Caucusing, round 2: A (long) day with the Democrats

April 5, 2008 at 6:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 44 Comments

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We’ve never before gone to a political caucus or convention beyond the precinct level (Feb. 9 caucuses this year, WSB coverage here). There’s a first time for everything, and so we are back from a long day at the 34th Legislative District Democratic Caucus at West Seattle High School. If you thought the February caucuses were lively, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve packed into a high-school gym with more than 1,000 people — and “packing in” was a challenge long before everyone entered the WSHS doors:

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Thanks to Luckie for that photo of West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine (added Sunday night to replace the fuzzy WSB photo in here before). He presided over about half the day as “permanent caucus chair.” Discussing the merits of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi and the other routes the King County Ferry District will handle, he said, “We need to find ways for people NOT to have to haul thousands of pounds of metal and plastic with them everywhere.” Nowhere was that more evident than in the long lines of cars circling for parking around 9:55 am, five minutes till proceedings were scheduled to start, after an hour of sign-in. Caucus attendees were seen leaving cars up to half a mile away, as the WSHS lot filled up fast.

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The official number of attendees at the start of the session after sign-in was complete (photo above, and subsequent photos in this story, courtesy Tim Eannarino; thanks!): 1,288 delegates and alternates signed in; of that number, 887 were delegates chosen at the Feb. 9 caucuses, and 122 alternates were to be seated in place of no-shows.

From that number, by day’s end, 51 delegates would be chosen to move on to the next level, but there was a ton of procedure, time-filling, and speech-giving to wade through before that voting finally occurred six hours into the proceedings. Those who were interested in making that cut were supposed to campaign throughout the day, and some came prepared, with signs and other campaign collateral:

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The professional politicians campaigned a bit too. For one, there was West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician, Mayor Greg Nickels (up for re-election next year), making an appearance at noon, noting he already had visited the caucuses in the 36th, 46th, and 11th districts, with more to go.

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(To the left of the mayor, in the big hat and aloha shirt, that’s 34th District Democrats chair Ivan Weiss of Vashon, who ran the first half of the event.) Nickels got in a plug for his Climate Action Now campaign, saying, “When the Bush Administration refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, I said ‘We will reduce OUR emissions,’ and now 825 cities have joined us – it is not a symbolic act; we the cities are leading the country in climate protection.”

The mayor got a reasonably enthusiastic reception, but nothing like the raucous ovation half an hour later for 7th District Congressman Jim McDermott.

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McDermott challenged the contention that it’s bad for the Democratic Party to have a nomination race still going at this point. “You’re here BECAUSE you know it isn’t over!” he boomed. “I was afraid the whole thing would be over on February 5th,” and that, he said, would have killed the buzz about the election and led to general ho-hum inattention across the country. (Earlier, West Seattle State Rep. Eileen Cody said something similar, surveying the crowd in the gym at the start of the event and saying, “My gosh, there’s a lot of Democrats here. Maybe it’s a good thing not to have a guaranteed candidate by now.”)

As the afternoon rolled on, so did the laborious business of caucusing, with dozens of 34th District Democrats volunteers making lists, checking names, ensuing alternates were officially put in place to replace missing delegates. Between the official updates, Councilmember Constantine filled time with dry humor and notable info, pitching an upcoming West Seattle High School fundraising dinner (May 8, dinner and play, benefiting arts electives) by reminding the crowd he’s a graduate, plugging the upcoming Town Hall in Burien about the future of King County Animal Services (April 14, read more here), and inviting audience members up to announce community events.

Other speakers ate up some of the time too, including state treasurer candidate Jim McIntire (“4 years ago, 300,000 of the people who voted for president didn’t vote for state treasurer at all,” he said. “Those votes would have made the difference”) and West Seattle State Senator Joe McDermott. He, incidentally, helped subsidize lunch for the crowd, working with Husky Deli – where he’d worked as a teen – to bring in sandwiches and sell them “at cost” ($4 whole, $2 half).

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The standing- and floor-sitting-room-only crowd continued on with the full-group meeting until 2:15, when, after the final official list of delegates had been completed and presented, participants split into 4 rooms — Obama delegates from the 7th Congressional District (most of the 34th Legislative District) in one, Obama delegates from the 9th (southern edge of the district) in another, and repeat for the Clinton delegates. (The huge Obama/7th group stayed in the gym.) Once in their breakout areas, the objective was for delegates who wanted to advance to campaign to get votes from everyone else — each attendee had been given ten slips of paper to distribute to delegate “candidates” any way they wanted.

