… When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
From “The Hill We Climb,” by Amanda Gorman

February 2021

This is the first Lamorinda Democratic Club monthly update since the Inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. In honor of that day, we heard Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks sing moving renditions of our national anthem, “This Land is Your Land,” and “Amazing Grace.”  And for millions of us who watched and listened, it was Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate — appearing in her golden yellow coat, who personified the sun rising in a “new dawn.”

While delivering her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” Ms. Gorman coaxed us from the darkness and challenged us to look for the light. Members and friends, I hope you will stick with us this year, as we look for the light together, find new possibilities, and continue to build a broader, stronger, more collaborative community, expand opportunity, and work for the common good.

Speaking of common good, on behalf of the Lamorinda Democratic Club we wish long-time member John Hall, a “Bon Voyage!” but thankfully, not “goodbye” (as John has promised to remain an active LDC member). John is leaving California for Texas — which means it may turn blue sooner than we expected!  

Those of you who have been around a while know that John has participated monumentally over the last twenty years in County and local Democratic politics. He has been, and continues to be, a mentor to club members, officers, activists, candidates, and elected officials. He advised newly forming Democratic Clubs, and volunteered as Treasurer and Secretary over many years in both the Lamorinda Democratic Club and on the Central Committee. John advised and edited, debated and played devil’s advocate, wrote bylaws, produced and chaired committees, represented us as a delegate, attended conventions, invented complex programs and created data systems — including the LDC Precinct Organizing Project’s critical neighborhood voter lists. He designed election materials, fabricated buttons, ordered swag, guided the endorsement of issues and candidates, volunteered at booths, maintained membership data bases, kept us solvent, championed grassroots politics and building the bench, and always brought the wine!

John, THANK YOU! We will miss seeing you in person, but look forward to your continuing, if virtual, participation in the Lamorinda Democratic Club.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our next ZOOM meeting on Thursday, February 11, at 7 pm. To register, click here.


Tracy Brog
Lamorinda Democratic Club President

Thank you to those of you who already sent in your annual club dues. If you have not yet renewed your membership, you can do so online by clicking here: https://ldclub.org/join/ or mailing a check to:

Lamorinda Democratic Club/Membership
PO Box 31
Orinda, CA 94563

Please help us finish up our membership renewal drive by Presidents’ Day, February 15!  For more information on Membership, contact Mike Rusk at Membership@LDclub.org

Please join us on Thursday, February 11 at 7pm, for the next virtual general meeting of the Lamorinda Democratic Club. We are very pleased to welcome Cassidie Bates, Advocacy Director for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Cassidie will bring us up to speed on the state of food insecurity in our county. We will learn how the Food Bank works to reduce food waste, feed hungry people and raise public awareness of issues related to food and hunger.

Questions about how to join the Zoom meeting? Contact Peter Connolly: EcomDir@LDclub.org


The LDC 15 Minute Genius Bar
The last 15 minutes of the general meeting will provide the opportunity to ask questions of some extraordinarily well-informed LDC members— each one, a specialist in a different, topical or newsworthy area.  This month we will be joined by LDC geniuses in areas of Democratic Organization; National, State, and County Democratic Politics; and Immunology/COVID19/Viruses. No need to ask Jeeves or Siri, Alexa, or Google. Save your questions for Lisa Tucker, Craig Cheslog, and John Donnelly.

Youth Engagement Project (LDC YEP!)
Another new effort is the Lamorinda Democratic Club Youth Engagement Project or LDC YEP! This idea is still in its infancy — born out of a breakout session from our January meeting! Thanks to Pam Perls for a fabulous idea, and to Brad Kent, Brian Ladd, Peter Connolly, Mary Ann Hoisington, and Jim Carley for already volunteering to join Pam and me, to make this happen. If you are interested in this project, or would like to know more, please drop me a line! YEP@LDclub.org


Thursday Morning Virtual Coffee Club— Make your coffee just the way you like it, and join the LDC pundits and politicos to chat about news of the day. First and third Thursdays of each month at 9:30 am. Contact Mike Rusk at Membership@LDclub.org to receive a ZOOM link.

LDC Precinct Organizing Project — It’s never too early or too late to join us as a neighborhood volunteer or Precinct Organizer. No experience necessary! Contact Tracy Brog at GOteam@LDclub.org

COCO Food Bank Virtual Food Drive
Thank you to all of the LDC members and friends who helped exceed our CoCo Food Bank Virtual Food Drive fundraising goal of $2,021 by Inauguration Day. At the time of writing, we are up to $2,454!

We’ve decided to continue the drive and our next goal is to reach $5,000 by May.  Here is the link to our Team page: https://give.foodbankccs.org/LDCFoodDrive

Thanks again to our donors!

Brian Ladd Carlyn Obringer Christina Mellin
Cody Keller Constance Chilba Craig Cheslog
Cynthia Sevilla Diane Bianchi Donna Costello
Eileen Lindsay Eleanor McGinley Elizabeth Barnhart
Elizabeth Ferree Francis Barham Gary Eberhart
John Cumbers John Donnelly Katherine Knapp
Katie Ricklefs Marcie Tuttle Mary-Jane Wood
Maurade Kelly Maureen Steiner Mike Rusk
Nathan Haese Peter Connolly Peter Ericson
Renee Zeimer Schelly Gartner Sheilah Fish
Sue Hamill Tara Presnell Tim and Beth Eliason
Tom Duckworth Tony Suh Tracy Brog
Victor Gess William Manheim

  • Katie Ricklefs, Chair of the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC)
  • Tom Duckworth, DPCCC District 2 Director
  • Valerie Sloven, Lamorinda Democratic Club Representative to the DPCCC
  • Peter Ericson, Valerie Sloven’s Alternate representative to the DPCCC
  • Brad Kent, Katie Ricklefs’ Alternate Representative, and also newest Board Member of the Lamorinda Democratic Club!


  • John Donnelly
  • Mary Ann Hoisington
  • Tony Suh