Tag Archives: Democratic Convention

Strickland Speaks

(DailyKos blogger thereisnospoon offers his commentary. (Dante) – promoted by Dante Atkins (hekebolos))

Strickland speaking tonight:

“Tonight across the kitchen tables of Ohio, American families are worried.”

Says that families are worried about job losses with DHL, loss of lives in Iraq.  Worried that their children coming home from Iraq might have to do out again having trouble looking for work.  While families try to sleep at night trying to stretch their last paycheck, John McCain is sleeping better than ever: he thinks the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

“John McCain has no problem hitting the snooze button on the economy, since he’s never been part of the Middle Class.  Senator McCain, it’s time for your wake-up call.  Because we just can’t afford more of the same.”

He could say that McCain represents four more years of Bush policies, but he doesn’t have to because McCain says so himself.  He’ll continue “stuck in the past” policies that keep Warren Buffett’s comparative tax burden lower than his secretary’s, and he’ll tell you that’s wrong.  McCain’s energy policy is “stuck in the past” because oil lobbyists wrote the policy.  And $10 billion a month goes into the Iraqi economy while bridges and road collapse here at home.

“It was said of the first George Bush that he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.  But after the surpluses left him by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush came into office on third base and then he stole second.

Beautiful.  Just beautiful.

“And John McCain cheered him every step of the way.”

Double ouch.  Bring the pain, Ted.  Bring the pain.

Moves on to talking about Barack Obama’s middle class tax cuts and ending breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.  Good contrast.

“There are more than hopes in these polices.  There are jobs.

And that’s the key.  If that message hits home all across Ohio, and especially all across America, it’s game, set and match.  Great speech.

What Happened at the Convention, Once and for All

Two weeks may have passed between the Democratic Convention and today, but that hasn’t stopped us from speculating over what actually happened during that weekend. During these two weeks, everyone seems to have developed a theory on who knew what ahead of time, who was conspiring to silence the progressives, and who was really behind the mysterious quorum call. Two weeks have passed since then, and I’d like to do my part to end all the speculation NOW.

Last Thursday, I hopped on over to OC Drinking Liberally. John Hanna, Co-chair of the Resolutions Committee, also happened to be there. Pretty soon, hekebolos showed up, and we all went to the back room of Memphis to discuss what really happened at the convention. Later on, we also talked about what we can do better next time, but I’ll talk about that part of the discussion another time.

Right now, I’m inviting you to follow me after the flip to find out WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ALL THOSE RESOLUTIONS. I have been collecting information from a few brave individuals for quite some time now, and my meeting with John Hanna on Thursday put an end to my own speculation on all these rumors. So why not join me after the flip, so that you can also toss the speculation and just find out what happened?

OK, let’s start out by going through all those wild rumors. Here’s what true, and here’s what’s just wild.

Rumor #1: There was a deal made between PDA and party leadership on impeachment- TRUE! Yes, PDA did meet with party leaders before and during the convention. A friend of mine involved in PDA told me that the party leaders knew about PDA’s plans for San Diego, and they did not want the convention to turn ugly. PDA agreed to soften the language on impeachment of Bush, the leaders agreed to tough language on Cheney, and everyone agreed to fold all the resolutions into one.

Rumor #2: There was a grand conspiracy among the party leaders to “appoint” a delegate to make the quorum call- FALSE (well, kinda sorta)! Neither John Hanna NOR Art Torres had any advance knowledge of the quorum call. This makes sense, as Torres really did look bewildered and genuinely frustrated at the podium. However, other folks that I spoke with earlier did drop me a hint. They’ve called Bob Mulholland a “street fighter”, and they have suggested that he wouldn’t hesitate to pull a stunt like this. Hmmm, so does this mean we have a culprit?

Rumor #3: John Hanna conspired to silence the true antiwar voices who wanted to “stengthen” Don Perata’s Out of Iraq Resolution- FALSE! He wanted the Perata Resolution clean, but he didn’t block the amendments by Karen Bernall (deauthorize the war) and the Hull-Richters (defund the war). John Hanna wanted to ensure that the Perata’s Out of Iraq Resolution ended up looking like what Perata wants to put on the ballot next February. However Garry Shay, of the Rules Committee, urged him to come up with a way to allow Bernall and the others (even the Hull-Richters) to be heard. So they worked out a deal. The rules would be temporarily suspended, so that the amendments could be split off from the Perata measure, and they could become their own resolutions. All the delegates can then vote on each proposal separately, and all sides can get a fair shake. John seemed sincere when he said that he thought the perfect deal had been struck, and everyone could get what he/she wanted… Until Karen Wingard stepped in.