There wasn’t time for speeches from the “candidates” before the papers were to be handed out, but they did get some time after the number was winnowed down, by which time it was 4 o’clock, and many people fled after filling out a final ballot with their choices for which of those “candidates” should move on.

In the back row of one “subcaucus” room, grumbling attendees complained about the process; during an open-mike period, one of them got up and said she had asked what could be done about it, and was told to “get active” with the 34th District Democrats. She would do exactly that, she vowed.

By day’s end, if nothing else, it was easy to leave with a newfound appreciation for what people have to go through to get to the political conventions; if you watch coverage on TV this summer, keep in mind that every face panned by the camera, every person who stands up and says, “The great state of whatever casts its x number of votes for …” had to jump through a lot of hoops, and collect a lot of slips of paper, to get there. (And their expenses aren’t paid by the party; they pay their own way to get to the convention.)

Next events for the Democrats include the King County Convention, also at West Seattle High School, a week from tomorrow; the 7th Congressional District caucus, May 15 at North Seattle Community College, and the state convention, June 14 in Spokane. All are listed on this page of the 34th District Democrats’ site, where we expect you’ll find more coverage soon of today’s event. 9:56 PM UPDATE: And indeed, the 34th DDs have posted the final list of those elected today to go on to the next level; thanks to webmaster Bill Schrier for the alert – find that list here.

44 Comments

  1. all in all, today’s caucus showed how involved the citizens residing slightly south and west of downtown really are. i love this neighborhood!

    the one negative was the lack of respect shown by the clinton supporters when a representative of the obama campaign had a chance to speak to the entire group. both campaigns were given 5 minutes to speak but the obama rep was interrupted often by clinton supporters shouting over him. i was near the stage but could hardly hear him at some points. they screamed things like “show me some substance”, “hillary”, and, of course, “boo”.

    while i believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, i was extremely turned-off by this lack of respect for the process and it led me to believe two things:
    1, the follks asking for ‘substance’ have clearly done no independent research of their own regarding the candidates and simply bought the clinton campaign credo hook, line, and sinker, and
    2, hillary is not a good leader. after all, if she is so much more qualified than obama, a good leader would’ve gathered the troops and had this thing wrapped up on feb 5th.

    anyway, i’m happy to live in such an active neighborhood and had a great experience at the caucus today! cheers and go obama!!!

    Comment by talk show host — 7:09 pm April 5, 2008 #

  2. It was long. It was unorganized. It was at times chaotic and felt rudderless. It was messy but it was the democratic process that makes this country great. Thanks to all the delegates, alternates and party faithful that stuck it out ’til the bitter end, even the less than polite losers who heckled through the Obama speaker. At 75% to 25%, if it had been a softball game the mercy rule would have been called and we would have all gone home in the third inning.

    Comment by democrat with a headache — 7:51 pm April 5, 2008 #

  3. Today i participated in our local district caucus as a delegate for Hillary.

    there were over 1200 people present.. we were all tired and uncomfortable. It took too long and there were too many people making speeches just to fill time….. at one time there was only one functioning set of restrooms..

    Yet… everyone was patient and helpful… and mostly managed to have a good time throughout.

    We were all jumbled together for the first 4 hours.. clearly identified as the delgates of opposing candidates by our badges and stickers… yet still often in spirited conversation in mixed groups. And.. there was a lot of laughter.

    The two most interesting conversations i had today ended up being with Obama delegates…

    i even traded hugs with more than one Obama delegate including the forum’s own WSMom

    They all spoke passionately about why they supported their candidate… and all were as willing to listen as to make their point.

    If our local caucus is any indication… republicans had best begin looking for something they can believe in…

    because there was no lack of party unity today.

    We all agree on the necessity of a democrat in the white house this fall… and more democratic legislators in both houses of Congress.

    the truth is that this caucus made me feel much better about the prospects of campaigning vigorously for Obama if he ends up being our candidate…

    it has been a good day.

    Comment by JoB — 8:16 pm April 5, 2008 #

  4. If you’re young and conservative – you have no heart.

    If you’re old and liberal – you have no brain.

    Winston Churchill.

    Comment by Joey — 8:33 pm April 5, 2008 #

  5. There was plenty of young liberals there with both.

    Comment by 8 — 8:49 pm April 5, 2008 #

  6. An interesting quote, but altogether meaningless. “Conservative” in Winston Churchill’s time is a far cry from what “conservative” has come to mean in today’s U. S. of A.

