By Doug Porter
Are you sick and tired of elected Democrats who don’t act like Democrats? Does the phrase “herding cats” come to mind when assemblypersons in Sacramento can’t even get it together on things like climate change? Are you tired of voting for lesser of two evils? Can I get an “Amen?”
Well, you’re in luck. With a small investment of time this weekend Democrats in San Diego can help select delegates to the state party convention, the body that makes endorsements ( a critical step in our top-two primary system) and writes the state party platform, among other things.
Today’s column will start off by telling you how to participate and where to get information on some of the choices available. Mind you, this election won’t fix everything wrong with the party of FDR, but it’s a start.
One of my favorite year end listicles is City Beat’s Turds and Blossoms, whereby their editorial staff is challenged to come up up scatological synonyms to award various entities for misdeeds.
The San Diego County Democratic Party made the City Beat list this year:
The local Dems get 22,644 tiny, ballot-bubble-size poopies. That’s the combined number of votes that the Republicans got over and above what the Dems got in three crucial elections this year: the February special election for mayor in which Kevin Faulconer beat David Alvarez, the June District 2 City Council election in which Lorie Zapf beat Sarah Boot and the November District 6 City Council election in which Chris Cate beat Carol Kim. The slaughter resulted not only in a Republican in the Mayor’s office, but also the loss of Todd Gloria as City Council President.
Here’s the Process
If you are tired of reading this kind of crap, here’s what you need to do, via Daily Kos:
If you’re a registered Democratic voter in California as of the last election, here’s how to participate:
- Go to the state legislature’s district finder and punch in your address to get your state Assembly district. (While you’re at it, bookmark your state Assembly member and Senator’s websites.* C’mon, I know you’ve been meaning to.)
- Find your election place, time, and list of candidates with statements: 2015 ASSEMBLY DISTRICT ELECTION MEETINGS (ADEMS). Now’s the time to check. Don’t wait ’til mid-day Saturday and possibly get surprised that your district’s election has already passed.
- Choose up to seven women and seven men to vote for.
- Show up—be sure to be on time—and vote!
Heck, bring a few friends to vote too, and become an instant power bloc.
Here’s what you’re voting for the delegates to do, as members of the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC):
- Attend the 2015 and 2016 conventions
- Elect Party officers
- Decide to endorse candidates for statewide, legislative, and congressional office
- Decide to endorse resolutions and ballot measures
Though it’s not required, you can stick around and listen to the candidates give their in-person statements before deciding how to vote. Don’t be surprised if it seems like most people there swoop in, vote for the same fourteen candidates, and leave. That’s “machine politics” at work: the power brokers pick their slate and turn their people out. But you can help thwart that, if some of the spots are close enough for a contest… or you can be a part of a good “machine” and join with others to vote for a slate of liberal, reform-minded candidates.
Note that the complete population of delegates includes more than those elected this weekend. To round out the remaining delegate spots, county party committees elect some, and Democratic elected government officeholders and nominees appoint others. As for the California Republican Party (don’t laugh… or, rather, go ahead and laugh!), so far as I can tell, all of their delegates are appointed. Guess elections are too democratic for them.
Where to Vote
(Assembly Representatives are listed so you know what district to vote in. Clicking on the Candidate List link will also provide you with a map to your voting place)
Assembly District 80, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez
1/10/2015 10:00 AM Chula Vista Public Library, Civic Center Branch, 365 F Street, Chula Vista CA 91910,
Candidate List (With Statements), more info: email@example.com
Assembly District 79, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber
1/11/2015 12:30 PM Malcom X Library, 5148 Market Street, San Diego CA 92114
Candidate List (With Statements), more info: mike@TheThallers.com
Assembly District 78, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins
1/10/2015 10:00 AM Marina Village Conference Center, 1960 Quivara Way, Rm. 3-1, San Diego CA 92109
Candidate List (With Statements) more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assembly District 77, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein
1/10/2015 12:00 Noon Mainstreet Bar and Grill, 13385 Poway Road, Poway CA 91064
Candidate List (With Statements), more info: President@PowayDemocraticClub.org
Assembly District 76, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez
1/10/2015 10:00 AM Oceanside Library Community Rm., 330 North Coast HighwayOceanside CA 92054
Candidate List (With Statements) more info: email@example.com
Assembly District 75, Assemblywoman Marie Waldron
1/10/2015 10:00 AM Park Avenue Community Center, 210 Park Avenue, Escondido CA 92025
Candidate List (With Statements) more info:firstname.lastname@example.org
Who to Vote For:
Several area Democratic clubs have put together endorsements. The Point Loma/Ocean Beach club has a dream slate for the 78th Assembly District.
