The Democratic Party’s way forward is representing the homefolk

December 29, 2016
Stew Jenkins

Stew Jenkins


Editor’s note: A column by Democrat Stew Jenkins will run in CalCoastNews every other Thursday, rotating with a column by Republican Mike Brown.

“I’m a gun tot’n, Christian Democrat,” said the red white and blue bumper sticker handed me by the tall smiling rugged Democratic Party delegate in his 10 gallon Stetson and weathered cowboy boots at the California State Democratic Convention a few short years ago.

Got your attention?  If you think this commentary is about guns, it’s not.

Let me tell you why that fellow relates to our Democratic Party momentum in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. And then let me tell you how on January 7, you can have a say in the progress forward by electing 14 delegates to the State California Party Convention.

Yes, any registered Democrat from SLO and Northern SB counties who shows up can vote for up to 14 out of the 35 local folks running for delegate.

My fellow Stetson wearing delegate tot’n those bumper stickers was no aberration. You should know that he had led his share of winning campaigns for Assembly, State Senate and Congressional candidates in his part of the state. He was relied on for counsel and support by Democratic Party senators, congressmen, governors, state legislators and local officials.

There is no secret as to why. It was because he reflected, represented and gave voice to the Democratic Party voters in his region of the state. He represented the people and helped office holders represent the people where he came from. He lived what Tip O’Neill said, that all politics is local. And where he came from folks were just not the same as, and didn’t live like, people in Sacramento, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Yes, they believed their government should promote freedom of speech and religion, economic opportunity, promote employment, guarantee social security, adequate health care, along with equal justice, clean air and clean water like folks in the big cities; but their rural lives also demanded and valued self-reliance. And they didn’t like Republicans hijacking the flag or their Christian religious affiliations.

A supply of my fellow delegate’s bumper stickers found its way into the supplies we brought home to San Luis Obispo for our regular Democratic Party Farmers’ Market booth. Now the Central Coast is as different from San Francisco as it is different from where the smiling Stetson wearing delegate hailed from; but the “I’m a Gun tot’n, Christian Democrat” sold out within two weeks, purchased by Democrats here while they were buying buttons and stickers for our solidly liberal national, state and local candidates.stetson-hat

How does this relate to the way forward after my Democratic Party’s crushing defeat in 2016? Simple. All politics is local; especially for the political party of the 99 percent.

After decades of focus by Republicans on local races (while Democrats have almost exclusively chased national offices) the Republicans have built deep benches. They have more than an iron lock on lofty positions most governorships and state legislatures who control redistricting and voting rules. They started their focus on local races like city councils, county sheriffs, assessors, tax collectors and supervisors years ago, to build power and influence down here on the ground where people live.

To move forward, Democrats, especially here on the Central Coast, need to focused on electing Democrats to county and city offices like sheriff, assessor, and mayor who can organically generate their own support for offices like Assembly or State Senate based on the issues important to folks living here.

Our experience having high priced political consultants coming here from Sacramento, San Francisco or Los Angeles running State Senate and Assembly candidates on the issues more important to state party leaders than to folks who live here have consistently lost San Luis Obispo County to Republicans. But state party leaders will only start to understand this when local folks with the grit to lobby for their local voters take seats at the governing body of the party: The California State Democratic Convention, which will be held May 19-21, in Sacramento.

The Democratic Party is self-governing by those of us who are registered as members of this oldest continuous political party in America.

But here is a secret known mostly to party insiders: Every local registered Democrat has the right under our party’s rules to vote for 14 delegates to the upcoming California Democratic Party Convention from the 35th Assembly District. And there are a few good candidates out of the 35 running.

Seven men, and seven women, will be elected by whoever shows up at the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) union hall, located in … wait for it … Edna, California. It is a big hall with lots of parking.

Where again? The IBEW Local 639, 6363 Edna Road, (Route 227) south of San Luis Obispo not too far from Ray’s Own Brand sausage, but north of Price Canyon Road and the “center” of Edna township. Be there early and bring a bag lunch if you plan to stay through the whole meeting.

Candidate speeches start at 10 a.m., registration starts at 10:30 a.m., counting ballots is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m.

You get seven votes for each gender, but need not cast all 14 votes if there are only a few people who impress you. Many of the folks running have merit. I’ve highlighted the folks I particularly like, but make your own choice. It is, after all, your Democratic Party.

Oh, one other thing you should know, the County Democratic Central Committee will be selecting from its own officers and members a separate set of delegates, but some of those folks are running anyway for Assembly District delegate seats.

