize Israel and to disavow terrorism.[10]

In 1988 Sheinbaum led a delegation of American Jews that "persuaded" Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat to recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce terror. Arafat's promises, later proven insincere in light of the failed Oslo peace accords and the proliferation of suicide bombers affiliated with his Fatah group, helped earn Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize.[11]

But Sheinbaum hasn't given up on Arafat, whom he still calls a friend. He said he doesn't think Arafat is a terrorist, although a few Palestinians are. Sheinbaum said Arafat was a man of peace when they first met 16 years ago, but ran into opposition from all sides -- the Americans, Israelis and the Palestinians. He said Israeli and Palestinian intransigence derailed the process, and that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin buried it.
The failure of real peace to break out in the region has devastated Sheinbaum. With Arafat and his nemesis Ariel Sharon locked in a never-ending battle of words and wills, the outlook remains dim, he said.
Sheinbaum makes no apologies for trying to broker a peace, even if his efforts have largely come to naught. He said he paid a high price for his activism, including being shunned for years by some in the local community and having a skinned pig tossed onto his driveway. Still, he said he would continue to hope, pray and fight for peace in the Middle East. As a Jew, it's his duty.

Forcing out Gates

As president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Sheinbaum led the fight to force Commissioner Gates from office after the videotaped beating of African American motorist and paroled armed robber Rodney King by a group white police officers. With his Department's reputation blackened, Gates, under pressure from Sheinbaum and fellow commissioners, reluctantly resigned.[12]

But Sheinbaum's reputation took a hit when the ACLU, an organization closely associated with him, published a newspaper ad in the early 1990s comparing the Police Department to a street gang. And his unstinting support for Willie L. Williams -- whom Sheinbaum called "the best" at the time of his appointment as Gates' successor -- could be seen, in retrospect, as misguided. The LAPD's first black police chief proved so ineffective that he lasted slightly more than five years, although Sheinbaum blamed departmental racism and hostility from the rank-and-file officers for Williams' difficulties.

Los Angeles DSA member

Circa late 1980s Los Angeles DSA brochure

Stanley Sheinbaum has been a member of Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America.

DSA potential donors list

On January 21, 1992 Steve Tarzynski, National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America, wrote a letter to "Harold" (probably Harold Meyerson).

"Following is the list of possible major donors I can think of to pledge support for Trish and our program in southern California. Additions and comments sorely needed."

Question marks in original list.[13]

Los Angeles DSA potential donors list

On July 26 1992 California Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote a draft "major donor letter" for Southern California DSA, inviting donors to join the Upton Sinclair Club of DSA[14]

We know you have been generous in supporting DSA's important work in the past. We'd like to develop a core of at least twelve people who will pledge 1,000 annually to keep our Organization working for Southern California DSA. We invite you to be one of those people. This select group of members and friends would have a key role in rebuilding a democratic left opposition in California.
This unique group of individuals would form the "Upton Sinclair Club" which will act in an advisory role meeting with the Southern California DSA leadership at an annual brunch. Sinclair Club members will receive a quarterly bulletin reporting on Southern California DSA's progress, and will have an opportunity to meet international DSA spokespeople and international guest speakers in more intimate small group settings. Admission to all local, statewide, and national DSA events in the Southern California would be complimentary with membership in the Sinclair Club.

The draft was accompanied by a "List of Potential major donors to DSA"

Upton Sinclair Club

In the early 1990s Stanley Sheinbaum and Betty Sheinbaum, Los Angeles, were members of the Upton Sinclair Club, of Democratic Socialists of America. The club consisted of wealthy Californians able to contribute significant donations to DSA[15]

Hosting socialist book launch

Democratic Left, July 1990, page 2

On Sunday July 29, 1990, Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum hosted DSA members Dorothy Healey and Maurice Isserman at their home in Los Angeles for a Reception and Book Signing Party to to mark the publication of "Dorothy Healey Remembers:A Life in the American Communist Party".[16]

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Stanley Sheinbaum was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[17]

Socialists organize to "challenge for power" in Los Angeles

Trevor email 1 (3).jpg

On March 11, 1998, Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote an email to another Los Angeles DSA leader Harold Meyerson.

Tarzynski listed 25 people he thought should be on an "A-list" of "25 or so leaders/activists/intellectuals and/or "eminent persons" who would gather periodically to theorize/strategize about how to rebuild a progressive movement in our metropolitan area that could challenge for power."

Tarzynski listed himself, Harold Meyerson, Karen Bass, Sylvia Castillo, Gary Phillips, Joe Hicks, Richard Rothstein, Steve Cancian, Larry Frank, Torie Osborn, Rudy Acuna, Aris Anagnos, Abby Arnold, Carl Boggs, Blase Bonpane, Rick Brown, Stanley Sheinbaum, Alice Callahan, Jim Conn, Peter Dreier, Maria Elena Durazo, Miguel Contreras, Mike Davis, Bill Gallegos, Bob Gottlieb, Kent Wong, Russell Jacoby, Bong Hwan Kim, Paula Litt (and Barry Litt, with a question mark), Peter Olney, Derek Shearer, Clancy Sigal and Anthony Thigpenn.

