Tag Archives: executive board

Majority Rule for Budget & Revenue >> Passes CDP Executive Board

This weekend at the California Democratic Party (CDP) Executive Board Meeting several hundred board members unanimously passed this resolution:

Majority Vote  BRG09.08

WHEREAS, the  California Constitution requires certain bills making appropriations from the  General Fund, for changes in state taxes for the purpose of raising revenue,  to be passed in each house of the Legislature by a two-third vote;  and

WHEREAS, this requirement amounts to minority rule by one third, plus one and has brought the State of California  to a revenue crisis and a situation of paralysis because of a vocal minority  of conservative Republicans; and

WHEREAS, the people of  California deserve urgently to have a functional, effective and balanced  government, able to respond and adjust to economic downturns and upswings for  the benefit of the majority of its citizens, rather than be held hostage by  the ideologies of the few;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party supports a change to only require a simple  majority (like the U.S. Congress and 80% of states) for revenue bills, thus restoring majority rule and representative democracy to California’s  government.

This resolution combined with a similar resolution for majority rule for budget put the CDP in the position of favoring majority rule for both budget and revenue related legislation.

Dr. George Lakoff spoke on behalf of the resolution before the Resolutions Committee.  Flyers and buttons were handed out.  Encouraging words came from all but a few. Those few would like to see majority rule but did not believe the revenue part would pass as a ballot measure.  Among the few was John Burton the chair of the party, who slammed the measure during his opening comments while the buttons and flyers were handed out at the door.  Shawnda Westly the new Executive Director said that his and her opinion were based on polls that I pointed out were poorly framed and amounted to asking if the person minded having taxes raised.  I told her that Lakoff had written a set of poll questions and I summarized them.  She suggested that we raise some money to take the poll.  Then they would look at the results and reconsider their position.

I presented the argument that a “just budget” measure, if passed by voters would not end the gridlock as expected by the voters and that the Democrats would be blamed.  I told her “under promise and over deliver” is a Silicon Valley marketing mantra and that a “budget only position would be “over promise and under deliver” and a disaster for the party.  

It is important to have the support of Mr. Burton and his staff because the campaign for majority rule will be very expensive and they are able to raise money and induce other organizations to support the campaign.  

Several prominent CDP officials are in favor of Majority rule for both budget & revenue; most vocal was Assemblymember Alberto Torrico the Majority Leader, Lt. Governor John Garamendi, CDP Vice Chairs Eric Bauman and Alex Rooker and CDP Controller Hillary Crosby.  Assemblymember Nancy Skinner counseled on the importance of getting Burton’s support and the need for money for a successful campaign.  


Prepare a ballot measure for submission to the Attorney General for approval.

Do you know a lawyer(s) who might be of service?

Find sponsor(s) like labor union(s) or environmental group(s) to administer Lakoff’s poll.  

Can you open the door to some organization that would consider sponsorship?

Find a suitable polling firm.  

Do you know of one?

Lobby John Burton and Shawnda Westly.  

Do it!

This is going to be one helluva fight, the kind that builds the party and draws activists into the political fray.  The Obama campaign is waiting for the just cause – this is it!  The Governor has been good enough to loan the Majority Rule campaign thousands of state employees for three Fridays each month to work on the campaign, in addition to thousands of pissed off college students who won’t graduate as planned because of canceled classes, and parents with kids in school who can’t find their favorite teacher or play in the band or join a team  Thousands more who took back our country in 2008 will take back our state in 2010.

Ellis Goldberg

TriValley Democratic Club President & Webmaster www.TRIVALLEYDEMS.com

Office/home 925 831 8355

Cell 925 451 4303

[email protected]

Open Forum For California DNC Candidates

You wouldn’t know this unless you follow these things closely, but this coming Sunday, June 15, is very significant in the future of Democratic politics.  On that day at the California Democratic Party executive board meeting in Burlingame, 19 men and women from throughout the state will be voted in as DNC members.  Those elected will take their positions after the Democratic National Convention in August, and will serve through the DNC in 2012.  Here’s the list (it’s a PDF) of names who will appear on the ballot – 9 men, 9 women and the 19th-highest vote-getter regardless of gender will win the election.

