Friday, August 05, 2005

A long couple of days

Let me apologize to those of you, if any, who are reading my blog. I was sick last night and did not feel up to venturing down to the lobby to work on posting something. I decided yesterday morning to eschew the training sessions offered by Democratic GAIN in favor of exploring the city. I first found a wonderful place to have breakfast that is SO much cheaper than the hotel restraunt. I'm talking a three egg ham and cheese omelet with hash browns, four slices of wheat toast, a glass of OJ, AND two pancakes for a grand total of $4.50. In San Francisco? Who would have thought. I then decided to walk two blocks south to Geary St. to pick up the #38 bus that would take me out to Ocean Beach. According to the map of the city that I have, it didn't look like it would be that long of a ride, but maps can be deceiving. Especially when they say in fine print: "The FOUR MILE area from Divisadero St. to the Ocean is not to scale." When I eventually got there, however, I walked out to the beach and was greeted with the sound of rolling waves that you only hear from an honest-to-God ocean. I also took some pictures of the Seal Rocks...and the ocean, not terribly pretty given the cloudy skies but still worth it.

After the equally lengthy ride back it was time to get changed into business attire for the first general session of the convention. There were some heavy hitter speakers to kick things off. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the first speaker, and she talked at length about how Paul Hackett's near victory in the 2nd Congressional district was a sign that the American people were tired of politicans rubber stamping the decisions of the Bush white house. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) spoke at length of how we need to do a better job of standing up for what we believe in. Then New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson talked of the need for the party to shift power from the leaders in D.C. to the governors, noting that there are 12 Red states that have Democratic governors, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, and Tennessee. However, easily the most significant speech of the night was given by San Francsico Mayor Gavin Newsome, who made waves last year by giving the green light to same-sex marriages in the city. Mayor Newsome spoke of the need to have the courage of our convictions and consistently state them. He said that voters perceive those who don't have that courage as lacking integrity, and that there are those who will vote for you, even if they disagree with you, if they know your position and know you believe in it. Bill Clinton once said that strong and wrong will beat right but weak all the time. Were the 2004 elections proof of that? Quite possibly yes.

The shame of Thursday night is that feeling ill prevented me from going out but the night was not totally unproductive. For now however, I am being summoned to go with the Michigan delegation to a bar. While there might be the traditional OSU vs. Michigan rivalry, there is a recognition that we are all Democrats here. More updates as I can provide them.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Political Mardi Gras, indeed

Wednesday afternoon marked the first political events of the convention. We got our registration, got our credentials, and had our first state delegation meeting. Wednesday night was also the welcome reception with welcomes from numerous California democratic legislators. As I began to interact with members of other state delegations, from Pennsylvania to Indiana to Alabama to Texas to California and Arizona, I was struck by the fact that everyone's first comment on seeing I was from Ohio was "Sorry about your congressional race." I couldn't count how many times I had to explain to folks back home what we were trying to accomplish in the 2nd Congressional District, and yet everyone out here not only knew about the race, but knew about all the details of the district and how remarkable it is that the race was even as close as it was, given how gerrymandered the district was.

We also had our first Ohio state delegation meeting yesterday, and I was struck by the fact that our delegation is almost entirely male. I can't believe that the party of women's rights, the party that owns the female vote by roughly 18 points, doesn't have more than 2 female delegates from Ohio. I quickly decided that I didn't spend the money I'm spending and the vacation days I'm using to be at a sausagefest, and spent most of the evening talking to delegates from other states, eventually hitting a bar with some very cute members of the Texas delegation.

Thursday's reception will be where the big guns come out. US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Mark Warner of Virginia will be there to talk about how to proclaim our Democratic values. I will have my business cards at the ready.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What exactly is a "boutique" hotel?

Well I am back in the lobby to get some Internet business done. After my first night here I am struck by the uniqueness of this place. What is a boutique hotel? A hotel with no air conditioning but walk in closets. A hotel with no internet access except in the lobby to encourage people to hang out there. A hotel with an Arabic-fusion restaurant called Saha (a weird name to me, as my grandmother has been saying that to me after I cough or sneeze since I was little). A hotel where four different languages can be heard during breakfast.

The seminar that I am attending at the conference doesn't start til 3 PM so I have something like 4 hours to kill. I've got a map of the city and I think its time to hop on the Muni and see what I can see. If I take pictures I will be sure to post them. And I promise there will eventually be some politically relevant information on here ;)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A journey of a thousand miles...

My first impressions of San Francisco are that it reminded me of just how true that statement is of how a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This morning (8/2) I woke up in my bed in Columbus, got my apartment ready for me to be gone, went to work, left work at 2:30, drove my car up to Mazda Direct so it can be serviced, they dropped me off at the airport, I boarded my flight to Phoenix, and four hours later we arrived (the annoyance of a screaming kid more than balanced out by a screaming hot redhead flight attendant). Then I had to race across Phoenix Sky Harbor to catch my connecting flight to Oakland. I landed in Oakland and immediately loved the moderate temps. I then took a cab to my hotel, where after eating dinner I am sitting in the lobby hacking this out (no internet access in the individual rooms). So here I am trying to convince myself that it really is 11:09 PM instead of 2:09 AM, and thinking about how far I've come in a single day.

The YDA convention starts Wednesday @ Noon. More updates as they become available.

Monday, August 01, 2005


My first entry comes as I am preparing to leave for San Francisco to represent the Buckeye State at the Young Democrats of America National Convention. Hopefully we will have good news to send us off, namely that Paul Hackett picked up an upset win in the 2nd Congressional District special election. In any case, please check back here for updates throughout the August 3-7 2005 convention!