A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Lessons of the 2017 California Democratic ADEMs"

For those who are interested in the process that brought progressives like me into the delegate positions, this article has a great statewide overview of the influx of progressives/berniecrats into the fold.

(BTW: Apparently there was a tallying error; all fourteen of our "Groundswell Progressives" slate wound up winning.)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Countdown clocks considered harmful

Today I read that a countdown clock of how long we have to put up with President Trump has gotten very popular for people to put on their websites, share on social media, etc.


I remember this kind of thing when George W. Bush was in his first term.  Everybody was so looking forward to the end of Bush's term and his replacement with somebody better that I would see bumper stickers, signs, and digital media heralding either Election Day 2004 or Inauguration Day 2005.

And then, Bush stayed for another term.

So please, let's not make any assumptions that Trump will be easy to topple in four years. No matter how much we want him gone, there are plenty of voters, corporations, 1%ers, and electoral college members who will be more than happy to sign him up for even more.  Especially once our new UnPrecident continues to "game" the system that got him elected in the first place.

In order to beat Trump, the Democrats have to do something very different from what they did in the 2015-2016 campaign.

Albert Einstein is generally credited with defining insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

And yet, there are forces — powerful forces, the predominant forces — in the Democratic Party who are hoping to do just that.  Just keep on with the game they have been playing, sucking up to big donors (the 1%, big pharma, big oil, etc.) and while they talk a good talk, there are so many voters who see through all the phoniness and choose the wise-cracking "Tony Stark" maverick they somehow identify with.

Imagine 2020, the Democratic Party proffering another candidate, a corporate-sponsored individual who speaks platitudes that sound great, while unashamedly behaving almost like a Republican at the same time; somebody as universally unpopular as Hillary Clinton was.  He or she wouldn't have a chance.

That's what is going to happen if the Democratic Party keeps telling itself lies about who it is.  From the leadership in the national (DNC) and state (like California Democratic Party) levels on down to the regional (like our county central committees) and grassroots activists like you and me.

Part of the change that we at the bottom can perform is to insist that the leadership in the Democratic Party be replaced in a big way.

At the national level, Keith Ellison is running for chair of the DNC. He's the candidate who will get rid of the system that has been failing us for years — even while we had a Democrat in the White House, the rest of the country went red in a big way.  How about checking out Keith?

In California, we delegates have the ability to choose the leader of our state's party. The front-runner is the old-model, big-money style candidate that we can't afford to keep having. Eric Bauman worked hard to defeat Proposition 61, which would have slashed prescription drug prices, after receiving $12,500 per month from Big Pharma.  That's why I'm strongly supporting Kimberly Ellis for the state chair. She's all about turning that upside-down.

We can keep going the way things have always been done in the Democratic Party, or we can choose to get active and change the paradigm.

The time until Trump leaves office depends on what we do about it. There is no countdown.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Victory in yesterday's election!

Well, we did amazingly well yesterday.  Thanks to so many of you, and the people you brought, and the people that my slate-mates brought out, we were victorious overall.  Thirteen out the the fourteen on our Groundswell Progressives Slate were elected yesterday.  (I got 4th place on the men’s side.)


I wanted to thank everybody who was able to come out to the election meeting yesterday.  Thank you SO much.  Friends and neighbors that I see all the time, and friends I’ve made in my recent political activity, and friends I only see once in a while seemed to all be there.  And also thank you to everybody who wasn’t able to make it, either last-minute or being otherwise engaged — or even, arrived there but unable to vote due to the long lines — but still supported me.  I am honored and humbled.  It was so amazing to see so many people who came out to support me and what I — we — believe in.

It was especially amazing to have a couple of newly-turned-eighteen-year-olders come out, get registered to vote, and vote for us as their first election.

And it wasn’t a small sacrifice to be there!  The union hall that they picked to hold this was embarrassingly small.  You would think that they were expecting at most 200 people, and relying on good weather as well.  I heard there were over 800 ballots cast!  The last-minute changes to the schedule they performed also meant that people had to wait around in a unnavigably crowded auditorium or wait in long lines around the building, outside, in the (thankfully light) rain.  (Past venues for this kind of election have been in much larger spaces with a good foyer area where people could get indoors quickly and get checked in without so much hassle.)

