Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Arizona Dems meet Saturday; on the agenda -- electing members of the National Committee Updated 1-21-16 8:10 pm MST

I realize it's just a rumor, but I heard that the reason the Arizona Democratic Party's state committee meeting this week will be in Kingman is because Alexis Tameron very much did not want it to happen in Maricopa County.

Not only do a large percentage of state committee members live in Maricopa County, but the central location in our state would make it easier for more people to attend.

Why does that matter this time?

Because this time, there will be an election for SUPERDELEGATES to the Democratic National Convention. But that's not what they are telling state committee members.

Remember when DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was first subject to criticism over the funky debate schedule?

From The Hill in October 2015
A vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) says the chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), did not consult others about the party's primary debate schedule, as she claims, and is questioning her leadership.
R.T. Rybak, a former mayor of Minneapolis, told The New York Times on Thursday that Wasserman Schultz had made statements that were "flat out not true."
“This is not a back-and-forth between a chair and a vice chair,” he said, according to the Times.
“This is a chair of the Democratic Party wrongly stating that she consulted with all of the party officers. I was not consulted. I know that [Rep.] Tulsi Gabbard [D-Hawaii] was not consulted. And this is becoming about much more than debates.”
Rybak's comments are the latest salvo in an internal party fight over the number of presidential primary debates.
The DNC is planning to hold six debates, but many, including presidential contenders Martin O'Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have called for more. Ryback and his fellow DNC vice chair Gabbard also publicly called for more debates.
In reply to that story, ADP chair Tameron tweeted,
Tameron justified Wasserman Schultz' failure to consult with others in the Party about how many debates to hold. So much for a democratic Democratic Party, nationally... or perhaps even in our state? Apparently now, Tameron doesn't think it's so important that ADP state committee members make informed decisions on their upcoming votes for SUPERDELEGATES.

Calls for the DNC chair to resign or be removed from the position have only gotten louder in the months since they first appeared. From the New York Observer,
Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has faced intense scrutiny over the past year, as Democrats have grown weary of her inability to recoup party losses in the House and Senate, and are tired of her blatant favoritism of Hillary Clinton. [...]
Another group, Roots Action, has accumulated over 30,000 signatures in a separate petition. “In addition to her recent attempt to deny the Bernie Sanders campaign access to its own voter files, Wasserman Schultz has tried in other ways to minimize competition for her candidate, Hillary Clinton,” states the Roots Action petition. “In Congress, she has served as a pro-militarist and corporatist tool of the high bidders.”
MoveOn.Org has collected over 60,000 signatures, and Change.org has over 47,000 signatures calling for Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s resignation.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s weak leadership brings nothing but negative attention to the Democratic Party. Democrats must stop delaying the inevitable, and either fire Ms. Wasserman Schultz or push her to resign.

And from the Chicago Sun Times,
In addressing Wasserman Schultz, the petition states that “as DNC chair, you have repeatedly failed to act in the best interests of progressives and the Democratic Party.”
“You have lost the trust of grassroots progressives and Democrats,” the [CREDO] petition reads.
It also lists off a number of other reasons she should resign, such as the scheduling of Democratic debates.
Thus far, Wasserman Schultz has turned a deaf ear to calls for her resignation. If there is to be relief, the only way at this point is to have the Democratic National Committee vote her out.

Pursuant to Article Five, Section 2 (b), of the Charter and Bylaws of the DNC (as amended August 28, 2015) Wasserman Schultz may be removed by a majority vote of the Democratic National Committee.

On Tuesday, state committee members in my legislative district were advised (by email) that it looks like only three of our 20+ members (of the state committee) would be attending the meeting in Kingman.

This is winter (though we might not realize it in Central or Southern Arizona). Kingman's elevation is 3,333 feet above sea level and the climate and "is located in a "cold semi-arid climate" (Köppen BSk) instead of the desert. The BSk climate type receives slightly more precipitation than the BWh hot desert climate found to the south and west, and the wintertime low temperatures are significantly colder."

On New Year's Eve 2014/New Year's Day 2015, a winter storm shut down I-40 between Kingman and Williams, AZ.
A wreck forced the initial closure in the westbound lanes of I-40 about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, but by 9:30 a.m. the highway was closed in both directions near Kingman because semi trucks were unable to make it up an icy hill, according to ADOT.
DPS spent much of Wednesday morning and afternoon responding to dozens of weather-related "slide off's" and collisions in northern Arizona within 50 miles of Kingman along I-40, U.S. 93 and State Route 68, said Raul Garcia, a DPS spokesman.
What better way could there be to minimize the number of state committee members who would be inclined to attend than to schedule it in Kingman? Well, they could have made it Bullhead City.

Why does this matter? From wikipedia,
The DNC establishes rules for the caucuses and primaries which choose delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but the caucuses and primaries themselves are most often run not by the DNC but instead by each state. All DNC members are superdelegates (i.e. unpledged delegates) to the Democratic National Convention and can influence a close Presidential race. Outside of the process of nominating a Presidential candidate, the DNC's role in actually selecting candidates to run on the Democratic Party ticket is minimal.
Pursuant to that Charter and Bylaws (Article Two, Section 4 (h) (i)), ALL MEMBERS of the Democratic National Committee serve as UNPLEDGED delegates [superdelegates] to the Convention.

Now, my Democratic friends, especially precinct committeepersons and state committee members, has Alexis Tameron or ANY staff or leader in any capacity explained that provision to you? Perhaps that's why, in 2007, MSNBC.com national affairs reporter Tom Curry wrote,
It’s called the Democratic Party, but one aspect of the party’s nominating process is at odds with grass-roots democracy.
Voters don’t choose the 842 unpledged “super-delegates” who comprise nearly 40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.
I've been a state committee member for the Arizona Democratic Party for the last three years. NOBODY, EVER explained any of that to me. And people wonder why ADP is toothless? That no Democrat holds ANY statewide elected office in Arizona?

