Jan 052017

Democrat Donkey

ACDCC Passes Strong Resolution Urging No Collaboration between Local Law Enforcement and Trump Administration

Last night, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) swore in (ceremoniously, as it turned out) its new membership.  It wasn’t very different than its old one.  Six of our 33 elected members are new, but three of them had previously been alternate members.  In Assembly District 18, where we actually elected three new members, the three defeated incumbents will now be alternates.  The Committee’s Chair remains the same, as do the two secretaries.  The Vice Chair is now the Treasurer and the Treasurer has now been hired to be the professional accountant/treasurer.  We do have a new Vice Chair, who was elected after the outgoing Vice Chair made a surprise announcement at the meeting that he would not seek re-election.  Before members had a moment to digest these news, nominations for his position were closed and a vote had been called for the sole candidate.  Business as usual at the Democratic Party.

There were a few changes with respect to Assembly District Vice-Chairs.  The ACDCC is divided into five caucuses, one for each Assembly District that falls within Alameda County.  The vice chairs for AD 15, 20 and 25 remained the same, but AD 16 decided to replace the incumbent vice-chair, who had rarely been seen in the last three years, with her closest acolyte.  Neither were present at the meeting.  In AD 18, after a lot of behind-the-scenes drama and machinations, the incumbent Vice Chair was forced out, two activist members were sidelined and Assemblymember Rob Bonta‘s paid staffer and alternate member, was put in.  Once again, business as usual.

Less business as usual was the resolution we passed, unanimously, that urges local City Councils and the Board of Supervisors to declare “themselves to be Sanctuary Cities and refuse to honor any request by the Trump Administration to use any of their resources, including Police and Sheriff’s Deputies to participate in any arrests or internments mandated by the Trump Administration.”   This is a move that I wished we had done a long time before, given the Obama administration widespread use of local police power to make immigration-related arrests.  But I am thrilled that we passed this now.  Now, we need to work to make sure City Councils in Alameda County implement this resolution.

And while minor, there have been  changes.  Two of the new elected members, Guillermo Elenes and Pamela Price, are avowed civil rights activists that come to the Committee planning to push an agenda of progressive reform.  Newly elected Congressman Ro Khanna has named as his alternate former Marine and Bernie Sanders delegate Cullen Tiernan, who along with a few other alternates and associates are bringing the energy of the Bernie Sanders movement to the Committee.  Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who unsuccessfully ran for Assembly against the Republican incumbent in AD 16, has joined as an ex-officio member and her experience as an award winning Government teacher already proved useful in helping us shape the resolution described above.

Ultimately, it’s anyone’s guess whether the forces of change will defeat those of stagnation, a happy medium will be reached, or the whole thing will blow up.  I’m betting on the first.


Dec 302016

reformVote for Delegates to the California Democratic Convention at January 7th Election Caucuses.

Every two years, the California Democratic Party holds caucuses to elect delegates to the State Convention.  Elected delegates get to vote on the Party’s platform and leadership, as well as on which candidates for state and national office should get the Democratic Party’s endorsement.  Given that California is a heavily Democratic state, the Party’s endorsement can often propel a candidate into a win.

Generally, the only people who run for these positions are party insiders and supporters of politicians that sponsor a given slate.  The traumatic failure of the Democratic Party nationwide, however, has propelled hundreds of progressives to run for these positions and try to transform the Democratic party from within.   While in 2014, only 25 candidates ran for the 14 available seats in  AD 18 – there are 64 such candidates now vying for those positions!

Candidates often organize themselves on slates.  Elected officials sponsor some of these, with the understanding that the people running in those slates will vote to endorse them when they run for re-election or for higher office.  Some sponsoring politicians, like Assemblymember Rob Bonta, go further and require their members of the slate they sponsor to “consult” with them as to all their votes.  In previous elections, Bonta asked delegates elected through his slate to support former Assembly speaker John Perez for State Treasurer, despite the fact that Perez had no background on economics and no college degree, instead of far more progressive and well-educated candidate Betty Yee.  Bonta also asked his delegates to vote to endorse then state Senator Alex Padilla for Secretary of State, despite his own former troubles with the Fair Political Practices Commission, instead of the far better qualified Derek Cressman, a voting rights advocate.

The following are the slates of reform-minded and independent candidates running in Alameda County.  To vote, you must be a registered Democrat in the Assembly District where you go to vote (if you are not sure where that is, check here).  If you are not a registered Democrat, you can register on site.  There is a $5 donation requested from voters, but you can ask for a waiver for financial difficulties. Please note the location and time for the caucus.

You can find other Bay Area progressive slates here.

