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Friday, February 29, 2008

Live blog from YDA quarterly meeting in Anaheim
Sunday, 10:45 A.M. Last pictures before I hit the shuttle...



I leave you with a picture of Tomorrowland, and it's *blue*, people! Great conference - we'll be back, Ah-nold.



Sunday, 10:12 A.M. Things are wrapping up here. Unfortunately our coverage will have to end prematurely due to my flight out at 1:30, but we currently have the state presidents' association meeting...



...as well as the college caucus (which has more people in attendance than you can see in this photo). Not sure who the guest speaker is (not pictured).



The LGBT caucus meeting starts at 10:30, which I can bring a little bit of before I catch the bus to the exciting theme park known as LAX, featuring thrills, chills, and surly TSA agents.

Saturday, 7:13 P.M. Just got done with the Southeast Region meeting - we have a new region director, Alan Brock from Florida. We are getting ready to go get some food and inevitably degenerate into, um, other activities, so this may be the last update for tonight.



Saturday, 6:11 P.M. Dispatches from the picket line:

















Word from Tony Cani is we had 286 people on the picket line - it's amazing how powerful you feel with a picket sign in your hand, shouting "Si Se Puede" or "We are the union, the mighty mighty union". We were on the picket line with people in their chef's uniform and with their kids. Anyone up for finding a picket line around here? :-)



This is definitely uncharted but awesome territory.

Saturday, 4:18 P.M. This rally is STARTED! Do we have a huge crowd here or what?





We are ready to march and take the message to management!



Saturday, 4:07 P.M. Oops, guess there were also breakouts on LGBT issues, women's rights, immigration, and a couple more things I can't read from here. The number of people gathered outside waiting for this issues stuff to finish is pretty impressive.

Saturday, 3:58 P.M. We're very close to starting the labor rally, but here are the four breakout sessions (the fourth one was environmental issues or something).

Environmental issues:



Health care:



Veterans' affairs:



And education:



Not sure how this rally thing is going to work. The VA group is advocating Google bombs, which I don't think is really very kosher ;-P

Saturday, 3:42 P.M. Bunch of photos. Between all the branding and cuteness, the kids, and the incessant Disney theme music, everything is seeming very corporate Stepford here...











This guy has got to be rolling in his grave.



The smokers' caucus had a little meeting. They've really raised their profile here - the prominent members really have their own special credentials and positions (Lindsey Barret is VP of chain smoking or something...).



The video taping and general geekery has been continuing (the interviewee in the second photo below is the labor caucus secretary, which you can probably guess from his Teamsters shirt):





The issues meeting has divided into breakouts on health care, education, veterans affairs (or something), and something else which I didn't catch. Here are some photos from earlier...





Our union march supposedly starts in ten minutes, but as usual we've been behind for most of the afternoon. At least it's not really raining at the moment.

Saturday, 3:10 P.M. Here's the Christine Pelosi clip:



There seems to be strong interest in purchasing the "Boot Camp" book, as well as in getting it signed by Ms. Pelosi...





Tony Cani is now running a session on issues activism and advocacy, similar to what I remember him doing for the Southeast Region meeting last year. According to Tony, the main reason legislators listen to us under the Dome is a desire to keep their seats and/or look good to their constituents (rock stars like Nan Orrock being the exception rather than the rule).

I met one of my fellow bloggers earlier today, who suggested that we might profitably blog occasionally on Kos (which I confess I know nothing about) and reach a wider audience in Georgia. Maybe that's something worth looking into.

Saturday, 2:49 P.M. Sweet, looks like the video upload worked this time. Christine Pelosi is uploading now. This is turning out to be another good session - giving people a chance to put into practice what they just heard is a lot more effective, and that's what we're getting here. My cyber colleague Ken Whitaker from Michigan is going to have pretty much this whole shebang on YouTube somewhere sometime, so if you're looking for more Christine check it out. You can see him to the right of the picture below, with the video camera.



At one point, the bloggers in the audience (and the audience is pretty dang big) were asked to raise their hands, and a bunch of people did. We're hearing a practice campaign speech from a man running for a judgeship in Texas.

Saturday, 2:34 P.M. Let's see if this works this time - I recorded a few minutes of Mark Newman's fundraising presentation from earlier, and I believe the sound and all is working this time (unlike it was when I tried things in Dallas). Mark had a lot of good things to say, and if this works I have some footage of Christine Pelosi as well that is rendering as we speak.



Christine specifically mentioned Max Cleland's experience as an example of the lesson that you should not let the opposition define you. (We're perfectly willing to define Saxby, of course, but this is a family blog.)

Saturday, 2:16 P.M. The next item on the agenda (after the conclusion of what was a great panel with some WGA members) is a "boot camp" session run by Christine Pelosi.



You know, she's a YD as well as everything else she is, which makes it that much cooler that she can speak so authoritatively about what it takes to be a candidate.

Saturday, 12:54 P.M. We're about halfway through lunch now, and we are just starting a panel discussion with some members of the Writers Guild about the recent writers' strike.



This may be the most pro-union place I've been - we gave a big shout out to the people serving us, who we are probably going to be joining us in the march (I don't know whether there's a picket line - people have said these people aren't actually on strike). Fist in the air for Labor!

Some of these people on stage have written for such well-known shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and others were prominent strike organizers, so this is pretty cool.

Saturday, 11:16 A.M. Holy dollar signs, Batman, this fundraising training meeting is *packed*. Every seat is taken and there's barely space to sit on the floor in the back. Mark Newman and Amy Lewis are running through some power point slides that I am hoping to get my hands on - I missed the start of this by being at the labor caucus. Mark just said that the thing he hates most is when people view donors as ATM's rather than investors.



