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SDEC Meeting - The Day After

by: mpmarus

Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 15:20:21 PM CDT


Sausage MakingThose who attended the state party meeting yesterday may have hoped for an efficient election of DNC members and delegates that would allow attendance at the Save Our Schools rally. Alas, those hopes were soon dashed. The minority caucus, led by Dr. Reed, convened in the same room as the main meeting (but behind a curtain so "outsiders" could not see that particular brand of sausage being made). Despite a 9:30 start that should have allowed the SDEC proceedings to begin on time, that meeting ran well past the 11:00 am published start time. That was just the first hint that we were in for a very long day.
mpmarus :: SDEC Meeting - The Day After
click for a larger versionWhen Judge Kennedy was finally allowed to start the meeting, the body appeared to be making up for lost time - we had a 7 item agenda and moved efficiently through the first 4. Then we got to the election of DNC members. We needed 3, and the first 2 were uncontested nominations. The third spot, however, ended up with two nominees. In keeping the the national committee's rules, and the need for verifiable elections, the election for that last seat was conducted by paper ballot. Dr. Reed immediately objected and came down on the floor among the committee, wheeling, dealing, and gathering votes for his nominee. When he was finally asked to return to his seat (not by name, but by a generic request for everyone to clear the aisles - a request that was made twice before he decided it applied to him), he passed close to me on his way to the dais and I clearly heard him say words to the effect that he didn't know why we were doing this because "we got the votes". Respectfully, it's called THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS and everyone having the right to vote whether you like the way they're going to vote or not.

Things went downhill from there, as we proceeded to the election of the balance of Alabama delegation to the presidential convention in Charlotte. Again we used written ballots, this time because, in addition to the reasons above, in most cases we were choosing more than 1 from a field. (How would you vote for a group of choices by standing vote even if you wanted to? I'm genuinely curious) It was a maddeningly slow process. 2:30 came and went, and as a consequence, many SDEC members did not make it to the education rally. We finally adjourned about 4:00, I think.

Those who stayed for the Delegate meeting after were treated to a return performance by a "great Parliamentarian" (in the words of Shelia Smoot). Dr. Reed, as chair of the delegation, stepped down to make a nomination from the floor (leaving Nancy Worley to preside) and, when his slate was not the only one presented, offered a motion substituting his nominations for the competing slate. Here's what the Oxford Guide to the US Government says about a substitute motion:

Such a motion substitutes a different text for part or all of the bill being debated. A majority vote to accept the substitute kills the original version of the bill.

And it worked as described - first the delegation voted to accept the substitute motion (Dr. Reed's slate), and then they voted to take his nominees as the committee members. The fact that the fix was in was revealed by the fact that the motion vote was a "stand and be counted" procedure, while "his slate" was accepted by a voice vote (lots of Ayes, quite a few abstentions - at least no one tried to say it was an election by acclamation).

Yes, the delegate balloting probably could have been handled more effectively but kudos to the ADP staff for taking on the challenge. On the other hand, the big take-away from yesterday's meeting is that the Dr. Reed political machine is still active and still holding up real progress on the SDEC. Before the meeting, someone described past delegate selection meetings as "the Joe Reed show" and despite the best efforts of Judge Kennedy & his staff, yesterday's performance sadly lived up to that description.

(for a much more detailed version of events, please see "A Little News from the SDEC Meeting" from mooncat)

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The delegate meeting afterwards was a story in itself (4.00 / 2)

I'm not convinced that any of that business of voting on the committee chairs as "slates" instead of individually, and horse-trading about whose "slate" to pick, was per the rules.  And the business of 'Judge Kennedy nominated the white chairs and Dr. Reed gets to nominate the black chairs' -- doing an obvious end run around Earl Hilliard, Jr's attempt to get some younger folks in those slots -- was just bizarre.

Congratulations on your election as a delegate!  You are living proof that Dr. Reed doesn't always get his way.



Work harder and work smarter!

Me and a few others... (4.00 / 1)
But thank you!

Thanks for the food run yesterday - next time I'm packing a lunch!

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.


[ Parent ]
Next time we're bringing a bag of food (4.00 / 2)
Countrycat had enough to keep us alive and make a few friends, but in future we'll have enough provisions to make lots of friends.  Can't have progressive Democrats passing out from hunger at these things ... we need y'all hale and healthy, ready to vote!

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
It most certainly was prohibited (4.00 / 2)

The rules were very much violated by their using slates instead of individual votes.  the draft challenge Young Democrats of America is preparing for the the delegate selection meeting in fact has that as their front and center complaint.

