Election volunteers waiting for U.S. Representative
George Miller to show up. Jael Myrick,
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner's
administrative assistant, is standing behind them.
Hercules city councilman Joe Eddy McDonald and supporters.The elected officials, including U.S. Representatives George Miller (D, Martinez, 7th DC) and John Garamendi (D, Oak Grove, 10th CD), were expected to start in the eastern part of the county at 9:00 a.m. and continue over to Richmond at 10:00 a.m. Well, right there the seasoned volunteer would know that one hour is not enough time for an important politician to make a short speech to a hopeful crowd in Concord and then get back to the other side of the county to a Richmond headquarters to say pretty much the same thing to a completely different group of volunteers. So most people expected a loosely structured day.
again for city council. This is a city where
council people take turns being mayor. Richmond
used to have this system, but then they decided
to have an elected mayor. They decided to
eliminate the primary because they found out that
the candidate who won the primary always
won the general election for the last 30 or 40 years.
So they did that as a cost saving measure.
Party registration and affiliation is very important
in the two party system. However, issues
are raised in a primary election that the public has
a right to become informed about before they
vote in the general election in November. I can't
think of any offhand, but that's how it is
supposed to work. Candidates are given a
chance to be scrutinized by the public even
though they probably won't win that time.
Efficiency and cost saving measures are not
the most important thing in an election campaign,
unless you don't have any money at all, of course.
Janet Abelson, mayor of El Cerrito gave the volunteers a short pep talk before they were sent on their way with precinct lists and door hangers. (The Point Richmond Voice had forgotten to bring her camera and had to go home and get it, and returned while Abelson was giving her pep talk.) State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner was also there to say hello to the crowd , as well as her assistant Jael Myrick, who will be working part time for the Democratic party this campaign season. Congressman Miller, never sends a substitute to speak for him at an event he has promised to attend, though he usually introduces his staff people. Generally speaking, Miller shows up when he says he is going to be there, though maybe a little late.
Westie, the West Highland Terrier,
and Jael Wyrick, Administrative Aide to
CA Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner.
Obviously Jael is for Jerry Brown, which you
can tell by the color shirt he is wearing.
I don't know who took this photo.
Campaign workers should get their arms
around this phrase, "It's a civil matter,
it isn't a criminal matter." People should not
be afraid to call the police for help no matter
what their immigration status is.
I don't know who took this photo.
Westie, Hope Spring, and Jael Wyrick
(I could not get Westie to look at the
camera so I just picked him up so
you could see his face. Westie
makes his own decisions
about which directives
he wants to
Richmond mayoral candidate John "Z" Ziezenhenne (l),
El Cerrito Mayor Janet Abelson, and Contra Costa County
Democratic chair Chuck Carpenter conferring.
"Z" was wearing a white Salesians high school shirt, instead of the orange T-shirt with his name on it that was being handed out by his supporters. Miller's campaign signs have always been orange and blue, which was decided 40 years ago, and maybe even moments after he was born when they discovered that he was a boy and therefore could run for public office when he grew up. (Other school kids in high school used to ask me if I believed in predestination. I did not know what they were talking about, back then.)
Mayor Abelson apparently has green party leanings, or else she doesn't like the color coding that has been urged on us by the national press or whoever is running things up there. Hope Spring, on the other hand, bought a brand new blue shirt at Target in Antioch just to wear to Democratic party events, because she went all the way to Antioch for a reception but the only person there was Martha Parsons. This is the second time a reception in east county with the national candidates has been promised and money was donated, but they weren't there when Hope Spring showed up. What's your problem, folks? (It's probably fear of welfare mothers. That's a widespread problem around here.)
On this side of the county, most of the men are named John or George and most of the dogs are pit bulls.There are many women named Jean who live in Point Richmond (named after Joan of Arc). Most of the Point Richmond dogs are Jack Russell Terriers or rat terriers. A small dog called Pinto is the father of many of them. The leash law is observed, but not religiously.
Election workers enjoying lunch.
Each had received an orange T-shirt proclaiming John "Z" Ziezenhenne to be the best candidate for Richmond mayor. The Democratic party election headquarters is located in the same group of buildings as the county supervisors's office. It was abuzz with bright orange-clad hopeful youths, who were expecting to be each paid $50 each for the part time work.
Richmond City Councilwoman Ludmyrna Lopez
(in cowboy hat and blue jacket).
Todd Groves, campaigning for Jason Freeman
for West Contra Costa Unified
school board (www.jasonfreeman.org)
(l) Nancy K., former Pinole Mayor Maria Alegria, and Richmond Councilwoman Ludmyrna Lopez (in cowboy hat, holding door hangers and looking at precinct lists)
Inside the headquarters were numerous local elected and wannabe officials including former Pinole Mayor Maria Alegria, Richmond councilpeople Maria Viramontes and Ludmyrna Lopez, Hercules councilman Joe Eddy McDonald, San Pablo councilperson Cecilia Valdez, Richmond candidate for city council Rhonda Harris, Pinole council candidate Steve Tilton and Contra Costa Board of Education incumbent Michelle Foster, EdD.
You can look up these races on the internet on the Contra Costa County web site, Election Department 2010 November election, if you want to find out who else is running. Just being present in Democratic Party campaign headquarters does not mean a person is a Democrat, but a statistical study MIGHT show that 97.5 of the people there are Democrats or will soon become Democrats because of the nice warm polite welcome they get there. It's all about choice, so they know they have somewhere else to go if they don't get the reception they want there at 11680 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito. And if the visitor can't be civil to the receptionist, the receptionist might tell the visitor how to get to the Republican campaign headquarters before asking them to leave, if she can find out where it is. "It's a civil matter," is one of the first phrases an interested campaigner should learn to embrace.
Richmond city council candidate
Pinole city council candidate Stephen Tilton
Uche Uwahemu, volunteer, and
Michelle Foster, EdD, Contra Costa County Board of Education
They were asked to stand together for this photo,
for no particular reason except the photograhper
thought it would be a better photo if
Michelle had someone standing next to her..
The volunteers having walked all or part of their precincts, returned to the headquarters for some hearty barbeque ribs and potato salad and another pep talk by Congressman Miller whose arrival time was now predicted to be 2:00 p.m. The volunteers ate and sat, talked and played, and waited, but most gave up and left before his actual arrival at around 3:15. Then Chuck Carpenter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County, stood up and shouted into the headquarters, "He's here! He's here!" Then the group saw Miller walking in from the sidewalk all by himself as if he had just gone for a walk in the park and dropped into the headquarters completely relaxed and refreshed.
U.S. Representative George Miller finally arrives
at election headquarters, with Chuck Carpenter
waiting for him and Don Gosney on lower
right, and unidentified woman on left, holding a plate.
(The car that looks like it is about to hit Congressman
Miller is actually parked there Maybe they have
been hanging around with special effects people.
There are a few movie people in the area, though
I do not know any personally.)
Old friends having a conversation while John Z
stands with his hands on his hips (l) and Don Gosney
looks for another good camera shot.
(l) Chuck Carpenter, John "Z" Ziezenhenne,
Congressman Miller, and Marsha Tomassi
of the Point Richmond Business Association
getting ready to present Congressman Miller
with a John "Z" Team T-shirt.
John "Z" Ziezenhenne is the owner of M.A. Hays Insurance Company and a candidate for Mayor of Richmond. Running against him are incumbent mayor Gayle McLaughlin and longtime councilman Nat Bates, whom Miller invited on stage with him to publicly thank him and compliment him at Miller's last townhall meeting. Thanking a councilman on stage or accepting a T-shirt does not constitute endorsement. However, there was only one mayoral candidate there, although both Bates and Z are Democrats, I assume, since they are at Democratic HQ, but I do not know for sure, since I never looked at the precinct list that has their name on it. Bates has "Democrat" on his yard signs, probably because he is giving Mayor McLaughlin some backup since she was exposed as a Green party member. So now the only Mayoral candidate whom we do not know what party he belongs to is John "Z' Ziezenhenne.
Nat Bates was one of McLaughlin's most loyal supporters until this Mayoral race occurred. He was furious at County Supervisor John Gioia for moving into the Chevron emergency situation that occurred a couple of years ago, and declaring that he (Gioia) was in charge because it was an emergency. Bates pointed to McLaughlin and said, "She is our leader," and then he picked a fight with Gioia, telling him that the county ought to move the county clinic away from the county courthouse.
But apparently all the trouble of following a Green party leader got to be too much for him because he recently said that she was taking up too much time at City Council making proclamations and handing out plaques. The council has been meeting every two weeks instead of every week like they used to do. That has made council meetings intolerably long and no one knows why they have adopted this system, unless it is to put sensitive items at the end of the agenda when everyone is too tired to keep their eyes open and has to go to work the next day.
