SF Berniecrats, the People's Townhall Project and Single Payer Now showed up in full force to protest at Dianne Feintein's Townhall in SF on a Monday morning. We did a presser, joined by members of Code Pink and Refuse Fascism, and got a ton of press coverage! Below is a list of media outlets that covered the Townhall, with varying levels of coverage.
Decent balanced coverage by major media outlets:
Great interviews / issue highlights:
Sacramento Bee - Full Presser
KQED Facebook Live interview
Skewed Establishment reporting:
CBS - only covering the rare positives
Tsing Tao Chinese Newspaper
The results from the SF Berniecrats Officer Elections are in!! Thank you to all the candidates who participated, and to everyone who came out to vote. Here are your officers for 2017:
Co-Chair: Ben Becker and Claire Lau
Treasurer: Trevor Martin
Membership Coordinator: Cassandra Inglesby
Election and Endorsements Coordinator: Reid Chalker
Moderators: Michael Marinucci and Caleb Arring
Recorder: Hedi Saraf
Social Media Coordinator: Chris Holl
Events Coordinator: Clarice Corell
Graphic Designer: Mirka Morales
Tech Manager: Tim Wayne
Correspondent: Anjali Baliga
Fundraising Coordinator: Adriel Hampton
News Researcher: Alex Hagen
Press Coordinator: Christopher Cook
Community Outreach Coordinators: Dan Kappler, David Carlos Salaverry, Gary Appell, Leah Cooper, and Trevor Martin
Still to be voted on: Legal Advisors
In AD17, East SF, the SF Reform Democrats won 8/14 through a contentious and chaotic election.
Assembly District 17: Laura Clark, Gladys Soto, Davi Lang, Alysabeth Alexander, Leah Pimentel, Angeles Roy, Mia Satya, Theo Ellington, Rafael Trujillo, Peter Gallotta, Wade Woods, Todd David, Benjamin Becker, Nima Rahimi.
For AD19, West of SF and Daly City, all 8 candidates of the SF Reform Democrats won, and almost all of their recommendations from Ting's slate got elected as well. So progressives got 13/14!
Assembly District 19: Wendy Aragon, Amy Bacharach, Brigitte Davila, Maureen Dugan, Amy Erb, Kelly Groth, Li Lovett, Ian Fregosi, Brandon Harami, Xavier Aubuchon-Mendoza, Jonathan Lyens, Gabriel Medina, William Walker, Alan Wong.
But any hope that the Democratic Party in San Francisco would blissfully unite against Trump was dashed by bitter divisions on full display Sunday morning. The friction that tore apart the national party during the primary season, and has pitted local progressives against centrists, grew red hot as the Democrats’ warring factions converged on the labor building.
As I entered the building, Reform slate members were fuming about what they alleged was “election-rigging” by their centrist opponents. A line of Bauer rental buses parked in front — observers counted at least five vehicles — was disgorging a steady stream of Chinese-speaking men and women. No one stopped them as they went directly inside the building, cutting in front of the long line of people who were patiently standing in the rain.
I spotted one middle-aged Chinese American woman, who declined to give her name, filling out multiple ballots. When challenged by an independent election observer, she became upset and said she was voting on behalf of relatives who could not read English. Meanwhile, at the table where the woman was filling out ballots, Rebuild slate organizers handed out doughnuts, tangerines, granola bars and bottled beverages to those who had just performed their civic duty.
“This is just more of the same corrupt stuff we saw in the Democratic primaries,” said Reform candidate Ben Becker, as he tried to physically block people from crashing the voter line. The young, ponytailed Becker and his wife, Claire Lau, had co-founded San Francisco Berniecrats, an organization that grew out of the Sanders campaign and became the main engine behind the Reform slate. “Hundreds of people are being bused in from Chinatown today — they don’t know who they’re voting for,” said Becker. “They’re just being told how to vote by David Chiu and his people.”
48Hills reporter Tim Redmond had some choice words for David Chiu's shenanigans at the ADEM election yesterday (January 8):
I ran into Assemblymember David Chiu Sunday morning, outside the union hall where delegates to the state Democratic Party were being chosen. “Welcome,” he said, “to the exercise in democracy.”
You could call it that. Or maybe not.
It was definitely old-school: More than 1,500 people waited in a line that wrapped around the block, in the rain, for the chance to cast a paper ballot for seven men and seven women who would, perhaps, help move the Democratic Party in a new direction.
Except that not everyone waited. Chiu had paid to hire buses – I counted five – to bring in people from around the city, many of them Chinese seniors. Someone apparently told them that there was a separate line for seniors, because they all moved directly to the door, where the people managing the line had no idea that there was a special line for seniors.Read more
...Now, Chiu stands accused by progressive-leaning Democrats of bussing in seniors who had little knowledge of the race. But the state Democratic party, which oversees the voting process, is also accused of failing to verify voter registration and of leaving party members out in the cold during what was anticipated to be California’s worst storm of the year.
The rain was light at the Labor International Union Hall on Sunday, where Democratic Party voting took place, but the wind was strong, and hundreds of seniors waited in it to vote.
Chiu did not have an immediate response to the accusation, but his office said he would send a statement soon.
