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It’s election season. Everywhere boundaries are bursting – from songbirds at dawn to term-limited politicians trolling for safe harbor in a fresh office… which sparks an electoral cascade to fill the old.

In AD54 Holly Mitchell matriculated to the LA County Board of Supervisors, completing its transformation from a fiefdom of “Five Kings” to a full complement of five Queens. Subsequently AD54’s assembly seat has grown vacant since its former occupant, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, hopped over to the Senate into former boss Holly Mitchell’s, SD30 seat. A special election for all us AD54 residents is therefore called for May 18, 2021 (with runoff in the event of no majority, July 20, 2021).

The California Democratic Party (CDP) Region 14, which encompasses this open seat, recently considered four (of five) Democratic candidates for the seat: Cheryl Turner, president of the Apartment Owner’s Association of Greater LA; Dallas Fowler, former Sanders delegate and long-time champion of progressive Justice and Equality issues; Heather Hutt who has worked from inside the organized political apparatus on Women’s and Immigration issues most recently for former-Senator Kamala Harris; and Isaac Bryan, a researcher who has risen to prominence within the crucible of the Black Lives Matter movement. Two candidates who have qualified for the ballot were not considered for CDP endorsement: Democrat financial adviser/entrepreneur Samuel Morales and NPP retail grocery worker Bernard Senter.

The local County Central Committee (LACDP), to which you have elected me as your representative, has appointed me as delegate to the CDP for a term that commences in April; I was ineligible to represent your vote for this endorsement. The present regional representatives split their votes evenly between Hutt and Bryan, failing to achieve a clear 60% consensus: no official endorsement is therefore recommended by the CDP. I am enticed by Fowler’s fire and progressive bona fides; her ardor for water politics, socal’s traditional venue for public-private tussles; and her own deep regional roots.

Other endorsements are also very much in play. At its March meeting, LACDP considered a very different, internal sort of endorsement. Unlike the type which conveys Party imprimatur to the electorate, this endorsement is more announcement than recommendation, broadcast essentially only internally within the CDP, where new officers (chair, 2 VC, secretary and controller) will be selected for 2021’s incipient two-year session commencing at the end of April.

Still reeling from scandal surrounding former CDP Chair Bauman and concentration of the party’s power in that one position, as well as from the turmoil and blowback of national elections, “reform” of the state Party is a key, central issue. As the state’s largest county committee, recommendation is not so much at stake as influence of LACDP’s sway and momentum.

As part of the struggle between old and new, conventional- and reform-minded ideologies, monthly general meetings of the LACDP reflect some degree of disaffection and alienation. One member was removed from the last meeting and three were excluded previously (whether by accident or design is unclear and contentious). Similarly there is a tension surrounding each statewide race where candidates are not so much in opposition as surrogates for positions of the (a) current trajectory of party reform, or (b) discontinuous break with the past that would distribute power more broadly among Party officers and emphasize more transparency.

My own vote becomes therefore as much about support for an ideology as ideological support. For example, whether Delaine Eastin would be more likely to achieve “reform” becomes secondary to signaling the desire to see that change. Accordingly I have voted for Eastin despite severe reservations from her time as state Superintendent of Schools supporting charter schools and the underlying paradigm of privatizing the public sector. I heartily approve of Daraka Larimore-Hall’s raft of ideas for changing the Party. I voted against Party-incumbent Jenny Bach (she would shift officer seats), for LAC activist Diana Love and the progressive, Latina, labor leader Norma Alcala. LACDP preferred the challenger to all my picks, though the race for secretary failed to clear the 60% necessary for achieving endorsement. Electronic snafus, another spring of contention, nevertheless resulted in ~10% ballot loss, that in the most extreme case would not have changed any outcome (see chart).   

Chart, bar chart

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Because the state of California is very different in its various regions, LACDP’s vote is not likely to be representative of the final. But it has been touted in mailboxes and zoom screens up and down the state in this truly intense set of contests for delegate votes.

Arguably more substantive is the ideological work of fashioning a set of issues that will be addressed at the CDP convention. Numerous resolutions were endorsed by LACDP for consideration including to • Support AAPI, • Audit the Metropolitan Water District, • Abolish the filibuster, • Support workers at two Santa Monica hotels and • Sanction a third. LACDP’s March agenda can be found here.

And resolutions have been flying among CDP delegates as personal signatories in advance of the virtual convention in April. I will summarize those I support in the next newsletter as well as endorse a candidate for AD54.

Please do not hesitate to let me know your feelings about any of these votes, past present or future. I cannot represent you if I do not hear from you! And more, your neighbor cannot be represented either if they do not even know their Democratic Party representative. Please help me reach beyond by forwarding this email to interested parties and copying me their email address (with permission), so that I may send this newsletter directly in the future. Thanks!

Sara Roos. One of your 7 elected representatives to the LA County Central Democratic Party Committee. sararoosmv@gmail.com