Please invite your friends and family to join in the fun of an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration.

Members of the Lamorinda Democratic Club will be walking in the annual Orinda Fourth of July Parade to display their patriotism. Each parade participant is asked to wear a “Democratic” T-shirt and bring a “Democratic” banner. Arrive early to receive a new Lamorinda Democratic Club T-shirt to proudly demonstrate that BLUE really is the new black!

Please join us on Friday, July 4th between 8:45 am and 9:30 am at the parade staging area: BART parking lot on east side of Camino Pablo. Coffee & bagels while they last!

The parade begins promptly at 10 am and lasts about an hour, ending at the Orinda Community Center Park and Library, where there will be games, food, music, and even a petting zoo! Following the parade, stop by the LAMORINDA DEMOCRATIC CLUB BOOTH in front of the old Orinda Library on the way to the park.

To volunteer to participate in the parade or to help staff the Lamorinda Democratic Club booth, please send an email to president@ldcub.org.

Contra Costa Auditor-Controller: Ayore Riaunda

Ayore is well qualified to be our Auditor-Controller. He has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and is a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).  He is an 18-year U.S. Navy veteran and is now a Navy Reserve officer.

Yes, he is a Democrat and his opponent is a Republican who ran unopposed in 2010.

The MOST IMPORTANT election this June is for Auditor-Controller.

VOTE for AYORE RIAUNDA!

State Superintendent of Instruction: Tom Torlakson

Tom has worked hard to begin fixing the California Education System.  We want to keep Education on the right track.

VOTE for TOM TORLAKSON!

U.S. Congress CD 11: Mark DeSaulnier

Mark has been our loyal and accessible State Senator.  As George Miller is retiring, he has endorsed Mark and we expect Mark to be as well respected and influential in Washington as George.

VOTE for MARK DESAULNIER!

State Propositions: Yes on 41 & 42

Proposition 41 is a bond measure to provide affordable multifamily housing for low-income and homeless veterans. What is not to like about fulfilling our obligation to our VETERANS!

Proposition 42 requires local governments to comply with state public-access laws.  It also eliminates state reimbursement for the cost of such compliance. Public-access is the law for all levels of state government.  Each level should shoulder the cost of the statewide law.

VOTE for YES on 41 & 42

Contra Costa Community College District: Yes on Measure E

• Construction of new science and allied health center
• Modernization of campus buildings
• Modernization of gymnasium and physical education facilities

VOTE YES on Measure E!

The Lamorinda Democratic Club’s next meeting on Thursday, May 8, will include presentations by Tiffany Whiten from End Poverty and Inequality in California (EPIC) and Ben Grieff from Evolve as well as presentations by three local candidates, presentations for one state-wide candidate and two state propositions, club member vote on endorsements recommended by the Board, and election of club officers for 2013-14.

The meeting begins at 7:00 pm and will be held at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, in Lafayette. A $5 donation is requested to help cover meeting expenses.

Three candidates for Contra Costa County positions have agreed to speak to the club, Karen Sakata and Linda Delehunt, candidates for County School Superintendent, and Ayore Riaunda candidate for County Auditor-Controller. Vicki Gordon, Contra Costa Community College Governing Board Secretary, will speak for bond Measure E.  Craig Cheslog will speak for Propositions 41 and 42 and on behalf of Tom Torlakson candidate for State School Superintendent.

Club members will vote at the recommendation of the Board to endorse Ayore Riaunda, Tom Torlakson, and Propositions 41 and 42. Club members will also vote on officers for the coming year. The Board has nominated: Katie Ricklefs – President, Tom Duckworth – Vice President, John Hall – Treasurer, and Mike Rusk – Secretary. 

The Lamorinda Democratic Club’s next meeting on Thursday, May 8, will include presentations by Tiffany Whiten from End Poverty and Inequality in California (EPIC) and Ben Grieff from Evolve with a focus on state funding and services for our kids, our poor, and our communities.

The meeting begins at 7:00 pm and will be held at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, in Lafayette.  There is a $5 donation at the door to help cover meeting expenses.

Tiffany Whiten will provide background information on EPIC – a state legislative caucus initiated by Senator Mark DeSaulnier. EPIC’s mission is to reduce the number of people living in poverty and to increase economic opportunity for all Californians. EPIC partners include state legislators, business, labor and non-profit organizations throughout the state.