Rumor #4: John Hanna conspired with AT&T and CWA to kill the net neutrality resolution- ABSOLUTELY FALSE! Unfortunately, John Hanna and the party leaders weren’t as familiar with net neutrality then as they are now. So out of good faith that Jim Gordon would work out a fair agreement with CWA and AT&T on net neutrality, the Resolutions Committee agreed to refer it to the Labor Caucus. But now, John Hanna regrets taking Jim Gordon’s word when he promised John that he’d come up with a resolution in the Labor Caucus that “the net neutrality folks will like”. John told us that he didn’t know about the CWA/AT&T deep hostility toward net neutrality. And yes, he wants our forgiveness, and he wants to make it up to us. That’s why he’s willing to give us another chance to get net neutrality passed. (And I’ll talk more about this in a future story.)

Basically, John Hanna regrets what happened with many of the resolutions. He now says that he should have just allowed Karen Bernall to do a petition drive for her own “Out of Iraq” resolution, even though her resolution had been “gutted and amended” to make way for Perata. He says that he might change the rules to allow for this next time. He has also said that we weren’t given a fair chance to clarify what was about to happen to net neutrality. And yes, this might inspire some changes in the rules as well. I know that we were all let down by what happened two weeks ago, but let’s not allow these disappointments to stop us from doing better next time.

Now we know how the internal politics are played. And now, we have a better grasp of the rules that we need to follow. So let’s follow the rules (including whatever new ones that might actually make our jobs easier), and let’s get our agenda accomplished. And now that we have made amends with the past, let’s get back to making a better future. : )

My Very Long Report on the California 2007 Democratic Convention

(Cool! – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

I attended the California Democratic Party’s 2007 convention in San Diego last weekend.  The whole family went down there with me to make it a full-fledged vacation before and after the event. It was nice to see more than the inside of a convention center and hotel; there were trips to Balboa Park, La Jolla, and a stroll across the border into Tijuana to make the trip a well-deserved break.

Recently re-elected to represent the 16th Assembly District (Oakland/Piedmont/Alameda), this was my third convention of the type.  The state convention is only slightly similar to the national conventions that people see on TV, which are really a big infomercial for the presidential candidate of choice.  Here, ordinary citizens (well, politically engaged ones) get to converge to get inspired, get the word out about the causes they feel passionate about, schmooze, and learn.

My goals for this convention were two-fold.  First off; I was there to help get some of the resolutions passed that the 16th AD Democrats had submitted (including one to make global warming a priority) and that I had written myself and submitted (including one about transportation in California).  Second, I was hoping to find a presidential candidate that I could support, not having had a preference yet.

I feel that I succeeded on both counts.  Our Global Warming passed as a “priority” resolution (along with a number of other good resolutions including out-of-Iraq and investigation/impeachment) and my my transportation resolution passed.  And I found a candidate to support.  It was not the candidate that I was expecting to support, and if you had predicted that I would be creating a website for any candidate only a few days later, I would have thought you crazy!  Read on to find out what transpired.


After getting registered, I looked through the goodie bag.  One nice-looking item was a black baseball hat with a logo that didn’t look familiar.  It turns out that it was provided by the Indian Gaming lobby, trying to win support for their assembly bill.  Quite an expensive bit of “swag” to give out to over 2000 delegates.  Oh, they were sponsors of the luncheon and dinner as well.  Are they trying to buy our support?

The interesting scandal that fellow delegate Jason G. and I discovered when we were looking for some kind of union “bug” on the hats was that the “made in ….” tags had actually been cut off of them!  Organized labor has had a problem with tribal gaming; with this discovery, it became clear that the hats were made in a sweatshop somewhere in the world (unfortunately like most of the clothes you are probably wearing right now).  I always look forward to getting nice union-made swag at political events!  So I gave the hat back to one of their people; I’m certainly not going to wear a hat that a regressive “cause” such as tribal gaming.

The big events for Friday are the caucuses.  Caucus meetings are great ways to get like-minded delegates (or delegates with similar backgrounds) together outside of the official convention agenda.  This was the third year for the Progressive Caucus, which (as usual) overflowed the huge room it was given.  There were a few speeches by politicians like Loni Hancock and Jerry McNerney, but what really brought the house down was a no-holds-barred, inspirational rant against the wishy-washy leadership of the California Democratic party by  the chair of the caucus.  I also attended the not-too-exciting computers and Internet caucus but declined to re-join, and the Environmental Caucus which was almost as rockin’ as the Progressive caucus.

The resolutions committee met in a large room, not quite big enough for observers.  I was pleased to see that many of the resolutions written by me and my fellow 16th AD delegates were passed.  The task ahead was to choose the top ten that would be ratified at the convention; these tend to get a bit more press coverage then those passed later in the year at executive board meetings.

After eating not quite a full meal at the opening reception, a group of us headed over to a local pub for a fundraising “blograiser” to benefit Jerry McNerney and Charlie Brown.  The candidates were there as were their spouses; I chatted briefly with Jan Brown (whom I had just met earlier at the environmental caucus) and for quite a while with Mary McNerney (whom I’ve known now since early in the 2006 campaign or maybe even the 2004 one).  A group of us also had a great chat with Assemblymember Mark Leno (now running for State Senate).  I told him about my resolution on transportation, which effectively supports his  ‘Complete Streets‘ bill.  He’s a really funny guy, the kind of person you’d want to have a beer with.  Oh, I guess we did!