Now, why is this important?  These 19 DNC members will be part of the organization that will need to decide how to reform our completely broken primary process that almost turned a historic nomination season into utter chaos.  There is no other issue – not the war, not poverty, not the economy, not health care, nothing – where DNC members will make any kind of a difference compared to primary reform.  I know a lot of party members read this site, so let this be a jumping off point for discussion.  No California e-board member should vote to elect any of these candidates without knowing their plans for primary reform.  And on the flip, here are a few ideas.

Here’s a brief sketch of some of the necessary reforms, IMO, that I wrote at The Washington Monthly last week:

Now the next challenge, in my view, is reforming this disastrous primary system entirely, reviewing it from top to bottom and ditching the most undemocratic elements. I would move to a rotating regional set of primaries (decided by lottery on January 1 of the primary year so nobody can park in any one place prior to that), superdelegates with no vote until after the first ballot, which is reserved for delegates picked directly by the voters (so they get to go to the party but not have an undue influence on the process), and all delegates selected proportionately based on their state’s popular vote. I would remind those who think caucuses should be thrown out that they are tremendous party-building tools, and many of the states with caucuses this year are swing states (Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, even Texas perhaps), and those state parties captured priceless voter contact information on hundreds of thousands of voters who could be turned into volunteers.

Let’s go a bit more in depth.

Primary schedule – the reason that we ended up with such a chaotic system for delegate selection is that Michigan and Florida jumped the line set by the DNC, and instead of past years where sanctions would be granted on those states only to be lifted after the winner was chosen and the delegate counts no longer mattered, this was a close race.  So that sanction hung over the entire primary season.  Yet the DNC must be able to manage their own nominating process.  So it seems to me that they shouldn’t allow one delegate to be chosen before their set date for the beginning of the primaries, and that states should be grouped by region and chosen by lot.  This breaks the Iowa/New Hampshire stranglehold (and if they don’t like it, really, let them secede), eliminates the penchant for 30 visits to the early states on the calendar, and continues to allow for retail politics through the various regions.  It’s somewhat similar to the American Plan.

Real proportional representation – the current system is kind of a joke, in that congressional districts which allocate even-numbered amounts of delegates have quite a bit less influence on the overall result as districts which allocate odd-numbered amounts.  Simply put, it’s easier to gain an advantage in an odd-numbered district, needing only 50% plus one, as it is in an even-numbered district, needing as much as 63% of the vote.  There is absolutely no reason why the delegate allocation can’t be proportional based on statewide popular vote, with the congressional allocations included later.  Furthermore, the states need to be proportionally represented relative to one another – the system of add-on delegates and rewarding states that kept their primaries later in the process and giving Puerto Rico more delegates than 27 states simply has to end.

Dealing with the superdelegates – all of these DNC members elected will then become so-called “superdelegates,” so I recognize that asking them to renounce their own power and influence is kind of dicey.  But nothing had a more damaging impact on the party than the perception that the process was controlled by party insiders who could subvert the will of the people.  That it “worked out” in the end is of no consequence.  Superdelegates really shouldn’t have such an outsized impact on the nominating process.  I suggest that their votes for President and Vice President at the DNC don’t count on the first ballot, ensuring that they get a ticket to the event but the voters have the first crack at choosing the nominee.  A standard of 50 or even 55% could be set as the necessary threshold to get the nominee over the top, if superdelegates want to hold out the option of having their wise counsel be determinative.

There are probably dozens of other ideas, but I want to open this up to discussion.  How would you reform the primary process, and what can potential DNC candidates do to assure you that they will adequately represent the interests of California voters to see the process reformed?

