Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vote For Crystal

For the first time in nearly a decade, I'm missing the California Democratic Party State Convention, which convenes this weekend in Sacramento. Little comes before politics in my life - but the opportunity at extended travel, to really live in and of the world - had to win this time. Anyone who has set foot outside the U.S. (for longer than it takes to party on a Wednesday night in a Mexican or Canadian border town) knows what our President really doesn't: you can't really get being American until you leave America. This has been a exceedingly educational experience for me, and I'll serve my party better for it.

That sort of eases my guilt.

The guilt that remains stems from my impending absence from the CYD elections - which are gearing up to be just as ugly and petty as you could ever want them to be. Considering the wealth of talent, drive, and imagination in the group, it's unfortunate that a few bad pennies keep turning up. For a few more precious hours, I'm the Parliamentarian of the group - and it's a job I've loved and taken quite seriously (despite my many bar-induced absences over the last few months). I know this group, it's rules, customs, and history. I'm one of the few on the board who's really been around for a long time. No really, kids, a LONG time.

Which is why when people try to poo on the family, I get a little upset.

Regular readers will note that I don't often discuss CYD here. But on the eve of a contentious election, I gotta speak up.

Vote for Crystal.

It's funny how the same complaints about a leadership post - not the person in it, but any person in it - stay the same, even as the officeholders come and go. Have things run perfectly in the past year? No. Will they magically gel in the next two months if Crystal is re-elected, as she should be? Probably not. But we'll never get much done if we keep fight personal battles instead of political ones. If we get so worried about people stepping on our toes or stepping on the toes of others that we don't do the work we were elected to do.

There are those in the organization who feel slighted by . . .well, any number of things. Those people need to get over it, grow up, get up, and move on. Seriously.

If you're scratching your head at this post right now, don't worry. A few will know exactly what I'm talking about.

So I won't be in Sacramento to referee the celebrity death match. I won't be there to vote against the full credentialing of the few chapters that lied, cheated, and stole their way to pretend-legitimacy. I won't be there to point out how the same people are involved in the suspect charters and gee, ain't that interesting. Others will be, and they will speak out, and I trust them to do so. I just wish there were 50%+1 of them. I doubt there will be.

So, CYD member, if you're reading this: Stop the Madness, Vote for Crystal, and please, read and respect the bylaws.


Anonymous said... have a way of putting things so succinct and straightforward...I miss you!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I will as soon as my boyfriend can.

Devin said...


I want to say that, while I disagree with much of this post (shocker, huh?) I do very much appreciate your concluding remark:
please, read and respect the bylaws.
I certainly appreciate that and of course pledge to not only do that myself but also do everything I can to ensure that anyone who I have any influence over does as well.

From the tone of your post, I gather that you are ensinuating that Crystal's opponent is guilty of some of the things you mentioned.

If you have any particular complaints I would be happy to respond to them. Please feel free to e-mail them to me at dlavelle (at) I will answer promptly and you can feel free to share or publish any or all of my responses, as you see fit.

As someone who is obviously quite a fan of this whole "internet thing" and who has always been so forward thinking and active, I find it shocking that you are so quick to write off Crystal's performance as simply the best that can be hoped for.

As of the end of February, 2006, the most recent news item listed on the website was the previous President's outgoing message. That portion of the site had not been updated in 8 months and no part of the site had been updated since November - including the front page, which was advertising events from November. That is simply an embarassment to the organization.

Of course, what's worse is that she didn't bother to actually put together a campaign plan for 2005 and CYD's statewide efforts were a joke at best. As usual, a number of Club's did great work - but they were entirely unsupported statewide. Rocky Fernandez, the CYD Political Director will attest to this.

It's true, Crystal could have done worse and not everything that went wrong was her fault. But, I've got to say, if that was the endorsement that someone gave to me, I would be hurt and turn it down.

And feel free to quote me on every word I said. It is absolutely legitimate to criticize an incumbent's performance. I have truly always liked Crystal personally - but she has done a poor job as President and CYD deserves better.

And as far as "referreeing the celebrity death match", I don't know where you got that idea from. Nothing of the sort has ever occurred from Crystal's opponent and I can only assume and hope that, since you're endorsing her and clearly have a problem with such activities, Crystal will not be doing anything of the sort.

But please, if I am missing anything, please e-mail me and let me know.

Anonymous said...

D - I am not saying Pam has done anything, but people who support her - or more to the point, oppose Crystal, have done plenty worth raising and eyebrow over.

Your graf that starts "As someone who is quite obviously a fan of this whole 'internet thing,'" doesn't make much sense, since what I think you're saying is, how can I of the 1000 blogs think it's okay that the CYD website sucked for so long.

I don't. But I don't blame Crystal.

