The Minutes of November’s DPOC Meeting are Seriously Screwed Up




Tonight is the first regular meeting of the DPOC since I was removed from my seat in November for having endorsed Todd Spitzer for District Attorney in the latest election, something of which I am still very proud, for two reasons:

(1) It helped get rid of the deeply corrupt roadblock to fighting corruption in the count, Tony Rackauckas

(2) It kept faith with Spitzer’s pretty much de facto by default running-mate, Sheriff candidate Duke Nguyen, whom DPOC essentially abandoned (in what in retrospect a winnable race) by not pounding his opponent, Don Barnes, on the “snitch scandal” for which Barnes and Rackauckas were the two main people responsible, because doing so might help Spitzer win.

The minutes of that meeting are now up for approval tonight, and I asked for and received a copy.  I’m shocked by their inaccuracy — except for the fact that since now-former (but still hanging around!) Chair Fran Sdao was the one responsible for the wrong parts of them, rather than the DPOC Secretary Luis Aleman, in a larger sense I’m not shocked at all.  The minutes, which I’ll annotate for you, are below, following a few overviews.

(1) I haven’t seen the agenda, so I don’t know whether it contains any plans to fill my seat as a representative of Assembly District 55.  It shouldn’t, because my expulsion from the seat is still under appeal.  (The process for a wrongful act within CDP and its constituents is that first, one challenges the decision to the “Compliance Review Commission”; if its ruling is unsatisfactory one then appeals that ruling to the CDP officers, of whom there are currently four.  I will submit my appeal of the (frankly illogical) CRC, which you can find at Chumley’s place if you really care, by the Friday deadline.  Until that happens, the DPOC can’t lawfully replace me.

(2) The main tactic for the thuggish establishment types have had for dealing with me, dating back past Sdao’s predecessor Henry Vandermeir to his predecessor Frank Barbaro, has simply been to make me look bad to people by forcing me to demand my rights.  Demanding one’s rights is not always pleasant-looking — like other forms of protest, it often involves raising one’s voice — and is highly unappetizing to many people within DPOC, whose primary goal in most meetings are to get them to end as quickly as possible so that they can go home.  (That sounds like a joke.  It isn’t.)  Henry wasn’t all that socially adept — he had a claque of female admirers from South County to do most of his character assassination for him — but Fran, like Frank before her, is what is called a “Mean Girl.”  The first issue that will come up in the minutes is a beautiful example of a “Mean Girl” attack: it seems small, but is extremely effective.

(3) Technically, though some DPOC people will claim otherwise based on rules that they will have just made up, I can apply for reinstatement to my then-vacated seat when it comes up.  I haven’t decided whether I’ll do so — despite my sadness at not being able to work with Ada Briceño, the first Chair in my almost ten years of involvement (initially as an observer) with the DPOC who actually shares a similar view of mine about the party as a vehicle for social reform — because I recognize that doing so might be divisive and distracting.  (If the CDP reinstates me, by contrast, I am definitely going back, because I’m entitled to, and I would like to help shape the organization’s future.  If they try to screw with me by filling it before I’m technically out of it, then regardless of my chances of winning I will definitely do so.)

On to (relevant parts of) the minutes!  (I’ve corrected Gregg Fritchle’s name (twice) and a few other misspelled words, because my compulsiveness compels me.

New Business (Mr. Diamond requests that minutes be detailed, Chair agrees.)

