All posts by carlmanaster

Repeal Prop 8 in 2010 – with an iPhone

[crossposted from dailykos]

They said it couldn’t be done.  They said we were nuts.  They said the time wasn’t right.  But it can be done – we’re doing it; we’re not nuts; and the time is now.  The perfect storm, the trifecta of technology, politics, and demographics is upon us here in California, and we’re seizing the day.

In this diary I’ll explain this magic moment and how the Restore Equality 2010 campaign is taking advantage of it – and how you can help.  It starts with cannabis (no, not the way you’re thinking!), beneath the fold.

How do cannabis and gay marriage come together?  Only in California.  You see, at the same time we’ve been working to put gay marriage back on the ballot, another group has been working – successfully – to put cannabis legalization and taxation onto the same ballot.  And one signature that they gathered took a novel form – it was an electronic signature.  Michael Ni, founder of Verafirma, used his company’s software from an iPhone to submit his signature in support of the measure.

The Chief Elections Officer, Warren Slocum, rejected Ni’s signature, and Ni has filed a lawsuit (PDF) to have the signature accepted.  That lawsuit will be heard on March 18th, a little over two weeks before the April 5th deadline for signature collection.

And that brings us to marriage equality.  We’re trying to collect 1.2 million signatures to put marriage equality back on the ballot; thus far we’ve done it with only volunteers – and only pen & paper.  And we’re falling short.  But there are 18 million iPhones in use in California.  A lot of them in the hands of young people – and of course you know that young people support gay marriage in much higher numbers than do their elders.

The cannabis initiative used only one electronic signature – for them, it’s just a test and a path to legitimize electronic signatures.  For Restore Equality 2010, however, electronic signatures are going to represent the bulk of our signatures and the technology will be essential in putting marriage equality back on the ballot.  The numbers are there – we can do it, and what we need to do to make it happen is to get the word out.

This is our trifecta, our magic moment; this is when we win back marriage equality for all Californians.  The technology is here; the legal ruling is just around the corner, and the youth are right out there, ready to try something new.  We need to bring these elements together, let every iPhone user know, spread the word: here is how we put gay marriage back on the ballot; here is how we repeal Prop 8; here is how we undo the damage done by the haters.  Click the link; spread the word.  Sign the petition and get everyone you know to sign it.

Here is the link: Restore Equality 2010

And then the hard work begins.  We don’t stop when marriage equality is back on the ballot; we step up the pace.  Because persuading supporters to vote in the off-year election, persuading the undecided to become supporters, is work that can’t be done with just an iPhone; it’s got to be personal, patient, and persistent.  Civil rights never come easy.

Feedback for the Republicans

I just got linked to a survey from my Republican Assemblyman, George Plescia.  He wants me to say that I hate all taxes; I told him quite the contrary.  It seems to me that if everyone told him and his party that, well, at least it would surprise them a bit.  So here’s the link:


Please share your feelings on taxes with the California Republicans, too; let’s mess with their heads.

CA-53 Primary Debate

[cross-posted from dailykos]

Yesterday Mike Copass and incumbent Susan Davis participated in a debate hosted by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.  They are candidates for the Congressional seat in the 53rd district of California, my district.  The hour-long event at the Joyce Beers Center was very well attended – standing room only – and it was a great debate.

I didn’t take notes – and I should have – but below the fold are the points I can remember.

You can contribute to Mike Copass at my ActBlue page

I don’t know if “full disclosure” is called for, but I’ll try to describe my association with Mike.  I don’t have any position on his campaign, but I’m a supporter and have come to know him better over the course of the campaign.    I consider him a friend.  I have long been impressed with his clearheadedness, his courage, and his attention to detail, but in yesterday’s debate he revealed even greater mastery than I already knew him to have.  My overall, admittedly biased, impression was that where Representative Davis spoke in generalities and evasions, Mike had specifics – in terms of the facts of the issues, the legislative context, and his positions.

It is very much to the credit of Susan Davis that she agreed to participate in the debate – one thing I have admired about her in the past is her willingness, with frequent Town Meetings, to face her constituents and defend her votes and positions.  She had nothing to gain, really, by this debate; as the incumbent she only lends legitimacy to her challenger by giving him this forum.  Both candidates showed class, showed respect for the other, and that made this serious debate about serious issues focus almost entirely on the issues, on the record, and not on personal attacks.  Mike did point out Susan’s voting record and the contributions she’s received from Titan Corp.  I (with my acknowledged bias) felt that was entirely appropriate.

