Sunday, April 17, 2005

Will This Hangover's Owner Please Claim It?

I woke up this morning with someone else's hangover. It certainly wasn't mine since this was an almost completely dry convention for me (commuting downtown from San Pedro, I was my own designated driver). Actually, as most delegates and attendees know, the after-effects of State Conventions can take weeks to get over.

Now, for observations on the convention, generally:

Having a convention in Los Angeles anywhere but the Bonaventure is just plain wrong. I support my union brothers and sisters, so I understand why we weren't there, but, please, everyone, back to the table and settle these disputes because spreading the convention and delegates between the Los Angeles Convention Center and hotels in downtown, K-town, and - wait for it - Manhattan Beach just ain't cricket. Bring me my color coded elevators and revolving bar, stat! I think this year's location alone was responsible for half the weekend's unfunness.

I watched exactly 10 minutes of general session action, on Saturday morning. Nancy Pelosi, a brief Boxer intro by Party Chairman Art Torres, and a bit of Boxer herself. Other than that, I ran around, headless-chicken style, dealing with CYD issues, candidates, decisions, and logistics.

Per tradition, Friday night was our annual CYD/CCD Caucus and LaRouche Smackdown '05. Some of them got in - including the notorious Big Red and newbie creep Linebacker Guy (real names unknown, well, I know Linebacker Guy's supposed name, but I'm not giving him a google-hit here) - along with some of their flunkies. They were relatively well-behaved, comparatively speaking. But I still wish they'd just disappear. Their Saturday afternoon choral performance, however, was as dulcet and lovely as ever. In case you were wondering, they shall still overcome.

The usual parade of electeds visited the caucus meeting - and it was largely my job to let our bouncers know that, yes, that really is Senator Migden, and, yes, please allow her and her staffer entry. Anyone running for anything hits all the caucuses, so while we still can't quite keep straight who's running for what, this week, we gave 'em all mic time anyway.

Friday wrapped up with two notable (okay, two that I visited) hospitality suites, which I mentioned before.

Saturday started with a 9am, contentious credentials committee meeting. Aside from the fact that we met in the LACC foyer and had to stand for lack of meeting space, it was just like the chartering battles of old, except that I had to keep the natives at bay, parliamentarily-speaking. Though I kept my personal views of the issues largely to myself during the meeting, I was happy to have my views accurately presented (through no coaching on my part) by delegates from UCSB, Mira Loma High School (I love those kids - a car full of high school students driven by one's mother), and the San Diego YDs. Per tradition, all charters cleared - but you can bet this Parliamentarian is going to convene some bylaws revision working groups right quick.

Fast forward to what some readers really care about (and what some other readers couldn't care less about): the CYD elections.

In a fitting tribute to the elections of '03, the only contested race was determined by a one-vote margin. Crystal Strait narrowly defeated Scott Ogus after a very, very hard fought race that pitted too many friends and allies against each other. There were some iffy procedural moments, a little bit of rules jockeying, some fudging, some bitching, ample moaning, and finally, the whole bloody mess ended - at least for this go-round. I won't comment much on the race from now on - other than to say that it was, without a doubt, CYD-or-not, absolutely the toughest political - or was it personal? or is that "or" an "and?" or can you really ever draw that line? - decision I have yet faced. CYD may be the training pond, kids, but don't underestimate the dangers of the deep-end.

There's always great momentum after a CYD election - and I look forward to what's next for our little-organization-that-could.

Apparently, the rest of the State Party was doing stuff too. And yes, I was around for that too - including the regional director contest in my home region (my guy one, after a vote that fell along some very interesting, potentially telling demographic lines). Apparently, one region's vote came down to a coin toss after a tied ballot. That would've been fun to watch. According to the LAT, we were combative and at time jubilant this year, contrasted with last year's "grim" San Jose convention.

I recall being much more jubilant last year - but then again, I was staring down a final in 72 hours last year, so who am I to be objective?

I didn't get too much of a chance to focus on the three biggest gubernatorial candidates - though I did see Westly address our Friday night caucus and Angelides address our Friday night CYD party. I didn't see Lockyer - while I didn't exactly avoid him, I didn't seek him out either. At this point, it's hard to see a future in which I'd ever support Bill "Screw Gray Davis" Lockyer. But you can never say never in politics. Except that I'd never wear a Bill Lockyer lanyard for my delegate pass - despite his having cornered that market for at least 2 years now (last year I subbed my Herb J. Wesson, Jr. lanyard, this year, the Joe Dunn green mardi o'gras beads).

L.G. candidate (as of now) John Garamendi worked the crowds non-stop - planting himself at the LACC entrance and shaking as many hands as possible. That certainly gets points. I don't recall seeing Jackie Speier around, but if she's still an L.G. candidate, I assume she was there. Debra Bowen was stumping for SoS in '06. And Liz Figueroa wins the least-political-most-fem-friendly logo (photo coming soon).

Though the party is uniformly chomping at the bit to replace Schwarzenegger, this convention didn't really settle the question of who will win the chance to oppose him. That'll be next year's convention.

Highlight of the weekend A: Meeting some fabulously enthusiastic, grounded, focused, and intelligent YD chapters - all of which gave me great hope for the coming year.

Highlight of the weekend B: Seeing, briefly, Howard Dean walk past me in the hallway. Was it more than a bummer that he didn't rally all the troops, just those willing and able to make the Saturday night dinner? Yes. Was it a nice, visual reminder of why there were so many enthusiastic, progressive, ready-to-work, new delegates around this year? Absolutely.

See you again in '06.

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