Tag Archives: Out of Iraq

Sen. Perata’s Out of Iraq Ballot Measure Passes Senate

Sen. Don Perata’s advisory “Out of Iraq” proposed ballot measure has cleared its first hurdle by passing the Senate.  (LA Times).

“That war is costing California dearly,” said Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), who sponsored the measure and noted that 340 soldiers from the state had died so far.

The resolution is an advisory measure that voters would consider on the presidential primary ballot next February. The proposal is expected to be approved by the Assembly, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not said publicly whether he will sign it.  Democrats depicted Perata’s nonbinding measure — a rarity in California’s century of direct democracy — as a way to prod President Bush to give up on the increasingly unpopular war. They decried the conflict as a waste of money that could have been better spent on domestic concerns.

For those at the California Democratic Party, you might recall this measure from the debacle with the quorum call vote.  You see this was the resolution that originally proceeded through the resolutions committee, and when there were suggested changes, the thing blew up. The quorum call was made, and the rest is history.

But there is a lesson in local progressive action in this story as well. Follow me over the flip…

You see, while this would be the first state to have such an advisory measure, it is not the first such ballot measure in the state. You see back in November 2004, San Francisco progressives placed Measure N, a measure that announced withdrawal as the preferred policy of San Francisco. 

Supervisor Chris Daly and his progressive allies today plan to put a “Bring the Troops Home” resolution on the November ballot, timing the move to coincide with the Monday handover of power in Iraq.

“The federal government should take immediate steps to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and bring our troops safely home,” the single-page Daly resolution reads, in part.

Municipalities in the Bay Area and around the country have put their elected legislatures on record opposing the Iraq occupation, but San Francisco would be the first to put the issue directly to the voters.

“I think the City and County of San Francisco needs to weigh in on the atrocities that the Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft bunch have really committed,” said Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who with Daly, Matt Gonzalez and Tom Ammiano plans to sign his name to send the resolution to the electorate. “They have made us unfortunately one of the most hated countries in the world right now and it’s very sad. This didn’t have to be.

“I think San Francisco voters will undoubtedly pass this thing with an overwhelming majority. Thank God, thank God.” (SF Examiner 6/29/2004)

That measure passed with the support of nearly 2/3 of San Francisco voters. 63.33% to be exact, but I’m imagining that would be higher today. Substantially higher.

And now, a similar measure is coming to the California ballot.  But progressives, specifically, Supervisors Daly, McGlodrick, Gonzalez, and Ammiano,  led the way.  You see we aren’t called progressives for nothing, we lead, we um…progress. So, things come full circle sometimes, and this just shows how important getting out and leading on the issues of the day is for progressives.

So, good work Don Perata, congrats on following the lead of San Francisco’s crraaazzy progressive Supervisors.

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. : )