“Something is wrong. Since everyone knows we are in a polarizing period of intense political change, it’s not a good thing to have the local party “settle” for status quo seeking candidates that rank and file activists do not support. Some of the candidates below did receive the party’s blessing, most did not.”
Many of us check our twitter in the morning only to find out that the Whitest of White Houses has nominated another racist, misogynist liar to a post he’s the least qualified to hold. On top of that you can sometimes despair that even your local branch of the Democratic Party can do the right thing but hey, there’s good news all around us if we only look. With the campaigns of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, not to mention Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke’s-a new energized Democratic Party could arise-one that not only rejects Trump’s GOP but also asserts real progressive values.
Well, whadya know we’ve got some dynamic challengers right here in Estuary City and they’re mostly women of color who either have deep community track records or are busy building them now.
But first, in reference to the crack I made about our local Dems who have no excuse not to be as progressive as the cities and county they rep, last week that party endorsed many moderate, middle-of-the-road incumbents who wouldn’t recognize an emergency situation…..unless it was a threat to their re-election–so I went on a facebook rant about the party’s elected membership, of which I am one, and demanded that folks join me in the good fight for accountable leadership (you know the kind that doesn’t jam people into garden sheds?)
Well, my rant resulted in some cool people beginning to consider a run for that labyrinthine bureaucracy packed in a bunch of nesting boxes we comically refer to as the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC). Here’s a partial list, John Jones III, Debra Grabelle, Wendy Bloom, Tonya Love, Kim Carter Martinez, Jessamyn Sabbag, Alvina Wong, Jenn Tran, Lailan Sandra Huen, Gary Jimenez, Carroll Fife, and more, [please be sure to bug them for me.]
Here’s how it works–each slate runs only in their assembly district. Mine is the 18th, Wendy’s for instance is the 15th. You would run a mini campaign since you will appear on the regular primary ballot of a presidential year and begin to attend the Committee meetings the following January. Your slate has to raise money for campaign lit and mailings and you are expected to appear before various organizations, mostly Dem clubs for endorsements. You will also want to appeal to your assembly member to endorse your slate. The slate for the 18th AD also requires members from Alameda and San Leandro besides Oakland and the 15th AD slate should have Oakland, Berkeley, and El Cerrito/Richmond all the way to Hercules, residents included. But what does the ACDCC do?
What is the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) and What the Heck Does It do?
In a nutshell, this Committee is the local arm of the California Democratic Party. It supports its local clubs (sometimes), it passes resolutions to alert our state and federal reps on issues of importance. In addition the Committee also offers training sessions to candidates and registers voters. But, the most obvious task we have is endorsing local candidates and measures. When the Committee votes, it’s the final word on who gets to wear the party’s official label in the next election.
The Committee tends to reward incumbents and discourage challengers which is not always a bad thing, but when committee members are pressured to stick with party regulars and back room dealing becomes the only way to accomplish that, it means something is wrong. Since everyone knows we are in a polarizing period of intense political change, it’s not a good thing to have the local party “settle” for status quo seeking candidates that rank and file activists do not support. Some of the candidates below did receive the party’s blessing, most did not.
New Candidates for Oakland in November:
1. Clarissa Doutherd-Candidate for school board in district 4–I don’t even know how to pronounce her last name but the first time I heard her speak and respond to questions, the room broke out in spontaneous applause after her presentation. It’s not that her rhetoric soars, it’s that it is so grounded in experience, in compassion and in solutions for Oakland parents who have despaired of anyone listening to their concerns. After years of OUSD officials disrespecting its parents, teachers, and students, this is a candidate ready to hear them, then translate them into action. https://clarissaforoaklandschools.com/
2. Nikki Bas-Candidate for district 2, Oakland City Council–I haven’t known Nikki as long as others who have worked side-by-side with her on issues like reducing diesel fumes at the Port of Oakland, increasing the minimum wage for our low income workers and demanding good jobs for all our folks, but her courage and toughness (not phony tough/cute as the current mayor depicts herself) means that our council would add a fighter who is honest about the stands she has taken and the decisions she’ll make. I have to add, most of the parents in our neighborhood came out early for her because they were already familiar with her collaborative style and concern for working families throughout Oakland. http://www.nikki4oakland.com/
3. & 4. Sheng Thao and Nayeli Maxson-Sorry I keep lumping these two together since they are quite different women but I am stunned by City Council District 4′s good luck in having these options for their 1st and 2nd rank votes. Sheng has navigated the shores of surviving as an immigrant and a domestic abuse victim in a society not known for compassion for either and secured a place where her son can thrive and she can represent this community. https://www.shengforoakland.com/ https://nayeliforoakland.com/
And Nayeli is an innovative leader with a even tempered style that belies its strength. Unlike her former boss she will be able to accept criticism as an opportunity to develop new solutions. Both of these candidates are grounded in real life experiences.
5. Pamela Harris-City Council District 4-This area of Oakland has been blessed with a surfeit of smart, well-rounded women candidates. As an entrepreneur and a member of the LGBTQ community in Oakland, Pamela is just starting out in local politics but she has places to go and people to meet. She’s a comer for the Dem Party with one caveat that she keep a respectful distance from the moderates who seek to maintain control over the system. https://www.pamharris4oakland.com/
7. Cindi Reiss-Candidate for Peralta College Trustee– Every time Cindi opens her mouth to talk about what our local community colleges need, she blows away the competition beyond that even of the incumbent. As faculty at another district, she has been a member of the local and state academic senate so understands the issues and will be a quick study for the solutions. I predict that other trustees will soon be looking to her for leadership. https://www.cindireiss2018.com/
8. Mya Whitaker for Council District 6 and Corean Todd-Candidate for Peralta College Trustee- share the 8th place. Mya is a newcomer who can convey the conditions in her central Oakland district like no one else while Corean is very new to politics but not to leadership and struggle. Corean has worked with Clarissa at Parent Voices and is a union steward. Mya was a member of the Citizen Police Review Board before it was disbanded in favor an independent commission and has specific solutions for better community/police relations. [Honorable Mentions for D6 Candidates-Loren Taylor, Natasha Middleton, and Marlo Rodriguez.] https://whitakerforoakland.nationbuilder.com/ https://coreantoddforperalta2018.com/
9. & 10. Last but not least or technically new to local politics- The top challengers to the incumbent mayor – Cat Brooks and Pamela Price-are nevertheless exciting candidates in their approaches to the mayor’s race and their visions for the city. We hope they will work out a tag team approach that can take the Jerry Brown machine out and put in as Cat says “the people’s program.” https://www.catbrooksforoakland.com/ /www.pamelaprice4mayor.com