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.

Labels: ,

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.

Labels: , , , ,