¡Ada Briceño for DPOC Chair!


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“What does it mean to be a Democrat?” some are asking.  It’s a good question to ask yourself with some regularity, just like “What does it mean to be American?” or “What does it mean to be progressive?”  Especially right now, in Orange County, when we Democrats SUDDENLY have more power than ever before.

Maybe there’s as many answers as there are Democrats, but empowerment must have something to do with it – that is, empowering people who didn’t have enough power before.  Democrats who think that way are tending to back union firebrand Ada Briceño for the newly opened chair position of the DPOC (Democratic Party of OC), while others who seem to think of the Democrats as just a better club to be in than the Republicans are backing longtime Irvine politician Beth Krom.  (Whom I’ll try not to say anything negative about.)

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It does seem a good time for OC Democrats to go in an Ada-esque direction – we’ve been on a roll and so has she.  Just this year she led both the union UNITE-Here and OCCORD (OC Communities Organized for Responsible Development) in a triumphant movement for a living wage for Resort Workers in Anaheim – something that certainly seemed unthinkable not long ago!  A few years back, she helped lead the pro-democracy movement for district elections in Anaheim – something good for not only minorities but for all political sides who don’t want to be beholden to the Big Money in town.  It’s also great that Ada is Latina, an immigrant (Nicaraguan) and speaks Spanish.  That’s the face of MANY of our new Democrats.

She tells me, with her characteristic enthusiasm, that she spends nearly every moment “recruiting new leaders, finding good candidates and mentoring them.  It’s what I do.”  She is gung-ho to protect the seats the Party has won this year, winning more, and bringing “more grass roots into the Party, for our ground game.”  And those who doubt Ada’s fundraising ability may want to remember that she just raised a cool million to help pass Measure L.

Union leaders tend to be known for prioritizing getting good-paying jobs with good conditions for the workers they represent, and not much else.  So Ada emphasized to me something I totally agree with – protecting the ENVIRONMENT is ALSO social justice.  The air, water and earth belong to all of us, no matter how poor, and for businesses and the rich to mess those things up for a quick profit constitutes class warfare on the rest of us, just as surely as Reaganomics and starvation wages.

It appears the truly progressive direction Ada would like to take us Democrats is frightening to some of our “elder statesmen,” habituated as they are to “business as usual.”  I’ve heard (not from Ada) that Congressman Lou Correa has been furiously lobbying against Ada and for Beth, and that it apparently has something to do with his anger over being censured by the DPOC (and lampooned by yours truly) for his horrible endorsements of particularly xenophobic Republicans, notably Sheriff Barnes and DA Rackauckas.  Wait, what???  Ada sure had nothing to do with that.  But apparently he associates her with the wing of the Party that did – my wing, Jeff LeTourneau’s wing, Greg Diamond’s wing, Jose Moreno’s wing.  Well, way to draw the battle lines, Congressman.  I’d been hoping you would just change your evil ways instead.

Only 60 Democrats – electeds and Central Committee members – will be making the choice on Jan. 14 between Ada Briceño and Beth Krom – the choice over the soul and direction of the Party.  This blog enthusiastically endorses our good friend Ada!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.