The San Diego Democrats for Equality have partnered with the California Young Democrats South State Region, the UCSD College Democrats, the College Democrats of SDSU and the City Heights Democratic Club to recommend a slate of candidates for the 78th Assembly District.
I will gladly add slates from other Democratic clubs to this story. Email me via email@example.com.
If you take the time to read the candidate statements, your better choices should be easier. The more bland the statement is, the less likely the candidate is to be of the progressive persuasion.
Note: You may be asked for a $5 donation at the polling place. This money is intended to cover the costs of running the election. And it’s a donation, not a poll tax, so it’s voluntary.
A Deadly Attack in Paris
The offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo were attacked earlier today. Four prominent cartoonists and eight other persons, including one police officer, along with publisher Stéphane Charbonnier, and Charbonnier’s police bodyguard, were killed by masked gunmen toting Kalashnikovs.
From the New York Times:
In 2011, the Charlie Hebdo office was badly damaged by a firebomb after it published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad to salute the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections. It had announced plans to publish a special issue renamed “Charia Hebdo,” a play on the word in French for Shariah law.
A lawyer for the newspaper said that a number of prominent editors and cartoonists had been killed on Wednesday, including Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and Jean Cabut, who signs his work Cabu. He said that the cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac were also among the victims.
House GOP Starts Off: Cut Social Security
Day One. House Republicans took aim at the part of Social Security for disabled people. It’s long been their contention that many disabled persons are just faking it to scam the government, despite a lack of evidence to back up the point.
From Talking Points Memo:
With a little-noticed proposal, Republicans took aim at Social Security on the very first day of the 114th Congress.
The incoming GOP majority approved late Tuesday a new rule that experts say could provoke an unprecedented crisis that conservatives could use as leverage in upcoming debates over entitlement reform.
The largely overlooked change puts a new restriction on the routine transfer of tax revenues between the traditional Social Security retirement trust fund and the Social Security disability program. The transfers, known as reallocation, had historically been routine; the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said Tuesday that they had been made 11 times. The CBPP added that the disability insurance program “isn’t broken,” but the program has been strained by demographic trends that the reallocations are intended to address.
Another High Tech Boondoggle: Border Drones
A new report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General says the $443 million funding the drones used to patrol the US-Mexico border over the past eight years is a waste of money. Less than two percent of the apprehensions of people illegally crossing the border were attributable to the drone patrols.
Inspector General John Roth concluded that with these findings, the $443 million funding the program would be best moved elsewhere.
“Notwithstanding the significant investment, we see no evidence that the drones contribute to a more secure border, and there is no reason to invest additional taxpayer funds at this time,” Roth said.
In the report, the OIG found that the average hourly cost of operating a drone was $12,255, a significant jump from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine’s original estimated cost of $2,468 per hour.
Modern Day Crucifixions as Protest
Workers in Paraguay are being nailed to crosses for weeks at time as a form of protest in wage disputes, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Four men and a woman have been nailed to crosses for several weeks and a sixth person planned to join them Tuesday until Paraguay’s Work Ministry agreed to meet with the protesters Jan. 26.
“With this news, we will cancel the sixth crucifixion,” said organizer Carlos Gonzalez, but he added that the five people would remain on the crosses.
The workers claim they are owed several thousand dollars for work many years ago on the Itaipu Dam, which is on the Parana River shared by Paraguay and Brazil. The dam, one of the world’s biggest hydroelectric projects, is jointly administered by the two countries.
On This Day: 1892 -An explosion at Osage Coal and Mining Company’s Mine Number 11 near Krebs, Okla., killed 100, injured 150 when an untrained worker accidentally set off a stash of explosives. 1929 – The newspapers around the country debuted “Buck Rogers 2429 A.D.” The title of the comic strip was later changed to “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” 1953 – President Harry Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb.
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From CBS News website: Cartoonists Draw in Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo
Believe there’s something similar on LA Times website, also…
A wonderful gallery! Everyone, please click this link.
This explains it all, a hard read I know, a bit dated, but does a great job 0f the 80’s-90’s flip of Politcal Party Platforms which is still continuning on the same path….
Why Americans Hate Politics, Book by E. J. Dionne
Omar Passons says
Doug – This is not a loaded question and not meant as snark. I’ve heard several friends and colleagues over the years talk about acting like a Democrat. I can’t really find a clean definition for what that means, and I suspect it means different things to different people. But since I’m reading your article I thought I’d ask you: What does it mean for a Democratic elected official to act like a Democratic elected official? If you’ve already written a piece on this, I’d welcome a reply that just includes the link. Thanks for the time, cheers.
