Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The HCDCC needs a good cleaning.

I do not like what the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) has morphed into. And I am a lifelong participating Humboldt County Democrat!

My mother was a single parent union member and die hard Democrat. I lived in a neighborhood (Myrtle town) that had many working class union Democrats. My male role models were Democrats. In 1975 I registered as a Democrat while a member of the Retail Clerks union. I have been an active community volunteer on the Samoa Peninsula since my wife and I moved out here in 1980 either as a youth or adult sports organizer director. I am currently on the Samoa Peninsula Fire District Board and also on the Humboldt Domestic Violence Services Board of directors.

My wife Robin, (Also a lifelong Humboldt Democrat with parents the same. Dad and Granddad union members.) decided to run for the Peninsula Union School District Board in 1987 and won by a landslide using a door to door campaign. She was then elected President of the board for 5 of her 7 years on the board. She is currently the Business Agent for the district. My wife and I have always participated in the process of elections through voting and have supported Democrats in local politics.

In 1995 I came home from swing shift 3pm to 11pm and watched the news that showed the candidates for the Democratic party running for the 1st District Assembly seat. They were meeting at the “Chicken by the Sea.” I heard rhetoric that had nothing to do with working type democrats like myself. I told my wife I was going to run against these four Democratic “outsiders” and stump real working class issues. I spent a few thousand dollars of my own, but was able to address real issues of the working class. Alas, I lost, but I garnered almost 10% of the vote and maybe have cost past Congressman Doug Bosco a chance for the position. It was an overall positive experience. One of the women running in the 1st District race was Karen Scott. She convinced me to join the local Democratic Central Committee and help from the inside. I took her advise and joined the HCDCC.

I was in fact a member of the HCDCC from 1995 to 2000. The first campaign I helped was as part of Virginia Strom Martin’s successful election committee against Margie Handley in 1996. (Margie had beat Bonnie Neely in a landslide for the Republican representative in the 1995 primary.) I was selected as a delegate appointee by Virginia representing the HCDCC 4th District. I later helped in elections as precinct captain, walker and monitor. I phone-banked for Democrats. I collected signatures to put Mike Thompson on the ballot for Congress. I spent time chairing for the HCDCC at the North Country Fair in Arcata and the Humboldt County fair in Ferndale. My wife and I started renting out the Samoa Women’s Club out of our own pocket for the HCDCC Chicken by the Sea. We not only did set up and clean up, we ran the bar. It was my own personal BBQ that was used by Tom Osuna to cook the chicken!

In 1998 I was asked by members of the HCDCC to run for the 4th District Supervisor seat held by Bonnie Neely. Our philosophy then was to run any and all candidates from the Democratic party willing to go out there and try. I was unanimously endorsed and had many members of the HCDCC help me and serve on my committee. We came up a few hundred votes short but forced Bonnie and Eureka City Councilman Lance Madsen to campaign hard. She outspent us by a huge amount.

I stepped down from the HCDCC when I started working as a union organizer for the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW). I served a 5 year term and last organized on payroll in July of 2004. In 2003 I led the largest successful Industrial union drive in the nation at Dart Container in Corona, California. That victory brought in over 600 people for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC). I had many other successes on smaller levels in Utah, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Northern California. Too many years on the road left me home sick, so I came back home to Samoa.

I picked up the paperwork early in the year of 2006 to run against 2 Republicans running for 4th District Humboldt County Supervisor. I left messages with both the Chair of the HCDCC Patrick Riggs and Democracy Unlimited representative Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap letting them know my intent. I heard from neither for weeks. I went to the HCDCC headquarters on a whim before I was to finalize my paper work and formally announce my campaign. Patrick Riggs, Larry Evans, Richard Salzman, David Cobb, Larry Glass and all the other suspects showed up for a Save the Waterfront meeting and just assumed I was there for that. When they finally figured out who I was, I was escorted out of the meeting room by Patrick. I explained to him why I was running and he seemed all right with my intent. He said I could come to the next HCDCC and speak. So I showed up and spoke at the next meeting. Mr. Riggs had told people this was first he had heard of me? Why did he keep my intent to himself? Was it because he and others on Local Solutions had already pledged their support to Bonnie Neely, a Republican? I did not recieve their nomination.

