I am still making my way through Parliamentary procedure. Also, I am not able to read minds, so I do not know what half of the controversy at our monthly HCDCC (Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee) a few weeks ago was all about. Let’s start with what I did understand.
1) Bob Service was elected Chair of the Humboldt Democrats by a healthy margin. 14 to 9. Last month Linda Atkins spoke up on behalf Bob, and Supervisor Fennell spoke up on behalf of Jim Smith who is a good union Democrat. I don’t believe Bob’s Chairmanship is in any way a rebuke to unions. Not from where I stand. Like most of us Democrats, Bob is a staunch supporter of unions. Unions are the life blood of Democrats. It is more about our new conservative or alternative or modern or HumCPR or whatever Democrats vs what HumCPR might call the “radical agenda” Democrats but I would simply call mainstream, middle-of-the-road California Democrats.
2) There was a long and contentious debate that was mostly way over my head about what order we will address items in the agenda. I think this was based on a fear that the Executive Board had stacked the deck in order to get their way on this or that. I really don’t know or care, to be honest.
3) The bylaws were changed to allow for Associate Members to be non-voting members of the Executive Board – specifically – Treasurer. Why? Because we couldn’t find any Members to step up to the responsibility. Being the sucker I am I volunteered and since I have not been elected by you all in a honest-to-goodness election, I am only an Associate Member of the HCDCC. Therefore our rules had to be changed to allow for
suckers, err Associate Members to be certain officers of the Executive Board too.
4) I think one of, if not THE reason the order of the agenda was so important was we were deciding whether or not the associate member-officers would get a vote on the Central Committee. This is important of course because the Central Committee is where we decide, say, on our Chair, who we endorse in campaigns, etc. Basically the whole Democratic Humboldt ball of wax. Theoretically HumCPR, for example, (Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights) could stack the deck so heavily that we could one day pass a resolution that we Democrats feel that HumCPR is a valuable contributor to local democracy as it helps to honor landowners. I don’t know, I’m sure we could find some bylaws that say we couldn’t do such a thing, but it’s just an example of the power of numbers on the Central Committee.
So, when the vote happened to decide whether or not associate members would be allowed a vote in the Central Committee itself, the vote was an overwhelming – “NO” (17 to something, 8 maybe). Which is good. Here’s why. The Members of the Central Committee are directly voted by the electorate. You may not know this, but they are. It’s usually way down on the ballot and most people wouldn’t even notice (I didn’t until only recently). So most often members are directly accountable to the electorate itself. (Some members are appointed when there are vacancies, etc) This is an important connection to maintain, especially for Democrats.
Interestingly there was some confusion, and because of my odd position of having a proxy vote, I was not in a position to clear it up. At first I was in favor of an Associate Member having a vote on the Central Committee for obvious myopic selfish reasons. But then Bob Service explained to me essentially the reasoning contained in the preceding paragraph, and I changed my mind. I think most people in that room thought one camp was angling for a power play and an extra vote. That wasn’t the case and that became clear in the final tally for the amendment to disallow associate members the Central Committee vote.
Sorry for the long post on mostly minutia. I think it’s important to have as a reference if nothing else. Also, apologize it took so long to post. Here’s my theory on that though – I am not impressed with the 24/7/urgent nature of news. I think real news lasts a long time and ultimately, WHAT’S THE RUSH? right?