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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

8th Assembly District Endorsement Process Continues Intrigue

One literally needs the rulebook of the Democratic Party to follow the latest machinations in the fight for the Democratic Endorsement for the 8th Assembly District. A couple of weeks ago, at the Pre-Endorsement conference, Christopher Cabaldon received over 70% of the vote and thus it appeared he was in line to receive the endorsement from the California Democratic Party. However, it was fairly clear that the Mariko Yamada campaign had means by which to block it.

All they needed was roughly 10 signatures to pull it off the Consent Calendar and put it to a 4:30 pm Saturday vote this weekend at the Democratic Convention. The Vanguard will be there this weekend covering the entire event.

The Cabaldon campaign would need to gain 60% of the vote on Saturday to get back on the Consent Calendar for Sunday. Speaking to the Cabaldon Campaign, they were fairly confident that they had the votes to do exactly that.

However, even that is not the end of story. The Yamada campaign could then gain about 300 signatures from the 3000 delegates statewide at the convention and once again force it off the Consent Calendar. If they succeed it goes for a statewide vote and the Cabaldon campaign would need 50 percent plus one of the vote to get the endorsement at that point or the Yamada Campaign could block it with a 50 percent plus one vote of their own. They could not at that point, themselves, get the endorsement, only block Christopher Cabaldon from getting it.

Make sense? Clear as mud to me...

One of the big differences is that at the convention, there are none of the delegates, only state party members can vote. Part of the controversy was that the Cabaldon campaign generated 38 delegates with expansion of the West Sacramento Democratic Club and the Davis Democratic Club apparently chose their delegates without informing the membership or their governing board of the selection process (or even that there was a selection process).

None of that will matter this weekend. However, that is not before the Yamada campaign sent out a lengthy press release and appealed to the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee on Monday night.

Mariko Yamada is quoted in the press release saying:
“I have long been a champion for authentic grassroots organizing and I have no objection to an honest victory. However, I cannot be silent about the astonishing growth in a club controlled and paid for by my opponent. These kinds of tactics mock the very values of the Democratic Party.”
According to observers at this meeting, the membership of the Central Committee unanimously dismissed the complaint calling the charges moot.

Blast Fax Controversy

In the meantime, the Vanguard received a blast fax a few weeks ago from a group called California Campaign Updates. No one exactly knows who this group is, however, they sent a scanned copy of a flier that appears from all indications to be authentic.

In it, the Yamada Campaign appears to have moved to the right on some issues.

Most notably favoring capital punishment:
"For premeditated murders involving special circumstances, Mariko supports our capital punishment laws."
Supporting a continuation of Proposition 13 and voter approved tax increases.
"Retain Prop 13's 1% assessed value standard-2/3rds vote to raise rates on residential property... Any proposed increased (sic) in sales tax, income tax, property tax or vehicle tax should be voter-approved."
And her equal rights statement interesting mentions, "race, creed, color, or gender based" discrimination but not sexual orientation.

In a blast fax, a group, not affiliated with the Cabaldon Campaign, according to Campaign Manager Robbie Abelon put out a comparison piece comparing Yamada's views on these issues to the Republican Party.

There was an additional issue mentioned that stemmed from a debate last summer, and that was the Yamada support of the 2/3 vote requirement in order to pass a state budget.

Meantime the Yamada Campaign has responded.
"You know you're in a close race when a phantom organization sends out a desperate and misleading "blast-fax" full of spin.

I find it more humorous than offensive - actually the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's didn't even give me a chance to participate in their endorsement process!"
They then proceed to "set the record straight"
* Budget reform: I'd like to see a 55% to 60% threshold with a two-year budget cycle that aligns with the legislative session.

* I don't support a simple majority budget - as I said at a forum in June 2007, simple majority works only when Democrats are in power. Let's not forget that as recently as 1994, Democrats lost control of the Assembly - if that were to happen again, Republicans could use a simple majority to enact a right-wing budget laying ruin to programs hard-fought for by Democrats.

* Prop 13 needs reform: Loopholes for commercial property need to be addressed, but protections for California's residential property must be secure for those most vulnerable-seniors and disabled adults on fixed incomes. I have and will continue to fight for their interests.
They have posted the entire blast fax on their website.

This weekend appears to be an interesting event worth following. Since the Vanguard will be credentialed as press, we'll probably take advantage of it to do a broader array of coverage on the convention. As always, it will have a bit of a local angle to it.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting