San Diego Free Press - 10.23.2017

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San Diego’s Democratic Party Leadership Should Heed #MeToo [article]

by Doug Porter
October 23, 2017

Last weekend’s San Diego County Democratic Convention was a success on many levels. Candidates spoke, networks were built, and the party faithful came away full of hope for the future. The mechanics of the event went smoothly.

But…

There was just the nagging question of you-know-who, who stands accused of doing you-know-what. A handful of demonstrators held banners near the entrance to the California Center for the Arts, reminding attendees that this issue wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Ten thousand dollars bought a lot of silence at the Democratic Convention. With the unfolding scandals concerning sexual misconduct and harassment by powerful figures in entertainment, politics, and labor, you’d think the local party might have doubts about cashing a check from San Diego’s poster child for allegations of such conduct.

Additional coverage of the San Diego County Democratic Convention, along with plenty of pictures, can be found here.

It’s impossible not to notice something’s happening. Women are speaking out about sexual harassment.

San Diego’s Democratic Party Leadership Should Heed #MeToo

October 23, 2017 by Doug Porter 3 Comments

Last weekend’s San Diego County Democratic Convention was a success on many levels. Candidates spoke, networks were built, and the party faithful came away full of hope for the future. The mechanics of the event went smoothly.

But…

There was just the nagging question of you-know-who, who stands accused of doing you-know-what. A handful of demonstrators held banners near the entrance to the California Center for the Arts, reminding attendees that this issue wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Ten thousand dollars bought a lot of silence at the Democratic Convention. With the unfolding scandals concerning sexual misconduct and harassment by powerful figures in entertainment, politics, and labor, you’d think the local party might have doubts about cashing a check from San Diego’s poster child for allegations of such conduct.

Additional coverage of the San Diego County Democratic Convention, along with plenty of pictures, can be found here.

It’s impossible not to notice something’s happening. Women are speaking out about sexual harassment.

Sacramento, home to the most progressive legislature in the land, is seeing a large number of women come forward with stories exposing a culture of sexual harassment in the Capitol. There are stories of being propositioned, groped and assaulted by male colleagues and bosses, including lobbyists and legislators.

Hundreds of female lawmakers, lobbyists, consultants and political staffers have signed an open letter calling for an end to these behaviors and demanding more accountability.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The turning point for women at the state Capitol was a scandal unfolding more than 300 miles away. Hollywood women were talking about sexual abuses they say they suffered — in silence — at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, the powerful film industry mogul who could make or break careers.

The powerlessness those women spoke about and the culture of harassment struck a chord with women in and around the Capitol.

The letter, drafted by Adama Iwu, a state government relations executive for Visa, started the campaign to expose harassment at the Capitol. It was signed by more than 140 women on Oct. 13 — lawmakers, lobbyists and legislative staffers. Within days, more than 300 women had signed the letter.

This is not a partisan problem. Based on what I’ve seen lately, it’s safe to say misogyny is a bipartisan affliction. Today’s column focuses on Democrats and other would-be progressive allies.

Just up the road in Orange County, they’ve got multiple scandals piling up.

Allegations of sexual harassment have recently surfaced naming Erik Taylor stemming from his time as executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC).  

He has since resigned as Democratic congressional candidate Phil Janowicz’s campaign manager.

Julio Perez, director of  Orange County Labor Federation, was named in a statement by Danielle Serbin, the chairwoman of Orange County Young Democrats, pointing out that young women were posting messages as part of the Facebook #MeToo campaign accusing powerful party leaders of sexual harassment.

From OCWeekly:

The Orange County Register reported on incidents that took place between 2014 and ’15, including one of the men allegedly touching a woman’s thigh, prompting her to flee to safety in a DPOC headquarters supply closet, where he cornered her.

In another incident, the same man allegedly pushed his body against the woman and reached under her skirt and tried to remove her underwear. She says she did not report the incidents to police because she feared losing her job.

San Diego’s Democratic Party Leadership Should Heed #MeToo

October 23, 2017 by Doug Porter 3 Comments

Last weekend’s San Diego County Democratic Convention was a success on many levels. Candidates spoke, networks were built, and the party faithful came away full of hope for the future. The mechanics of the event went smoothly.