Delegates will vote on important decisions like voting on endorsements by the California Democratic Party for legislative and statewide offices, vote to take positions on ballot propositions, and on California Democratic Party resolutions at the yearly state convention, election of the California Democratic Party officers, chairman, two vice-chairs, secretary and controller (in odd-numbered years after the presidential elections) and election of regional directors.

The Candidates seeking election to State Democratic Party Convention at 35th District Assembly Meeting are:

15 Female Candidates, vote for up to seven

Rosemary Canfield

Mary Strobridge, Democratic Central Committee Recording Secretary

Michelle Turner

Julie Zafiratos

Heidi Harmon

Quinn Brady

Violet Cavanaugh

Savanna Cooper

Mary Ellen Maldonado

Skyler Petersen

Erica Reyes

Debra Broner, Democratic Central Committee Treasurer, former Chair

Sherri Stoddard

Mila Vujovich-La Barre, Candidate for SLO City Council who was endorsed by Council of Elected Democrats and Citizens Congress

Niki Greenfield


Male candidates, vote for up to seven

Jim Conway District husband of the 35th assembly district caucus organizer, SLO County Democratic Central Committee member Cheryl Conway

Stephen Akers

Nicholas Andre

Scott Baker

David Baldwin, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 403

Erik Baskin, Firefighter’s Local 3523

John Alan Connerley

Michael Costello

Thomas Dunne

Joseph Gibson

Roger Hart

Maxwell Hokit

Brian Ivie

Thomas Kessler

Stephen Lacki

Giacomo Longato

Mickey Robinson

Peter Rowland

Hector Sanchez

Clint Weirick

Stew Jenkins is a liberal San Luis Obispo County Democrat who supports the rights of working people to organize unions, the prudence of the cities and county growing the local economy through project labor agreements, the right of all people to health care and equal dignity. He is an attorney practicing in San Luis Obispo since 1978. Jenkins’ handles tax payer suits, municipal law, estate planning and family law.

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Mr. Jenkins,

With all do respect, you, and your counter part, Mike Brown, are full of shit. No, not that all around the world kind in every field, sidewalk and yard type of shit, no! You two are that special blend of Party Politics Fecal Matter that reeks in every hall, chamber and capitol in this country.

You can sugar coat the Demo’s loss any way you want, but, when it comes right down to it you still don’t have a clue! The Repub’s are still rubbin’ their collective heads wonderin’ “What the hell!” While the both of you are still pointin’ fingers! Jeeez! Now we’ll just get another batch of partisan I don’t give a f*** about what’s right or what’s wrong, all I want to do is dance the party line, public service that only serves you and your kind!

Why don’t the both of you get together and invite a bunch of us over for tea and crumpets and we’ll all shoot the shit together. Put the partisan shit in the garage, it’s old and broken down anyway, and we’ll jump on the Love Train (too far?) and TALK and LISTEN! If you haven’t figured it out, you stopped talking and listening to us a long, long, long time ago! You talk to your peers just fine but as for the rest of us? Not so much…

Since I can’t get there I do have a suggestion or two for one or two opening conversations, if I may?

1. Term Limitations

2. A Constitutional Amendment doing away with the Electoral College

That’s it for now. Why not start off with some of the big stuff first and then work our way down. Invite folks in advance letting them know what the topic(s) will be (it’ll give all of you the chance to bone up on the subject matter) and the TALK and LISTEN. Good shit can and probably will happen.

Today’s Democrat party is the party of Socialists, Communists, Fascists and for good measure lets throw in a Hezboenvironmentalists or two. It has completely lost all mooring to the needs, wants and views of the Common Man. In fact it’s worse, they hold the Common Man in distain, the White Male, in their view, is the problem with this Country so they just found out what happens when the White Male doesn’t vote for them…they lost to El Trumpo.

However, do they self reflect…NO.

They blame the Electoral College

They blame Fake News

When that didn’t gain traction, they Blame the Russians.

Lets face it, todays Left is not the Left of Old…they are the Communists and Socialist of Old.

Heck a Socialist would have won the Democratic Nomination if it wasn’t for Crooked HiLiary rigging the hacking the Election!

The Democrat Party is no longer a National Party, they are a Party of Big City Socialism, Smart Growth and Agenda 21.

Wow! Does that mean by default that the Republicans offer the exact opposite? I don’t think so…

Lets see now; Republicans ARE socialists if they are receiving Social Security and/or Medicare benefits (just mention eliminating or cutting those benefits and see the shit hit the fan).

