Silent Revolution: Become The California Democratic Party

About one in every seven or eight members of the netroots is from California. Given this, the upcoming elections for the Democratic State Central Committee of California should be of great importance to the netroots. If my little reformer ward in Philadelphia can sneak two members onto the Pennsylvania State Democratic committee through a local write-in campaign, we the netroots should be able to put several new reform Democrats in the California Democratic Party with more than a month to campaign. Here are the details:The California Democratic Party is governed by the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) of California, membership of which is a two-year position going from odd-year Convention to odd-year Convention. Starting with the November 2006 election, the state party starts its reorganization, determining the new DSCC, which meets for the first time at the April 27-29, 2007 Convention in San Diego. As the DSCC members meet annually at the State Party Conventions, they are also referred to as delegates to the State Party.

Approximately one-third of the DSCC is composed of all partisan-level (Assembly and higher) elected officials and nominees, and their appointments. Approximately one-third are elected by Democratic County Central Committees, which each county getting delegates in proportion to the number of Democrats registered in their county. The last third are elected in Assembly District Election meetings, held in January. Each of the eighty (80) AD's will elect 12 delegates, for a total of 960 delegates.

Current By-Laws call for the AD meetings to be held at 2PM on Sunday, January 14, 2007 though there is a pending By-Law amendment which will be voted on by the CDP Executive Board on Saturday, December 9, 2006. If this amendment passes, the Election Meetings may be held anytime during the weekend of Jan 13 and 14, as long as the meetings start no earlier than 10 AM and no later than 3PM. Additionally, current By-Laws also allowed for a request to the State Chair for a variance in time, and those have been granted. Complete details on which district you are in, and how you can participate, can be found at the same website I linked above. If groups of reformers are participating in this effort, and are serious in their work, feel free to contact me at I am more than willing to help put some actual resources behind serious silent revolution efforts. I know there are a lot of people who have problems with the California Democratic Party, but rather than just sitting around and complaining about it, this is a great opportunity to step up and do something. And remember, it would not just be a hostile takeover of the party. Serious reformers can bring new energy, new ideas, and new communities to help supplement and improve the existing party infrastructure. For example, in my ward, while we took the ward over, we also managed to massively improve on turnout compared to 2002. Hell, we actually had turnout higher than 2004 in some divisions (precincts), including my own.

Also, my interest in serious silent revolution efforts is not limited to California. I would love for this to become a regular topic on MyDD. Please, post whatever information and experiences you have about entering local Democratic Party infrastructure.

Tags: Activism, California, Silent revolution (all tags)



Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

Damn...this is good stuff Chris.  I just wish we had all of the data ported over to the Wiki  That should be done, if I get my act in gear, by the end of the day.  We are encouraging people to start putting together slates.  Matt of SayNotoPombo is the lead on this one.  I am just helping.

by juls 2006-12-08 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ
The wiki is the best place to get involved because it doesn't just tell you how to do it, but will serve as a hub to learn what other Reform Democrats are doing as well as inform others of your plans. Thanks for the great post Chris!!!
by Bob Brigham 2006-12-08 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

Indeed.  Now all of the available meeting information should be ported over.  Let me know if anything looks fishy.

by juls 2006-12-08 11:28AM | 0 recs
It's actually pretty easy

I am actually on the DSCC.  I ran after volunteering for the Dean campaign and heeding his call to get more involved.  

The amount of work really depends on your AD.  Ours is not very active, so our main commitment is attending the two conventions.

There are a handful of us Deaniacs/reformers there, but the party is so large, that it's sometimes overwhelming.  Since we can't really overtake them now, we sort of see ourselves as timebombs, waiting for our numbers to increase.  A few more likeminded individuals would really help our eventual takeover.  But trust me, it's gonna be a huge task.

by exLogCabin 2006-12-08 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: It's actually pretty easy

That is exactly what we have in mind.  There was a huge push from the Dean folks to get people elected after the 2004 elections.  They did a great job, but California is so large that we need to keep gaining so that that block becomes more influential.

by juls 2006-12-08 09:08AM | 0 recs
AD Committees de-emphasized

Sadly, the state cut the AD Committees off at the knees after the Dean people (me included, in the 38th) threw out so much of the old establishment. The real prize is to get the E-Board slot at this election meeting.

