Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tens of thousands of people felt the need to be here tonight to demonstrate their support for Barack Obama - for a thousand different reasons.

Mile high

We have arrived at the stadium, this is going to be insane! The California delegation has awesome seats, I am only 10 rows from the stage. I really cannot say enough thanks to everyone for helping send me here to be a part of this!


Thank you for the comments you all have been posting. It is great to know how you’re experiencing this so I hope you are reading others comments as well. Please keep sharing! It is really great to be representing California and Tracy/San Joaquin County. People keep asking me how “red” Tracy is and I am happy to tell them that Tracy has more registered Democrats, voted for Kerry in ’04 and is helped deliver McNerney’s win two years and will do so again!

Each day I think, this is incredible, it can’t get any better – and then it does! The place went crazy for Hillary Tuesday night, as you’ve seen. Her speech hit all the right points. Yesterday she held a meeting with her delegates where she released them and told them that she cast her delegate vote for Barack Obama. The roll call votes clearly demonstrated that her delegates are putting their support behind Obama – even New Jersey, which she solidly won cast all 127 of their votes for Obama! I think Hillary’s motion to nominate Obama by acclamation was even more powerful then her Tuesday speech. A Clinton delegate just hugged me and said she was so excited and when she gets home she’s going to work right away on the Obama campaign and as Obama delegates, we are just as excited because we know we need ALL of us to work on this campaign, especially in the battleground states.

The Nomination
The nominating process is really interesting (at least for policy wonks!). Both Obama and Clinton’s names were entered into nomination. For each, someone formally makes the nomination, and then 2 separate people seconded (not sure why 2) and then the roll call begins.

As delegates, we all got to participate in the final nomination of Obama. Speaker Pelosi ask for a motion and we get to say “so moved”…she asks for a second “second”…all in favor “aye”. It seems so simple but it was pretty amazing to be a part of that and to know that we have participated in officially nominating Barack Obama. When Pelosi announced Obama as the Democratic Party Nominee the feeling that overcame is impossible to describe. Not only have we made history, but we have nominated a candidate who really will help us to repair the destruction that bush administration caused. The convention was packed wall-to-wall and everyone seemed so overcome by this. There were so many tears of joy and pride.

Will have to post more later because I have to head out already to the convention. It is supposed to be a madhouse and we want to see the Presidential History Exhibit before we go in. I will try to post some updates while inside.

For those of you who know Charlene S., she made it here yesterday and I was able to get a credential so she will be in the stadium tonight!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It looks like people worried about what Clinton would say and the reaction he would get for no reason.
I hope you had an opportunity to see the nomination. It's incredible to be here. We are a party united to elect Obama & continue making history
They are still collecting votes from delegates, mostly party reps. You may know before us as Pelosi is being interviewed for the news.
I still haven't had a chance to post from last night and now in the convention. It's roll call and everyone is wondering why California passed
Hillary rocked the crowd, Clinton and Obama folks. Hope to update blog tomorrow. It's so nonstop, there's hardly time to sleep!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Women's Caucus

I attended the Women’s Caucus today – the 88th anniversary of the 19th amendment. Rosario Dawson, Eva Longoria, and Fran Drescher addressed the packed ballroom, but the real dynamic speakers were the women democratic leaders. All of the women announced their support for Barack Obama and all explicitly clear that women who want the right to choose, equality for women, quality education for our children, affordable and accessible health care, and who care about getting out of Iraq, getting our troops home, affordable housing, and an administration that works on behalf of families will not only vote for Obama, but will go a step further. This day was more than a call for unity, it was a directive by some of the greatest women leaders in our country for women to not only vote for Obama, but to work to make sure he is elected.

The founder of Emily’s list who has served on Clinton’s campaign stated she is “fired up and ready to elect Barack Obama” and a democratic congress. Alice Germond, Secretary of this convention was perhaps the most dynamic speaker – I hope she addresses the full convention. She talked about Michelle Obama and her speech last night and told the crowd not to allow the media or anyone else to diminish Michelle Obama’s incredible speech on behalf of all women. Germond was briefly interrupted by an anti-choice protestor who was escorted out by police as he tried to approach the stage. He was easily drowned out by OBAMA chants.

Sheila Johnson, an entrepreneur and community leader, talked about the divisions that have been created – a lot of it by the media – between and among genders and ethnicities - and told the crowd that Obama cannot stand alone in this election. She called on women to step outside of themselves and elect Obama with by using their words…talking to our sisters, mothers, daughters, and neighbors about Obama. A Hillary supporter in the crowd stood to yell out “Barack Hussein” as if this somehow indicates something wrong with him. Sheila just talked with more conviction and passion and I was so encouraged when the crowd – a large portion of whom are Hillary supporters – shout him down with “OBAMA” chants.

