Category Archives: California Democratic Party

Benicia’s Kari Birdseye quoted in coverage of California Democratic Party convention

By By Julia Prodis Sulek, The Mercury News, June 1, 2019

Hickenlooper who? California Democratic Convention delegates anxious to winnow field of candidates

[1 of 36 photos] SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 1: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) acknowledges the crowd as she speaks during Day 2 of the California Democratic Party Convention at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday, June 1, 2019. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
SAN FRANCISCO — Some of the 15 presidential contenders schmoozing delegates Saturday at the California Democratic Convention are so popular, they need no introduction but their first names: Bernie, Kamala and Beto.

Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (if you can pronounce it), are right up there on the name recognition scale, too.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 1: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during Day 2 of the California Democratic Party Convention at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday, June 1, 2019. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

“When you get below that, who the heck are they?” asked Orange County delegate Doug Harding, outside the main hall Saturday afternoon.

“We love ‘em, but they need to leave.”

Some delegates clearly subscribe to “the more the merrier” mantra and scrambled for selfies Saturday with any candidates who passed through the Moscone Center. But others are anxious to winnow the huge field of serious presidential contenders — 24 by most counts — hoping to earn the Democratic nomination to take on President Trump in 2020.

“I can identify up to about five,” said Becky Curry, 64, a delegate from Lake County who felt lucky to see the likes of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts make speeches Saturday. “When I get down to Bennet, Hickenlooper and some of the other Bs, they fall into the same category — I don’t know them.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 1: Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke speaks during Day 2 of the California Democratic Party Convention at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday, June 1, 2019. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Marianne Williamson? John Delaney? Michael Bennet? While the author, the former Maryland congressman and Colorado’s U.S. senator have their acolytes, the enthusiasm on Saturday among California’s 3,400 Democratic delegates, based on the applause scale alone, seemed reserved mostly for the household names.

It wasn’t for lack of enthusiastic speeches by the candidates.

US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses a rally at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California on May 31, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

“Our president is a coward,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a speech from the main convention hall Saturday. “That’s not what we deserve.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii criticized Washington politics as “of, by and for self-serving politicians and the rich and powerful. This must end.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s voice was already hoarse when she took the stage, saying, “I don’t have money, but I have grit” and received an ovation when she left the stage.

But when Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said he woke up next to his husband Saturday morning thanks to a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court, the San Francisco crowd let out a prolonged cheer.

“The riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe,” he said.

The unfortunate task of following him fell to Rep. Eric Swalwell from Dublin, who has been a frequent pundit on CNN but still struggles to gain name recognition. And when former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said “socialism is not the answer,” the extended booing nearly drowned him out.

Delegate Gail Cain from Orange County called the large field of candidates “crazy,” especially since “they all have the same thing to say.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner, was a no-show, opting out of the California convention — a decision that didn’t sit well with some of the delegates.

“To ignore us like this is a big mistake,” said Kari Birdseye, a delegate from Benicia. “He should have showed up.”

She also held disdain for candidates who didn’t seem to be in it for the right reasons: those she believes are angling to raise their profiles or be tapped for cabinet posts.

Still, “what’s important is that we’re going to be unified behind our candidate no matter what,” she said. Alluding to Trump’s 2016 win, she added, “we learned that the hard way.”

Progressive Democrats of Benicia endorse Kimberly Ellis for CA Democratic Party Chair

May 22, 2019

Progressive Democrats Endorse Kimberly Ellis for California Democratic Party Chair

When former Labor Sec. Tom Perez defeated Rep. Keith Ellison in the race to head the Democratic National Committee, it ...
Kimberly Ellis, 2019 candidate for chair of the California Democratic Party

At its May 14th monthly meeting, the Progressive Democrats of Benicia voted to endorse Kimberly Ellis for Chair of the California Democratic Party. The Chairperson will be elected for a four-year term during the Party’s state convention in San Francisco which begins May 31.

“PDB is excited to support Kimberly,” said Ralph Dennis, Chair of the Progressive Democrats. “I remember her speaking in 2017 at an awards dinner in Benicia, when she gave a passionate speech focusing on environmental justice concerns in California communities, and she really fired up the audience,” Dennis said.

More recently, according to Dennis, during an April 7 forum in Vallejo for candidates running for Chair of the Democratic Party, Ms. Ellis presented her progressive credentials as she answered questions posed by PDB. “She opposes candidates taking money from corporations and supports public financing of elections. And, she also supports race and gender equity for candidates seeking public office, promoting a target of 50% women and 50% people of color,” according to Dennis. Ms. Ellis also wants to end fracking in California, a position the Progressive Democrats encourage the California Legislature to embrace. Fracking is a method of oil and gas production that blasts water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, under high pressure deep into the earth to break up rock formations for oil and gas extraction. “But it can also pollute local air and water and endanger wildlife and human health,” Dennis said referring to various studies performed.

Ms. Ellis is also the former Executive Director of Emerge California, a non-profit organization working to encourage and train women to run for office. She has also served on the California Democratic Party’s Finance Committee and its African American Caucus. In 2017, she narrowly lost a bid for the Chair position.

The Progressive Democrats is a local political club chartered by the Solano County Democratic Central Committee, organized in 2017 to promote progressive issues and support progressive candidates for public office. For more information visit the group’s web site at

Ralph Dennis, Chair

PDB to endorse a candidate for California Democratic Party Chair

California Democratic Party Chair Election
PDB Candidate Endorsement Discussion
May 14, 2019

The California Democratic Party (CADEM) will elect its State Chair during the State Convention in San Francisco, May 31 – June 2. Five candidates are running for the four-year term as CADEM’s State Chair. The candidates are:

    • Lenore Albert-Sheridan
    • Kimberly Ellis
    • Rusty Hicks
    • Daraka Larimore-Hall
    • Mike Katz-Lacabe

Progressive Democrats of Benicia will discuss the Party Chair race during our May 14 General Membership meeting. After the discussion, members will be given an opportunity to vote to endorse one candidate for State Chair. A candidate receiving 50% + 1 of the votes cast by members present will win the PDB endorsement.


  1.  brief biographical information on each candidate

  2.  summary of responses from the candidates to PDB questions asked at an April 7 candidates’ forum in Vallejo