Giving the Democratic Party
Back to the People.

 

They got 223 problems and your ballot might be one

The California Democratic Party’s Compliance Review Commission has identified 223 potentially problematic votes. Frankly, this recognition of voting issues is quite a turnaround from the immediate response post election from some in Party leadership like Speaker Rendon when our campaign raised concerns.

Can we now all agree there were problems that necessitated a pause? Next step: figuring out how to get to the bottom of all of the problems with a truly independent review — resolving them once and for all.

Delegates have until Monday to check to make sure their votes are accurate or write testimony if there are inaccuracies in the recorded data. Our campaign will also be releasing a formal response.

If you are a Kimberly Ellis voter and have information to share with the Compliance Review Commission, we kindly ask you to include our campaign on your email communication so we can appropriately follow up with you as well.  The simplest way to do that is to copy info@voteforkimberly.com on your correspondence with the CRC.

Redefining what it means to be a Democrat requires us to force change on an establishment that prefers conformity over courage. Despite the discomfort, those of us unified activists standing for truth are making measurable and progressive changes.

For the first time ever, the California Democratic Party is actually posting publicly cast votes.

To this day, our campaign is still being denied access to information promised to us by former Chair Burton – information critical for us to supply specific data points in our challenge. Further, this review is a far cry from an actual independent forensic audit – but, it’s a start.

Change is created when we persist. And whether they like it or not, we’re just getting started.

Progressively Yours,

 

 

What’s it worth to you? [VIDEO]

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what happens when you put words and pictures together? Answer: digital magic.

Over the past two years, I’ve talked a lot about 21st Century organizing. It’s not a buzz word, it’s a way of being. It means knocking on doors, assembling online, and leveraging digital tools to meet people where they are. It means not just talking about it, but being about it – and leaders lead by example.

While the Chair’s race still lives in limbo, so does our campaign. We continue to need your financial support to keep our efforts going. Your contribution makes all the difference in our ability to keep this fight for transparency and election integrity alive.

It had been our hope to release the images we captured at convention in a different form and with a different purpose. Though this video captures one aspect of convention, rest assured that in the coming weeks we’ll be releasing a longer video that showcases the birth of this movement to take back our Party and reground it in people.

Progressively Yours,

Photo Credit: RE Casper

 

 

The sun rises in Chicago…

Yesterday we submitted our formal election challenge to the California Democratic Party’s Compliance Review Commission. You can find our cover letter to the Commission pasted below.
 
It’s going to be a fantastic weekend at the People’s Summit in Chicago, and I’m excited and honored to be among thousands of other Progressives from around the country, including our own incredible (and massive!) California delegation. 
 
The summit will bring together those of us committed to a different kind of agenda: a People’s Agenda that can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality and freedom. 
 
It’s especially fitting that I’m rounding off this week in conversation and community with fellow freedom fighters, truth seekers and justice warriors; people who share a belief that it isn’t enough to simply talk about our progressive values – we have to live them.
 
Mounting pleas to concede and continued character maligning aside, being surrounded by the positive energy of activists committed to fairness, justice, equity and truth is sure to end this week on a very positive note.
 
For those of you who have reached out wanting to know how I’m doing, thank you for your empowering words and positive energy. Know that my faith is unshaken; my resolve is stronger than ever; and my spirit is bright. 
 
As the sun rises each day, we rise too – together. 
 

Progressively yours,

———
To Whom It May Concern:

Right now, our Federal government is embroiled over questions related to political campaigns and outside influence. A clear conflict has grown between those nestled in power and those who seek truth.

Here in California, our State Democratic Party is faced with similar questions relating to the election of multiple statewide officer races, as well as several regional director races.

Those seeking truth and validity in the outcome of the election are being derided and blamed for a division in the Party. It is a tragedy that some fail to see that the Party has not been unified in a long time. The divide between the rank and file activists of the Party and those with tremendous political power is stark and will likely widen unless there’s a radical change in approach and tone in discussing this difficult and complex issue from the CDP, its representatives and officers, as well as elected officials.

