The California Democratic Party has long been dominated by insiders, politicians linked to big campaign donors – and that has prevented the party from going in a truly progressive direction. But that’s changing as a new generation of activists are running for statewide delegate positions.
It’s going to be a process: All of the statewide elected officials (all Democrats) hold automatic party seats, as do all of the Democrats in the state Legislature. But 14 delegates – seven women-identified and seven non-women-identified -– are also elected from each Assembly district, and that’s where we are seeing party reform.
The process is old-fashioned: On the weekend of Jan. 12 and 13, Democrats who want to vote show up at a single location in the district, wait in line, and cast paper ballots.
Last year, it was not exactly an exercise in perfect democracy. In the highly contested 17thAssembly District, the reformers won eight seats, and the corporate Democrats won six.
This year, there are again two competing slates in D17, on the East Side of town. One is backed by Assemblymember David Chiu, and includes the more corporate and Yimby Dems. (In D19, on the West Side, the progressives and Assemblymember Phil Ting are working together on a consensus slate.)
The Bay Guardian in happy to endorse the members of the Reform Slate in D17 and the consensus “Unite-Ting” slate in D19. If you care about the state Democratic Party’s future, show up and vote.
The D17 vote will take place Saturday/12 at the Women’s Building; doors open at 10am, but we suggest you get there early. The D19 the next day, at Doelger Café, 101 Lake Merced Blvd.
Delegates: Shanti Singh, Mia Satya, Kitty Fong, Jane Martin, Gloria Berry, Lorraine Bowser, Gloria Archuleta, Kevin Ortiz, Bahlam Vigil, Zhihan “Han” Zou, Brad Chapin, Otto Pippenger, Gabriel Markoff.
Executive Board: John Avalos.
Delegates: Queena Chen, Kaylah Williams, Amy Bacharach, Brigitte Davila, Susan Pfeifer, Dorie Paniza, Selina Sun, Alan Wong, Basem “Sam” Manneh, Benjamin “Ben” Gonzales, Robert “Rob” Chua, Thomas Li, Gabriel Medina, and Amar “AJ” Thomas.