It’s a new day in California politics: open primaries are back. From this election forward, you’ll get to vote for whichever candidate of whichever party you want. Finally, are Republicans able to sabotage Democratic elections and vice versa, let the fun begin!
There are two exceptions to this, however. You can only vote for Presidential candidates for the party you are registered under. That means that if you really don’t like Barack Obama, you don’t get to vote for Green candidate Roseanne Barr instead (at least, not in June). And you don’t get to vote for County Central Committee members from other parties. Now, I can imagine that it could be great fun for Democrats in the Bay Area to try to take over the local Republican party, but they still can’t do that, at least without changing party registration.
All of this is to say that if you are a Democrat – but only a Democrat – and you live in San Leandro, Alameda and most of Oakland (Assembly District 18) you get to vote for me for the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC). You also get to vote for nine other of the nineteen candidates in the ballot. I am running as part of a slate (see below) and I’m asking that you vote for all the candidates on that slate. Of course, you can pick and choose as well
The ACDCC is the body that sets policy for the Democratic party in Alameda County. It endorses candidates and propositions, works to get them elected or passed, issues resolutions and presses its issues on the State party. Its members are Democratic activists, who work on a myriad of issues at the local level. All the members are elected from the different Assembly districts that fall in Alameda county.
This year, the elections for the AD18 members (us) has become quite interesting. Oakland Councilman and power house Ignacio De La Fuente is running a slate of close associates, purportedly to take over the ACDCC. In response, the incumbents (including me) have put out their own slate. Two or three candidates have been slateless.
While the candidates on this slate are all quite progressive, they don’t all share the same political vision. Some of these candidates, for example, admire Obama just as much as I disapprove of him. However, in my estimation they are all people with integrity, who want what’s best for the country, the state and the party.
Margarita Lacabe. Yours truly. I’m a international human rights activist, dealing mostly with issues of truth, justice and memory in Latin America. I’m also a local community activist in San Leandro and I want to help steer the Democratic Party into one that can challenge those within the party that do not have a clear commitment to human rights and civil liberties.
Robin Torello. Robin is the current chair of the ACDCC and the ONE person that needs to be re-elected for our local party to function. Robin has been a Democratic activist since she moved to the Bay Area ages ago. I’ve never seen someone so committed both to the party, and to the ideals that it represents. She doesn’t receive compensation as Chair of the local party, but she spends countless ours in administration, fundraising, volunteer support, helping candidates, etc. etc. etc. Honestly, I don’t know anyone else even wants to try to do her job, much less would be able to do so with any competence. If you vote for ONE person in the slate, make sure it’s Robin.
Diana Prola. Diana is a retired teacher and principal and a current member of the San Leandro School Board. She’s been a party activist for years, has worked in countless campaigns, and has a real concern for the community. What I value most about her is how much of an independent thinker she is, and how she will understand the consequences of issues in ways that I haven’t seen.
Pamela Drake. Pamela is another long-time Democratic activist. She is new to the Committee and I’m really hoping she will be elected. I have only met her a few times, but I’ve been reading her blog about Oakland, and I’m blown away by the combination of progressive ideals and ethical pragmatism that she displays. I encourage you, in particular, to read her entries about the Occupy Movement.
Corina Lopez. Corina is new to Democratic activism, but I’m pretty sure she’s here to stay. After serving as president of her neighborhood association, she stepped up and ran for City Council here in San Leandro in 2010. Corina is yet another instance of the “American story”. She grew up as the child of immigrant farm workers in Soledad. She did well – very well – and got into Princeton, later became a financial analyst and finally started her own technology business with her husband. Her commitment, however, is to her community, and I think she has a long political career ahead of her.
Howard Egerman. Howard has been a Democratic activist since he turned 18, he was even elected as a delegate for Robert Kennedy the day of his assassination. He is a federal employee, and a labor activist.
Linda Perry. Linda Perry has been a Democratic activist since High School (or at least, so I’m told). She was in the San Leandro School Board and City Council and has been the ACDCC treasurer for years.
Mario Juarez. Mario is another Oaklander, with a profound commitment to his community. He’s a very successful realtor, but he’s committed to stay in the part of Fruitvale where he lives, to make it be a safe place to live for everyone. He’s run for Oakland City Council before, and I’m sure he will again. Our views don’t always coincide – but then again, I live in the mostly safe San Leandro – but I admire the fire in his belly and his commitment to make his part of town safe.
Helena Straughter. I’ll come out and say it, Helena is an Obama supporter – and, as a human rights activist, I’m anything but -, but I’m also in awe about the fire in her belly and her commitment to the party. Whenever there is a party function, whenever there is a door to be knocked on, there is Helena. She’s been an associate member of the ACDCC for years, I hope this time she finally gets elected.
Jim Oddie. Jim is the lone representative of the City of Alameda at the ACDCC. He’s a Democratic activist over there, very involved in local campaigns (he’s currently helping Rob Bonta get elected to the Assembly). He’s a lawyer, and I mostly like lawyers (at least, run of the mill, intelligent, liberal lawyers) because we speak the same language. So yep, I want him elected
Three people are running for election without the “benefit” of a slate. They are:
Bernard Ashcraft. Bernard is a very well respected leader in the African American community. We tapped him for running for Surlene Grant’s seat back in 2008, but he had too many other commitments at the time. He hasn’t been active in Democratic politics in a while, but I am sure he will bring an experienced perspective to the committee.
Michael Katz. Yep, it’s my Mike Katz. For the un-initiated he is my husband. He’s been a member of the San Leandro School Board for six years, we pretty much share the same political ideology but he’s much nicer, more respectful, non-judgmental, non-confrontantional and likable. This is why I married him, rather than myself
Joe Macaluso. He’s a newly appointed associate member, I believe. I know he works as city auditor or something of the sort for the City of Oakland, but I know nothing else about him. I met him once, he seemed nice.
The Ignacio de la Fuente Slate
Ignacio De La Fuente. The man himself. He is a powerful Oakland city council member with Mayoral ambitions. I haven’t met him but I’ve heard that he started as a community activist wanting to improve life for his constituents, and slowly he was swallowed by the dark side. Leaving Star Wars aside, in addition to my practical fears that he’ll actually take over the local Democratic Party and destroy it, I’m bothered by the many corruption allegations that plague him.
Claudia Burgos. She is a staff member for De La Fuente.
Winnie Anderson. Winnie is Abel Guillen’s campaign manager. She was recruited to run for the ACDCC by De La Fuente, who is also a supporter of Abel’s. I like Winnie, but, as I’ve written before, I find this move politically troublesome.
Monique Rivera is a business manager who first ran for BART board in 2010 with the support of De La Fuente.
Mónica Tell is a former staffer of Don Perata, a close ally of De La Fuente.
Sandra Johnson. I don’t really know anything about Sandra Johnson, I don’t believe I’ve ever come across her at any Democratic functions, but I believe she was recruited by De La Fuente to run on his slate.
De La Fuente is also running a couple of other candidates in a different district – he wasn’t careful enough to notice where the lines were drawn after redistricting took place in 2011.
Remember, you get to vote for 10 of the 19 candidates, so make your vote count!