Doug Porter says
Thanks for commenting. When I say act like a Democrat I mean supporting an agenda that puts humans first before commerce. Our recent story by Sen. Bernie Sanders (who, ironically, is not currently a Democrat) lays out the economics:
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, speaking at the National Raising Wages Summit in DC yesterday, went beyond the economic questions:
This Summit is about more than wages, though. It’s about what wages represent. It’s a philosophy, a vision, and an agenda all rolled into one. It’s a philosophy as old as America itself—that the people of America should share in the wealth we create.
And it’s an agenda for change that starts with the absolute truth that no one should make less than the minimum wage, everyone should make a living wage, and collective bargaining should be available for all workers. But it’s an agenda that must go far broader and deeper than that. Raising wages requires a comprehensive economic agenda….
…There are many other elements of the Raising Wages agenda – quality public education, secure retirement, equal pay, and more. But I want to single out two subjects that we don’t automatically think about as work and wage issues: immigration and race.
Let me put it plainly: our Raising Wages campaign can only be complete when there is justice for America’s immigrants and people of color. We must have a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants, and we must be a country of dignity for all people, regardless of race or ethnicity. Justice at work and justice in our community are intertwined, and both must advance for either to grow.
I would also add supporting equality for women and the LGTB parts of our society.
Omar Passons says
Thanks. This helps a bit. Though in practice it’s hard to reconcile when faced with everyday political decisions. What I mean is, are we talking about supporting the agenda you outline by voting 100% in line with the Democratic Party platform? 75% Is it less about percentages than about the impact of a particular vote on a larger goal? I’m thinking about Alvarez, Gloria, Congressman Peters, Speaker Atkins, and Governor Brown. Democrats all, but probably none would align perfectly with either that platform or for every vote or policy decision that seems to fit what you describe. The reason this matters to me is that I am trying to better establish a lens with which to view both what I read on these pages (and hear from some friends) and also to evaluate the various score cards and litmus tests I read regarding what it means to act like a Democrat. The way I see it, raising quality of life to some basic level should be everybody’s concern because that’s the best way to ensure true equal opportunity to succeed – striving to a playing field in which opportunity to succeed is level I mean. But we can do that by cutting expenses, raising wages, or some combination of the two. In any case, I appreciate the reply and I think I get more the spirit of your point if not specifically how it plays out in practice. Have a good one.
bob dorn says
The French Revolution established liberty, equality and brotherhood as key concepts to keep in mind when considering what constitutes a democracy (and Democratic women have forced us to call into question what’s missing from “brotherhood”). You can ask yourself if the values of freedom and equality are being served more effectively by Republican members of Congress and the Senate and Supreme Court (dominated by Bush I and II appointees) or by the Democrats. Consider how state Congressional districts have been engineered by majority Republicans to favor the election of Republicans. Consider Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Bros, whose billions are available to elect Republicans, but not to elect Democrats. Think about today’s headlines warning us that the Republicans in Congress are attaching Social Security allotments to disabled Americans. Think about freedom and equality as you consider who should win your vote.
bob dorn says
The French Revolution established liberty, equality and brotherhood as key concepts to keep in mind when considering what constitutes a democracy (and Democratic women have forced us to call into question what’s missing from “brotherhood”). You can ask yourself if the values of freedom and equality are being served more effectively by Republican members of Congress and the Senate and Supreme Court (dominated by Bush I and II appointees) or by the Democrats. Consider how state Congressional districts have been engineered by majority Republicans to favor the election of Republicans. Consider Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Bros, whose billions are available to elect Republicans, but not to elect Democrats. Think about today’s headlines warning us that the Republicans in Congress are attacking Social Security allotments to disabled Americans. Think about freedom and equality as you consider who should win your vote.
Doug Porter says
I’m not going to let perfect be the enemy of getting things done. (See comment below where I talk about holding my nose while voting)
I see our role here at SDFP as twofold.:
First, we’re trying to document the “people’s history” of today. We strive (and fail too often) to report on activism for social movements including those not necessarily connected with electoral politics.
Secondly, we’re striving to have a platform where a critique from the left side of the aisle exists. Certainly nobody can call the UT’s occasional op-eds from local Dems anything more than static in their right wing noise machine. And much of the other local media is way too timid in allowing progressive voices to be heard. (I wish I could do electronic media, but with no vocal chords, writing is my best option.)
I believe that the American “center” in politics has moved steadily rightward over the past few decades. I want to push the pendulum back. I’m proud to be doing it and I do it with a firm grasp of the history of the United States.
I believe that you never get anything if you don’t ask for it. So I’m asking. With the 21st century version of a pen.