    Comment by intheneighborhood — 9:01 pm April 5, 2008 #

  7. Churchill never said that, according to The Churchill Centre, who you’d imagine would know.

    Turns out the quote comes from François Guizot, a French politician from the nineteenth century who thought the vote should be restricted to rich people.

    Comment by Evan — 9:52 pm April 5, 2008 #

  8. One thing to remember is that there has never been a turn out like this one in 30+ years. I don’t think that the party was prepared for the numbers. In a such a high tech city, you would have thought someone would have helped them computerize the delegate process…

    At any rate, I’m still quite jazzed and chanting Yes WE CAN!!

    BTW – you can get various candidate items at cafepress.com.

    cheers!!

    Comment by Shelbi — 10:18 pm April 5, 2008 #

  9. I wasn’t a delegate, and parts of the process still puzzle me, but I do have a question… do the delegates for the next round have to represent males and females equally? I noticed the delegates listed by gender (on the 34th Dems’ site) and thought that was interesting.

    Thanks to all who endured today… this is the most exciting election process of my life thus far!

    Comment by Karma — 12:05 am April 6, 2008 #

  10. One of the endless small details I didn’t include, but yes, apparently this is in the rules – After the first round of “give your slips of paper to the delegate candidate(s) you want to support,” a ballot emerged with the top votegetters evenly split between women and men, and the end result was to be evenly split. A little startling given that in at least one of the rooms, women “candidates” outnumbered men about 4 to 1, which meant the rules gave each of those men a much better chance.

    Comment by WSB — 12:27 am April 6, 2008 #

  11. I was proud to be a delegate at today’s caucus and was happy to see the turn out.

    With that being said – the politics displayed by the Hillary supporters during the 5 minute time given to Obama is EXACTLY why Hillary Clinton will go down in history as an also ran.

    Your actions speak louder then the ‘shrill’ comments being yelled folks. Obama has class – and Hillary is out of Gas.

    OBAMA 2008 !!

    Comment by ted — 1:27 am April 6, 2008 #

  12. I wasn’t there yesterday, but I just have to say: Am I the only one who has had enough of the Hillary vs. Obama parade?

    Comment by Kayleigh — 7:26 am April 6, 2008 #

  13. I have “had enough” of the current administration and if folks are taking time to think through who will take on a country that has lost its way, so be it. It’s encouraging to me that people are spending time on deciding this rather than all their time on the next American Idol…

    Comment by carraig na splinkeen — 7:45 am April 6, 2008 #

  14. I was there yesterday until the end, and I have to say that I do not think it was unorganized. It just took a long time for the credentialing committee to count the numbers. They had a lot of work to do, ensuring the numbers were correct.

    For me I felt the whole thing very inspiring. I loved being in a big room of like-minded people who are also my neighbors. I felt a strong sense of community and compassion for each other. It was a great reminder of why Seattle is such a cool place to live–it’s not just the pretty nature and the city itself, but our people. We’re pretty cool!

    Thanks to all the delegates who are moving on to the next level. They’ll be busy in their communities getting folks registered to vote and spreading the excitement. I am sure not tired of the “parade”!

    Comment by Libby — 9:20 am April 6, 2008 #

  15. Any day spent with Democrats is a long day. :-P

    And Evan, so what? It still holds true no matter to whom the quote is attributed! :-P

    Comment by OP — 9:47 am April 6, 2008 #

  16. Karma,
    You can read the WA Democratic Party Delegate Selection Plan here.
    http://www.wa-democrats.org/index.php?page=display&id=197

    In short, yes, Delegates are elected in equal numbers of males and females (can only be different by one, should a candidate be allocated an odd number of Delegates.)

    This isn’t just something done in WA, but is required by the rules of the Democratic National Committee.

    Comment by Alcina — 9:47 am April 6, 2008 #

  17. This was interesting to read because it was different from what happened over in the 43rd (Wallingford, Fremont, Ravenna). Ours, too, was long and drawn out. We had probably close to 1,000 as well. Many people who had been alternates did become delegates so it was good so many showed up and sat for 2 hours waiting to find out.

    We did end up giving 30-second speeches (at least half the delegates ended up running). It was long but you really got a sense of who our party is in a way that I know the Republicans can’t. Obama really has energized the youth and that’s no small thing. One young woman spent her 20th birthday there. I feel like we have an incredible cross-section of people to send on to the County and State.

