2012 was a victory year for Democrats. What lies ahead in 2014?
At the California State Democratic Convention in Sacramento
From our Sacramento reporter Rick Parrott
Delegates and Activists said there’s lots to look forward to and more victories ahead…
David Cary-Belmont, CA
Californians for Election Reform
“2012 was a great year for Democrats. Republicans continue to shoot themselves in the foot. As long as Democrats keep working hard, doing what people across the U.S. and Californians want and need, we’re going to see strong showings in 2014 as well.”
“For election reform I’d like to see improved elections including the use of rank choice voting, instant run-off voting, proportional representation so full communities can be represented in a single election with hight turnout.”
“2012 was a very good year. It was great to see Obama re-elected, see us do well in local races. Statewide, the key thing was getting the supermajority in the State Senate and the State Assembly.
In 2014 we need to keep the organization going, people involved, keep them from getting complacent. There are big Democratic issues that the president is not addressing like drones. That’s something we have a new resolution on here at the convention—to stop extrajudicial killings by drones and stop domestic surveillance. That’s important to most of the delegates. Fracking is another big issue. It’s coming a lot of environmental damage and we don’t want that coming to California.”
Marlene Gillespie-Santa Ana, Ca
Orange County Teacher
“In 2014 we need to get Democrats to show up at the primaries. We end up selling the keys to the henhouse to the foxes when they don’t show up. That’s why the president doesn’t have progressive legislators supporting his agenda and that’s why he ends up making these awful compromises which are selling America short.”
“No. 1 for me is single payer health care and it needs to get support in Congress, the Bernie Sanders bill. We need to be working on it in the states and get people out there to do that. We’re losing too many lives. Every day people are going bankrupt. About 65 percent of all bankruptcies in this country are because of medical costs and about 80 percent of those people had health insurance. We need to go farther. Obamacare is not enough.”
“The health care act is going to benefit the majority of all of us. People are afraid it’s going to hurt the ones who have insurance. It’s not. It’s going to work to everyone’s benefit. The education of our children—there’s change on the horizon that will make the people realize that public education is it, what we have to go with. We’ll show that public is the way.”
“The economy is improving. There’s a rise in people being able to purchase houses. We understand that with infrastructure going up, we are creating more jobs. Everything is advancing. The 2014 election is going to benefit all of us if as Democrats we stand together and organize.”
“California has a growing Latino population. There are large majorities of Latinos in L.A. and all over California. That means changes in elected officials. We see grass roots involvement. We organize them in Los Angeles. You ask about immigration reform. People rally and march all over the country to get Congress to pass reform. Latinos support Obama’s efforts.”
“I think we’re going to get the house again in 2014. The house will be blue. We see more and more people getting upset with conservatives. They want to blow up everything the president wants to do. We absolutely resisted for four years. We’re not going to let conservatives do the same in 2014. The Senate may add some seats too.”
“In 2014 we need to stand by our core values. Each party member must urge legislators, don’t back down to Republicans, which sometimes happens. In California we need to do the work that is needed with our two thirds majority. Democrats can’t back down on Republican attempts to cut Social Security. It needs to be there, stable for all generations.
We can’t have cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, the social programs like that. ”
“In 2012 I was really happy about the president’s re-election and gaining back more seats in the house, more in the senate. Here in California, both state houses got a two-thirds majority which all the pundits thought was impossible. We voted yes on 30 and no on 32 and that went our way. With the majority we have and most state offices with Democrats, we have to show we can govern. People think they’ll be taxed to death which is absurd. But we can reform Prop 13, a huge drag on the state for so long. In Washington, let’s give the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi by getting a majority in the house.”
On Monday April 29th, on the Committee on Natural Resources, Muratsuchi voted in
favor of two bills (AB1323 Mitchell and AB1301 Bloom) calling for a moratorium on the
use of hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas drilling. The call for a moratorium is to
protect public health, the environment and to reduce destructive climate change. Now,
both bills go on to the Appropriations Committee. There is no date set for those hearings.
Some local members of the Appropriations Committee are Isadore Hall and Steven Bradford.
If you have friends in their districts, have them call in support of the two bills.
As a young boy, future California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg played on his share of losing sports teams. The experience taught him to endure defeat or achieve victory with humility and sportsmanship. In November 2012, Steinberg helped engineer huge Democratic party wins at the polls that created an historic, long awaited supermajority in the State legislature. The party backed Governor Jerry Brown’s successful Yes on 30 measure to support public education and sent Measure 32—an attempted big business money grab against the working family’s poltical power—down to defeat.
