Tag Archives: Democracy for America

Democracy For America Endorses Debra Bowen For Congress

Howard Dean’s Democracy For America, a PAC with over a million members nationwide, announced today they’re endorsing Debra Bowen for Congress.

We asked DFA members where they stood in the upcoming special election for Congress and the answer couldn’t have been more clear — DFA members overwhelmingly support Debra Bowen.

Thousands of DFA members in the district voted in our member poll and 70 percent of DFA members said that we should endorse Debra. So today, I am honored to announce our endorsement of Debra Bowen for Congress. join the campaign today — Volunteer to put Debra Bowen over the top in the May 17 special election.

You already know Debra Bowen. DFA members across California worked hard for a national endorsement when Debra ran for Secretary of State in 2006. Local DFA members said Debra was a strong progressive who would lead reform of California’s voting system from top to bottom. Her goal was to turn California into a world leader in voter integrity and protection.

We heard you loud and clear and together we worked to make sure Debra won. And you were right, Debra has been an outstanding Secretary of State and she’ll make an outstanding Congresswoman for California’s 36th District.

Join DFA members across the district in supporting Debra Bowen for Congress — Sign up to volunteer today.

Working together, we can put Debra over the top on Election Day and send a progressive leader to Congress.

In 2010, DFA endorsed Marcy Winograd in her bid against Jane Harman. This is the second independent progressive organization to make the switch. In February, Blue America announced they would be supporting Debra Bowen in the race instead of Winograd.

Join me in Minneapolis this June?

By now many of you have probably heard that DFA’s Netroots Nation Scholarship Competition is underway. In fact there have been a number of applicants from California, but there are still 10 days left in the first round so if you haven’t yet, now is the time to apply.

You can apply and vote here.

Because the netroots are such a crucial component of the progressive movement, Democracy for America is heavily invested in cultivating a strong online community – and since the first Yearly Kos, Netroots Nation has been a big part of that community. This year, Democracy for America has teamed up with America’s Voice and Netroots Nation to continue our successful NN scholarship competition and make it possible for 40 deserving bloggers and activists to attend the conference in Minneapolis this June.  

I want you to apply for a scholarship because the movement needs you.

Even though I live on the other side of the country, I know what’s going on in California because you have such a strong voice in the progressive movement, and we need that voice at NN11.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a blogger, you should still apply – Netroots Nation is incredibly informative no matter what your background. And if you’re already planning on going or if you’re busy that weekend, please encourage others to apply.

The link to apply or vote is: http://www.democracyforamerica…

Finally, you can make your voice heard in the selection process by voting for the most deserving candidates right now.

I may be on the other coast, but I’m here to engage. Please comment with any questions or thoughts about the scholarship competition. Thanks!  

SF4D Parties Forum Report

San Francisco for Democracy held a forum for political party representatives on Monday night.  The panel consisted of:

Aaron Peskin, Chairman, San Francisco Democratic Party

Barry Hermanson, Co-Coordinator, Green Party of California

Marsha Feinland, State Treasurer, Peace and Freedom Party

The Republican Party representative had a scheduling conflict with his own party’s meeting.

The SF4D meeting was open to the public.  This was a moderated forum of two hours, with introductory statements, moderator questions, and audience questions.  This report covers the points (my distillation, not verbatim quotes) that I found significant.

Marsha Feinland, Peace and Freedom Party:

  • The Peace and Freedom Party is an avowedly socialist, anti-capitalist party.
  • We tax sales of ordinary items such as shoes and school supplies; we should also be taxing financial transactions like stock trades.
  • The state should be taxing oil extraction.  Richmond voted to tax Chevron, and Chevron isn’t leaving.
  • A legislature that actually worked on behalf of the people would be a unicameral one elected via proportional representation.  When I ran for the U.S. Senate, more people voted for me than did for sitting Senators in fourteen small states.
  • Ranked-choice/instant runoff voting is good, but it’s not the be-all, end-all of elections reform.  Had it taken effect earlier, Matt Gonzalez never would’ve had a chance against Gavin Newsom.
  • Proposition 14, the “Open Primary” proposition on the coming ballot, would destroy third parties electorally.
  • Big businesses buy out and crush small businesses, so small businesses could fare better under a more socialist system.
  • I helped organize the March 4th actions against California education cuts, and I made sure that the students themselves had center stage.
  • Building a political movement is equally as important as running for office.