    Good for all of us who participated – now let’s go win this thing!

    Comment by westello — 10:23 am April 6, 2008 #

  18. After being completely so excited and energized by the first round of caucuses I signed up as an alternate, I was completely flabbergasted at the lack of organization yesterday. Even signing in was difficult, and after reading the articles on the blog, I’m reasonably sure I never did get the right info. Was it impossible to even generate a somewhat accurate agenda? I also love the experience of being with my neighbors and participating in the democratic process – I’m a poll worker – but after 45 minutes of being jostled around with no indication of what would happen or when, I left. (I was an alternate and made sure there were enough delegates in attendence) Congrats to those who stuck it out for 7 hours, but really – isn’t there a way to do this without exhausting the party faithful?

    Comment by Joan — 10:44 am April 6, 2008 #

  19. I too was at yesterday’s fun filled event as a delegate. This was my first time to such an event and I was taking in so much information during the day that it really got me excited to be involved. I’m still talking about it today with my family.

    The bad news; I too was very dissapointed with the heckling during the 5 minute designated Obama speach. Any word of the name Hilary kicked off a rousing stomp fest, which is very appropriate; but in the next speach about Obama, they complained that the speaker wasn’t saying anything about the candidate. Both speaches were very general. The heckling made me feel that there’s some strange fanatism with a portion of the Clinton supporters and will only do harm to the Democrats when November rolls around.

    Comment by Steve Fischer — 10:50 am April 6, 2008 #

  20. Correction – I think that the heckling represented only a portion of the Clinton supporters. Several Clinton supports that I spoke to during the day seemed very open to discuss Obama just as I would hope Obama supporters would openly discuss Clinton. Hopefully, one of them will be in the White House.

    Comment by Steve Fischer — 11:07 am April 6, 2008 #

  21. I wrote this entry in the GO Obama forum, but I thought I should enter it here too.

    Interesting how often we touch a different part of the elephant and have way different impressions and experiences.

    My thoughts on the local district caucus:

    I was forewarned and prepared for a day of sitting and waiting and then waiting some more, but I was impressed with how organized the process was and with the competence of the many volunteers. It helped too that Jim McDermott brought us all food. I found Dow Constantine to be surprisingly charming.

    Perhaps it was where I was sitting, but I did not get the impression that the “booing” of the Obama speaker was very significant. I was impressed with the speech by the woman Clinton supporter. I thought her speech was well prepared and factual (I loved it that she quoted Jon Stewart). She only spoke about Clinton’s strong points and did not denigrate Obama. The room was quiet and listened respectfully. Given that 75% of the room was for Obama, I would have been embarrassed if anyone had interrupted her.

    Now the Obama speaker was a nice young man, but my impression was that his speech was not very well prepared and he didn’t provide (to my recollection) many specifics. He seemed to speak more about emotions and what Obama will do rather than facts about what he has done. I did hear a person yell out “but how is he going to do that?” He also said something negative about Sen. Clinton that made me cringe. Frankly, I thought that if the Obama speaker’s speech had been better prepared and if he’d stayed under the 5 minute rule, no one would have yelled anything out at him. Please note that these are my general impressions, I didn’t take notes.

    I was very impressed with the passion of the delegates who wanted to go on to Spokane and then Denver. One delegate, Robert Fuentes, spent five minutes with me explaining why he believes in Barak Obama. He brought tears to my eyes and reaffirmed, yet again, my decision to cast my vote for Sen. Obama. YES WE CAN and we WILL have a democrat in the White House in 2008!!

    Comment by WSMom — 11:26 am April 6, 2008 #

  22. It was a good process although a bit long and unorganized.

    With my brief notes, here is the talley as best as I could understand them during the course of a long day (not sure how the information is represented between district 7 & 9)

    (((926))) total delegates

    ~ Clinton = 231 @ 24.95%
    ~ Obama = 694 @ 74.95%

    All in all the highlights:

    * A visit by Jim McDermott

    * Pretty good tap dancing (good humored discussion by a speaker while delagate seating was being determined)
    * Vashon folks here in droves!

    * Joe McDermott sandwiches! ($2.00 courtesy of our own Husky Deli)

    * Next step delegates pleading their case in 30 seconds (thumbs up)

    We are very lucky to have such a great district!