The second day of the convention was, for me, Speech Day. And what a disappointment it was.  Actually, it was great to hear Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi.  I sincerely hope he will run for governor in 2010 – he will get my support.  (I remember when he mentioned Global Warming in a debate before the primary election last year and that was a notable thing. This year, global warming was on everybody’s lips!)  It was wonderful to see Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

But the Presidential candidates?

The first of them to give a speech was Hillary Clinton.  She had a big following (surprisingly big) though I couldn’t understand why she had so much support when the overall mood of the convention was way more progressive than she is.  (Somebody later pointed out how many people they saw carrying “Hillary” signs while wearing out-of-Iraq buttons without seeing the irony.)  She and her speech really impressed me in some ways, but I felt that she spent most of her speech trying to connect with the audience by telling stories about her childhood, in an attempt to get us to see her as a real person and not as the elitist that she is painted as.  That time was wasted when she could have been talking about something more substantial.  Her political points were mostly platitudes; unfortunately, and when she started talking about “immigration reform” and somehow linking that to terrorism, it seemed like she was trying to appeal to the right wing of the Democratic Party or perhaps those “swing” voters who might be watching her on YouTube later on.  She certainly lost any hope of my support.  It’s too bad – she’s a brilliant person, but I just don’t see her ever overcoming the hurdle that she is public enemy #1 (or maybe #2 if Michael Moore is #1) of the right wing, plus getting support from the many Democrats who don’t like her centrist approach.

Barack Obama arrived with welcome given to a “rock star.”  He has a huge following, which is great.  I was prepared to be blown away by his speech, and wondering if he would impress me so much that I’d put a back seat to my doubts of his inexperience or his very questionable votes in the Senate regarding the war, torture, judge confirmations, and so forth.  He was a good speaker, but when a comment from my seat-neighbor jarred me out of a daydreaming reflection I was having on the John Garamendi speech earlier that day, I realized that Obama wasn’t really doing much for me.  I see great potential for Obama, but I couldn’t imagine getting involved in his campaign at this time.

Senator Chris Dodd was there and gave a very old-fashioned politician kind of speech.  I don’t think he got more than polite applause at the convention.  I’m sure he’d be good at the job, but I can’t imagine him getting very far in his campaign.

The last speech from a presidential candidate for the day was Dennis Kucinich.  I’ve admired most of his positions and ideas; he’s outspoken and is certainly pushing the conversation to the left.  But his speech was one of the most painful things to watch and hear I have endured in a long time.  It showed that he is completely unelectable.  He would alternate between loud sections (with grandiose gesturing like a symphony conductor who can’t get the symphony loud enough for his tastes, all the while with a smile plastered on his face so that he didn’t appear angry) and quiet, high-voiced passages.  When he quoted the entire passage from the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor…”), it reminded me of William Shatner “singing”.  Apparently some people liked that style, but personally I wished he would spend a bit more time in his capacity as the chair of the United States House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Policy and investigate the Bush administration’s activities and less time on the campaign trail.

After the Kucinich speech, I was worried that I was going to have to advocate an imaginary “Frankenstein” candidate: the ideas of Kucinich, the Charisma of Obama, etc.  I just hadn’t found a candidate I could really get behind.

That evening, the Resolutions Committee posted the thirteen resolutions had been approved for ratification at the convention.  There are supposed to be ten, but there were two ties and one “special” (i.e. feel-good “cumbaya”-style) resolution that brought the total up to thirteen.  Surprisingly, the Global Warming resolution we submitted barely made the cut.  At least it made it!

Outside the convention hall were a large number of “protestors.”  There were a number of groups and causes represented: Impeachment, Out of Iraq, 9/11 Truth, Stop Blackwater, Code Pink, and so forth.  The funny thing was that I think that the “protestors” were actually in agreement with most of the convention attendees; maybe “demonstrators” is a better term in this case!  Walking down the sidewalk with the protestors behind the police barricades facing us, it was sort of like looking in a mirror.  I chatted with a bunch of the folks, gave high fives, and so forth.  It was invigorating to see them there.

I attended the banquet dinner honoring Nancy Pelosi, not quite sure what to expect (other than banquet-quality food).  The speeches were actually entertaining, and when Nancy Pelosi came out, she didn’t give a speech (as she had the evening before), but more of a conversation.  Though I wish she would show more leadership in getting this administration stopped (by impeaching them) and getting us out of the occupation by cutting funding, it gave me a lot more understanding and respect for her than I had before.

The final events of the evening were the many hospitality suites.  I avoided the expensive party funded by the Indian Gaming interests, instead hanging out at the PDA party for a while, as well as a party put on by a couple of state officeholders, Jack O’Connel and Bill Lockyer.  They had an interesting setup where people could take pictures with them; those pictures were transmitted to an array of Macs and imported into iPhoto, where you could email yourself the picture.  It was a nice way to get attendees to see how cool Macs are.  (Macs are ideally suited for Democrats; Windows machines were engineered to please Republicans.)


