By Marc Campos

Muchas Gracias!

Commentary stumbled out of bed this morning to pick up my Chron and when I opened the front door a Clinton wasn’t there.

The Latino vote met all expectations. Lone Star State Dems said the show must go on.

On the local Latino vote level, Commentary has to give props to soon to be State Rep Carol Alvarado for her leadership on behalf of Hillary. FYI - Carol and Hillary share the same birthday. Carol, James Rodriguez, Commissioner Garcia, and Senator Gallegos can pretty much claim that they delivered for Hillary in H-Town’s Latino community.

What about Carol Alvarado’s nearly 70% smashing victory last night for State Rep? As Paul Anka says – she did it her way. My hat is off to all of her family, friends and supporters for helping keep the campaign focused as Carol ran for office and helped run Hillary’s local effort at the same time – whew! Nice job Campaign Skipper, Marisol, Yolanda, Mel, Judy, and McLovin! A Thank You also goes to Senator Gallegos for helping keep outside influences from invading Carol’s campaign.

Folks need to start paying attention to the political organization that has been put together in H-Town’s Latino community by Carol Alvarado and James Rodriguez. I would say we just witnessed some pretty impressive back to back victories.

So how was your precinct convention? The following are a few takes from last night’s Dem precinct conventions. Look, it is pretty obvious that we were not prepared for last night but Democracy is still very much alive in the Lone Star State. Look at the bright side, nobody got killed or arrested. We will probably never go through anything like this again. 362 Democrats showed up at my convention – as was said last night – “unbelievable!” It is an experience I’ll never forget. Here are the takes:

Here is the wrap up from pct 2, sent to the Old Sixth Ward email list. It started about on time, there was room in the cafeteria for everyone, very minor problems for an event people aren't real familiar with. Maria Isabel (the woman with the Che Guavara flag in Obama's volunteer office http://www.babalublog.com/archives/007406.html ) was there, and is apparently an alternate delegate, but no Cuban Missile Crisis activities from her. Some were afraid of a disruption. Obama 68, Clinton 50 (Larissa)

82 folks showed up at the caucus, 33% for Obama, 67% for Clinton. This was the largest turnout ever. No minorities to speak of, mostly Anglo, elderly. But very well behaved. Sign in ended at 7:45PM, meeting over by 8:30. Nice event. (George Strong)

I attended my convention at the Forum in Memorial Woods, right behind First Baptist (ugh!). I walked in at 7:10pm, and it was one gigantic clusterf__k! Totally understaffed, inadequately planned as far as physical space goes, no PA system. The only woman giving answers was a woman standing on a chair with an Obama shirt on. I was already relegated to the hallway, and couldn’t hear a thing. I took a long walk rather than stand around shifting from foot to foot, staring off into space. I got back around 8pm, and I’m not kidding here – I would have had to wait until 10pm to sign in for Hillary, based on the speed on the sign-in process. I finally bolted. Which was the best decision, considering that my sign-in doesn’t mean jack in this solidly Republican area. I really resent this nonsense about basing delegates on the past voting records of the precinct. I think I should have to wait in line once to vote, and that’s it, and that my vote should have equal weight with everyone else who took the time to vote. Some diehard political types tell me that these local conventions will encourage more political involvement. I seriously doubt that – based on tonight, I believe this baloney is going to drive people away from the process. Texas primaries s__k, and whoever the geniuses were who came up with this, they must have been sniffing too much glue before they hatched this abysmal monster. Voting should be simple enough for the lowest common denominator to understand it – you walk into a booth, you vote for your favorite candidate, and the person with the most votes wins. I loved your resolution to deep-six this cr_p. Hooray for you! (Brandon Wolf - One really pi__ed off Democrat tonight.)

We just voted in precinct 233's caucus at Lamar High School. Outside Lamar prior to entering, Obama supporters were given Obama name tags. There was a group of Clinton supporters gathered and getting instructions. Both precincts 233 and 139 held their precinct conventions in the auditorium at Lamar, which was a bad idea since announcements were being made to both groups simultaneously. We entered Lamar at 7 p.m. and were told to sit in the auditorium based on which precinct we were there for. Someone asked for volunteers for each candidate to help people vote. Announcements were made that there would be separate voting for people with primary documentation and people without. Announcements were hard to hear from 7:00 - 7:15 p.m. At 7:15 p.m., microphones arrived. We also heard that we couldn't get started beyond hearing instructions since at 7:15 one voter was still left voting. At about 7:15, those of us in 233 formed a line that snaked around two sides of the auditorium. Precinct 139 was left to sit in their seats and were supposedly voting by row. At 7:30 precinct 233 started voting. There were approximately 300 people attending for precinct 233. At 8:00 p.m. my family finished voting and left. There were still probably another 100 people left to vote. It looked like a handful of people were staying around after voting. It seemed pretty disorganized and would have been much more organized if only one precinct had been voting. The space was definitely big enough but also made it hard to hear, even with hand-held microphones. Once the line started moving, it was generally smooth and the volunteers at the tables seemed to move people along. There was nothing special about the experience but we wanted to participate in the caucus because we knew it was important for the outcome. Also, because our 18 year old daughter voted for the first time so we thought the caucus would add to her experience. By the way, my son who is voting at UT just called at 8:50 this evening and they still are waiting outside and haven't started the caucus yet because people are still inside voting. (Leah)

