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Oppose Kern Democratic Party Removal of Member

This petition had 121 supporters

Members of the Kern County Democratic Central Committee in Bakersfield, California, are trying to remove a member to silence her, because she speaks up about their practices and does not support the candidate they prefer. This petition opposes the removal. Silencing people is not democratic. Please SIGN ON to support us in our efforts to restore democratic process to our party. 

July 12, 2017

Kern County Democratic Central Committee (KCDCC), Attn: Nicole Villaruz, Committee Secretary, 1430 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA  93301

Dear Ms. Villaruz, Madam Chair, Members of the Board, and Members of the Committee:

This letter is an initial response to your Chairperson Cathee Romley’s letter addressed to Julie Solis (Attachment 1 -- Letter from KCDCC).  

We, the below signed registered Democrats, ask the KCDCC to immediately cease and desist the removal action against Ms. Solis, and we ask KCDCC and CDP to take all possible action to restore the integrity of Democratic Party processes in operations of KCDCC.  We believe:

  • That KCDCC Bylaws and CDP Rules give Committee Members no authority to remove an appointed Ex Officio Alternate;
  • That your letter was not created, delivered, or administered in the manner required by your Bylaws Section 10;
  • That your accusations in the letter are unsubstantiated and untrue, and would not constitute grounds for removal because no Bylaw or Rule prohibits First Amendment rights to free speech including online speech; and
  • That the KCDCC is operating in ongoing violation of KCDCC Bylaws and CDP Rules, as described below.  The Kern County Democratic Central Committee (KCDCC) uses the name of the Democratic Party by Charter authority granted by the California Democratic Party (CDP) and, as stated in the KCDCC Bylaws, is required to operate in compliance with the CDP Rules.  Violations of CDP Rules are subject to disciplinary action including revocation of the Central Committee’s Charter and revocation of Delegate Credentials.

Ms. Solis is a registered Democrat in the 23rd Congressional District, a resident of Kern County, and was duly appointed as an Alternate to the Committee in accordance with the rules of the CDP and KCDCC, in which office she has remained a member in good standing.  Ms. Solis was appointed as Alternate by and for Ex Officio Member Wendy Reed, who prevailed over two Republicans in the 2016 Primary to become the Democratic Party Nominee for US Representative, 23rd Congressional District, in the November 2016 Election.    

Your letter states that it “serves as notice” that certain KCDCC Members have petitioned for removal of Ms. Solis as a Member, based on alleged action(s) that caused alleged harm to the Democratic Party.  Your letter states the actions are taken “in accordance with the KCDCC Bylaws” and the matter will be addressed “at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.”  Your letter dated July 3, 2017 was hand delivered to Ms. Solis on July 8, 2017, by Ms. Romley, at a meeting of the KCDCC-chartered Democratic Women of Kern Club, but neither a copy of the Petition, nor any evidence of the actions, nor evidence of any harm were provided with the letter.  Ms. Solis’ emailed a request to Ms. Romley for those materials and for clarification of “Standing Rule 6” has received no response.

Therefore the Respondents allege the following facts:

1.      No Authority to Remove.  The Bylaws Section 10 cited in your letter applies to Regular Members as defined by the Bylaws, and does not apply to Alternates appointed by Ex Officio Members.  Neither KCDCC Bylaws nor CDP Rules give any authority to KCDCC Members to remove an Alternate appointed by an Ex Officio Member.  

2.      Lack of Compliance with Bylaws.  KCDCC Bylaws state:  “The removal must be by affirmative vote of the majority of the voting members present at the next regular scheduled meeting of KCDCC following the furnishing of at least ten (10) days written notice to the member subject to removal by the Secretary.  Such notice must be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested.” 

The letter offers prima facie evidence of noncompliance with KCDCC Bylaws because: 

a.       The letter was not prepared in the manner required by the Bylaws.

b.      The letter was not mailed in the manner required by the Bylaws to constitute notice.

c.       The letter did not provide at least ten (10) days written notice to the member with evidentiary materials.

d.      The letter states that “whether or not you choose to appear, a vote will be taken on the Petition for Removal.”  A vote can result only from a motion and second duly made by Committee Members.  Respondents believe this is an example of the repeated procedural errors and ongoing violations by Executive Board Members in failing to operate KCDCC in compliance with its Bylaws. 

3.      Notice Violates CDP Rules.  Per KCDCC Bylaws §10(f)(5), Removal must be “compliant with the Rules of the State Committee”.

a.       Your letter states that if Ms. Solis is present at the meeting and her removal is approved, she “will be asked to leave immediately.”  CDP Rules require that all meetings of County Central Committees and chartered organizations be open to attendance by all registered Democrats.  Excluding Ms. Solis or any Democrat from a meeting is a violation of CDP Rules. 

b.      Respondents further allege that KCDCC, its Members, charters, and associated DSCC Delegates have repeatedly in 2016 and 2017, in ongoing violation of CDP Rules, willfully withheld information from Committee Members and other Democrats, withheld support and advocated withholding support from the Democratic Nominee, participated actively and passively in the harassment, intimidation, public humiliation, exclusion, harm to the reputation, and silencing of voters who expressed support for the Democratic Nominee or concern about KCDCC operations, and, continuing in 2017, that KCDCC is providing early de facto endorsement of candidate Robert Owen, a previously registered Republican, in willful violation of CDP Rules.  Respondents believe that this letter is a prima facie example of, and that this removal action was explicitly motivated in support of, these ongoing violations.

4.      Additional Deficiencies and Violations Affecting Validity.  Additional deficiencies and violations that Respondents believe are relevant to the validity of the letter and this action, per Democratic Party Rules and by law, include but are not limited to:

a.       Bylaws. Substantive questions regarding the validity of the adoption of the Amended and Restated Bylaws Amended February 16. 2016 and Amended July 19, 2016 as referenced in your letter, which created the paragraphs that your letter cites as authority for the removal process.

b.      Election of Members.  Substantive questions regarding the validity of the in‑house “convention election” in spring 2016 of the current KCDCC Members who are advancing this removal action, some of whom had conflicts of interest as candidates themselves running the convention election, and who Respondents allege willfully violated State Election Laws by accelerating the published submission date as reported to the Committee and in its Minutes, and who refused to provide Nomination Packets to Democrats who requested them before the accelerated submission date. 

c.       Violation of State Elections Code.  Substantive questions regarding willful violations of State of California Elections Code Section 2194 and Section 18109, in which voter data accessed through KCDCC resources was used illegally, including publicizing individual voter registration information and voting activity on social media to harass and intimidate Democratic voters.

d.      Personal Responsibility of Chairperson and Executive Board Members.  Lastly, Respondents allege that an action of the Chairperson and any Executive Board Officer to actively or passively advance such Petition and invalid notice to Committee consideration constitutes an additional ongoing violation of KCDCC Bylaws and CDP Rules by such individuals, and should be considered evidence of an ongoing pattern of practice by such individuals of harassment, intimidation, public humiliation, silencing, and exclusion as alleged in paragraph 3(b) above.

THEREFORE, We, the below signed registered Democrats, ask the KCDCC Members to immediately cease and desist the removal action against Ms. Solis, and we ask KCDCC and CDP to take all possible action to the restore the integrity of Democratic Party processes in the operation of the KCDCC.

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