There is no question that this year’s CDP officer elections are not aiding our Party’s reputation. But rather than focusing the negativity on those who are raising legitimate issues, we would be better served to understand why they are being raised and resolve them as quickly as possible. An independent, third party audit would do exactly that.

The decision of what happens next rests in the hands of the six individuals who make up the CRC. We strongly feel that the current composition of the committee cannot render a fair and impartial decision on any of the issues raised in our challenge because of intractable personal conflict of interest.

Of the five individuals who voted in this CDP officer election, 100 percent of them voted for Eric Bauman. Beyond this, one member of the Committee, Garry Shay, has publicly criticized Kimberly Ellis for her challenge of the vote. Another member, Michael Wagaman, served as Chair of the Credentialing Committee – the body responsible for the credentialing process now under scrutiny. Another member, Coby King, served as Parliamentarian over a process that is also in question.

Should the Party hope to move forward with its reputation intact after the conclusion of this process, it must be aware of the conflict that is inherent in the current composition of the CRC; this body, as it stands comprised today, has little to no credibility that it can be fair and impartial with respect to this specific challenge based on personal conflict of interest and reasonably understood bias.

 

 

Ellis Campaign Ballot Review: Timeline, Findings and Pending Requests

Below is the initial, preliminary draft of our ballot review.  It is neither a complete nor final assessment and does not serve as the official response to the formal challenge to the election. It had been our hope to provide a completed review to a neutral third party expert who would review the materials, examine the records and publish a set of independent findings.

But instead, the following information is being provided at the request of those seeking evidence. It is unfortunate because we had hoped to privately evaluate our findings until the conclusiveness of their validity was not in doubt.

Sweeping aside the political rhetoric, the basic truths have remained. We objected to the vote count from the very beginning.

Here’s a hard truth: telling people everything is fine does not make it so. Delegates are insulted by how egregiously naive those in leadership believe them to be.

One cannot refuse an independent audit, hire a PR consultant who sells corporate lies against unions (only to fire him days later), hire a legal firm to represent jointly your personal interests and the Party’s (a firm that has now been connected to duplicate voting in this race), stop the opposition’s review before it is finished, and then refer this decision to a committee comprised entirely of your supporters – 100% of whom voted for you – and expect any rational person to not wholeheartedly question your integrity.

If Democrats really want to get back to beating Republicans and winning elections, we need leaders with spines of steel, not egos and auras that need to be constantly fluffed. So yes, we believe our initial findings suggest there was possible tampering in the California Democratic Party elections. And for the record, we’re pretty darn sure it wasn’t the Russians.

Enter truth, stage left.

Click here to read the initial, preliminary draft of our ballot review.  

Democratically yours,

 

 

 

It’s Convention time! Be kind and don’t rewind….

This is it. Convention is here. I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up and ready to go!

With so many hotly contested races, a surge of new delegates and turmoil from last year’s DNC Convention still lingering – a lot of folks are understandably nervous. But we don’t have to be; we can choose fear or we can choose hope.

I’ve called for changing the tone and tenor of our politics and that starts with how we treat each other and how we deal with conflict. This weekend will be our first test, and if we do the following, it should be a constructive, positive experience for our Party.

Assume the Best
Everyone should assume they are wanted and welcome – whether you’ve been to convention for years or you’re brand new to the CDP scene. There is a place for all of us, even if we don’t always agree.

Distinguish Cheers from Yells
This weekend should be a celebration of our democracy. The stakes are high and the road has been long; we’ve come too far to let shouting matches shut down the chance for honest dialog that this weekend offers.

Live Your Values
We might not be on the same side of every race, but at a minimum, we should vote our conscience and speak our truth. If you find an undecided voter on an issue or a race, assert your position, make your best pitch and move on. Not everyone is going to agree on everything, and that’s OK.

This is going to be a long and passion-filled weekend and there’s certainly the potential for conflict. But it’s how we deal with conflict that truly tests the strength of our values.

I can’t speak for my competitors, but when it comes to our campaign, the expectations have been clearly communicated: All campaign surrogates and anyone wearing or holding our campaign materials are expected to show up as their very best selves and live their values, not just in words, but in actions.

Because after all, that’s what it means to be a Democrat. Can’t wait see you all!

