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    The Obscure Democratic Party Election This Weekend

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    Have you ever wondered who sponsors the “California Democratic Party” mailers, ads and literature in every election? Were you so energized by the recent midterms that you want to participate in another election? Are you a registered Democrat? If so, then come to the California Democratic Party (CADEM) Assembly Delegate elections this weekend! 

    In San Francisco, if your Assemblymember is David Chiu, you are eligible to vote in Assembly District (AD) 17. If Phil Ting is your Assembly Rep, you are in AD 19. If you have no idea, you can look it up online ( http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ ). If you are outside of San Francisco, you can still join in the fun! Find your polling location at: https://bit.ly/2C7bQl6

    You must be a registered Democrat in order to vote. If you are a Republican, head over to the CAGOP website, sell your soul to the devil and go to their convention. If you are registered as “decline to state,” then you are dead to me. Stop pretending you’re a rugged individualist, make a commitment and pick a party.   

    The California Democratic Party includes every registered Democrat in the state; 8,557,427 as of October 2018. Every year, CADEM holds a convention to decide its platform and to endorse candidates. Since California has yet to build a convention center that can hold 8.5 million people, delegates are chosen to represent all Democrats in the state.  

    All delegates are entitled to attend the State Democratic Convention and to represent their district by party-hopping to find the best free food and drinks while filling up on Dem party swag. There are also committee meetings, caucuses, speeches and then more speeches. It’s like Coachella for political nerds.

    Three Ways to Become a Delegate

    Option 1: As an elected member of the County Central Committee (DCCC).  

    The DCCC in most counties is populated by grassroot activists and community leaders who are committed to increasing Democratic voter registration and civic participation. In San Francisco, DCCC elections are the equivalent of The Hunger Games between 2 groups representing different shades of blue with each side claiming the other is “out of touch with the voters,” but I digress. All members that were elected in the 2016 election are delegates. In addition, the Chair has a certain number of appointment slots for DCCC members who were appointed after the 2016 election or for anyone else he chooses to appoint.

    Option 2: Get appointed by a federal or state elected official.  

    Every elected official and even Democratic party officers have a certain number of appointments. You can get an appointment one of 2 ways: sit and wait for the phone to ring or be a mensch, volunteer your time, participate in political activities and get noticed by a state or federal elected official.

    Option 3: Run for delegate at the ADEM elections this weekend.   

    Each Assembly district elects seven men and seven women, for a total of 28 in San Francisco. These elections used to be tiny little gatherings populated by members of Democratic clubs and political junkies. I personally ran the check-in desk for the 2010 election and about 100 people showed up, voters were in and out in 15 minutes, winners were announced and we all ate cake and drank juice together. The past few elections have been much more competitive with the aforementioned 2 groups (shades of blue) setting up their own slates of candidates and duking it out like the Greeks and Trojans in 12th Century B.C.; the only thing missing was an actual Trojan horse full of voters (which would certainly provide excitement to an otherwise mundane event).  

    The election for Assembly District 17 is this Saturday, January 12, from 10 am to 1 pm at The Women’s Building, 3543 18th Street, San Francisco. Assemblyman David Chiu is running a slate entitled “United Resistance” that could just as well be called “United Colors of Benetton” as it represents a diverse coalition of activists and advocates for the environment, immigrants, housing, transit, parents, students, artists and labor unions. The other is the “progressive Reform Slate.” I support the United Resistance Slate, but you should make your own decision based on the merits of the candidates. You can read all of the stump speeches on the CADEM website ( https://www.cadem.org/our-party/adem ). Click on: “View a list of all eligible candidates.” There are 34 people running, so every vote counts. 

    In Assembly District 19, the election is Sunday, January 13, from 10 am to 1 pm at Doelger Café, 101 Lake Merced Blvd., Daly City. This election will be more subdued. Phil Ting put together a consensus slate that is entitled “UniTing,” get it? “United” and “Ting.” Other than the lame attempt at a cute name, it’s a good group of people. There are 21 people running. Read through the candidates’ statements and make your own decisions. 

    If you want to have a voice, you need to vote! Doors open at 10 am for both locations. Voting begins at 11 am and goes until 1 pm. Anyone standing in line at 1 pm will be allowed to vote. It would be a good idea to show up early.

    Louise (Lou) Fischer is the Immediate Past Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and has served as an appointed and elected Delegate for the State Democratic Party. She is a proud graduate of the Emerge California Women’s Democratic Leadership program, was a San Francisco Commissioner and has served in leadership positions in multiple nonprofit and community-based organizations.