On Sunday afternoon several hundred elected delegates and alternates to the 2012 Democratic National Committee Convention gathered in a meeting room at the Sacramento Convention Center for the Statewide Delegation Meeting to select At-large and PLEO delegates and the remainder of the delegation. The meeting was a mandatory obligation for the delegation members selected in the April 29th statewide Congressional district caucuses.
For those who had never been to a Presidential Nominating Convention the meeting provided the opportunity to find out more details about what happens at the convention, what to plan for, and learn from convention veterans what it’s really like to be a delegate. For some veterans, the meeting seemed to be a waste of time and money for delegates.
State Senate candidate Steve Young was one of those who was miffed at the purpose. “Requiring delegates to come to Sacramento for an hour’s worth of actual business is a burden,” Young said.
Young raises a good point. The only official reason for the delegates to be there was to confirm that selection of the additional delegation members not chosen in April. the mandatory nature of the meeting is because a quorum of the delegates was necessary to accomplish that approval.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton convened the delegation and got right down to business. At times, Burton was a bit ahead of the delegates and had to deal with objections from members who did not have the lists of delegation members in front of them at the time they voted. The lists were handed out at the time of each vote, and distribution of paper lists to the assembly took a few minutes.
Many of the delegation did not have a problem with having to attend the meeting. Heide Krueger, Theodore Perle, and Thomas Phifer, delegates from the 45th Congressional district, left Laguna Woods at 4 a.m. Sunday by car to be at the meeting. Kruger, Historian with the Laguna Woods Democratic Club, will be attending her fourth convention in September. “I moved to the United States from Germany in 1961, and voted for Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Being a delegate is an important part of my participation in democracy,” Kruger told me.
In addition to the required business, the meeting allowed delegations from across the state to meet and get to know each other, while also learning about the hotel options, transportation challenges, and other activities to expect in addition to the evening convention activities on September 3-6 in Charlotte.
Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee John Hanna, also a 45th Congressional level delegate, reflected on his experience when he first became a delegate in 1992. “It would have been helpful for me to have had this opportunity for my first convention,” Hanna said. “Though it’s a burden for some to travel to these meetings, the information you get, particularly from experienced delegates, is worth it.”
I plan to cover the 2012 Democratic National Committee Convention and follow some of the Orange County delegation members while they are at the convention in September as part of the documentary project 99Voices.
For more information, and to support 99Voices—A Multimedia Documentary, visit our Kickstarter funding page HERE.