    Comment by Scott — 11:50 am April 6, 2008 #

  23. I ended up concerned that a substantial number of delegates didn’t see the process through yesterday. It’s one thing to disenfranchise yourself but something else entirely to disenfranchise your neighbors as well.

    It was confusing for us first time delegates but the information was there for folks to figure out, but as with many things these days it seemed that people expected too much hand holding through the process.

    Ultimately what seemed to happen (in my observation) is that many delegates thought that their “nomination” slips represented the end of their involvement in sending on delegates and didn’t stick around for the actual vote for delegates.

    I was also quite surprised to see (if I got it right) that enough Obama delegates switched to Clinton to change the delegate distribution. (I thought she went from around 24% to over 30% which would have given her one more delegate).

    I would be interested to hear from delegates who switched their vote yesterday.

    I applaud the people who worked so hard to crunch the numbers and names yesterday; a lot of work.

    Comment by bubba — 11:58 am April 6, 2008 #

  24. I have a renewed respect for what it takes to organize a caucas and proceed to election day. Well done. Seven hours on a bleacher seat wasn’t that pleasant but the people certainly were. The credit for the sandwichs is entirely Joe McDermott’s doing, along with Husky Deli.

    Comment by seattle golfer — 12:07 pm April 6, 2008 #

  25. In all fairness to the newbies (me being one), the process was not clear throughout the day. The process was a mixture of (21) steps written over (4) full pages and were mixed into an agenda page with minimal reference.

    I managed to ask enough questions from those around me to eventually be led to have this discussion with Joe Mitter (former host of the Caucus event).

    Joe was gracious enough to take the mic and do a quick breakdown of the overall Caucus events all the way to Denver and to give use a quick process check for the day. Unfortunately this information probably should have occurred early in the day to make it easier to follow.

    One observation I had made during the course of the day was that while some to the transistions from one agenda item to another seemed long and the method/process seemed a bit un-organized, there was plenty of suggestions from those out in the crowd, to make the organizer jobs a bit easier. It made the experience feel like we had a good and competent community of delegates.

    That said, enough from me :-)

    Comment by Scott — 12:34 pm April 6, 2008 #

  26. I find all of these comments illuminating. As an active member of the 34th District Democrats and the Chair of the Credentials Committee for yesterday’s caucus, I find there is much here that we can use to refine our process.

    Our organization could have been better, but, clearly, the Party needs to create a set of rules that allows for more streamlining. We could have saved much time if we were not bound by the premium the rules put on both handling late arriving delegates and trying to fill open delegate slots.

    In any event, I suggest, for those of you are interested in creating a better Democratic party, come to our monthly 34th District meetings. (See http://www.34dems.org) We can use all the help we can get.

    Thanks to all those who attended and all the volunteers who helped out.

    Comment by Walter Sive — 12:35 pm April 6, 2008 #

  27. bubba, I don’t believe she increased her support that much.

    The unofficial results on the 34th Dems page says there was a breakdown of 74.2% for Obama and 25.8% for Clinton.

    I found those numbers here.

    Comment by forrest (with 2 Rs) — 12:40 pm April 6, 2008 #

  28. Bubba,
    Actually, Obama gained Delegates yesterday. At the Precinct Caucuses he had 70 percent and yesterday 75 percent. Hard to tell without looking at the forms who switched, but the “Uncommitted” Delegates from the Precinct Caucuses would have switched to a candidate.

    That said, only 1.44% of the Precinct Delegates were Delegates for Uncommitted, which means that for Obama to gain as much as he did, either some Clinton Delegates didn’t attend and/or switched to Obama yesterday.

    Comment by Alcina — 1:04 pm April 6, 2008 #

  29. I was there at 7:30am to volunteer and spent the day signing people in, counting, counting and more counting. I think it would have worked better to send all the alternates back to the check in tables to see if they were needed after the initial count. That would have shortened the day for many.

    Comment by cami — 1:31 pm April 6, 2008 #

  30. Alcina,

    Hillary lost two delegates at my table. The delegates and the alternates didn’t show. I only saw one uncommitted switch… and he went to Obama.