Democratically yours,

 

Which way do we go? [VIDEO]

The CDP Chair’s race has seen sprints to claim labels like “progressive” and “grassroots” or to characterize support through the lens of identity politics. 

When it comes to the candidates, as Democrats, there’s not a dramatic difference in our policy views – except on issues like a fracking ban, Prop 61, and Prop 13 reform (to name a few).

The substantive difference is how we see the CDP’s role and its priorities.

I believe the CDP should hire organizers, not build an institute. I believe the CDP should invest in people, not media buys. I believe the CDP should diversify its income portfolio to include individuals, not corporate special interest.

I believe the CDP should hold up our Party platform as our guiding document, not provide political cover. I believe the CDP should build training programs, not cultivate lobbyists. I believe the CDP should direct our collective activism to win elections on the ground, not take orders from state legislators.

Let me be clear: I fully understand the critical operational role the Party plays in electing Democrats, not just across the state, but up-and-down the ballot.

And I would also offer this: in today’s changed political landscape, the California Democratic Party cannot afford to only be about elections.

To really win at the ballot box moving forward, it also has to be about winning hearts and minds. About creating a place for people who want to dedicate their time, talent and treasure to advance our collective values of fairness and justice and equity for everyone.

In this unique moment, we have an opportunity within the California Democratic Party to create what so many people are searching for – not just a house, but a home.

A place to heal and come together; a place to be seen and heard; a place to do the good work on behalf of the people; a place to harness energy for maximum electoral impact while also creating a sense of family.

Today, the California Democratic Party stands at a crossroads. And the time has come for us to choose which way we want to go.

I hope you’ll choose to join me in recommitting this Party to truly being the Party of the people, and in the process, redefine what it means to be a Democrat.  

 

Democratically yours,

John Burton, the effin’ legend…

Before we get any closer to convention, we would be remiss if we didn’t pause from campaigning and take a moment to recognize the legendary Sen. John Burton for his incredible service in government and our Party.

We’ll miss a lot about John as our Chair, especially his colorful choice of words that were always on point. John has been far more than simply a man of words; please check out the John Burton Legacy Document that staff have created to honor his achievements at the CDP.

John proves that true leadership isn’t about power; it’s about inspiration. Leaders must inspire others to action, because change is never created by one person alone. Inspiring others is the real legacy, and John’s is impressive.

I want to take this moment to personally thank John for inspiring me, along with so many others. I also want to thank him for his unwavering dedication to those young people in our foster care system who have had such difficult beginnings. While he’s been leading us, he has never stopped his work with the John Burton Advocates for Youth. His commitment to current and former foster youth reminds all of us that we should be in politics to make the world a better place for the people who face the gravest challenges, not for personal glory.

Thank you John Burton for everything you have done. We are truly inspired and deeply grateful.

Democratically yours,

The good kind of change [VIDEO]

When John Burton took over as Chair, there was $1.12 in the bank account. That’s not a joke, that’s the nightmare reality they faced.

Over the past eight years, John, Shawnda, Angie, Chris and our CDP staff rebuilt the internal backend operations and laid the groundwork for the next evolution of our Party. This is a shining example of the good kind of change.

This incredible Burton team created a solid infrastructure and now it’s time for us to decide which direction we want to go next.

But let’s be clear: one person alone cannot achieve great things. It takes a team. Our campaign’s vision includes greater participation, more diverse voices and more seats at the table.

Let’s never be afraid to grow and change. The hard truth of the matter is that if we aren’t moving forward together, then we aren’t really going anywhere at all.

Because at the end of the day, change is the only constant in life.

California Democrats – a change will do us good! Let’s do this – together!  

 

Democratically yours,

 

The Heart of Healthcare [VIDEO]

It’s been said that nurses are the heart of healthcare – and I couldn’t agree more. Tomorrow marks National Nurses Day and kicks off National Nurses Week.

Whether a best friend, cousin or neighbor, everyone has a nurse in their life they know and love. Be sure to pick up the phone, give them a call and let them know how much you appreciate everything they do for all of us.

