Friday, May 1, 2009

SD 40: Spring Predictions

Because it’s never too early to spitball:

Mary Salas
This district requires a lot of travel and basic name ID given how poor voter turnout is. That said, Salas is in a good position already representing half of the district. With Ducheny aiming for Cox’s seat on the Board of Supervisors, the field is open for a newbie to take the helm. By all appearances, Salas seems to enjoy the Sacramento thing and this extension of her career gives her a chance to do more of what she has been doing.

Juan Vargas
Which is why she and Juan have more in common that you would think; they’ve both represented the 79th AD, there’re both more pro-business that they should be given the district, and they both love “serving the public.”

Vargas has been rumored for Mayor (wanted the Democrats to ask him to do it), for County Supervisor to replace Ron Roberts (Republicans want a Democrat they can do business with but nobody wants to hire Ron should he step down) and the 79th AD (why go back when you can move up and run every four years instead of two?).

For a guy who said he wasn’t going to work for the insurance industry, then does just that once out of office, a run at State Senate makes sense. He has latent name ID from representing the 79th and running against Filner. Republicans view him as a DINO and Salas is not as solid as she should be.

Salas may be the “incumbent “ but Juan can pick deeper pockets on both sides of the aisle and has done more of the district, geographically speaking, than she has. On the flip side, Salas is a current elected, has support from Filner, Ducheny, Kehoe, Block, Frye, Hueso, Castaneda, Bensoussan, and whole host of other electeds, and can challenge Juan in the 80th AD half of the 40th SD.

The 40th SD favors Salas but Juan can easily make this competitive.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Propositions

The budget deal was wrong on so many levels but until the 2/3rd majority rule is dealt with we are stuck with a state held hostage by an atavistic minority lost in the last century.

1A- Rainy Day Budget Stabilization Fund
CDP: No by 58% (need 60% to pass)
Field Poll: N-49%, Y-40%, U-11%
The battle on the floor of the CDP was hot if the web uploads were accurate. It is unfortunate that Labor decided to fight via delegates but the end result settled nothing and satisfied most; a majority approved but not enough to do anything about it.

1B – Education Funding
CDP endorsed via visual vote
Field Poll: N-49%, Y-40%, U-11%
An easy sell for Democrats but coming on the heels of 1A makes the substance suspect.

1C – Lottery Modernization
CDP endorsed 67%
Field Poll: N-59%, Y-32%, U-9%
SEIU is going to have to work more overtime than they already do to pass this. The Convention floor was easy but the ballot box is what matters. The need to explain how this temporary fix won’t become a permanent liability has yet to be made.

1D – Children’s Services Funding
CDP takes a neutral position (52%)
Field Poll: N-49%, Y-40%, U-11%
Kids are an easy sell with the rank and file Democrats except when asked to take money from them because the adults can’t balance the budget.

1E - Mental Health Funding
CDP takes a neutral position (50.1%)
Field Poll: N-51%, Y-40%, U-9%
Again the idea of taking money from those who need it in order to balance the books is just wrong even though most people will take from the mentally ill rather then the children

1F- Elected Official’s Salaries
CDP endorsed via visual vote
Field Poll: Y-71%, N-24%, U-5%
Even though I personally believe that we don’t pay our elected officials enough, I do agree that something must be done for them to put the functioning of the state above their employment after they are term-limited from office.

Sacramento leadership was pushing for a Yes on all to validate the deal. The CDP splits with a No on 1A, 1D, and 1E and a Yes on 1B, 1C, and 1F. The CRP says No on everything and the Field Poll agrees except for 1F.

I predict Republicans will crow about this success in checking the spending Democrats as state offices close in the middle of a recession.

I also predict a Prop. 13 like movement to reform the California Government but it remains to be seen if the Sacramento establishment will wake up to this mob coming up Interstate 5 or if they will act in their own self interest and barricade the doors.

Either way, this election should have never happened, but it will and that will change everything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

San Diego Democrats Attend State Party Convention in Sacramento.

Democrats from San Diego spent last weekend in Sacramento for the 2009 California Democratic Party convention. Party regulars, labor activists, candidates, and Young Democrats all represented San Diego.

Local Young Democrats made big contributions to this year’s convention. Locals Jonathan Goetz and Allan Acevedo were elected to positions on the California Young Democrats board. The San Diego County Young Democrats club received the “Outstanding Project” award from CYD for their “Farewell to W at the W” inauguration night celebration. That event attracted more than 1500 revelers and is largely responsible for the recent explosion of Young Dems membership in San Diego.