Very strong turnout, way more than anticipated to the extent that the initial room could not accommodate all of the Democratic participants so caucus moved to the Church sanctuary... Think cattle drive. Sign in was a bit of a cluster, Obama supporters sat on one side of sanctuary and Clinton supporters on the other side of sanctuary starring at each other.... A face off. Overall process started at 7:15 after the last vote was registered, sign in commenced shortly thereafter and sign in closed at 8:30, results reported within 20 minutes. Both sides then elected their delegates. Caucus numbers: Obama 234 and Clinton 115... Obama gets 25 delegates and Clinton gets 13. (Coop)

This email is in response to your request for comments regarding my experience at the Precinct convention and caucus. I showed up at my Precinct Convention at 7:00pm to find a line of approximately 300+ people. I crowded in with some of my neighbors (truthfully people I didn't even know had registered to vote, and especially surprised to find them in that line). We waited 1 1/2 hours in the cold for the folks inside to finish voting and for them to get ready for the "herd" waiting outside to participate in the convention. At 8:30pm we started inside and as we went in the library people were sorting us into our 5 precincts. Mine was #706 and was rather small we gathered outside the restrooms in the small space while other larger precincts went to other areas. There were 30 of us in my precinct...23 Obama and 7 Clinton. They said we didn't have enough to have a delegate for Hillary and so I went home. I am 60 but it was my first experience of this kind and although I was disappointed that we didn't get a delegate, I appreciated being involved in the process. Considering the number of people that showed up I think the people running the show did an outstanding job. I felt very proud for our country that that many people showed up, and stayed and visited with their fellow democrats while shivering in the dark. There was definitely an air of "hope" for the first time in a very long time, and a determination for change. Sincerely. (Elaine Scott, Houston Democrat)

In Pct. 204, we had 27 delegates, and it was proportionally divided –13 Obama, 14 Hillary. I was temporary and permanent chair—we went out of our way to be fair, adopted 3 resolutions, selected delegates and alternates. It was congenial, fun, and interesting. I had no idea there were so many Democrats in our precinct. This was the best thing that could’ve happened. I just hope Democrats turn out like this in November, no matter who, or both, the nominee. )Kaye Hardy, Houston Democrat.)

Regarding Precinct 0134 Caucus. In Harris County, District 6, Precinct 0134 there was mass confusion at the caucus. Two precincts voted at same location and had Democratic convention in same building. Building crowded. Parking lot had pot holes which were filled because of rain. The precinct officials tried to do their best and run the Precinct Convention as smoothly and efficiently as possible but they were overwhelmed because of the turnout and unprepared. So, they appeared to BEND the Rules. While not intentional it appeared to benefit Obama. I had taken several training classes at the Clinton headquarters' so I recognized potential problems. At precinct 0134 there appeared to be 162 who attended. 98 were for Clinton and 64 were for Obama. 13 delegates were allocated with 8 for Clinton and 5 for Obama. The Process: It was goofed up from the very beginning. In trying to accommodate for the unexpected turnout they had set up chairs and started letting Convention Caucus people in to the voting area before everyone had finished voting. It appeared most everyone had finished voting by about 7:00 p.m. I had waited outside the door to let people know where the caucus was. When I went in at about 7:00 p.m. the previous Precinct Judge had started to hand out the sign-in sheets to the attendees sitting in the chairs. It was called to my attention that they were signing the sign-in sheets. I immediately informed them of the Precinct Convention Sign-in -Tex. Elec. Code 174.022(c), Texas Democratic Party Rules Article IV, Section B (6) (b). They stopped the signing in until 7:15 p.m. Garden Villas is divided into two precincts, 0134 and 0798. Participants started signing in before they were divided into separate precincts. Some people had not brought their Voter Registration Card so they did not know their own Precinct #. (I had printed out a map for Election precinct 0134 which helped). They ran out of sign-in sheets. Did not have sheets in triplicate. Let people sign in on back of legal sheets. Identification - Tex. Elec. Code 63.0101. As far as I know, everyone was allowed in to Caucus but I saw no indication that any ID was required. There was no apparent proof of identification for participating in the precinct convention. I did not see anyone check to see if those who signed-in had voted. Provisional Voters - Tex. Elec. Code 174.003, Tex. Elec. Code 174.024: Nothing was said about Provisional Voters. They were NOT listed separately and WERE listed as qualified voters on the poll list. Everyone was included to establish the threshold and presidential calculation. I never heard the words, Call the "Convention to Order." There was no ROLL CALL. I asked that they have a Roll Call and to place two asterisks by the name of any person who is signed in and not present. There was NO apparent verifying of the voting status against the voter rolls. Some of the Obama participants objected of having anything placed beside any name. Evidently some people had not stayed. The CHAIR tried to be fair so asked for a vote to see if it was O.K. not to put an asterisk beside any name. The Permanent Chair and Permanent Secretary were both for Obama. When they tried to do the math for the calculation for delegates the first gave Clinton 60% with 7 delegated and Obama 40% with 6 delegates. Some of us questioned the math. It was redone with the Easy Math Formula therefore giving Hillary 8 and Obama 5 delegates. Precinct 0134 was allowed a total of 13 Delegates. A man came in afterwards and wanted to sign in. I did object because they would NOT allow any asterisk's placed by a name. As far a for Resolutions: They tried to accommodate but there were not 3 copies of every passed Resolution. I did try to call the Help Line for the Precinct Convention at 1-800-336-3254 but the line was busy. Solution: Texas should only have a proportional Primary and not a caucus. It was a learning experience but Texans are not Educated in Precinct Conventions. Thank you for giving us information for the Precinct Convention. (Caucus Participant: Alice Ellis, Garden Villas in Houston, Harris County).