On the eve of National Nurses Week, House Republicans passed a healthcare bill that puts profits before people, prioritizes the wealthy over the poor and abandons the most vulnerable. For Republicans and the White House, this isn’t about people, it’s about politics.

California, when it comes to believing that healthcare is a basic human right – it’s time to stop talking about it – it’s time to be about it; and that means passing SB562 and implementing Medicare-for-All.

From the very bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the California Nurses Association and all the front line healthcare workers for everything that they do for us individually and as a society. Not only are nurses on the front lines of healthcare, they are also on the front lines of our healthcare policy here in California and nationally.

Democratically yours,

 

Hey California – time to F.L.E.X. our collective muscle to support our brothers and sisters in Labor!

It’s time the California Democratic Party (CDP) doubles down on our commitment to Labor, so that we stand shoulder to shoulder to face the anti-worker initiatives on the horizon. We must F.L.E.X. our political and financial muscles to advance our shared values and beat back this onslaught of growing attacks.

This F.L.E.X. Plan works in conjunction with my goals to reorganize and restructure our Party, getting us “Back to Basics” by focusing on organizing, training and leadership development. Advocating for pro-Labor candidates, worker’s rights, workplace safety and protecting working families; these commitments are a part of our collective core.

As Chair of the California Democratic Party (CDP), I will ensure that we vigorously support Labor with the same incredible consistency that Labor has supported our Party. It’s time for the CDP to have a bigger, better, bolder relationship with our sisters and brothers in Labor, expanding a pro-Labor culture here in California and serving as a beacon of hope for the rest of the country.

Fund: Sustainably grow CDP’s donor base and budget capacity so Labor can redirect critical funds to fight Right-to-Work initiatives, etc.

Legislate: Pass pro-worker legislation (Medicare-for-All, living wage reform, publicly financed campaigns, etc.) so Labor can prioritize other critical issues at the bargaining table.

Evolve: Collaborate with Labor to increase membership, bargaining and political power, while tackling racial justice, gender parity and economic equity.

eXchange: Partner on campaigns, train organizers and unite a new generation of leaders.

To read more of my F.L.E.X. Plan, click here.

 

Democratically yours,

 

Ms. Landucci….

Everyone has at least one name come to mind when asked, “Who was your favorite teacher?”
The reason: teachers play a vital role in our personal development and profoundly shape the trajectory of our lives.

Today is National Teacher Day. If we’re truly going to honor our teachers, we must have their backs when they need us. We must end the privatization and corporatization of public education because profit motives have no place in our classroom.

As we redefine what it means to be a Democrat, we cannot simply be the Party of education – we must be the Party of good, free, public education for all children, which includes collective bargaining and teacher tenure.

The California Teacher’s Association, California Federation of Teachers and many educationally-minded delegates are promoting Kids Not Profit, a resolution rejecting the subsidizing of for-profit charter school companies and reaffirming our Party’s commitment to strengthening local neighborhood public schools for all Californians.

On this National Teacher Day, I hope you’ll consider supporting this very worthy resolution.

Finally, a moment of personal privilege… I’d like to thank Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Weidlein, and
Mr & Mrs. Perez – my favorite teachers. Like most of us, I have more than one. As this campaign comes to a close, I can say with absolute certainty, I would not be here today if not for my former teachers. I’m eternally grateful.

Democratically yours,

 

Workers’ Rights are Human Rights!

Here’s a hard truth: we’re either the Party of working people, or the Party of the elite. We cannot be both. We must choose. I choose to stand with our brothers and sisters in Labor.

As the Supreme Court (with the Gorsuch composition) takes up Janus v. AFSCME, it’s clear that “Right to Work” will be coming soon to a ballot box near you.

Right now – more than half of the states in this country have passed these anti-worker laws. With a Supreme Court decision soon in their pocket, the opposition is setting up shop even here in the Golden State in Orange County and building a campaign to take down California’s Labor community.

Don’t be fooled by the painfully clever name. Right to Work has only one objective: force labor unions to bare the fiscal burden of representing employees without the ability to recuperate the costs.

It’s a simple idea – break collective bargaining by making it fiscally unsustainable.