Sunday was a short day, and a lot of attendees were already gone.  It was truly their loss.  Maxine waters came out with a fiery speech calling for the immediate end to the occupation.  Her words were memorable:  “Not another nickel, not another dime, not this time – bring our soldiers home!”  Had I found the candidate I wanted to support for President?  Alas, she is not in the running!

So when John Edwards came into the room for his speech, I was surprised that he got a “rock star” reception as well.  I hadn’t given Edwards much consideration, though fellow 16th AD delegate Jason G. was supporting him.  After only a few minutes in his speech, I could see why.  Here was a candidate whom I actually wanted to see in the Oval Office!  He really imppressed me how he told it like it is.  He had specifics, not platitudes.  He admitted his mistake about his previous vote on the war, and convinced me that he wants us to get out immediately, not someday.  He had words about solving global warming that showed me he has the understanding, the will, and the leadership to actually solve the crisis.  Only Al Gore had seemed fit for the job of leading us out of that crisis, but he’s not running for President (and I doubt he will no matter what).

Before Edwards had finished, I had reached into my bag and fished out the Edwards sticker I had been given earlier – and put it on.  By the end of the speech, I had firmly decided I had found a candidate whom I approved of at both the intellectual and emotional levels.  The level of cheers and applause in the hall made me think that he had won a lot of people over with that speech, the way Dean did four years ago.  I found it strange to be there – I certainly didn’t get a lot of Edwards in the last cycle, but it’s clear he has matured since then.  I see a bit of Howard Dean, a bit of John Kennedy, a bit of Al Gore, and a bit of Jimmy Carter in him.  He has a few issues that need to be dealt with between now and Election Day, but I think he’s the candidate that most deserves our support.

After the speech, I decided to go grab some Edwards swag from the campaign’s booth, but the booths had been mostly closed up by that point.  I head there was a room where Edwards supporters were going, so I figured I’d dive in and see what was happening.  The room was way too small for the number of people who crowded in.  Was this bad planning, or a surge in supporters?  I found a partial answer when I looked around the room and saw a lot of faces of people I know, people I trust, Dean people.  And other than Jason, none had been Edwards supporters before to my knowledge.  I realized then that I wasn’t the only one who had found a candidate to support at the convention.  An article on Calitics agrees.

Lastly, we heard from Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, afterwards, and I liked him a lot.  He didn’t capture anybody the way Edwards did, and I don’t know if his bid is really full-power.  But he’s very qualified, certainly, and of all the presidential candidates, probably the one whom I’d most like to have a beer with.  (Mark Leno could join us.)  He or Obama would actually be a good balance on a ticket with Edwards, if you want my opinion.


So I left the convention with a candidate, and a good feeling about the resolutions, and glad to have a candidate that I can support.  (I really don’t want to hold my nose and vote!)  Reading some of the blogs later on, notably calitics and California Progress Report, I did find a few things that I think need to be improved.

One is that obvious conflict on interest in the California Democratic Party with its sponsors.  There was some debate about the fate of the Network Neutrality resolution  that had been submitted and referred to Siberia, and the fact that AT&T is a major sponsor to the California Democratic Party.  I was also concerned that the Indian Gaming sponsorship is going to prevent the party from speaking out against this industry.  Fortunately there are some delegates that are working on pushing the party toward financial audit-ability.

Another concern that I read about, which I agree with tremendously, is that need to encourage more diversity in the progressive caucus.  The meeting of that caucus was scheduled opposite all of the ethnic/cultural caucuses, meaning that it was difficult or unlikely for a person of color to attend both, even if they wanted to.  I don’t know what the solution given the scheduling constraints, but it is important to encourage diversity in the progressive community as much as possible.

Besides Network Neutrality, there are other issues that need to be talked about, that haven’t quite reached the mainstream discourse.  Issues like stopping the Halliburton private army, Blackwater, investigating the discrepancies in the 9/11 commission’s report, and putting an end to the IMF and world bank and so-called “free trade”.  Two years ago, impeachment and global warming and getting out of Iraq were not mainstream concepts at the democratic convention; in 2007 they are.  Who knows what will be mainsteam next year?

After talking with a couple of other activists, I decided to throw together a website “Deaniacs for Edwards” to help focus Edwards as a candidate that former Dean people like myself can get behind.  It’s online now, and I’d love to get some short submissions from fellow Deaniacs who have decided to support Edwards.

Democrats Are Saving Trestles

This just in from our friends at Save San Onofre:

On Sunday, April 29, 2007, delegates at the California Democratic Party 2007 Convention in San Diego voted unanimously to oppose the alignment of the Foothill South (241) Toll Road through San Onofre State Beach.

With this vote, the CDP joins with the Democratic Party of Orange County, over a dozen city and county governments, and hundreds of individuals and businesses in opposing the plans to drive a toll road through one of Californias most popular parks and beaches.