It used to be that you paid dues of $10 at the meeting to vote, and you were a member of your AD committee -- delegate or not -- for 2 years. Now, you still have to pay (making it a hurdle to drag people down to vote), but the committees no longer exist (they're being forced to dissolve by the end of the year.)

People should be aware that the state is asking people in each AD to recharter their AD committee to become a permanent precinct organization, and that these organizations will be uncoupled from the process which elects delegates to the CDP conventions.

by scvmws 2006-12-08 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: It's actually pretty easy

I profoundly respect it, that someone is doing this job for voter-activists in California. I will follow the wiki and if I can contribute something meaningful, I will.

That said, I'm afraid that we have a very corrupt State Organization on our hands. It has already beaten myself and tens of thousands of other Democrats here, who want a real Party organization, and not a "Republican-lite" machine.  Howard dean has been no help at all to California Progressives, and that negative assessment has to be said publicly.

I find myself worse than tired, today: I am disheartened as well. I am afraid that it will take more than a wiki (wonderful as that is) to get me back into the frey.  ... and there are tens' of thousands of California voter-activists just like me, who have just simply been beaten too many times by the machine to think a wiki is going to change very much.

So, here is what I want to know:  

) In the middle of a National Democratic sweep last month, how could a seasoned, well-financed campaigner like Phil Angelides lose to Arnold Swartzenegger by sixteen points? I want details.

) Why did Democratic Attorney General Lockyer let Enron and other Energy companies just slide, when they manipulated our local utility market to the tune of tens' of billions of dollars in 2001? Again, I want details. What happened in Lockyer's office?

*) Why didn't Governor Gray Davis bother to campaign to hold his job during the 2003 recall?

Why in HELL should I support a State Organization that favors politicians like Diane Feinstein, Tom Lantos, Ellen Taucher, Jane Harman and other pro-corporate war-hawks who have actively supported George Bush's policies over the last six years? If you have some useful, practical answers, then explain them to me me in small words. There's something profound that I'm missing here.


by blue73 2006-12-08 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: It's actually pretty easy

We dont have to support Taucher and Harman.  We need more bodies in there so that the CDP doesn't either.  At the last convention there were two fights over primary endorsements that are illustrative of where we are at and why this wiki and activism is so important.

  1. There was a vote on endorsement of McNerney or Filson.  Obviously, you know who was pushing for each candidate.  Guess what, McNereney won the official endorsement from the CDP.  That came with tangible benefits that helped him win the primary later in the year.

  2. There was a vote on endorsement of Harman and Winograd.  There were not enough votes for a no endorsement on Harman.  Simply put, we didnt have enough good activist types to get there.  It helped contribute to Harman's primary victory.

If we can get more good people serving as delegates we can support people like a primary challenger to say Tauscher.  That is why this is important.  We also need to encourage people to work their way up in the party structure so they are able to influence more decisions, beyond simple delegate duties.

by juls 2006-12-08 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

This is awesome work and needs to be done. I think this is something where it is particularly important to try to get the less active counties going. The big cities already have intricate, contested (sometimes very myopic) political hierarchies, but in most of the state activist reformers probably have a clear field. Please fill it, I plead from one of the most difficult of cities!

by janinsanfran 2006-12-08 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

That is absolutely right.  While there may be several hundred people attending meetings in certain areas, (I hear there is a Harman-Winegrad battle going down) in other more rural areas you could get elected simply by showing up.  Note, that you have to file by Jan 2nd, prior to the meeting on the 13th or 14th. The CDP will have an online form to file.  It is not up yet.

by juls 2006-12-08 09:18AM | 0 recs
by scvmws 2006-12-08 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

This is how the conservatives took over the California Republican Party in the sixties.  The result was Ronald Reagan.  This is really important!

by TomSkidmore 2006-12-08 09:19AM | 0 recs
Become The California Democratic Party

Hi everybody:

I'm here in Philly, where Chris and others have done a great job taking back our country (and party).

Chris, when you get some names and groups gathered, let us know if and how we can help financially!

I'd love to make some inroads out there the way we did here.

