Political Fix (6 December, 2018)

Isn’t Cock Fighting Illegal?

Democrats won every statewide office, gained super majorities in both state houses, flipped seven of their seven targeted congressional races, and will control the House of Representatives in Washington come January.

Time for the Democrats to celebrate, right?

Wrong.

The fighting started this summer between consummate party insider, Eric Bauman, and progressive Kimberly Ellis for Chair of the California Democratic Party. After a bitter feud and verbal attacks on Ms. Ellis, she lost by 62 votes out of 3000 cast.

Ms. Ellis’ supporters never did trust the results and now Mr. Bauman resigned after accusations of sexual assault. He has yet to deny those accusations making supporters of Ms. Ellis hardly able to refrain from yelling, “I told you so.”

Also during the convention delegates endorsed State Senator Kevin De Leon over Senator Dianne Feinstein. Never mind that Ms. Feinstein earned 70% of the Democratic vote in the California Primary, carrying every county in the state by double digits.

Even with the party’s endorsement, Mr. De Leon ended up losing the general election to Ms. Feinstein by one million votes. But I guess 217 tone deaf delegates know better than the six million voters who cast their ballots for Ms. Feinstein.

De Leon supporters reasoned, “It’s time for new blood and new values.”

i.e. old women need not apply.

Did I mention that Congress Member Maxine Waters’ microphone was cut off during the convention before she finished her speech?

On the National front, the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is facing demands for change from younger members, the very ones her prodigious fundraising and campaigning helped elect this month.

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, said he was one of 32 Democrats to vote against Ms. Pelosi in last week’s caucus leadership election. He said because they want “new leadership.”

Again, old women need not apply.

So while Democrats control California, who controls the Democrats?

Not the statewide Democrat Central Committees. Tulare County Democrat Central Committee (TCDCC) jumped right on the state Democrat’s band wagon.

In May of last year Vice Chair of the TCDCC, Kathleen Dowling, was accidently or purposefully tripped by Tulare City Council candidate Alex Gutierrez. Mr. Gutierrez never did take full responsibility for his actions but did admit to acting childish.

There were several witnesses, and they and Ms. Dowling asked the TCDCC to hold a special meeting to discuss relieving Mr. Gutierrez of his duties on the committee and to discuss her injuries.

Sounds like the obvious course of action, right?

Wrong again.

In fact the TCDCC is in the process of kicking Ms. Dowling, AKA the Stocking Lady, off of the Democrat Central Committee.

The central committee never did hold a special meeting about the incident between Mr. Gutierrez and Ms. Dowling and is now claiming she told people not to vote for Mr. Gutierrez for Tulare City Council. Doing so is against their by-laws.

The TCDCC by laws state:

“The Central Committee may remove any member who, during his or her term of membership: (c) publicly advocates that the voters should not vote for the candidate endorsed by the California Democratic Party or by this Central Committee for any office.”

Ms. Dowling doesn’t believe that he is mature enough to be a council member but never told anyone not to vote for him. She lives in Visalia and does not really care who is on the Tulare City Council as it does not affect her life.

She had a two-hour interview with the Valley Voice and a one-hour interview with the Visalia Times-Delta where she never once mentioned not to vote for Mr. Gutierrez. She worked for two days, 16 hours, at the Tulare County Fair this summer and she says the vote for Tulare City Council did not come up.

If she did tell people not to vote for Mr. Gutierrez then those people need to step forward. And complaining about his behavior is not the same as telling people not to vote for him.

Both Mr. Gutierrez and Ms. Dowling are tireless community volunteers and have put hundreds of hours into working for the local Democrat Party.

So why the preferential treatment towards Mr. Gutierrez? Are we seeing a pattern here?

In terms of her future with the central committee, Ms. Dowling has been given the choice of requesting a hearing or tendering her resignation, both of which would most likely lead to her expulsion.

Nevertheless, she opted for the hearing, which will take place at the TCDCC office at 2pm just prior to the regular board meeting on December 9. Maybe the public should also attend for added transparency.