Evolve’s Campaign Director, Ben Grieff, will give a presentation on his organization's efforts to take on the "third rail" of California politics, reforming Prop 13. Evolve, a member funded community organization based in San Francisco, is advocating for a change to the way commercial property is reassessed. Ben will describe the unintended consequences of Prop 13 and his group’s exciting campaign.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about EPIC and Evolve and how they can get involved with both efforts.

Support School Measures A & B

By Mike Rusk | Comments Off

If you live in the Acalanes Union High School District or the Lafayette School District or both, you have received a ballot in the mail for Measures A and B.

Measure A sustains critical funding to maintain academic programs and support services in the Acalanes Union High School District schools by renewing and extending the parcel tax that is expiring, without raising tax rates. Measure A will continue to provide ongoing, local funding to preserve excellence in our schools.

Measure B will continue an expiring tax to pay for core academic programs including math, science and technology for schools in the Lafayette School District.

The LaMorinda Democratic Club has endorsed both measures and is urging you to vote yes on both Measure A and B.

As Democrats we must unite to pass these measures to maintain our excellent schools, so please mail in your yes vote immediately.

As a result of the recession, California state revenues declined by $15 billion from 2007 to 2008. While the state’s spending cuts in education made many headlines, you may be unaware of the massive budget cuts to the judicial system, much less the impact it has had on those without the resources to navigate our underfunded courts. At our March club meeting, Mark Simons, Justice, the State of California Court of Appeal and Barry Goode, Presiding Judge, Contra Costa County Superior Court, spoke about how budget cuts have led to justice denied.

 Justice Simons explained that the judicial system has seen better days. In 1998, the superior and municipal courts were placed under the supervision of the county superior court presiding judge. The resulting significant efficiencies and additional state funding enabled more judges to be deployed to handle family and juvenile courts in Pittsburg and Richmond. Our county went from one courthouse to approximately five facilities in just two years. However, from 2000 to 2008, things changed. As Justice Simons noted the “quality and availability of justice was declining at this point in time.” The recession was the final straw.

 Judge Goode pointed out the current, grim state of the California judicial system. Since 2006, the judicial branch’s portion of the state general fund expenditures dropped from 2%, typical across the country, to 1%. At the low point this was a $1.2 billion reduction before inflation. Judge Goode stated that the 2014-15 state budget proposed by Governor Brown provides a net increase of about $30 million. Unfortunately, the courts need hundreds of millions more.

 Judge Goode made a survey of presiding judges across the state and presented a summary. Since 2008, 61 courthouses and 205 courtrooms across the state have been closed. In Contra Costa County, court house staffing has been reduced by 30% and management by 40%. All of these spending cuts have generated delays, prompting hours and even days of waiting as citizens struggle to access court services. Furthermore, access to self-help services, restraining orders, and civil trials has been impacted, severely hampering the courts’ ability to deliver justice.

 One result has been the increased use of arbitration to avoid the court system. Employees and consumers may find arbitration is mandatory. If they can afford it, litigants who have civil issues to settle in court can utilize private judges, as allowed by state law. Decisions made by private judges are not necessarily made public.

 The California Courts are in danger, and the quality and availability of justice is declining. It is a time for action. The county bar association is providing volunteers to preside over small claims courts. Judges, wanting to remain non-political, are communicating the problem. We as California citizens need to make our concerns known to the legislature. By making this a more visible issue, we can eventually provide a more equitable court system to everyone, regardless of financial resources.

 This post was updated on April 9. Bryan Wang, a Miramonte High Junior, contributed.

At our March 13 club meeting, the membership voted to endorse the Acalanes Union High School District Measure A and Lafayette School District Measure B for the May 6 mail ballot election as well as Mark DeSaulnier as the Democratic candidate in the June 2 primary for Congressional District 11. Mark is running to replace George Miller who has announced his retirement.

During the week of April 4, voters in these districts will receive a mail-in ballot for Measures A and B. Measure A sustains critical funding to maintain academic programs and support services in the Acalanes Union High School District schools by renewing and extending the parcel tax that is expiring, without raising tax rates. Measure A will continue to provide ongoing, local funding to preserve excellence in our schools. Measure B will continue an expiring tax to pay for core academic programs including math, science and technology for schools in the Lafayette School District. As Democrats we must unite to pass these measures to maintain our excellent schools, so please mail in your yes vote immediately.

The club wishes to thank Rachel Zinn Superintendent, David Gerson Trustee, and Larry Zulch Committee Chair speaking on behalf of Lafayette School District as well as John Nickerson Superintendent and Kelly Mains Committee Chair speaking on behalf of Acalanes Union High School District.  Mark DeSaulnier also spoke to the club.