Barry Hermanson, Green Party:

  • We shouldn’t be issuing government bonds for services, since the interest payments go to the wealthy and since we should be honest about what services actually cost.
  • 6400 city employees make over $100K.  The issue isn’t necessarily about that being too much, it’s about why the rest of the city employees don’t have a higher standard of living.
  • Ranked-choice voting helps third-party ballot access and spares us expensive, nasty runoff campaigns.
  • We should split-roll Proposition 13.  Business property tax currently gets updated with a property sale or a business ownership change, but any stock trade is really an ownership change.
  • Communities should have the power to review and, if warranted, revoke corporate charters.  That’s coming from a former small business owner who thinks a mix of capitalism and socialism is best.
  • There should be a downtown business tax district for transit funds, given that downtown businesses’ workers pack mass transit during rush hour.  That’s fine; it’s just that they should help more to pay for it.
  • The Democratic Party’s tent is too big.  Conservatives in the Democratic Party kill popular reform.  I want a realignment of representation, with the Democratic Party in the center, the Republican Party on the right, and the Green Party on the left.
  • If Proposition 15, public financing of the Secretary of State campaign, passes, the Green Party candidate will be viable in that race.
  • I am trying to bring people together.  I am trying to stem the division over the 5% of what we disagree about.

Aaron Peskin, Democratic Party:

  • There must be campaign finance regulation and/or public funding of elections for there to be actual representation of the people.
  • Union-busting via “firing” and “re-hiring” city employees would set a devastating precedent for labor nationwide, in addition to it being a disaster for the city.
  • Voters are not yet familiar enough with ranked-choice voting to realize that they don’t need to take the “spoiler effect” into account anymore.
  • San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system may be overturned as part of a current federal lawsuit.
  • There are billions of dollars in federal funds available for highway and mass transit construction but none for operation.
  • The appointed MTA board is not independent of mayor in the slightest, despite the Board of Supervisors’s confirmation role.
  • Many in the San Francisco Democratic Party are exemplars of public service, unlike the bought-and-paid-for standard most other places and unlike the wholly owned Republican Party.  Also, as soon as a party like the Greens got to be anywhere close to as big as the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Green Party would have exactly the same corruption problems.

San Francisco for Democracy

General Meeting

Northern Police Station Community Room

1125 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA

7-9 PM, Monday, March 15, 2010

At present, the author of this post is not an SF4D member.

Pettis for 80th Assembly District: Candidate With Long History of Progressive Bona Fides

Harvard-educated Greg Pettis, in his 14th year as Cathedral City Councilman and Democratic candidate for the 80th Assembly District to replace the termed out, thank God, Bonnie Garcia (R), has unparalleled credentials in the Progressive Democratic Movement.

Pettis has served on the City Council of Cathedral City for the last 13 years.  During that time, he helped change a city that was once a place to drive through into a place where 50,000 people work, live, shop and live their dreams.

In addition to his duties on City Council, Pettis has worked on a wide range of committees designed to improve the lives of Californians and those in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.

Pettis dealt successfully with environmental issues from Salton Sea restoration to serving on the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy Board to helping to negotiating the Multi Species Habitat Act which will guide future growth in the region in a more sustainable way.

In addition, Pettis has been working on transportation issues through the Riverside County Transportation Commission and the National League of Cities Transportation Policy Committee, helping to identify mass transit solutions that will help combat climate change.

Pettis was the first openly-gay elected official in Riverside County and has worked to bridge the gap between communities and to provide leadership to other gay candidates who have the desire to serve in public office but needed encouragement and mentorship.

Pettis is a member of Howard Dean’s Democracy for America and has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Azusa Pacific University and completed the Senior Executive Program in State and Municipal Government from the JFK School of Government at Harvard.

