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February 2016

FROM THE PRESIDENT:

Talk vs. Action

So it’s been a good long while since I’ve had the pleasure of writing you with news and views relevant to locally active Democrats. Not that there’s been a lack of news or thoughts to share in recent months. The run-up to this particularly volatile presidential campaign has been anything but eventless or dull.

Still I think we all deserve a break now and then, and the DSC’s mission has always veered more toward practical action than heated words, which we seem awash in these days. If the issues weren’t so serious, taking a shot at scathing political commentary–especially as it pertains to the embarrassing tragi-comedy playing out for the opposition–would be irresistible. But there’s important work to prepare for and to carry out, and as the British sometimes say, “Keep your breath to cool your porridge.”

On the national scene, those of us with the time and taste for rallies, petitions and letters to Congress are constantly on call to defend Roe v. Wade, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank financial reform. Reform of any sort, it seems, is never secure without clamor. We can even sense a certain possibility of progress on gun safety, climate change, and election finances. Admittedly, optimism on those issues is not rife among fellow skeptics.

But it seems to me the main call of duty for local Democrats right now is to work on increasing voter registration–especially in the county’s 3rd District–and then turning out voters for all our endorsed candidates in June.

I call particular attention to the 3rd District supervisor’s race because that crucial swing-vote seat, held for the past two terms by Doreen Farr, is up for grabs. The county party has endorsed an impressive and experienced environmental champion in Buellton’s Joan Hartmann, but the forces behind the current North County minority are licking their chops in anticipation of an election decided in June, when the UCSB students are absorbed in the final week of their school year.

A loss in that one means a return to 3-2 BOS votes favoring more coastal development, oil production, and diminished social services. Not insignificantly, it would almost certainly mean a successful redistricting proposal to shift Isla Vista/UCSB from the 3rd to 2nd District. Registering and mobilizing those voters is the only way to maintain the wise, measured county policies we’ve come to count on.

Our efforts will also be required to keep the 1st District in the family and the state Assembly and Senate seats as well. We’ve worked for Das Williams, Monique Limón and Hannah-Beth Jackson before, but in this year’s contests, only Sen. Jackson has an incumbent’s advantage in those particular races.

And, of course, it will require a major effort to keep our 24th congressional seat blue. We owe that much to Rep. Lois Capps for her service over the past two decades. It’s no time to let her down now.

There will be plenty of opportunity to talk politics this year, but it’s also time for action.

Best regards,
Charles Clouse
President, Democratic Service Club

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

 

 

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October 2015

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT:

Our Role in the Political Universe

As committed and hardworking as our club is reputed to be, and as politically aware as most of our members certainly are, I don’t think we have any delusions of grandeur about our influence on the national political scene. We do our part. We provide support–in a wide variety of forms–to candidates and causes that depend on volunteer energy.

But it may come as new information to many readers that we are structurally connected to the larger political arena–first through our seat on the county’s Democratic Central Committee and in turn as we operate in concert with the California Democratic Party. Statewide we are definitely in the proverbial “loop.”

Our influence may not be the stuff of headlines, but along with other clubs, such as Democratic Women, UCSB’s Campus Democrats, and other clubs in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Ynez, we have direct input on the issues both local and national that our members care about. For instance, we’ve worked recently–alas without success–to ban fracking in Santa Barbara County, to offer options beyond unbearable pain for Californians suffering from terminal illnesses (the legislation awaits the governor’s signature), and we have just embarked on a commitment to raise the minimum wage for workers in the City of Santa Barbara to a level in line with the most progressive cities across the country.

When it comes to individual candidates, the DSC does not tackle the complicated process of making election endorsements. We are, however, able to rely on the Central Committee’s assiduous endorsement process. In this way we carefully consider and palpably support candidates for all levels of government–from school boards, water districts, and city councils up through our Board of Supervisors, the California Assembly and Senate, and every two years, the U.S. Congress.

Like the rest of the nation our eye is already on 2016. The club is currently engaged in selecting delegates from among its “members in good standing” for the state party’s January 2016 Pre-endorsement Conference in our region, wherein South Coast Democrats will make their preferences known for Assembly, Senate and Congressional races. This process is considered “pre-” in the sense that the party’s actual endorsements will be awarded at the statewide convention in San Jose next February.