  1. Resolution to Remove Central Committee Member Greg Diamond
  • Chair Sdao will outline the procedure for this vote.
    • No recording of the meeting allowed  [NOTE 1]
    • Journalists not allowed [NOTE 2] and non-Democrats are asked to leave the meeting.
    • Diamond will have 10 minutes to make his case against removal.
    • The DPOC will have 10 minutes to make the case for removal. [NOTE 3]
  • The Secretary (Luis Aleman) is the official recorder
  • DPOC staff notice the chair that Mr. Diamond is recording the meeting with his phone. [NOTE 4]
  • The charges are as a result of Mr. Diamond advocating for a vote of Todd Spitzer (a registered Republican) for District Attorney of Orange County.
    • Diamond made a Facebook post with a graphic labeled “Democrats & Allied Independents for REFORM! ENDORSMENTS”
    • “TODD SPITZER Reformer for Orange County District Attorney”  [NOTE 5]
  • Diamond’s 10 minutes prebuttal [NOTE 6] begin
    • Ed Lopez will begin speaking on behalf of Mr. Diamond (He will speak for 3 minutes).
      • Lopez states that preference for a candidate from another party (referring to Article II, Section 6A Removal) in this case is inferred and not given, and thus that this provision should be interpreted as supporting a Republican over Democrat.
      • Since the DPOC endorsed candidate (Brett Murdock) did not make it past the primary, then Mr. Diamond is not supporting a Republican over a Democrat.
    • Diamond begins speaking (8:14 minutes left)
      • Diamond asks if he will have time to save 3 minutes to rebut DPOC argument. Mr. Diamond is informed by the chair that he does not have 3 minutes left over for rebuttal of the executive board case. [NOTE 7]
      • Diamond argues that he was not supporting a candidate endorsed by the Republican Party (Tony Rackauckas) for DA.
      • He argues that supporting Spitzer did not violate the loyalty clause since he supported the non-endorsed candidate.
      • Diamond argues that Rackauckas’s involvement in the OC informant scandal, made it imperative that the District Attorney was not reelected.
      • Diamond states that Mr. Murdock, Mr. Spitzer’s former Democratic opponent endorsed Mr. Spitzer.
      • He states that the DPOC is set to adopt the resolution of Democratic Principles in Administering Justice in Orange County, which is a set of points that Mr. Murdock made Mr. Spitzer adopt as part of his platform in exchange for supporting him against Rackauckas. [NOTE 8]
      • Diamond’s time is over (10:00 Minutes)
    • The Chair reminds the body that tonight’s vote is on the specific charge of Mr. Diamond violating Article II, Section 6A by endorsing a Republican (Todd Spitzer).
    • Jeff Letourneau states that he is recusing himself from the vote whichever way. States that removal vote requires a card vote.
    • Discussion begins
      • Gregg Fritchle states that Greg Diamond could have staked an opposition to Tony R instead of a statement of support for Todd Spitzer.  [NOTE 9]
      • Larry Labrador asks whether Greg mentions he’s a member of the central committee, in regard to his support for Todd Spitzer. He is told that Mr. Diamond resigned from the central committee executive committee in order to state that he was not speaking on behalf of the executive committee in his support for Mr. Spitzer.
      • Jim Pantone states that this vote for removal is not a personal issue against Greg, but rather whether Greg violated the bylaws. Mr. Pantone states that Mr. Diamond understood that he was taking a position in direct violation of the bylaws. The bylaws are very clear on the prohibition of endorsing non-democrats and how members of the committee must be held accountable to respect the bylaws of the party.  [NOTE 10]
      • Diamond asks for a minute to respond. The Chair informs Mr. Diamond he will get a minute.
        • He states that his resignation the executive committee was due so that his actions not would be seen as him speaking for the DPOC.
      • Ed Lopez states that the bylaws are in dire need of revision and that they don’t apply well in this current age. [NOTE 11] He states that bylaws should be amended so that it is clear that only democrats can be supported by members of the committee.
      • Marleen calls for a motion to censure instead of removal. The chair rules her out of order.  [NOTE 12]
      • Florice Hoffman states that the DPOC is specifically given the right to endorse in local non-partisan races. As such, DPOC bylaws, apply in this case, and supporting a non-democrat is a clear violation of the bylaws.
      • Gina Clayton-Tarvin asks for a substitute motion for censure. Chair rules her out of order.  [NOTE 13]
      • The parliamentarian (Jonathan Adler) states that in this case a vote on the punishment (Removal) needs to be taken first before any substitute motion is made.  [NOTE 14]
      • José Moreno states that the way Article II, Section 6A is construed is not clear on whether Mr. Diamond’s actions violated the bylaws and as such should not be removed.
      • Emma Jensen states that Article II Section 7 does not give a number of votes required for removal.
      • Ed Lopez argues that a 2/3rd vote is required for removal, as was done in the previous meeting. [NOTE 15]
      • Jeff Letourneau states that 2/3rd vote is required only when a member violates the Code of Conduct, otherwise removal of a member requires a simple majority vote. (Article XVI Section 2) [NOTE 16]
      • The question is called.
    • Deborah Skurnik calls the question on the vote to remove Greg Diamond. Dan Chmielewski second
      • Gregg Fritchle tells the body that this motion is to remove Mr. Diamond.
      • Vote to remove Mr. Diamond
        • Motion carries. Mr. Diamond is removed  [NOTE 17]
        • Diamond asks for a rollcall vote.
        • Roll call vote result
          • 32 votes to remove
          • 15 votes against removal
          • 2 abstentions.  [NOTE 18]
  • Recess called at 8:11 P.M.