If I understand correctly, the number of delegates allotted to a particular candidate it calculated by using the following "EZ Formula": Number of Caucusers divided by Number of Delegates allotted to the Pct. Using this formula would it be correct to say a Pct with 148 Caucusers in which 130 are for Obama, 16 are for Clinton, and 2 are Undecided should allot 1.729 delegates to Clinton? (I am less certain on the rounding up of that number, but it is correct to say Clinton should have been alloted ATLEAST 1 delegate in this circumstance if my calculation is correct) 148 divided by 16 equals 9.25. At the caucus, the woman running the caucus announced that to calculate delegates one must use the following equation: Number of Delegates alloted to the Pct: 16 divided by Number of Caucusers: 148 EQUALS: .1081. She then announced that because Clinton did not hold enough votes that all delegates would be rewarded to Obama. I brought my concern to the floor of the caucus, but everyone seemed to believe the womans calculations were correct. I am no expert on the caucus but from the information I have read I do not believe the delegate count was properly calculated. If the calculation IS incorrect, will it be corrected? and if it is corrected, how will the Clinton Delegate(s) be chosen? Thanks (Brad Wray)

The short story last night was that too many precincts put at one polling station and not enough machines and election judges to handle them. We had a well-behaved mob waiting around until 9 pm before we could start to caucus. Precinct 211 didn’t get done until about 10:30pm (the largest precinct). We had about 35 stay out of about double that signed up. 70(HRC)/30(Obama) rough split in delegates. Room was big enough and meeting was handled well. Definitely worth it to stay. It’s a privilege—that many people in the world don’t have--to have the right to participate in the selection of our next POTUS. All in all it was exciting and wonderful experience. Thanks! (Mike Gomez)

I attended Pct 637 Caucus last night, which was a total mismanaged effort on the part of the leaders of the local Democratic Party. There were a total of 4 precincts holding their conventions at one location, Prcts 196, 544, 833, & 637. A total of 225 people came back to sign in, but most of them left, by the time the delegates were voted upon, about 30-40 people were left between both camps to cast ballots for delegates. People were very frustrated at the process & the lack of knowledge by folks, but in the end, compared to the other stories on the news this morning, we were done by 9:00pm. It clearly indicative that our State Party leaders get in the teaching mode and educate folks at the local level. A hard lesson to learn. For Prct 637, a total of 26 delegates were chosen, 18 for Clinton & 8 for Obama. I was fortunate enough to be voted as one of the 18 delegates for Clinton. In addition, I motioned a resolution to end the SuperDelegate process, which passed. So let us see what happens. It's feels Great to be part of history!! Enjoy your day. Thanks!! (James Soria)

Commentary’s sister from Laredo called last night to tell me it was a bit chaotic in her precinct. They ran out of sign in forms. My niece Cristina in H-Town told me they also ran out of sign-in forms. I told her to use legal pads. My nephew Dave in Montrose said they were overrun by Obama folks. I never heard from him after that – hope he didn’t defect.

In Commentary’s precinct in the Heights – 181 for Obama, 181 for Clinton and we had 39 delegates so we spent a half hour figuring out how to split it up. We also passed the resolution to do away with the Super Duper Dem Delegates. I didn’t introduce the Dome Demolition Resolution. Heck, it was a tough crowd to read.

Speaking of, since the Lone Star Dems voted for Hillary, will the Chair and Vice Chair of the Lone Star State Dem Party, both Super Duper Dem Delegates, now support Hillary?

And to add to the cwaziness of yesterday/last night – Al Edwards won – yikes!!

Last night’s caucuses went extra innings for sure, which reminds me, I don’t think the Dem Prez sweepstakes will be over by Opening Day!

March 5, 2008 9:00AM

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