What made their treatment of Hillard especially galling is that his youth slate was the compromise slate that had been specifically purged of all white Young Democrats specifically to placate Reed (Pam Wallace and Ralph Young's original list, which they were illicitly denied the chance to even nominate, added the National Young Dems Rules Chair as an additional young person for the Rules Committee).  What does it say to the young people of this state when they do not feel that they can have anyone considered for a position unless they run all black slates?  Or worse, what happens when our African-American members are told even after that they are tainted because they want to work with whites and Latinos?



[ Parent ]
I hate to say I was glad (4.00 / 2)
that Mooncat said we needed to stay for the delegate meeting.  But if we hadn't, we'd have missed some of the worst behavior I've seen so far from some of our Democratic "leaders."  And that's saying a lot...

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




Some friends & I (4.00 / 2)
discussed yesterday's events on the drive back to LA. The consensus is, as bad as it is, when we describe it, folks think we're exaggerating - it couldn't possibly be that bad.

So thanks - LiA is doing important work by making a video record.

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.


[ Parent ]
When Shelia Smoot (4.00 / 2)
called Worley a great Parliamentarian, I studiously did not look at either of the 'cats lest I catch you having an apoplectic fit ;~D

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.

[ Parent ]
I limited myself (4.00 / 2)
to a coughing fit... that may or may not have been picked up by the camera mic....

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
ADC - in my opinion needs to be... (4.00 / 1)
A Dying Cause... Because they are useless to the state party of the people! I sat with them all again. I spoke with many. Sadly, division keeps on dividing...

I asked the members sitting near me if I could see the blue sheet they all had. I was firmly told NO.  I asked what it was and why couldn't I see it and firmly informed I was not part of the minority caucus. Curiously asking for an explanation, I was told they are the endorsed candidates for their choices. Asked whose? ADC's choices was their reply. They wanted me to know I wasn't entitled to see it even though they are members of the same body i reside in. I was told after further debating Dr. Reed runs the show. In their words, he looks out for them, makes recommendations and they are advised to support and vote his recommendations as a body of endorsed members. I was told Reed let them know they had to stick together. That the youth had no direction and they needed to do their job to keep the party whole. The seniors feel obligated to adhere. One member told me she's not afraid, she's tired of Reed running and controlling their minds and that is why he's prevented her from being a delegate twice before. She said they are afraid of him, but she was not and lord willing she's going to have her day behind the mic...
What good is this? One who counted the votes, after the first 20 predictions were already said in my head. By the 50th.. I had the delegates memorized. It saddened me to see so many members waste their votes when they had up to 6... And if the reason was because members didn't know who to choose, then we are failing as a body. We should know those amongst us.  I had a chance to nominate an at large vacancy and was so quickly passed over, they closed nominations before I could gather what just happened and get to the mic before they closed nominations. Not only did Reed jump agendas out of order and bulldoze through it. He couldn't sit still long enough to share the floor. I watched him physically help his members fill out ballots. So much for secrecy. He wouldn't stay away from the counter tables and kept interrupting the counting... Me included. It took me yelling
at him to get him to leave.. Then sent bird watchers over to monitor our counting. In my opinion, he's back bigger than ever and we need to get our act together. We are younger, more involved, active and know our stuff and I'm just as mad at us for not knowing better. This leopard hasn't changed his spots or prey for years.... and knowing that... I messed up. For those very few elected officials that bother to attend, thank you for the support.. For those officials who are straddling both sides of the fence, and you know who you are.... Heaven help your motives. I heard a lot in my mingling... Much I won't repeat because I'm not about to burn a bridge that may later be needed.. But Saturdays behavior was no different than the accusations made against the GOP. And many should feel shame. There was nothing about that cheat sheet that was democratic or right... AGAIN! In closing, I will leave you with one last comment made to me. When I asked the ADC members if they even knew again who they were sending to Charlotte, I was told NO and it didn't matter. That if Dr Reed tells them these are the endorsed recommendations, they don't have a choice. He's their leader! And lastly, in the 2010 campaign I ran for Barnes, DNC told me personally they didn't even consider Alabama part of the 50..... For the first time, I believe them. They were no help at all.


You should have looked in the trash... (0.00 / 0)

after the voting.

I saw a lot of those colored sheets stuffed in the garbage afterwards.  Wondered what they were because I didn't have any colored sheets in my packet.

