Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th edition: Burton Watch!

It is with amusement that I have been witnessing the brouhaha surrounding Burton Watch, one of the latest additions to the political blogosphere of California.

I take it that those in the know are eagerly awaiting the next entry in the ongoing multi-part series that...shall we say...challenges Burton's credentials to be the next CDP chair. What I can say is that when I read articles such as this one by my fellow Calitics blogger Dave Dayen, or when I read the listservs of the progressive wing of the California Democratic Party, there are quite a few people who have severe reservations about John Burton's impending chairmanship of the CDP, and I'm beginning to wonder what might happen if this "Burton Watch" site catches any traction in traditional media. Will it galvanize anything more than the token opposition what seems to be Burton's inevitable victory?

Hard to say. But I'm not alone in having misgivings about Burton's chairmanship, especially when I hear some of the stories about his style of politics and his ideas about fundraising accountability. My chief misgiving, simply put, is that the role of CDP chair should not be filled by a legislator; it should be filled by an organizer. I am worried that what many have dubbed John Burton's backroom style won't be conducive to building the type of organizational infrastructure that we need to enact serious reform in this state.

That being said, I think John Burton will make for a competent chair. But it'll be interesting to see if that new blog proves otherwise.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Los Angeles County Democratic Party soundly rejects endorsement of John Burton

(cross-posted from my post at Calitics

Endorsements for CDP Executive Offices were considered at last night's Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee meeting. As expected, the Committee voted to endorse Eric Bauman for Male Vice-Chair by voice vote; the committee did not take up the issue of Female Vice-Chair, as Alex Rooker was not in attendance and could not make it.
The endorsement for Chair, however, was very interesting. Chris Finnie spoke on behalf of her candidacy, and got quite a loud ovation despite having laryngitis and having practically no voice. After Finnie's speech, someone made a motion from the floor to endorse John Burton for chair. That motion was soundly rejected, with only 50 voting for, and more than 90 voting against.

At that point, the room was buzzing, and Eric Bauman made a motion from the podium that the issue be allowed to be reconsidered at the next month's meeting when John Burton would have a chance to speak; that motion was accepted unanimously on voice vote. I expect that John Burton will be easily endorsed at the March meeting, provided that he shows up to the meeting. But if last night was any indication, the Los Angeles County Central Committee members aren't going to roll over for Burton and they're going to make him earn their support.

As a side note, the Controller's race, which is hotly contested between current Controller Eric Bradley and Progressive Caucus favorite Hilary Crosby, was much closer than I expected. Eric and Hilary had a very cordial, if brief, forum at the meeting, and I honestly felt that Hilary gave the better answers and showed a knowledge of the inner workings of CDP finances that I would have only expected a party insider to have. Despite it being Eric's home turf, Hilary nearly denied him the endorsement; Eric needed to get 71 of the total votes cast, and ended up getting 72. Forcing the LACDP to go neutral would have been a big coup for Hilary, but the fact that she even got that far is a big testament to the strength of her campaign, and the big support she's getting in the progressive movement.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

My resolutions are up on the CDP website

First, there's the resolution I wrote opposing subsidies for coal liquefaction...

And, there's the gutted resolution about Alberto Gonzales (actually a sausage-resolution boiled down from separate resolutions authored by me and by Peter Rudinskas).

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Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm featured on the California Democratic Party website!

Just saw this link on the Chairman's Corner of the CDP website. I'm looking forward to beginning my work at the E-board meeting in July...

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Well, I guess I'm an insider now!

I'm excited! My own personal quest to Crash the Gate took another step forward today--I received my letter from California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres appointing me to the CDP's Platform Committee.

Every even-numbered year, the CDP approves a newly reworked platform crafted together by the members of the platform committee based on submissions from Democratic Clubs and members of the State Central Committee. And from what I've been told, the national Democratic Party tends to use the California platform as a template for its own national platform.

And I'm going to be on the committee that writes it! I'm thrilled, seriously.

I have a little question, for you, though--when was the last time you actually read the Party's platform to know what it officially stands for? Well, let me give you a chance to read the official platform of the California Democratic Party:

Official Platform of the California Democratic Party

Now, lots of it looks good...it has a lot of "planks"...but it seems like there's something missing.

I don't see a separate plank for global climate change or alternative energy!

Well, during my time on the Platform Committee this year, I intend to change that--and I've asked the Energize America team to help me draft a plank in support of alternative energy and fighting back against the climate crisis.

So, that's my news for today! Like I said, I'm excited--and hopefully I'll get the chance to get something done! Hooray for Crashing the Gate!

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Monday, April 30, 2007

CA Dem Party insiders kill net neutrality resolution.

