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Elections, Issues, Positions: Democratic Party Weighs In 

REDQUEENINLA - As your Dem Party representative elected at the County level, I am also one of your political reps elected to the Party at the State level.

This weekend the CA State Democratic Party (CDP or CADEM) met in a “subset” of its full incarnation, as the “Executive Board”. With approximately 250 voting members present (many members opted to remain socially distanced and I attended as the proxy of one), the Party ratified its committee’s recommendations (p. 25) on 8 measures likely to appear on the November 8, 2022 general ballot.

An enormous sturm and drang (not to mention excellent food from consultants’ campaigns) surrounds Propositions 26 and 27 regarding sports betting and all the issues of tribal autonomy, sovereignty, past compacts, implied reparations, internet regulations and cryptocurrency, gambling and just social welfare in general. In a compromise between unions in opposition and some relatively larger tribes looking to keep in-person gambling (and their stake in it) relevant amid the fast-changing digital world of chance, the Party voted to stay neutral on Proposition 26. Prop 27 sets national online gambling behemoths against some CA tribes (which are far from united in their stance for either Props 26 or 27; tribal size and current involvement in gambling is a rough differentiator). Almost certainly false-promises render the Party’s opposition to Prop 27 less debatable than its neutrality on Prop 26. I am concerned with long-term covenants and local economies. And since Prop 26 is being chased by a proposition gathering signatures that treats these matters more broadly and fairly, my personal feeling is therefore to outright oppose Proposition 26.

Proposition 1 is a slam dunk ensuring reproductive freedom in California. Still pending viability, an unnumbered initiative to raise the minimum wage from $15/hr to $18/hr was supported by CDP. And Propositions 28-31 include relatively uncontroversial support of Arts Education fundingdialysis and tobaccoregulation, and the funding of climate change measures through taxation of the super-rich.

These CDP positions were ratified on Tuesday (7/12/22) by California’s largest county central committee, LACDP.

The rest of LACDP’s regular July meeting was less circumscribed. Endorsement*of 6 candidates in 9 elections for 6 types of office were earned by the following vote counts:

 

 

Table 1:  First LACDP endorsements for November 8, 2022 general election (more to come). Endorse-ment*is earned by receiving >60% votes cast by eligible members.

The county central committee will endorse more races in the coming months. Its constituent assembly districts must meet first to make recommendations with more local familiarity to the full body.

I will follow-up with a separate post devoted to the June 2022 primary results. But the TL;DR on these endorsements is (i) despite representing a tiny municipality, Horvath prevailed with endorsement over the state’s former assembly leader and current Senator Hertzberg, whose colleagues even flooded this meeting in his support. This is a triumph of local representation as well as the local political machinery controlled by the county supervisors. (ii) local cooperation with national efforts to manipulate the school board on behalf of private interests failed to achieve endorsement of the doyenne for privatization in LAUSD2. More on this separately soon.

Other matters at the CDP included passing resolutions (p. 26) trained toward far-flung hijinks: Washington, DC (Roe, stare decisis, Jan6), international humanitarian support (Afghanistan, Ukraine), and abuse via the ether (artificial intelligence, facial recognition and criminal justice reform).

The state Party also articulates public position by ratifying committee recommendations (p. 32)regarding numerous legislative bills on a broad range of issues from housing to environment to transportation and labor issues, healthcare and more. The recommendation of the Party helps state legislators to discern today’s public priorities and argue for colleague’s support in passing their legislation.

Controversy has enveloped 70%-new committee assignments and their brand-new leadership, with concern regarding efficiency and loss of institutional memory. It is not just LACDP that has embraced the pandemic-enabled opportunity for top-down control. While CDP did employ safe-practices to enable this in-person Executive-board meeting, LACDP preserves its prerogative to meet electronically and summarily silence the totality of its membership. This is unhealthy simply at a level of incubating misinformation, never mind for Roberts Rules of meetings governing the conduct of democracy itself. Representation is a function that requires both enabling and protecting. I have spoken publicly to this, urging safe resumption of county-level meetings in-person. It is tricky to seize back control once lost. But the best way to interact collegially, is to interact.

The CDP conducted two elections in the wake of its Secretary’s resignation surrounding investigation of corruption among Anaheim officials, her private-practice clients. A local regional chair from the Antelope Valley, Diana Love, was selected as CADEM’s new Secretary, and the vacant position for Democratic National Committee (DNC) representation was filled by a delegate from the central Valley. I am concerned with their role in changing CDP’s platform position on charter schools; privatization of the public sector must be scrupulously regulated by any political Party. I believe our teachers’ unions and others have been doing a good job educating the public to the jeopardy to democracy of privatization, but spot-skirmishes arise incessantly. It can be hard to recognize incursion. That is why I am heartened by LACDP’s courage and flexibility in accommodating administrative snafus resulting in no endorsement of the privatization candidate in LAUSD2 (Table 1).

The Jan6 hearings in Washington italicize just how fragile, and in how much jeopardy, we all now are. It’s time to lend your personal efforts to the political theater, and there are so many ways to do it. Most effective, I believe, is to speak cordially among neighbors with whom you do not immediately agree. This isolation and alienation must be busted, somehow. And all politics is local. Really.

Beyond that there are organizations galore eager for your assistance, from voting registration to lobbying locally and nationally, for electoral and single-issue concerns.

The LACDP charters Democratic Clubs (DC), and there is surely one near you. Or far from you. They meet around geographical proximity and issue-alignment. They sponsor centers of outreach and activism. And there are allied organizations that do likewise: Indivisible groups, social welfare, criminal justice reform, transportation groups – so, so many.

If you are shy to find your way to a group on your own, please contact me, I will be happy to try to broker comfortable interactions. But these are, as a rule, gregarious people. They will welcome you with open arms should you stumble your way into their midst. Culver City DC meets on second Wednesdays. West LA DC meets sporadically, for endorsements in particular. New Frontiers DC meets on last-Tuesdays. Santa Monica DC meets on last Wednesdays. Heart of LA DC meets on first Wednesdays and is feminist centered. Stonewall DC meets last Saturdays and is LGBTQ+ centered. Momtivist is organized around the internet and is Mom/parent-centeredWestside and Grassroots Democratic HQs organize volunteers for phone banking and other forms of activism. SoCalBlue aggregates activist groups information phone banking, texting, training, etc. Indivisible and FeelTheBern meet as constituent activist groups like the Democratic Party. FieldTeam6 and GroundGame and LAForward are representative groups that all advocate actively too; there are many, many more. Find your comfort zone in helping to activate our sleeping neighbors. Work like your democracy depends on it.

As always please let me know if a friend you forward this newsletter to wishes to be on the list directly. And thanks for being in touch. In order to represent you fairly, I need to hear from you about what needs representation.

 

(Sara Roos is a politically active resident of Mar Vista, a biostatistician, the parent of two teenaged LAUSD students and a CityWatch contributor, who blogs at redqueeninla.com. and the Los Angeles Education Exchange.)