Despite the awesome appearence of my main sites (har har), I'm no web expert. If I could have fixed it I would. Perhaps your ire is better directed at the previous president who, from what I can tell, got a friend of his to create a really awful, never completed website. Or the dozens of people who have volunteered and then dropped of the face of the earth before doing anything to help the site. In fact, it seems Pam got a shiny site up really fast - where was that know-how when CYD could've used it?

Your spin on my tone is incorrect. Crystal did a great job. She also did the best she could while be hamstrung by a less than stellar, present, able and willing board. I am partly to blame (law school and the bar are time consuming and I certainly wasn't going above and beyond).

I don't have to quote you on anything - you wrote it, it's here on the site, people can read it for themselves.

I sat down with "Crystal's opponent" and explained to her my problems with her candidacy, qualifications, and ability to lead. I also spoke with her about reforming her expectations and taking a serious look at the people around her - those urging her to run and those supporting her run. And, of course, there's that Fellowship thing . . . but we needn't discuss that here, need we?

Pam knows why I am not supporting her.

And so do you.

Devin said...


I agree that the previous site sucked and certainly don't blame Crystal for that. But for the first few months of her presidency she did figure how to get the site updated so I don't think whatever knowledge she once had was forgotten.

I appreciate you noting my work on Pam's website. I also manage the EBYD website, FYI. I'm a pretty busy fellow - I'm in the middle of starting a new business and am also a leader in a couple of other volunteer efforts - and don't often volunteer for new projects. But I do respond when people ask for help. Pam asked so I built her website. Edie asked, so I manange her club's website.

It's called leadership, working with people and getting the most out of what's available to you.

Crystal never asked. She never asked me personally and she also never sent out a general call for assistance on the CYD listserve, which I subscribe to and read almost religiously.

Pam has pledged repeatedly to run a clean campaign and she has kept to that pledge. If there is anything that any of her supporters are doing that you think is inappropriate, please bring it to our attention and she will do everything she can to ensure that everyone in CYD operates within the rules and treats each other respectfully, if sometimes critically.

Let me conclude by saying that I appreciate your clarifying that Pam has not done anything inappropriate. Much to your credit, your blog has developed a fairly impressive readership and I wouldn't want any nasty rumors to start because of a misunderstanding.

Anyhow, enough of these pleasantries ... I hope your travels are treating you well ... I definitely agree with your thoughts about it.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone cares, I'll throw in my two cents. I am a big fan of Pamela. I think she has excellent leadership skills, is extremely passionate and hardworking, and will make a fantastic CYD President. But, I've decided to support Crystal's re-election bid. I have not been very involved with CYD this year so I won't pretend to know every detail of what has transpired. But I know that Crystal is a dedicated leader, hardworker, and strategic thinker. Even though I've retired to the fringes of CYD, she has attempted to involve me in decision-making processes and CYD activities. I've also been impressed to see her seek and actually take advice (a willingness that some past CYD leaders have unfortunately lacked). I've listened to and read the arguments about Crystal's supposed shortcomings and I just don't think they add up to much. This is a very demanding job and I don't think any volunteer leader can accomplish it perfectly. But Crystal has done much better than several past leaders I've worked with and she deserves another term.

I think Pamela will make an excellent CYD president and I hope that she runs next year. This year, I'm sticking with Crystal. She has impressed me and I'm excited to see what she does in the upcoming year.

--Catherine Hazelton

Anonymous said...

"Devo" -

"Much to my credit" nothing. Solely to my credit since I'm the only one writing here. But thanks for the sort-of compliment.

Leadership is stepping up. We're all busy - and "wah wah, but no one asked me" is not really a good comeback to the website issue. During conference calls and meetings, I begged for anyone who could do back-end webstuff to help out. All remained quiet on that front.

As for the missing campaign plan - other than having a nice document to show off to the grown ups, how badly was one needed? how many people need to make a plan of attack to figure out what to do? how many levels do we need? state party had one. various other groups had one - hell, many. As you said, our members don't need much instruction to know what to do. Completely aside from 2005, Crystal, or Pam, I've always been of the opinion that our job as a board should be to tell member clubs "hey, what do you need to be effective in your area? okay, here's a check to cover gas and pizza, the two things most students and youngin's need to get out there and walk some precincts."

I agree with Catherine's comments - which is exactly what I told Pam when I met with her. This was not a normal year for CYD. The organization was saddled with YDA by the Bay, a special election, and other general craziness that put CYD housekeeping on the backburner.

Anonymous said...

You know what, CYD is actually the furthest thing from my mind today, owing to some heavy, actually-important personal stuff.

So here's how it is: I support Cyrstal. I don't think Pam is a bad person, I just think she picked a poor time to run. I'm not going to change my mind, nor will I apologize for any views expressed here which where decidedly neither mean, nor below-the-belt, nor harmful in any long term way to Pam. Hell, probably not in a short term way either.

So it's done for now then. I'm not going to switch off comments on this post, but I'm going to ask, pretty please with a cherry on top, that unless you have something completely different to add to the conversation, that you just let this thread lie and say nothing at all.