But a candidate who can win the support of 70% or more of these delegates is a near shoo-in for the state party’s endorsement. That threshold is usually a given for a Democratic incumbent, but this time the 24th Congressional District is being contested by three Democrats. If it were clear that one of those Democrats would surely be elected next November–in the way gerrymandered districts all over the country provide such certainty to one party or the other–our role in the process would be much less perilous.

In this district, though, despite raw registration data, there are about ten thousand more Republicans than Democrats considered “likely to vote” in a primary. And the bloc of voters who “decline to state” a party preference is itself the size of a healthy political party. Though this seat has been in Democratic hands for almost two decades, it is by no means assured for 2016.

Our quiet little district on the left coast will be a major target for both parties. Keeping it blue will not earn us much notice elsewhere in the country, but I assure you letting it go red will be a national story. To a great extent that important outcome is in our own hands. That’s no delusion.

Best regards,
Charles Clouse
President
Democratic Service Club

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

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July 2015

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Open Seats, Open Minds

When local Democrats gather socially–as we will for the DSC’s Fourth of July BBQ or as we did at the EDC’s recent Green & Blue fundraiser–or when we lock arms in protest–as we have of late over the oily desecration of our coastline–we take pride and comfort in counting how many of the elected officials attending are of our tribe.

Indeed this is affirmation that what we stand for has the backing of a decided majority in this community. But we’re at a point right now where retirements, term limits, and major changes in the City Charter will soon present us with several elective races without an incumbent on the ballot and yet a choice of Democrats in contention. This is essentially true also of the next election of a U.S. Senator from California and, of course, the presidency. It is no time to be smug and assume that our values inevitably triumph on Election Day.

We need to pay attention, listen to candidates, and decide where our best interests lie. If there is only one clear choice, we should be ready to go to work when the time comes. But if we first need to choose between two credible candidates, we need to avoid the temptation to write it all off as noise and bickering.

A well-funded campaign is important, and we should be willing to give what we can to the candidates we are most impressed with. But we needn’t be impressed simply by money. Right now campaigns are engaged in what’s called the “invisible primary” or “credibility primary”–the stage where fund-raising is the only measure of strength. That’s reality, but I’d hate to live solely in the Republic of Citizens United.

Ironically, one stumbling block can be the large similarities in positions that intra-party rivals promote. We all value the environment, reproductive choice, a vital middle class supported through organized labor, and other such Democratic touchstones. Differentiating must register more than image and personal magnetism. Pertinent experience, track records, and personal endorsements have to weigh heavily when everyone is saying something similar.

Familiar incumbents on the ballot are a welcomed convenience for voters, but open seats are a great opportunity to learn more about our candidates and consider more precisely the issues we expect them to deal with. It’s our duty to think deeper and ask better questions. It’s their job to distinguish themselves persuasively from their rivals.

But remember, these candidates and their partisan supporters are still our friends and allies. Win or lose, we still toast them at our wine & cheese orgies and will be holding up placards together down the road.

Best regards,
Charles Clouse
President
Democratic Service Club

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

 

 

SB City Council Endorsements
The Santa Barbara Democratic Central Committee has so far endorsed City Council candidates for two of the three newly created districts up for grabs in November in the City of Santa Barbara. Andria Martinez Cohen, a first-time political candidate with a background in economic development, has been endorsed for District 1 on the Eastside, and incumbent Cathy Murillo again received the party endorsement for District 3 on the Westside. The DCC may interview one or more Democratic candidates for District 2 on the Mesa at its July 2 meeting.

Progress for CA’s Death With Dignity Bill
Our coalition allies at Compassion and Choices California were gratified earlier this month when the state Senate passed SB 128, the End of Life Option Act by a 23-14 vote. The bill now moves to the Assembly, where it faces further scrutiny from a variety of committees and a Sept. 11 deadline for passage.

With the Senate vote coming just after the California Medical Association dropped its longstanding opposition, it is the first time a medical aid-in-dying bill has advanced this far in the state. Similar laws that allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults to request a doctor’s prescription for medication that they could self-administer to shorten the dying process have been adopted in five other states–first in Oregon and then Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington.

If you’d like to stay informed on this issue or take action as it progresses toward passage, please email Cecily Hintzen or Marian Shapiro.

 


 

June 10, 2015

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Dear DSC Members,

In order to comply with recent provisions of the California Democratic Party’s process for endorsing candidates, we have drafted a revision of two articles of our club bylaws. The passages below define a “member in good standing” and describe the method for selecting representatives for CDP Pre-endorsement conferences. (New wording in red, replaced wording in strikethrough.) Our entire current bylaws, last revised in 2012, can be found on our Web page under the About Us tab.

