SEPTEMBER RECAP AND PROGRESS REPORT

At our September 27, 2016 meeting we voted 11-4 to approve $2,000 for security improvements, additional features, and a redesign of our website.  We also had a presentation from Henry Symons,, the staff person for Yes on Measure B about the phone banks reaching out to El Cerrito voters to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) to pass Measure B; and we began to prepare materials for distribution to voters.  

ECDC Member Nick Arzio registered his objection to the editorial I had posted on our website regarding systematic “No Endorsement” votes (http://ecdclub.dev.haveabyte.com/?p=1410).  He noted that “no endorsement” is permitted in our standing rules.  I still believe that we have a comprehensive endorsement process, and that it comes with the responsibility to provide guidance to voters wherever possible.

UPDATE ON WEBSITE PROJECT

To recap, our website, www.ecdclub.org had stopped functioning twice between January and July.  In addition, hackers from Ukraine, China, India, Canada, and several other countries attempt to hack our site daily.  In response to these problems, our Vice President of Communications, Kip Crosby, sought recommendations and received a comprehensive proposal.

I am happy to report that we have already begun; our consultant works with numerous websites that use the application we use (WordPress), provides hosting with aggressive security, and has successfully migrated many sites.  He has backed up our site which will minimize disruption during the process of migrating our site away from its current host, and has discussed numerous improvements.  I’m hopeful that we will complete the migration and security phases of this project by the end of this year, and will be able to receive advice from new officers elected at our January, 2017 meeting in the re-design phase.

ANNUAL DINNER TODAY!!

The eagerly awaited ECDC ANNUAL DINNER will take place at Arlington Community Church today, Saturday, October 22! Socializing with candidates will begin at 6PM and dinner, catered by the renowned Atcha Thai Bistro, will start at 7 PM. Keynote speaker will be California State Treasurer John Chiang.

If you don’t have your ticket yet, tickets are available for a low, low $25 per person, through the link at the right, or at the door. See you there!

VOTING NO ENDORSEMENT DUCKS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LEAD!

The El Cerrito Democratic Club has been an important part of the political landscape in El Cerrito, Kensington, and the West Contra Costa Unified School District literally for decades.  However, at our August 27 Endorsement Forum, we ended up endorsing only 4 candidates even though voters will be asked to vote to fill 11 seats.

Since California voters approved the misguided policy of allowing the top two – and only the top two – finishers in the primary election, regardless of party affiliation, to advance to a general election, there has been a lot of maneuvering by weaker candidates to block the official California Democratic Party endorsement of stronger candidates, especially in the post-primary election season.  It is a tactic that we can expect to see more and more often as Democrats battle Democrats all the way to November.  In the “good old days,” when the top finisher from each party became that party’s candidate in the November election, opponents had a Kumbayah moment, and the party united behind the candidate with the stronger finish.

However, now those days are gone, and we will see Democrats – good, solid Democrats, like Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris, Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson – campaigning in opposition to each other.  

This is not, and should not be, the example offered by the El Cerrito Democratic Club.  Our process for determining our endorsements provides information to our members about the candidates in our pre-endorsement newsletter, as well as an all-day candidate forum where our members can listen to, question, and evaluate all candidates who seek our endorsement.  To vote NO ENDORSEMENT, at that point, is to forsake our responsibility to lead!

Our Club has long been respected for making informed endorsements and sharing our conclusions with other voters in El Cerrito and Kensington.  However, this year we had so many votes for “NO ENDORSEMENT” that we didn’t endorse at all in FOUR races: AC Transit, BART District 7, District 1 Board of Education, and Kensington Police and Community Services District.  In the West County Unified School District and El Cerrito City Council we didn’t endorse a full slate!

Perhaps we had voting members who believed that a “NO ENDORSEMENT” vote was neutral, and would have no effect on the outcome.  If so, it is our responsibility to let them know that “NO ENDORSEMENT” counts as a vote, and becomes part of the denominator when calculating the 60% needed to win our endorsement.  Thus we may decide to include “ABSTAIN,” which will not have this effect, as a vote choice at our next endorsement forum in 2018.

However, to members who intentionally voted “NO ENDORSEMENT” to create a situation where the El Cerrito Democratic Club produces no recommendation to make to voters, I say “SHAME ON YOU!”  Our Club has a reputation as providing informed political leadership from a progressive perspective.  I hope that in future, we will unite to take that responsibility seriously.

Hilary Crosby
President, ECDC