The wealthy can go to Hawaii or Europe on their holidays, but camping at a state park is a low cost vacation for middle class Californians. “It’s not enough to ensure jobs and healthcare for working Californians — we deserve access to affordable recreation as well”, said Gila Jones, a Democratic delegate from Orange County who has been lobbying her fellow delegates on the issue for months.

So why is this matter so important? Why is it so important to save Trestles? Why should we we care so much about a toll road cutting through this state park?

Let me tell you why after the flip…

So why does all of this matter? Perhaps because this is the last great undeveloped stretch of coast left in Southern California:

San Onofre State Beach was dedicated as a State Park in 1971 by then-Governor Ronald Reagan. Surfers from all over the world come to surf at Trestles in San Onofre while over a hundred thousand campers visit the inland campground. Several endangered species live within the confines of the parkland. There is also a National Register Archaeological District within the boundaries of the park as well as sacred sites for the Juaneno/Acjachemen people.

The proposed extension of the 241 Toll Road would endanger all of that and more. Runoff from the proposed road could damage the San Mateo Creek, declared just last month to be one of Americas Most Endangered Rivers by the national organization American Rivers. Construction of the toll road would ruin the campground, located a mere 200 feet from the planned path of the toll road. Endangered species in the area would find their habitats destroyed or severely impacted by the toll road.

And worse yet, all this ecological destruction would be for nothing. We know that this toll rod extension would do nothing to ease traffic congestion in South Orange County. We know that this toll road extension is dead on arrival once it reaches the courts. We know that the Coastal Commission could not legally allow this project to proceed, as it violates the Coastal Act. We know that the Foothill-South 241 Extension to Trestles is destined to become a miserable failure.

So now that the California Democratic Party is on record for saving San Onofre and stopping this boondoggle, we can proceed. Hopefully, this will encourage our Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento to stop this disaster from happening. And hopefully, this will encourage our Democratic lawmakers in Washington to prevent any more of our federal tax dollars from being wasted on this mess.

Hopefully, what we did is the first step toward saving Trestles for good. : )

OC Young Democrats Leading the Way

What else was I about to say regarding the convention last weekend? Oh yes, I remember now!

  Have I told you yet that Orange County Young Democrats rocked the hall at the convention last weekend? The new California Young Democrats President happens to be our very own Tim Steed. Other local young activists quickly assumed leadership roles. Basically, our young blue party is looking much more orange these days… And boy am I loving it!

Here’s what Martin Wisckol has to say in Total Buzz:

Among the many many things that happened last weekend in San Diego that I haven’t yet mentioned here is OC’s strong showing at the board elections of the California Young Democrats. Mission Viejo’s Tim Steed was elected president of the group, the first time an OC resident has held that post. Two others from Orange County were also elected to the executive board: Lindsay Hopkins was elected vice president of finance and Chris Roa was elected region director.

  “The California Young Democrats have been controlled by Los Angeles and the Bay Area forever,” said Gila Jones, Total Buzz reader on hand for the convention last weekend. “For us to wrest control is tremendous.”

So why is this so tremendous? Let me tell you why after the flip…

So why is this news so tremendous? Perhaps because these young Democrats from OC know how to get the job done. They know how to go out and recruit new Democrats on the college campuses. They know how to get young voters out to the polls. Basically, they know how to deliver Democratic victories in what’s supposed to be a “red county”. They will do a great job for CYD as they expand CYD into new territories.

And oh yes, here’s some more good news:

Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party award Melahat Rafiei, the county party’s political director, the 2007 John F. Kennedy Jr. Award — an honor that goes to young activists.

There are reasons why Democracy for America is so well organized in Orange County. One of them is Melahat. She has been so great in building up DFA-OC into a regional powerhouse, and DFA just wouldn’t be DFA without her. She totally deserved that award.

And all these fantastic young Democrats from Orange County totally deserve major kudos for leading the way in progressive activism in this state. : )

On John Hanna, Resolutions, & Steps for Success

OK, so many of you have probably seen this diary by now. And yes, I can understand the frustration of seeing CDP Resolutions Committee Co-chair John Hanna coming here to “talk down at us”. However if you look beyond the first comment, you just might find that Hanna is offering some pretty good advice. Hopefully, we’re all beyond anger at this point, and we’re ready to learn how to be more successful in passing resolutions and holding the Democratic Party to its true values .

Now I know that all of this is frustrating. I know that it sucks when we can’t get the party to agree to such no-brainers like net neutrality and deauthorizing the Iraq War. However, there are some important lessons to be learned from our failures.

John Hanna, along with other knowledgable folks in previous comments, hinted at some good secrets to success for next time around, and I’d like to talk more about these after the flip…

So what can we do better next time? Well, as Woody Allen would say, “80 percent of success is just showing up.” Whenever you’re writing a resolution, it might make good sense to actually show up to the committee meeting so you can make a case for your resolution. Just showing up for the meeting might be a good start in ensuring that your resolution gets a fair hearing.