Notes 1, 4, 17, and 18 below are the ones that require the DPOC not to approve the minutes as presented.  Here they are.

NOTE 1:  As written, the notes make me look sort of bad in one respect, don’t they?  Fran said that video would not be allowed at the meeting, and yet there I was videoing it!  Fran left something out — which, when you see it, will explain why I describe her as a Mean Girl and a political thug.

After having told me that there would be no recording, Fran announced to the meeting that she would not in fact bar any recording of the meeting, but would simply request that it not be recorded.

That should put a different spin on events.  Fran had conveyed to me prior to the meeting that no recording of it would be allowed.  I prepared to comply.  As such, I didn’t take steps to ensure that I had enough battery life and memory on my phone to record it — which I wanted to do because I expected, as turned out to be true, from past experience with her that there would likely be later disputes over what had and had not taken place.  When she reversed herself to say that recording was permissible, then I prepared to do so — knowing full well that my exercising my right to do so — remember what I said way above? — might lose me a vote or two.  (Or more.)

NOTE 2:  The Republican Party of Orange County has routinely (last I checked) allowed journalists at their meetings.  Some people in the Democratic Party think that our rules require it as well.

NOTE 3:  If having me speak to defend myself before the rest of the body heard the charges against me seems unreasonable and backwards, you’re reasoning through it correctly.

NOTE 4:  As noted above, not expecting to be able record the meeting, I didn’t make sure that my phone would be equipped to do so.  It wasn’t, and so I stopped after a short time — I think it was less than two minutes.  The more important point is that this is not a act of the body or an argument made before the body, so there is no way that it belongs in the minutes.  This is one reason why I can be pretty confident that Fran rather than Secretary Luis Aleman controlled what was in the minutes — because Luis knows that this sort of thing doesn’t belong in the minutes.  If it did, the minutes would be peppered with “outburst by Dan Chmielewski.”

NOTE 5:  Good times!  I think that I spelled “Endorsements” right, though.

NOTE 6:  I think that I called it a “prebuttal” sarcastically, but it’s gratifying to see the word in the minutes.  How does it square with your sense of due process, which is required by Roberts’ Rules of Order in disciplinary hearings (especially for expulsion), which is incorporated into the Bylaws?

NOTE 7:  This sounds like I’m asking for three more minutes at the end of the speech.  In fact, I asked whether I could reserve time for rebuttal at the beginning of my “prebuttal” — and that request was denied.  As stated, it makes no sense, because at that time I had over 8 minutes remaining, as you can see, and the question was simply how I could allocate it.  The minutes should be fixed to reflect when I asked the question and was denied a fair chance to rebut.

NOTE 8:  This resolution was passed, over my objection — because it was pretty pointless after the election, when Duke Nguyen had already lost — at the same meeting when the people responsible (besides Spitzer) for Spitzer’s adopting this language and its widespread dissemination — Murdock and me — were respectively expelled from the body and censured.

NOTE 9:  Ask anyone actually involved with campaigning whether saying “Don’t vote for Y” is as effective as “Vote for X.”  It simply confuses voters, and they are likely to remember the name of Y rather than X, and therefore to remember that they heard something about Y without remembering what it was.  This is simply a bad idea.

NOTE 10:  Jim Pantone is well aware that it is NOT “perfectly clear” in the Bylaws — the Parliamentarian agreed with that — and that I disagreed with the position, and therefore did not intentionally violate the bylaws.  Pantone’s wife, Carina Francke, was critical in preventing the resolution from going through the Bylaws Committee in a timely enough matter to appear prior to the election — again, out of a desire not to help Spitzer and/or a desire to help Rackauckas (who has long had fans within the more corrupt corner of the Establishment wing of the Democratic Party.)