    Comment by cami — 1:32 pm April 6, 2008 #

  31. i attended the caucus yesterday as a delegate. this election was my first experience with the caucus procedure. there were a LOT of us newbies in attendance yesterday. my initial impression of the caucus was chaos. 34th Dems Chair Ivan Weiss seemed very impatient when people were asking questions. you would have thought that he would have been more welcoming to the new participants in this process. he seemed very unsure about the procedure and had to have someone else explain it to us. he was a poor choice to lead off the caucus, who’s only qualification to do so must have been that ridiculous hat.

    there must be a better way to compute the delegate counts…computer spreadsheet or something.

    and as for the sandwiches “provided by joe mcdermott”…how exactly were they “provided” if people still had to pay for them?

    i am glad that i participated. i am especially glad that i stayed until the end. with all the negatives throughout the day, it was great to hear all the speaches of the prospective delegates…reminded me of why this election is so important to me.

    ….and dow constantine was fantastic.

    Comment by westseattledemocrat — 1:40 pm April 6, 2008 #

  32. I was one of the guys in the Hillary camp on the floor who stood up and turned around when the Obama speaker at about minute 3:30 of his speech said “And let’s face it, Hillary Clinton is the most divisive person in politics.”

    .

    I let out a gasp of “no.” but nothing audible. I wasn’t one of the people being raucus in my group.

    .

    As one of the people already points out, the pro-Clinton speaker gave a 5 minute speech full of positives and specifics about Hillary Clinton. Not once did our side go after thge Obama side with a dirty attack, nor did we even mention him. We kept our speech about the positives of Clinton.

    .

    However, during her speech, I often heard loud “BOOO”‘s and hisses coming from the bleachers when she was up delivering her speech. Specifically these were heard when she was in the part of her speech about the Iraq war. I also heard “The bitch voted for it!” come down from the rafters.

    .

    I am a strong Hillary supporter. However, I stood up and turned around and got others to do so too when the vice-chair, during his 5 minute speech for Obama, went in to the diatribe because while I am a strong Hillary supporter, the worst thing we can do as a party is tear each of the two strong candidates down. One of these people *will* be our nominee.

    .

    I got accolades from many in the Obama crowd who came down and said thank you for turning around, that they were ashamed that the speech from their candidate’s supporter went negative. I told them what I’ve told everyone. Speak postively of your candidate, highlight differences on policy where you think your candiate is better, but skip the attacks – those simply will hand the election to republicans.

    .

    We got one guy, a gent named Marty, who came over to our camp that day, right after that speech, who said that the differences between these two strong candidates wasn’t much, and that if the best the Obama can do is 3 minutes of generalism and 2 minutes of democrat tear-down, he didn’t want to be in that camp anymore.

    .

    I as a democrat, was ashamed that our vice-chair for the 34th would go there. You can bet I’ll be there at the next meeting to make sure he knows that too. I will be asking for his resgination. He’s no democrat I want leading us, I want someone who knows that regardless of who the candidate is, we should be tearing down the republicans, and not each other.

    Comment by DustinJames — 3:57 pm April 6, 2008 #

  33. With all the comments here about the heckling that went on during Tim Nuse’s speech for Obama, I’m surprised no one has mentioned that heckling that went on during the speech for Hillary. The booing during her speech were just as discourteous as the shouting was during the Obama speech.

    Comment by kathy — 4:28 pm April 6, 2008 #

  34. I missed the caucus. I am still too sick with this chest cold from hell to be going into a confined place where I could spread it around. My cough alone scares pedestrians into crossing the street outside my house.

    However I have been to them before.

    The organization was probably as good as it could be within the current rules and with the current technical level of the state and county Dem party.

    Those who found the process irritating (as I did last cycle) should join the 34th district and brainstorm some ideas to work on for next cycle.

    We should be able to print either bar codes or embed rfid tags in delegate slips by the time the next contested primary rolls around. Check in and credentials are always the time sink at these things.

    While there are some very talented people in the Ranks of Democrats, the vast majority barely use email and the State party is, I think, overly concerned with making the process produce equal numbers of men and women and showing diversity even when it is not representative in some districts, to plan anything that streamlines the process.

    Ivan is a plain speaker. I like that. He was right to turn the mic over to those in charge of the details of the credentialing since that process is complex and subject to change every year by the convention committee’s. I did not even bother to read it this year just to preserve a little of my sanity.

    If you don’t like the way the district is run, then change it. After each general election, the January meeting is when a whole new slate of officers is elected from the membership.
    There is no reason why your leadership skills and organizational talents cannot be displayed to the current and new members between now and then and you can be the guy or gal up on that stage next cycle. :)

    Comment by Ken — 4:54 pm April 6, 2008 #

  35. I was an Obama delegate sitting in those bleachers. I appreciated the speech given by the Clinton representative, which I thought was very well done…and I was dismayed to hear the Obama representative during his speech describe Clinton as “let’s face it…polarizing.” I turned to my friend sitting next to me and said, “Now THAT was unnecessary.” Tim Nuse may believe that, but I wish he had kept it to himself at that moment. In a way, I don’t blame the Clinton folks one bit for heckling.

