Friday, February 17, 2006

The Truth

Enough is enough. I would like to clear up the patently false statements being made about an interpretation of the Democratic Party's rules regarding delegates eligible to sign papers for a candidate wishing to participate in the state convention after caucuses have been held.
An actual "change" in the rules DID NOT take place. Questions arose earlier this week as to who could be included in the delegate pool eligible to sign support papers for a potential candidate. Our rules say ANY delegate ELECTED to attend the convention may sign these papers. What must be remembered is that ALL delegates are ELECTED. Below is the interpretation by our chief legal counsel.

Legal Counsel Opinion Regarding the 2006 Massachusetts Democratic Convention Rules Section II, A3

“It is the intent and purpose of the rules to provide for an orderly and inclusive process by which all the elements and viewpoints of the Massachusetts Democratic Party may find expression. Accordingly, the word “elected” as referenced in the rules includes all those chosen or designated as eligible to serve as delegates to the convention and is not intended to be used to discriminate against or otherwise exclude from participation in the process of nomination those delegates who were not chosen at caucus events but who otherwise qualify as delegates by virtue of their election by other means."

James Roosevelt, Chief Legal Counsel
The Massachusetts Democratic Party

The Democratic Party has always been proud to be the Party of inclusion. Not allowing all delegates to sign papers is essentially creating a second class of delegates. Why would we want to turn to one of our minority, disabled, or youth add-on delegates and say, "sorry, you weren't elected at caucuses so you can't participate in this process."? It's not right.
Speculate all you want about why the ruling was made the way it was. But you have the truth and legal ruling in your hands.
Now can we please get back to winning this governor's race?


At 1:35 PM, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Shai Sachs said...

I disagree with that reasoning.

If the rules had intended for every delegate to be able to sign papers, then they would not have added the words "elected" as a qualifier. The presence of that word clearly indicates that "elected" is meant to be a qualifier which excludes some delegates from the process.

At 2:38 PM, February 17, 2006, Blogger sco said...

Reasonable people can disagree on this, and while I'm not sure if this was the original intent of the language, when there is doubt I prefer that the party err on the side of inclusiveness than limiting who gets on the ballot.

After all, next election it might be my candidate who is scrambling to get on the ballot.

At 3:45 PM, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Lynne said...

Oh sco, you reasonable person you...

Trouble is, this has every appearance of an insider decision to stack the deck in favor. In other words, they pull out this interpretation now, suddenly, where no interpretation has been made before, because hey! We all know the score on the actually elected delegates, they are pretty much spoken for...especially by the "grassroots" candidate.

Now, maybe there were some good intentions here, and this whole debacle was intended to include rather than disclude. Certainly, you can make that argument - until you look at the details of the thing. And in light of the past behavior of the state party, the last convention, the rules changes that favor ex-officios and were voted on undemocratically I might add, it looks like a pattern of abuse. Remember, politics is 90% about perception.

And I very much dislike the implication that the state party is calling those of us who oppose the DP's ruling as bigots. Thanks. Very nice. Nevermind that I'm going to be RUNNING to be an add-on. Next time, pick your words a little more carefully.

If you don't like discussion on your decisions, why the hell are we Democrats then? Last I checked, this was our strong suit.

At 4:19 PM, February 17, 2006, Blogger Cyndi Roy, Communications Dir. said...

I have no problem with discussion about the decision whatsoever. What I have a problem with is when people use factually INACCURATE information to prove their point. That is why I posted what I did. And I am certainly NOT implying that those who disagree are bigots. I am explaining why I believe the ruling is fair.

At 6:03 PM, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Lynne said...

So once it's an official ruling of the Dem party, we're not allowed to question, because it came from some lawyers? Bonifaz isn't? Who was inaccurate?

You said, "An actual "change" in the rules DID NOT take place." Jon didn't say anything about a change in the rules. This is about an interpretation which looks fishy, smells fishy, and given the context, could very well be a fish.

This interpretation is veeeery convenient for a certain group of people, don't you think? It has the appearance of impropriety, at the very least. Can you at a minimum admit that?

Do you admit this interpretation was delivered very recently? That it is, among other things, an interpretation and it could have gone either way? And with that premise, could very well be a wrong move? Which is exactly what we have been saying.

I heavily suspect that if Patrick did not have such a strong showing at the caucuses...where so many elected delegates are committed for sure and immovable...this ruling wouldn't have even been issued, because it wouldn't have been needed, extra post-caucus candidates or not. They would have gone on their merry way talking to truly elected delegates and trying to get the sigs.