 

We will be voting on these revisions (see below) at the next meeting of the DSC Steering Committee: Monday, June 22, 2015, 5 – 7 p.m. at EJ Borah’s garage 517 W. Pueblo St. All club members are entitled to vote for or against this revision of bylaws and are welcome to stop in during this meeting to cast a ballot.

Best Wishes,

Charles Clouse

 

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 3.1 Eligibility for Membership

Members in Good Standing must be registered Democrats with the Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters or if under the age of eighteen or otherwise ineligible to vote shall declare their intention to so register when allowed. Members shall be considered in good standing if their annual dues are current or have been waived in recognition of volunteer time expended on the Club’s behalf. have paid annual dues or been granted a dues exemption.

 

Section 3.2 Affiliate:

In addition to Members, interested individuals may affiliate with the Club by contributing, volunteering or otherwise supporting the activities of the Club.

 

 

ARTICLE VI

ELECTIONS

 

Section 6.8 Selection of Representatives to California Democratic Party (CDP) Pre-Endorsement Conferences

Potential representatives to the CDP Pre-endorsement conferences must comply with all specifications set forth by the state party for chartered clubs/organizations for participation in the pre-endorsement process. Said representatives shall be selected from the Club’s roster of Members in Good Standing by majority vote of the Steering Committee.

 


 

May 24, 2015

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Spring Break Is Over

There’s really no such thing as “the slow season” for political activity or for candidates seeking office–especially here in Santa Barbara, where city elections in odd-numbered years slot in between the state and national campaigns of even years.

It’s a serious flaw in our national character that so many of us see no point in voting except for president every four years, but I can fully relate to the desire for a respite from electoral battles and their inherent need to strategize. Even objective news coverage of campaign gamesmanship can become a deterrent to civic involvement.

I admit I’ve been enjoying a little break from it all here while behind-the-scenes legal processes transform the way city politics will be conducted in the future, and while local political figures scramble to design their personal aspirations for public service. All that furious insider activity seemed to create something of a vacation for us who support and assist. I spent some of mine near the Adriatic in the south of Italy. How about you?

But last weekend brought the State Democratic Convention to Anaheim, and I could see the issues I care about are calling for attention and passionate effort. The keynote address by Sen. Elizabeth Warren was packed with her trademark litany of ways the American “story” we used to believe in–the one about opportunity, hard work, steady advancement, a thriving middle class, and shared national prosperity–had soured, over the past 35 years, into a game that’s “rigged” against everyone who isn’t already rich.

But her message and its tone were not simply about a paradise lost, but rather expressed fierce determination to fight back with every ounce of strength she has and from every angle she can devise. And, of course, she wants her listeners to fight alongside her. I strongly recommend watching this video clip of the speech:

 

 

The convention also provided a chance for the two worthy Democrats running for the now open seat in the 24th congressional district to meet activists whose support or endorsements will be crucial in the 2016 campaign. The Democratic Service Club will, of course, want to do everything we can to keep a Democrat in that seat.

The problem right now, though, is the campaign is still taking shape, and loyal Democrats are probably still forming their opinions. We are watching and listening, but may not yet be ready to jump in decidedly on one side or the other. As president of this club, I’d like to respect each member’s path to choice as well as both candidates’ expectation of organizational support from a Democratic group such as ours that doesn’t conduct its own endorsement process.

“Good luck doing both!” you might be saying. After thorough discussion, we’ve decided that it would be appropriate to publicize events and offer opportunities to get involved, but not promote, organize or recruit for specific work until the state party has endorsed early next year.

We encourage your engagement, but won’t at this point presume to narrow your choices. That comes later.

 

Best regards,
Charles Clouse
President
Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please
contact me at democraticserviceclub@gmail.com


April 25, 2015

FROM THE PRESIDENT

The Debt We Owe Lois Capps

Lois Capps’s tenure in Congress began in 1998 with an incredible sense of bravery and endurance. Overcoming grief at the loss of her husband, Rep. Walter Capps, who had served in office just nine months, she won a special election in March and then faced a general election before the end of that year.Capps, dsc

Until that time this congressional seat on the South Coast had been securely in Republican hands for fifty years. Lois Capps has held that seat ever since–despite more grief three years later over the death of her eldest daughter, and despite the challenges of a legislative system that has become impossibly polarized and essentially paralyzed. The temptation to seek a quieter life must have been enormous.