Included in a suggested elected officials sub-group were Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Romero, Jackie Goldberg, Gil Cedillo, Tom Hayden, Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Rosenstein and Congressmen Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters.

Tarzynski went on to write "I think we should limit the group to 25 max, otherwise group dynamics begins to break down....As i said, I would like this to take place in a nice place with good food and drink...it should properly be an all day event."

Supporting Americans for Peace Now

During the two-hour gathering held at Sheinbaum's Brentwood estate in late August 2004, 40 members of Americans for Peace Now and their allies sipped white wine, nibbled brie and heatedly discussed the economic and moral injustices of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

When guest speaker Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) said that the "ethical aspiration of Judaism is to stand up for the downtrodden," Sheinbaum nodded his head in agreement.[18]

"He is truly one of the leaders of the progressive Jewish movement," said Luis Lainer, Americans for Peace Now's board chair.

Supporting John Kerry

In 2004, Sheinbaum said that that year's election was the most important in recent memory and that helping John Kerry become the next president was his major priority.[19]

Woolsey/Sheinbaum fund raiser

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, the first Member of Congress to call on the President to bring our troops home, was be in Los Angeles on Saturday February 4th 2006, for a 'very exciting but critical fundraiser against the most well-known, well-financed challenger she's ever faced". woolsey was facing a primary challenge from a termed-out Assemblyman Joe Nation, a moderate Democrat who has been critical of her stand on the war and on bringing home our troops. He is raising money from people who have given money to Tom DeLay and Bush-Cheney and his legislative district covers 60+% of Congresswoman Woolsey's district. Congresswoman Woolsey is a "champion of equal rights, civil liberties, protecting the environment and fighting for single payer healthcare. Congresswoman Woolsey must be re-elected by the same victory margin she has had in the past to send a message to progressives everywhere that's it IS OK to be courageous, and to not back down on issues that matter."

The Host Committee for this fundraiser includes:

Ben Affleck; Ed Asner; Warren Beatty; Jodie Evans; James Cromwell; Matt Damon; Tom Hayden; Wendy Herzog; Mimi Kennedy; Norman Lear; Stephen Rohde; Susie Shannon; Stanley Sheinbaum & Betty Sheinbaum; Lorraine Sheinberg; Kathy Spillar; Gloria A. Totten; Peg Yorkin; Senator Barbara Boxer; Congressman Joe Baca; Congressman Xavier Becerra; Congresswoman Lois Capps; Congresswoman Jane Harman; Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald; Congresswoman Grace Napolitano; Congresswoman; Lucille Roybal-Allard; Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez; Congressman Adam Schiff; Congresswoman Hilda Solis; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Congresswoman Diane Watson; Senator Sheila Kuehl and Assemblywoman Karen Bass.

The fundraiser was at the Stanley & Betty Sheinbaum residence in Brentwood. Both Sheinbaums have been members of Democratic Socialists of America.[20]

Progressives for Obama

In 2009 Stanley Sheinbaum & Betty Sheinbaum Publisher was listed as a signer of the Progressives for Obama website.[21]

Americans for Peace Now

As of 2009, Stanley Sheinbaum was a member of the Board of Directors for Americans for Peace Now.[22]

Federation of American Scientists

In 2009 Stanley Sheinbaum served on the Board of Sponsors of the Federation of American Scientists.[23]

Liberty Hill Foundation

As at 2009, Stanley Sheinbaum was a member of the Advisory Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles based organization seeking to advance movements for social change through a combination of grants, leadership training and alliance-building.[24]

JStreet advisory council

In 2009 listed members of the JStreet advisory council included Stanley Sheinbaum, Publisher, New Perspective Quarterly[25]

46th Annual ACLU Garden Party

Ed Asner, Stanley Sheinbaum

Sunday, September 20, 2009, at the home of Stanley Sheinbaum & Betty Sheinbaum Southern California ACLU held its 46th annual Garden Party.

Paying Tribute To These Champions of Civil Liberties:[26]

  • Stanley K. Sheinbaum Award - Ed Asner
  • Legislator of the Year Award - Karen Bass, Speaker of the California Assembly
  • Activist of the Year Award - Laura Chick, California Inspector General
  • Chapter Activist of the Year Award David V. DuFault, Desert Chapter
  • Chapter of the Year Award Pasadena-Foothill Chapter

Friends and influence

Stanley Sheinbaum has many influential friends on the U.S. left.

