June Newsletter


  1. Upcoming Meeting Preview for June 25, 2019
    1. Agenda – from Janet Abelson
    2. Program – Rebecca Saltzman, BART Director
  2. Recap of May Membership Meeting – from Champagne Brown
  3. Description of the CADEM San Francisco Convention – Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto
  4. ECDC at the Fourth of July Festival – Greg Lyman
  5. Congressman DeSaulnier Townhall Monday, June 17, 2019, in El Cerrito
    1. Townhall Notice received from our Congressman


June 25, 2019

Upcoming regular Membership Meeting will be held on June 25, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church at 545 Ashbury Ave, Back Building, El Cerrito 94530. Meeting will start at 6:30 pm 

Agenda submitted by Janet Abelson

6:00 Doors Open:  Pizza available ($5)

6:30 Call to Order

6:35 Minutes

6:40 Treasurer’s Report

6:45 Report from Club Representative to Central Committee

7:10 4thof July

7:15 Announcements

7:45 Program – Rebecca Saltzman, Vice-President of the Board of Directors, BART

Ms. Saltzman will talk about progress at BART

Rebecca Saltzman was first elected to the BART Board on November 6, 2012. Vice-President Saltzman represents District 3, which includes Albany (partial), Berkeley (partial), Oakland (partial), Piedmont, San Leandro (partial), Unincorporated Alameda County (partial), El Cerrito (partial), Lafayette (partial), Moraga, Orinda and Unincorporated Contra Costa County (partial).

Director Saltzman was voted Vice President of the Board on December 20, 2018 and served as President in 2017.

Saltzman chairs the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and serves on the Alameda Transportation Commission and BART-AC Transit Interagency Liaison Committee. Before she was elected, Vice-President Saltzman spent years as a public transit and policy advocate, coalition builder, organizer, and manager with local, state, and national issue-based organizations.

Saltzman previously served as Vice-Chair of the Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, where she advised the City of Oakland on pedestrian and bicycle policy and infrastructure. In 2011, Saltzman received the League of Women Voters of Oakland’s Making Democracy Work Award in recognition of her work and commitment to increasing citizen engagement in local government.

Saltzman graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Oakland with her wife Caitlin, and relies on BART, buses, and walking to get around.

8:29 Good of the Order

8:30 Adjourn 

Recap ECDC Membership General Meeting – May 28, 2019 

  1. Call to Order

President Janet Abelson began the meeting of the El Cerrito Democratic Club with a quorum at 6:42p.

  1. Program

Labor Union Presentation and discussion of development projects in El Cerrito was present by John Dalrymple (consultant) and Tom Lawson (Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 159).  During this time; the following El Cerrito City Councilmembers departed the meeting in accordance with the Brown Act: Janet Abelson, Greg Lyman, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto and Paul Fadelli.

The presentation by John and Tom centered on El Cerrito supporting what would be considered a Local Hire Ordinance (LHO) which promote the utilization of local residentson locallysponsored projects.  El Cerrito currently does not have an LHO but the city can gain from the community benefit of an LHO as it will a) hire at the local level and b) ensure that development in the city will be paying union wages which in return will lead local residents having more discretionary funds to spend locally to help stimulate the local economy.

(This portion of the program was taken out of order to accommodate the guest)

  1. Minutes

A motion to approve the minutes of the April 23, 2019 meeting was seconded and approved unanimously with no abstentions.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

There was no Treasurer’s report and this will be tabled at the next meeting.

  1. Report from Club Representative to Central Committee

Hari Lamba reported on the following from the DPCCC’s April 18, 2019 meeting:

-District 5 (Sup. Federal Glover’s district) held elections for director.

-Provided updates on the upcoming CA Democratic Convention.

-Announced candidate training on June 9, 2019.

-Announced BBQ on June 23, 2019 at the Concord Community Park, 12p-4p.

