Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
On Saturday, the Three Sonorans, Blog for Arizona, and Rum Romanisn and Rebillion reported that Andrei Cherny– No Labels co-founder and former candidate for Arizona state treasurer– won the office of Arizona Democratic Party state chair.
While progressive bloggers reported Chery’s win, none of them bothered to mention his role as co-founder of the National No Labels movement. (I’m sure Andrei appreciated the softball.)
I mentioned his connection with No Labels in my non-endorsement of either candidate on Friday but didn’t realize he was national co-founder until today, sorry loyal readers, for this mis-step.
The Rest of the Story
As venerated right-wing journalist Paul Harvey would say, today, I will report the rest of the story.
For some, at the Arizona Democratic Party State Committee Meeting, the big issue with the state chair elections was eligibility. Former Tucson City Council Member Rodney Glassman faced off with former candidate for state treasurer Andrei Cherny (who has never won an election).
Glassman’s personal issues (as annotated in excruciating detail on the Three Sonorans’ blog) aside and Cherny’s No Labels affiliation (as mentioned by no one but me) aside– there were several issues regarding Cherny’s eligibility to run for state party office.
The Three Sonorans, the Feathered Bastard and the other political bloggers tossed out or ignored those facts. It is also fascinating to me that Cherny NEVER mentioned his No Labels love affair in his speech yesterday or his Democratic Party pre-vote propaganda.
The Bylaws Controversy
Although the Three Sonorans and the Feathered Bastard want to paint the disconnect with Cherny’s candidacy and Arizona State Statute as trivial, it’s state law. Apparently, Maricopa County Democratic Party bylaws, Arizona Democratic Party bylaws, and Arizona State Statute all conflict regarding who is qualified to hold an office in an official political party. (Several people speak to this in the video.)
Excuse me… but with so many lawyers involved in politics, many at Saturday’s meeting were wondering why they didn’t see this disconnect before Saturday. Actually, according to outgoing State Chair Don Bivens, they did. Bivens said from the podium that the discrepancy was a known problem that the party had worked around it in the past, and he seemed to wonder what the big deal was this year.
There was extensive debate about this issue at the Democratic Party meeting– with multiple lawyers and politicos weighing in– including Pima County’s Jeff Rogers, Bill Risner, and Jeff Latas. (See the video below.) Risner, well known for election integrity lawsuits on behalf of Pima County, cited Arizona Revised Statute— which states that candidates for state party chair must be elected precinct committee persons and elected state committee persons– which Glassman is and Cherny isn’t.
Many theorized that Bivens, white male lawyer (see video), anointed Cherny, another white male lawyer, to be chair. (Of course, Glassman is also another white, male lawyer.) One can only speculate, but check out Bivens’ beaming smile as Cherny is elected. In my opinion, one picture tells 1000 stories.
Personally, I think Latas has a good point in the video: If you let the state chair bend the rules that lends itself to cronyism and corruption. (He clearly states in the video that he is not implying anything about the current situation.) The video below starts with the debate in the Progressive Democratic Caucus– dubbed “Progressive Wack-a-doodles” by the Feathered Bastard last week when he originally dismissed the eligibility issue. The video takes you through the whole meeting– from the morning Progressive Caucus through both candidates’ speeches (around 9 minutes) to Cherny’s election (279 Cherny – 232 Glassman).
What will be the future of Arizona’s Democratic Party under this new leadership? Only time will tell… I’m leaving an open mind but also have open eyes– not obscured by rose-colored glasses. If the party moves more toward Republican-lite, I believe this would be a huge mistake. There were hundreds of very progressive Democratic Party foot soldiers in attendance on Saturday, and the party would be remiss if it dismissed their views and glided further to the right.
2013 UPDATE: The No Labels website used to list Andrei Cherny as one of the co-founders, as noted in this story. His name no longer appears on the No Labels website– at all.
Actually I did mention the eligibility in my article on the election. With contradicting laws, I think it is best to err on the side of democracy and more choice rather than repeat the “illegal is illegal” arguments. Are you legal? Did you do your paperwork before coming?
Regarding No Labels, which aims to work together with Republicans, you also can’t ignore Glassman’s “It’s not about Democratic or Republicans ideals… the TEA Party will have a seat at my table”
Keep in mind that was in the primary… the first debate. Is it really not about Democratic ideals? Really?
This is also in keeping with the theory of Affirmative Action. Maybe everyone does not have the prerequisites in order, but in order to have more diversity and more choice, we let more people get involved.
Keep in mind this is much different than appoint Cherny as the chair. All the “establishment” did (laughable if you supported Parraz or Dougherty to call Glassman anti-establishment) was allow more choice in an election. It would be up to Glassman to win the popular vote.
Consider the alternative. People have no choice. Only one person runs, then wins (even though the majority wanted someone else). You really think that would be a good situation for the party to be in today?
Also, supporters of the Fresno grape farmer conveniently look away from his real record on Labor through his actions, and his other bigoted things he has said and that have been reported on in the past.
I would take “No labels” over the target of “No Uvas” anyday, but that’s just me 🙂
Regarding Arizona State Statute: I see the issue of eligibility as akin to the requirements for political office. Some Republicans would love to have Arnold Schwarzenegger run for president, but he is not eligible because he is a naturalized citizen. Should we bend the rules for him?
When you say reported on. You must mean the prodigious number of lies you tell on that blog of yours.
Thank you very much for the work you did in recording so well the proceeding of the conference. Many people who could not attend and others who are not familiar with such conferences will appreciate this closeup of how the Democratic Party renews itself. I am a stickler for the rules. As a two term Legislative District Chair of the Democratic Party, many times i told aspiring Precinct Committee people that since they requested an appointment after the Party primary, they had to wait until after the State Party Reorganization meeting to be appointed, and that if they wanted to be eligible to become a State Committee Member, they would have to be elected from their precinct. It is unseemly that at a time when the Party is under duress, that is when a candidate emerges who is not qualified under recognized practice, an effort is made to “clarify” the rules. This creates the public perception of a lack of organizational integrity. I was very encouraged to watch again the speeches given by Andrei and Rodney. The die is cast, Andrei Cherny is the new State Party leader. I have serious misgivings about his devotion to the “No Labels” movement because it ignores the deep class divisions in our Nation. It is naive to believe that those who are driving the middle class into poverty will accept an olive branch and have an epiphany of brotherly love. With the passage of Citizens United, it becomes imperative that we organize mass resistance to the assault on the working class; that we undertake a conversion of masses of voters as was expressed by one speaker on Saturday. As the Doors said, “They got the guns but we got the numbers. Gonna win, yeah, we’re takin’ over”.
It is naive to believe that those who are driving the middle class into poverty will accept an olive branch and have an epiphany of brotherly love.
Pamela, It’s great to find your blog. Thanks for doing such a great job. I’m flattered, of course, that you have my attempted expression of values on the tape. I wish speaking were as easy as writing. My mind doesn’t work fast enough. It’s especially great to find someone like you championing progressive values in the media. I’ll keep checking in to see what the Tucson community is contributing to the movement. We need good ideas up here in Phoenix.
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