Did the white man screw the Indians again? Take a look at the caucus schedule for last weekend's convention-the Native Americans were the only interest group meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. While the rest of the delegates slept off their hangovers, the Indians had to be up and about bright and early. That hardly seems fair, now does it?
'Oh there's always a caucus in this slot. We drew the short straw this year,'said the chair of the caucus, Helen Doherty. 'We haven't been this early in a long time.'
Right then, moving along.
Caucuses bring together like-minded individuals within the party who want to attach new ideas to the party platform. The Computer and Internet Caucus, for example, sent a resolution to keep Internet service providers from providing faster service for a higher cost. The Rural Caucus wants extra money spent to defeat Republican candidates in local and state elections. There were 19 caucuses last weekend, and CityBeat went to all but one of them. (Coincidentally, the Women's Caucus began at 9 p.m. on Friday night, the same moment our beers were scheduled to arrive at our table at the bar at the Marriot. Oh well.)
Each caucus had its amusing moment-here's a selection:
* The first motion from the Children's Caucus was to have refreshments at the next meeting. The second was to have soft drinks.
* The Environmental Caucus turned the lights off for a minute to save energy. Of course, the meeting had to be a minute longer, to finish its work. Also, if you want to get in with that environmentalist hottie you've been eyeing, bring up incandescent light bulbs. It seems to get them in a lather.
* There was a three-way tie for most lively caucus: Progressives, the LGBT and the old folks in the Senior Caucus. Of course, they may have been loud just so they could hear each other.
* Only one standing officer survived from the last meeting of the Senior Caucus to the current one.
* The Progressives are the biggest, and their ranks may have been the most rank, which, trust us, is saying something. Our reporter had to change places several times to find a less aromatic seat.
* The Business and Professional Caucus had the fewest members. Sure, they had a professional-looking easel with a giant pad, but that does not seem to have lured people from their actual paying jobs.
* Everybody wants to get with the Labor Caucus. They have rules limiting who can speak, including a requirement that you be a member of the caucus. But they spent so much time recognizing officials in the room who were running for office that they didn't actually get anything done.
* When members of the Chicano-Latino Caucus wanted to vote yea for a measure, they held up their membership cards, which were green. So, the chair would say, 'Those in favor hold your green cards up!'which was awesome.
* Lt. Gov. John Garamendi must have eaten his Wheaties this weekend, because he gave a two-minute talk at every single caucus, plus a speech before the whole convention. Perhaps that's the downside of being the highest ranking Democratic official in California. Well, either that or he's running for Governor in 2010. One or the other.