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I knew that Daniel Lamb was writing something about the motion to strip me of the position of Democratic Party Vice-Chair, which is scheduled to be voted on tonight, because he asked me for a quote to use. I had thought that he was writing the story for Pedroza’s blog, so I gave him a wry and evasive one. Instead, I discovered this morning that it was written to be published right here. Oh.
We generally give our authors the keys and — whether they are from the right, left, center, or raving loony — and tell them to publish what they want when they want. Usually — say, with another story by Ron Winship about the Lakers — the surprise is milder than this. (Daniel is right, of course, that he cannot and does not speak for me – even when he is publishing here.) But given that it’s here, I figure that I ought to respond before people wonder why I haven’t.
One of the things that I most dislike about this item being raised at tonight’s meeting is that it harms the Democratic Party by playing into stereotypes that I think are, for the most part, unfair. Obviously, Republicans like Daniel and non-partisans or third-partisans on the Left will try to take advantage of that. I don’t know whether Daniel thinks that he has been doing me a favor (in which case, duuuuude!!) — or if he is just being impish in setting off a flash-bomb in the most visible place, but in my view he has a right to speak. And I have a right to reply: I don’t accept his expressed views. I don’t really want to become martyr for ANY cause, but especially not for a cause that I myself do not favor – and I do not favor undermining the Democratic Party. That, in fact, is why I’m fighting on rather than resigning.
My deepest and longest-lasting disagreement with my friend Dr. Jose Moreno is about whether the Democratic Party is even theoretically a useful vehicle for seeking social justice. He doubts it – and, however things go tonight, will soon likely doubt it even more. I think that our political system is designed so that our major political parties, IF one can get them in gear, are by far the most such vehicles, so I will keep banging on the party’s door until it budges. (I hope and believe that my Republican friends will do the same with their own party, even facing similar threats.) If there’s a setback one day – which I don’t expect tonight, but which is certainly possible – then one recoups and prepares to fight again. The struggle never ends, regardless of an individual victory or defeat, and the only truly crushing defeat is the defeat of optimism.
Two of my favorite political quotes address this theme. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards Justice.” Mohandas Gandhi wrote of political struggles: “first they ignore you, then the laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Clearly, I’ve made it to step 3.
I’d have preferred not to have been dragged into making a detailed statement here, but I will at least make a few corrections.
Daniel wrote that I am “standing behind Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait” in this year’s Mayoral election. No, at least so long as I’m a Democratic Party officer, I’m not. It’s actually a non-partisan race, but Galloway will almost surely be the Democratic-endorsed candidate if she stays in the race — as she says she definitely will — and that ties my hands.
My public position here is the same as the position that I’ve privately conveyed to both Lorri and Tom: by virtue of my party position I cannot endorse Tait against Galloway, period. I can either endorse Lorri or simply not get involved in it; I’ve got plenty of other fish to fry. What I can do, and have done, is say that I don’t want two good candidates to split the “good” vote and thus elect a disaster like Lucille Kring. So, I hope that one of them will run for Mayor against Kring and the other for City Council. Frankly, Anaheim needs them both on the dais if it is to wrest back control of the Council from the current majority. Who sits where may matter a lot to them — but not to me.
I disagree that “Galloway’s entire campaign is premised on giving the government-sector unions anything and everything.” To take the most obvious example, she has held strong positions on police oversight and in support of the mothers of sons shot by police. I don’t really know what else she and Tait are campaigning on, because it’s not a June race. I’ve heard that some of Galloway’s team has been spreading the story that I’m helping Tait — but having great respect for his positions on issues related to civic corruption is not the same as endorsing him, especially as to my knowledge Galloway endorses those positions as well.
Daniel should know better than to call Dan Chmielewski of the Liberal OC “a liberal blogger,” unless he’s using the British version of the term, where it means “center-right.” As for the actions of OC Labor Federation Executive Director, Julio Perez, I don’t begrudge his doing his job and sending such a letter. He’s an OCLF employee; it’s not his call. And has he has both my respect and apparently that of the Trades, he’s in a good position to help us work together where and when we can.
The supposed specific basis for my removal, other than “he violated the Bylaws” in some way, was not at all clear to me until yesterday, when I met with DPOC Chair Henry Vandermeir and some others. Now it is simply mostly unclear to me — and (to my real surprise) I don’t think that there is a real “bill of particulars” at all. Various people want to get rid of me for various reasons; no single reason necessarily has a majority. I don’t like this approach to removing officers and I don’t think that it’s right, but I’ll have more to say on that tonight. We’ll see if someone even mentions CATER — which is very much a non-partisan group. The people within in belong to both major parties (and probably some others.)
Daniel does spell out why Democrats may face a hard future over this vote. While most of those pushing for corruption and cronyism in Anaheim are Republicans, their number does include one Democrat — the fair-haired boy of the “Business Democrat” faction, Jordan Brandman, whom the previous DPOC would tell us at every meeting where both were present was “the future of the Democratic Party.” I think that the future of the Democratic Party is not in Curt Pringle’s pocket or Kris Murray’s purse, so I want Jordan to wise up and switch sides. (I mean on the Council, not parties.)
But the desire of Business Democrats to support Jordan — whether its their true motivation or a convenient excuse — does give Republicans like Daniel the ability to complete a move that logically should be physically impossible: blaming Democrats for the overwhelmingly Republican corruption (Tait being an honorable exception) in Anaheim. Brandman’s positions — which I hope he will disavow — has been the first talking point in that argument; my removal, if it happens, will undoubtedly be the second. Scott Baugh made a brilliant move in lining up his party against Lucille Kring and Kris Murray — it boggles my mind that Democrats might fail to do the same. Yet there we are. (And, by the way, I think that Agran and Kron were mostly right in the Great Park, so don’t hang that one on me either!)
Happily, no matter what happens to me personally, Daniel’s speculations are incorrect. DPOC will continue to work hard to turn out Democrats in Anaheim; no matter what Brandman does, the Democratic Party will not “turn its back on Anaheim” as a whole. We’ll fight for real district elections (with Brandman on our side, by the way); while Scott Baugh is welcome to join us, the opposition will be largely Republican. Ceci Iglesias is not going to change that. And I believe that Dr. Moreno will respect our efforts this year — though of course we’ll have to earn that respect. We should — and I think we will.
I may write once more on this vote, on my terms and regarding my agenda, this afternoon. For now, I have to go teach young Mr. Lamb that “columnist” is spelled with “lum” in the middle, not with “mmu.”