The question that most struck me was whether the candidates would end military recruitment in high schools.  Mike’s answer was an unequivocal Yes – and that we shouldn’t have shooting ranges on our high school campuses, as are already (I think) present on some San Diego schools; Susan’s was a tempered No, that somehow we need to fill the military and while there should be rules about it, the rules should allow our schools to be used to prime the cannon fodder pump (my words, not hers, of course).

The war machine, the Congressional military industrial complex, and our illegal occupation of Iraq (Afghanistan was shouted out by someone in the crowd, too, but it didn’t reach the mics) were probably the dominant subjects of the debate.  Susan is proud to have voted against the use of force resolution, and conflicted, but still proud, of her support for so many war funding resolutions – she considers herself to be “supporting the troops” by these votes (this statement brought a rare chorus of boos from the audience, which had been enjoined by the moderator to keep quiet so we could have more time for the debate).  With respect to ending the war, she expressed hope that the new administration would turn things around.  It was odd, too, the circumlocution by which she said (or didn’t say) it will be President Obama: as best I can remember, her words were, “of course we all hope it will be one of two candidates, and I think we all know which of those two candidates it’s looking like it’s going to be.”  That, to me, in a nutshell reveals just how unwilling she is to take a position that might offend someone.  But that’s not the point; the point is that she seems to consider the continuation or termination of the Iraq occupation to be a question for the Executive branch – despite her steady votes of support for its funding.  

Mike, of course, explained that he supports ending our illegal occupation of Iraq and understands the role of Congress in bringing that about.

Both candidates support a woman’s right to choose and stem cell research; there was not a lot to differentiate them on these issues.  As a microbiologist, Mike arguably has significantly better credentials on the stem cell question, but Susan’s answer was quite correct and heartfelt, referring to a family member who might have been helped by such research.  

One question asked for specific projects for the San Diego area; I’m sorry, but the only answer I remember is Mike’s support for a public park to take the place of the Naval Training Center; this is a rather pointed contrast with Susan, who supports turning the property over to a developer for commercial development.  

Specifics were again asked for with regard to policy to fight global warming.  Mike talked about Kyoto and Jim Bell’s plan to make San Diego energy independent.  I’m sorry to say I have forgotten Susan’s response.

I am sorry I did not take notes; it would be better to have more specifics to share with you.  I came away with strong impressions: of a defensive, misguided incumbent and a very well prepared challenger.  The audience certainly was on Mike’s side, and I think that most people watching the debate would be compelled to consider him, not just the superior debater, but the person better qualified for office.  I hope more voters in this district will have the opportunity to watch the debate.  Please join me in contributing to Mike’s campaign; the primary election is June 3rd and he could use all the help you can give him.

my ActBlue page

Mike’s campaign website

NOLA at San Jose

Saturday night at Fiona Ma’s karaoke hospitality suite, Dante dedicated The House of the Rising Sun to (still) Senator David Vitter.  That was the first reference I heard all weekend to New Orleans, after a long day and a half of speeches that did give a lot of attention to national issues like Iraq and the crashing economy.

I hadn’t been listening for it, particularly, but I was struck that New Orleans wasn’t a bigger topic – that this particular national disgrace had somehow gotten buried under all the others.  It seemed like something we “just don’t talk about” – like a problem for which nobody has any answers and which we all just wish would go away.  And it’s going away; for a lot of the city’s former residents, of course, it’s gone.  But we must remember, so that it doesn’t happen again (and by “it,” of course, I mean not a hurricane, but criminal lack of preparedness and failure to react, respond and recover); we must remember, to finally make whole the lives of our fellow Americans whose homes were taken from them, flattened, and turned over to wealthy developers for more profitable enterprises.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen, speaking Sunday morning, was (to the best of my knowledge) the first speaker to bring up New Orleans; when I thanked her for doing so as she made her way through the convention floor she said she had been to New Orleans recently for a convention and gone out to see the Ninth Ward.  Kudos to Debra Bowen, whose job has nothing to do with disaster relief, nothing to do with the Gulf Coast, for caring enough about the right issues to bring that issue forward in her speech.

Art Torres briefly mentioned New Orleans a little later, and finally former President Bill Clinton served up some good words on the topic; I was happy to hear this as well.

In a political environment filled with critical issues – Iraq, global warming, administration assaults on the Constitution, torture, media consolidation, election integrity, a ruinous economy, just to name a few – we must somehow make room to give some attention to New Orleans, and I’m happy to report that the CDP did so last weekend.  It’s not enough, of course – New Orleans needs more than just attention – but I’m glad to know that we haven’t completely forgotten it.

Donna Frye

I was very surprised to learn that Donna had cast the deciding vote against the measure supporting gay marriage a couple of weeks ago; fortunately the person who delivered that news provided context.