One of the reasons Reps often win over Dems is because they often move/vote in lock-step. The party has often retaliated viciously against any Rep who didn’t vote with the party.
Dems, on the other hand, often think for themselves, agrue other points of view, and sometimes vote contrary to the party. Independence is a Democratic value.
So, are you advocating for Dems to act more like Reps?
Doug Porter says
Please point me to where it is written that “independence is a Democratic value.”
I’m speaking of having a focus and consistent standards for elected officials who want the support of local activists. I am sickened by legislators from either party who sponsor bills undermining the environment and cower whenever the Chamber of Commerce calls something a job killer.
I have voted for lots of politicians while holding my nose. I’d just like to do it a little less often.
We all have voted for the lesser of evils too damn often. And I agree that, generally, humans before commerce is a great — and Democratic, as in party — way to be.
That ol’ devil IS in the details and that’s where the divisions and disagreements in the progressive wing arise.
But, you seem to be advocating that we progressive peons shut up and follow the party line just to be able to win, and that sounds like what ‘the other side’ does.
I don’t have an answer for these questions. I just know that discussing them is better than not.
Doug Porter says
Let’s see… I wrote an article encouraging like minded folks to participate in the inner processes of the Democratic Party. And now that gets twisted into “shut up and follow the party line?”
Come on, you’ve got to be kidding. Is it the part about having standards that bothers you? Because, as I recollect from my days as a corporate tool, standards aren’t standards unless people buy into them.
Reading the above comments, I remembered this post from some while back, right here on SDFP; perhaps it might add something useful to the current discussion?
Lori Saldaña says
It’s healthy for the San Diego County Democratic Party to engage in an internal leadership battle for the first time in over 20 years. I encourage those who are expressing their unhappiness with the current Chair, based on the outcome of recent elections, to discuss this element of her Chairmanship:
What’s the use of raising large amounts of money if it’s not used wisely?
Francine Busby’s actions over the past several years have focussed on fundraising, but have not reflected a belief in the power of organizing and training volunteers to make the difference in close elections. Republicans typically are able to outraise and outspend Democrats, and hire people to walk, gather petition signatures etc.
Rather than counter these “astroturf” tactics with a better ground game, and authentic grassroots work, Busby apparently believes that money trumps the grassroots. It has become a self fulfilling prophecy.
With leadership like this, is it any wonder Democrats have failed to be inspired by recent candidates, and have lost so many recent elections, not to mention faith in their own power- despite being the registered voting majority in the city of San Diego?
These contradictions are not new. As Executive Director of Run Women Run in 2012 (an organization supposedly dedicated to elect women to political office), Busby once said “I have to keep the money people happy” when explaining why she would not support a grassroots candidate who had been endorsed by Run Women Run, as well as 17 out of 18 Democratic Club in the district.
She heard the money talking, not the people.
For these and many other reasons, I hope County Democrats will go back to their strengths of organizing volunteers for effective outreach, elect Steve Rivera, and demonstrate that they believe in the power of training and motivating people to win vs. “keeping the money people happy.”
bob dorn says
Thanks (again) Lori Saldana; you’ve become a clear voice for simple honesty. And, so did Francine Busby, just that once, when she admitted that as a local Demo, “I have to keep the money people happy.” That’s not far from advocating the country sell seats in the Legislature and the Office of the President.
Lori Saldaña says
Thanks Bob- I’ve wondered at the time why she thought anyone needs to “keep the money people happy.” They seem to be doing quite well already. .
Then I realized she meant : she needed to keep ELECTING “money people” to enact laws to make other “money people” even happier. Just look at the latest votes this week in DC, and which Dem from San Diego joined with 35 others, and voted with Republicans.
it all makes sense now…
Anna Daniels says
I just returned from voting for CA Democratic Party AB80 candidates. This is the first time in the 35 years that I have lived here that I have ever participated in elections on this level. I wouldn’t have done it this year either, if I hadn’t read this article which explained the “where” and “how” as well as the “why” for participation. So thanks Doug–you have done SDFP readers a tremendous service. A number of the candidates have also been written about here (Georgette Gomez), have contributed to the site (Linda Perrine) or participated in the conversations (Lucas O’Connor’s tweets). That means that we have been introduced to human beings with visions and values behind a mere name on a candidate list. This is how we create an informed citizenry. One of my motivations for participating today was the opportunity to vote for Georgette and Lucas in AB80.
Our voting location was the Chula Vista Library. There was lots of people–they were a predominately young and diverse group of both men and women.
There are no guarantees, of course. If the San Diego Democratic party is going to be a relevant and viable presence, it needs to generate interest and support and attract diverse new voices who aren’t afraid to promote a progressive platform.