CDP E-Board Wrap-Up: A Maturing Movement, More To Be Done For Change

I would say that the mood of participants coming out of the executive board meeting of the CDP in Sacramento was a 180 from the mood coming out of the Convention.  Clearly there was a lot of upset over the way the final session of the Convention ended, and many felt that the small-d democratic process was not being respected.  That was most certainly not the case this weekend, which shows to me that the message was received by the leadership in the party.  There were debates and issues raised and passionate sentiments about various matters, but in the end everyone had their say, votes were held, and the system worked.  That’s about the most you can ask for.

Progressives hold far slimmer numbers at an executive board meeting than they do at a convention.  Yet the work that came out of this meeting, in particular on resolutions, was far more progressive, because they are the most organized group in the party and they take the process seriously, and in addition are prepared to work within it to arrive at the desired results.  A very strong antiwar resolution, an impressive resolution supporting parole and sentencing reform, and finally the breakthrough on net neutrality are all successes to be lauded.  They were diligent, tireless and skillful at understanding the system, and that bore fruit.  Ultimately, those resolutions have little more than symbolic value.  The attempt to restore pre-primary delegate caucuses failed, but there was a concession on opening the filing process, and most important, small-d democratic processes were respected and seen through.  That the Party Chair felt the need to make several statements regarding a 58-county strategy and financial matters shows that there is an understanding that members have some serious concerns about resource allocation.  This is a major victory for those who would like to see their spot on the map receive the care and attention they feel it needs.  The Finance Chair, Erik Bradley, made every effort to welcome new voices into the process.  He is seeking people in every county for low-donor events and input on spending money in those counties, and everyone should take him up on it instead of privately grumbling.

I think everyone should be pleased with the way in which the CDP is better reflecting the views and concerns of its constituents, and how Democrats of all stripes are getting involved from inside the tent to make the party more effective and responsive.  Aside from one ill-timed comment from the Chairman about “the blogs,” I’m pleased with how things went.

CDP E-Board: Torres’ Comments and Resolutions Committee

Let me just say that I think this resolutions thing is a much ado about nothing.  More than anything it is instructive for how the party responds to its rank-and-file.  Nevertheless, I’m here, and so your intrepid blogger will follow it for you.

But first of all, let me make a couple remarks about Art Torres’ comments in the general session.  I’m disappointed and annoyed that he resorted to blaming “the blogs” for criticism that the Party received after the last convention, as part of some comments that he made justifying the CDP’s efforts to compete statewide.  It’s an unfair and deliberately vague characterization.  What blogs?  Which bloggers?  Is there anything specific?  And can you say with a straight face that the ONLY or even the main people to take issue with various matters that happened at the convention are bloggers?  The rank-and-file grassroots wrote those resolutions.  The rank-and-file grassroots had the problems with how they were handled in the resolutions committee.  They had the issues with the quorum call.  They led the fight to create an Audit Committee and the resultant fallout.

We REPORTED it.  And I stand behind my belief that reporting the facts and making opinions on policies and events are NOT personal attacks.  It’s a convenient excuse to blame “mean dirty hippie bloggers” for every criticism ever leveled at the Party.  People have substantive questions, and blogs are one way, and really one of the smaller ways, for people to express those questions.  I think that, at least on this site, there was an extremely healthy debate about the convention fallout, and it’s simply unfair for Torres to lash out in that way.

I will add that the fact that Torres felt the need to defend himself, and defend the Party’s goal of electing Democrats statewide and implementing a 58-county strategy, is a win in itself.  I think we all want to work to that end; it’s certainly a major part of what we do here at Calitics.  You can quote me on that, Art.  By name.

I’ll toss some notes about the Resolutions Committee in the extended entry.

So far, not much has really happened.  The Iraq resolution (the real sticking point at last year’s convention) is being worked on through Karen Bernal on the sidelines.  Still waiting on the only resolutions that interest me, one on parole and sentencing reform, and the merged net neutrality resolution.

E-Board Meeting Friday Night

Back at our hotel in Sacramento with hekebolos after the first day of the executive board meeting of the CDP.  I spent most of my time in the Progressive Caucus, and since Donald Lathbury of the California Majority Report had his laptop with him and I didn’t, I’ll outsource the running commentary to him.