  1. 4th of July

Greg came before the body and requested volunteers for the club’s booth at El Cerrito’s on July 4, 2019.  Greg discussed the breakdown of the day:

-8a-9a Set up

-9a-shifts start and will run in 90-minute shifts and will require 2-3 members to staff the booth. During this time, members will inform the public about the club and what we do; recruit members and handle voter registrations.

-5p-6p Break down of booth.

Greg will contact those who have indicated a willingness to volunteer for shifts.

  1. Announcements

Rosa announced that she signed up on the Cory Booker for President website to host an event. She indicated that she was interested in hearing from all of the Democratic Presidential Candidates. This turned into a discussion on having our own Presidential Candidate Forum.  Mister will take point and reach out to DPCCC, Alameda County Democratic Party and all the corresponding clubs in both counties. Mister will report out if this is viable based on the responses he received.

  1. Program (cont.)

Greg provided an overview of the California Democratic Party (CDP) and how it correlates with ECDC endorsement process and he discussed the following:

-Bylaws will need to be updated due to the state primary being moved from June to March.

-135 names were submitted for our club roster which would give us about 7 Pre-Endorsement Delegates.

-Some important dates to keep in mind

July-Ballot Measure Endorsements

Aug-Candidate Endorsement

Nov-CA Democratic Convention (fall meeting)

  1. Adjourn

The Club adjourned at 8:28p.

Article – Description of CADEM San Francisco Convention

By Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto

The Democratic Convention is the time where Democratic Party Delegates come together to meet and hear from both candidates and elected officials, elect party officers, pass resolutions and continue the ongoing debate of what the Democratic Party should stand for and in which direction it should move. Delegates are either elected directly, elected by the county central committee or is an elected official or his or her appointee (to sum it up briefly).

This year was unusual because our primary has now moved up from June to March. California has the largest delegate trove, with 416 delegates. This makes California a key state now in terms of delegates. The old saying of “so goes California so goes the rest of the country” could certainly ring true this time around.  Therefore, this Democratic Convention was full of Democratic presidential hopefuls. Ready to win over the hearts and minds of California’s delegates and activists.

Another unusual event at this convention was the run-off election to replace Eric Bauman the former chair of the California Democratic Party. Bauman had faced off against activist and former Executive Director of Emerge California, Kimberly Ellis in a highly contentious race that resulted in a narrow win for Bauman. The results were contested and a long drawn out recount battle ensued, leaving Bauman in first place. Then suddenly reports of Bauman engaging in sexual harassment misconduct began to permeate the media and Bauman was forced to step down, resulting in the runoff.

Friday kicked off the convention with the Acting Chair’s greeting and numerous caucus meetings, but the meat of the convention on Saturday and Sunday with fourteen presidential hopefuls delivering speeches to the crowd.

Kamala Harris kicked off the remarks. She was welcomed by her home state with cheers applause and many waving signs.  It was apparent that she was at home. Her speech generally focused on the current failure of leadership in the White House, stating that Trump is a “pathological failure in leadership.” She listed off how he is threatening our environment, costing the American people money with his trade wars hindering the rights of transgender people as well and immigrants and quietly deconstructing our democracy. She boldly stated, “We need to begin impeachment proceedings and we need a new commander in chief!” She presented strong, confident, and generally pleased her home base crowd.

Elizabeth Warren was rumored among the delegates to be the candidate that stole the show. Her remarks were clear, to the point and impressive.  Her campaign slogan of “ I have a plan for that” was right on target with her audience. She started her speech out with how beating Trump was not enough.  According to Warren, we need end tax loop holes, close the racial wealth gap and tackle housing costs to name a few issues mentioned and we will need to win up and down the ticket to do it. She went on to speak about how the power that is concentrated by the wealthy and well connected is the source of all of our current political problems. During the crux of her speech she stated, “The time for small ideas is over. Big problems call for big solutions…we need big structural change.” She went on to say that we are the wealthiest country in the history of the world so we can afford Medicare for all, we can afford the new green deal and she is willing to tax the wealthiest among us to get things done. She has a plan for that.

