Today about 20 volunteers congregated at the White Point Nature Preserve in San Pedro to give back to the community as part of Democrats Work and their national day of service. I know community organizing and community service is teh suck, but that didn’t stop us, for some reason. Democrats Work is a really great organization that brands service and volunteerism as a Democratic value, part of protecting the commons and creating a more livable world.
We arrived around 9am and immediately set to work clearing tumbleweed from a large area of the preserve, which formerly housed a naval missile silo. For 2 1/2 hours we picked, pulled and chopped away at the weeds. And joining us was Congressional candidate in CA-46 Debbie Cook (San Pedro is in her district). Now, most candidates would spend about 10 minutes there, get their photo-op, shake a few hands and go home. Cook drove up in her car and spent the entire volunteer session with us. Pretty interesting.
I talked to Cook a bit about her race against Crazy Dana Rohrabacher. Obviously, the big hurdle right now is financial. While Cook has outraised Dana Rohrabacher since she entered the race, she still is at a disadvantage of 3:1 in cash on hand, and until she shows more fundraising strength, outside groups like the DCCC won’t jump in. It’s kind of a vicious cycle – you can’t get money until you raise money. Cook has released a TV ad that’s running in the district on local cable, and she has an ActBlue site up for supporters to adopt an ad. She also raised close to $10,000 in Blue America’s recent contest, and while she didn’t win to receive the extra $10,000, it was still a success. Cook has challenged Rohrabacher to debates but he’s been cool to the idea. Local PBS station KOCE has committed to running the debate with or without Crazy Dana, so she may be debating an empty chair. Cook discussed her plan for Iraq (if the oil companies require security to do their business in the country, they can pay for the private security contractors like Blackwater and let us leave), her energy ideas (the drillusion is backwards thinking that will never move us forward), and Sarah Palin (as the mayor of Huntington Beach, she said that she never received such federal largesse from earmarks that Palin did as mayor of Wasilla, despite having 20 times as many constituents), among other things, while helping clear the tumbleweed. Cook is an impressive and dedicated citizen legislator who would truly be a breath of fresh air in Washington.
Overall, not a bad morning. Pics on the flip:
It was a wide expanse.
This one’s me.
Debbie Cook and a volunteer.
The whole gang and the fruits of our labor