Aside from a small group of Hillary supporters who sat silent whenever Barack or Michelle were mentioned, it does seem that most Hillary supporters are Obama supporters will work to make sure we have a Democrat in the White House. Today, I saw many people with Hillary and Obama buttons and the “Hillary Supporter for Obama” buttons. This morning at the breakfast Gloria Allred was walking around with her mouth gagged in protest of Obama’s nomination – even Hillary delegates called her wacky and over the top. I hear that she and a small band of others plan some sort of protest inside the convention tonight. Who knows what will happen tonight, but if the Women’s caucus was an indication, Clinton will draw the distinctions between and vote for Obama and a vote for McCain and the majority of folks will be onboard. I’ve met many Clinton delegates in the last 2 days who are absolutely committed to electing Obama!

I had problems posting from inside the convention last night but will try again today.

Convention day 1 WOW!

I don’t know where to begin, day 1 of the convention has been amazing and overwhelming, I can’t even imagine what to expect tomorrow.

Walking into the convention hall, even before it was full, was electrifying. There is a buzz all about the place with people running about, live music, all of the media, and everyone trying to meet someone! Our California delegation – the largest – is seated in the stands to the right of the stage. If you watched CNN, the panelist faced us – about the only thing we could see of them though was getting their make-up touched up during breaks. Once in the hall, as a delegate we get to walk all around the convention floor until the “big” speakers come on. This was great because I got to check out the action close to the stage and around the battlegrounds states, which of course have the priority seating.

I’m sure that many of you watched the speeches. The tribute to Ted Kennedy was so moving, and his speech even more so. Kennedy could not have been clearer about the goals of this election and the election of Barack Obama. Between Kennedy and Michelle Obama, there were not many dry eyes in the house. Michelle Obama was just wonderful. The crowd was wild for her! She has a presence that inspires confidence both in her and Barack. Many in the hall, including myself, were moved to tears by her descriptions of her relationships with her parents, in particular her father, her relationship with Barack, and their girls. Looking around, it settles in how powerful this experience is and all of the personal stories that are carried by each of us into the convention. Both Kennedy and Michelle made the point so well that electing a President is no task to take lightly. As we’ve seen, a President can drive a country, families, and individuals into depair. Though the convention is lively and electrifying, the weight of this election is palpable everywhere here. I expect that over the next few days, this “fierce sense of urgency” to elect Barack Obama will only grow and hopefully translate to the millions of voters watching this convention.

What about Obama’s “hope” and “change”?
I sat next to a young man, 19 year old Carlos, on the shuttle from the convention to the hotel, who was so inspiring I want everyone to know his story. We keep hearing criticism of Obama’s ability to inspire, offer hope, and provide a vision. I still can’t figure this one out…don’t we want a President who garners respect, attention, and moves people to action by speaking to us? Carlos is entering his sophomore year of college. A year ago he was business major, totally disengaged from politics or the political process – until he paid attention to what Obama had to say. Now, he’s interning for a representative in Southern California, changing his major to political science and economics, applying for a fellowship in D.C. and actively involved with Young Democrats! He told me that he now really believes that his actions can have an impact and make a difference. After hearing Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama today, Carlos said he is even more excited about entering into public service. This is what words of hope and change, a vision and demonstrated leadership for a person, a community and a nation. His story would not exist with Barack Obama.

Other happenings

Target hosted a free day at the Denver Museum of Art. It is a large and beautiful museum. I ran into Ken and his spouse Steve going into the museum so off we all went. We still had the floors in the second wing but had to leave to prepare for the convention. If you ever make it to Denver – the museum is a great place to spend and afternoon.

My intent was to attend the Planned Parenthood “Sex, Politics, and Cocktails” party tonight. My fellow CD 11 delegate Jeff and I were waiting in a very long line to get in and going nowhere fast when a woman came up and said we should go to the Rock the Vote party and put tickets in our hands! Next thing I knew we were in a cab and off to the party with this woman and her partner. These tickets are hard and expensive to come by, but 2 friends didn’t show up so she picked us out from the crowd and invited us along. The party was at the Opera House, a fairly small concert venue so our seats were great! The 2 two big acts we saw were N-E-R-D and Fallout Boy – neither of whom I know but the music was great and the place definitely rocked!

Protest continue. Apparently while I was at the convention, a protest got rowdy with a small group of proclaimed anarchist that resulted in a swarm of police and a shutdown of a few blocks surrounding the hotel. All was clear by the time we returned.

Monday happenings

I posted a couple of pictures from the convention – one with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and State Senator Art Torres. With the exception of the very high profile reps, our elected representatives who are delegates are seated with their state delegations. This is pretty cool because we get to meet our representatives and in some cases talk with them one-on-one and of course take pictures with them!

