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Postcard from the Democratic National Convention

Mountain View councilman Larry Siegel in Philadelphia as Bernie Sanders supporter

As the old saw goes, all politics is local -- and that's true even when it comes to this week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Joining Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, First Lady Michelle Obama and about 4,700 convention delegates was one of Mountain View's own politicians, City Councilman Lenny Siegel, who said he considered himself lucky to land a spot at the event.

In May, Siegel ran in the local 18th Congressional District party caucus to be a delegate for Sanders, but he fell just short of making it into the group picked to go to the convention. But as it turned out, about 60 delegate spots were saved for elected officials, and Siegel was able to nab one.

"I was helped by the fact that there weren't that many elected officials who came out for Bernie," Siegel told the Voice Tuesday afternoon from a hotel room he was sharing with a Foster City councilman.

At the start of the convention, the California delegation for Sanders singled itself out as one of the rowdiest. At a breakfast event on Monday, July 25, the group disrupted speeches by Reps. Mike Honda, Barbara Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The thrust of their protest was they weren't ready to embrace Clinton as the party's nominee, and to a degree, Siegel said he shared their frustrations.

During the first day's schedule, speaker after speaker felt like one long "infomercial" for Clinton, Siegel said. Sitting stage-right in the main auditorium, the California delegation could easily see the teleprompter for each speaker, and pretty much every one of them stayed on script with their remarks.

"The whole thing was trying to make everyone feel good about Hillary," he said. "That made me uncomfortable because the vote hadn't even been counted yet."

Nevertheless, Siegel said he was confident that the Sanders group would eventually come around and unite behind Clinton as their party's standard-bearer. The takeaway lesson, Siegel said, was that political power was ultimately about organization, and if the Sanders coalition wanted to see its platform adopted by Clinton then it needed to "rebuild the party from the ground up" and help elect candidates for federal, state and local government.

At the convention, it was clear that the Democratic party is a big tent of diverse groups, and that meant a lot of differences were playing out, Siegel said.

"I'm with Will Rogers on this one: 'I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a Democrat,'" Siegel said, repeating the humorist's famous quote.

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Curb Your Cynicism
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2016 at 10:57 am

Remarks like "Sitting stage-right in the main auditorium, the California delegation could easily see the teleprompter for each speaker, and pretty much every one of them stayed on script with their remarks" have the unfortunate consequence of conveying a cynical view of politics or of the politicians.

The speakers gave much thought to their speeches and to some extent or a large extent the speeches represented what they believed in. They did not just read what they were "fed" on the teleprompter, which is but a tool to help them memorize the points they wanted to share, not unlike note cards in a low-tech world.

Let's not be cynical and really be thoughtful about politicians and examine their work in the context of, and in the spirit of, public service. There are bad apples but to begin with, there are sincere public servants, and dare I say you, Lenny Siegel, who do care about serving their city, state, or country. I imagine there were times you wish you had a teleprompter to help you stay on point.


3 people like this
Posted by Curb Your Cynicism
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2016 at 10:59 am

PA Online, check your typo. Not Larry Siegel in sub-headline.


12 people like this
Posted by I'm voting for Hillary Clinton
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 29, 2016 at 11:10 am

I'm voting for Hillary Clinton is a registered user.

I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton. My family is in NYS where her intelligence and contributions as Senator are well regarded.

I have not agreed with everything she has done in her long political career, but overall I have been impressed with her track record. I have to say that she looks as good or better than any other presidential candidate we have seen in the last 20 years. She is certainly head and shoulders above her narcissistic, capricious opponent.

I watched her speech last night with my daughter and a small group of her teenage friends. It was an exciting moment for these young women to see Hillary Clinton accept nomination as the first female major party candidate.


8 people like this
Posted by Betrayed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

Hell no DNC we won't vote for Hillary.

Please consider JIll Stein: Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by MadamPresident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2016 at 11:58 am

Does Hilary want us to become the paranoiacs of the 1950s all over again? America is great but the Russians are Coming!


3 people like this
Posted by Lock Her Up
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2016 at 3:43 pm

I think Hillary Clinton is a wonderful human being. I hope she can that irritating throat condition of hers (constant clearing of throat, coughing) cleared up.


7 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 29, 2016 at 4:03 pm

"Please consider JIll Stein..."

Every time I do that I see Donald Trump grinning.


4 people like this
Posted by Back to Square One?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Back to Square One?
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Back to Square One? is a registered user.

So Hillary and The Donald are going to campaign in the Rust Belt (Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia). As trust fund babies who have never missed a meal, much less had to even worry about being unemployed, they will both need a lot of luck making points with the voters there.

We need a do-over to find two candidates who are less polarizing.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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