More below the flip…

As a Progressive Democratic Assemblyman, Pettis will move the progressive movement forward in the Coachella Valley, has substantial support from local Progressive Democrats, has positions and policies fit into the broader Progressive Democratic Movement, and has a campaign that is people-powered.  In its editorial endorsement, The Desert Sun highlighted Pettis’ progressive bona fides:

…Cathedral City Councilman Greg Pettis stands out because of his ties to the Coachella Valley.

Pettis, 52, is a strong political tactician.  His strong suit is organization.  He communicates well with his constituents.  Navigating the state capitol scene will be critical to his – and the valley’s – success, but we believe he understands Sacramento and can hit the ground running there and that is what we need.

We also are confident Pettis would be visible in the district after being elected – and that is an important part of the job…

…Pettis has been in office 14 years as a Cathedral City councilman. He knows the Coachella Valley best.  He has strong relationships with local officials and understands local issues.

He has built a solid record of achievement while on the council, and we believe he is electable and will be effective in Sacramento…

…he does understand our issues and, of all Democratic candidates, he is he best choice to represent the needs of the Coachella Valley.

He plans to focus on bringing needed transportation infrastructure to our valley, as wells as more jobs to the Coachella and Imperial valleys, better school funding and expanding incentives for green and renewable energy sources.

Pettis said he also will work on health insurance coverage for all Californians. He wants all children younger than 18 to be covered by expanding programs. He would push to expand tax credit programs to create more affordable housing and work to stabilize interest rates to fend off more foreclosures.

The endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters , highlights Pettis’ credentials in the environmental movement.  CLCV’s Southern California Director, David Allgood announced in February 2008, that CLCV endorsed Pettis for the 80th Assembly District seat:

“While there are many good candidates running for this seat, Greg Pettis’ long history of involvement on improving air and water quality, forward-looking smart growth planning and commitment to combating global climate change is what earned him our Board’s trust,” said David Allgood, CLCV Southern California Director.

“We were particularly impressed with forward-looking legislation Greg has implemented like Cathedral City’s Green Building Standards which require new construction in Cathedral City to be 10-15 percent above state efficiency standards to help reduce water use, his tireless work negotiating the Multi-Species Habitat Plan to manage growth in the desert and his vote to install solar panels to provide all electricity needs for City Hall.”

“Additionally, his Pettis Plan for Progress takes a thoughtful look about how Sacramento can act locally while leading globally.”

In addition, Pettis’s campaign for the 80th AD is actively supported by innumerable local Progressive Democrats and Democratic organizations.  Thus far, Pettis has been endorsed by every local Democratic club that has endorsed, including the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club, the Pass Democratic Club, the Inland Stonewall Democratic Club, the Desert Hot Springs Democratic Club, the San Diego Democratic Club, the San Diego Democratic Women’s Club, and the Palm Springs Democratic Club.  President Desert Hot Springs Democratic Club Will Pieper, Vice President Desert Hot Springs Democratic Club Chuck McDaniel, Treasurer Desert Stonewall Democrats Bob Silverman, President Pass Democratic Club Jacquelyn Atwood, Vice President Pass Democratic Club Betty McMillion, President Sun City Democratic Club Arnie Kamisky, and Riverside County Democratic Central Committee Alternate Kira Klatchko have also endorsed Pettis for 80th AD.

Local electeds endorsing the Pettis campaign include former-candidate for the 80th Assembly District Mary Ann Andreas, Palm Springs Councilmember Ginny Foat, Palm Springs Councilmember Rick Hutcheson, Palm Springs Unified School District Trustee Meredy Schoenberger, Desert Hot Springs Councilmember Karl Baker, Cathedral City Councilmember and Candidate for Cathedral City Mayor Paul Marchand, Cathedral City Clerk Pat Hammers, former-Coachella Mayor Juan DeLara, Coachella Councilmember Gilbert Ramirez, Jr., former-Brawley Mayor Orbie Hanks, El Centro City Councilmember Sedalia Sanders, El Centro School Board Trustee Diana Newton, and former-Rancho Mirage City Councilmember Jeanne Parrish.