To all the CA berniecrats who won delegate spots over this weekend:
1) Welcome! I remember the energy and excitement from when we in the Dean crew did something similar, but on perhaps a smaller scale, 10 years ago during the 2007 ADEMs. You’re embarking on a fun adventure.
2) You’re not nearly done. This was a beginning, it wasn’t the end. Now you’re going to have to take the next step to become enmeshed in the party and make it your own. Next up: apply to be on committees. I got the chance to make a big difference when I was on the Platform and Legislative Committees. Go do that.Read more
(Note: this is a cross-post from the original on Facebook)
At around 9:30am, the first bus arrived, carrying several dozen elderly Chinese people. They spoke Cantonese only and got behind the short line that had formed. As a native Cantonese speaker from Hong Kong, I approached them and handed them our slate card, and began telling them about what our slate stands for and how it’s different from David Chiu's slate. Some of them were afraid to engage and avoided eye contact, but others seemed interested and asked me what the other card was about. I told them that the Chiu’s slate is in favor of building of luxury condos, but as a result, regular people like me, a teacher for kindergarteners and lower elementary school children, can’t afford to live in this city. Our slate is for building housing that’s for the regular people, not just for the rich. One woman even said in Cantonese, “Helping poor people, great! I like it!”, waving our slate card. When they used “I don’t know English” as an excuse to not take my card, I handed them a piece of literature about labor endorsing Keith Ellison for DNC Chair (part of our platform), that was translated into traditional Chinese. A few minutes later as I migrated down the line, I heard a man yelling, “NO! These are our opponents! Don’t look at this card! Use this one!” I saw a younger man in a white button up shirt, snatching our slate cards out of the hands of the elderly and stuffing another piece of white paper into theirs. I didn’t know this at that time (as a non-citizen who didn’t get to vote or look at the ballots), but their paper was formatted exactly like the ballot was, with the names of their slate’s candidates in a larger font and circled for easy recognition. Some of my friends at the front of the line said they even saw the “translators” actually helping them fill out their ballots.
I was mostly working at the back of the line, and I had noticed that by the next few bus loads (they came in waves), the elderly Chinese were much more reluctant to respond to me. David Chiu’s camp seemed to have found out that a young Cantonese-speaking woman had been talking to “their people” and had specifically instructed them to not engage with me. They put up their umbrellas and turned their faces away. I was overhearing them complain about how they were yelled at for not heading out early enough, and they were complaining about the long waits in line. At this point the line had circled around almost the entire block. At one point, a Chinese women (maybe in her late 50s) walked up to a group of elderly Chinese in the line, and gestured them to come with her. About a dozen got out of the line and followed her walking towards the front entrance. I could hear her saying, “Not this many, it’s too obvious!”, but the elderly Chinese didn’t want to get back in line. I was infuriated. The line had barely moved for the past hour and everyone had been waiting in the pouring rain and strong winds. There are many other elderly in line, but none of them get special treatment. We had a disability access policy, but these people about to cut the line were perfectly physically capable, running in the rain. So I called up a friend at the front and told him that a group of people were coming to the front to cut the line. From the other end I heard that another couple bus loads of Cantonese-speaking elderly were being allowed to directly cut the line, because they needed to be registered as voters. Now, I do not doubt that most or all of them actually live in San Francisco, probably Chinatown. But from my experience canvassing all over Chinatown during the Democratic Primaries, most of the monolingual Cantonese speakers there were not U.S. Citizen and were not eligible to vote. In fact I’d say about 80% of the elderly I had talked to in Chinatown told me they "weren’t naturalized yet” and couldn’t vote. Plus, there was no requirement of any ID or proof of address during the registration process. As a progressive I don’t want to be implementing laws that prohibit low-income communities from accessing the ballot box. But at the same time, busing in a group of elderly Cantonese-only speakers who have no idea who the candidates are, who are questionably eligible voters, and forcing them to vote a certain way without giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions as to who they should vote for is utterly undemocratic.
I was eventually asked to go to the front of the line, to ask the Cantonese speakers that they have to line up. That was futile. They yelled excuses like “We were just getting coffee!” (which by the way was coffee we purchased my pulling in own meager resources) or “We have to go to the bathroom!”, and there was nothing I could really do about it after a bunch of yelling. I was even more enraged when dozens of these voters came out of the exit and swarmed our food table, take everything we had. I was starving at this point. It was noon time, I had been in the rain for 4 hours, and was looking forward to some refreshments. Extremely angry, I walked up to David Chiu and said, “If you promised to feed your people, you need to be feeding them. They’re taking all of our food and there’s none left for our volunteers or our voters.” He replied, “You can’t really blame people from taking food when they see it. Our food table is over there. You are welcome to get food there too."
The January ADEM elections will elect the Assembly District delegates for the CA Democratic Party, the group charged to vote for the 2017 leadership and agenda.
In previous years the progressives have lost at the ADEMs, but this year the Berniecrats have been gathering with progressive groups and leaders in SF to form a unified slate of candidates with broad progressive representation.
GO VOTE Sunday January 8, 10:00am
LiUNA!, Local 261
3271 18th St, San Francisco
101 Lake Merced Boulevard, Daly City
You can register as a Democrat on site when you get there.