SUNDAY COLUMN | The first thoughts when comparing the California Democratic State Convention this weekend and the Republican soiree last February is size and demographic. While the Republican Convention at the same venue in Sacramento had the size and feel of a Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge shindig, the Democrats met in style in a setting similar to what most of us see at national party convention every four years. Numerous hi-def video boards splashed information and relevant tweets and speakers walked on stage to rock music blasting from the speakers, in addition to some who preferred the overexposed “Harlem Shake.” It’s a Hollywood production, whereas the Republicans put on a show more reminiscent of a Billy Graham revival, the Democrat’s show is more in line with the Golden Globes.
It didn’t take much more than 30 minutes for the foul-mouthed Democratic Party Chairman John Burton to utter his first curse word from the podium. A few more followed later, including Burton asking how many people wanted to take a picture Gov. Jerry Brown’s “goddamn dog.” Gavin Newsom later jokingly self-bleeped himself saying, motherf**ker during his speech and Bill Lockyer’s dorky Top 10 pinpointed the Republican’s problems—they have “head up ass syndrome,” he said. While Republicans never seemed to have been enthused enough at their convention to ever whoop and holler, prepared lines by Democrats this weekend on same-sex marriage and gun control were met with thunderous applause. But, when Newsom strongly advocated to decriminalizing marijuana, the convention hall went absolutely nuts.
Most importantly, the Democratic talking point labeling Republicans as the party of old is clearly not cliché and should give conservatives in this state great pause before thinking a resurgence is in the mix through simple tweaks here and there and treating their Mexican gardener just a tad better. Just witness the Democratic Party’s farm team, its Young Democrats. A throng of young adults gathered Saturday afternoon in numbers that rivaled anything the Republicans possessed as a whole at their convention. They are engaged, idealistic, highly energized and the backbone of the dedicated generation that has already elected a minority president of the United States in two straight elections. They are formidable and should be the scariest thing state Republicans have ever seen, at least, since that time one of their Caucasian daughters went on a date with a black guy.
What the state Democrats have going on is akin to the Brazilian national soccer team's B-squad possessing more talent in their starting XI than 90 percent of the countries in the world. Coupled with a Democratic monopoly on statewide offices and a supermajority in the Legislature, this extraordinary depth is the main reason why, short of Democrats overreaching on raising taxes or a perception of graft and incompetence, California is nowhere near becoming anything but blue for another generation or two.
“Cruz Bustamante has that locked up.”
-Gavin Newsom, California lieutenant governor jokes, Apr. 13, at the Democratic State Convention being upset President Barack Obama did not chose him “best-looking (lieutenant governor) in the country.” Obama took some heat last week for remarking over State Attorney General Kamala Harris’s physical beauty.
The Week That Was
>>>Oakland’s desire to speak out against the greed of banks "too big too fail," like Goldman Sachs, hit a snag this week. An Oakland City Council Committee moved the issue debarring Goldman Sachs from city contract to the full council, but not without Councimembers Pat Kernighan and Libby Schaaf questioning whether the city has a case. A deal is a deal, they said, just one that didn’t work out so well for Oakland.
>>>Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill allowing non-profits to distribute condoms in state prisons passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee this week. While the issue could be an enormous savings to taxpayers and helpful for public health, sex in jail, whether consensual or not, is illegal.
>>>There’s a growing feeling in Oakland that the fallout from City Auditor Courtney Ruby’s report on Councilmembers Desley Brooks and Larry Reid alleging violations of the city charter, will not be dealt with. The Oakland Public Ethics Commission told The Citizen it plans to stay out of the conversation….for now. However, if nothing becomes of the 14 charges laid out in the report, they may be more inclined to speak.
>>>Alameda County will again deal with budget cuts. Nothing new here. The county has faced shortfalls every year for over a decade. The exact funding gap could be announced as earlier as this week. Last year it was lowered to a three-year low of $88.1 million.
>>>The Pleasanton has an open seat on its conservatively red city council. The four candidates, three Republicans, one Democrat, met for their only candidate’s forum in this vote-by-mail-only special election that ends May 7. Land-use issues dominated the forum, along with calls to reform the California Environmental Quality Act.
Tweet of the Week
“Whoever had 10:33 in the #cadem2013 John Burton 1st curse word from the dais pool wins.”
-@JWilliamsAP, tweeting Apr. 13 after California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton let a bad word slip out.
>>>Budget cuts have not only transformed the Golden State’s once-vaunted education system, but it’s now changing how our public universities are filling the gap, in some cases with funding for research from some of the biggest corporations in the country. (East Bay Express, Apr. 9).
Voice of the People
“More voters in the new district will identify with Khanna over Honda. The Obama team is there to turn them out. There is no way Honda is going to win this race. Khanna is set to raise another million dollars this coming quarter and he will be neck in neck in the name ID polls within a year. Khanna has plenty of time to destroy Honda.”
-Anonymous, commenting Apr. 8 on “Fearless Prediction: Khanna In A Cakewalk (Write It Down, Dude)".