The key to the GOP’s resurgence in California
may start with Abel Maldonado.
PHOTO/Shane Bond

SUNDAY COLUMN | After a weekend at the California State Republican Convention, it remains to be seen if the party’s renewed effort to attract and promote minority candidates is nothing more than rhetoric peddled by the same old white faces of the past. The notion this party lacks diversity is not exactly what I saw in Sacramento. I saw many disparate groups in the crowds; however, the unmistakable shocks of white hair were omnipresent.

When the message is not as important as the messenger, it gives more than a whiff of a change towards pragmatism rather than wholesale reformation of long accepted party ideology catering to white males. The new vice chair of the party, San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon often said this weekend she wants to sex up the party. She even wore a hot pink blazer to distract from her normally staid black ensembles. Whether a few tweaks here and there and more discipline when it comes to baiting the anger of Latinos, the facts say the Republican Party in California cannot get any worse than it is today. At the same time, the state’s Democrats, who meet next month in Sacramento, would be unwise to think their stranglehold on California will ever get better. Some reverse in courses is absolutely going to happen in the next few years and the Democrats needs to be ready to hold its ground.

That means protecting its growing Latino base. Democrats know a certain percentage of this group is far more traditional in its values than other groups within the progressive coalition. If not for the ridiculous atmosphere of racism fostered by Republicans, these types of Latinos, more focused on traditional family values would be firmly on the other side. Add another growing portion of the Latino bloc that can be cajoled by well-crafted messaging asking whether Democrats value Latinos beliefs as much as their vote and more will answer no.

There are ways to block the Republican Party’s push for minorities and its starts with education and employment. Not unlike most every group in the state, the value of children and a greater future is paramount. If Democrats make themselves to be the party of upward mobility, there’s little chance for the Republican Party to move up from its current malaise. Or, as many delegates acknowledged this weekend, the membership of decline to state’s in California will soon overtake the Republican Party.

“If we want to stop the killing in Oakland, we have to have these federal laws.”
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in her State of the City address, Feb. 28, urging Congress to pass legislation banning the purchase of assault weapons.

The Week That Was

Jean Quan

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Wednesday she will do everything she can to keep the East Bay’s three professional sports franchises in Oakland. More pointedly, she said, “The A’s belong in Oakland.” One word, in particular, “shoutouts” was worn out during Quan’s speech as she repeatedly used the phrase to heap praise on many in the city.

Oakland Councilman Noel Gallo, again, made disparaging remarks in opposition of cannabis at a Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday when he told colleagues in favor he had a “different upbringing” than them.

The sequester hit on Friday after all sides in Washington failed to come to an agreement to avoid steep cuts in the nation’s budget.

In San Leandro, Mayor Stephen Cassidy unsuccessfully, at least for now, pushed for the city to drop the East Bay legal franchise of Meyers Nave as its counsel and city attorney. The move is seen by most as a power grab for the deeply marginalized mayor whose bullying tactics have alienated many at City Hall.

State Republicans met in Sacramento this weekend to sort the mess that has become of the Golden State’s Grand Ole Party. Vows to reach out to minority candidates and voters were on the lips of most. The party faithful voted to give former legislator Jim Brulte a chance as chair. San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a Sikh American, won election as vice chair.

Tweet of the Week
“The unemployement rate fell last year, but nowhere near as fast as my approval rating. #oakmtg #oaksotc”
-@FakeJeanQuan, Feb. 28, in response to the real Jean Quan plugging Oakland’s slowly dwindling unemployment rate during her State of the City speech.

Best Reads
>>>Profile of burgeoning Bay Area media mogul Todd Vogt, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and SF Weekly.(San Francisco Magazine, March 2013)