September 25th was the biennial meeting of the Democratic Committee of New York County - the body made up of local activists and party officers to write the rules of the Manhattan Democratic Party. I'm proud to say I worked with a group of other progressive and reform-minded district leaders to author and push for a slate of changes to the party's rules that would increase transparency, reduce the power of the party bosses, and, most importantly, force the current party leader to resolve the seeming conflict of interest that stems from his working as a paid lobbyist.
You can read the full text of the proposed changes here
Hundreds of local activists turned out for a meeting that in years past has struggled to maintain high enough attendance for a quorum. It turned, understandably, quite emotional and hectic when it became clear the leadership was unwilling to entertain our proposals. You can see video of the proceedings here (it ran about 2 hours, with lots of shouting). Ultimately we worked out a compromise whereby the party's Rules Committee would study the proposals and the group - all ~800 of us - would reconvene in a few months and vote then.
The next step is for the district leaders to choose the membership of the Rules Committee and ensure it gives each of these proposals a fair read (during the meeting another district leader asked when, before that day, was the last time the Rules Committee had met and no one could remember). Regardless of what the Rules Committee says, we intend to push for the proposals at the second meeting, and need to show even higher turnout. If you live in the 76th Assembly District and want to attend the next meeting and help, let me know ASAP. I have a few vacancies on the committee I can fill.
It was a bold move for us, and I'm still feeling a bit of whiplash from it happening so early in my term, but ultimately I'm glad we made a stand and am confident we will be able to keep up the fight and win.