Alexis Tameron was elected a year ago ostensibly to provide a voice for Latino Democratic voters. It does NOT appear she is fulfilling that charge.

Nevertheless, the issue at hand is not Ms. Tameron, but the DNC chair and superdelegates. 

Several people this week have been soliciting, by email and phone calls, my support for their candidacy for the positions of SUPERDELEGATE, even though one with whom I spoke and asked the question of whether DNC members elected this weekend would be superdelegates denied it outright.

That might be a matter of her being just as uninformed as I had been until researching the issue this evening. But even if that is that case, it's still problematic.

Here's the bottom line for Arizona Democrats. The election for DNC member should NOT go without full discussion and explanation of the issues and questions contained in this post. ALL candidates for DNC member must be challenged and made to answer as to whether they will insist on a vote to remove Wasserman Schultz when the national committee next meets AND they must be made to put themselves on record as to for whom they will vote for the nomination for President at the convention in July.

UPDATE     UPDATE     UPDATE     UPDATE     UPDATE 1-12-16 1:45 am

Thus far, I've received one private comment in response to this post. That person told me that one of Arizona's current national committee persons told (this person),
"I'm pretty sure that DNC elected in January would be super delegates to the 2020 convention, at least that's what --- told me. S/he is a DNC and I think s/he is a super delegate for 2016.
That comment agrees with what the one candidate for national committee member said to me on the phone yesterday. However, Article Three, Section 3 of the Charter and Bylaws states, in pertinent part,
Members of the Democratic National Committee apportioned to the states and those provided for in Article Nine who are not otherwise members by virtue of Party office, shall be selected by each state Democratic Party in accordance with standards as to participation established in the Bylaws of the Democratic Party for terms commencing on the day the National Convention adjourns and terminating on the day the next Convention adjourns. Such members shall be selected during the calendar year in which a National Convention is held, through processes which assure full, timely and equal opportunity to participate. Vacancies shall be filled by the state party as provided in the Bylaws. The members of the National Committee from each state shall be divided as equally as practicable between committeemen and committeewomen. (emphasis mine)

UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE 1-21-16 8:10 pm MST

My intention by posting before I had feedback from Alexis Tameron or anyone else in leadership at ADP was to stir things up. I'm thankful that Alexis has responded to clarify her positions and scheduling issues for state committee meetings.

Additionally, former ADP executive director DJ Quinlan provided chapter and verse showing me where in the quirky DNC charter and bylaws provide that the national committee members elected this week will not begin serving until AFTER the DNC convention in July.

From the Charter and Bylaws, terms start the day the convention adjourns...meaning current membership serves for the 2016 National Convention. Those elected on Saturday will serve through the 2020 convention:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.democrats.org/Downloads/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.17.15.pdf
SECTION 3. Members of the Democratic National Committee apportioned to the states and those provided for in Article Nine who are not otherwise members by virtue of Party office, shall be selected by each state Democratic Party in accordance with standards as to participation established in the Bylaws of the Democratic Party for terms commencing on the day the National Convention adjourns and terminating on the day the next Convention adjourns. Such members shall be selected during the calendar year in which a National Convention is held, through processes which assure full, timely and equal opportunity to participate. Vacancies shall be filled by the state party as provided in the Bylaws. The members of the National Committee from each state shall be divided as equally as practicable between committeemen and committeewomen. Members of the Democratic National Committee who serve by virtue of holding public or Party office shall serve on the Committee only during their terms in such office. Members of the Democratic National Committee added by the other members shall serve a term that runs coterminously with the Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, through the election of the new Chairperson, and until their successors are chosen; members in this category shall have the right to vote for the new Chairperson. Members of the Democratic National Committee who serve by virtue of holding state Party office shall be selected by such parties in accordance with standards as to participation established in Bylaws.
This, of course, brings into focus that current members of the DNC from Arizona will serve as superdelegates. Which is why it's significant when somebody like Ruben Gallego prematurely endorses the establishment candidate for the Democratic nomination. Ruben will be a superdelegate by virtue of being a Member of Congress from Arizona.

-----

Alexis explained:
I have no idea why anyone would say I hate Maricopa County. It really is an absurd remark. I've chosen to live in Tempe, in Maricopa County, when I could have stayed in Pinal County and/or moved to Pima County. My close to 20 years of relationships and activism have centered in and around Maricopa County.
It is winter, but we've checked and double checked conditions for heading to Mohave County before and after it was announced. We would never put our members in harms way. I-40 west, outside of Wickiup to Kingman are vastly different than I-40 heading east towards Williams and Flagstaff. Plus, I don't think it's fair to our rural counties to have to compete for only one meeting a year -- the one in the summer. Trust me when I say that no one wants to spend August in Kingman or Bullhead when it's 120 degrees - a lot hotter than Phoenix - hence my remarks regarding the conditions in NW Arizona are very different than NE Arizona in January.
Furthermore, regardless of your assumptions of my presidential preference -- I'll tell you and I've told others before -- I do not have a preference nor do I plan to endorse publicly or privately a candidate before the March 22 PPE.
If I chose to do so afterwards, it will be my decision to do so, but Arizona's PPE results will play a factor. In fact, the only two gatherings I've attended as State Chair were for Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. I have not gone or been present at a Hillary for Arizona event. Additionally, I personally do not care whether or not a candidate or DNC-member elect chooses to engage in calling for the DNC chair's resignation.
That's on them. I just care if candidates and/or DNC-members elect, regardless of their presidential preference, will focus and work to ensure we elect a Democrat as President of the United States, in addition to our up and down ballot Arizona Democrats.

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