Couple of other things pointing to a socialist? Yea, sure…

Went to public school? Used public roads? Eaten food protected by national safety standards? Deposited money into a bank with FDIC? Used a public library? Called 9/11? Used the United States Postal Service? Have or had a student loan or grant? Rode a bus? Any of those things ring a bell?

And how ’bout corporate welfare, Republican’s favorite charity! Yea, you’ll bitch and moan about a mother receiving an extra $100 a month in food stamps while rubber stamping the “to big to fail” bail outs and subsudies that cost tax payers billions every f***in’ year! And tax breaks to boot that puts millions in their coffers while Mom can’t feed her kids! And now your potus is calling and threatening businesses, Putin like, and tellin’ ’em to stay or pay? Man, if that ain’t communistic I don’t know what is!

Stop with the BS already! This whole country has become a poster nation for Corporate Socialism with the Repub’s leadin’ the way…

I’m very doubtful there are more than a handful of gun “totin” democrats anywhere in the world. The DNC is about to implode over Isra-el. Who ever you met is is making a statement which is out-of-step with the party.

California is an odd state where many of the people have no voice. Politicians in CA are out of step with the entire nation now and perhaps much of the world. The world is moving decisively away from collective identity and winner take all mindset that have defined the democratic party and California.

Come up to Oregon, those gun totin’ Demo’s are every frickin’ wear! I know, I go shootin’ with a couple of ’em! (Now don’t get your panties in a bunch! Yea, I’m a felon but that doesn’t mean I can’t go shootin’ with proper gun owners using their guns… I can!).

It’s about time we “implode” over Israel! Much too long payin’ them to protect them in part of the world they have no respect or tolerance for. Yea, it’s tough! Especially when you want a state of your own while denying the same thing to the Palestinians who have been their much, much, much longer! All the while this “christian” country ignores the fact that we can’t even come to their country and spread the “good news” as it’s been banned (It’s seen as an offering of ‘material inducement’ which could land a christian missionary in jail for up to five years! Also, a Jew could be jailed for three years if he converts to christianity)! Try that with Judaism in this country and you’ll get mauled! Nope, not anti-sematic, I just don’t buy into their “poor me” crap anymore!

Sure, you can stay up there ans shoot til your finger falls right off. The free world, and by that I mean Vladimir Putin, have soundly and decisively just stopped the American anti-nation globalists.

I support him in this endeavor, largely because natural born Americans are losers in their game. Just look at SLO – gotta leave to make a living. A race to the bottom is their motto. Vlad the defender they might call him one day..

So, your benchmark for the “free world” rests with Putin? Wow! I guess trump does have a few out there who see the world through the same f***ed up glasses as he does.

I don’t shoot often enough to lose fingers, but every once-and-awhile I do lose a little time going back to when the Patriots shot the type of guns my friends do, classic sidelock muzzleloaders. It’s a blast (literally)!

I’m a natural born American, my families surnames are two of the oldest on this continent, combine that with my Native American Heritage (according to my DNA a little over 25%) I’d say I’m about as American as a “natural born American” can be. But I don’t take exception to your “losers” crap, ya know why? I know what a loser is, I’ve been one. Not anymore though. No time for it. Besides, if there is a loser than there has to be a winner, both of which are wide open for interpretation (just look to the recent presidential election as the perfect example! Hillary won the vote but lost the election?!!! Winner? Loser? Loser? Winner? What the f***!). Nope, not a loser. I am a participator though…

Nope, not anti-nation! Just a person who recognizes the FACT that this world is a much smaller and more crowded place then it was just 50 years ago (about the time it took to double the worlds population while things like telephone and digital technology(s) shrunk everything and anything happening in this world to about a second-and-a-half from your front door) and this has created a global community. Like it or not, what is done in the smallest village in the farthest reaches of civilization has a direct effect on the Globe, and, it’ll be known world wide in seconds.

You meant Vlad The Impaler, Jr., right? The Count (Dracula) has to be less bloodthirsty than Putin, ummmm, right? Maybe not… It’s all in the interpretation after all.

Pants on fire.

I notice that the meeting is at a local Union Hall!!!

Until the Democratic Party sheds itself of the special interests that control it, it will never be the Party of the People:(

Not saying that the Republican Party is much better in this respect, being taken over by the Religious Right, but seem to offer more to the working man.