Right now, some of the best lawyers and political minds in the country are devising strategies to beat back these anti-worker laws. The battle is far from over, and there is no denying the challenges ahead, including the erosion of Labor’s financial resources.

The next Chair of the California Democratic Party should have a plan on how our Party can help protect working families and bolster collective bargaining. This Thursday, I will be releasing my F.L.E.X Plan, a broad outline for how the CDP can support our brothers and sisters in Labor to meet the challenges of today, while building for tomorrow.

It’s time for our Party to deepen its relationship with Labor.  As we redefine what it means to be a Democrat, let’s make sure people know where we stand. We’re the Party of working people, not the Party of the elite.

Hope you have a wonderful International Workers’ Day.

In solidarity,

 

Under the cover of dark [VIDEO]

It’s Friday and the end of the month, which for most folks means, it’s payday. It seems only fitting we talk about money…

Too many are just getting by paycheck to paycheck; yet for others with vast wealth and access to power, their fortunes continue to rise because of policies designed for them, not us.

It’s time to level the playing field and eliminate pay-to-play politics.

Its time to pass real campaign finance reform.

It’s time for us to get serious about publicly financed campaigns.

It’s time for us to get dark money out of our Party, and in the process, redefine what it means to be a Democrat.

Come on California, let’s do this!

It’s time.

 

Democratically yours,

Why Real Choice Matters

Let’s be clear: there is no middle ground when it comes to legislating a woman’s right to choose. We either respect a woman’s reproductive freedom in our laws or we don’t.

The issue is not how many seats we hold, it’s about who holds them and their values. It’s about building the bench. If we don’t elect progressive, pro-choice candidates at the local level, there is literally no qualified candidate to run for higher office when the time comes. And let’s remind ourselves that even here in big, blue California, the majority of our local seats are held by Republicans.

Today, many Democrats face a difficult quandary in our red and purple districts: back an anti-choice Democrat, alienate women and ditch our core values or leave the field to the Republicans. It’s time we create another option. It’s time we build the bench.

We, as a Party, are solely responsible for this quagmire. It’s time for us to stop pointing fingers at each other, and instead look in the mirror and ask, “What have we personally done to help build the bench of pro-choice candidates in local office?” If the answer is don’t know, can’t remember or nothing; well, let’s stop talking about it; let’s be about it.

I’m running to be the Chair of the California Democratic Party. You have a right to know where I stand on this issue. So let me be crystal clear: if a candidate doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose, they shouldn’t expect to be supported. Period.

My seven step plan addresses how we are going to solve this gap in qualified, pro-choice local candidates here in California’s red and purple districts. No, it won’t happen overnight – it will take time.

But I can assure you, if there isn’t a pipeline of pro-choice candidates in these opposition held Californian districts in the future, you can point that finger in my direction because, the buck stops here.

Democratically yours,

It’s getting hot in here! [VIDEO]

Tomorrow marks Earth Day, and the threats to our planet have never been greater.

From the appointment of Scott Pruitt to the proposed EPA budget that zeros out funding to protect the San Francisco Bay, it’s clear the environment is under assault by the White House and the Republican controlled Congress.

It’s up to California and everyday activists to step and lead the charge to protect our environment.

I don’t’ know about you, but I think long campaign emails have gotten a little monotonous; so I’ve decided to change it up. Check out my video on climate change to kick off our Earth Day activities.


Democratically yours,

 

Truth, Damned Truth and Desperate Measures…

There are signs that a political campaign is in real trouble: no clear vision, candidate rebranding, and most sadly, attempting to change the conversation by littering the landscape with innuendo, rumors and insulting rhetoric.

Yes, it’s a poor substitute for real ideas, but there’s a solidly strategic rational for this lowbrow tactic… because, as we know, if a lie gets repeated enough, some voters will believe it to be (at least partially) true. Creating a toxic atmosphere is geared to benefit the candidate with the higher negatives, narrower support and faltering message.

I’ve trained hundreds of women to run and win at the ballot box. An important strategy for any successful campaign is to play your game – not theirs, because the only conduct and tenor you can control are your own. My approach: telling hard truths and calling the question.