AD 15: Southwestern Contra Costa County/Northwestern Alameda County

Saturday, January 7, 2017
speeches: 11:30am, pick-up ballots:  12pm – 2:00pm
Albany Community Room at the Albany Library
1247 Marin Ave.
Albany, CA 94706

Democrats Rising slate:

Ben Choi; Richmond City Councilmember-elect; Urban Habitat Boardmember
Charlie Davidson; Environmental Justics Organizer; Medical Researcher
Hussain Gilani; Nephrologist and Chief Medical Advisor at Livzo, inc.
Alejandro Soto-Vigil; Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner; Legislative Aide, Berkeley City Council
Alex M White; Sanders Delegate; UX Designer & Documentary Filmmaker
Melvin Willis; Richmond City Councilmember; Community Organizer, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
Alfred Twu; Berkeley Zero Waste Commission Chair;Berkeley Student Cooperative Alumni Association Boardmember

Kori Anderson; Graduate student, Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley; E-board member, East Bay Young Democrats
Yelda Bartlett, Attorney; President, Berkeley Democratic Caucus
Christina Murphy; Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner; Housing Coordinator, Berkeley Drop In Center
Seren Pendleton-Knoll; Program Director, Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business; Commissioner and Policy Chair, Alameda County Human Relations Commission
Julia Schnell; Transit Planner, Western Contra Costa Transit Authority; Deputy Chair of Communications, Young Professionals in Transportation International
Joey Smith; Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Richmond/Contra Costa Chapter, 1st VP; Tradeswoman/Water Conservation
Selina Williams; President, Hercules Democratic Club; CADEM E-Board Member 2015-2016

AD 18: Alameda, San Leandro and the Oakland Flats

Saturday, January 7, 2017
9:30AM speeches – pick up your ballot: 10AM – 12PM
Sheet Metal Workers Local 104
1720 Marina Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94577

The Groundswell Progressives slate

Eleanor “Ellie” Casson, former community organizer with Greenbelt Alliance and homeless rights activist.
Amber Childress, mom and newly elected Trustee on the Alameda County Board of Education.
Lisa (LaFave) Cysewski, a registered nurse, CNA member and veteran of the successful Campaign to Save San Leandro Hospital from closing
Gabrielle “Gaby” Dolphin, community activist in Alameda and Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC
Pamela Harris activist, former Fullbright scholar and Oscar-nominated filmmaker
Rabia Keeble, Muslim political activist and author
Mara Schechter, Campaign Director at Daily Kos

Sean Dugar, former Western Regional Director for the NAACP and former Co-Founder and Chair of the California Young Democrats Black Caucus.  Please also vote for Sean for E-board on separate ballot.
Michael Fortes, musician and Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC
Mike Katz (Lacabe), Director of Research for the Center for Human Rights and Privacy and former San Leandro School Board member.
Carter Lavin, Climate Hawk and activist  involved with the fights to Save Knowland Park, Stop the Domain Awareness Center, No Coal in Oakland, and expand bike lanes and transit options for Oaklanders.
Michael “Mike” Lee, Bernie Sanders volunteer
Jeromey Shafer, founder of San Leandro for Bernie and Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC
Daniel “Dan” Wood, long time campaign volunteer and former state delegate

AD 20: Hayward, Union City, Unincorporated Alameda County and north Fremont

Saturday, January 7, 2017
9:30AM speeches – pick up your ballot: 10AM – 12PM
28870 Mission Blvd, Hayward

Fun Progressives Slate
Moira “Mimi” Dean, teacher in the San Lorenzo Unified School District and food justice activist.
Raisa Donato, Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC
Michele Jenkins,  Bernie Sanders volunteer
Jennifer Kassan, attorney and anti-money-in-politics activist.
Miki Nakamura, millennial inspired by Bernie Sanders
Diana Silva
Althea Weber

Frederic Morrison, Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer
Seth Rediker, US Air Force veteran and graduate student
Cullen Tiernan, US Marines veteran and former Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC



Nov 062016
Developers Skirt Contribution Limits and Funnel Tens of Thousands of Dollars into Fremont Mayor Race

Incumbent Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison is a darling of housing developers.  He has never seen a development worth questioning, much less voting against.  And developers are repaying his generosity with their own, not only directing tens of thousands of dollars directly into his campaign but contributing tens of thousands more to a local Democratic Party organ, money used to produce and send mailers asking Democratic voters to vote for Harrison. According to campaign finance disclosure forms filed with the California Department of State, the Ohlone Area United Democratic Campaign (OAUDC)  has received $60,000 from housing developers in the last two [Continue Reading]

Oct 292016
Alameda County Progressive Voter Guide to the November 2016 Election: The Candidates

Every election, I publish a Voter Guide trying to identify the most progressive candidates running for office in Alameda County.  I do as much research as I can on the candidates, send out questionnaires and meet with them when possible.  And yet, often times I get it wrong.  I recommend a candidate who then turns out to be less than progressive while in office. This time, I’m being more cautious.  I’m only recommending candidates who are bona fide progressives, who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, and have a record of standing up for social justice and civil liberties.  In [Continue Reading]