Best of luck, everybody, and keep up the good work.  We're all pulling for you guys (and gals)!

by lutton 2006-12-08 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Become The California Democratic Party
Thank you. Hopefully Matt will stop by, he has been putting together a team for this (including Juls). I think the wiki is something that a refinement during CA could improve and allow it to be easily redeployed to other states.
by Bob Brigham 2006-12-08 09:40AM | 0 recs
Silent Revolution: New Jersey

In Bergen County New Jersey we have a corrupt boss Joe Ferriero as the head of our local Democratic party and at our last DFA meeting we voted that a goal of ours is to Defeat Joe Ferrerio in 2008.

by doughnutman 2006-12-08 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Michigan

I have been blogging about how the process works in Michigan, at MichiganLiberal.. my most recent post here. Right now the county parties are electing their new leadership - the new state party leadership will be elected at the MDP state convention in February.

by lpackard 2006-12-08 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution

Thanks for publicizing this, Chris.

I'm 95% likely to be running, and it's going to be a very tough election.  I'm in the 41st Assembly District, which goes from Santa Monica all the way north past Malibu and the like and into Calabasas in the West Valley.  As I understand it there are going to be two competing slates, one progressive and one more establishment.  Both slates are expecting to turn out hundreds of people for the caucus.  The meeting room where the caucus will be held seats about 40.  It should be absolute chaos.

This will be a major test for the progressive movement.  If we can't deliver a slate in a community this progressive, we have to go back to the drawing board.  There's a LOT of money in this district, and I'm guessing the establishment slate will be spreading some around.

There's actually an executive board meeting tonight in Anaheim, and the Progressive Caucus is meeting there at 9:30 and will have more information for anyone interested in running or participating.  All registered Democrats can attend.  More info here.  Jerry McNerney will be speaking there as well.

by dday 2006-12-08 10:39AM | 0 recs
Don't Ignore Texas
The fine folks at Texas Kaos have started an progressive effort to take over the party. Good posts here by bonddad:  How Progressives Can Take Over the Texas Democratic Party ,Structure of the Texas Democratic Party, Structure of the Texas Democratic Party: Senatorial District Executive Committees.
Glen Maxey, the political director of Democracy for Texas and the first openly gay state legislator in Texas history almost took the state party chairmanship in 2006 and has launched a sweet set of online activist tools at TrueBlueAction Pac.  
There have been some good flame wars (and here and here) on the topic lately. Any and all help is appreciated.
by Texas Nate 2006-12-08 11:12AM | 0 recs
big plans in texas

guys, we only missed this by 2% at the last convention.  2008 is going to be a different ballgame.  we're organising early, we are drafting people, and we are going to do this thing.

by annatopia 2006-12-08 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: big plans in texas
I look forward to it. ;)
by KTinTX 2006-12-08 01:48PM | 0 recs
Silent Revolution: The California Democratic Party
This is fantastic, thanks for putting this together!
Where there is Grassroots action, there is hope.
by Predictor 2006-12-08 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: : Become The California Democatic Party

Chris - you are right about the pathetic condition of the California Democratic Party. However, many people around the state are working to take it over this fossil and create an energized, progressive and effective state party. These activists include my group, the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club (WDRC), a very progressive and active chartered Democratic club across the bay from San Francisco.

Part of WDRC's strategy is to get our people into the state party structures, including electing delegates to the Central Committee. Most of our members live in the 14th and 16th ADs, and we're approaching these election meetings much as we would any other critical campaign.

Working with other Democratic groups in our area, we're creating slates of progressive candidates. We're planning a major GOTV drive to turn out our 200 plus members  and non-member supporters to vote for our slates. We're using email, snail mail, and phone calls, and we're prepared to drive people to the meetings.

However, our club is well aware that  we have to reach beyond our progressive East Bay bubble and work with other California electoral activists to build an effective and progressive state party.

WDRC has begun strategizing about how to work on state party rebuilding. We and other activists are realizing that we need a 58 county strategy in California, parallel to Dean's 50 state strategy. In many California counties, particularly in the red interior, there is in effect no Democratic Party presence. It will take investment and organizing to turn that around.

To build a 58 county strategy will require some seed money for travel and other expenses. The state party leadership, which views change as a threat, won't fund this kind of grassroots development, but local groups may be able to support themselves once they get going.

At Wellstone we've learned that we can raise money from our own base. WDRC funds all activities from its members and other supporters. The Internet has given us a great tool for tapping small donors. WDRC has also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through fundraising house parties and other events, and would be happy to exchange how-to information with other Democratic groups.