With victory in hand, Steinberg wants to apply those early life lessons about winning with a humble spirt and governing with a work ethic. Speaking out to Democrats across the state, Steinberg says it’s about “getting the best we can for California as fast as we can” and above all, getting back to work.
The magic number-the supermajority is here. Was it a mountaintop you thought would never be reached, and now that it’s here, what are you going to do with it?
Well it’s the first time since 1933 so it’s a wonderful achievement. It’s worth celebrating, but not too long because we need to get to work. We have to use it with purpose, boldly but we also need to be smart about it. That means not trying to do everything at once, not trying to make up for all that’s been lost in a brief period of time. We need to systematically move forward, focus on job creation, find ways to reinvest in higher education—make up for some of the other investments that have been lost over the years---and govern.
Have you ever seen the Democratic party so dominant? Californians for years would split their vote, often elect Republican governors and Democratic legislatures. Now they’ve gone all in with Democrats. How do you account for that?
No party is perfect but the Republican party has become increasingly narrow. They don’t represent the mainstream of California when it comes to a lot of important issues—immigration, social issues. Even on the economy and on budgets, they’re too far to the right. We have to live within our means, but at the same time, we can’t starve the very investments that are the cornerstones of opportunity and economic development.
You speak with compassion for people who are not so well off. Given that, were the votes for Yes on 30 to support public schools and No on 32 to protect the middle class, especially union families, absolutely critical?
Without question. If they had lost, I’d have given a very different talk today and it would not have been as hopeful.
What are your goals as the State Senate leader, ushering in this new era?
I want to make sure we make progress and the right kind of change and that we govern wisely. There are people in the legislature who are independent, passionate, sometimes imperfect and they want to get things done.
Finally, it does appear to be all on the Democrats in California. The people have entrusted the party with the power, how critical is it to come through for them?
We’ll wake up every day and work hard on behalf of the people of California and with great opportunity comes tremendous responsibility. I’m aware of that every day too. We’ll use it wisely. If we can deal with what we have dealt with the last five years, we can get through this and we will. The election gave us a bit of validation. It feels good. Now we put the laurels aside and get back to work.
Sacramento December 2012
Story and Photo By Rick Parrot
Sacramento - September 2012
By Rick Parrott (our state capital reporter)
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on November Election: “It’s fair that everyone sacrifices…re-elect Obama to move forward.”
Two years ago, Dave Jones won 3.5 million votes on his way to becoming California’s Insurance Commissioner. He promised to be “a strong advocate for consumers” and has tried to innovate programs that reduce insurance rates and support the Green Economy. While not seeking re-election this year, Jones is hardly on the sidelines. He’s a staunch supporter of President Obama’s health care reform efforts. He backs Governor Jerry Brown’s ballot measure for fair taxation to improve California’s bleak revenue picture. Jones says the Big Tuesday November 6, 2012 vote is all about shared sacrifice and re-electing the president. Interviewed by Rick Parrott.
Why would an Obama win in November help California and the work you’re doing?
Re-electing President Obama means we can move forward with all of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, making sure children and adults get health insurance, even if they have pre-existing conditions. Getting rid of lifetime and annual caps, making sure people can get the health insurance and the care they need.
And why would a Romney win cause major problems?
If Mr. Romney is elected, he’s indicated he would repeal the care act—that would be really bad news for 7 million Californians without insurance and for the rest of us that have it because we’d lose all the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
How can Democrats stop Romney—beyond voting? Neighborhood work, canvassing, phoning?
There’s already a wealth of activity and more opportunities to get involved. You can go to the Obama campaign website, find out how you can make calls, send letters, send emails to folks in this state and other states. There’s a tremendous grassroots effort across the United States and Californians can play a big role in that.
Governor Jerry Brown has November ballot measure; a plan to increase taxes to get badly needed revenue for California’s economic recovery. How would that help your office and all of California?
The propositions supported by the governor are really important to California’s health and well being. If they pass, we have an opportunity to bridge our budget gap and move forward on a host of things that are important to California. I support the initiative and I support the governor. It’s the right thing to do. He’s simply saying we’ve made 20-30 billions of dollars in cuts. We also should make sure we ask those among us who’ve had the best outcomes in their economic circumstances to contribute a little more. It’s fair that everyone sacrifices. That’s the governor’s approach and I support it.