    Re Joe McDermott’s sandwiches: they explained that he was providing them “at cost”, so although they weren’t free, they were cheap.

    Comment by Bernicki — 5:16 pm April 6, 2008 #

  36. thanks for the link, I was concerned that I had mis-read the slides yesterday. From the PDF it looks like the 9 uncommitted delegates went 3 for Clinton and 5 for Obama and one faded away. got it now, thanks.

    I also wanted to add a kudos to the group for the open mike time. Always risky (if not guaranteed disaster) to open up the mike to a crowd that size and there were no wacko PA moments…gotta love W. SEA. ;)

    Comment by bubba — 6:44 pm April 6, 2008 #

  37. Ok so it was my first time as well..I guess in the past I just voted in November. It was long..I wasn’t prepared for the day so luckily PCC was close by as I did not have cash to buy a sandwich (PCC takes Debit cards :). I wish that that part would have been in the mailer so I could have been prepared. I had a good time met some good people. Congrats to all the Clinton Delegates I voted for !!! You go Dustin !! OK now I am still confused am I suppose to go to the King County convention..as a precinct delegate I am thinking yes.

    Any chance these Democratic meetings could ever be held on a Saturday for those of us that not only work but have kiddos. Elizabeth thanks for the info on the working women’s meeting on Saturdays. I will be there.

    Regardless of how this all pans out in the end Dick and Bush will be gone. I am also somewhat of a dreamer and I would love to see a take it all ticket Clinton/Obama or the other way if that is how the numbers go. I could go Clinton/Obama 08 and 12 then Obama/Clinton 16 and 20. I have mapped out the next 18 years. By then Chelsea will be old enough. Hillary is my homegirl but the democratic ticket is my heart. McCain scares me and his wife has had too much bo-tox. We can’t be having that. OK that was negative but I think it is OK to be negative about republicans I just don’t want us as democrats to be negative because in the end we all have to pull together and unite.

    OK and suggestion: If it is going to be that long OPEN BAR..that would have made the process more interesting. A Margarita of Apple Martini would have worked just nice.

    See you all soon..perhaps next week :) Cafe Press has some great shirts and buttons for both candidates. NZ

    Comment by NZ — 7:33 pm April 6, 2008 #

  38. NZ,
    Yes, all Precinct Delegates are supposed to attend the King County Convention. You should have received the official call in the mail…if not, here’s the link.
    http://www.kcdems.net/documents/2008.officialcall.pdf

    It will be a shorter event than the Legislative District Caucus as Delegates aren’t elected, you will be mostly voting on the Platform, one section at a time. You can read the Platform here http://www.kcdems.net/temp/Platform2008/

    Comment by Alcina — 7:59 am April 7, 2008 #

  39. Thanks for the comments, Ken. I have one correction. In January, the new slate of officers will *not* be elected by the membership. It will be elected ONLY by those Precinct Committee Officers who are ELECTED in the August primary.

    Under our 34th District Democrats bylaws, only the positions of Secretary and Treasurer are elected by the general membership.

    So whoever wants to vote for new officers in the 34th District Democrats in January, run for PCO in your precinct. Filing forms and all information are online at the King County Records and Elections Web site.

    Thanks to everyone who attended the Legislative District and Precinct caucuses. A special shout-out to those who volunteered their time to help, and a big hug and a kiss to West Seattle Blog, which has chronicled our activities faithfully.

    For those of you who expressed some dissatisfaction with parts of the process, please understand that we are never satisfied with all of it either, and that every time we do this we re-examine what we did and how we did it, and report on how to make it better the next time.

    Anyone who thinks they have some answers is welcome to join the organization and help us do things better.

    Those who expect any volunteer organization, especially one that has just experienced an 80 percent increase in membership so far this year, to start out perfect and improve on that each time, is, alas, doomed to eternal frustration.

    Now let’s get on with the goal of registering all the voters in our neighborhoods, learning which of them are Democrats, and getting all Democrats to vote in November — for the entire ticket. Thanks again to all.

