Congressional candidate Larry Fritzlan overcame his addiction, wants to help Congress end its addiction.

By Richard Halstead
Marin Independent Journal
Posted: 05/10/2012 01:58:32 PM PDT

Larry Fritzlan is seen at a debate for candidates of the 2nd District Congressional seat, held in… Editor’s note: This is one of a series on the candidates in the 2nd District congressional race.

In his campaign for the new 2nd District Congressional seat, Larry Fritzlan has asserted that Washington politicians are addicted to money, and the Mill Valley resident understands addiction from the inside out.

Fritzlan is not shy about talking about how alcohol has affected his life.

“My father was a functioning alcoholic, and my mom was forever looking to get him away from his drinking buddies so I went to 13 schools in six states before I finished high school,” Fritzlan said. “I think it resulted in a certain amount of self-reliance.”

Years later as an adult living in San Francisco, Fritzlan would realize that he also had developed an addiction to alcohol. But with the help of a support group Fritzlan was able to quit drinking for good and has since gone on to become a licensed therapist helping adolescents and young adults deal with their addictions.

After graduating from high school in Southfield, Mich., Fritzlan earned a liberal arts degree at Michigan State University.

“I actually became a photojournalist; college became secondary,” Fritzlan said, “and that is why it took me seven years to graduate.”

In between graduating high school in 1960 and getting his bachelor’s degree in 1967, Fritzlan packed in some other new experiences. In 1962, he and others were arrested and briefly jailed for protesting a housing ordinance that prohibited people from selling houses to blacks in East Lansing, Mich. That same year Fritzlan married his high school sweetheart, the mother of his son and only child; he was 21. His marriage, the first of three, would last four years.

After graduating college, Fritzlan moved to Chicago where he worked for a year teaching high school. He was a bystander when police cracked down violently on demonstrators during the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 1968.

“I got tear-gassed and saw people being beaten by Mayor Daley’s out-of-control police department,” Fritzlan said.

A few months after the convention, Fritzlan, who had recently divorced and remarried, moved to San Francisco.

“To be a hippie,” Fritzlan said. “Dropping out and coming to the summer of love, a little bit late but nonetheless my heart was in it. I grew a bunch of hair and went to the concerts and smoked a lot of dope and took a bunch of LSD and worked as a photojournalist doing odd jobs here and there.”

One of those jobs was driving a cab for year, which made Fritzlan nervous, since in October 1969 the infamous Zodiac Killer chose a San Francisco cab driver as one of his victims. Next Fritzlan got a job working for the East West Musical Instrument Co., a Castro district business that sold trendy leather apparel.

“It was quite the rage,” Fritzlan said. “All of the rock ‘n’ stars – Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and the Grateful Dead – were all buying these leather garments. I ended up buying one of the retail shops that was located in North Beach.”

Fritzlan changed the name of the former factory outlet on Grand Street to East West Leather. He operated the store from 1970 to 1993.

“It was hard work. I was working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for years,” he said.

It was when Fritzlan enrolled in a program at St. Helena Hospital to stop smoking in 1979 that a counselor told him that he had a problem with alcohol.

“I was absolutely in shock,” he said. “I thought she was crazy.”

After six months of denial, however, Fritzlan joined a recovery group and has been clean and sober ever since.

In 1993, Fritzlan completed his master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and today he operates Larry Fritzlan Recovery Services, which employs four licensed therapists in the treatment of adolescents, young adults and families. Fritzlan has lived in Mill Valley since 1987.

If elected, Fritzlan says his first priority will be getting money out of politics. He said he decided to run because, “I’m tired of apologizing to my grandchildren for the world I’m leaving them. I’m deeply, deeply disturbed, embarrassed, ashamed and concerned about what us adults have done in the last 50 years.”

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Here, in his words, is how Larry Fritzlan would address the following seven policy issues:

*High unemployment: This problem can be addressed by redirecting funds that are currently going to non-environmentally sound endeavors to manufacturing and other industries devoted to helping create sustainable energy, such as making solar panels, developing green cars, and rebuilding infrastructure for transportation, as well as to the projects that would create sustainable agriculture.

* Global warming: Global warming should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list! If it isn’t fixed, we won’t be here! Pointing out how Congress currently does the bidding of the oil companies would be my first step.

* Income inequality: The disparity in income between the 1 percent and the rest of us has occurred because they have been able to use their money to rewrite laws in their favor! The key element to shifting this is to get the power back to the 99 percent by getting money out of politics.

* Federal budget deficit: I am a fiscal conservative and I believe the government should balance its budget just like we all should. It’s a simple matter to realign the budget once the money corrupting it is removed.

* Funding for Social Security and Medicare: Social Security and Medicare are some of the best programs around, and without them our country would be much worse off. Right now, there is no issue with funding. This is a smokescreen created by the 1 percent to put the money where it benefits them.

* Nuclear proliferation in Middle East: I think the outcry over nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is too similar to the build-up to the Iraq war, and look how that benefited big corporations. It’s mostly a made-up issue. We need to continue the acceleration of a global technology movement that brings the nations together to solve these problems together.

* Meeting nation’s energy needs: There are great technologies available right now that could take us off coal and oil in a generation. We just have to invest in them. It’s a no-brainer, it’s going to slow global warming and give us the jobs we need. We need to do it now, and stop the give-aways to big oil.

Larry Fritzlan
Residence: Mill Valley
Occupation: Licensed marriage and family therapist.
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University; master’s degree in counseling psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies.
Marital status: Married with one son.
Political party: Democratic
No. 1 priority: Get money out of politics by passing a constitutional amendment enacting campaign finance reform.

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