ECDC Representative for Central Committee

We will be postponing the appointment of an ECDC Representative on the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (“Central Committee”) for a future general ECDC meeting. The Central Committee must draft and propose a by-law change to accommodate a representative from each local Democratic club. This requires a proper notice and reading of the by-laws and may take awhile.

There still appeared to be some confusion about the role of the ECDC representative to the Central Committee. If the Central Committee follows through with the by-law changes, ECDC will be given the opportunity to send someone to represent the ECDC at Central Committee meetings. Depending on the the by-law changes, the ECDC representative will be able to weigh in on various discussions and votes, such as: who to endorse for races; setting Central Committee priorities; and how to target voter registration and Get Out the Vote efforts in 2018.

The time commitments depends on your desire to commit. Hard working, eager volunteers are welcomed to this all-volunteer group.
the future ECDC rep may have a specific interest s/he wishes to fulfill. For instance, political candidates seeking the endorsement of the Democratic Party must interview with the Endorsement Committee, which met every week for several months straight. Members of the Endorsement Committee contributed to the recommendation put in front of the full voting members of the Central Committee.

At a minimum, the future ECDC representative must attend the Central Committee meetings every third Thursday of the month in the evening (usually 6:30PM, currently held at JFK University in Pleasant Hill). The future ECDC representative should also be a regular attendee of ECDC general meetings to report out Central Committee updates.

ECDC Annual Dinner ENORMOUS success!

A parade of excellence contributed to the wonderful El Cerrito Democratic Club dinner on October 22.  Attendance was great – by the end, 90 people had arrived.  See Rita Xavier’s photos here. Our members brought an amazing selection of vegetable side dishes, desserts and salads.  The pineapple rice, mixed vegetable medley, fresh spring rolls, and chicken curry from Atcha Thai Bistro were even more delicious than we anticipated.

But the most splendid feature was the presentation by our California State Treasurer John Chiang.  He gave us some background information on himself, but then went into a detailed explanation of the state Treasurer’s duties, an in-depth description of our state’s investment portfolio, the factors he uses to evaluate investments, how he balances our state’s commitment to a sustainable environment and family friendly jobs with the economic realities of maintaining steady cash flow, studded with informative examples.

Our audience, mostly ECDC members with a hefty sprinkling of out of town guests and elected officials (many of them also members) was attentive or, I would venture to say, spellbound.  That was reflected in the questions which ranged from Peter Chau’s query about the prospects for young people with huge student debt to Dana Dean’s inquiry into how Treasurer Chiang weighed a company’s financial performance against its ethical profile, not only in widely publicized cases such as the current Wells Fargo Bank scandal, but with other, less well known companies that might have even more egregious practices.

As usual, many volunteers and helpers were crucial to the effort.  Our club treasurer (and current Mayor of El Cerrito) Greg Lyman, past president and Stege Sanitary District board member Al Miller, and the aforementioned Peter Chau set up the room; Gloria Merrill provided and arranged the centerpieces; Art and Sue Walenta and Nancy Thomas brought and served wine and pre-dinner snacks; Grace McNeill, Marty Seuss, and Sue Roberts kept the kitchen running smoothly and the tables filled with food.

And many folks helped with the cleanup.  It was a great El Cerrito Democratic Club evening!  Thanks to everyone who came, who helped, and who enjoyed.


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 (  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.


To recap, our website, 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.