However if you’re REALLY looking for success, it might also help to do some homework before the meeting. Call the other delegates in your area, and ask them if they plan to support your resolution should it come to a floor vote. Contact the Resolutions Committee members in your area, and ask for their input and advice. And oh yes, FOLLOW THE RULES and make sure that your resolution actually qualifies as one. How much of a waste is it when all your hard work gets thrown out the window when your resolution is ruled out of order?

So can we all agree on these points now? John Hanna only came onto our dear site to offer his side of the story, and to give us good advice for next time. Now I know John Hanna, as I’ve seen him in action here in Orange County. He’s no corporate shill, and he’s no “DLC establishment type” that’s out to “destroy the netroots”. He’s just someone who has been around this Democratic Party for a VERY LONG TIME, and now he’s offering us some good advice on how we can become effective agents of change in the party. And you know what? Maybe we should take it. : )

We Have the Buzz… But Do We Have the Candidate in the 42nd?

(Cross-posted at Trash Dirty Gary)

There seemed to be plenty of buzz about taking down Dirty Gary Miller at the Democratic Convention in San Diego this past weekend. California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres specifically mentioned Miller and the 42nd as one of the party’s targets for 2008. Activists from throughout Southern California seemed energized at the prospect of taking out one of the sleaziest members left in Congress. At this point, even the DCCC is noticing just how vulnerable Gary Miller has made himself. Everything seems to be falling in place for the perfect storm to rock Dirty Gary’s world…

Including a strong candidate to take him on next year? Follow me after the flip for more on what I’ve been hearing about one good candidate who may be ready to knock the socks off of Dirty Gary

Remember when Art Pedroza dropped this juicy tidbit in his “Chismes” column in Orange Juice about two weeks ago?

Last but not least, I hear that a very successful aerospace engineer is going to run against corrupt Reep Congressman Gary Miller. Talk about ending on a positive note!

Well, apparently there were sightings of this mysterious candidate at the convention over the weekend. And many folks were excited about possibly finding a good candidate to take on the not-so-good Congressman. Oh yes, people are really starting to take notice of what’s happening in the 42nd. And I guess now that this successful aerospace engineer from Orange County might be stepping in to take on Gary Miller, this race might finally be taken seriously.

Let’s face it: Dirty Gary doesn’t serve us anymore. He’s just serving himself at our expense. He’s using and abusing his position to enrich himself, and that doesn’t help us when we need someone who will work for practical solutions to end this failed war in Iraq, balance the federal budget, fix our traffic woes on our freeways, and protect the open space that makes living in the 42nd so darn enjoyable. We’re just thirsting for real change, and perhaps this “mystery candidate” might be the right person to serve us in Congress.

I guess before I jump to conclusions about this “mystery candidate”, there are some things that I need to know. Will this person reach out and work with local community activists to fight for what’s best for our neighborhoods? Will this person have what it takes to fight back against Dirty Gary and his very loaded campaign war chest? Will this person be able to truly connect with ALL THE VOTERS in the district, from La Habra Heights to Chino Hills to Rancho Santa Margarita? And finally, will this “mystery candidate” truly work for us, and not just a few special interests?

If this “mystery candidate” can answer these questions to our satisfaction, then maybe we should pay more attention to this individual. : )

Profiles in Orange: Hanging With OC’s Movers and Shakers (Part 1)

Here’s Part 1 of what happened during the Democratic Convention this past weekend, as I kept bumping into all my Orange County friends. I want to give you a sense of what it’s like for all of us progressives in OC, and I want to tell you about what we did in San Diego over the weekend. Though there were a few disappointing moments, overall we had a great time doing some great work.

Follow me after the flip for more on what happened on that magical first day of the convention…

We started off at the new delegates’ orientation meeting, and I bumped into a few familiar faces. Benny Diaz, AD 68 Delegate and Orange County LULAC leader, was there. Cecilia Aguinaga, Santa Ana School Board Candidate and AD 69 Delegate, was also there. Ray Roberts, who ran for Assembly in AD 67 last year, was there. In fact, I just kept bumping into more and more familiar faces from OC. All are committed activists, and all were in San Diego over the weekend to speak up for Orange County Democrats and our progressive values.

And oh yes, Cecilia and I bumped into some guy named Art Torres. ; )

After the meeting, I bumped into Chris Prevatt, my very wise friend who blogs at The Liberal OC. We chatted while I was waiting in line for my delegate credentials… And lo and behold, Hekebolos shows up! We all then got into it as we chatted about what we hoped to see happen at the convention (and Chris starts telling us naughty jokes). ; )

Later on in the evening, I had a chance to speak with Santa Ana City Council Member Michele Martinez. (Full interview coming soon!) Now while other local politicians here continue to make us promises that they always end up breaking, Michele truly is keeping it real. She has done more to get local folks involved in what happens in our city than anyone else here, and she is already is doing so much for the city in giving our youth alternatives to gang violence and in making our city a cleaner and healthier one.

Actually not too long after meeting Michele inside the convention center, I got to see her again. Actually, I got to see ALL my fellow AD 69 delegates (including the great Orange Juice blogger, Claudio Gallegos) at Nicky Rotten’s bar in the Gaslamp District for a little Central OC get-together. We laughed, we chatted, we gossipped… Basically, we had a great time!