Politically, this victory sends an important message — that the voters are not confident with the “business as usual” approach, that has failed so miserably, put forth by our leaders.

And what’s really amazing is that I’ve seen the results from across the state — elections like ours were held either yesterday or will be held today — and yesterday’s results brought progressive sweeps or near-sweeps into a vast majority of the districts.  I’m predicting something similar for today’s districts as well.

One of the big issues that our slate has been behind is to get fresh leadership in the California Democratic Party, and that is by supporting Kimberly Ellis to be chair of the party.  She is the underdog, but with these big victories I think she has an increasing chance.

If you are interested, Kimberly Ellis will be presenting her vision of the California Democratic Party at the next meeting of the Alameda Democratic Club this coming Wednesday,  January 11, at 7 PM at the Alameda Hospital. You don’t need to be a member of the club to attend;  I am predicting that since this is going to one of Ellis's first local appearances since this sweep, there will be a lot of people interested in hearing her talk, so arrive early if you want to come.  (Kudos to Slate-mate Gaby Dolphin for arranging for her to come present in Alameda!)

Here are the results of the AD 18 election, highest votes at the top.

Pamela Harris
Rabia Keeble
Eleanor “Ellie” Casson
Amber Childress
Mara Schechter
Gabrielle “Gaby” Dolphin
Malia Vella

Sean Dugar — also elected to Executive Board
Michael Lee
Jeromey Shafer
Dan Wood
Carter Lavin
Michael Fortes
Michael Katz

I'm looking forward to working with these people, including councilmember Malia Vella who also garnered a spot.

I will be posting update to this blog about my involvement as a delegate.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Starting up this blog again!

I had set this blog aside for a while as my involvement in politics waned. Of course last year (2016) I got re-energized in campaigning for Bernie Sanders.  I was considering adding to this blog some more, but never got around to it.

After the aftermath of the primary election essentially stolen from Sanders, and the embarrassing loss of Clinton in a race between the two most unliked candidates in history, and with a unthinkable Trump presidency about to start, I decided to dig in — again.  To run for delegate to the California Democratic Party.  I had been delegate for three 2-year terms before (2005-2010), and so I figured it was time to try it again. I and the progressives I worked with had quite a bit of success last time, so it's time to do it again.

Like you I’m devastated that Trump will be President soon, but I’m furious that the leadership of the Democratic Party (like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) seem to be waving the white flag, denying that the party needs a new direction. They want to keep the same losing strategy, sucking up to corporate donors and denying the progressive values that most Americans actually hold dear.  In order to change the Democratic Party, we need new leadership — like Keith Ellison, running to head the DNC, and Kimberly Ellis, running to head the party in California — but that’s not enough. As Bernie said, change always happens from the bottom up, so we need a groundswell of real progressives like me to be the change we want to see.

There are 14 spots open for delegates to the CDP in our Assembly District 18 (Alameda, most of Oakland, and San Leandro). But many candidates are part of the political establishment who don’t want to rock the boat.  So I have teamed up with an amazing, diverse slate of progressive men and women from our district — you might recognize some of them as being active in the Sanders and Clinton campaigns — and I need you to come out and vote for me and our entire group, so that we can remake the Democratic Party into a party that succeeds in representing our progressive values. The people in our slate have some amazing skills and I’m hoping that my experience being a delegate will be helpful in turning their values and ideas into action.

We call ourselves the “Groundswell Progressives.”  We have a website with information about our values and the people on our slate: www.groundswellprogressives.us.

To be eligible to vote for me and the Groundswell Progressives slate, you need to be either already registered to vote as a Democrat — or you can actually register/re-register to vote, as a Democrat, there.  (Note: If you want to support me but don’t feel like a Democrat at heart, you could always take an extra registration form and re-register with a different party preference after the event. I won’t tell.)

We in the grassroots are up against a well-funded establishment political campaign to install a set of “business as usual” candidates, and they are well-versed at bringing out big numbers. So this is something where we really need as many real people to get active as possible to counter that “machine.” I’ve been on a team that has succeeded at that three times before, and I need you to make this work again.