12 May

Act Now: Save California’s national monuments

Tell the Department of the Interior: Protect our national monuments.


Submit public comment

Donald Trump could eliminate 27 of our national monuments so they can be opened up for oil and gas drilling.

In California, everything from the ancient sequoias in Giant Sequoia National Monument to the blooming wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument is at risk.

But we’re fighting back.

This week, the Department of the Interior is launching a public comment period for members of the public to weigh in on the protected status of these monuments.

Join us in sending a strong message to Trump: Hands off our national monuments.

Speak up for public lands

Protect public lands and water

President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect our shared American landscape from thieves and to prevent corporate looting. But Donald Trump is doing the opposite.

The Antiquities Act authorized presidents to protect federal land with monument designation. Thanks to the efforts of presidents of both political parties, our nation has more than 150 national monuments on our public lands and waters. These historic sites represent a crucial part of our American heritage — they protect Native American sacred ground, preserve historic areas, and drive local economies with unparalleled opportunities for recreation and tourism.

We can’t let Trump give our public lands and waters to the fossil fuel industry. Tell the Department of the Interior: Defend our national monuments.

Thanks for speaking up.

Dan Lashof
Senior Vice President, Policy
NextGen Climate

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12 May

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12 May

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The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee has not endorsed any candidate in this race. 

The Surprising Race for California Democratic Party Chair Will Be a Test for Effective Democratic Socialism

There is a remarkable and underreported story in the California Democratic Party that is still waiting to be told. The story is not yet finished, and the outcome could have profound consequences for the future of the Democratic Party and of the attempt to inject democratic socialism into the Party’s establishment.

The California Democratic Party is holding its convention between May 19th and May 21st. Among the many issues to be decided there is the party’s leadership, including and especially its next Chair. Chairman John Burton is retiring after eight years, leaving an open seat. The two main candidates vying to replace him are Eric Bauman, a Jewish and openly gay male nurse, Male Vice Chair of the state party, Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and long-time progressive activist for marriage equality, single payer healthcare and similar causes; and Kimberly Ellis, an African-American and former Executive Director of Emerge California, an organization dedicated to recruiting female candidates for public office. Both Bauman and Ellis backed Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary, and Keith Ellison for DNC Chair.

Here’s where things get interesting. Despite the hard-pushed national narrative in some center-left quarters that Bernie Sanders supporters are just a bunch of racist and sexist young “brocialists,” the California Democratic Party is proving otherwise. Sanders Democrats got elected in a massive wave to the California Democratic Party via the January 2017 Assembly Delegate Caucuses held throughout the state, most of them young women and people of color.

Most of those Sanders delegates (and Our Revolution itself) have thrown their weight behind Kimberly Ellis. Although she was a Clinton supporter in the Democratic primary, she is seen as an outsider against Eric Bauman’s insider. (The third candidate for Chair, an attorney named Lenore Albert, is running a dark horse campaign as the authentic Berniecrat in the race since both of the principal candidates backed Clinton.) Ellis is also running on a platform of changes to the Party to ostensibly provide greater transparency. It’s worth noting that CDP Secretary Daraka Larimore-Hall, an African-American man and Sanders supporter, is the frontrunner for Bauman’s current Male Vice Chair seat. So in terms of national interest, it might come as a surprise to national media types to see a cadre of Sanders supporters of all kinds flock to an African-American woman who spent most of her career on identity politics. “Berniebros” indeed.

For his part, Bauman has the vast majority of endorsements from organized labor and elected officials, as well as most longtime party activists. Among new activists and Democratic Socialists, that would seem to make him the heavy. But that would be a mistake.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting.

The Chair’s race is a perfect example of the conflict between what seems like the best approach for radical reformers, versus what actually is. It is tempting for activists frustrated with the status quo to want to throw out everyone in the old guard and replace them with someone new and inexperienced. But that instinct often throws out good babies with bad bathwater, and the replacement isn’t always better than what went before. Moreover, there is a constant conflict between those who advocate making change by pushing aggressively from the outside, versus those who advocate pushing hard more quietly from the inside. The latter is usually more effective, although it’s far less sexy. There’s a reason that those who know Bauman well and have worked to reform Party rules, including hardcore progressive activists many of whom backed Sanders, are lining up behind Bauman.