Admittedly it is a pretty daunting task to organize a state as big and complex as California. The job won't get done overnight. But people seem energized and ready to work collaboratively. Any resources you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

by ebactivist 2006-12-08 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

I can't speak about California, but it was unbelievably easy to become a significant player in Colorado. Show up to a couple local Exec meetings with a pulse and you'll quickly be handed a committee seat. Even if your local committee is highly conservative/traditional, they're still burned out and looking for new worker bees. Three of us moved from being on the outside to being Chair, 1st Vice and 2nd Vice within one year, with a team of committed progressives at our side.

Granted, some interesting stuff was going on then. Progressives in CO were energized in '02 by Mike Miles, a committed, honest, well-qualified guy running for US Senate (he announced before then-Sen. Ben Campbell pulled out. Unfortunately, as soon as that race got vaguely interesting, Ken Salazar jumped in also). Long story short, but Miles got NO support from the local and state party people and so there was a massive upheaval. We took over our local party; at the state level, the admittedly successful State Chair (Chris, um, Gates, I believe) was ejected by all the pissed off Miles' supporters who had become delegates to the State meeting. Pat Waak (for better or worse) became chair in '05.

If we could get 10% of the people who read these blogs to sit on Exec Committees, believe me, we'd have a very different world in six months. It's just a question of showing up, to (as Mike Miles and Gandhi would have said) 'Be the change you wish to see in the world).

by nzanne 2006-12-08 03:17PM | 0 recs
Count Me in!

Well I just applied online to run in Assembly District 45.

Unfortunately I will be out of the country on the date the election will occur (the weekend of January 13 and 14th I will be in Mumbai, India) so I'm not sure what else I can do to make sure  I get elected.

by MadProfessah 2006-12-08 04:35PM | 0 recs
I'd like to participate in this, too.

I live in CA AD#6, and the meeting in San Rafael is just mile or so from my house. I feel like I really should go and participate.

However, I must admit I am confused. I read most of this thread, and scanned the wiki referenced above, but I still can't quite figure out what this is all about. Perhaps this is because I am almost completely ignorant about how party politics works.

It would be very helpful to me if some expert, like Chris, could give me some background on what this process is like, how it works, and what the positive outcomes could be. I was not able to figure that out just from the wiki.

Thanks, -Mark

by Mark Wallace 2006-12-08 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

I'm in CA Assembly District 52 (Mervyn Dymally, Compton and Paramount).  I can drag myself and probably two others to the January 14 meeting in Compton.

But who should I vote for, to help the netroots?  I have no idea.  Please let me know who our preferred guys are.

by Dumbo 2006-12-08 09:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ

But who should I vote for, to help the netroots?

I think this question is a bit misguided.  You should vote for those who will best be able to reform the California Democratic Party.  Despite the implication of Chris' post, it's not necessarily the case that the incumbents suck.  So it's not a straightforward case of "Throw the bums out."  

Assembly District delegates (i.e. those delegates elected in January of odd-numbered years) only make up 1/3 of the total delegates.  The rest come from county committees or are elected officials or their appoitnments.    

So on one hand the problems of the CA Dem Party do not stem solely from the delegates elected in Assembly District elections.  In fact, in my experience, AD delegates tend to be more reform-minded than other delegates.  

Moreover, the netroots are a bit late to the party on this issue.  There are a lot of grassroots activists who're are trying to reform the CA Dem Party and the netroots is not necessarily very connected with these folks.  It's very easy to say "Stop whining and get involved." But without knowing who's part of the problem and who's part of the solution, you run the risk of being counter-productive.

The thing is that the netroots as such has no widespread institutional knowledge of the CA Dem Party or what folks are doing to reform it.  So you cannot look to the netroots to necessarily understand the dynamics of these races.  

I'll try to add more background later.  But I guess I want to urge skepticism about the netroots knowing better than the grassroots when it comes to California Dem Party reform.      


by Matt Lockshin 2006-12-09 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democ
So noted and please note my previous comment in this thread.
I see this as an opportunity for those of us in the Netroots to participate at the Grassroots level. I've participated in campaigns and functioned as a Party official/operative for over 35 years. These things can work hand in hand.
by Predictor 2006-12-14 02:48PM | 0 recs
I'm running

I've never run for anything in my life before, so this should be interesting...

by wilder 2006-12-08 09:49PM | 0 recs


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