Friday, March 20, 2015

Progressive Dems in Legislature going the way of the Dodo?

In 2014, my firm, GreenDog Campaigns ran an Assembly race in California's 10th Assembly District for Community College Trustee Diana Conti. She was running to oust a "moderate" Democrat, Marc Levine, who had been elected in 2012. In this overwhelmingly Democratic District, she could easily have come in second to take on the incumbent in the fall, (Califonria has a top two primary, which has seen brutal Dem on Dem fights since 2010), if it were not for some last minute "independent" mailers that boosted the Republican's chances in the primary.

Consequently our candidate was edged out of second place by the Republican, thereby assuring a win for the moderate Dem. We saw a similar thing happen in the special election in District 7 this year. The election in May is now between a moderate Democrat and a more progressive Democrat. If Republicans come out to vote for the moderate, we could see another progressive District go the way of the dodo bird.
This Sacramento Bee article describes the phenomenon:

We all know the dodo is extinct, right? But here's a recipe for Dodo and Nigerian Stew from The Alchemist's Kitchen:
  • 3 Plantains (on the yellowish end)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • >1 lb chicken
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, minced (I minced it all and froze the remainder in three separate bags for next time)
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomato
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • <2 C water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube or equivalent
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Rice, preferably basmati or jasmine
This recipe can be made on the stove or in the crock pot.  Watch for distinction in directions.  Sautee onion and bell pepper in tomato paste in fry pan for crock pot or large stew pot for stove.  Move to crock pot if cooking that way.  Add chicken, diced tomato, bouillon, salt and pepper to taste, a dash of thyme, and water (less than one cup for crock pot, 1-2 cups on stove).  Don’t add too much water–remember, the diced tomato were canned in water and you don’t want it to taste too watery.  Simmer (1.5-2 hrs on the stove or >6 hrs in the crock pot), stirring occasionally and watching viscosity.  During the last 30-60 minutes, peel plantains by chopping off the ends, slicing down the side (just through the skin), and removing the skin.  Slice at an angle to make elongated pieces about a thumb joint thick.  Heat vegetable oil in frying pan.  Place plantain pieces in oil not touching.  Turn when the bottoms are light to golden brown.  Remove after the other side has reached a similar color and place on a napkin-lined plate to absorb excess oil.  Add plantains to stew and cook for a minimum of 10 additional minutes.  Cook rice according to instructions.  Serve with stew over rice.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Inside Scoop on Campaign Consultants

Campaign consultants are like lawyers. They don't like to talk about their fees or how much money they make. Or give away the "tricks of the trade."
But in some rare moments of frankness, veteran California consultant Parke Skelton gives some honest insight into the practices of consultants. Also hear State Senatorial consultant Cortni Pugh of Hilltop Strategies and former State Senator Noreen Evans offer advice on how to hire a consultant for your next campaign.

This webinar was presented by Close the Gap CA, an organization dedicated to seeing more women in the California Legislature and is given here by permission. Enjoy and learn:

And once you hire your consultant, cook up some Campaign Trail mix to fortify your precinct walking and wow your volunteers:


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°. In a large bowl, toss together the popcorn, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cayenne until bubbling and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over the popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Form small clumps of the popcorn mixture and bake until toasted, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A GreenDog St. Patrick's Day to you!

Now for the start of the campaign season, here's a GreenDog St. Patrick's Day pooch saying have a great day, hoist a Green Beer and don't forget to stock your political pantry now.

Tip - When hitting those St. Paddy's Day parties tonight, carry your endorsement and remit envelopes to help you with the "raising of the green."
To make your green beer, just do this. Drink wisely!


  1. In a chilled pint size glass pour beer add food coloring and mix inches Enjoy!
  2. "SlĂ inte!" (pronounced "slawn-cha"),.
  3. As the Irish would say. The traditional toast is the Irish equivalent of cheers and means "good health" in Gaelic.

Monday, March 16, 2015

What's in Your Political Pantry?

Now that it's inching toward campaign season, it might be time to check on some items every candidate needs in her political pantry. What's in yours?

The first item on our checklist is a good answer to the question "Why are you running?" Remember it's not about why you think you'd like to be a City Council member/Senator/school board member; it's all about what's in it for the voter. Be able to tell them how they will benefit from you being in office and you're halfway there.

Number two: A budget. It's never too early to start planning that next campaign by checking the bank balance and knowing what your race is going to cost. Look at other races in the same District to get an idea if this is your first time.

Next, a few good supporters. Your friends and family, your colleagues. Any elected officials you can call on now to lock in their support before another candidate snatches it away? Get them on your pantry shelf first.

A timeline, even a vague one. When is filing? How soon before you need to start interviewing for a consultant, a manager, a fundraiser? Now is the time to line up those items and be prepared to pop your campaign cake in the oven on time and with all the right ingredients.

Now that your pantry is on its way to being stocked, relax and enjoy this mouth watering Democratic Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe:


2 cups sugar
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Wilton royal blue gel food coloring
1 small dab of Wilton violet gel food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
Frosting Ingredients
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well after each addition.
2. Mix cocoa and food colorings together to form a paste, and then add to sugar mixture. Mix well.
3. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
4. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour thick batter into cupcake papers. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
5. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife, or pipe it on with a big star tip. Embellish as desired (Image