Consider a few examples. When party rules allowed state and federal legislators to appoint delegates anywhere in the state rather than in their local districts, there arose a sort of protection racket in which bad incumbents were protected from grassroots challenges by legislators simply appointing most of their delegates in the contested district on behalf of the incumbent. Legislators predictably resisted grassroots demands for change. It was only Eric Bauman’s leadership and negotiations, due to his longstanding connections with the legislators in question, that resulted in a far more progressive compromise several years back. That compromise, only made possible by Eric Bauman, helped enable progressive Nanette Barragan to unseat the more conservative Isadore Hall in California’s 44th district.

When a large number of oil-friendly legislators were strongly resisting a push by grassroots California Democrats to enshrine a fracking moratoriumin the Party’s platform championed by Environmental Caucus Chair RL Miller and were organizing to kill it in committee, it was Eric Bauman who used his influence to ensure it survived.

This is Bauman’s modus operandi. He does the hard work quietly and without fanfare that almost no one else without his connections could do, work that would be impossible for an outsider whom legislators could more easily bypass and ignore. He also knows how to build and manage a behemoth organization like the California Democratic Party, having turned the Los Angeles County Democratic Party from a five-figure organization to a dominant seven-figure one.

And Bauman has been very helpful to young reform activists all throughout the state. When I was a young Deaniac making waves in the Ventura County Democratic Party, the establishment at the time tried desperately to crush me and my allies underfoot. Despite his longstanding relationships with those establishment figures, Bauman helped and mentored me in surviving and thriving, eventually enabling me to become Chair of the Ventura County Democratic Party in my early 30s and, with the help my progressive allies, make it a progressive, effective organization that helped flip nearly the entire county from red to blue at the state and federal level while sponsoring some of the state’s most leading edge progressive resolutions. I know at least a dozen other activists for whom Bauman has served in a similar mentoring role.

So what about Ellis, then? Well, Ellis’ campaign faces the problem of many reform activists without significant experience: many of her proposals sound good at first, but would be problematic or disastrous if implemented.

Ellis’ principal campaign plank is direct elections of many standing committee members. This seems like deep inside baseball, but it’s crucially important. The party’s standing committees, especially the rules and platform committees, have outsized influence on party policy. Currently, the party chair has enormous say in who gets appointed to those committees. Ellis’ plan to directly elect those positions at convention sounds good and democratic, but would in practice be a chaotic disaster. In a convention with over 3,000 delegates, there would ensue a public ballot in which over 200 candidates would vie for several dozen standing committee positions. The result would be ugly and massive slate wars in which special interests would dominate, and in which there would likely be major ideological and identity imbalance.

Another of Ellis’ planks is ending “automatic endorsement of incumbents.” First, incumbents are not automatically endorsed. Incumbents are automatically placed on the consent calendar for endorsement, but can be pulled by signatures of only 10% of the district’s delegates. The reason for this is to avoid the enormous hassle, volunteer time and paperwork involved in managing pre-endorsement processes for incumbents, the vast majority of whom win with only a few objections. But Ellis’ plank sounds good to establishment-phobic new activists, most of whom have never attended or volunteered at a pre-endorsement conference.

Ellis also promises large changes to the way the Party’s money is spent, without a full understanding that altering the spending priorities of the party to be out of sync with the desires of the very legislators the Party works to re-elect, will result in the defunding of the Party in favor of unaccountable outside expenditures by legislators.

Ellis has also stated that she wants any endorsed candidate pledge to read and agree with the party’s platform — apparently failing to realize that that will either hamper Democrats running in red areas where some parts of the party’s platform may be a death sentence for candidates, or that the party will be forced to water down its progressive platform in order to accommodate Democrats in red districts.

In all these cases, progressive reformers run up against the law of unintended consequences. What sounds good isn’t always what is good, and what sounds progressive and democratic can often lead to outcomes that are less progressive than the status quo. It also often helps to have a committed progressive advocate on the inside able to twist arms, more than someone beating down blows on legislators from the outside.

In any case, it’s heartening to see Berniecrat delegates upend the conventional wisdom about Sanders supporters by backing a woman of color who has spent her professional life advocating for women candidates of all ideologies from centrist to progressive. It would be a great thing to have national media present at the convention to tell their stories.

But I hope that enough Sanders supporters like myself will be able to separate what sounds like progressive reform, from what really is progressive reform. If Sanders supporters want to cast a protest vote against the establishment, a true Berniecrat option for Chair exists. Other Sanders Democrats are running up and down the leadership ticket.

