Monday, March 21, 2016

El Paso County Democratic Convention

Eight years ago when there was a contested primary involving Hillary Clinton and most of the supporters who were at the convention Saturday, it was a screw job of epic proportions. The Hillary delegation was rude, ugly, mean-spirited, and unethical.

Luckily they got what was coming to them at the state convention and everything that was wrong at the County convention was fixed at the state convention.

Saturday's convention was a completely different story. I could write all day long about it the short of it was that it was actually pretty well-run and smooth, compared to conventions in the past. Most of the people that attended that had never been to a convention before and probably thought it was a big cluster-fuck.

It wasn't. It may have seemed chaotic but most of the convention work was done early with the exception of nominations committee. But that wasn't even their fault. There was a problem with the fact that the state party sent them forms that were missing a key element that would've made things go along a lot faster.

The only real thing that marred the convention was Hillary supporter and local party celebrity Pee Wee Meir being obnoxious to the young Bernie supports. If you know Pee Wee then you know she is famous for being obnoxious. Its what she does. She has a potty mouth. She curses like a bilingual sailor on leave or a Tourettes patient that hasn't taken their meds.

But she had a little more of an edge than normal and was calling the young Bernie supports stupid. Which is funny because she was trying to kick me out of the nominations committee meeting because I wasn't part of the committee. But Norma Chavez who was chair of the committee set her straight. You can't call people stupid and then not know the rules yourself.

Personally I was concerned about the nominations committee because it was Murders Row of people who screwed over the Obama delegation 8 years ago, including the architect of the screw job, former Chair Danny Anchondo. But myself and a couple of other people from the Bernie delegation were able to monitor how things went and everything was smooth and no one screwed us over.

There were a couple of times people tried, but it was blocked. No one wanted a repeat of what happened when Anchondo was the chair.

The Bernie delegation ended up with far more delegates to the state convention than the popular vote reflected because the participated strongly. I was proud because 8 years ago I was one of those young idealistic kids with no gray in my hair and hope for a stronger Democratic Party. Some of the people that were the young Obama kids are now the veteran members of the party that have stuck through some rough years under the Old Guard and its important to keep all that new blood in the Party.

The Bernie delegation made its biggest mark in resolutions. They passed a lot of good progressive liberal policies.

Although you can fully expect them to be chased off by the Old Guard and their movidas soon. But there is a concerted effort to ensure that doesn't happen like it did 8 years ago.

Alex Burnside, Ashley Rodriguez, Eric Stoltz, Lyda Ness, Antonio Williams, and Xavier Miranda did a good job filling leadership roles for the Bernie delegation. They showed what a mix of young blood and experience can do successfully.

Norma and I sparred a few times during the day, but nothing ugly. Just spirited discussion over interpretation of rules because we were each fighting for our candidate. Neither of us are afraid of the other and both of us over the years have grown a healthy respect for the other's skills, so it was spirited but not ugly. And I must admit, Chavez was fair as the chair of the most important committee at the convention. Side note - she's very healthy and has lost a lot of weight. She does some diet thing and she's probably in the best shape of her life, so rumors of her declining health are not true.

All the Chairs were Hillary people but they were all very fair. Trust me, it takes a lot for me to say that because of how things went down 8 years ago but I have to admit it was fair.

There was a big push for "unity" at the event. The reality is that the push is one-sided because the Hillary people feel like Secretary Clinton has things all wrapped up, so its a lot easier for them to talk about unity because they feel like its over and that they won. But I remember 8 years go, and they weren't so much for unity. We will see as things get closer to the national convention and they start to tighten up a bit.

But there was good intentions there, and that was mostly being pushed by the top Hillary Guy, Aaron Paz. But hey, you expect good intention from a vato who's last name means peace.

There was one funny part of the convention that Paz isn't too happy about. They had a big banner on the wall that said "I support Hillary because..."

And someone wrote this:

A lot of us were offended by the sentiment, but that started a little finger pointing. The Hillary people accused us of putting it there and we thought to ourselves, leave it to a Hillary supporter to put something like that.

We also laughed because we all know Hillary is trying to sound like that older guy from New York, but she sailed over Bernie and landed on Trump!

All in all it was a great convention and the Party leadership executed well (Butch Maya, George Ybarra, Michael Apodaca, and Iliana Holguin).

There's been some comment that the lack of elected officials at the event was noticeable. Senator Rodriguez, Commissioner Stout, Rep Limón, and a couple of judges including Judge Strathmann were present but that was it.

The reality is the Party has chased off a lot of good people because they didn't like the outcomes of elections. But those elected officials shouldn't be scared off by a few old crazy cooks. Have some huevos, show up, and be part of a change if you don't like the current status quo.

I learned something from Don Williams years ago when asked why he was a member of every Democratic Party organization. He basically said they can't talk shit about you if you're in the room.

Thats mostly true and our local Democratic elected officials should take note of that and show up to events, even if a few people are jerks. Showing up shuts them up. Being a no-show gives them ammo.

Hats off to Butch Maya. This was his last event as Chairman of the Party and despite having a lot of health problems, he ran the best convention I've been a part of. He went out on top and in charge.

Frankly, I was proud of him.

And when the convention was over, he asked me to make the motion to adjourn. An unexpected surprise and honor.

Thanks Mr. Chairman.


Anonymous said...

Wait! What? Norma Chavez doesn't live in El Paso County anymore, or does she? If she doesn't, why is she chairing an EP County Demo committee?

Thomas said...

So tell us since you left the numbers out what was the turn out. So in one of the biggest strong holds of the Democratic party in Texas did you get at least 10 to 15 thousand to show up for the convention?

The Lion Star said...

You cynicism of my party makes me laugh.

You just made up the number arbitrarily. Just pulled numbers out of the sky. Its funny.

Thomas said...

No it a fair question! How many members of your party to the numbers of registered Democrats for the El Paso area bothered to show up for your convention?
If you do not want to give the numbers then the cynicism must be clearly with your party members that couldn't be bothered to show up. It's Ok if your ashamed that once again only a small minority block groups of voters in the party showed.

The Lion Star said...

You weren't throwing out a number, you were trying to mock it. But what you don't know is that a small number of people show up to any political demonstration. Most national conventions are held in buildings that hold less than 20,000 people. So your number is just your comical attempt at making an issue out of the number of people that showed up. I just won't play along with that. We all know how many showed up to your convention.

Oh wait...

Thomas said...

If you do not want to tell let us guess, at best, a couple of hundred.
Have zero party affiliation so nope I did not hold a convention for a party of one but we do have movie night about once a month with popcorn and cheese doodles.
Yep really sounds like your party is firing the membership up will be interesting to see what it translates to in November..
Jaime I would ask the same of my Republican friends in El Paso but none I know of have anything to do with the local Republican party.

Anonymous said...

I have been a reader and fan of your blog for many years. I have differed with your views and opinions on several occasions, but never found it necessary to comment. Today, I find it necessary to not only comment, but ask for your apology to those of us who have been directly affected by the Tourrette syndrome disease. How can you compare a foul mouthed individual to someone who has no control of their reflexes. Jaime, you have no idea how painful it is to see a child, in my case a grandchild, suffer with their involuntary symptoms. Please stop with your reckless journalism. Victims of this disease suffer enough and don't need people like you to make fun of them.

The Lion Star said...

To clarify, I am not now, nor have I ever, purported to be a journalist. I want to make that absolutely clear.

Second, you're right. I was wrong to do so. I shouldn't have done that despite the fact I was just trying to illustrate my point. I should've used a better method. I apologize. It was insensitive and wrong.

I'll try to do better next time. Thanks for reading.