And you WERE implying that we're bigots. In the first place, the add-ons are the one non-ambiguous category of non-elected delegates (even if you buy the argument "elected" means "ex-officio" which I still maintain it likely was not the intent of the framers of that rule...since ex-officio and elected delegates make up 90% or more of the delegates to the convention, why would they distinguish?). So it was an irrelevent statement, dragging in add-ons to your argument. Second, the way you wrote that implies that we, the ones against this ruling, are trying to divide the delegates into haves and have-nots, so to speak - which in turn implies we mean to discriminate. In fact, given that under the rules interpretation of the Dem state party, add-ons are still not eligible to sign this petition for the potential latecomer (or are you saying that they are?), you are just as much in "violation" of the idea of dividing the delegates into categories yourselves.

At 6:56 PM, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Chris H. said...

Please point out what was said that was inaccurate. Please use links and direct quotes. If there is disinformation out there I'd like to know who is disseminating it. Please distinguish between assertions of opinion and assertions that can be identified as disinformation by virtue that they can be shown to be demonstrably false as a point of fact. If, on the other hand, the people who are commenting on this are holding fast to the rule of being allowed to have their own opinions but not their own facts, you should apologize for claiming they are disseminating inaccuracies.

At 10:40 AM, February 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's this kind of stuff that is making people leave the party in droves. I may not be a lawyer, but I am an English major, and I think this interpretation of the rules is a more than a reach. Your attorney should pull out his Merriam-Websters!

Friends, insider games for the insiders are killing us. Regular people have neither the time or the stomach for this kind of crap. Stick to the rules and may the best man or woman win. If you don't like the rules, put a rule change to a vote. It really is that simple.

Witness at the national level what the party did to Paul Hackett, a "regular guy" just running for the Senate in Ohio. It makes me ashamed to be a Democrat, watching the party devour the next generation of Democrats.

Signed: a former Reilly delegate...looking for an alternative.

At 11:52 AM, February 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm certainly not a delegate, but I would like Chris Gabrieli to join in the race for Governor. Without the bootstraps, who would win the race this time around?

At 1:54 PM, February 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the 2006 Convention Rules posted on line somewhere? I'd just like to look at the whole set of rules, but I can't find them anywhere.

At 8:26 PM, February 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't find them online, either (gee, why would the "Party of inclusion" not have their rules in plain view?), so I scanned a photocopy I had lying around (not sure where they originated).

Please see for a pdf version of my totally unofficial copy.

If these aren't correct, perhaps the Party would take the extraordinary step of making the official version available to its members.

At 3:05 PM, February 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. When I did a search of "delegate" in that unofficial version, I came up with 42 hits. In only one of those hits was the word "delegate" modified by the word "elected", and that is in the provision at issue here. "Delegate" is modified several times by "certified" and "preregistered", but only once by "elected." Why? Why was it necessary to put "elected" before "delegate" in that provision unless there was a reason to do so? Just asking.

At 11:11 PM, February 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the specific rules at issue here do not appear to be available online, the Party does post its by-laws online at the following address:

Throughout the by-laws are numerous references that clearly delineate between ex-officio Party members and "elected" Party members.

For example, look at this section about dues requirements for Democratic Town and Ward Committee members:

Article XII: Town and Ward Committees

b.Town, Ward and City Committees may assess dues providing that the amount of dues has been adopted by a two-thirds vote and that no elected or ex-officio members or associate committee member shall be required to pay dues in order to vote or otherwise participate in committee business.

If the posted by-laws use the word "elected" to distinguish between "elected" and "ex-officio" members, then it is more than reasonable to conclude that when the word "elected" is used to describe a convention delegate, it is used to differentiate between "elected" and "ex-officio" delegates ...

I echo earlier comments that this is NOT about a "CHANGE" to the rules. What is at issue here is either the reality or the appearance of insider, arrogant elitism. Until we restore Party power to the grassroots, both in Massachusetts and nationally, we will continue to suffer politically.

When will those running the State party understand that rulings like this do not pass the smell test? Just days after an "outsider" stepped in to do very well in the statewide caucuses, a former Lt. Governor candidate magically appears and is granted what appears at best to be a major stretch of the rules. Statements about party inclusiveness are all well and good; so is honoring the rules and the results of the caucuses.

At 9:59 AM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Edward Prisby said...

So, wait, if I were a delegate not elected by anyone at a Caucus, but was elected to be Chairman of my Elks Club I would be an "elected" delegate?

I know that sounds purposefully stupid, but when you start bending the rules of the english language that's what you come up with.

At 10:12 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger James Donahue said...


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