And then, just when I thought that I couldn’t have any more fun, I arrived at the “Blue House at the Brew House” event! I bumped into near and dear friends, such as Susan Kopicki, Carl Weibel, and Roz Freeman, of DFA Orange County. I bumped into online friends that I hardly ever see offline, such as Dday, Brian, and the entire Calitics crew. I bumped into people that I’ve only heard of online, but never had a chance to meet before, such as Congressional Candidate Charlie Brown.

Basically, it was just terrific to see all these fantastic Democratic activists all in one place, and all for one cause. We all care about our core progressive values. We all want to end the war. We all want to prevent the coming climate catastrophe. We all want health care for all. And we all want to restore honor and integrity to the White House by electing a Democratic President in November of next year as we continue to see progress on Capitol Hill with a strengthened Democratic majority.

And yes, it was terrific for me to see all my good Orange County friends there on that first day at the convention. I didn’t feel so alone, afraid, and totally lost when I had my friends there, walking with me. I didn’t feel so alone when I got to sit next to my friends at these meetings. Oh yes, and I DID feel so privileged and proud to introduce my awesome Orange County friends to all the rest of you who never thought before that there were so many terrific Democrats “behind the Orange Curtain”.

Coming soon… What happened during those next two days. : )

Behind the Scenes with Obama and Friends

Yesterday, something amazing happened. Barack Obama came to speak at the convention, and I was able to see him up close. And as he actually spoke downstairs, I had a chance to see him speak from the base of the stage… And I saw the magic of Obama right there, as all of us were mesmerized and blown away.

I’d love to share more about my experience with Team Obama in San Diego yesterday, so why not follow me after the flip for more (including more photos)?

(Cross-posted at the Obama OC blog)

Yesterday, something amazing happened. Barack Obama came to speak at the convention, and I was able to see him up close. And as he actually spoke downstairs, I had a chance to see him speak from the base of the stage… And I saw the magic of Obama right there, as all of us were mesmerized and blown away.

I’d love to share more about my experience with Team Obama in San Diego yesterday, so why not follow me after the flip for more (including more photos)?

All the fun began outside, as Obama supporters braved the morning marine layer and not so warm weather to start building some excitement and give Obama a warm welcome to San Diego. There were convention delegates outside, and there were regular locals. There were always-active progressive Democrats outside, and there were people out there who had never been interested in politics before. No matter where they came from, or what their history of political involvement had been, they were all inspired by that “skinny guy with the funny name”, and they were compelled by his message of hope, action, and change to actually get up and take action.

The mood outside was upbeat and lively, and I had such a difficult time NOT getting caught up in the good feeling.

Unfortunately, I could not stay outside for very long. I needed to return inside, and rejoin my fellow delegates inside the convention center. However as soon as I went inside, I found a couple of old friends from around here. They worked with me on Francine Busby’s campaign for Congress last year, and I was delighted to find out that these rockstar activists are now part of Obama’s grassroots campaign in San Diego.

But anyways, I met my friends, and we were soon swept into a meeting of Obama campaign operatives preparing for the Illinois Senator’s arrival. We were given directions on what to do upstairs to prepare for Obama’s entry in the convention center, and we soon got to work in ensuring that Obama’s time spent here was time well spent. However, our “jobs” did not stop us from snapping photos whenever we had the chance. ; )

After Senator Obama was finished upstairs, it was time for us to go downstairs and prepare for Obama’s grand entry onto the floor. We waited outside, awaiting instructions on where to go on the floor and where to run when we get out and welcome Obama to the stage. At first, we were a little frustrated with the wait…
But in the end, the waiting was all worth it.

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finished speaking, we awaited our final move. And when we got the signal to go, we rushed toward the stage, flashing our signs and cheering from the top of our lungs. The exuberance was just palpable from all corners of the floor as all of us were sppeding toward the stage. We were about to finally meet the man of our dreams and our hopes.

Soon, Obama arrived… And we all went wild. And then, he spoke. And once he spoke, the magic truly began.

For good reason, the rest of us have become cynical about what politics can achieve in this country, and as we’ve turned away in frustration, we know what’s filled the void. The lobbyists and influence-peddlers with the cash and the connections – the ones who’ve turned government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we’re here to tell them it’s not for sale.

People tell me I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I promise you this – I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.

I’m running for President because the time for the can’t-do, won’t-do, won’t-even-try style of politics is over. It’s time to turn the page.

And so if we do not change our politics – if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works – then the problems we’ve been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.

We must find a way to come together in this country – to realize that the responsibility we have to one another as Americans is greater than the pursuit of any ideological agenda or corporate bottom line.

Democrats of California, it’s time to turn the page.

We are one signature away from ending this war [in Iraq]. If the President refuses to sign it, we will go back and find the sixteen votes we need to end this war without him. We will turn up the pressure on all those Republican Congressmen and Senators who refuse to acknowledge the reality that the American people know so well, and we will get this done. We will bring our troops home. It’s time to turn the page.

