I was at the Rules Committee meeting today. Here’s what happened.
First, former Assemblymember Howard Wayne submitted a series of reforms aimed at ending the packing of the endorsement process; the proposals, which included requiring elected officials or party nominees to only appoint from within their legislative districts, as well as something having to do with Democratic Clubs (don’t remember the specifics), were referred to an ad-hoc subcommittee to handle them.
Mal Burnstein proposed an amendment that would insert a clause into the bylaws that would require candidates seeking the endorsement of the CDP to have acknowledged reading the state party platform, as well as the fact that they had a right to comment on it if they so desired. Christine Pelosi testified passionately to this amendment, with much sympathy from me because I’m on the committee and, well, sometimes we get the feeling that nobody ever reads what we do.
There was much angst from certain members of the Rules Committee that this proposal would hurt “Blue Dog” democrats running in red areas (apparently, because merely having read the platform means you agree with it 100%, and because Republicans who weren’t intending on using the Platform to attack their opponents all of a sudden would if we required an acknowledgment that their Democratic opponents had read it).
I got the chance to testify first and foremost that simply acknowledging reading the platform doesn’t constitute acknowledging it, and that any questions or comments submitted about the platform would not be a matter of public record regardless. No matter–the proposal was postponed to the next e-board meeting.
Then came the amendment I proposed, which would require (like Howard’s above) that party nominees and elected officials only appoint from within their legislative district. Some liked the principle behind the idea, but others pointed out (astutely, in my view) that it would prevent elected officials from naming, for instance, their chief of staff to the committee. There was a proposal made to amend the proposal to the effect of letting them have one or two appointments from outside the district to alleviate that problem, but the credentials people weren’t too happy about that.
So eventually, my amendment got referred to the same subcommittee, and these issues will be brought up again at the next e-board meeting this fall in SoCal.
I then spent five minutes on the Platform Committee before it ended. At least I got the chance to sign in.