His walls are adorned with framed photos with Fidel Castro, King Hussein, Barbra Streisand and other world leaders and A-list celebrities.[27]

Key political players such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Queen Noor of Jordan and former Sen. Gary Hart, have made the pilgrimage to his Westside salons in search of intellectual stimulation and money for their pet causes -- sometimes their own political campaigns.

"Sheinbaum keeps the New Deal torch alive in an age when it's not fashionable to do so," said former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, a longtime friend. "He's a voice of conscience."

Sheinbaum's regular "salons" are more than just a forum for rich liberals to pat each other on the back and pass around the collection plate. Sometimes, the gatherings spawn new groups that try to shape public opinion, fight for human rights or help the needy.

In October 2002 U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter and 1960s counter-culture icon Tom Hayden met at his Sheinbaum's home to conduct a teach-in that helped lead to the formation of Artists United Against the War.

"I think he's addicted to fairness and justice," said television producer Norman Lear. "All of us start off as the proverbial grain of sand on the beach of life. In that context, Stanley Sheinbaum has moved mountains."

Sheinbaum and his wife "have a fearless activism, are genuinely honest and humble students of what is going on and are smart as hell," said actor Warren Beatty, a friend for 35 years.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) said Sheinbaum has served several important roles in her life: stalwart friend, mentor and an important connection who first introduced her to such politicians as former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.[28]

Sheinbaum, a strong proponent of divestment from apartheid-era South Africa during his 12 years as a UC regent, advised her on the subject while she served as a state assemblywoman. Through Sheinbaum, Waters said she learned much about the workings of the investment community and how public pension funds could remain profitable without holdings in South Africa. Armed with that knowledge, she successfully sponsored legislation that called for the divestment of state pension funds.

"I've used him as a sounding board for years," the congresswoman said. "He has been influencing progressive politics in this country, really the world, for a long time."

Endorsing Torie Osborn

In 2011, former New American Movement member Torie Osborn, was a candidate for California's new vacant 50th Assembly District.[29]

Endorsements included;

"Free the Cuban 5"

From an April 8,2011 letter.

"Dear President Carter:

We, Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, want to extend our deepest gratitude for your recent visit to Cuba, as well as our support for your statements promoting improved relations between our countries.

Your call for the release of Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Ramon Labanino Salazar, and Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, known as the Cuban 5, and your willingness to visit with their family members in Cuba mean a great deal to all involved. We strongly agree that there is no reason to keep these men, who were simply trying to protect their country from terrorism, imprisoned any longer...

Further, we enthusiastically support you in having subsequent discussions with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and hope you will call for urgent action on their part to make right this unjust situation.

Again, we thank you and look forward to the possibility of improved relations and future visits to Cuba.

With respect,

Ed Asner, Co-Chair
, Danny Glover, Co-Chair, Jackson Browne
, James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Richard Foos, Elliott Gould, Chrissie Hand
, Francisco Letelier, Esai Morales, Graham Nash
, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Sarandon, Pete Seeger, Martin Sheen
, Betty Sheinbaum, Stanley Sheinbaum, Andy Spahn, Oliver Stone
,Haskell Wexler[31]

References

  1. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  2. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  3. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  4. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  5. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  6. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  7. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  8. 10th Anniversary Booklet for the New American Movement, 1981
  9. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  10. NPQ bio, accessed Sep. 19, 2011
  11. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  12. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  13. January 21, 1992 Steve Tarzynski, letter to "Harold", Tarzynski papers Southern California for Social Change
  14. Steve Tarzynski DSA major donor letter draft July 26, 1992, Tarzynski papers, Southern California Library for Social Change
  15. Sinclair Club membership list, Steve Tarzynski papers.
  16. Democratic Left, July/August 1990, page 2
  17. http://www.undueinfluence.com/caf-co-founders.htm
  18. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  19. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  20. http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=6486&pst=347342 LA Event Featuring Warren Beatty, Matt Daman for Lynn Woolsey 2/4/06 January 31, 2006 3:45 PM
  21. http://progressivesforobama.blogspot.com/
  22. Americans for Peace Now website: Leadership (accessed on Dec. 4, 2009)
  23. http://www.fas.org/about/sponsors.html
  24. Liberty Hill website: Advisory Board
  25. JStreet website: Advisory Council (accessed on Oct. 26, 2009)
  26. ACLU SC website, accessed Sept. 19, 2011
  27. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  28. http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/father_of_the_leftist_guard_20040910/
  29. TO for State Senate official page, accessed October 8, 2012
  30. TO for State Senate official page, accessed October 8, 2012
  31. [http://mltoday.com/subject-areas/cuba/letter-from-san-antonio-activists-supporting-the-cuban-5-1231.html, Marxism-Leninism Today, Letter from San Antonio Activists Supporting the Cuban 5 PDF Print E-mail Oct. 2, 2011]