I was at the local DFA meeting on the day she cast that vote, and the speaker was Stephen Whitburn, who is the DFA-endorsed candidate for City Council in the 3rd District.  He has not only DFA’s endorsement, but also Donna’s; they are longtime friends.  Follow me across the fold for Stephen’s context.

Stephen explained that he wasn’t upset about Donna’s vote, that he knew her to be a strong supporter of gay marriage, and that she had explained her reasoning to him, and that it made sense to him.  And it does to me, too.

It was a procedural matter; the measure had not been announced with enough advance time for people who might want to be heard on the issue to get to the meeting.  There was, I think, a matter of a holiday weekend that figured into the time calculation.  Donna, who is indeed a strong supporter of civil rights, including gay marriage, didn’t feel it was appropriate to trample the civil rights of those who might oppose the measure, by railroading the measure through before they had a chance to speak their piece.  She felt, rather, that the matter should be re-scheduled so that everyone could be heard, so that whichever way the issue was decided, it could be seen to have been decided with a full hearing of all voices.

I heard her a couple of days later on the Stacy Taylor show; she pointed out how wrong it would be to promote some civil rights by trampling others.  I think she was right on this issue, as I think she is often right, and I think she took a lot of undue heat for doing the right thing.

I suspect, but could never prove, that her spirit of evenhandedness here might even have contributed to Mayor Sanders’ change of heart in the matter; had she participated in the railroading, it would have been easier for him to react in similarly aggressive, competitive fashion.

So, hurrah for Donna!

One new delegate’s reflections on the CDP Convention

(Good, positive stuff. Thanks, Carl. Also at dKos – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Two and a half days, six presidential candidates, 2,264 delegates.  Fiery rhetoric, sloppy speechifying, backslapping.  Cheerleading.  Words and words and words.  Out of Iraq universal health care choice Darfur education impeachment toll road Katrina.  The best Democratic state party anywhere; the best primary slate ever; the great Chairman Art Torres.

Elections have consequences.  Not another nickle; not another dime.  Not another soldier; not this time.  Turn the page.

I signed up to be a delegate to make a difference.  I could watch the candidates give their speeches on teevee and I could read about their positions on the internets.  It’s not the same, certainly doesn’t entail anywhere near as much shouting and applause – doesn’t energize the base the way an event like this does – but it might make for more objectivism, might result in better choices.  The rah-rah doesn’t tell me who will be the better president, doesn’t tell me how we’re going to win the office, doesn’t tell me how to make a difference.

Politics is a selective force for people who want attention.  Not just at the top of the ticket, but all up and down the line people want to be heard, want thousands of people to attend to their words, want the spotlight.  Not everyone, of course – but most of the ones we see.  And it’s a way to reward people who value that, all the praise and applause and recognition – and there are a lot of people working very hard with very little or nothing in the way of thanks beyond their moment in the spotlight.  So maybe I shouldn’t complain; this is how it must be.

But I do complain.  I wanted something – a lot – of substance to emerge from this event, although I could not say in advance and cannot now say what that could have been.  I wanted to be an active participant in changing things – changing the party so it is more responsive to its liberal members, changing the state so it embraces more liberal principals, and change the nation to flush out the sewer that Republicans have made of our federal government.  I want not only for that to happen, but for me, myself, to participate in making that happen, and I had hoped that serving as a delegate to the CDP would give me a chance to do that.

Instead, I sat and listened and applauded and sometimes cheered as egomaniacs (any one of whom would of course be a far, far better president than the current occupant of the White House) said things I agreed with and sat on my hands as they said things I didn’t.  Sat on my hands, too, when they failed to say the things I thought they should have (like “I was wrong to vote for the War Powers Act and the PATRIOT Act and I apologize for those errors”; like “Single Payer”).  I talked some to fellow delegates.  Had a great time at the Blue House at the Brew House blograiser for Jerry McNerney and Charlie Brown on Friday and a great visit with fellow Kossacks and Caliticians at dinner on Saturday night.

Then came the resolutions.  My chance to participate, to contribute to defining our party’s values, to help steer it.  13 of them made it out of committee and onto the floor where we mere delegates could amend and vote on them.  We quickly worked our way through most of them – including one calling for full investigations of the administration and for “appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment”. 

The final resolution, supporting immediate safe and orderly withdrawal of troops, was the occasion of what felt like some very dirty gameplaying.  The resolution itself, submitted by Chairman Art Torres and Senator Don Perata, did not include language to cut funding.  Of four proposed amendments, one was to add such language.  The person at the podium (Chair of Rules or Resolutions, I think) “suspended the rules” to separate the amendments from the resolution itself.  He tried to explain what this meant, although this new delegate certainly didn’t understand it and I had the impression that the room as a whole was confused by it, but the suspension was granted assent.  We then voted on the resolution and prepared to vote on the amendments – which the guy behind the lectern re-explained now stood alone – and someone called as a point of order that we be counted to determine whether a quorum was present.  A quorum was not present, and the meeting was over.