But…

There was just the nagging question of you-know-who, who stands accused of doing you-know-what. A handful of demonstrators held banners near the entrance to the California Center for the Arts, reminding attendees that this issue wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Ten thousand dollars bought a lot of silence at the Democratic Convention. With the unfolding scandals concerning sexual misconduct and harassment by powerful figures in entertainment, politics, and labor, you’d think the local party might have doubts about cashing a check from San Diego’s poster child for allegations of such conduct.

Additional coverage of the San Diego County Democratic Convention, along with plenty of pictures, can be found here.

It’s impossible not to notice something’s happening. Women are speaking out about sexual harassment.

Sacramento, home to the most progressive legislature in the land, is seeing a large number of women come forward with stories exposing a culture of sexual harassment in the Capitol. There are stories of being propositioned, groped and assaulted by male colleagues and bosses, including lobbyists and legislators.

Hundreds of female lawmakers, lobbyists, consultants and political staffers have signed an open letter calling for an end to these behaviors and demanding more accountability.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The turning point for women at the state Capitol was a scandal unfolding more than 300 miles away. Hollywood women were talking about sexual abuses they say they suffered — in silence — at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, the powerful film industry mogul who could make or break careers.

The powerlessness those women spoke about and the culture of harassment struck a chord with women in and around the Capitol.

The letter, drafted by Adama Iwu, a state government relations executive for Visa, started the campaign to expose harassment at the Capitol. It was signed by more than 140 women on Oct. 13 — lawmakers, lobbyists and legislative staffers. Within days, more than 300 women had signed the letter.

This is not a partisan problem. Based on what I’ve seen lately, it’s safe to say misogyny is a bipartisan affliction. Today’s column focuses on Democrats and other would-be progressive allies.

Just up the road in Orange County, they’ve got multiple scandals piling up.

Allegations of sexual harassment have recently surfaced naming Erik Taylor stemming from his time as executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC).  

He has since resigned as Democratic congressional candidate Phil Janowicz’s campaign manager.

Julio Perez, director of  Orange County Labor Federation, was named in a statement by Danielle Serbin, the chairwoman of Orange County Young Democrats, pointing out that young women were posting messages as part of the Facebook #MeToo campaign accusing powerful party leaders of sexual harassment.

From OCWeekly:

The Orange County Register reported on incidents that took place between 2014 and ’15, including one of the men allegedly touching a woman’s thigh, prompting her to flee to safety in a DPOC headquarters supply closet, where he cornered her.

In another incident, the same man allegedly pushed his body against the woman and reached under her skirt and tried to remove her underwear. She says she did not report the incidents to police because she feared losing her job.

San Diego County Democratic Party chair Jessica Hayes quickly embraced the split-off, sending an email proclaiming “… the new San Diego Working Families Council will be a powerhouse from Day One.”   

Party Central Committee meetings have been relocated in recent months, following picketing by supporters of the women accusing Kasparian, who call themselves Tres Hermanas.

The picketing began in part because the Democratic Party leadership refused to sanction even so much as an inquiry into the appropriateness of the charges.

One person attending the most recent Central Committee meeting described security as being like getting on an international flight.

So nobody was really surprised when news circulated about a $10,000 donation from the UFCW in support of the Democratic County Convention.

It’s as if there’s a Stockholm Syndrome in effect here.

While I think it’s wonderful that the Democratic Party is poised to mount challenges to Trump/Republican misrule, it is shameful for them to refuse to address their own malaise.

This could and should have been addressed months ago. At this point, it’s not about taking action. Every attempt at discourse on the subject has been shut down, blocked, or diverted.

The core of party activists in San Diego is women. The leadership of the local party is a woman. Yet this rot from within continues to fester unabated.

It is said some women of a certain age and social status tend to be dismissive of the whole sexual harassment thing. This perception must be challenged if the Democratic Party is to become relevant to the next generation of activists emerging out of the #Resistance.   

I’m not talking about “purity” here. It’s about character. A great deal of what’s wrong with the country is connected to the blind eye getting turned anytime there’s money involved.  

There are rumblings (from reliable sources) about harassment scandals soon to emerge concerning Democratic candidates running for seats in 2018 and 2020.

How long will the party stick their head in the sand?

Danielle Kando-Kaiser