The Democratic Party will re-open north Santa Clara County campaign headquarters at 3898 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, with a kickoff event on Saturday (Aug. 14) in anticipation of Election Day.
The yellow building, located at the end of a strip mall that houses a Hawaiian barbecue restaurant and a kung-fu dojo, has a long history of housing Democratic efforts. Assembly candidate Josh Becker used the 2,000 square feet for his 2010 primary campaign. Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign efforts were hosted there. The building also headquartered the "Silicon Valley for Obama" group in 2008.
Obama volunteer Lisa Altieri worked in the office on Election Day 2008.
"We were phone banking to every state in the West up till 7 p.m.," she said.
The office, parking lot and Happy Donuts next door were completely packed, Altieri said. "It was amazing, watching the states turn blue on the television screen."
In the 1970s, before the Democrats got a hold of the space, 3898 El Camino Real was home to an X-rated theater called the Copenhagen, according to local historian Matt Bowling's website, The Palo Alto History Project. The area was then known for massage parlors and prostitution, but a crackdown in 1976 led to more law-abiding activity in the area.
The new headquarters has been empty since Becker left in June. Betty Gerard, Democratic Party volunteer, said that Democrats have traditionally moved their headquarters from place to place to find the best deal. But the party seems to come back to this location time and time again.
"We have been lucky each time," Joe Rolfe, treasurer of the Peninsula Democratic Coalition, said. "The building has been available every time we've needed it."
According to Rolfe, the space has been used so often that "people are accustomed to finding us there."
In addition, when the party moves in, the volunteers spend a lot of time at the adjoining businesses, such as Happy Donuts or Rice Thai, according to PDC President Diane Rolfe.
"When we are in the area, I think it is very productive for all the business," she said.
Democratic Assembly candidate Rich Gordon, the Peninsula Democratic Coalition and Organizing for America, a continuation of the grass-roots program Obama for America, will use the office in their quest to persuade voters in the November midterm elections.
For its part, the main office for the Silicon Valley Republican Party of Silicon Valley is in San Jose, but the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition, a grass-roots political organization, is headquartered in Los Altos.
The event Saturday will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a number of elected Democratic officials and candidates on hand, according to party organizers.
"We'll welcome people to drop in to talk about the election, and sign up to staff the office, phone and walk precincts," Jim and Emy Thurber, co-chairs of the headquarters, stated in a press release. "This is going to be a very vigorous campaign and volunteers will play a key role."