 



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
My young black friend... (0.00 / 0)
Went to check out the minority caucus meeting. She didn't stay long - said she left after a woman told her she was marking her ballot wrong. My friend said Huh? and was told she wasn't marking it like Dr. Reed said (so it was wrong...)

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.

[ Parent ]
The biggest issue to me (4.00 / 2)

is how many of the young people were shut out.

There were a ton of "young" Democrats sitting in the back, desperately hoping to get elected as delegates.  They had printed literature, I saw them working the room asking for votes, they thought that the party was actually going to follow the agreed-upon delegate selection guidelines for a specific number of young people (meaning under age 35)...

In short, they expected the Alabama Democratic Party and the DNC to treat them with respect and according to the rules.  Many of them were sorely disappointed.  It was despressing to say... "welcome to the club, kids...."

If we don't don't support and nourish our young Democratic leaders in this state, then who will take over?  Who will run for office?  The "Party Establishment" won't live forever.  I'm sure they know that, but they surely don't seem to give a damn about what will happen to the party when they're gone.



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




We're already struggling... (4.00 / 2)
as far as I know, we have no viable candidate for Governor in 2014. I'm hoping that some of our past statewide office candidates will run again, but am not holding my breath.

And let's not even talk about finding serious competition for Shelby & Sessions...

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.


[ Parent ]
ADP violated DNC rules? (4.00 / 2)
Can you expound on that? If true, perhaps there is a way to seek redress from the national body.

[ Parent ]
The selection process was agreed to in advance (4.00 / 1)
All this is tied into the 2012 Alabama Delegate Selection plan (which is online at the ADP Web site).

Page 12 & 13 of that document discusses the "Presidential Candidate Right of Review.  Section d is the particular issue in this case:

The State Democratic Chair shall certify in writing to the Co-Chairs of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee whether each presidential candidate (including uncommitteed status) has used their best efforts to ensure tha ttheir respective at-large delegate candidates and at-large alternate candidates meet the affirmative action inclusion considerations and goals detailed in the Affirmative Action section of this Plan.....

 The specifics of how the party arrived at the demographic diversity goals begins on page 26 of the delegate selection plan.

In particular, the plan calls for at least 24 delegates between the ages of 18 & 35.  There were also goals for GBLT, disabled, etc.

So, while there are some in the party trying to sell a tale that the party leadership was "standing up for the democratic process" in rejecting the delegate diversity goals, what they were actually doing is protecting their own power base & ability to rig the vote.  This delegate selection process was adopted & agreed to long ago and the process should have some as no surprise to anyone.

The younger folks, in particular, believed that the party would of course follow the rules but they didn't just sit back and wait to be handed a delegate position.  They were actively campaigning and asking for votes.

Unfortunately, they were no match for a power structure more concerned about staying in power for its own sake than about working to build the next generation of party leaders.

Shame on Reed and Worley for kicking the young people to the curb - and Nancy Worley in particular for telling a long fictional tale about why it happened.

 



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
What did Worley say? (4.00 / 2)
And where does Chairman Kennedy fit into all this?

[ Parent ]
I have no doubt (4.00 / 1)
that the Judge used his best efforts to ensure a diverse delegation; unfortunately for Alabama, he didn't win. I trust the DNC will acknowledge that.

Worley's assertion that the Alabama delegation is diverse but we don't know it because "not every candidate checks every box which identifies his/her diversity" is a fine example of trying to defend what you did when you're caught doing the wrong thing.

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.


[ Parent ]
She had this long, defensive diatribe (0.00 / 0)

that she sent out trying to defend the activities on Saturday.

I saw part of it, which asserts that "operatives" from Washington DC and Chicago (cue scary music...) swooped into town and tried to hijack the process and hand pick delegates.

Well, if anyone should recognize "hand-picked candidates".....

When in fact, the DNC folks were there pursuant to the 2012 Delegate Selection Plan that clearly gives them input on the delegation, selection priority, and diversity goals.

My feeling is that if you follow the rules and people don't like that, then they should work to change the rules.  But if you set aside the rules and get criticized for it, you shouldn't whine.  However, it's so much easier to attack the messenger and try to change the conversation.

In fact, if the rules had been followed, Worley's whole statement could have been one sentence:  "We followed the DNC 2012 Delegate Selection guidelines."

Since she can't say that, everything else is merely self-serving obfuscation.

 



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
A few trifling technicalities. (4.00 / 1)

Yawn.

Wow, I must have tied one on. Love what you’ve done with the decor.