Despite the unity and pride Democrats feel for electing Obama to the White House, this convention was starkly divided on a number of issues. Delegates bucked their legislative leaders and voted to stay neutral on about half of the upcoming May 19th special election provisions, including Prop. 1A, and voted to support the other half, including Prop. 1B. Party rules require 60% to endorse ballot initiatives, and only half of the propositions could muster that kind of support.

The state-wide California Young Democrats had a fierce leadership fight, with Sacramento’s Alissa Ko being elected as President over Los Angeles area David Phelps. The San Diego area Young Democrat chapters, including those from UCSD and SDSU, largely supported Ko.

The convention also served as an early battleground between the gubernatorial ambitions of Attorney General Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Both gave speeches to the assembled delegates, and were ubiquitous faces in the hallways and hospitality suites. They smiled and shook hands with potential supporters from around the state.

The most stark contrast between their campaigns, as has been described elsewhere, was their different approaches to parties for the Party. At these conventions, candidates routinely throw parties for conventioneers, and the higher the office, the more elaborate the soirée. Brown offered a tame afternoon “Recession Reception,” at the historic Governor’s Mansion. Some 800 people attended, though I wasn’t one of them. We did a drive-by, but the line was too long, to his credit.

Newsom hosted a nighttime block party at a fenced in area in downtown Sacramento. While Brown’s party featured his 1974 Plymouth, Newsom hosted a concert with Wyclef Jean, and a near endorsement by former NBA star and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson who referred to Newsom as the “next Governor of California”. About 3000 people attended the concert, and subsequent after-party at the swank Lounge on 20.

The two campaigns presented clear and different versions of themselves. Brown was the experienced, steady former governor. Newsom was the exciting fresh face of the future.

What about likely gubernatorial candidate Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa? He stayed in L.A. With Newsom presenting himself as the forward looking New Democrat, and Brown posturing as a stark contrast, it didn’t leave Villaraigosa much room to distinguish himself to delegates. Though one wonders: if Villaraigosa can’t come up with a compelling narrative for a few thousand conventioneers, what can he say to inspire the millions of primary voters?

[Cross-Posted on NBC San Diego.]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CDP Convention: New Leadership

Chair John Burton

His victory was never in question but his opponent Chris Finnie’s 24% of the vote is eyebrow raising. Torres never seemed to care about implementing a 58 county strategy nor breaking the CDP from its Sacramento stranglehold. After 14 years there was plenty of frustration building and Finnie’s results show that Burton has to produce in ways Torres neither could or would.

First Vice Chair Alex Rooker

She defeated Alicia Wong with 67% of the vote. She is in a unique position to unify the labor branch of the party and may become a real player in the 2010 cycle. Torres never seemed to delegate activity to his Vice-Chairs. I don’t envision Burton doing the same thereby giving Alex a great platform to run after Burton leaves the CDP

Second Vice Chair Eric Bauman

I mention the next race for CDP chair because Bauman has been telling some on the Westside of LA that Burton will only serve until Boxer gets re-elected. If this is so, then Eric can run for the position that he has coveted for over a decade. He is the chair of the LA Central Committee and can manage a mob. He has credibility with the grassroots for his work with the Organization and Development Committee. The fight that almost happened between these two this year may happen in a few.

Secretary Reginald Jones-Sawyer
Ran unopposed.

Controller Hillary Crosby

She won 54% - 46%. Not a blowout but not a hard positive. Bradley found his footing too late and Crosby, once she found victory a possibility, immediately toned down her rhetoric. Unlike the folks over at Caltics, I don’t see her win as a positive for the grassroots. The position is one of management and trust. As a newbie to the CDP financial world, she has a steep learning curve and will probably be captured by the machine she ran against. The “grassroots” are notorious for not following up and supporting their causes. Rather, they flit about chasing after that which is current at the time. It is unfortunate because, if they ever got their act together, they could change the party.

Early Analysis
Burton will be a fun spokesperson, so long as he doesn’t get embroiled in some scandal. That which the Bay Area will tolerate is not a method by which to measure the state. And he will eat Nehring alive.

Rooker and Bauman will jockey for position the second Burton steps aside and Crosby’s inexperience will place the onus on fundraising more on the Chair that he would probably like.