The previous attempt at an information inoculation did not prevent the fever unfortunately, so let’s discuss what is going on.
I’m not an expert on the bylaws. I did not have a vote on any of this as an Associate Member so this is not necessarily negligent. The technical argument here is about the bylaws – whether or not Associate Members are held to the same rules as Members. If in a court that’s what we would be discussing, however, this is of course only the court of public opinion, which is arguably more important on something like this. Why? Because these narratives affect the public’s impression of people who take the time to become involved in civics.
What’s going on. A tiny minority to include Richard Marks and … that’s about it that I’ve seen who have put their name behind this controversy are carefully building a narrative about what the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) has done in removing Melinda Ciarabellini. What is true and the heart of this narrative is Melinda Ciarabellini, a lifelong Democrat was removed from her position as Associate Member.
That in itself is hard. Especially for Democrats as we do strive to be inclusive. How can a party vote in good conscience to remove a someone, especially an upstanding citizen and genuinely good person like Melinda? The following are NOT the reasons Councilwoman Ciarabellini was removed; her activity or voting pattern on the Eureka Council, any political disagreements some of the Members had with her, etc.. Melinda was voted to be removed by a majority of the voting Members present because Melinda endorsed a candidate running against a HCDCC-endorsed candidate.
Obviously in our community – in Humboldt and in California especially, we don’t appreciate stories of good people being excluded from this or that club. It seems unfair, inappropriate, judgemental, authoritarian. That’s the context for the narrative. The actors of course have been well established. You have the low key, soft spoken, good union member (and person) and often “progressive” Richard Marks as the protagonist protecting his friends and political allies. You have his friends and allies who have been slighted as the victims of the (OK, I’m going to use their language for a bit, bear with me) bullies who have been gagged and then purged by the authoritarian, extreme clique of radicals at the heart of the HCDCC.
That in a nutshell is the narrative. Is it what happened? No. Is there truth in it? Yes. How much is subjective and is the reason the narrative has held up for so many years.
In the end, the HCDCC “clique” narrative is no different that the distracting dramatic soap-opera quality stories that we are all familiar with at the national level that ultimately leave us with a highly ineffectual federal government.
I think removing Melinda was the right decision. We do need to be able to elect Democrats that act like Democrats. We can’t do that except by a vote of the majority. The lesson of all this? Get involved. Help us to define what is a Democrat, and, I have to say, what is a Republican.
I’d also make a plea to the Republicans to pick up the slack. It’s a huge problem to have only one effective party. You are going to have to work on your messaging and policy. My suggestion? As Julie Timmons suggested, look to Eisenhower for answers. Eisenhower was not about destroying the middle class or national reaction to the depression, FDR , and WW II helped us create.
“But Jon? Partisanship is not a thing at the local level – quit it!”
We can’t ignore it either. In fact, to do so would be unproductive. Partisanship for partisanship sake is undesirable, but partisanship to help “motivate, organize, and elect” for policy is critically important. Environmental, working family, and tribal/ethnic /religious/ racial minority-rights organizations are not going to be able to effect change on their own. Not when reservoirs of money exist to advocate for other interests. There is an inherent need for an organization dedicated to educating the electorate on their vision of civics and then getting out the vote – i.e. the political “machinery”. Humboldt Baykeeper, the Eureka’s Teacher’s Association, etc., cannot do it on their own.
What the narrative has allowed is a HCDCC frozen in time and thus ineffectual at having any real influence on policy. Unfortunately a lack of public policy is what many conservatives desire as it basically allows the Chamber of Commerce to have primacy.
And right now, narratives such as this one promoted by Richard Marks and a few other anons are critical to the Democrat’s recent ineffectiveness in influencing local public policy despite incredibly large electorate mandates for liberal/democratic value/policies at the national level.