The Democratic Party seems to consist mainly of rich liberal elitist’s, Union bosses and then buying votes with promises of free everything to dependent welfare recipients, while only giving lip service to working family’s :(

Bingo…What next blaming Natasha and Boris?

This is a laughable article to say the least.

The dems are still crying over their loss to an outsider who ran against 16 other Republicans, three socialist/independent/democrats and all of the main stream media.

Here in the elitist coastal belt of California, it was as if there was no election at all. The dems selected a flawed, corrupt, lying member of their party who did not get elected, yet they are doing all they can to obstruct the peaceful transition by the duly elected President to be.

One only has to read about all the bills and legislation Governor moonbeam just signed into law, in an attempt to shackle the voters with more laws which we all know will not be enforced. Just more taxes/expense for the taxpayers and busy work for the over paid bureaucrats that have been running our state into the ground for the last 50years…

Some democracy! You must have seven winners of each sex rather than the most qualified!

That is an excellent point! We all must fit in a little box, and all boxes must be filled, lest something be *wrong* with us… they are defeated before they even begin, and don’t even know it, nor recognize it. Meritocracy must be viewed as one of the great evils of the world; I know it is in government circles.

And, I hope there is a sufficient range of colors to go along with the sex distribution!

Stew… you seem like a good guy… but you’re aligned with bad policies. Why try so hard to resurrect them? They might make you feel good… but they don’t work. Why not rally your crowd to get back to American fundamentals that really address the needs of the people who you say you care for…. but rejected you? American security. A job friendly government. And then leave us alone. We can take care of the rest without the “help” of government. BTW, libertarians and conservatives don’t do bumper stickers. We tend to keep quiet unless messed with. You’re group messed with us too much, so you lost.

He has to align with the Democrats. CA has devolved into a single party state, which is in part why the rest of the country opened the door to a loud mouth NYer.

Everyone looks at California and will be damned to have their state end up like CA with overwhelming poverty and no prospect of employment.

“And they didn’t like Republicans hijacking the flag or their Christian religious affiliations.”

The republicans did not hijack anything, the democrat party burned and razed the flag (literally and metaphorically) and Christianity to the ground over the last 40+ years. The democrats are simply reaping what they have sowed as far as patriotism, Christianity and any other positive connotation of representation that “the masses” identify with. When all these people see one group CONSTANTLY burning, putting down, and otherwise being overtly negative towards ideals or icons, it is no wonder the “other” party appears to have “hijacked” these things. I mean, it might fly on a college campus or any other place out of touch with reality, but it rarely flies anywhere else.

“…the political party of the 99 percent.”

Didn’t the democrat party receive the bulk of large campaign contributions, from wall street bankers, big unions, and the entertainment industry? All segments that are as far away from “the 99%” as one can get. Democrats still fail to grasp this. Actually, Hillary got a sh!t-ton from foreign governments, how’s that for a 99%’er?

“the Republicans have built deep benches”

I.E. the democrat party is pretty exclusive to a very narrow segment of people; so much so, that it makes the republicans look like they have a deep bench.

As the saying goes, “Republicans are in Office, Democrats are in Power.” From my perspective, the democrats have let the power go to their heads, and couple that with a compliant media arm of the party (aka “news”) and pop-culture, and it is no wonder that many of them believe their own propaganda until the election results are in.

I mean, the democrats let the Washington Generals of politics (republicans) beat them soundly. That’s pretty bad for them, but I think better for the country. We’ll see. Good thing about republicans (voters and supporters, not candidates) is that if their people screw up, they don’t hesitate to vote them out. Democrats seem loathe to get rid of dead weight, and frankly, that is what sank the party this last time around.

Come on now! Let’s not do the “christian” thing again. If you’re a politician, be it Repub’, Demo’, Inde’ or GP you sure as hell ain’t no walkin’ the walk christian! You can’t be! It’s Impossible!

Christians are what? “Positive connotations”? You are kidding me, right? What sect, cult or denomination are you referring to? And the ones who hooked their wagons to your potus? Wellllll now, their a special breed all unto themselves! All three of the god heads are rollin’ around on heavens floor right now throwin’ up…

Here’s the gist of it rOy; your potus is the best that the Repub’s had to offer; Cruz, Rubio, Bush (Jeb) and the rest of the “deep bench” couldn’t play political hard ball in a rookie league! He pitched a one or two hitter against them ALL! Not so much against Hillary though, nope! He got beat by +/-3 million runs but the umps’ got together and called it for the loser…