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Clinton Sanchez

Former President BILL CLINTON kicked off a day of campaigning in Southern California on the steps of the old courthouse in Santa Ana, a return to the very same place he appeared 14 years ago, when Congresswoman LAURA SANCHEZ unseated BILL DORNAN for the long held republican seat. SANCHEZ has won re-election 7 times since, and CLINTON is trying to help her win her 8th election in a row since that day back in 1996. The former president took the stage about an hour late, and then spoke passionately for an hour about SANCHEZ, and more about the election in general, stressing the republicans had 8 years to dig a hole for this country, "give us half that time to dig out." CLINTON closed his California tour with an appearance at UCLA with JERRY BROWN and GAVIN NEWSOM, the democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

10.23.10 - Speaker Pelosi adds her voice to the chorus of Americans across the country as part of the It Gets Better Project to tell LGBT youth: you are not alone, it gets better.

photo by: Memo Menos

CA Democratic Convention 2010


photos by: Bill Manuel

The democrats of California came to Los Angeles over the weekend, and in between the parties, managed to reacquaint themselves with an old friend, former governor, former secretary of state, former mayor, and two-time former presidential candidate, and currently the state's Attorney General, JERRY BROWN. He was 36 when he first took office as California's mayor back in 1975. It was an innocent, happy time. The war in Vietnam was over. Marijuana was the drug of choice, and there was talk of legalizing it.


Looking lees the protege, and ever more the determined bulldog, JERRY BROWN at 72 was more impressive than expected. He was forceful, and determined. He seemed older, but wiser. He engaged MEG WHITMAN head on, raising the excitement factor in this race for the first time. He was once again the party candidate for governor. And, once again, there was talk of legalizing marijuana.

Things have come full circle for California.

Janice Hahn

But there were some unfamiliar signs. First, there is a split among the party over the newly combative Lieutenant Governor's race. Councilwoman JANICE HAHN, sister of former Mayer JIM HAHN and daughter of LA legend KENNETH HAHN lost in the caucus straw poll to San Francisco Mayor GAVIN NEWSOM. The two have caused a schism through the party, largely along geographic lines, with Mayor VILLARAIGOSA and LA businessman MAGIC JOHNSON endorsing HAHN, while Speaker NANCY PELOSI and Senator DIANE FEINSTEIN back NEWSOM. JANICE has labor unions; NEWSOM has the teachers.

Gavin Newsom

In the vote of the 1900 delegates, NEWSOM finished with approximately 52%. HAHN garnered roughly 43%, with nearly 300 of the delegates not managing to lodge their votes in the 4-hour open polling period. That sounds crazy, but given the layout and the agenda, it's entirely understandable. First, the general sessions were at the North Hall of the Convention Center. But the voting, and all of the other activity, took place at the new JW MARRIOTT at LA LIVE. The walk between the two facilities was healthy, but add to it the cavernous dimensions of the hotel and there were easily miles upon miles of walking to get to your destination. That's if you could find your destination. The setting was breathtaking, but the logistics were daunting.

And then there were the parties. Voting was really just a distraction to the TACO THROWDOWN hosted by Assembly Speaker JOHN PEREZ on the rooftop of LA LIVE, or the NEWSOM-hosted concert at LA LIVE on Friday night, or HAHN's martini and chocolates party, after the main "Blue Carpet" event in the grand ballroom, with sliders, corn dogs, fries, popcorn and cotton candy.

The food at the California Young Democrats party was superb over at the J Lounge, with sliders, pancetta-wrapped shrimp and flowing complimentary cocktails. ARRIANA HUFFINGTON was the keynote speaker at a gourmet 5-course luncheon Saturday, with MSNBC's CHRIS MATTHEWS sitting conspicuous but alert in attendance.

Maxine Waters Maxine Waters

Saturday's general session included the star power speeches, with Secretary of Labor HILDA SOLIS and Congresswoman MAXINE WATERS, both locals, readying the crowd for the headliners.

Barbara Boxex

BARBARA BOXER entered the hall from the rear, like a boxer, hmmm, entering the ring, with her posse swarmed about her, campaign signs wagging all the way. She is a petite woman, having to stand on a, ah, box, hmmm, just to be seen over the podium. But she is a powerful speaker, with a wit to match. For the first time in her career, BOXER is in a fight. Hmmmm. A real boxing match. And she implored the crowd to back her with the same energetic support of the tea-partyers. That is another unfamiliar situation for BOXER, and for California in general, which is predominantly democratic, and certainly a progressive state on the whole. She could lose her seat.

Jerry Brown Jerry Brown

Then came JERRY BROWN, somehow looking fresh and energetic despite some 36 years at this game. He stormed onto the stage in a no-nonsense way and took on MEG WHITMAN and STEVE POIZNER head on. He is at a sever disadvantage for money in this race, but he quickly grabbed the reigns and challenged his opponents to debates. BROWN speaks volumes with his hand gestures, and his hands were screaming.

Nancy Pelosi Jerry Brown

What was the most unfamiliar feeling was the sense of pure joy upon the announcement of Speaker NANCY PELOSI, heralded as the greatest speaker of all time, for having shepherded through health care legislation, which had been attempted for nearly 100 years to no success. Later in the day Speaker PELOSI was honored by the California Young Democrats and she shared with the room a secret call from President OBAMA after the historic passage of the legislation. OBAMA called PELOSI and told her that he was even more excited about that accomplishment, than on the day he won the presidency. The room heaved a sigh of wonder, to which PELOSI relayed the sentiment to the president that if he had not won the presidency the passage would never have come.

Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi

The astonishing reality that PELOSI could lose her seat, in the very same year that she and the President accomplished this cherished feat, pretty much summed up the democrats challenges in the upcoming elections.

Jerry Brown Jerry Brown

It will be a bittersweet year, if indeed that happens. But as they say, 6 months in politics is a lifetime. And this lifetime, if we are to believe the words and hands of JERRY BROWN, has just begun.

Jerry Brown

Interview with Assembly Speaker John Perez
Interview with SF Mayor and Lieutenant Governor candidate Gavin Newsom

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