But Representative Capps has not simply held the seat; she has served her constituents in a way that makes us proud to live in her district and leaves us deeply in her debt. She has fought for improved health care and a system for providing it to more Americans than ever. Her efforts for the rights of women and the welfare of children have been the bedrock of her service, but then so has her devotion to improving the economy, adding jobs, aiding veterans, protecting the environment, developing clean energy, and untangling immigration policies.

Of course, many of us are particularly proud that in 2002 she had the courage to vote against giving President Bush approval for a war in Iraq.

The volunteers of the Democratic Service Club have worked happily for Lois’s campaigns since our inception as a local club, and I can attest that it is never difficult to round-up our mailing brigade, phone callers, or neighborhood walkers when they are needed. As we work on her behalf, the congresswoman never fails to join in or at least express sincere gratitude. That mutual admiration is ever a trait of our connection with her.

This past week, Lois Capps announced that she will not run for re-election in 2016. Considering she started in this career at an age many of us see as a time to slow down if not slack off, no one can question her retirement is well-earned. But keep in mind she will be our member of Congress until January 2017. The quieter life is still a ways off, and even then I’m certain the DSC will be seeing Lois working for us–and I hope with us–promoting our shared values.

If you haven’t seen it, you might want to watch this video of Lois making her recent announcement:

 

Best regards,
Charles Clouse
President
Democratic Service Club

If you have questions or comments about Club activities, please contact me at cjclouse@cox.net

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February 22, 2015
FROM THE PRESIDENT:

The Politics of Stupid

 

We’re all fairly engaged about national affairs around here, aren’t we? Ready, willing and able to participate in self-government. So what are the major issues requiring our attention these days–the ones occupying the thoughts of our elected officials?

As far as I can tell the big ones are these:

* Can we believe what scientists tell us about evolution, climate change or just about anything?

* Are women to be trusted with their own bodies?

* Should we treat immigrants with long histories and family ties in this country as human beings, or just round-up all 11 million and deport them as quickly as possible?

* Is universal, affordable health care a desirable goal or is it ferocious government overreach?

* Do love and marriage really go together?

* And, of course, is it a good idea to vaccinate our children against serious, childhood diseases that have been out-of-sight for decades?

Really, how did we get so stupid? Americans seem to have just about reached consensus on gravity and the beauty of rainbows, but otherwise we expend much of our political energy fighting battles that most other developed nations have long since moved beyond. What’s going on here? Is there something in the water?

Other than the rare display of bipartisanship by the anti-vaccination crowd, it’s easy to see these issues breaking down along a predictable longitude of right and left politics. Even Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana had to warn his own party about not becoming “the party of stupid.”

Yet both parties like to identify themselves with rationality, experience, and political acuity. How do these “smart” traits lead to such dumb debates?

At the risk of oversimplification, I’d say that a key difference is the fundamental value that our right wing embraces perhaps too desperately–conservatism. What was thought in the past must be honored eternally, and as things were done in the past, so should they be done today. Science is subservient to faith; certainly nothing as fundamental as climate would change without God’s approval. People should live out the circumstances of their birth with dignity, accepting suffering or frustration as part of a grand plan. And above all, never challenge the words of patriarchs and ancient polemicists.

Lefties, on the other hand, savor their role as iconoclasts and feel invigorated rather than threatened by progress. Disruption and dislocation are inevitable to us. The scientific method is itself an article of faith.

In view of such basic contrasts stupid arguments are not all that surprising. They are, at least, thoroughly American.

 

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at  democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

 

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January 11, 2015

FROM THE PRESIDENT:

Welcome to the New Age 

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones

Enough to make my systems blow

Welcome to the new age, to the new age…

Radioactive, song by Imagine Dragons

 

At this time of year it’s hard for us Democrats to know whether to look back or forward. Are there still valuable lessons to be mined from last fall’s election results? Or are we better off to suck it up and move resolutely ahead, making the best we can of this new age as the minority party?

For Californians it’s not so tricky. We live in a state that not only moves incessantly forward, but also shows the rest of the country what the road looks like and what the benefits of getting there can be. For instance, while Congress looks for ways to block any effort to integrate undocumented immigrants into the nation they live in, California sees the obvious benefits of promoting highway safety and financial responsibility among all motorists regardless of immigration status.

