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April 16, 2021

LA County’s Democratic Central Committee (LACDP) met last Tuesday (4/13/21) for a shorter, calmer meeting than some in recent history. Zoom necessarily inhibits participation, and in a way that’s different from the sort of impediments that might hamper in-person meetings. Currents of discontent are especially difficult to resolve under zoom conditions while also striving to move business forward.

At hand is the incipient state party (DSCC) convention. “ADEM” delegates were recently elected to this body directly, and LACDP members are appointed to it by the chair of the county central committee. A third category of delegates, “Party Leaders and Elected Officials” (PLEOs), also attends. Nominally similar in size, these three categories of delegate-“types”, wind up being heavily represented by appointees of elected officials (click on figure to magnify). Whether through establishment-supported slates, appointed alternates and proxies and staff-involvement, the disproportionate influence of delegates not popularly (democratically) elected is a provocative matter.

In preparation for the DSCC convention, the LACDP passed three resolutions, including (a) opposing the Republican recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, and (b) supporting hotel workers’ rights and protections. Several bills currently under proposal in Sacramento were endorsed around issues of (a) bail reform, (b) public banking, (c) poverty, employment and wage relief, (d) public housing and RE development, (e) anti-bigotry and -racism, (f) pollution, (g) election reform and (h) labor organizing. Local housing legislation was also considered.

The resolutions endorsed by county democratic parties along with resolutions proposed by individuals are taken up at the DSCC convention for state-level consideration. But like the paradigm of whether dog or tail drives its wagging, another current of discontent involves the significance of these ideological statements. Should party leaders represent these ideological positions or should instead party concerns reflect the leaders we support and elect? An activist perspective would seek influence for ideological positions among our elected officials, and plays out in the dialogue around the proportion of elected to appointed representation in the DSCC.

I favor more, not less, elected representation. I wish my representatives to be beholden to me and my interests, not the interests of their election.

This is the lens I hold to the upcoming special election for our Assembly member in AD54. I favor that candidate who has a long record of social justice advocacy across a diversity of fields: education, environment, housing, equity. While the established orthodoxy circles its wagons around one political newcomer with a narrow and unstable record, and another with insider experience at the highest level, I am moved by the record and fluency of Dallas Fowler regarding this multiplicity of issues. She speaks well about them all because she knows them all, from a grassroots level. She has fought for water rights, fought to keep public education public, constructed houses for people. Some folks reading this know I collected signatures to qualify her for the ballot. But at that time I was unfamiliar with the extent of her work and her views. By now the comparison with her challengers is stark. Fowler is a former Sanders delegate, not for “business as usual”, and not endorsed reflexively by the establishment. Nor is she a stranger to political leverage; she has accomplished much on the street and in commissions, I look forward to seeing what she can do with legislation from our statehouse.

Please join me with an all-star cast of hosts to discuss Fowler’s environmental views and ideas on Saturday, April 17 at 5:30pm. If you prefer to contrast Fowler directly with other candidates, the West LA DC will hold a candidate forum on Monday, April 19 at 5:15pm. An all-county group focused on “Democratic Parents” will hold a candidate forum   . Her website displays more information and you can find out there where next she will be speaking.

The special elections will again respect pandemic conditions. Absentee ballots will be mailed 4/19/21-5/11/21; the election will be held on 5/18/21. Go to lavote.net to request a ballot, find your vote center or get more information.


            -Sara (one of NOT “14” elected LACDP representatives as I signed off last time, but SEVEN (7) LACDP representatives. Directly-elected “ADEM” delegates to the DSCC do indeed number 14, but I am one of your AD54 LACDP representatives, of whom there are seven [thanks for the catch, Jimmie!]).

As always, please feel free to pass this newsletter to whomever might be interested, and if you also send me their email address, they will receive it directly next month.