It’s time to show the world that America is still the last, best hope of Earth. This President may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open.

It’s time to fill that role once more. Whether it’s terrorism or climate change, global AIDS or the spread of weapons of mass destruction, America cannot meet the threats of this new century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America. It’s time for us to lead.

It’s time for us to show the world that we are not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries. That we are not a country that runs prisons which lock people away without ever telling them why they are there or what they are charged with. We are not a country which preaches compassion to others while we allow bodies to float down the streets of a major American city.

That is not who we are.

We are America. We are the nation that liberated a continent from a madman, that lifted ourselves from the depths of Depression, that won Civil Rights, and Women’s Rights, and Voting Rights for all our people. We are the beacon that has led generations of weary travelers to find opportunity, and liberty, and hope on our doorstep. That’s who we are.

I was crushed. I was grumbled at. I was uncomfortable contorting my tiny body on the cold, hard ground. However, I did not care. I was having the time of my life as I was watching perhaps the greatest speech ever spoken unfold in front of me. We all cheered, and we all knew that we made the right choice in going with Obama. And once Obama finished speaking, more people rushed to the floor to catch a glimpse of him, touch him, speak with him, just see someone who is actually inviting us to join in this campaign. Obama may be the big celebrity here, but he also empowered us by reaffirming that this campaign really is about us, and about our hopes to end the war, and protect our climate and our planet, and clean up the slimy ways of Washington. We were all empowered, and we all wanted to thank Obama for giving us this opportunity for hope, action, and change.

My world had turned on its head, and I was loving it. I may have already decided to support this person for President, but this completely sealed the deal for me. Whether it was all the people outside, or seeing the actual candidate inside, I got the feeling that I had made the right choice. I think I have become a part of something special, and I can hardly wait to see where all these hopes and dreams go from here. : )

(P.S.: If you want to see the full text of Obama’s speech yesterday, go to Lynn Sweet’s blog on The Chicago Sun-Times web site.)

Will Democrats Be Speeding to Trestles on the 241?

(Keep an eye out today for what happens at the Resolutions Committee today. The future of Trestles may hang in the balance. – promoted by atdleft)

For quite some time, all of us in Orange County have wondered what the state Democratic Party would do regarding the huge controversy over extending the 241 Toll Road to Trestles. Well, yesterday we finally received an answer. The party would try to reach a compromise between the labor groups supporting the 241 extension to Trestles and the environmental groups opposing this. However in the end, Democratic State Central Committee members may very well vote tomorrow to protect San Onofre State Park and Trestles beach from the reach of TCA and a possble 241 extension.

So what happened yesterday in the Resolutions Committee? And how may this affect the ultimate battle over Trestles? Well, follow me after the flip for more on what happened inside the convention center yesterday…

Just as everyone was ready for a epic battle over the future of San Onofre State Park, Resolutions Committee member John Hanna (who also happens to be from Orange County) offered a compromise resolution. It was not quite what the environmentalists wanted, and not exactly what the labor groups wanted. After some early confusion, the epic battle resumed.

Environmentalists first cheered when Hanna made this statement: “We must stand firm. We can’t support any highway, or toll way, to be built through a state park.” However, they stopped cheering when Hanna began to describe the mitigation options open in his compromise resolution that he as offering in lieu of the original resolution opposing any extension of the 241 into San Onofre. Basically, Hanna’s measure leaves open the possibility that environmentalists and labor can work with TCA, which would then work with the federal Department of Defense, the Navy, and Congress on a possible land swap deal that would give environmentalists comparable open space to protect, and labor the Foothill-South 241 extension that they want done. However if no agreement can be reached, then Hanna’s measure closes any possibility of a toll road that would rip through San Onofre.

In the end, environmentalists were ready to support Hanna’s resolution. And so was the Resolutions Committee, as they passed this resolution on a 16-7 vote. Even as a couple of labor people rose to decry this measure as infringing on the “good public policy” that was being made by TCA and Orange County politicians, their cries could not stop the Resolutions Committee from making the first step toward sending this resolution toward a full vote by the Democratic State Central Committee. At today’s Resolution Committee meeting, the committee members must approve the measure one more time, and place it on the agenda of ten resolutions to be voted upon at the floor by the full central committee tomorrow.

After the vote, environmental activists seemed pleased with the outcome. Nancy Mooney, of the Coalition to Save San Onofre, told me that this resolution that passed yesterday was not quite what they were hoping for, but they are ultimately happy that something passed. Speaking about possible mitigation options and a land swap, she said, “We don’t believe it’s possible to mitigate.” But still, she called it a victory. “Under that condition, we consider it a victory. We believe it’s good for us.”

But will today’s Resolutions Committee vote be good for Save San Onofre? And if the Resolutions Committee passes the measure onto the full central committee, will all the Democratic delegates agree to this measure? Stay tuned for more as all sides look inside the San Diego Convention Center to catch a glimpse of the future of Trestles.