Another standout in the Saturday morning lineup was Mayor Pete Buttigieg. If for no other reason, he appeared to have a remarkably warm welcome from the delegates. He came in with a message of change and the intention to transform our economy and democracy. He warned of how we appear to the rest of the world under Trumps leadership and that we at worst when we are insecure. He was a champion for freedom. He stated, “We are here to break the republican monopoly on the language of freedom… healthcare is freedom, economic empowerment is freedom, we know that organized labor brings us freedom, we know freedom comes from education.” He concluded with a touching personal reference of how his right to marry was decided by the vote of one Supreme Court Justice.

Absent from the convention was former Vice President Joe Biden. Many candidates attacked Joe Biden for his absence. Bernie Sanders gave a speech attacking Mr. Biden for his absence as well as for his “middle ground stance” on mitigating climate change. Bernie Sanders stated, “We have got to stand up and make it clear that we believe in a government, an economy, and an energy system that represents us all not just the 1%.  We have got to make it clear that when the future of the planet is at stake, there is no middle ground.”  Senator Sanders went on to spell out his progressive agenda, listing other areas where he believes there should be no middle ground, such as a woman’s right to control her own body, providing healthcare for all, taking on the pharmaceutical industry, taking on the NRA, ending the prison industrial complex, and taking on military spending by ending the endless wars. Notably, while other candidates left the convention to raise money at high donor dinners, Bernie Sanders stayed at the convention and hit the caucuses.

Saturday afternoon a long line that wrapped around and then wrapped around again for the runoff vote for party chair. In the end, Rusty Hicks, a labor leader from Southern California and considered to be the internal party favorite triumphed over Kimberly Ellis in her second run for chair. He also beat out Daraka Larimore-Hall, the current party Vice Chair, and several other candidates vying for the leadership position.

All in all it was an exciting weekend and conveniently located in our neighboring city of San Francisco. Attending the Democratic Convention is a chance to see our democracy in action, have your voice heard and interact with other delegates, candidates and elected officials. This year there will be two conventions due to the change in the primary election. The next convention will be held in November.

See the speakers for yourself at the following link. https://www.cadem.org/news/press-releases/2019/video-of-general-session-speakers-from-california-democratic-party-2019-organizing-convention-now-available

ECDC at the Fourth of July Festival

Thank you for those that volunteered during our May meeting.  For those of you still interested in helping, please send an email to Janet Abelson at ecdc.pres@gmail.com.

Here is the ask: Spend between 60 and 90 minutes on Wednesday July 4 at the ECDC booth to promote our issues, attract new members and register voters.  This year we will be promoting our agenda to influence policy makers on key issues like single payer health care in California, reduction of greenhouse gases, gun control, ending disproportional incarceration, promoting affordable housing, and defending civil/human rights and civil liberties for everyone in our community. Volunteers will explain how local clubs help get people elected to office and then provide those elected officials feedback to influence legislation.

We have 8 volunteers, including those who will help set up.  We are looking for 4 more volunteers to staff the booth between 11:30 to 12:30PM and 2:30 to 5PM.  Please contact Janet Abelson at ecdc.pres@gmail.com or sign up at the June meeting.

Our Congressman Mark DeSaulnier Is Holding a Townhall on Monday June 17, 2019, In El Cerrito

Here’s the email received from the Congressman

Last month, an overflow crowd joined us in Walnut Creek at our town hall on “Protecting our Democracy and the Mueller Report.” To provide the latest information from Washington and ensure constituents throughout Contra Costa have the opportunity to share their thoughts, we will host our next town hall in West County on Monday, June 17th at 6:30 p.m. in El Cerrito.

RSVP by clicking the graphic below. We hope you will join us for this important discussion!


Mark DeSaulnier
Member of Congress