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    Nine LB Residents (Incl. Assemblywoman Oropeza & Former Harbor Comm'r Perez) Are Members of CA Delegation To Democrat Convention...And Cong. Millender-McDonald Gets A Coveted Prime Time Speaker's Slot On Final Night When Sen. Kerry Accepts Nomination

    (July 24, 2004) -- Nine LB residents, including LB area Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza and former LB Harbor Commissioner Carmen Perez, are among the 502-member California delegation (the nation's largest) to the Democrats' 2004 Convention which begins July 26 in Boston.

    And LB area Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., LB-Carson) (who is already one of the Convention's vice-chairs) is listed as having one of the coveted prime time speaker slots on Thursday July 29, the climactic night on which Sen. John Kerry is expected to accept his party's nomination for President.

    As indicated (as of July 24) on the convention web site's Prime Time Speaker Schedule, speakers for July 29 (whose theme is "Stronger at Home, Respected in the World") will include [web site order indicated is alphabetical]:

    • Madeline Albright, Former Secretary of State
    • Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Delaware
    • Wesley Clark, Four Star General, 2004 Presidential Candidate
    • Max Cleland, Former U.S. Senator from Georgia
    • James Clyburn, U.S. Representative from South Carolina
    • Alexandra Kerry, Daughter of John Kerry
    • John Kerry, 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee
    • Vanessa Kerry, Daughter of John Kerry
    • Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 2004 Presidential Candidate
    • Ed Markey, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
    • Juanita Millender-McDonald, U.S. Representative from California
    • Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Representative from the District of Columbia
    • Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative from California, Democratic Leader
    • Jim Rassman, Green Beret rescued by John Kerry in Vietnam
    • Louise Slaughter, U.S. Representative from New York (joined by Congressional Women)
    • John Sweeney, President of AFL-CIO
    • Mark Warner, Governor of Virginia

    As previously reported by, Congresswoman Millender-McDonald was an early supporter of Senator Kerry and among the members of Kerry campaign's national steering committee. As first reported by, Cong. Millender-McDonald wrapped up a Jan. 10 LB town meeting and left before dawn the next day to campaign for Sen. Kerry in Iowa. Sen. Kerry scored an upset victory over former VT Gov. Howard Dean in the Iowa caucuses, followed a week later by a decisive ballot victory in New Hampshire.

    During the New Hampshire primary race, the Kerry campaign listed Cong. Millender-McDonald as "the powerful voice and legislative pioneer of the people of California's 37th District, which includes part of the county of Los Angeles, Carson, Compton, Long Beach, Signal Hill and Watts, since 1996. She is a Democrat with an abiding passion for fairness and justice and is known nationally as a powerful advocate for women, families and small business."

    The Democratic National Committee says its party convention will be attended by a total of 4,353 delegates and 611 alternates, plus "15,000 members of the media, 15,000 other guests including elected officials and foreign dignitaries [and] 35,000 total attendees."

    Other members of the CA delegation that we found noteworthy (not a complete list) are CA's U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; former CA Governor Gray Davis; former Assembly speaker and former SF Mayor Willie Brown; L.A. Supervisors Yvonne Burke, Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina (the latter, a DNC Vice Chair); L.A. City Councilmembers Bernard Parks and Antonio Villaraigosa (both possible L.A. Mayoral contenders) and a number of area Congressmembers including Maxine Waters, Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sanchez.

    "Over 80 percent of the delegates [are] selected based on the results of the vote for Democratic presidential candidates in the 2004 primaries and caucuses, while the balance will include Democratic members of the Unites States Senate and House of Representatives, Democratic Governors and Democratic National Committee members," says the Democrats' convention web page. It adds, "The delegation itself is comprised of a cross-section of America's diverse population with equal parts men and women and members from traditionally under-represented groups. These delegates will select the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees."

    There may be other Californians and others from LB attending the Democrats' convention...but below are members of the CA delegation as listed as of July 24 on the convention web site:

    Steven Alari
    Unpledged Delegates-Dist #38
    DNC Member
    Long Beach, CA

    Celine Cordero
    Pledged Alternate At-Large
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Jay Day
    Pledged District Level-Dist #37
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Lorelai Kude
    Pledged Alternate District Level-Dis
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Hon. Jenny Oropeza
    Pledged PLEO
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Carmen Perez
    Pledged At-Large
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Audrena Redmond
    Pledged District Level-Dist #37
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Silissa Uriarte-Smith
    Pledged District Level-Dist #37
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    Chester Wasko
    Pledged District Level-Dist #37
    Pledged to: Kerry, John
    Long Beach, CA

    LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill was a delegate to the 1996 Democrats' Convention that renominated Pres. Bill Clinton...but will not be attending this year's event. Senior Advisor Diane Jacobus told that Mayor O'Neill's "schedule is extremely busy."

    Eight years ago, Mayor Beverly O'Neill made news locally over remarks during a breakfast meeting of the California delegation in what has since become known as her "CAVE People Address." At the time, LB was in the midst of major controversies over City Hall-backed plans to demolish the LB Naval Station to accommodate a COSCO shipping terminal and a separate controversy over a proposed "sports complex" in El Dorado Park.

    Mayor O'Neill was one of several big city mayors (in a row) to speak to California delegates. Her remarks are reprinted below:

    "Good morning to all of you. I can't tell you how proud I was to be with you last night. Last night was a wonderful experience, my first experience at a convention so, it was a great night. I want to tell you that Long Beach is a city of 440,000 people, we are the fifth largest in California and the 32nd largest in the United States. Many of you don't know that because we are in the southwest corner of Los Angeles County. We are a beautiful coastal city and since 1989 we have lost 50,000 jobs with the downsizing of military and Douglas, McDonnell Douglas, with a two billion dollar impact.

    "We needed help. We needed change. What do you do when you can no longer rely on your economic generators. We looked at our assets: waterfront, beautiful climate, but we needed help and I must tell you that this administration helped the City of Long Beach. We remembered, they have three words: we had the opportunity, we accepted the responsibility and we are believing in community.

    "HUD helped us with a loan. Thank God for HUD. EDA helped us. The COPS grant gave us safer streets. Today we are emphasizing international trade, we are international tourism and technology. We are turning our city around. Our President knows the strength of our nation comes from the strength of our cities, and he does something about it. We will no more have the good old days, we will have better new days.

    "And don't listen to the CAVE people, those are Citizens Against Virtually Everything. [some applause]

    "We will be part of the new generation in our city and remember, Mr. President, we thank you for your foresight, your compassion, your leadership, but also to Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, please remember that the Golden State will elect the Golden Slate." [cheers]

    When a local brouhaha ensued following her remarks, the Mayor responded by letter to the Press-Telegram and stated that her "CAVE People" reference was "intended to be a parenthetical reference that was intended to describe a very small segment [emphasis in original] of people in any metropolitan area. I did not address this comment to anyone or any specific group...Certain opponents of some of the city's proposed projects took these remarks personally, and I apologize if these remarks offended anyone."

    [ note: The Port of LB's plan to put the COSCO terminal on the former Naval Station property was stopped by Congress. The El Dorado Park "sports complex" was stopped by a successful legal action brought by "Save the Park" founder Ann Cantrell, after which the City Council found an alternative site.]

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