Progressives amongst the tribes who have endorsed Pettis include Pechanga Band of Lisueno Mission Indians Vice Chairman Andrew Masiel and Morongo Band of Mission Indians Vice-Chair Mary Ann Andreas.  In addition, Pettis has across-the-board support with local unions including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Building Trades of California, the California AFL-CIO, the Cathedral City Professional Firefighters, San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Central Labor Council, San Diego/Imperial Counties Central Labor Council, Teamsters, Joint Council 42, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 440.

In another coup, the Progressive Majority endorsed Pettis on March 3, 2008.  Here are portions of the Press Release announcing the Progressive Majority support:


Cathedral City Councilmember Greg Pettis scored the endorsement of local and national progressive leaders last week, picking up the support of Progressive Majority and the Palm Springs Democratic Club in his race for the 80th Assembly District.

This is Pettis’ third major endorsement in the last week, having just secured the recommendation of the San Diego/Imperial County Central Labor Council as well.

Christopher Honey, California political director for Progressive Majority, said, “Greg Pettis has a fourteen year record of putting progressive principles into action.  He doesn’t just say what he will do for local communities; he can point to real accomplishments for people living in the Valley. Accomplishments like bringing the first union hotel to Riverside County – meaning good jobs that provide healthcare and a living wage…”

…Pettis touted his Plan for Progress as one of the key reasons for the groups’ support. “While my 14-years of experience as a City Councilmember has given me the ability to be effective from my first day in office, having a roadmap is key to accomplishing the goals of universal, affordable and accessible health care, a healthier long-term job market thanks to quality schools and a healthier environment,” he said.

Clearly, with Pettis’ experience in the local, state, and National Progressive Movement, his governmental and organizational skills, his support in the West Valley, East Valley, and Imperial Valley, his plan to improve the local economy, schools, environment, and healthcare system all contribute to make Pettis the most formidable Democratic candidate for the 80th AD.  Add to this the fact that Pettis has outraised and outspent all of his Democratic opponents combined in the most recent electronic filings, and outraised his presumptive Republican opponent as well, Pettis is poised to not only take the Democratic nomination for the 80th AD, but also bring the District into the Democratic column in November 2008.

Pasadena Democracy for America endorsed Russ Warner in the CA 26th Congressional District

Pasadena Democracy for America endorsed Russ Warner for the CA 26th Congressional District last Thursday in Monrovia.


We finally have a solid candidate to run against David Dreier – a 25 year incumbent Republican for the 26th CD.  Russ Warner will help us turn another red district blue and we’re excited about that.

It’s not too early to start working for Russ’ campaign.  Pasadena DFA intends on precinct walking, phone banking, tabling at farmers markets throughout the San Gabriel Valley, and doing whatever we can to “Fire Dreier”.  

We have responsibility, residing in a blue 29th CD, to help our red neighboring CD’s get Democrats elected.  We take that seriously!

Dear, Progressives: We Need Your Vote Tonight!

The DFA Presidential Pulse Poll ends tonight at Midnight Eastern/9:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, which only gives us a few hours to cast our votes. So far, over 130,000 votes have been cast, making it the largest presidential poll of progressive activists this year. I am genuinely proud to write that Dennis Kucinich currently leads with over 30% of the vote.

However, as positive as a Kucinich victory is, simply finishing first is less important than our sending a clear message to America that, as Progressives, we have made a committment to pushing progressive values into the mainstream and elevating the voices that best represent those values. We must push Dennis Kucinich higher, we must cast our votes, for we know that he is the candidate that best represents these values. He proves it to us through his platform, at each debate, in every speech, and vote after vote in Congress.

Who is the only Democratic presidential candidate who campaigned against and voted against the war authorization resolution in 2002 and every supplemental appropriation since? Who is the only Democratic presidential candidate to vote against the unconstitutional and illegal U.S.A Patriot Act?

Who is the only candidate to come to terms with the Occupation of Iraq and speak out about the unjust privatization of Iraq’s national oil wealth?