Between the two Clinton supporters running for Chair, Bauman is the only one with a real, achievable agenda for single payer healthcare, an end to the death penalty, prison reform, economic and social equality, and the rest of the Democratic Socialist agenda many of us so eagerly wish to see in California.

David Atkins is South Vice Chair of the Santa Barbara Democratic Party, former Chair of the Ventura County Democratic Party, President of the Democratic Club of Santa Barbara, and running to be Region 10 Director. He was inspired to get involved by Howard Dean. He has endorsed Eric Bauman for Chair, and campaigned for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary election. His writing can be found at Washington Monthly, American Prospect, Alternet, Salon, Digby’s Hullabaloo and DailyKos. He is on twitter (too much!) at @DavidOAtkins

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12 May


The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee has not endorsed any candidate in this race.



#TheEricIKnow has been a personal friend for over thirty (30) years.

#TheEricIKnow is a pilot.  Why do I say that?  Because when I ran for Chair of the LA County Democratic Party my goal was to turn what was essentially an elected Democratic Club into a real Political Party.  I was asked by a friend if I could be satisfied with building a “plane” that someone else would fly.  I said “yes”, served two terms, and built that “plane”, taking a $10,000 dollar a year organization to a $50,000 dollar per year organization.  I built a “plane” that was getting ready for take-off, when Eric succeeded me as Chair, with my support.

#TheEricIKnow, took that plane and flew it to spectacular heights, endorsing in scores of non-partisan races in a county of over 80 cities, multiple school boards, and an insane number of special districts.  But that’s not all.

#TheEricIKnow turned that $50,000 dollar a year organization into a nearly $2,000,000.00 dollar a year organization, going from one part-time staff person to multiple employees, consultants, and interns, repeatedly winning national awards for its slate sheets and other election activities, and turning dozens of seats from red to blue.

#TheEricIKnow cares deeply about bringing youth into the political system, insuring the founding and chartering of multiple Young Democratic Clubs.  He sponsored Rules changes making the Chartering process more friendly for Young Democratic Clubs.

#TheEricIKnow has a nearly unbounded ability to get things done.  He helped oversee the development and passage of a deal that broke a two year log jam in reforming the endorsement process which resulted in reducing the number of appointees that elected officials could appoint in other members districts (so-called “out-of-district” appointments), and thus effect the endorsement process, by about 75%.

#TheEricIKnow is one of only two people I think even come close to having the same breadth of knowledge of the Party’s Rules and History as it’s Lead Rules Chair (that’s me, by the way!).

#TheEricIKnow cares deeply about insuring fairness in the political process, having helped Charter a Democratic Club founded by Senator Sanders’ supporters, when others sought to delay that process on purely technical grounds.

#TheEricIKnow personally endorsed and campaigned strongly for the candidate for DNC Chair that most of the California DNC delegation voted for, Representative Keith Ellison.

And, #TheEricIKnow is the one I believe best able to lead this Party and continue to increase Democratic victories from Water Boards and Health Districts on up to the Governorship and US Senate seats.
Finally, #TheEricIKnow is the man for whom I will be voting for Chair of the California Democratic Party.

I hope you will with join me!


Garry S. Shay
Member, DNC Executive Committee, and
Lead Chair Rules Committee, California Democratic Party
Titles for Identification Purposes Only
Facebook: Garry Shay
Twitter: @IrishWarriorDem

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12 May

#VOTEPROCHOICE Chooses Kimberly Ellis for CDP Chair

The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee has not endorsed any candidate in this race.



#VOTEPROCHOICE Chooses Kimberly Ellis for CDP Chair
National organization to leverage its 2.1 million progressive voices for Ellis

For Immediate Release
Contact: 510-560-3704

OAKLAND, Calif. (May 11, 2017): #VOTEPROCHOICE, an organization dedicated to electing representatives who reflect prochoice values, has announced its overwhelming support for Kimberly Ellis in the race for California Democratic Party Chair.

Highlighting Kimberly Ellis as one of their key 2017 races was a no-brainer for co-founder and CEO Heidi Sieck. “I worked alongside Kimberly when she was Executive Director of Emerge California and saw her extraordinary efforts to elect strong Democratic women throughout California. I can’t wait to see what she will do at the helm of California’s Democratic Party.”

#VOTEPROCHOICE, and the 2.1 million progressive voices they represent, joins choice advocates and progressive voices throughout California in supporting Ellis. Click here for a full list of endorsements.


Please stay connected with our campaign online at

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