So out of roughly 16 business hours at the Convention, about two were given to participation – and that was cut short by what felt like a very devious, carefully choreographed trick to deprive us of the opportunity to say something that many of us thought was very important to say.  Color me disappointed.  The one thing it says to me is that these resolutions are important to someone – important enough to be devious about getting the wording they want into them – and I had wondered whether the resolutions actually mattered at all.  I guess I still wonder – but they clearly matter to some people.

I see two ways forward here, and I think I know which one I’m likely to follow.  One is to say – if I want it to be better, I have to get more involved; study up on parliamentary procedure, join a Committee, grab some of that power for myself and my causes.  The other is to throw up my hands, call bullshit on it, and redirect my energies to places where I feel like what I’m doing matters.  I got that feeling with MoveOn last year, making calls; I got that feeling raising money on my ActBlue page; I get that feeling knocking on my neighbors’ doors and registering voters and collecting impeachment letters and delivering them to my Congressional representative.

These are all things I can do with a minimum of organizational involvement, a minimum of pomp, a minimum of bullshit.  Things with concrete, tangible, direct results.  Real, retail activism.  Far more satisfying things, for me.

CA Delegates: Please join us for dinner

(Hope everyone who makes it to San Diego can make it to dinner. Complete social calendar to come soon. – promoted by Lucas O’Connor)

[cross-posted from Daily Kos]
We’ll be having dinner Saturday night at a restaurant near the convention center (probably Dakota Grill, but that’s tentative).  I’m trying to firm up plans, so I would appreciate an RSVP at my email address (manaster AT pobox DOT com).  Also, for coordinating the dinner and more, please join the CAuKos group: []

It’s not just for delegates; anyone here for the convention is welcome.  I hope you can join us.

CAuKos Dinner

( – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

[cross-posted from Daily Kos]
Fellow delegates to the CA Democratic Party, fellow Kossacks – let’s get together!  The San Diego contingent (Dean Nut and I) would like to plan a dinner for Saturday night, someplace close and quiet.  Will you join us?

This would be instead of attending the Convention Dinner.  We’ll have better food; it will cost less (and I’m happy to pick up the tab for anyone whose budget would allow it – please don’t stay away because of money, OK?); and Nancy Pelosi won’t be joining us (whether that’s a pro or a con each of us needs to decide for him/herself – but the other two are definite plusses!).  Plus, of course, it’s a chance to socialize with your fellow CA Kossacks.

Date: Saturday, April 28
Time: 7:30pm
Location: TBD (but walking distance, for sure)

That’s all we’ve worked out in the way of planning; details to follow as they emerge.

Will you join us, please?

Please visit the Kos diary to reply to the poll (two identical polls in different places is too hard for me to track).

I’m running in the 75th

(Carl’s one of the best liberals I know in San Diego. Glad to see him stirring things up. – promoted by Lucas O’Connor)

I’ve put my name on the ballot to be a delegate to the CDP from the 75th district.  Whether you’re in my district or not, if you were a registered Democrat for the November elections, I hope you’ll find the time and location for your caucus meeting this weekend:(here). More information on the Progressive Slate here and more info on AD 75 over the flip.

Here are details on the 75th District meeting:

Sunday, January 14th, 2:00pm
Mesa Verde Middle School, Multi Purpose Room
8375 Entreken Wy., San Diego

Convenor: David Little
858.486.5359 / [email protected]

And here are the progressive slate candidates for the 75th:
Farouk Al-Nasser
Dorothy Gesick* (Current E-Board Rep) 
Gary Johnson
Harold Johnston
Judy Ki* 
Joan Little* (Last Ad Comm. Chair) 
Leigh Mahon 
Carl Manaster
Barbara Parcells 
Don Parcher
Jack Robertson*
Martha Sullivan* 

* Incumbents

This is my first foray into this kind of thing, although I was a full-time volunteer for four months in Canton, Ohio (so my vote would count) in 2004, first for Jeff Seemann and then for John Kerry, and I was fairly active in ’06 as well, between MoveOn, the Daily Donation ActBlue page, and door-knocking in my precinct as GO team leader for the SDCDP. 

I hope you’ll support me and the entire Progressive Slate; we are in it to move CA and national politics significantly to the left.

Impeachment is on my plate.  Thanks for your attention.