Who is the only candidate to provide leadership and consistently speak out against agressive military action in Iran? Who is the only candidate willing to stand up to this Administration and its abuses by pursuing Impeachment?

Who is the only only Presidential candidate willing to challenge the private insurance and pharmaceuitcal companies with a truly universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system to cover all Americans?

Who is the only candidate willing to address the causes of our massive trade deficit, millions of outsourced jobs, worker and human rights abuses, and environmental abuses? What other candidate is willing to look at these problems and take the action that needs to be done: withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA/WTO?

Who is the only candidate to offer true equal rights to all Americans, supporting full marriage equality?

Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate willing to take a clear stand for progressive values and he is pushing this whole party through his leadership. It is Dennis Kucinich that opened the dialogue on the U.S. presence in Iraq that other candidates have moved to. It is Dennis Kucinich that introduced the power of the purse and Congress’ ability to end the war now, which we have heard other candidates begin to consider. It is Dennis Kucinich that first talked about diarmament and cutting the Pentagon budget, putting the money into domestic needs like education and infrastructure. Now other candidates are talking about the same things.

Dennis Kucinich is the candidate that is making our voices heard. Now it is up to us to make that voice stronger and more resonant. Please support the progressive candidate and cast your vote for Dennis Kucinich in the DFA poll here

Thank you.

Al Gore: What We Want to Know

(I’d like to know as well… – promoted by David Dayen)

Democracy for America has been buzzing all day about the statement released by our Executive Director Arshad Hasan. Here one of the reasons why:

Our challenge to Al Gore: Jump In or Drop Out!

And another:

Despite the fact that Al Gore has not announced that he will run and wasn’t even included in the endorsement poll, DFA members have seized the power and written him in. With over 65,000 votes cast so far, the time has come for Vice President Gore to make a decision.

The clock is ticking. We are deep into the 11th hour. There are fewer than 90 days until the first votes are cast. And filing deadlines to be on the ballot start closing in just days.

You deserve to know. Is Al Gore in or out?

Voting is still open until November 5 at midnight, and there is plenty of time for any candidate to win. All your candidate needs is your vote right now:


More after the jump…

Of course, this is not an ordinary endorsement poll. All voters are asked for their top three choices. And in the end, only an announced candidate can win the DFA endorsement. That means this will be the first poll in the nation that can accurately report both the remarkable support Al Gore has in the progressive grassroots AND which announced candidates earn that support if he never jumps in.

When DFA announces the results on November 6th, one year from Election Day, everyone will be watching.

Here’s why from Arshad’s statement:

We are the boots on the ground that knock on doors, make phone calls, and recruit new supporters whether advocating for the next president or electing Governor Howard Dean to Chair the Democratic National Committee. DFA members are working to take our country back and the DFA endorsement is worth more then just words to the candidate that wins.

DFA members are building a People Powered America. With 600,000 members nationwide, DFA members have contributed over 3 million dollars to federal campaigns and elected over 540 progressives to office since 2005. DFA has trained over 13,000 activists on the tools to win and is represented by organized volunteers in 98% of congressional districts.

Vote for your candidate now:

After you vote, get out the vote for your candidate.

Think of this as Election Day. It is your job to take your candidate over the top. As an example, yesterday, a DFA member posted a bulletin to vote for Obama on his MySpace group and it went viral. When we sent Dennis Kucinich’s ‘Vote for Me’ message to DFA members, his votes jumped up by almost 3,000. That’s not stuffing the ballot, that’s working to win.

As of this writing, Al Gore has 21,499 votes and is solidly in first place. First place as a write-in! Is it any wonder why DFA would make this request?

Don’t keep us waiting, Mr. Gore. It is time for an answer.

Vote for your candidate now:

(CA 80AD) Greg Pettis Endorsed by Howard Dean’s Democracy for America

Democratic candidate for California 80th Assembly District, Greg Pettis, received the sole endorsement of the National group Democracy for America on October 15, 2007.

The organization, which was started by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean in 2004, is a grassroots network dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government.

