2007 CA Democratic Convention - The Experience
(Not to be confused with "Star Trek - The Experience")
Friday morning I headed down to San Diego for the 2007 California Democratic Convention. This was my first convention. I had been to the pre-meeting, which gave me an idea of what was going on, so I wasn't totally clueless. I made it down there around 12:00 or so. I found out that registration wasn't until 2pm, but there was a workshop for new delegates at 1pm. I therefore had an hour to kill. I walked around the convention center to get an idea of where everything was, and went out on the back patios to take a look at the view. I could see the Coronado bridge, leading down to the island where the Hotel Del is (my wife loves that place). Nice view. I asked one of the staff what there was to do in the area, and found out about Seaport Village and the USS Midway. I vaguely remembered the USS Midway as being an important ship, and figured it was a destroyer. Ok, so sue me; I don't have my WWII history down yet. I had enough time to walk down and explore the village, grab a chili dog and walk back.
I don't remember much of what was said at the workshop. I think it was stuff I had mostly heard already. The registration line was huge. I waited a while before joining the line. Inside the registration room, I got in line behind a friend. I wasn't sure who the state delegates from AD71 were, but she had a list and let me copy the info. I still only ended up seeing a few people on that list. After registration, we went to another booth to pick up our convention gimmes. Inside the bag were some flyers, a baseball hat, some stickers and pins and pens, as well as the event calendar. By the time I was done with all of that, it was nearly 4pm, and I went to the Computer and Internet caucus, which started at 3:30. They mostly talked about the Net Neutrality resolution, which I support, but which didn't make it to the end (more later). After that caucus, I went out to the terrace to hear Art Torres, Mike Gravel, Jerry McNerney and Charlie Brown speak. They had a little bit of food served there, but there were huge lines for it, so I skipped that. After a while, I went down to my car and drove to my hotel, which passed by the USS Midway. Holy Toledo! It's an aircraft carrier! And it's huge! And it's right there! I so wanted to go on it, but ended up not having enough time during the weekend.
After checking in, I parked back at the convention center and walked to Seaport Village. It turned out that it was right at 9pm, and everything had just closed. So, I turned around and walked down 5th Street, which is the heart of the Gaslamp District. I wanted something cheap and quick, and I walked all the way down to Broadway before finding a pizza joint. Note that I went out by myself for dinner. It's not that I didn't know anyone else there; it's just that we didn't coordinate, or at least I didn't coordinate with anyone else, and I'm perfectly content with taking care of myself.
I made it back to the convention center and went to the California Young Democrats (CYD) party. They had a "casino night" set up there, so I played blackjack for a while before calling it a night.
Saturday morning, I made it in time to the General Session at 9am. When I entered, I was reminded of the national party conventions because we all had our special areas in which we had to sit. I was in Region 18, which covers most of Orange County. There, I saw a bunch of people I knew, and some that I didn't know. Once things got started we heard speeches from Clinton, Garamendi, Debra Bowen, John Chiang, Lockyer, Jerry Brown and Jack O'Connell. I don't know why they didn't have Clinton last. Must have had something to do with her schedule. She gave a good speech, and when she left, there were lots of people standing around, and some people left. It took a while for everyone to sit down, and then we continued with the rest of the speeches. I'm not going to remark on any of the candidate speeches here, because I already went over them in a previous entry.
After that was a luncheon, where some awards went out, including one to our very own Melahat. Yea! After that, we went to the next General Session, where we heard from Obama, Dodd and Kucinich. We had the same problem with Obama that we did with Clinton. I pitied the people that went after Obama. After the General Session, I went over to the "Can the Spam" workshop. The topic was effective communication during a campaign. Very interesting. Gave me some good ideas.
Following that was the Pre-Dinner Social Hour out on the terrace again. I wandered around talking to various people and met a few new people as well. Kucinich's wife was out there also. I thought it a bit odd that a candidate's spouse was out there alone, but oh well. After that was the Pelosi dinner. She was introduced as the most powerful woman in the world. I hadn't thought of her that way before, but I can see how that would be true. It was an enjoyable dinner. I again met a few new people. Pelosi's remarks (not quite a speech) were good. She seems affable enough. Though, I've never had to go up against her in a political fight.
After that, at 10pm, was the Precinct Captains workshop, where we learned about tools and techniques that could help us get our precincts organized and active. I only stayed about a half-hour, because I wanted to get to the Richardson event over at the US Grant which started at 10pm. I got there around 10:45 only to be told that the event was actually from 9-10. Damnit. His volunteers gave me the wrong info. So, I walked back to the convention center and to the hospitality suites. There were a couple of dessert events, but by the time I got back, most of the desserts were gone. Not a lot of people that I knew, so I grabbed a brownie or two and headed back to the hotel.
Sunday, at the General Session, we heard from Edwards, Richarson and a few others including Maxine Waters. I mention her specifically, because she gave a good rousing speech. She had us chanting "Not another nickel, not another dime, not another soldier, not this time!". She knows how to give a speech. However, once I was back home, looking at the OC political blogs, I was reminded that she's in the top 20 corrupt members of congress. Shame on me for not remembering that.
The ending of the convention was the most interesting part, though I don't think it was intended to be. This was the time for all of the resolutions to be approved. The one against the toll road in San Onofre got approved, which the SOCDC president was behind. Then we got to the one about the Iraq war. There were a couple of amendments, and one that they were going to separate into its own resolution which called for the revocation of the resolution giving the President the power to conduct the war. There was some heated debate about the amendments, and then someone called for a quorum count. This pissed most everyone off. Many delegates had left after hearing the speeches, and so even without the count, it was kind of obvious that we didn't have quorum. Which, it turns out, we didn't. That stopped all further business, including passing resolutions, and so the convention came to a very abrupt close. Quorum call apparently came from Region 12's Karen Wingard.