Oops, Wrong again.

Though publicly elected officials, central committees are excluded from the Brown Act. They do not need to notify the public of their meetings and can even bar the public from attending. They do not have to entertain “public comment” and can add agenda items before or during the meeting without any notification to anyone. Heck, they don’t even need an agenda!

Central Committees are really just governmental agencies, so most of the laws don’t apply.

That’s pretty scary.

Ever since I moved back to Tulare County in 1999 I have marveled at the dysfunction of the TCDCC. Reported screaming matches during meetings and petty politics made me wonder why anyone would bother.

But if a Republican or Democrat wants to be a delegate at their state or national convention, they have to play nice and be a member of their local central committee.

My grandmother, Florence Doe, and my brother, Tupper, were political animals and very much enjoyed going to the National Republican Convention. My grandmother went to the Republican National Conventions as a delegate in 1948, 1952 and 1956. After the 1952 election she then was invited to the Presidential Inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower, where all of the ladies who worked on his campaign got to have tea with Mamie.

As a member of the Los Angles Republican Central Committee, Tupper was elected as a delegate to the 2000 convention in Philadelphia and one of the Bush conventions years later. He could not have gone without participating in the central committee.

Ms. Dowling also has attended the California Democratic Convention and wants to go in the future. But will she be able to after her hearing on December 9?

In an email to Ms. Dowling, sent from Greg Gomez, Secretary of the TCDCC, he states:

“Therefore, as a courtesy, I am notifying you that at our next TCDCC meeting on December 20th at 6:30pm removal proceedings will be held pursuant to our bylaws and the facts presented in the documents…”

So the Democratic Establishment opposed Ms. Pelosi, who won; and Ms. Feinstein, who won; and Ms. Ellis, whose challenger resigned in disgrace.

And now they oppose Ms. Dowling, for whom the establishment blames Mr. Gutierrez’ loss to Terry Sayre – who won.

So much for the Democratic establishment’s embracing the year of the woman.

We need to talk about Kern County

Republican House Member Kevin McCarthy coasted to victory for the sixth time in the 23rd Congressional District. Republican Shannon Grove easily won her 16th District State Senate seat.

So Kern County is reliably conservative right?

It’s actually a tale of two counties. Almost all local assembly, state, and congressional districts include parts of Kern County. Depending on which region of Kern makes a huge difference.

During Brian Poochigian’s election party, Evette Bakke, campaign manager for establishment Republicans, responded, “Oh, we don’t like Kern,” when asked if they had updated their numbers.

Campaign speaking, why would a conservative not like Kern County?

After taking a better look I understood what Ms. Bakke meant.

First, when Democrat Jose Sigala knocked Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler out of the race for the 26th Assembly District in the primary, it was the votes he got from Kern County that tipped the scales. Still, the part of Kern that makes up Assembly District 26 is not primarily Democrat, so Kern did not affect Mr. Mathis’ reelection to the assembly November 6.

The same is not true for State Senator Andy Vidak, Hanford City Council Member Justin Mendes, and Congress Member David Valadao, who all lost their races November 6. Their political districts include, besides Kings County, the southern region of Kern.

Mr. McCarthy’s 23rd Congressional District covers mostly Bakersfield and the high desert, which are predominantly White and Republican. But the 21st Congressional District, 32nd Assembly District, and 14th State Senate District is comprised of Delano, McFarland, Shafter, and Wasco and is 70% Democrat.

Mr. Vidak, Mr. Mendes and Mr. Valadao easily won in Kings County but lost badly in Kern.

The biggest losers in the November 6 election weren’t the candidates but Hanford and Kings County. Congress Member Devin Nunes once said that if he retires or losses his election it will be the last time Tulare County will have representation in Washington.

And that just happened in Kings County.

Mr. Valadao, Mr. Mendes and Mr. Vidak are all Hanford residents, and their loss means that Kings County will likely never again have representation in the state or federal government.

That torch has been passed.

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