Vice Chair, North Area of the San Diego County Democratic Party Tenders Her Resignation

by on December 13, 2011 · 5 comments

in Politics, San Diego

By Martha Sullivan/ Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Greetings of a rainy Monday, all!

I have tendered my resignation as Vice Chair, North Area for the San Diego County Democratic Party. I will remain a member of the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee and a delegate therefrom to the California Democratic Party.

I have done this because I cannot stay neutral during the coming Primary races, which being an Area Vice Chair requires. Many of you know that I have been very active in the local Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy San Diego, since its very first public planning meeting in September. My participation in the Occupy movement has been a logical extension of my progressive, grassroots political organizing since 2003, when I helped to coordinate the local Dean for America presidential campaign.

Howard Dean inspired me to re-register as a Democrat, after several years as a registered Green, to help reform the Democratic Party from the inside. He has continued to inspire me since, with his successful 50-state strategy as DNC Chair which won back the House in 2006 and helped fuel the incredible, populist voter turnout in 2008. Since doing so, I have been inspired by so many other progressive Democrats, working in common cause with me. I was proud when the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Occupy Movement and of our first amendment rights, and then once more when the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party did so last month. It is now time to put those words (see them at the end of this letter) into ACTION.

I am working with others in the Occupy San Diego movement to “Occupy Public Meetings” and “Occupy the Ballot” as we move into the next phase of the Occupy Movement to advocate to get money out of elections, to end corporate personhood, to prevent further foreclosures, to reinvest taxpayer funds into local credit unions and community banks and support our local economy, to shelter the houseless, and for living wages and working conditions. I will keep you posted, and hope you will support our efforts.

My public announcement today is aptly timed — today was the West Coast Port Shutdown organized by Occupy Movements from Anchorage to San Diego. Occupy San Diego is calling for free and fair elections to select the Board of Commissioners at the San Diego Port; the $600 million generated every year by the Port of San Diego should be controlled by the people and used to benefit the 99% rather than the whims of the 1%. We stand with the Longshoremen resisting the union busting of the multinational conglomerate EGT which made $2.5 billion in profits and operates a new international grain terminal in Washington State; we stand with the Teamsters and independent truck drivers at SSA Marine, a multinational partly owned by Goldman Sachs in Los Angeles.

As I heard reports of arrests of peaceful Occupy San Diego protestors at the entrances to Port of San Diego terminals, I had to wonder about the sincerity of Port Board Chairman, Scott Peter’s recent statements in CityBeat that he supports the Occupy Movement. TODAY was an opportunity for him to put ACTION behind his words, and he has failed the test.

And this is one big reason why I am resigning as a Vice Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, because this is NOT who we need to send to Congress to represent the new 52nd Congressional District — yet another wealthy, privileged man who pays us lip service but goes along to get along.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with many of you as Vice Chair, North Area. I look forward to continue to work with you as SD County Democratic Central Committee member and delegate to the CA Democratic Party.

Martha Sullivan

Support of Occupy / 99% Movement Resolution 11-11.06B

WHEREAS, the overwhelming influence of corporate interests on public policy and institutions – exacerbated by greed, mismanagement, and corruption – has caused catastrophic levels of income inequality, financial distress, environmental harm, climate crisis denial, and other injustices felt by the overwhelming majority of Americans, the 99%, and
WHEREAS, the wealthiest 1% of Americans, and their corporate interests have acquired a concentration of wealth and power that is unparalleled in the history of our nation, and this concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few has resulted in tremendous economic and social instability that has most recently manifested in the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Occupy City” protests, and

WHEREAS, the Occupy protestors, particularly those who have advocated their cause using non-violent means, have served to focus attention on the inadequate regulation of the financial industry, the damage inflicted by the absurd and misguided obsession with deficit reduction and the pressing need to reverse three decades of accelerated income inequality, all goals that we fight for in the electoral arena; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party stands with those protestors peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to advance an agenda that results in adequate regulation of the financial industry and Wall Street speculators, reverses the catastrophic slide of income inequality and halts the implementation of austerity-driven economic policies that negatively impact the 99% and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party supports the protesters’ constitutional rights to free speech and peaceable assembly, and calls on public agencies to protect their rights fully and encourages California Democrats to support local occupy protests throughout the state as well as the movement encouraging individuals to transfer their funds to community banks and local credit unions.

