North county Democratic headquarters to open | August 13, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 13, 2010

North county Democratic headquarters to open

The building that housed the Obama campaign will re-open to serve as headquarters in Palo Alto

by Ryan Deto

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."

Editorial Intern Ryan Deto can be e-mailed at


Posted by Tea Party rhymes with bigotry, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 10, 2010 at 9:51 am

Just say no to Tea Party bigotry!

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 11:27 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Be still, my quivering heart!

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Hmmm, this used to be a strip club called the "Cheetah Club" if I remember correctly in the 70's. There was a picture of a girl in a cheetah suit and whip or something on the outside glass. I never went in because I was way under age at the time ... anyone else remember this? Anyone actually go there and want to describe it? ;-)

Posted by how cute, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

all I can do is laugh.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Once a Cheetah always a Cheetah?

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Unfortunately, most Palo Altans hand money over to Democratic candidates like Catholics used to hand over money to the Church to buy Indulgences in medieval times.

Posted by Alice Smith, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:55 am

Democracy at its best; participatory, open, enthusiastic. You will find folks of all ages, who care deeply about issues such as health care, education, equality.

I'm looking forward to the opening party.

Posted by Vote Conservative, a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:43 am

I care deeply about outcomes in health care, education and poverty policies, and equality of opportunity, so I am voting the most conservative/libertarian person or policy on any ballot.

Posted by Vote Conservative, a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 17, 2010 at 7:45 am

Web Link

This is the "Tea Party" which will take down the "progressives" in both the Dem and the Repub party, and bring us back to a Constitutional Republic Democracy...let freedom ring for everyone, not just winners and losers chosen by the heavy hand of government.

The Signers of the Declaration of Independence were the original "right wing extremists" Tea Partiers.

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