Then the rumors started to fly throughout the HCDCC. Richard Marks is being recruited by Robin Arkley to split up the vote to help Nancy Flemming. Richard Marks filed his paperwork way late. A vote for Richard Marks is a vote for Nancy Flemming. And these rumors were coming from my fellow democrats and not the “evil” Republicans? And then the kicker came, Democrats for Neely? Is that telling people she is a better Democrat than me? This was not an affront to Nancy Flemming the Republican.

And now the HCDCC is endorsing Democrats over another. Not once but 3 times as of late. So yes, there you have it. I do not like what the HCDCC has become. I still am registered as a Democrat. Sometimes I wonder why. Ideology wise I seem to be aligned with most Democrats. They do not respect their own, so they have lost my respect.

26 comments:

mrsb814 said...

Richard, we just need to work together to bring average working (and retired) Democrats back into the Central Committee. I don't know how but love learning new things!

Moderate Democrats are still Democrats.

There is a problem with the polar opposite model in politics today-where is the compromise? How can anything ever get accomplished?

If politicians are spending their time shooting each other's ideas down why do we keep electing the same ones. Don't mention this or that in front of so and so because they'll take it up as their OWN idea!

I want to say more-we'll talk soon? Glad I saw this post.
-Mary

Anonymous said...

Wait... what was that you said again?...

Was it I, me or my?

Anonymous said...

Hey, there are often openings on HCDCC. Why not show up and express an interest? As you say, they can use your help. But it's all the same cause, isn't it? Or is it? The past is the past...

mrsb814 said...

Talk to Richard about how far in the past-Past is.

The Democratic Central Committee is run by the head of Local Solutions who is also a spokesman for the California Teacher's Assoc? If that's not a conflict of interest.

When Democrats are asked to leave so that Central Committee members can talk privately, its not an open meeting.

The doors may be closed right now-but with a little encouragement I believe that the grumblings I've been hearing for a year will turn into action.

I really expected some sooner.

Hearing Virginia Strom Martin today explain how depressing it was not to receive the support of Humboldt Democrats really put it together. Richard wasn't endorsed! Give me a break-that isn't in the past.

Eric V. Kirk said...

The "splitting the vote" issue is BS in a run-off system. If that's why they didn't endorse you, it doesn't make much sense.

samoasoftball said...

Eric: please ask your Local Solutions contacts why they did not want to endorse me. They have not told me to this day why they did not even give me the courtesy of an interview. So to this day, the Local Solutions endorsement holds no merit in my eyes. Or they can call me and apologize for their oversight. It has not happened so far. I did no wrong but express my democratic right to run for office.

mresquan said...

The committee should've endorsed you because you were the dem running.If they went off after that and worked with your opponent well that's their personal democratic choice,but the committee is set up to respresent all registered Humboldt County democrats,not just the committees choice.And not just the ones who can make it to the meetings.They probably should have sent out a letter(via email) or vote or something to registered county dems to see if they approved of the committee endorsing you. I guess that's why I'm not registered with any party because watching parties struggle with the problem of when and where is it okay for the committee to speak for those they represent can be confusing.The whole of registered voters in any party should be asked if they approve of a committee's endorsement prior to the committee making its decision.
All that being said I do have one issue though Richard,why didn't these sitting on the sidelines then dems come out then and give support? Why are they siding with you now instead of before,they knew Bonnie was running again long,long before the primary?

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the Progressive Democrats of Humboldt? You guys were supposed to form your PDA anti-Loco Solutions bloc back in July but Shane Brinton never got the meeting together. Don't wait for him anymore, he's too busy posting stoner pictures of himself and blogging on his facination with 4-inch heels on MySpace.

Eric V. Kirk said...

Shane has a blog? Do you have a link?

Richard - If I was to venture a guess, it would be that they've been honing their relationship with Neely for quite some time now, assumed she was going to win re-election, and didn't want to burn bridges they'd spent a great deal of time building.

That wouldn't be enough for me. I would figure that Neely, as a Republican, was dealing with me precisely because she needed the relationship as much as I did. And it should have been easy enough to say to her "look, we value the working relationship, but we have an obligation to support the most progressive candidate and quite frankly we don't understand how you can remain in the Republican Party under the present leadership. In any case, we are endorsing your opponent. We look forward to working with you should you prevail over him and your other Republican opponent."

