This Sunday Jan. 13 at 1 PM is the election for delegates to represent AD18 (San Leandro, Alameda and most of Oakland) at the California Democratic Convention. State delegates get to vote on the party’s endorsement of Democratic candidates for state and national office, on the state party’s platform and on regional and state party officers. If we want to have a state party that is open to regular Democrats and that puts policy before the party machine, we need to elect delegates that represent those values.
This will not be easy. Voting can only be done in person on the day and place determined by the County Committee Chair (Robin Torello in this case). Party rules establish that this should be a “central” location to the whole district. AD18 encompasses the cities of San Leandro and Alameda as well as most of Oakland (excluding Piedmont, Montclair and North Oakland). The logical place to have this election would have been Laney College, where it’s been in the past. It’s centrally located by a BART station and several bus lines. Instead, Torello scheduled the vote to take place at Alameda Hospital, which is not only inconvenient for most voters in the district but also difficult to access by public transportation (it would take me over an hour and a change of buses to get there and would cost about $5).
But AD18 has a new Assembly member, Rob Bonta, a former Alameda City Council and former Alameda Hospital Board member. This location is extremely convenient for Bonta supporters, many of whom are likely to be in the building anyway and can just pop in and cast their votes for the slate of candidates he’s sponsoring.
Helping get Bonta’s people elected to the state convention benefits Torello in a couple of ways. First, doing favors for elected officials (whether requested or not) is never a bad way of accumulating political capital. Secondly, Torello’s main political ally, Royce Kelley, will face re-election as regional director at the next state convention. It behooves both of them to have pro-establishment delegates. Indeed, one of the candidates for state delegate in Bonta’s slate is Kelley’s alternate at the County Committee while another was a client of Kelley’s when she ran for City Council (as was Bonta).
This is politics as usual in the Alameda County Democratic Party. The only way to change this is by changing the cogs in the machine. And that means electing new leadership. For you, if you are a Democrat who lives in Alameda, San Leandro or Oakland, it means getting off your butt this Sunday at 1 PM and heading to Alameda Hospital and casting a vote for change (real change, not the “slogan change”).
The following is the slate of independent candidates that I’m voting for and that I urge you to go and support yourself.
- Winnie Anderson
- Chanee Franklin
- Sele Nadel-Hayes
- Gwenn Olson
- Mia Ousley
- Sheryl Walton
- Melvin Cowan
- Nestor Cuellas
- Joel Fried
- Abel Guillen
- Tim Holmes
- Mike Katz-Lacabe
Full disclosure: Mike Katz-Lacabe is my husband, and I worked with Mia Ousley, Nestor Cuellas and Tim Holmes in the San Leandro Community Action Network. I haven’t met Gwenn Olson in person, but she’s been an active member of my Facebook page and I have grown to respect her immensely.
So let’s make a date:
Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 - 1 PM
2070 Clinton Ave, Alameda
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information
Note: it costs $5 to vote, BUT you can sign a hardship waiver instead if needed.
This article was previously published in the Democratic Party Politics blog.