For greater than 30 years, former Assemblywoman Carol Bentley Ellis devoted her life to East County politics and crime victims advocacy. However her stepson mentioned she must also be remembered for her devotion to household, buddies and her alma mater. Bentley Ellis died of coronary heart failure on Dec. 13 at age 76.
“She was extremely caring,” mentioned Jim Ellis, a New Mexico lawyer whose father, former State Sen. Jim Ellis, was married to Bentley Ellis from 1997 till his loss of life in 2017. “She was completely dedicated to her constituents and he or she tried arduous, identical to my dad.”
From 1978 to 1988, Bentley Ellis labored on the staffs of Republican state senators Jack Schrade and Ellis. In 1988, she efficiently ran because the tough-on-crime Republican candidate for the 77th District within the State Meeting, which on the time encompassed all of East County and elements of north central San Diego. In 1993, she was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson to serve on the California Board of Parole Hearings. 5 years later, she turned one of many board’s deputy commissioners, touring the state for a number of years conducting hearings for parole violators.
After retiring, Bentley Ellis used the cash she earned in state service to purchase and promote actual property in Mission Seaside, the place she lived for the ultimate 15 years of her life, Ellis mentioned. A number of years in the past, Bentley Ellis started gifting away her fortune, together with a $250,000 endowment for a school chair within the advertising division at her alma mater, San Diego State College.
“Carol, actually, she loved wealth and good issues, however she additionally helped individuals lots,” Ellis mentioned.
In an interview with SDSU about the endowment in August 2020, Bentley Ellis mentioned that as a scholar in SDSU’s advertising division within the Sixties she grew accustomed to being the one girl in school. However when she started on the lookout for company advertising positions after graduating in 1968, her gender restricted her profession alternatives. An interviewer as soon as informed her that ladies have been not often employed for administration jobs as a result of they normally acquired married and give up to have kids.
Unable to seek out advertising work within the Nineteen Seventies, she started volunteering her free time on native political campaigns. That led to employees positions with Sen. Schrade after which Sen. Ellis, the place over a decade she labored her means up from legislative support to chief of employees positions. Ellis mentioned that in these days, Bentley and his father have been married to different individuals. They didn’t start courting till after they have been each divorced within the Nineteen Nineties. Ellis mentioned his father was a giant supporter of his third spouse’s resolution to run for public workplace.
Through the 1988 race for the 77th Meeting district, Bentley simply received the seat, working as a conventional values Republican. In her first 12 months in workplace, she turned the Meeting’s minority whip. Within the 2020 interview with SDSU, Bentley Ellis mentioned that her lengthy years of legislative employees work taught her the humanities of collaboration and compromise.
I used to be a great cajoler,” Bentley Ellis mentioned. “I spotted straight away you aren’t going to perform something in case you can’t get together with each side of the aisle.”
Only one 12 months into her Meeting place in 1989, she threw her hat into the ring for a particular election to fill the thirty ninth State Senate district seat vacated by Larry Stirling, who had resigned to simply accept a municipal judgeship.
The Senate marketing campaign between Bentley and Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Killea made worldwide headlines.
Killea was a Roman Catholic who favored reproductive rights for ladies, whereas Bentley supported abortion solely in instances of rape, incest or when the mom’s life was in jeopardy. Three weeks earlier than the election, San Diego Catholic Diocese Bishop Leo T. Maher publicly banned Killea from receiving communion because of her pro-choice stance, which was reported worldwide. Killea went on to narrowly defeat Bentley within the majority Republican district. Bentley was later quoted in The New York Times saying she wished Maher had stayed out of politics as a result of his feedback made Killea “a global celeb and a martyr multi function.”
In a 2001 interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Bentley Ellis mentioned she wasn’t unhappy to go away politics behind to work on the California Board of Parole Hearings.
“The worst factor you are able to do is be a candidate,” she mentioned. “It was OK to be in workplace nevertheless it was so irritating being a candidate, having private assaults, untruthful assaults and stuff like that.”
Conducting parole hearings was troublesome, as nicely, she mentioned, however she was dedicated to defending crime victims from the acts of repeat offenders.
“I simply have a tough time accepting what terrible issues persons are able to doing to different individuals. The recidivism is actually dangerous,” she mentioned. “Some guys, I get their consideration, and a few I can’t. I attempt to work with them slightly bit. I attempt to give them encouragement.”
Ellis mentioned his stepmother loved her retirement years in Mission Seaside, the place her buddies informed him that she belonged to many neighborhood social teams and he or she was a daily on the Pennant and Beachcomber bars. As executor of his stepmother’s property, Ellis mentioned he found that she quietly gave to many causes, together with a charity for foster kids, and he or she paid for the payments and private wants of a disabled man in Pacific Seaside.
Bentley Ellis, who was born Carol Curtis in Riverside in 1945, is survived by her twin sister, Pleasure Curtis. Her stays have been cremated and her ashes have been scattered at sea. Memorial companies for Bentley Ellis are deliberate on the Mission Bay Yacht Membership in future weeks, however the date has not been introduced.