Howard Dean’s said that sometimes Democrats aren’t tough enough. How can you rev up their fighting spirit in California and across the 50 states? The stakes are huge and the differences have never been greater.
This is a critical election. It’s the difference between moving forward with a host of things Americans need or going back to a time when this nation essentially said to everyone, you’re on your own regardless of circumstances. I think we’re better than that as a community. Like Obama has said time and time again, we need to make sure we’re helping one another and giving people the opportunity to succeed. That’s the difference between the two candidates and why we should do everything we can to re-elect the president.
| From State Convention to National Convention
The California Democratic Party Platform
Becomes the National Democratic Platform
|The California Democratic Party Platform
Story and Photographs by Rick Parrott
“I sometimes have activists say they’ve given up on Obama because they tried the electoral process and it didn’t work. Politics only works for people who show up again and again.” – Michelle Goldberg, columnist, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, Salon.com
Many Democrats look at the political landscape with disappointment, frustration and alarm. Some feel President Obama “hasn’t done enough” on jobs and health care reform. He didn’t adequately punish Wall Street for its greed.
Some can’t believe that the Republicans have successfully convinced their base, and a large number of others, that the president wasn’t born in America, that he’s a Muslim, or a Kenyan socialist. They’re dismayed at being outspent by the GOP money machine engineered by the Koch Brothers and other billionaires--a machine that funds vicious attacks through Super-PACS.
They wonder how the voices of the middle class, union members, teachers, students, public safety workers, the poor and gay rights activists can ever be heard over the roar of the Republican fire hose.
So it may come as a surprise to these disenchanted Democrats that there is a place where activists are heard and their ideas are injected directly into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party—shaping its DNA, its heart, its head, its backbone, its soul and its identity. That place is the Platform Committee of the California Democratic Party. The Platform Committee revises and shapes the Democratic agenda and what the party stands for every two years.
The scene is the Platform Committee Hearing at the California State Democratic Party Convention in San Diego. In a large conference room, 25 Platform Committee members listen to testimony from a dozen activists seeking official party backing for their political ideas and agendas. It sometimes takes years for these activists to get here. They’ve developed issues and mission statements first at their local clubs, then with central committees and state executive board members. They’ve navigated their content through a maze of regional and state hearings. Read More
Interview with California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton on Platforms and what lies ahead for Democrats in November.
Story and Photography by Rick Parrott
the convention’s Platform Hearings, various activists actually got
their views, stands on issues incorporated into the official Democratic
Party platform. But there was cynicism about whether the candidates will
actually follow it. What’s the impact of the platform and what does it
stand for in this day and age?
Democrats sometimes struggle with a waffling image—John Kerry was for it, then he was against it. Wouldn’t the platform be the best way of saying I am a Democrat and this is what I believe, revitalizing the process?
It’s up to the guy running. They all get afraid of things. If I was running and there was something in the platform I really strongly disagreed with, and someone else said what about this issue that’s in the platform, I’d say that’s what they think, this is what I think. What an elected official will think is different than the activist that’s not running for office. But I do think it reflects the party’s values. It’s an important document.
Besides the importance of platforms, what’s at stake for California Democrats and the nation this November?
Obama will win California if Democrats are all asleep in bed. U.S. Senator (Dianne) Feinstein is going to win. Picking up Democratic Congressional seats is important to help get back a Democratic House of Representatives. Of course the Governor’s (Jerry Brown’s) tax bill is important to get the state equalized financially so we can start going growing again. It’s also important to defeat the corporate power grab that’s out there to weaken people who work for a living.
What would you like to say to Democrats to get them motivated—be afraid? Be positive?
If they’re unhappy which they should be, they ought to get off their ass and do something about it. Everybody’s concerned their kid can’t get into a college or university, my local school sucks, they’re closing state parks, they’re cutting back in home support services. Well, get off your ass!! Vote for those taxes to allow things to stabilize, no further cuts. Then the economy picks up and we go forward.
So the ground game of putting out the word, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood will get it done?
Yeah. It's the phone banking, knocking on doors that will do it --Absolutely
Photo by Rick Parrott
| SACRAMENTO – In a move that will shrink the state’s environmental
footprint and save millions of taxpayer dollars, Governor Edmund G.
Brown Jr. issued a sweeping executive order today directing agencies and
departments to take immediate steps to green the state’s buildings,
reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. Read More
|It's a Numbers Game
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