DPOC Monday – Should Club “Associate” Members have a Vote?




We just received this message from Aliso Viejo Democratic Club leader Michael Sall. It came over our transom so to speak:

Dear Fellow Democratic Club Leaders,

I am writing about a DPOC bylaws amendment going up for a vote at Monday’s central committee meeting. The amendment revises the DPOC endorsement procedure by among other things allowing for an early endorsement mechanism. It also removes the voice of the clubs from endorsements for local offices.

One change, which is not evident from the redline text because it is not shown as a deletion, is that the amendment REMOVES the right of associate members – those who represent the clubs – to vote on endorsements for non-partisan offices like city council or school board. The current bylaws provide that right in Article XXI, Section 3, Paragraph B, which states (emphasis added): ” All members of the County Committee, including alternates and associate members, have voting rights for nonpartisan offices, in accordance with CDP bylaws.” I have attached the proposed revisions, which were circulated in advance of last month’s Central Committee meeting. The revised language is in Section 3, Paragraph G and deletes the phrase “and associate members.”

There has been discussion in the county party this year about whether, and to what degree, associate members should be able to participate in the business of the Central Committee. To be clear: it is entirely legal for associate members representing the Clubs to have a vote on the Central Committee if the county bylaws so allow. The California Court of Appeal, in Wilson v. San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee, 175 Cal. App. 4th 489 (2009), specifically found that the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee could lawfully give representatives of Democratic clubs a voting position on the central committee. So – this is a matter of political will: does the DPOC want the voice of the clubs in its endorsements, or not?

We know that the hard boots-on-the-ground work of electing Democrats falls substantially on our members. My membership is out knocking doors right now, talking to our neighbors and laying the groundwork for next year’s elections. I know all of you are running outreach events now too, either for special elections or in anticipation of next year. I have superhero members who held weekly canvasses or phone banks for months during last year’s midterms, and I know that the victories of Congressman Harley Rouda and Councilmember Tiffany Ackley came through their shoe leather, as all of our victories last year came through the efforts of our memberships.

Removing their voice in the vote for local office endorsements is a poor response to the energetic activism of the last three years. We should be welcoming this energy into the party, not suppressing it or driving it away. Please join me in opposing the amendment to the extent that it removes the associates’ votes on endorsements, both by having your associate members speak at Monday’s meeting and contacting central committee members to support revisions to the proposed amendment keeping the associates’ vote.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to discuss this matter further with any of you.


Michael Sall
Chair, Aliso Niguel Democratic Club

[See proposed changes here.]

Vern here. Since this change came from the Bylaws Committee I called Jeff Le Tourneau to see what was up. The concern, deep in the innards of the DPOC, was that

  • 1. Associate Members (from each Club) do not go through the same rigorous electoral process that the other Central Committee members go through, so we dilute the “voice of the people;” and furthermore,
  • 2. There exists a shitload of us, as more and more clubs pop up across the county, one more symptom of the horrific fever we call the Trump Era. Right now there are 23 clubs and associate members, so if they all show up and vote that increases the DPOC voting pool BY A THIRD.

Jeff furthermore says that this is NOT a change in policy, just a clarification of policies that were heretofore unclear; AND to sweeten the pot it’s specified that associate members MAY speak and make motions, just not vote.

Is this good? Of course I don’t like it as a member of the Anaheim Democratic Club; I want MY Club’s “Associate Member” to have a say in what Democrats get endorsed in nonpartisan Anaheim races like Council! We have been suffering a lot over here…


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.