Prior Months

Democracy-At What Price?
By Terry Leach, President, LDC

January 2008

What do time and money have in common? That’s easy. The answer is: Their shrinking presence in our lives. So why are we, along with your favorite candidates, asking for a little of both this coming year?

We believe that good public policy doesn’t happen by accident. A variety of corporations, including pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and energy companies exert tremendous influence on our elected lawmakers, and by extension, on us. The only counterweight is….us. All of you who are reading this column, and those of our neighbors who send off letters to their elected officials and/or to the editor to their local papers, hoping their lawmakers hear a contrary view.

The Board of the Lamorinda Democratic Club has long believed that our mission is not to grow a hefty bank balance and keep it in the bank, but to spend wisely the precious dollars you entrust to us every year, to ensure that our candidates and elected officials know what is important to their constituents. That means that every January, we are starting from scratch. This January is no different except that 2008 is an election year, and we very much want to help get out the vote to elect Democrats this year, and that takes money.

If you had an opportunity to attend our recent meeting with Professor Dan Kammen, a nationally acknowledged expert on clean energy and climate change, you also know that Assembly Member Mark De Saulnier attended this meeting and joined Professor Kammen on stage to discuss energy policy and the legislative process. What you may not know is that Assembly Member De Saulnier was so impressed with the suggestions made at the meeting, that he formulated a number of bills that night to help California residents address spiraling energy costs and to address climate change. If you paid your dues last year and therefore helped put on this meeting, you had a hand in formulating thoughtful energy policy in California.

Your board spends approximately $800 to $1,000 to put on our meetings. We pay rent for the meeting room, buy food and beverages for your enjoyment, put out newsletters to keep you informed, pay insurance to provide liability coverage for our activities, and pay to keep a web site updated.

We know that many of you give as much as you can afford when you contribute $5 at the door to help defray costs for our activities. For those of you who can give more, please do so. We are holding an ambitious fundraising drive with the objective of raising $6,000 by June to help Central Contra Costa County get out the vote for Democrats, and for the issues we care about, in November. Please go to our wonderful updated web site, and make a generous contribution so that we can continue to make a difference. Check back often and watch our own Donkey-Thermometer turn from red-to-blue! Please join the Lamorinda Democratic Club and pay your dues this month.

And if you have any time to volunteer, please let a member of our board know, or call our Board phone at (925) 210-7337 or e-mail soon. Whether you can give two hours a month or much more, we need your help to elect Democrats and put good public policy in place.

Consider getting involved right away! On Saturday, January 19th, we are pleased to be helping to sponsor an event in Lafayette for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Details are provided in this newsletter. On Friday, January 25th, we are inviting representatives from all Democratic Presidential Campaigns to share their candidates’ platforms. Learn more before you cast your vote! And on Thursday evening, Feb. 21, come and join fellow Democrats from all over the county, as we thank California Secretary of State Debra Bowen for insisting that electronic voting machines be reliable before they are certified in California.

If we don’t set aside a small amount of our treasure – our time and money – to be heard by those who make laws that govern our activities – others, who care little about our values and families, will continue to fill this void and speak for us. Democracy…that most precious treasure, could be lost forever.