NOTE 11: By this, Ed meant the “Top Two Primary” Era.  Before that, there was almost always a Democrat in the general election, and the person opposite the Democrat was (almost always) the nominee of the Republican Party, so that this problem could not arise.

NOTE 12:  Watch this carefully, because this is the beginning of the sleight of hand.  Two issues had to be raised: Did I break the rules? And, if so, how should I be punished?  Fran twice prevented the body from voting on the level of punishment to be applied if I was found to have broken the rules.  (That was what happened with Dan Chmielewski’s “trial” at the previous meeting for having tried to intimidate two DPOC employees from taking his position on the placement of the Irvine cemetery, or some related issue.)  On this logic, she should have followed a vote on whether I broke the rules with one on the appropriate level of punishment.  Instead, when she won the vote on an artfully worded motion — the wording of which is absent from the minutes — she went directly from a finding of guilt to concluding that I had been removed.

NOTE 13:  Gina’s motion, unlike Marleen’s, came after debate had begun, which might have been the reason that Marleen’s earlier motion had been ruled out of order.  But not — Gina’s motion was out of order too.

NOTE 14:  THIS IS CRITICAL!  The Parliamentarian (Jonathan Adler) spells out that a vote on punishment has to come first.  He is simply ignored, but I and others took this to most likely mean that the first vote, on guilt, had to come the vote on punishment.  Note that none of the motions have their actual wording included in the minutes (as they should, and the wordings turn out to be very important!) — and, of course, there is no recording of the proceedings to allow them to be reconstructed.

NOTE 15:  That is, on the proposed expulsion of Dan Chmielewski.

NOTE 16:  Jeff frankly pulled this distinction out of thin air.  We had just passed this policy and it has not been clear at all whether or not it was part of the Bylaws itself, or merely incorporated by reference — as is Roberts Rules.  The notion that expulsion for endorsing a Republican against another Republican requires only a majority vote — but that expulsion for threatening two employees with retaliation to their jobs, while in the case of the female employee slamming one’s fist repeatedly into one’s other palm requires a 2/3 supermajority vote, is also repulsive.

NOTE 17: Again, it is not clear from the vote — or from the visual or written record, what the motion is that we were voting on.  I know that I and others expected that the twice-previously ruled-out-of-order question of the penalty would now come up — which is why when Fran instead immediately told me to vacate my seat I originally refused to do so, leading to the recess.


I am informed that there IS such a record — but somehow it is not in the minutes just when it is needed.  Why?

One possibility is that Fran’s assertion — that at least 2/3 of the body voted against me — is simply untrue.  If I remember correctly, by my count it was 31-17.  Her assertion that it was actually a 2/3 vote was relied upon by the CRC in finding against me.  Yet here we have the minutes, and they are missing the one record of action that definitely belongs there.

I’m from the reform wing of the party.  I know (from “those emails) that Bernie Sanders got screwed by the Party Establishment when he ran for the Presidential nomination in 2016, and I believe that Kimberly Ellis got screwed in the CDP Chair election against Eric Bauman in 2017.  In my case, you can see how it was done in 2018 — and how the injustice is now ready to be compounded in 2019.

By the way — I only got to see these minutes at all because the CRC ordered DPOC to provide them to me.

I won’t be attending tonight’s meeting.  But if this leads you to think less of the county’s Democratic Party before Ada Briceño — then, sadly, you’re thinking clearly.  This is where you get people from the leg of the stool we didn’t discuss much over the past week of ADEMs — and it too is subject to cheating.  Happily, tonight will see the party in more honest, capable hands.

If you want to share this story, the shortlink is

What should the DPOC do tonight?

(1) Refuse to approve the minutes until the snottiness about videoing is out or Fran’s permission to record is in 

(2) Refuse further until the names in the roll-call vote are included.

(3) Arguably, simply void all of the actions taken because the content of those votes is uncertain and, in any event, contradicts what the Parliamentarian had led DPOC members to expect.

I won’t be there tonight regardless, unless summoned.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)