Ted Williams was a man who took responsibility for the big things in life – peace and power, wealth and justice. What's more, he brought wisdom, humanity and humor to all he did. A business leader who spent 28 years as CEO of Bell Industries, Ted long ago realized that the nation’s bloated military spending budget was draining resources froom education, healthcare, and other programs essential to the common good of our country. For many years he devoted himself to reducing military spending, but when the Cold War was over and military spending remained unchanged, Ted understood that he had been treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem. He recognized that none of our nation’s pressing problems could be fixed until the special interest money was removed from the electoral system. So in 1999, Ted co-founded the California Clean Money Campaign.
A caring leader, Ted’s unerring vision and financial support guided CCMC through its early years. He inspired and encouraged his colleagues and the staff to persevere, kept the organization on course, and rejoiced in the progress that Clean Money was making. When it looked as though Prop 89 would qualify for the ballot, Ted's enthusiasm was unabashed, “This is it! This is what we’ve been working for all these years! This is it!,” he exclaimed.
In addition to hosting numerous events to promote Clean Money, Ted opened his home and heart to many worthy and progressive causes. He and his family formed a scholarship foundation to benefit university students and supported pediatric healthcare for children.
He was active with Businessmen for Sensible Priorities, a group of business leaders founded around a concern with America’s runaway defense spending. He received the Yitzak Rabin Award from Americans for Peace Now, the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), and he and his wife Rita were twice named Humanitarians of the Year by the City of Los Angeles.
Ted brought a common touch and a healthy helping of common sense to everything he did. We will miss him dearly and we will embrace his memory in our hearts as we continue to carry the torch in his honor.
Memorial donations may be made to the California Clean Money Campaign through this site.
Los Angeles Times, by Jocelyn Y. Stewart, 9/21/06
In 1999, Williams helped launch California Clean Money Campaign. The organization was founded out of frustration that obvious solutions to societal problems were not being implemented, Lerner said. Williams and other co-founders argued that campaign donations from large corporations left politicians more interested in pleasing donors than solving problems. Full story