Resolution Committee Substitute – Additional sponsors: State Party Controller Hilary Crosby, San Diego County Party, Jess Durfee, Michael Thaller, Sonoma County Democratic Party, Stephen Gale, Los Angeles County Party, Kess Kessler, Damian Carroll, DPSFV, Dr Michael McQuary.
Adopted by the California Democratic Party
At its November 2011 Executive Board Meeting
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Burlingame
November 20, 2011

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorna Buratto December 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I thoroughly agree with the support pledged by the California Democratic Party and I’m very proud of the courageous actions of Martha Sullivan because I also am not a neutral party in what goes on in the disgraceful Republican party. I don’t know if I can be of much help at my age but I’m willing to do whatever I can to play a part in turning things around in North San Diego County.


John P. Falchi December 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm

What Kind of A Member of Congress Would Scott Peters Be?

Dear Martha-
I respect your decision to have tendered your resignation as Vice Chair, North Area for the San Diego County Democratic Party, and that you will remain a member of the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee and a delegate therefrom to the California Democratic Party. Moreover, I appreciate your declaration that “… as I heard reports of arrests of peaceful Occupy San Diego protestors at the entrances to Port of San Diego terminals, I had to wonder about the sincerity of Port Board Chairman, Scott Peter’s recent statements in CityBeat that he supports the Occupy Movement. TODAY was an opportunity for him to put ACTION behind his words, and he has failed the test.”

I greatly admire your integrity, the way you carefully research the stands that candidates take, and the way you go all-out in support of the candidates and issues in which you strongly believe. That’s why I supported your being on the CA State Executive Board of Dean For America. We have worked together on many of these campaigns. I remember the organizational skills you brought to the “VOTERR” effort to counter the flawed ways in which votes were counted, locally, in the Mayoral Election following Donna Frye’s victorious write-in campaign. Many thousands of voters who wrote in her name on their ballots went uncounted because of a technicality, and Mayor Murphy got a second term.

You have been supporting good candidates for office at the state, local , and national levels over the years and I am one of many who greatly respect your judgment. So, when you point out the hypocrisy in Scott Peters’ lack of support for Occupy San Diego as Port Board Chairman and his alleged support for the Occupy San Diego/Occupy Together Movement as indicated in the recent CityBeat interview, it rings a loud bell to the people who will be weighing what kind of a Congressman Port Board Chairman Peters would be, if he were nominated and elected. Would he run one way and then support the 1% once safely elected, or would he be a consistent supporter of the 99%? What do the rest of you folks think??? John


La Playa Heritage December 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm

In January 30, 2007, Mayor Sanders tried to create a legal loophole to allow deviations to San Diego’s 30 foot Coastal Height Limit through changes to State Density Bonus laws. Luckily Council woman Donna Frye ask for, and received a Continuation on the proposed changes to the Municipal Code. Over Peters objections to vote yes on Mayor Sanders plan to allow developers to circumvent the law, in the name if the poor.

“2:20 P.M. – on a Motion by Donna Frye the City Council voted 6-1, with Scott Peters opposed and Tony Young absent, to continue ITEM 331 to February 27, 2007. Frye said she had several unanswered questions and needed time to put them in writing. DSD staff (read developers) of course were opposed. But it is a major victory for those of us who want to protect the precious 30 foot height limit.”


Michael Lewis December 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The hush-hush of politics is controlling a segment of people without those people recognizing they are being managed.

In 1789 The Constitution and Bill of Rights were established as the law of the land.

For 97 years it was understood that 1st Amendment freedoms of speech, press and assembly were the sole rights of flesh and blood citizens. Corporations had no rights. Newspapers had the right to print because they employed people and not the other way around.

“The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda (see Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Univ of New South Wales, 1995)

In 1886 footnotes to the Santa Clara Railroad case, written by a Supreme Court Clerk who was previously a railroad executive, became the basis for corporations claiming the same rights as flesh and blood people.

Following reports of serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. But politicians exempted the commercial press, because the 1st Amendment prohibits abridging their freedom of speech and the press.

2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i) The term “expenditure” does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

But we cannot rely on the commercial press to be unbiased and provide the information we need to remain free. Both Republicans and Democrats agree the press is biased and only differ on which networks and newspapers are the culprits:

A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income… The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few…that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote…in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes. (E.W. Scripps).

