Thanks to all of you who supported the resolution calling on Governor Brown to convert death penalty sentences to life without the possibility of parole, a deal was struck between supporters of the resolution and the California Democratic Party leadership to withdraw the resolution from the floor for a vote of endorsement by the party, in exchange for obtaining support for the resolution from Chairman John Burton. The chairman agreed to lobby the Governor to comply with the resolution. He also agreed to lobby on behalf of the resolution to the CDP Executive Board in July.
Support from the leaders of the party will give the resolution a much better chance of having an impact on Governor Brown.
650 signatures from delegates in support of the resolution, collected in less than 24 hours, gave a clear signal to the party that the movement against the death penalty is no joke. I am dismayed that we have to work so hard to get the Governor to act on this issue, something that he should have done from day 1 in office. There was also a lot of opposition against the resolution within the leadership of the CDP. I found this to be confusing because the CDP leadership is overwhelming against the death penalty.
The rationale from the leadership was that it did not want to pressure the Governor with anything that was not part of his agenda. One member on the Resolutions Committee pointed out that the CDP is not an administrative wing of elected officials and is supposed to take independent stands on issues of public policy.
Our resolution played a major role in the Governor’s decision to halt construction on the condemned inmate Taj Mahal at San Quentin, a few days before the convention. All supporters of the resolution can take credit for this savings of half a billion dollars. I think he will come around sooner, rather than later, for fiscal and moral reasons.
I would also like to know if there has been any analysis on the impact that CDP resolutions and platforms have on legislation and law. The party has already taken a stand against the death penalty in our platform. This did not seem to have any impact on Democratic Party Legislators. I would like to reach out to E Board, the Progressive Caucus and Progressive Democrats Of America members for input on these two issues.
Congratulations to Karen Bernal on her reelection as Chair, and the election Sharon Kyle as Communications Director, of the Progressive Caucus.