“Inspired by the presidential campaign of Howard Dean, Democracy for America (DFA) is a political action committee dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government-from school board to the presidency. DFA fights against the influence of the far right-wing and their radical, divisive policies and the selfish special interests that for too long have dominated our politics.”

DFA Executive Director Thomas Hughes said:

Greg Pettis has been building Cathedral City one block at a time.  His sound financial management has led to thousands of new jobs and increased revenue for the city.  His conscience has led to progressive solutions like a first-time homebuyer program, cleaning up Salton Sea and protecting open space for generations to come.

“We are confident he will continue this record of success in Sacramento to find solutions to improve California’s health care system and combat global warming.”

Pettis said he was thrilled to have DFA’s support.

“DFA is a group that not only supports fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates, but they do so from the ground up.  Like me, DFA believes you win elections one vote at a time, sharing your ideas and committing your neighbors to help.  That’s been my record on the City Council and that’s how I’m going to win this election.”

DFA joins a long list of endorsements for Pettis including the California Building Trades Council, Riverside/San Bernardino Labor Council, Victory Fund, Riverside Mayor Ronald Loveridge, Palm Springs City Councilmember Ginny Foat, Cathedral City Councilmember Paul Marchand, El Centro City Councilmember Sedalia Sanders and former Coachella Mayor Juan DeLara.

Pettis is considered the Democratic frontrunner in the race to replace Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, who will be stepping down due to term limits.  His status has been determined in that he has raised more money and has more donors than all the other Democratic candidates combined based on the last filings with California’s Secretary of State.

Re full disclosure, BlueBeaumontBoyz is an financial supporter of Pettis.

What I Learned from DFA Training

(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

The USC extension campus in Irvine is back to normal now. All the Priuses with the gnarly bumper stickers left the parking lot long ago. Life in Orange County has returned to normal, now that DFA Training Academy has moved on to the next location…

Or has it? Now, we have some 110 people who have gone through this training, and know how to make a difference. We have four Congressional candidates who have endured the training, and are ready to rumble (and take down some sleazy Republican incumbents). Ron Shepston in the 42nd District, Bill Hedrick in the 44th District, Hoyt Hilsman in the 26th District, and Michael Wray in the 50th District have now gone through the training, and so have their future teams of activists in their respective areas. Local grassroots groups for Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Bill Richardson (OK, and some Nevada staffers for Richardson also trekked down for this!) now know what they need to do to grow and put their grassroots energy to use. And now, local advovacy groups know how to get their message out more effectively.

Follow me after the flip for more on all the great things we learned, and how we all intend to put them into practice…

So where do we go from here? We can begin putting our plans into action. OK, so some of us may still be working on our plans. One thing that I’ve learned over the weekend is that we’ll never get anywhere if we don’t begin with a well-thought-out plan. We need to work on attainable goals, and on a good plan to move us to our goals.

OK, so our goals are in place and our plan is set. Where do we go next? Well, I used to be so afraid of recruiting volunteers. Now I can see how to do it. Fundraising used to scare me. Now I see how this can be done. I just shouldn’t be afraid to ask. And I should be more shameless.

OK, I think I need some practice. May I start with you? OK, then. Would you please check out DFA Night School? The night school covers many of the same topics that were covered during last weekend’s training. Go over and view the archives if you missed the training, and sign up for the Fall Semester!

And now, here’s my next request for you. Can you help our local campaigns and grassroots groups? If you’re supporting a candidate and/or cause, the best way to see it happen is to actually get out and make it happen! If you’re anywhere near the 42nd District, sign up to help Ron Shepston. If you’re anywhere near the 44th District, sign up to help Bill Hedrick. If you’re supporting Barack Obama for President in Orange County, join us at Obama OC. If you’re supporting John Edwards in San Diego, join San Diego for Edwards. If you’re supporting Hillary Clinton in LA, join Angelenos for Hillary. Just get involved in your neighborhood, no matter what specific campaign you’re joining. After all, what good is all this information that we just learned if we never use it?

So are you with me here? Can I count on YOU to get active, and practive what you learn? Let’s start making our hopes and dreams come true by making a plan of action, and then executing it. : )