President’s Message by Lee Sanders, February 2014


How Does Our Club Fit Into The Democratic Party?

We have heard the jokes about Democrats not being an “organized party.” It is our responsibility to take that criticism seriously. I have learned, from the lead front page article in the New York Times of January 24, that Priorities USA Action, the largest Democratic “super PAC”, which helped re-elect President Obama, is now formally aligning itself with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The move is perhaps the earliest ever start to big-dollar fund- raising in support of a non-incumbent presidential candidate. Now that 2016 is settled, we can consider the importance of the 2014 Congressional elections. We could lose our slim but powerful majority in the U.S. Senate; and we cannot win a majority of Congress: the experts tell us that only about 40 seats will be contested, the rest are locked in by gerrymandering.

California’s Congressional delegation will lose by retirement of our most effective progressive representatives, George Miller of Northern California and Henry Waxman of West Los Angeles’ coastal District 33. Both are from the Watergate class of 1974. Waxman’s award-worthy achievements are legendary and numerous, and are getting a belated review in the popular media. His career disproves the foolish claims that Congress cannot function.

Where do such legendary careers begin? That is where you and I and our Club come in. Waxman was an activist and organizer before he ran for office, campaigning for Adlai Stevenson, founding the UCLA Young Democrats, and then the powerful Berman-Waxman machine, with Howard Berman and Michael Berman. Our Club has recognized and endorsed activists and organizers, such as Karen Bass, Holly Mitchell, and Meghan Sahli- Wells, and they have grown and proven themselves qualified for office beyond Culver City, while maintaining their local ties. Every time a politician speaks to our Club, we can speak back about our concerns and issues, and help her to do her job as our representative.

The above thoughts suggest that our in-person attendance, meeting and possibly endorsing candidates for Culver City Council, may be our most important political activity, along with actually working to inform other Democrats about those we endorse.

The California Democratic Party seems to be under-funded, under- staffed, and not too well organized. Most of us don’t even know when or where they meet. But I may be proven wrong about that at the Statewide Convention in Los Angeles, March 7th to 9th. They will

be endorsing for the June 3rd primary, voting on resolutions, and creating a party platform that endorsed candidates are supposed to stand on. Some of our members will be delegates; all of us can attend as observers. For schedule and location, try Pre- endorsement meetings are already being held in the party’s 20 districts. Region 12 is near us, including Henry Waxman’s CD 33. Culver City is in Region 14, which includes Karen Bass’ CD 37.

Next month, I’ll write about the best news sources for political activists; send me your suggestions!