As to the closed sessions of the Minority Caucus, I would call to anyone’s attention the provisions of the Charter of the Democratic National Committee, which rather clearly state that:

All meetings of the Democratic National Committee, the Executive Committee, and all their official Party committees, commissions and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot. Charter, Article Nine, Section 10.

Under the terms of the Bylaws of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama, the Minority Caucus has official authority, inter alia, to elect the Vice Chairman for Minority Affairs, and to fill seats on the SDEC. As such, it is among the “official Party committees, commissions and bodies” of the SDEC, and hence the DNC. Closed meetings, I think, are a no-no.

Far be it from me to stir up trouble - I will resume when the ‘cats quit giggling - but it seems to me that some of the issues raised in this post and its comments could be addressed before the Credentials Committee at the Convention by those who are delegates. Its procedures are detailed in the formal Call of the Convention by the DNC. Happy reading. Someone might also take a copy or two of the DNC Charter to the next SDEC meeting, and inquire about the legality of that curtain.



[ Parent ]
So the Alabama Democratic Committee... (4.00 / 1)

is in pretty significant violation of DNC rules, but the state party leadership is either part of the problem (Reed) or doesn't have the clout to rectify it (Kennedy)? 

Is this about right? 



[ Parent ]
don't give up, grasshopper.... (0.00 / 0)

they both answer to a "Higher Authority"

the DNC

Now, whether that group has any interest in getting involved is anyone's guess.  Possibly they require someone who was personally affected by the kerfluffle (like a delegate candidate) to file a complaint.

The 2012 Delegate Selection Plan has a few sections about filing challenges, but I'm trying to finish up some paid work today, so my investigatory time is limited.  Today, at least.



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
I thought the curtain was odd... (0.00 / 0)

It didn't hide sound of the discussion - although you had to strain to hear because the terrible acoustics of the room made everyone who spoke during either meeting sound a bit like Charlie Brown's teacher.

At a previous SDEC meeting (the one where Judge Kennedy was elected chair), the minority caucus met immediately prior to the meeting and the room/meeting wasn't closed to anyone.  I wandered in and set up the video camera so we'd have it in place when the SDEC meeting started.  Nobody made a move to toss me out or even ask what my business was.

Since the meeting spaces were separated this time, I had no reason to go in during that meeting, so I don't know if I'd have been asked to leave.

as an aside.... welcome back to the fray....   We don't call it "stirring up touble."  That handy phrase from the Diplomatic Corps has such a ring... "a frank exchange of views..."  

Or maybe President Harry Truman said it best:

"I don't give them Hell.  I just tell the truth on them and they think they're in Hell."    :-)



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
Closed meetings (4.00 / 1)

I do know that, at previous SDEC meetings (some recent), whites have been told they were not permitted to remain in a Minority Caucus meeting. Not even as an observer.

I don't begrudge any group that wants to confer and develop strategy in private the right to do so. The "Loyalist Caucus" retained control of the SDEC - and the SDEC's allegiance to the national Party, rather than to Wallace and states' righters - under Judge Vance in the 1960's and 70's. It always met in private several hours before the SDEC meeting to plan strategy. (I attended those meetings with my parents.) But that informal caucus had no official role in Party governance; it did not elect SDEC members or officers like the Minority Caucus. (In Dr. Reed's defense, he was an early and ardent member of the Loyalist Caucus.) If the Minority Caucus wants to retain those powers, it needs to abide by the open meetings rule.

As to non-secret ballots, members of the SDEC serve as the elected representatives of the Party rank and file. I would no more want them to cast secret ballots, than I would want my state senator or Congressman to do so. (Even though having their ballots secret might minimize my embarrassment at their voting records.)



[ Parent ]
the paper ballots were not secret (0.00 / 0)

for the ballot to be counted, the SDEC member had to sign it.  There was a box of non-signed ballots next to the vote counters that were set aside as "spoiled ballots."

There were enough of them that Dr. Reed got up during the voting process and reminded everyone to "sign your ballot or it will not be counted."

 



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
Good to see you! (4.00 / 1)
As to non-secret ballots, members of the SDEC serve as the elected representatives of the Party rank and file. I would no more want them to cast secret ballots, than I would want my state senator or Congressman to do so.

Yep.

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet, and my vote.


[ Parent ]
No secret ballots? (4.00 / 1)
Huh?  Most organizations use secret ballots in order to prevent undue pressure on voters. 

[ Parent ]

 

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