But for the nation as a whole, I’m afraid, we are in for a long, grim slog of disunity and acrimony. Until this ugly rightward lurch we’ve been experiencing is stopped and the worst elements of the opposing party are again marginalized rather than pandered to, we can expect the rest of the Obama administration to look much the same as it has these past six years.

Locally, we can be proud of the officials we’ve elected at all levels of government, from school boards to Congress. Many were incumbents with admirable records of accomplishments and our expectations for their continued efforts remain high. And even the pitched battle between big oil and environmentalists–nothing new around here, but newly invigorated by Measure P–left us disappointed, but cognizant that the public urge to protect our county’s air, water, and general livability is very much alive.

Overall, though, the message for political activists and volunteers is that if there is to be a new age–and there always is, just wait!–it is ours to shape. We don’t win all the battles, but we can show up prepared for the debates and speak up for a more just and equitable society.

Defining those concepts is what partisan politics is about, and we should all take our turn at the microphone.

Happy New Year, and Happy New Age!

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

If you have questions or comments about Club activities, please contact me at cjclouse@cox.net

 

 *****
Item of Interest to the Democratic Community

Crowd-sourcing A Year Without War

Our friends at the Santa Barbara and Tri-Counties Chapter of the United Nations Association pass along information on this intriguing project originating from Santa Barbara City College’s philosophy department. It isa proposal called 2020 A Year Without War. It comprises is a global community working towards one goal: one year (2020) without war. That is, for 2020 to see a global cease fire, truce, or step down for just one year to rethink how we handle conflict in the 21st century and to reassess the costs of war on people, environments, economics, education, infrastructure, travel, food, animals, and families.
To see how you can participate go to the 2020 AYWW funding site.
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October 3, 2014
Time to Get Out the Vote
Despite the heat wave, with mail-in ballots going out on Monday, there’s no doubt what time of year it is. For Democrats in this mid-term election cycle, the real opponent is named Voter Apathy. Our answer to that challenge here is “Votetoberfest.” Here are the important details:

 
And Other Events of Interest
Besides elections, you may be interested in these other upcoming local events that we’ve been alerted to by fellow club members:
From the Humanist Society:

 
From The United Nations Assoc. of Santa Barbara:

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or comments about Club activities, please contact me at cjclouse@cox.net

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November 17, 2013
FROM THE PRESIDENT:
 

Counting Votes Before They’re Cast

I had four yard signs in my front yard from well before Labor Day until the final results of the city council election were totaled. Like most Democrats, I was pleased with the results, yet somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t have my way in all four races. I went to two election night parties downtown and then home to bed.

Still, I am anticipating an ongoing era of good governance in Santa Barbara, and planning on supporting the Mayor and the Democratic majority’s work in all the ways the DSC can. What I am not doing, however, is second guessing how easy it would have been to achieve a 5 – 2 majority if only our party were more cohesive–or at least had better math skills.

Votes are given to candidates as expressions of confidence, not owed to them, and certainly not predictably divvied up among political cousins when a candidate opts out of a race. The two candidates who finished just outside the top three–both Democrats–each earned about 5,500 votes. The third place finisher, a conservative Republican, earned just over 6,500 votes.

Does that mean one of those Democrats could have walked away with 11,000 votes and a seat on the council if only the other had not had the audacity to seek public office? Dream on!

Some of those votes were cast simply on the basis of name recognition. Some were cast by people who would not otherwise have voted for three candidates–or for any candidate at all–if their favorite had not been in the race. Some were meant as personal tribute or silent protest about some narrow issue that cuts across party lines.

Certainly, some people are willing to take the advice of strangers who call them on the phone late in October, grateful that it’s not another building contractor or worthy cause asking for employment or a donation, but generally, I’d say, Santa Barbarans like to read up, listen to candidates, and decide for themselves how to apportion votes in a local election.

That is, if they’re interested in voting at all. Statistics from the recent election show a very steep decline in voting from folks aged 56 and older (44.8%) down to those 18-30 years old (7.4%). Overall, only 38.3% of Santa Barbara’s registered voters took the trouble to vote. Notably, though, ours was the highest turnout in the state among cities and counties holding elections that day.

So could one of our near misses been a winner, if only…? That, of course, begs the question: Which one? The DSC doesn’t endorse; we work. But we also expect careful consideraton from our fellow Democrats who make endorsements. That’s where consensus and communication begins and harmony springs.