The whole "I can't believe she said no!" thing is definitely going to be my least favorite part of my finance chair job!

Saturday, 10:31 A.M. Coincidentally, one of the people here is also live-blogging, so that makes at least 3 people at this meeting, and any number of other people with video cameras. Tech power!

Saturday, 10:24 A.M. There are some interesting ideas being discussed at the labor caucus, which seems well-attended (President Hardt is here as well). In addition to discussing the march for the Disney hotel workers later today, there's also a suggestion to have Young Labor Democrats (or some such slogan) t-shirts printed for Labor Day, and to have photos of chapters around the country wearing them to Labor Day events. We'd look good wearing them to the Labor Day picnic at the Hapeville UAW (assuming that happens...), don't you think?



It's kind of neat to be asked to introduce yourself with "I believe the brother from Georgia has joined us?" ;-)

Saturday, 10:07 A.M. Geez, walking between the buildings here is a real trial. I mean, there's the kids screaming "I wanna go hooommmeeee!!!" (seriously), as well as towers named "Dream" and "Wonder" ("Tower of Wonder IV, the Quickening", coming soon to theaters), and then the Donald Duck topiary that looks more like a nightmare than a dream...



I'm at "On Camera Media Training", which is looking like it's a very good training indeed - attendees are going through some media pitches for their organizations while getting tips from the woman doing the training...



Got to grab my stuff from the demographic training room.

Saturday, 9:56 A.M. Dropping in now on "Working with the Media" (my favorite subject <sarcasm>)...



Judging by attendance here, it seems that learning about the young and unmarried demographic is less interesting to young people than learning how to talk to the media. Guess demographic outreach just isn't as sexy as getting interviewed and sending out press releases... They're now mentioning my #1 lesson, "Nothing Is Off The Record. Ever." I could raise my hand and be like "yeah, here's what I said off the record that ended up in the AJC!" ;-)

Saturday, 9:45 A.M. Reporting briefly from Rules and Charter, the topic under discussion is some arcana related caucus formation and procedures - seems there is desire to have a Veterans Caucus, but I've missed a lot of the preceding discussion.



Now we're on to the soooo exciting "Amendment 2", so I think I'm heading elsewhere.

Saturday, 9:11 A.M. My portion of the Georgia contingent called it a night early last night, but the welcome reception did feature some fairly high profile people. We had the vice chair of the California Democratic Party, as well as Crystal Strait (DNC representative for YDA) and Phil Angelides, who you may remember as the Democratic challenger to Ah-nold in 2006. He was not a girly-man, and he kept his comments short so we could get back to the open bar.





This morning some of us (Billy and Kirk) are enjoying the Fun that is Rules and Bylaws, while me and Jane are currently at a session on reaching woman and young voters, put on by a speaker from Lake Research Partners.



We know that these demographics are trending Democratic, but there are still some interesting figures here. Only 21% of unmarried woman have a bachelor's degree - wow. Also, contrary to what I thought at least, young people and unmarried women list jobs and the economy as their most important issue, above Iraq. With 80% of these demographics indicating that they are following the election closely, we clearly have a chance to really impact the election and win some new converts to the Democratic cause.

Friday, 7:52 P.M. We're hearing from president of Unite Here Local 681, which represents the hotel workers here who have been on the job since February 1 without a contract.



We're hearing from some of the rank and file union members as well, one of the bellmen shared his concerns about his employer health care. So yeah, I'm going to be there marching tomorrow. Disney can sure afford to pay these people more than $8 an hour, which ain't the same as $8 back in Atlanta. You can't live on that here.

Our last speaker is Tim Steed, the president of the California Young Democrats, and then we are off to the welcome reception.

Friday, 7:24 P.M. Well, guess I was wrong - the conference "kickoff" is in progress. We got some nice propaganda (this is the only picture of the video that came out, not that the video favored Obama):



We heard from Tony Cani, who is (I think?) YDA political director, who introduced YDA president David Hardt, who happens to be a Texas superdelegate (i.e. more popular than Britney Spears these days).



This is the first time I've seen David since he was elected at the convention last year. We're seeing a YouTube video about the "youthquake" that is shaking the nation ;-)

Friday, 6:56 P.M. We're here now, with an hour before the welcoming ceremony.



Everything has names like "Magic Way" (street) and "Sleeping Beauty Pavilion" (meeting room...). Ugh! Tim told us all about how we're supposed to be supporting the Disney hotel workers tomorrow, or something.



Dinner was tasty, although apparently "Tex-Mex" isn't a concept that exists around here. I guess Jason doesn't have to worry about the cow tongue tacos on this trip...

Friday, 4:28 P.M. Well, we have finally arrived at the hotel, after an exciting trip in the rental car, where we ran into some of the famous LA palm trees...



...as well as that famous LA traffic.



Looks kinda familiar, huh? Turns out we could take public transportation from here to Disneyland (we're opting for the cheap and Mickey-free hotel), but it would involve two different buses and would take an hour - this is for five miles. Yup, that's something us Atlantans know all about!

We're going to hunt for some edibles of the Tex-Mex variety before we join our friends at the Disney hotel.

Friday, 1:55 P.M. I bring you news from Anaheim, or more properly LAX at the moment, where me and Jane Bradshaw are waiting for Exalted President Cecil, who is arriving late after a fun snow delay in Chicago.



The YDA meeting is at the Disneyland hotel and resort, and we are looking forward to a productive couple of days - although some people are probably still going to be in full campaign mode (like our YDA president from Texas, for one). You can see we're having lots of fun ;-)
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 2/29/2008 04:55:00 PM 1 comments links to this post

 

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