Report on the 2017 California Democratic State Convention

Members of the Palos Verdes Democrats were among 3,000 delegates and others gathered in Sacramento May 19 – 21, for the California Democratic Party’s  annual convention  Although this is an off-election year, there were plenty of fireworks highlighted by the race to replace John Burton as the chair of the California Democratic Party.  Burton, who has led the state party for the past eight years, is known for his colorful language, and for leading the party to dominance in the state.

Emotions were high among supporters of the two top candidates to replace Burton, Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis.  A third candidate, Lenore Albert-Sheridan, also vied for the state party’s top position.  In the end, Bauman, who is state party vice chair and L.A. County Party chair,  achieved a razor-thin victory, winning by just 62 votes.   The convention’s general session on the morning after Saturday’s vote was delayed as Ellis challenged the results, and  her  supporters vocalized their displeasure with the election process.

Other highlights included speeches by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Kamala Harris, L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti, and many other state and party leaders.  Congresspersons Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters and DNC Chairman Tom Perez also spoke, though not in the General Sessions.  We also heard from the leading announced candidates for California Governor.  The long list includes Gavin Newsom, John Chiang, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Delaine Eastin.

South Bay representatives visiting the State Assembly chambers

For those of us from the South Bay, the weekend started with a tour of the State Capital Building hosted by our Assemblyman, Al Muratsuchi.  The tour included visits to the floor of both the Assembly and Senate chambers.  Many of the same group met at a restaurant that evening for a reception hosted by  Muratsuchi and our State Senator,  Ben Allen.  State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon came to thank the group for working so hard to get Al back to the Assembly.

Members of the 66th AD delegation and guests convened over dinner on Saturday at a local favorite called Frank Fat’s.  The 22 diners  mostly represented the PV, Beach Cities, and Torrance Democratic clubs. Thanks to PV Democrats member Connie Sullivan for organizing the Chinese feast.

We also had a chance to chat with Harley Rouda, who is challenging Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th CD. He is interested in coming to speak to our club and would welcome support from PV residents, who are all too familiar with Rohrabacher, our Congressman until we were redistricted in 2012, so stay tuned…

The convention ended with approval of  resolutions, including one by our own Tony Hale.  The resolutions called for, among other things, bail reform, investigation of the Russian interference on the 2016 elections, investigation/impeachment of President Trump, and support for a Single Payer Health Care system for California.

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