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at  democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

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October 13, 2013
FROM THE PRESIDENT:
 

It’s More Than Postage

It may seem a little too pat, but while stuffing envelopes for the current city council campaign I had my latest flash of insight into what’s behind the remarkable polarization in American politics. It’s right there on the postage stamps. They say it all.

Ironically, we are a nation divided by our devotion to four noble values: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, and Equality. It says so on each block of four stamps depicting the same flag.

Those are not always compatible, complementary pillars of a united populace. Republicans seem to favor Liberty and Freedom no matter what the cost to Justice and Equality. Democrats, on the other hand, have a gut-level dedication to fostering Justice and Equality for all, even if it means sacrificing a smidgen of personal Liberty.

As fundamental to liberty as it may seem to own a gun, many of us would sacrifice the pleasures of ripping off thirty rounds in a couple seconds for the intrusion of background checks. And we’d gladly embrace limits on campaign donations even if writing checks is equated with free speech.

The Republican soul these days, however, appears to be driven by perceptions of personal liberty and a certain blindness to how that may impinge on someone else’s expectations of fairness and equal treatment. We Democrats would fight to protect our freedom and even that of other nations, but we are just as vigilant about the existence of injustice and inequality in our society as a whole. We see the connection. Not everyone does.

Can these values be as easily reconciled as the U.S. Postal Service leads us to believe? Perhaps, but I can assure you at least there are always more envelopes to stuff, seal, and stamp–something the Democratic Service Club is highly skilled at.

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at  democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

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September 19, 2013
FROM THE PRESIDENT:
 

Boots on the Ground

Lots of talk these days about “boots on the ground.” Any phrase like that, used to the point of cliché, starts to grate. And that tends to blunt what needs to be sharp, incisive public debate. Currently, “boots on the ground” describes a military commitment that almost no one wants to make in a messy foreign war.

But for the DSC “boots on the ground” is our proud specialty. Our foot soldiers regularly go into the field to register new voters. We provide candidates with brigades of willing volunteers to fold, stuff, seal and stamp their campaign mailings. And those who can, willingly march into neighborhoods to talk to–pacify if necessary–fellow Democrats.

We’d give out medals if we could, but all we can do is sincerely thank those of you who have volunteered to join the fray. Those who have recently taken on precinct walks for the Central Committee’s endorsed candidates–setting out each Saturday on some very warm mornings and afternoons–thank you! By the way, walkers now meet at the Party’s new headquarters at 114 E. Haley, Suite K.

Thank you also to our mailing crew who spent over two full days just after Labor Day getting out mass mailings for both Rep. Lois Capps and Council candidate Gregg Hart. The honor roll consists of Sondra Aggeler, Vicki Allen, Els Andersen, Jodi Byron-Cooper, E.J. Borah, Tracy Bray, Jan Clouse, Peter and Paulina Conn, Barbie Deutsch, Chris Dille, Deborah Dodge, Mickey Flacks, Gail Gillies, Sally Hearon, Bev Herbert, Jane Herner, Rocky Jacobson, Greg Jacobson, Dylan Jacobson, Tanner Jacobson, Stephanie Johnstone, Max Keller, Ken Korten, Nancy Miller, Charlotte Nelson, Jamie Rosenthal, Gail Teton-Landis, and Barbara Wagner.

 

Many of those same members named above also took tours of duty at the Pro-Choice Coalition’s Great American Write-In and at the Democratic Party’s Labor Day picnic. (More coverage of both events below.)

All wars are messy, but at least ours aren’t foreign. Semper Fi.

 

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at  democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

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August 25, 2013
FROM THE PRESIDENT:
 
CHOICES IN THE CITY

The kick-offs are complete, the endorsements mostly gathered, stump speeches honed, forums scheduled, and lawn signs available. It’s officially campaign season for the City of Santa Barbara’s mayor and council races. And as is often the case, Democrats have an array of very strong candidates to vote for.

 

Three of the six city council seats plus the job of mayor–all non-partisan offices–will be filled in an entirely mail-in ballot election, concluding Nov. 5. City issues and sensible solutions, though, are not always non-partisan, and the Democratic Service Club would like to help elect our incumbent mayor and achieve a five-vote majority of Democrats willing and able to tackle the challenges of making life better for all of Santa Barbara’s diverse citizenry.

 

Of course, not all of us live in the City, but the issues and decisions there fit into the direction our County heads in, and that in turn is part of what we expect from State and Federal office holders. Fortunately, our current representatives at all levels are already preparing for crucial races next year.