In my opinion the idea of media being objective was a marketing ploy to sell newspapers:

“It was not until the 1920s that you really get the notion of professional journalists, the way we think about them today,” says Michael Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “A lot of different schools of journalism started, codes of ethics were developed, the whole notion of the journalist as objective came into play …. of standing outside the story, telling both sides, of being factual rather than opinionated.”

If the United States Supreme Court defined freedom of religion using the same logic that campaign laws use to define a free press only the church or synagogue “as an institution” would enjoy freedom of religion, not its parishioners!

“Section 431(9)(B)(i) makes a distinction where there is no real difference: the media is extremely powerful by any measure, a “special interest” by any definition, and heavily engaged in the “issue advocacy” and “independent expenditure” realms of political persuasion that most editorial boards find so objectionable when anyone other than a media outlet engages in it. To illustrate the absurdity of this special exemption the media enjoys, I frequently cite as an example the fact that if the RNC bought NBC from GE the FEC would regulate the evening news and, under the McCain-Feingold “reform” bill, Tom Brokaw could not mention a candidate 60 days before an election. This is patently absurd.” – Senator McConnell

It is normal for all large businesses to make serious efforts to influence the news, to avoid embarrassing publicity, and to maximize sympathetic public opinion and government policies. Now they own most of the news media that they wish to influence. – Excerpt from The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian

The press exemption divides participation in America’s political process into two categories: The regulated majority, every living U.S. Citizen, candidate for office, political party and political organization and the unregulated commercial media.

To restore equal protection under law, the “press exemption”, 2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i), should be modified to read: “The term expenditure does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed by any candidate, political party, citizen, citizens group, non-profit corporation, broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication.”

Every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add… artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society the farmers, mechanics, and laborers who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. President Andrew Jackson.

The 1st Amendment does not guarantee our freedoms but it does prohibit Congress from writing laws that would abridge them. The 1st Amendment was added to the Constitution because some State representatives to the Constitutional Convention feared the power of an over reaching Central Government. State Constitutions are where protections of our freedoms of speech, press and assembly are found. The 14th Amendment attempts to extend Federal protection to the Bill of Rights and in this instance is misconstrued. Only Congress can violate the 1st Amendment and the Federal Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act violate the prohibitions of the 1st Amendment. Federal Campaign laws abridge freedoms of speech, press by limiting how much money individual citizens and citizens groups can donate to their candidates and issues, and they abridge freedom of assembly by declaring it a crime for candidates, political parties and grass roots organizations to coordinate their advertising campaigns.

The solution to limiting corporate influence and restoring flesh and blood citizen’s control of politics is not limiting how much individuals and grass roots organizations can spend communicating. There is no Constitutional basis for making political coordination a crime? Does a candidate for office have the responsibility or authority to tell a citizen or citizens group they cannot simultaneously put out campaign materials from the candidate and a grass roots organization that supports the candidate? Where in the Constitution does participating in politics require a candidate or citizen to give up 1st Amendment freedoms of assembly and association?

It would be strange indeed however if the grave concern for freedom of the press which prompted adoption of the First Amendment should be read as a command that the government was without power to protect that freedom. That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford non-governmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.

But corporate media can be part of the solution if they walk their talk:

The commercial press is the most well-known promoter of campaign reforms to get money out of politics. Among reasons given is the need to level the playing field for challengers.

Since the only thing campaigns produce is information for public distribution and the cost of distribution is the origin of much of the need for money in politics, why don’t the commercial media offer to publish and broadcast candidate and issue ads for free?

Not likely: there is speculation Obama may raise a billion dollars and Republicans 750 million. Campaign season is Christmas for media corporations.

The corporate method of organization is not going to be banned any time soon. People work in corporations. They invest in them or own them (most are small). Interest groups, from the ACLU to the NRA to, are all corporations too. The persons in these groups have interests, and particularly in the non-profit sector, it’s a method for organizing the so-called 99% so they can pool their resources and be sure they are heard.


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

I’ve been so proud of Martha for being deeply involved in the Occupy San Diego movement from the beginning. She has been earning her badge of integrity. And now this endorsement! Scott Peter’s hypocrisy is too obvious for genuine DP activists to stomach. So, good for you, girl.


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