This is the first in a series of posts about the convention. Today's entry focuses on what certainly appears to be an effort by certain factions higher up in the state party to kill a resolution on net neutrality.

First, some background on what exactly resolutions are for the California Democratic Party.

Resolutions, essentially, are statements of philosophical intent that are non-binding regarding any particular piece of party business, but are supposed to be used a guideline for the party in general, and shows that the party is on record as supporting particular stances or issues. Resolutions are considered for passage by the Resolutions Committee at the convention.

The process for getting a resolution to the Resolutions Committee is simple: get it sponsored by 25 members of the State Central Committee (i.e., delegates such as myself), or get it sponsored by any charted Democratic club. At the convention, any resolution that does not meet the "philosophical intent" guideline--say, a resolution calling for supporting a particular piece of legislation, or calling for a particular amount of funding to be given to a particular project--are referred to a more relevant committee for discussion and debate. If a resolution is not approved, it can still be brought to the floor by getting 300 signatures of voting delegates--or at least, that's the way it used to be. More on that below.

So, to the issue at hand. There was a resolution on net neutrality that was appropriately sponsored and made its way to the Resolutions Committee. When we checked the status of the net neutrality resolution, we saw that it had been referred to...the Labor Caucus.

Now, that made a lot of us say, WTF?. This is really strange, because a caucus has no legislative authority in the Party to be able to do anything with the resolution after the referral--it's essentially a death sentence for the resolution, since after the referral there is no longer any mechanism for bringing the resolution to the floor to be able to get it adopted. And why is that? Because of an obscure rule change this year which prevents resolutions from being brought to the floor by signature unless they are totally killed in Committee. So because the net neutrality resolution was not killed, but was just referred, it could not be brought to the floor by any mechanism in the party rules.

Secondly--why the Labor Caucus, of all places, especially when there's a Technology and Internet Caucus? Well, the answer may likely have to do with AT&T and the Communications Workers of America (CWA). For some background on why CWA is opposing net neutrality, please read this piece by Matt Stoller at MyDD.

So, okay then. CWA opposes net neutrality. So what does that have to do with the Resolutions Committee of the California Democratic Party? I'll let Juls at Calitics take it from here. You should read the whole piece, though I warn you that some of what she has is as of yet unconfirmed.

In this case they knew that AT&T, a major party donor and sponsor of the convention, opposed the deal. Since Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker, 1st Vice-Chair of the Party sits on the Executive Board of CWA #9400 they knew about CWA's issues with net neutrality. They also knew that Jim Gordon, Chair of the Labor Caucus, is also with CWA. Thus, they could be assured that the concerns of the organization would be addressed when the resolution is heard at a later date. In addition, one must be a member of a union and a dues paying member of the Labor Caucus to be heard at their meetings. Those supporting net neutrality would be unlikely to have someone to carry this for them at any meeting.


Now, there were obviously conversations between the Resolutions Committee and party leadership about the resolutions that had been proposed. That's par for the course, and it is, of course, impossible to know what was discussed about the net neutrality resolution, or who said what, and there's no foolproof way to know which party officials would have been most responsible. But to sum up the facts once again:

A resolution on net neutrality which would countervail the desires of a major party sponsor and a party vice-chair, was killed by referring it to a caucus (after which it can no longer be passed by petition) that not only has no legislative authority to deal with it, but whose chairman also belongs to the same union that is opposed to the deal and whose membership is the most exclusive since you must be a card-carrying union member to have voting rights.

Stuff like this is why we need to have more people with our values at the higher levels of party infrastructure--so we can know what's going on with little tricks like this and hold people accountable. I myself am going to request an appointment to a Party committee this week--I hope that some of my fellow delegate bloggers do the same.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

At the CDP convention

I'm at the California Democratic Party convention right now--I'm a delegate from the 42nd Assembly District. I will be doing my best to liveblog throughout the convention, but I may be running around for a lot of the time.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mainstream press for CDP delegate blogger candidates

Shane Goldmacher has an article in the SacBee (free registration required) about our blogger candidates running for CDP delegate from their respective assembly districts.

As juls writes on DailyKos, the California blogosphere is growing up. I'm proud to be a part of it. I hope I win Sunday--but even if I don't, I'll have been proud to have made a difference and help galvanize the blogosphere on this. Our efforts have gotten us frontpage attention at DailyKos and MyDD, and I'm overjoyed at having had the opportunity to help decalcify the party a little.


For the record, I'm not the only blogger running in AD-42. I'm being joined by Mark Kleiman and Alicia Morgan.

Now I need to go write my speech.

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