News Flash! The CDP Convention is being broadcast live via the Internet! See the proceedings (if you find yourself with LOTS of free time) at http://www.ca-dem.org
State conventions are not usually hotbeds of excitement. However, with the presidential race being what it is, and the aftermath of Arnold-mania still leaving some Democratic officials in shock, there’s a little more excitement. A little more.
This morning’s CDP roster had all of the statewide elected officials (i.e. Lt. Governor, AG, Treasurer, et al) giving their speech. Some were clearly angling to be the gubernatorial nominee in 2006 (Angelides, Lockyer) while others were just there to fire up the crowd (Assemblyman Herb Wesson, D-Culver City and current Speaker).
However the most emotional moment of the morning was not from some elected official but from some good people on the front lines of the grocery strike in Southern California. Sean Harrigan, UFCW vice president, had Olivia Costano and Matthew Hart, UFCW members, tell their stories to the assembled delegates about the fight they’re facing to try and keep what they already have and have been promised by management for years – health care coverage for them and their families.
Olivia Costano spoke extemporaneously, describing her experiences on the picket line. Spit at, shouted at, and physically attacked, she still stays on the picket line. Most disturbing was when she told the crowd about the time she was pushed down to the ground by a large individual, and injured her back. When the police came to take the report, they asked her if she wanted an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Despite her pain she said no. Why? Because she had no health insurance.
At that moment the “gasp” you heard coulda knocked the wind out of anyone. Definitely an emotional moment. But also one that brought home what all the rhetoric and the talking points and the buzz are allegedly about: real people’s lives. It was a moment where people took a few minutes to forget about the sniping attacks on Dean, the back and forth between partisan about What To Do About Arnold, and thought.
It was a great moment, and UFCW VP Sean Harrigan deserves a pat on the back for his work, not just at the convention but for all he’s done for the locked out/on strike workers in Southern California.
Other notable moments: Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante had one of the strangest (and shortest) speeches of the morning session, reading off a “Top Ten List of Reasons Bill Lockyer Might Not Have Voted For Me” to the crowd.
A truly odd mix of humor and bitterness, Cruz rattled of the reasons as follows (and for the record I’m not making this up – this is what Lt. Governor Bustamante said, and any verbal missives about the content of said list should be lobbed at him):
10. Bill was worried Cruz would change the motto from “Eureka” to “Ay Chihuahua!”
9. (can’t read my notes dammit)
8. Bill thought Arnold had better hair – and the fact he had hair at all
7. Bill feared Cruz would appoint Cheech and Chong to the Board of Prisons
6. Bill was worried Cruz would replace the bear on the California Flag with the Taco Bell chihuahua
5. Bill thought Bustamante would install slot machines in the Capitol Lobby
4. Concerned about Bustamante opening a drive up DMV in Tijuana (this got booed and hissed a bit)
3. (got distracted by the press secretary for Dean’s folks….)
2. Didn’t want Richie Ross appointed Lt. Governor (Ross was Bustamante’s campaign manager)
1. He wanted someone who looked more like Superman and less like Shrek
Anyway, you get the idea. Not exactly the most rousing speech, that’s for sure.
Treasurer Phil Angelides had scores of staff prepping the hall with signs and supporters in advance of what was billed as a call to action by the anti-Arnold of the Democratic Party. While a good speech, it was a bit underwhelming after all the buildup. Steve Westly, state controller and co-chair of Gov. Doofinator’s $15 billion credit card debt ballot initiative, gave a polite, well-meaning, and meandering speech, and was met with polite, well-meaning applause.
However, the most rousing partisan moment was Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson’s loud and forceful speech contrasting his (and the Party’s) values with Gov. Doofinator. It was a fiery, funny, and replete with quotable comments;
-On Gov. Doofinator’s promises regarding waste, fraud and abuse in CA gov’t: “He’s playing to the cameras. He thinks helping children, education and our seniors is a waste, his budget is a fraud, and the only abuse here is the abuse Arnold has with the truth.:
-On Democrats who voted for Gov. Doofinator: “Many Democratic voters and some leaders were starstruck by a movie star. It’s time to get that stardust out of their eyes. It’s your job to get some Visine and tell people the truth!”
And so on. It was fun. He ended his speech with some good 70s movie music. Very fun! As for his plans once he retires from the Assembly he simply said “Old Speakers never die, they just run for higher office.”
Other moments: the LaRouche folks decided to bust into the convention hall and harass people with their pamphlets regarding “Children of Satan” and whatnot. I have to say that these kids (and they’re all very young people ) were some of the rudest and most ill-mannered people I’ve ever seen. The would literally walk up and get in people’s faces and scream about the Truth of LaRouche, and insult delegates who didn’t want to take a pamphlet. People, get a grip.
I’ve no problem with fringers getting their voice heard, but this kind of juvenile bullshit irritates me to no end. It’s bad enough I get harassed by these chowderheads when I go to the postoffice and it’s hard to see how they think they’re taken seriously. Ah well, I guess LaRouche needs to get a new generation involved so he can continue the fundraising operations….
Ah, conventions. Always a fun time.
Keep tuned for more updates. Coming up: observations on the delegates themselves with notable quotes from the party faithful, and all sorts of fun at tonight’s hospitality suites!
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