#AskAndAnswer
Here’s my promise for getting to the truth about my views and experience: ask me; I’m not shy. I firmly believe the next CDP Chair should earn every delegate’s vote, and that means answering tough questions. I’m proud of my accomplishments; I’m proud of my record. If you can’t face a field of potential supporters, however can you stare down the vitriol coming from the opposition? Our Party needs a warrior, not a monarch. Got a question for me? Post it on my wall. I believe we all need to ask the important questions, and leaders need to be held to answer – including me.

THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
For this Chair’s race, there’s been a recent uptick of rumors and outright lies being floated. To be honest, some would be laughable if they weren’t so corrosive and aimed at bringing down the tone of this race. Yes, the vast majority of delegates see these tactics for what they are; but, if we’re going to call out the President for his falsehoods, we must have the courage to do so wherever they appear, especially within our own ranks.

Like my grandmother used to say – sunshine is the best disinfectant. You can count on me to campaign openly in the light, not hushed in the shadows. Real leaders run towards the attack, not away from it. So here we go…

THREE LIES AND A HALF TRUTH
Lie #1 — Kimberly Ellis supports charter school candidates and gets money from charter school companies and their special interests.

Truth — I have never received money for any charter school company, nor do I support charter school candidates. The only money I have received to date has comes from individual donors and Party allies like labor unions. I do not believe in the divesting of public school dollars to charter schools. I send my children to public schools because I believe in the value of a public education. I believe teachers have one of the hardest and most important professions in our society and are undervalued and underpaid. I am against vouchers. I believe we need more funding for all public schools, including our Community College, CSU and UC systems. I believe we need full funding for both transitional kindergarten and all-day kindergarten. I believe we need to protect teacher seniority rights and pensions. I believe we need to curb this endless testing and prohibit test scores from being a determinant in teacher evaluations. If you want to learn more about my thoughts on education, visit the issues page of my website, check out my donors and decide for yourself.

Lie #2 — Kimberly Ellis pretends to be a Bernie supporter and secretly leaves messages for Hillary supporters, telling them she was really with her.

Truth — I supported Hillary Clinton, as did my opponent. In fact, I repeated this fact again this past weekend in front of 200 of my supporters who also backed Bernie. This is hardly a secret. The reason why I have so many Sanders supporters backing my campaign is because I am the only candidate who has publicly decried both the way the DNC put its thumb on the scale and how the Sanders supporters were treated. The vast majority of this Party – regardless of who they supported last year – is ready to build a more progressive, inclusive CDP together. Only those who find it politically advantageous try to use last year as a wedge issue; the rest of the 97.5 percent of us are ready to move forward on implementing progressive changes in California and throughout the country.

Lie #3 — Kimberly Ellis is raising money from corporations and has a private consultancy firm like her opponent.

Truth — I can’t speak for his consulting business – FPPC disclosure can fill in the gap there, but as to me, I do not have a consulting income, nor have I received any money from anyone besides the non-profit executive director salary I received from Emerge California ($95K). I’ve raised my family on a fair professional wage, and I am proud of that. Money is not a driver for me.  I could have traded on the access I had to political leaders, but you can’t lead an organization if people wonder whether your priority lies with your full time day job or a discrete side-hustle.  As to all of my donors, you can see them for yourself. I’m incredibly proud that my support has come from hundreds of individual donors who share my vision for a bigger, better, bolder CDP – one funded by people, not corporations.

Lie #4 — The FPPC is investigating the CDP, specifically Hilary Crosby, CDP Controller and Kimberly Ellis backer, who raised money from corporations and is using Kimberly to keep the corporate gravy train money going.

Truth — OK, half right. The FPPC often investigates the CDP, but not the $700K Hilary Crosby raised from small donors over the eight years she has honorably served as our CDP Controller (a fundraising position, not a fiscal control role done by staff and outside professionals). Her reputation for hard work, for putting the Party first, and for pushing out the DEM program speaks for itself.

The Chair of the largest Democratic State Party in the country needs the pluck to answer the tough questions and call out bullies for what they are. With our bully-in-chief sitting behind the Oval Office desk, we need courageous leaders who can not only stand the heat, but also know how to defuse it.

Democratically yours,

 

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