Tag Archives: Shirley Walton

(CA80AD) Rebuttal to “Party needs to focus on unifying, not early endorsements”

On April 7th Dale Wissman blogged “AD-80: Party needs to focus on unifying, not early endorsements” on The Bayne of Blog’s California Notes and a copy was posted on MyDesert.com.

Sandra Stone, President of Democratic Women of the Desert, reviewed Mr. Wissman’s blog and found it filled with inaccuracies, misunderstandings and decried the apparent inexperience that produced such uninformed content. She has written a response that clarifies the process and corrects errors in Dale Wissman’s blog.

Shirley Walton, chair of the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee also reviewed Mr. Wissman’s blog and briefly wrote of her complete agreement with the response provided by Sandra Stone.

I’ve been asked to post both responses on each of the websites where the original or copies of Dale Wissman’s now exist.

To: Dale Wissman

Your commentary “AD-80: Party needs to focus on unifying, not early endorsements”contains many inaccuracies regarding the role of Democratic clubs, the endorsement and pre-endorsement process, and what is happening in the AD 80. Further, you couch your disruptive behavior at the convention in San Jose as being in the interests of democracy and fairness. Hogwash. You acted out of ignorance of the process and now you want to be admired for your adherence to your own unique sense of fair play.

You claim to have been “first-timers” and your inexperience may be what led to your misunderstanding of the process. Nevertheless, before you inaccurately decry the process you should have checked on your interpretation of the facts for accuracy. While many of the Democratic clubs in the Valley have members in common, the number of delegates allocated to each club for the pre-endorsement conference was adjusted for these overlaps. There was no “double or even triple credit” for the duplicates as you allege. This is something you could have found out with just a little work on your part. Yet, you assume this is what took place and label it “unfair”. I would say that you are the one who is being unfair here. You never mentioned that to get the endorsement at that conference, the candidates had to secure 70% of the vote – a pretty high hurdle if you ask me.

You bemoan the lack of Democratic clubs in the Imperial Valley and claim that “Democrats in the Coachella Valley have ignored Imperial County in past AD 80 races ….” You appear to be saying that the Democrats in the Riverside County Democratic Clubs are responsible for developing clubs in Imperial Valley. Right now, there is an explosion of Democratic Clubs in the east end of the valley – including in La Quinta and Indio. There is no reason why clubs cannot be developed in Imperial County, but, frankly, you and your fellow Democrats in the Imperial Valley must take responsibility for your own lack of organization and “disenfranchisement” as you put it. Now is the time for you to get busy on developing your organizations rather than wasting your time on parliamentary procedures that do nothing to further Democratic objectives either short- or long-term.

You say that most of the 11 delegates who operated with you were also first timers. That may explain why you cannot comprehend why an endorsement prior to the primary makes sense. The voters at the pre-endorsement conference were the party activists – the ones who do the phone banking, walk the precincts, have the fundraisers, raise the funds and generally support the Democratic candidates. Those voters attended several candidate forums to see the candidates for themselves and make their own judgments about who could best serve the 80th AD. Over 70% voted for Greg Pettis. Yet, you and ten of your friends decided you didn’t like that outcome. By the way, how many candidate debates or forums did you attend?

Now that you have thrown a wedge into the election for the 80th AD, you say “it would behoove Coachella Valley Democratic Party activist [sic] and leaders to focus on unifying the Democratic and independent voters in all areas ….” Exactly what are you going to do to further this objective?

Sandra Stone, President

Democratic Women of the Desert


As chair of the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee (RCDCC) I want to first thank Sandra Stone and second, fully agree with her statement.

I have always found that uninformed statements like that of Mr. Wissman need to be corrected, and if he would take the time to help organize Imperial County and charter clubs, they would not only understand the process but help in the Democratic efforts to elect more Democrats.

Shirley Walton



The following is a copy of the original blog by Dale Wissman.