 

And like “the Dude,” the DSC abides, ready to do our part. There’s much to do and to know about–keep reading.

Best regards,

Charles Clouse

President

Democratic Service Club

 

If you have questions or concerns about Club activities, please contact me at  democraticserviceclub@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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August 10, 2013

Congressional Malpractice

Congress has gone home for the summer, and I’m tempted to consider that a blessing. Like physicians, legislators should be required to take an oath to first and foremost do no harm. But so far this year, it’s been hard to find any healing going on, and malignant intent is everywhere evident. Last summer, just before the annual recess (does that term suggest elementary school to anyone besides me?) Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein riffed on “14 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever.” He was, of course, referring to the 112th—a relatively benign group compared to the 113th, which has surprised all of us— from cynical lefties to the House Speaker—with its unsurpassed venality and self-debasement.

Among other flaws, Klein cited how “They’re not passing laws” (#1), “They’ve set back the recovery,” (#4), and “They’ve lost our credit rating” (#5). The last Congress’s penchant for repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 is legendary, but easily surpassed by the current lot.

If it were just a matter of not getting much done, it could be the subject for rational analysis such as it received recently from Bloomberg.com with their piece titled “Congress Is on Pace to Do Less Than Record-Breaking Low.” But Republicans in Washington are indeed doing harm. Think of it: the time-release malaise of the Sequester, missing the boat on gun regulation, food stamps in peril, students crushed by free-market interest rates, playing whack-a-mole with Obamacare, and leaving all major appropriations bills for the last week of the fiscal year.

In any other profession this would be labeled malpractice. But these guys have no interest in governing. For them it’s about sabotage, and the opportunity to do their worst is waiting just beyond Labor Day.

The New York Times summarized where things stand at the moment—which is at the precipice of complete government meltdown when Congress is unable to pass major appropriations bills by October 1 and refuses to raise the debt ceiling in November. Right now House Republicans can’t seem to agree among themselves on how best to play the role of saboteur, but I’m sure something will come to them while nurtured in the bosom of their home districts during August.

It’s a matter of itching for a government shutdown but lacking the nerve to commit to the specific spending cuts they would have to stand by. Outrageous cuts to transportation, energy, the environment, health and education became something that divided the Republican caucus between those who foment for smaller budgets when nothing specific is on the chopping block and the true believers who will cut government spending without regard to who’s harmed or what’s broken.

A recent Paul Krugman column in the New York Times makes clear the depressing collision of politics and economics in this situation. “The sad truth,” as Krugman puts it, “is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing.”

Even sadder is that for the time being—and no one knows how long—we are essentially without a federal government. And in a couple months, that could be more literal than metaphorical.

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Move to Amend

The DSC co-sponsored a remarkable event at the downtown library’s Faulkner Gallery with some serious rabble rousing in favor of a Constitutional amendment to limit the outrageous influence over our political system that was handed to corporations by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

David Cobb demands the end of corporate personhood.

Photo by Jan Clouse

My estimate is that more than 150 local citizens attended this presentation that featured a dynamic and convincing talk by David Cobb of the national Move to Amend group.

 

The arrangements and results were a credit toAntonia Robertson,Laurence Dworet, andMike Weissman, all of SB’s Move to Amend chapter, andBill Haff of the Ojai chapter, as well as the DSC’s reliable regulars Els Andersen, Jan Clouse, Chas. Clouse, Jim and Charlotte MacMillan and Hap Ziegler. Amplified sound was provided by the DSC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith-Based Health Care in California

People following recent L.A. Times reporting of how the insidious state-bystate encroachment on abortion rights has suddenly spread to California found out something possibly more distressing by reading Michael Hiltzik’s column this past Sunday: The ban on perfectly legal abortions at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Orange County—a result of that hospital’s new partnership with Roman Catholic counterparts operated by St. Joseph Health System—was formally approved by California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Harris, a much-celebrated rising star in California Democratic circles, somehow was convinced that the blow to women’s health care at this large facility, which handles the biggest share of obstetrics cases in the area, is no big deal.

If you didn’t dig into Hiltzik’s investigation of how this situation developed and how our Attorney General clearly bungled it, take the time to read this column.

I suspect much more will be coming on this story that should be of interest to women and Democrats in general who are already concerned about the erosion of abortion rights and choices across the country. Does California really want to join in this trend?