The club’s endorsement process began with the Candidates and Issues Endorsement Committee. The committee made recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Board then brought recommendations to a club meeting for a vote by the membership.  The endorsements required a 60% affirmative vote of the total votes cast.  The endorsements passed.

These achievements by our state Democratic officers and legislators were presented at the California Democrats State Convention the second week of March.

  • A balanced state budget with at reserve of $1.1 billion and an end to cuts to education funding
  • Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, boosting earnings by $4,000 a year and giving over one million hardworking Californians a better life
  • The California Dream Act expanding opportunity of all students across California
  • The School Success and Opportunity Act ensuring transgender youth have the opportunity to fully participate and succeed in schools across the state
  • Lowering California’s unemployment rate and adding incentives for employers to hire veterans and those who have been jobless for over six months
  • Driver licenses for undocumented immigrants improving safety, living standards and California’s economy
  • The Climate Change Pact reducing greenhouse gases and promoting clean energy
  • The Homeowners Bill of Rights allowing more families to stay in their home by preventing foreclosing during loan modification
  • Gun control laws including banning lead hunting ammunition, curbs on high-capacity magazines, new limits on firearms storage, and keeping guns from the mentally ill
  • Expanding access to safe family planning options for women in underserved rural communities
  • Online voter registration making it easier for more Californians to have their voice heard by participating in the election process
  • School funding reform directing more resources to the neediest students and restoring local control over how money is spent
  • Middle Class Scholarship Program slashing student fees at UC and CSU up to 40% for families making under $100,000

The Lamorinda Democratic Club's next meeting on Thursday, March 13, will focus on "Justice Denied: How Much Can We Afford?" with a panel including Justice Mark Simons and Presiding Judge Barry Goode. 

The club's meeting will be held at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, in Lafayette. The club's social hour will begin at 7:00 p.m., with a business meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. There is a $5 charge at the door to help the club cover meeting expenses.

Like every other segment of state government, the California Court system has been significantly impacted by the economic crisis that began in 2008.  Directly, the court system has seen it’s funding substantially reduced, requiring the elimination of numerous staff positions and services offered to the public. Indirectly, the judicial system has been affected by the state’s need to dramatically reduce the state prison population and services to juvenile, probate and family courts.  

Justices Mark Simons and Barry Goode will discuss the implications of these topics. 

Justice Mark Simons serves on the California Court of Appeal 1st District. Since 1973 he served as a Deputy Public Defender in Contra Costa County until 1980, when he was appointed to the Mt. Diablo Municipal Court. He was elevated to the Contra Costa Superior Court in April 1995, where he served as Presiding Judge in 1999 and 2000. In January 2000, he was appointed to the California Court of Appeal. Justice Simons has devoted considerable time to teaching evidence to judges, lawyers and law students. He served as the Dean of the B.E.Witkin Judicial College in 1995 and 1996 and was an adjunct professor of law at Hastings College of the Law from 2002-2004. He was awarded the 2000 Bernard Jefferson Award for distinguished service in judicial education. 

Judge Barry Goode is the Presiding Judge of the Contra Costa County Superior Court. He has served as Special Assistant to Adlai E. Stevenson in the US Senate from 1972 to 1974. In 1974 practiced with a law firm in S.F. until 2001. In that year, Governor Gray Davis appointed him Secretary of Legal Affairs, a position he held from February 2001 to November 2003. Judge Goode was appointed to the Superior Court in Contra Costa County on November 2003.  He has had assignments in Criminal Law, Family Law, Civil Law, and Complex Litigation. He served as Supervising Judge of the Richmond branch, the Family Law Division and the Civil Division, and from 2011 through 2012 — as assistant Presiding Judge. 

Members of the Lamorinda Democratic Club will be walking in the annual Orinda Fourth of July Parade on Thursday, July 4.

Assembly for the parade is at 9 a.m. at the Orinda BART parking lot on the east side of Camino Pablo. The parade starts at 10 a.m.

Each parade participant is asked to wear a Democratic T-shirt and bring a Democratic banner. 

Games, musical entertainment and booths displaying community information — including the Lamorinda Democratic Club — will be available in the Orinda Community Center Park following the parade.

To volunteer for the club's booth at the Orinda Community Center, please contact John Hall at jdhall@mac.com or 925-323-2796. Click here to download an event flyer!