AD-80: Party needs to focus on unifying, not early endorsements

Posted on April 7, 2008

By Dale Wissman

As first time delegates at the recent California Democratic Convention in San Jose, my wife Linda and I were two of the eleven delegates who banded together to ensure that the Party made no endorsement in the 80th Assembly primary race. There were some very good reasons why eleven scrappy delegates, the majority of whom were first timers, found it necessary to stand together (no matter which candidate they supported) to ensure that the Party made no endorsement in the AD80 race. Those reasons had everything to do with good old-fashioned democracy and fairness.

To understand the brouhaha, it helps to compare it to the current Democratic presidential race. Imagine the mess if the Democratic Party attempted to endorse Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as the Party’s presidential candidate BEFORE any voters had a chance to cast primary ballots in their state. Do you think some people would see it as unfair if Barack was endorsed over Hillary (or vice-versa) without a primary vote? You bet. Do you think it would create conflict? Absolutely. Yet, that is exactly the scenario that played out in San Jose at the state Democratic Party Convention in the 80th Assembly. Under those circumstances, it’s easy to see why recent events in San Jose elicited such strong reactions from both the sides of the endorsement/no endorsement issue.

Here are some details. The Democratic Party’s endorsement of a candidate in the 80th for the primary election in June is, to say the least, complicated. First, a pre-endorsement conference is held where the vast majority of the 70 or so delegate votes come from Democratic clubs. Each club receives one delegate vote for every 20 members. Then, if no endorsement is reached, or if the endorsement is contested, about two dozen Party delegates (no club votes) make the decision at the state Democratic Convention. The vast majority of the votes for Greg Pettis at the March Pre-Endorsement Conference came from a few Democratic clubs in the Westside of the Coachella Valley. Some of those clubs share the same members. For example, the Stonewall Democrats share many members with the Palm Springs Democratic Club. Both those clubs share members with the Democrats of the Desert. That means, for the purpose of delegate votes, the clubs as a whole can get double or even triple credit for the same people. For some of the delegates, that didn’t seem fair.

Another red flag came from the fact that all of the clubs with significant delegates at the pre-endorsement conference are located in the westside of the 80th Assembly District. That is problematic, if only because most of the actual Democratic voters are in La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, Blythe, and Imperial County. Because there are fewer, and in some cases, no Democratic Clubs in these areas, there was significant amounts of disenfranchisement in communities outside of the western Coachella Valley when it came to the endorsement process.

This major disconnect in the Party, due to a lack of club development outside of the Western Coachella Valley, mirrors a bigger problem. Democrats in the Coachella Valley have ignored Imperial County in past AD80 races at their own peril. While better-organized Riverside County has faithfully voted to its democratic registration in each of the past three elections, Imperial County Democrats have not. Essentially, Imperial County voters have been King Makers by voting as much as 25 points off the Democratic registration numbers for the Republican candidate, Bonnie Garcia, who has won three successive victories against three very different Democratic challengers all thanks in great part to more socially conservative Imperial County Democrats who simply are not plugged into the strong Democratic organizations in Riverside County. The fact that Imperial County, and the Eastern Coachella Valley was being ignored once again, this time in the Democratic Party s own internal endorsement process, was a third red flag for some delegates.

Perhaps most disturbing for us, and many of the other eleven delegates working together in San Jose, was why the Democratic Party was even trying to endorse a candidate BEFORE the June primary election in the first place. It only makes sense that the Democratic candidate in the 80th Assembly District who gets the most votes in the June Primary should be the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate. For all of the above reasons, eleven delegates, under a tremendous amount of pressure, voted their conscience in San Jose.

Now that voters in the 80th will be able to endorse the democratic candidate at the ballot box, it would behoove Coachella Valley Democratic Party activist and leaders to focus on unifying the Democratic and independent voters in all areas of the Coachella Valley, Blythe, and especially in Imperial County. Certainly, that is the game plan for Republicans, who have grown comfortable holding an Assembly seat in a district comprised of a Democratic majority.

Dale Wissman is an appointed delegate to the DSCC from the 80th Assembly District. He’s not a neutral participant for he’s one of 80th Assembly District candidate Manuel Perez’s significant supporters.