I heard yesterday that Oakland City Council Member Ignacio De La Fuente wants to become Chair of the Alameda County Democratic Party. Not only is he running for the Democratic Central Committee, but he has a slate of candidates running with him. Among these are Claudia Burgos, one of his staffers, Mónica Tell, a former Perata staffer close to De La Fuente and Monique Rivera, whom De La Fuente endorsed when she ran for BART. All of these are running for District 18, which includes San Leandro (and therefore they are running against me). De La Fuente also has allies in District 15, including Frank J. Castro, communications director for Make Oakland Safe Now!.
As a current member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, it’s hard for me to fathom why De La Fuente would want to be county party chair. That is one of those completely thankless positions. You have to do a lot of work, managing the committee, organizing fundraisers and events, running endorsements events, organizing meetings and keeping many diverse voices under rule. And there is absolutely no power on the position. Meetings are ran according to the Roberts Rules of Order – and the membership is vocal if they’re not followed to the letter. Our current chair, Robin Torello, refrains from letting her political positions known and does not endorse individual candidates, so that she can remain above the fray. I think the membership would expect the same of De La Fuente if he became Chair.
I don’t know Mr. De La Fuente, I haven’t noticed him coming to any of the meetings since I became a member, but I know he’s an astute politician and he may have an actual strategy under his belt. Or he may just destroy the functioning of the Committee – which really needs an experienced manager to make it run functionally. Indeed, if management was something Mr. De La Fuente was interested in, I’d urge him to spend a couple of years apprenticing under Torello and learning the job.
I’ve invited Mr. De La Fuente to comment here.