The photo outside the convention is fellow CD11 delegate Jeff and Ken is an Obama delegate from Walnut Creek.
I’m not sure what they showed on TV, but John Legend performed. He is great! I posted a photo.

The pics of the signs are from protests taking place today at Civic Center Park.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Inside the convention !

Hope this first picture taken from my cell turns out. We are inside the hall. This is awesome!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday part 2!

By the time you read this, you’ve probably already gotten the news, but Clinton’s camp is saying that she will release here delegates before the vote Wednesday and is meeting with them ahead of time, encouraging them to support and work to ensure Obama is elected.

Now on to the good stuff for those who said they wanted to know about the goodies and parties…
Our arrival bags – one from the state party and one from the national – were stuffed with goods. Certainly noting like an oscar goody bag, but some useful items although I’m not sure what to do with a bobble head of the Mayor of Los Angeles or a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese (my least favorite food item) printed with a dem logo.

The parites…So far…awesome! Good food! Good Drinks! Democrats know how to wine and dine!
Tonight I first attended the Friends of New Orleans Delegate reception. It was really cool to meet New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, going into the convention center before he was swamped with people - that’s a photo of me with him. Marica Ball and Randy Newman performed, and a zydeco style band. Many of you know that New Orleans is my favorite place away from home so the New Orleans food (gumbo, crawfish, red beans) hit the spot.
Howard Dean opened his keynote with Fired Up! Ready to Go! and gave a rousing speech about Obama’s mastery of the 50 state strategy (the strategy, along with the internet pioneered by Dean in 04) and the solid reasons we need to elect Barack Obama and restore our government.

The second event I attended was African American Committee 2000 and Beyond Celebration of Civil Rights, hosted by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and co-presented by Tavis Smiley and the Bay Area’s own Danny Glover. I would have loved to meet Danny Glover, but he did literally run into me as I was coming in the door he was rushing out of. Oh well. The celebration included honors for many great civil rights organizations like the SCLC, NAACP, Urban League, followed by a concert featuring Maze & Frankie Beverly. Well, each organization (9) had a speaker and it ran so long that I left before the concert. I’m sure it was well after 11 before the concert started. The messages delivered in those speeches (albeit long) were powerful reminders of where we have come from, the hard and often dangerous, sometime deadly, battles that were fought to gain the civil rights we have today plus the need to continue fighting for justice as long as inequities continue. The video clip is a super short piece from Tavis Smiley.
By the way, Glover has produced a new documentary on Hurricane Katrina – I heard an interview with him and segments of the film on NPR a few weeks ago, it sounds powerful. A lot of the footage was shot by residents during the disaster. I can’t recall the name, but do a google search.

Tomorrow is the first day of the convention; Michelle Obama, Barack’s sister Maya, and Jimmy Carter are due to speak. I am really looking forward to all of folks lined up, but particularly Carter and Michelle Obama.

Arriving in Denver

I just arrived only a few hours ago, and already it's been an interesting time!

City Streets
Downtown Denver is already spilling over with people. Add to that, the 1,000+ anti-war demonstrators and hundreds of police, and it's been an eventful afternoon. Mixed in the crowd were people carrying signs in support of Barack Obama, some opposed to him and all established government as a whole, but overwhelming anti-bush and impeach bush signs. All of the protest I observed were peaceful, but the police are prepared for just about anything so I would hate to see what happens if anyone has plans otherwise. Attached are a couple of pics.

Clinton supporters?
There have been more then a handful of Clinton supporters with signs encouraging people to nominate Clinton and claiming that Barack Obama was selected and not elected as the nominee. Technically, nobody has been elected until the convention, but Obama certainly had the most delegates from the primaries (including the caucus states which have been left out of the Clinton count)...leading to the party naming him the presumptive nominee. There seem to be some stirrings that folks are going to try hard to bring this fight to the floor. On the other hand, I've meet other Clinton delegates who understand the need to focus on electing Obama President and ending the Bush policies that have left this country in despair. There's no telling what will happen. We will all be listening to hear what Clinton has to say and hopefully she will demonstrate leadership and speak directly to her supporters, telling them that a vote for Obama is a vote for the same values and goals that are shared by them.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It looks like Biden is the VP choice. Despite their early differences, what a great choice! Biden is one of our best thinkers and most experienced representatives. I remember during the early debates that almost all of the dem candidates started at least a few sentences with "I agree with Joe Biden that...". This selection, if confirmed by Obama tomorrow, demonstrates Barack Obama's vision and leadership by selecting a VP who will both balance and challenge him. He recognizes that as President it is not just about him, but that he must surround himself with varying expertise and who are not "yes people".

Hear from your delegates

The Contra Costs Times talked to local delegates about why we support our candidate. There is a short video and the full stories will be in the Sunday times,

Why do you support Barack Obama for President? I'd love to have your own comments and insights.