Something like that.

Anonymous said...

http://www.myspace.com/shanebrinton

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line: Nancy Flemming is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the people on HCDCC - twenty elected officials from all around Humboldt County - stood up and showed up during the darkest moments of the Bush regime. Where have YOU been???

Anonymous said...

8:44 Shut out is where we have been! Local Solutions is hard to take man, they are like clones. Where is the discussion? Where is the democracy?

Anonymous said...

I was also a life long Democrat until about a month ago. At that time I changed my political party affiliation. I now belong to no political party. I have never voted the party line, but instead have always voted for the candidate I felt was the most qualified and worthy of the position. I no longer care to be associated with the Demicans, Republicrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, or any other parties. They all disgust me.

Anonymous said...

Richard,
I believe the current Democratic committee does not hold the same belief system of the working class as you and I do. This is a new era in which win at all cost means just that. This isn't about representing the constituency. It's about defeating your assumed foes.

In this case, I truly believe it is the conservative views and development ideals of Rob Arkley. It's about defeating this dragon in a political challenge. It's the Loggers vs. Tigers at homecoming. It's the milkcan game between Ferndale and Fortuna.
It's Rockin' R vs Arthur Johnson Sox. (Did I get the Sox team sponsor right?)

Richard, you represent the blue collar working class. And sad to say, you and your brothers and their families are being slowly eradicated from the Humboldt landscape. They really don't want us here. Especially, if we happen to work in the timber industry.

It's sad for me to see out of my 45 family members who came here during the post World War II era to work in the mills and fisheries and auxiliary jobs that only 4 are left. The rest have moved on to find blue collar jobs in places like Idaho and Nevada. These family members are not political by any means. They weren't driven out by a bunch of hippies. They followed the work.

In today's current situation,it seems political or social activist is a more accepted and honorable occupation in Humboldt County than Jitney operator or welder or millwright.

When you look at groups like Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment with their ideas of putting skidder operators and fallers and choker setters back to work repairing our watersheds...I just don't see it. I see them "making money" in the forms of grants for administrative costs rather than actual ground work.

But, I'm with you. Blue collar needs a place in Humboldt culture and the men and women who work in these fields are not receiving fair representation.

God forbid if we vote Republican.
Oh, that's right the Democrats are doing just that.

mrsb814 said...

9:14 Hate to burst your bubble:

"God forbid if we vote Republican.
Oh, that's right the Democrats are doing just that"

It sounds like you are making a joke? Moderate Democrats vote for people, not party affiliations. Maybe I can't speak for everyone-but this is a place to post opinions...this one is mine.

Anonymous said...

Mary, You're right....it was a joke. That was my intention.

Anonymous said...

why would they waste there time...you didnt win in the primarys...so whats the problem

Anonymous said...

12:08

They did NOT support Richard in the PRIMARY...thats the point

samoasoftball said...

Just wanted to clarify what happened. I still am questioned about the HCDCC non endorsement. "What did you do to upset them?" Now you know the rest of the story,

Anonymous said...

12:08 If the HCDCC could have supported Richard in the original election he may of won it. What is with those dudes not backing a Democrat-theyr assholes!

Anonymous said...

Richard...

Moderate Republican here (yes, there are those out there)...

Met you at the rhody parade. I will definitely be voting for you when you run again, this blog has won me over.

Eric V. Kirk said...

I was also a life long Democrat until about a month ago. At that time I changed my political party affiliation. I now belong to no political party. I have never voted the party line, but instead have always voted for the candidate I felt was the most qualified and worthy of the position. I no longer care to be associated with the Demicans, Republicrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, or any other parties. They all disgust me.

Well. There you have it.

Anonymous said...

5:54 PM

what about the great fringe benefits-you get all the good junkmail, get to vote in primary elections,the autodialers pick dinnertime-or naptime if you work nights......

samoasoftball said...

2:55pm- I may have not won, but I would have held more respect for their leaders.

Anonymous said...

You call these people leaders ??!!!
Ha Ha Ha