    Comment by ivan — 8:02 am April 7, 2008 #

  40. I was a delegate and showed up on Saturday but was unable to stay the whole time. I wish we had been warned in February that this caucus would be an all-day affair instead of the couple of hours I thought it would be. I’m still not sure if I need to show up on Sunday for the next caucus either…

    One thing that probably would have helped with organization on Saturday were some announcements over the PA system about what we could expect throughout the day and where we should go (the printed agenda I received wasn’t very helpful I thought). I checked in and the line was totally long so I felt bad taking up time asking questions. I wasn’t even told where to go after signing in. Announcements during the check-in process would have been extremely useful and would have eliminated a lot of repeat questions probably.

    m (not the one who had eggs thrown at her house)

    Comment by m — 10:24 am April 7, 2008 #

  41. I was happy to find out that I was seated as a Clinton delegate after being an alternate this Saturday. I had to go to work at some point this day and had to leave however. Is this the end of the road for me? This was my first experience and didn’t have a clue as to what would happen next. I felt a little discouraged when I found out how many delegates can be elected to go on. I was not prepared to ‘campaign’. Sorry for the lack of knowledge. ~SB

    Comment by Stephanie — 11:33 am April 7, 2008 #

  42. 1st) Caucus: Intial votes selecting Delegates

    2nd) Caucus: 34th Legistlation Distric (last Sat)to select Delegates to State Caucus #4

    3rd) County: same delegate as 2nd to discuss the platform and resolution policies (this Sunday)

    4th) Caucus: At the State level but simular to the #2 Caucus, selecting last delegate list to move forward to nationals.

    5th) Caucus: National Level in Denver, final caucus hopefully nominating out Democratic Presidential canidate.

    Hope this helps, the information is at the 50,000 ft level and stripped down to the minimal. Please make corrections if I misinterpeted the next step processes.

    Comment by Scott — 2:33 pm April 7, 2008 #

  43. Thanks Alcina..It would help if I went out to the mailbox and got my mail. I now get it all and thanks for the links. I think when I had my baby a few brain cells were lost. And Ivan I agree with your comments since I voted every year and never heard about caucus’s and I am sure I am not alone here..how could you anticipate and plan the record turn out..this is a good thing. You guys did the best you could.

    OK and a Rant on the voting system in general and not the caucus system or Sat.

    I am now thinking again I probably need to go to the elections office in person as I have now turned in 3 voter signature cards with my new name (last name) and they again sent me a letter saying they need my signature..I have done this 3 times now..how hard is this King County Elections. They do have my address right…that took a couple of tries and lost paperwork. At this rate I am not sure if they will get it right for me. No wonder I never get called for jury duty.

    Comment by NZ — 10:02 pm April 7, 2008 #

  44. Scott here is a good source for what’s left – http://34dems.org/news_caucus.htm – the events you list as #3 & #4 are actually Conventions (the King County Convention is next weekend) and your list left off the Congressional District Caucus May 17th at North Seattle Community College. This is where delegates elected on Saturday from the 34th will join with delegates elected at all the other districts in Congressman McDermott’s district (there are 307 delegates from the legislative district caucuses WA-7) and will vote for 4 male and 5 female delegates and one male alternate to go to Denver.

    I want to thank everyone who attended. This was my first time. I wanted to go on but was intimidated by the number of people who had come prepared to campaign. My friends who were delegates from another precinct, Mark and Debbie, said I should go ahead and try, which I did.

    I made the cut with 31 nominations to be on the ballot for Obama and I see that I am voted in – the number 11 delegate for Obama from the 34th for the 7th. Thank you to anyone who voted for me.

    My name is Bill Peckham. I work out of Carpenter’s local 131 as a Journeyman Tradeshow Specialist. I also have been on dialysis for 17 years and for the last 10 years I have served as a trustee of your Northwest Kidney Centers; since May I have been serving as Chair of the Trustee Board. The first chair to also be on dialysis.

    I intend to run for national delegate at the Congressional District Caucus, I want to represent the 34th in Denver. All I know about this is what I’ve read on the 34dems.org site and http://www.wa-democrats.org/ . Anyone with some insight I’d love to hear from you – I’m @yahoo – just put a dot between my first and last name.

    One thing I have read is that anyone can run to be a National Delegate (within certain residency requirements) but only those elected as delegates at their legislative caucuses can vote.

    Thank you to the Obama supporters who stuck with it and voted after hearing our 54 30 second speeches. This is a great community.

    Comment by Bill Peckham — 9:03 pm April 8, 2008 #

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