Real life Seth in CA

June 25, 2006 at 12:52 pm | In Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, do something, politics | Comments Off on Real life Seth in CA

This is today at 7:30 PM [Map].

For readers in the area, come to the Democratic Club of Claremont meeting:

Do not miss our June 26th meeting!

“The environmental impact of the food we eat”

Global Warming is getting a lot of press these days. The new documentary movie with Al Gore’s slide show, An Inconvenient Truth has won praise from a wide variety of scientists, not just those involved specifically with the environment. (It is now showing locally in Ontario.)

Because of this, Bonnie Yelverton, our June 26th speaker, will be focusing on a different issue of our environment. She will instead talk about the environmental impact of our food production. This involves topics like energy, water, pollution, land use and sprawl, transportation, nutrition – and just plain good taste.

Bonnie Yelverton has long been involved with improving our impact on the environment. In the early 90’s she ran a diaper service in Denmark. Later she studied environmental management for businesses, in particular methods of motivating people to act sustainably. Since moving to California in 2000, she has worked for a windmill company, she drives a hybrid (but commutes by bus) and attempts organic farming in her condo courtyard. She is a member and frequent contributor to many environmental action-based organizations, such as Environmental Defense, the Wilderness Society and Sierra Club. She considers herself an enlightened layperson who reads a lot of books about the environment. If you’d like to read more, download her list of suggested readings on environmental issues.

Bonnie has provided us with a four-page reading list on environment issues. General topics covered are Global Warming, Food, Ecology, Oceans and Fish, and Sustainable design. You can (click on &) check it out at her environmental reading list.

Club business will include a vote on whether the Club will endorse Cynthia Matthews, who won the primary election for the Democratic nomination in the 26th Congressional district. She will oppose David Dreier, the Republican incumbent, in the November general election.

Map of 660 Avery Rd, Claremont, CA 91711

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A SethInCA Project: Help engage Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews with the Netroots

June 19, 2006 at 8:49 pm | In CA-26, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, David Dreier | 2 Comments

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and MyDD)

The short version: I’m going to go interview Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, the Democratic candidate for Congress who’s challenging David Dreier in CA-26. I’d like to encourage her to become involved with the netroots, and as a start I want to reach out to her with your questions. Please post any questions you’d like me to ask her in the comments section.

The long version: Two weeks ago, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews pulled a major upset and won the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 26th District of California. Her primary opponent and the assumed favorite of the race was Russ Warner, who had made a decent show of fundraising and received the endorsement of Gen. Wesley Clark. But Matthews, who was also the nominee in 2004, pulled an upset and won.

I’ve speculated (dirty tricks?) about the reasons for Warner’s disappointing defeat, but the bottom line is that Matthews is the nominee this year. And if ever there was a year for a turning of the tide in Congress, this is that year. Even if she can’t quite win in this Republican district (46% R to 35% D), she’s still fighting the good fight, not to mention forcing Dreier to spend money defending his seat. Or at least, that’s the hope. In 2004 she came closer than any other challenger in California in her race to unseat closeted Republican David Dreier (54-42). She and two radio hosts gave Dreier hell on immigration, and during the campaign she publicly “came out” and challenged Dreier to do the same. Print media ignored the story, but it got some play on the radio and the web.

I called her office on Friday (guess who answered the phone? Matthews!) to ask for an interview, and her staff agreed. Later this week I hope to head over to campaign headquarters to take some pictures and ask her some questions. My hope isn’t just to ask her some questions, but to try to get her more involved with the netroots. So far, her website is a disaster, but hey, Russ Warner’s spiffy website didn’t win him the nomination.

This is where you come in: please post questions you’d like me to ask her in the comments. (Maybe some advice for her too.) I’ll bring some questions of my own, and we’ll see what happens. Watch SethInCA for the results.

Another blog covering this race

June 11, 2006 at 11:42 am | In CA-26, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, David Dreier | 4 Comments

And I thought I was alone. Turns out there’s yet another blog covering the race in CA-26:

In 2004, Dreier outspent Matthews 50 to 1 yet received the lowest percentage of the vote during any of his elections since 1980. 2006 is the year to remove him from Congress. Click here, here and here to remind yourself of some of the reasons David Dreier must go.

Nice to see someone with a healthy sense of optimism for once. As for me, a redesign of Matthews’ website would really, really make me happy. Hmm…

CA-26: An Election Day Mystery

June 8, 2006 at 6:48 pm | In CA-26, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, David Dreier, Russ Warner | 3 Comments

[cross-posted at Daily Kos, MyDD and Calitics]

A week ago, I wrote a diary here asking for suggestions for starting a new blog to cover the race in CA-26. Two nights ago, I watched and reloaded, slightly disbelieving the preliminary results in the Democratic primary in CA-26, David Dreier (R-Closet)’s district. Russ Warner, endorsed by Gen. Wesley Clark, ran on a moderate platform of “protecting the middle class, promoting small business, and supporting our troops, honoring our veterans.” Clark came to the district, raised money for Warner, and even recorded a robocall for him. Warner was supposed to be the best chance in awhile to defeat Dreier, a tough prospect considering Dreier’s power as Rules Committee chairman and the Republican registration advantage in the district (46% R to 35% D).

Meanwhile, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, who came out of the closet during the 2004 election and challenged Dreier to do the same ran again. Matthews gave Dreier the closest margin of any reelected congressman in California in 2004 (54-42), thanks in no small part to the anti-Dreier activism of two radio hosts surrounding immigration. Yet Matthews had raised only $516 as of mid-May and $5,361 as of June 1. Her website is a nightmare. Watching the election from afar, I pretty much wrote her off.

So what were the results on election day?

Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews                 12,836   47.0 
Russ Warner                                10,308   37.8 
Hoyt Hilsman                                4,172   15.2 

That was, to say the least, unexpected. So now I pose the question to you: what happened?

I’m trying to decide if a comparison with CA-50 makes sense (of course that was a special election, not a primary). In assessing Busby’s loss, Matt Stoller argues that Bilbray ran to the left of Busby, who ran as a moderate and highlighted the “Culture of Corruption,” but didn’t really motivate the base. Kos sounds the same message, writing:

As I travelled the country extensively on my book tour I heard the same points over and over again, in city after city. Regular activists out in the states understand these concepts. But the DC bubble politicians and consultants simply don’t get it.

The “culture of corruption” is a nice secondary theme to weave into our broader narrative, but it can’t be the message on which we pin our 2006 hopes.”We’re better managers” won’t inspire our troops to head to battle.

This will be a base election. Inspire and motivate.

See Montana Democrats like Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Jon Tester for a taste of how that’s done. The corruption message helped MT Dems take over the governor’s mansion and legislature in 2004, but that was just a sub-thread of their broader message.

They, and others like Paul Hackett would’ve won CA-50.

Maybe Warner lost because, despite his big name endorsement, he didn’t motivate the base. Or maybe it was just the low turnout due to other factors. Or an inexperienced campaign staff. Whatever the reason, it was quite an upset, and something of a mystery.

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