This is supposed to be a non-partisan race, but change is in the air at this point in time, since Richmond Mayor McLaughlin let the cat out of the bag in the last election when people learned she was a Green Party candidate, or else her Green Party people did it without asking her permission or learning the difference between partisan and non-partisan offices, or maybe they just don't care about election law. Maybe it was the newspaper people who did not care about the election law as pertains to non-partisan races, who went snooping into the precinct lists to find out what party she belonged to. Or maybe it was one of her political opponents in the Democratic party who did that. So this long-standing tradition of non-partisanship at the City Council level seems to be on its way out. It's hard to accuse someone of having a political machine if you do not even know what party they belong to.
By the way, it's against the law to use precinct lists to formulate a mailing list for personal gain. You have to go the library and get the reverse phone directory for that, or just pay the company who sells mailing lists like that. That's what they told me when I asked about it.
Rhonda Harris, a candidate for Richmond City Council, introduced the Congressman. "George Miller has been improving our middle class," she said. "He has made sure that this community has a voice."
Miller said he had gone to a presentation by the California Youth Academy at the Richmond Auditorium. He said he was very impressed by the kids and how many were waiting for acceptance letters to Ivy League colleges like Brown and Rutgers. "They have been learning life skills. Over 1,000 kids have been through that. We have sought federal funds for that."
What can we say to Congressman Miller that we have not already told him in the 36 years we have known him? How much we appreciate all the work he does for us in Washington DC?
How we are glad that such a smart, patient, knowledgeable man is in Washington helping President Obama and first term Congresssman John Garamendi?"I'm out there every day. I'm campaigning morning to night, back and forth across the district," he said.
A tall handsome man, with a mop of white hair and handlebar mustache, Miller graduated from St. Mary's college before going to work for George Moscone, mayor of San Francisco. That was his first job in politics, unless you count sitting at his father's dinner table listening to State Senator Miller talk politics and state government. Miller is normally a cheerful person, who has a vast knowledge of government and a willingness to share it with people who are willing to look him up on his Facebook page. He is well known in his district for the WIC program (Women and Infant Children), a federally funded program to provide additional food stamps for nursing mothers. Miller brought the federal Social Security Building to downtown Richmond. He can talk for hours about Social Security. He also supports historic parks for the area. He is now chair of the Education and Labor committee, asking the opinions of top education leaders from everywhere in the country. There are many other things he does to help the district, too numerous to mention here.
Here we are basking in the success of our elected officials.
Just glad to be outside in the fresh air,
enjoying the California sunshine, listening to Congressman Miller
give a speech..
Miller is an intensely political person, with a passionate loyalty to the Democratic party which has kept him in office for 36 years. He embraces the new technology of the computer, sharing it ebuliently with his constituents. "Read this!" "Watch this!" his messages say, sometimes when I read them at 1:00 a.m. when there isn't enough time and can't keep my eyes open to watch another Education Committee Hearing, or else the messages come from four hours earlier when CSPAN has already been there, done that, and moved on to something else. The river flows and the water has long ago gone over the dam, under the bridge and arrived at the ocean. His interest in the communication possibilities of the internet is one thing he shares with President Obama.
"The last two years have been the most exciting time of my life, when this young talented president came to office," he said, referring to President Barack Obama. "We have got to create new (health) systems in this country. It's going to change for families. People won't lose their health insurance because they lost their job."
He said that the Republican's financial risk-taking had nearly brought the country to ruin.
Miller is headed for the door to the campaign office, but taking his time to get there. We had only one Garmendi sign which I and a youth volunteeer from the Oakland Street Academy put up high on the wall over the American flag, where everyone would see it. Jael Wyrick helped us put it up there too. I was putting it up with blue tape but Jael said clear cellophane tape would be better, so he went and got some. Garamendi's district includes a little piece of El Cerrito, but I think it is closer to the El Cerrito shopping center. The campaign office is in the Richmond part of El Cerrito, north of Cutting Boulevard. The founding fathers divided the district so El Cerrito would get tax money from the San Pablo Avenue business strip, while Richmond would get tax money from big industry.
Election volunteers. We may assume that these kids
will some day be elected officials in local government if
not state or national government. They will probably want
to come back to politics because they get treated well
and with respect by the people who are running the
Not much happening except good weather.
Enjoy it now because it starts raining in a few weeks.
We only get one rainy season a year.
We have that in common with the country
of India, except they call it a monsoon.
Just hanging out, acting like normal youth, listening to
the Congressman give a speech..
"Your energy and your being out here walking door to door is critical," he said. "Republicans thought the shortest route to power was for the failure of the presidency. When Bush was President, I did not want the failure of the Presidency because I thought of it as failure of the country. These guys are never going to dance with him (Obama). Thank you so very much. We have got to pull the Democrats across the finish line. I want to thank Chuck Carpenter who was up at 6:00 a.m. this morning." #