I will say that the caucus was once again the most well-attended, most organized group in the CDP, and I sense that people there are growing more confident in their ability to make real change happen within the party.  There have been setbacks, no doubt, but they continue on.

I will say something about the net neutrality debate tomorrow.  Brad Parker from PDA (Progressive Democrats of America), as I mentioned, will be debating Jim Gordon, chair of the Labor Caucus and a member of CWA (Communications Workers of America), tomorrow morning.  I’ll be liveblogging.  But the outcome of that debate, while entertaining, is irrelevant to what will happen tomorrow.  There will be two resolutions in the Resolutions Committee – one by Brad Parker, and one by Jim Gordon.  I haven’t seen the text of either, but I can safely assume that Parker’s supports the principle of a free and open Internet without discriminating against any content provider, no matter how big or small, while Gordon’s talks about “building out broadband access” and implicitly endorses the telecoms getting additional revenue streams by forcing content providers to pay them for high-speed access.  As Parker put it today, “broadband for the haves, and dial-up for the never-wills” is what the telecoms want.

So this will play out tomorow in resolutions, and Brian will have the inside scoop, I assume.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards will address the general session at 9:30 am tomorrow.

And on an unrelated note, our hotel is hosting the largest anime convention in Sacramento.  I’m the only one here without an oversized sword and a lion costume.  Hekebolos has his on right now.

UPDATE: I should mention that there was an informal and highly unscientific Presidential straw poll at the Progressive Caucus, and Edwards won overwhelmingly.

The results: Gravel 0, Dodd 0, Biden 1, Clinton 2, Undecided 6, Richardson 10, Obama 12, Kucinich 17, Gore 27, and Edwards 47.

CA Democratic Party Executive Board Meeting This Weekend – Sacramento

Just a quick note: I will be attending this weekend’s California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Sacramento and posting occasional updates on the proceedings on Calitics.  The main issue that everyone seems to be talking about is the process for picking delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in the state, whether those delegate caucuses will be held before the California primary (as is typically the case) or afterwards.  Frankly, I think it’s an inside baseball kind of deal, and while both sides have passionate arguments in favor of or against it, I’m a bit unmoved by them (Pre-primary advocates want a more diverse slate of delegates going to the convention to impact the platform, I believe, to which I say, how many people actually read and ingest and make decisions based on the party platform, and is that number in triple digits or not?).  But I’ll be up there to let you know about them.

The two things I want to see, and will report back about, are the Progressive Caucus on Friday night at 8pm, and a debate on Saturday morning at 8:30am about net neutrality, between Brad Parker of Progressive Democrats of America, and Jim Gordon, the chair of the Labor Caucus (and a member of Communications Workers of America, who are resistant to the principle of net neutrality, to put it mildly).  That should be very fun.  I’ll post the agenda of the meeting on the flip, in case anyone is in Sacramento and would like to attend (apparently observer passes will be available on-site for a nominal fee, I think $15).

July 13-15, 2007
Radisson Hotel, Sacramento
6/29/07 Tentative

Friday, July 13, 2007

Credentials Committee
Executive Board Social
Caucus Meetings
  Computer & Internet
  Disabilities (election counting)
  California Young Dems.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Labor Caucus
10:00-12:00 noon
General Session
1:30-3:00 PM
Delegate Selection & Affirmative Action Committee

Workshop: Get Organized: Voter Tactics for 2007
Standing Committees
  Legislative Action & Equal Opportunity
  Voter Services
  Organizational Development

Standing Committees

Caucus Meetings
  Asian/Pacific Islander
  Rural & Irish-American

California Democratic Council
Caucus Meetings
  Business & Professional
  Disabilities (business meeting)
  Filipino American

Federation of County DSCC Members
Caucus Meeting
  Women’s Caucus

Sunday July 15, 2007

9:30AM-12 Noon
General Session

You can look at the proposed bylaw changes for the CDP here.

There’s a resolution to support parole and sentencing reform that I’m a co-signatory to, that I’m particularly interested in as well.