Today's announcement that the Ventura-based community-organizing group CAUSE is merging with PUEBLO, a similar group in Santa Barbara, is significant for a variety of reasons. But, politically speaking, the biggest news is that CAUSE has now taken over the Santa Barbara group's existing 501(c)4 action fund, renamed it, and put CAUSE Executive Director Marcos Vargas in charge.
That means CAUSE and its action fund can keep a firewall between themselves and that the action fund can endorse and support candidates for elective office. It's hardly an uncommon arrangement; think of Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club as nonprofits that do the same.
Given CAUSE's success last fall in reaching out to infrequent, low-income voters and getting them to turn out in large numbers in support of Proposition 30 and in opposition to Proposition 32, it appears that CAUSE is a group that could deliver new voters in local candidate elections. Vargas and his team would be best advised to use their new capability judiciously, but under the right circumstances, they could become significant new players in area campaigns.
RESOLVED TO BE LIBERAL: The Ventura County Democratic Central Committee earlier this month passed some resolutions that will raise some eyebrows in conservative and moderate circles -- including what Chairman David Atkins calls the "first-in-the-nation" resolution that calls on public pension funds and public universities in the state to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies.
RL Miller, author of the resolution, says she intends to offer the same proposal at the state party convention in April. In a press release, Miller said, "I drafted this to send a message to fossil fuel companies: we will not participate in our own destruction. The resolution is in line with the work of 350.org and the Fossil Free movement now at 250 colleges."
In addition, the committee approved resolutions calling for a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, the oil industry practice commonly known as "fracking," and in support of what it called "fair immigration reform" that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented residents living in the United States.
POTENTIAL CANDIDATE IN 44th AD -- After getting a tip from a source that former Democratic congressional candidate David Cruz Thayne of Westlake Village is already planning a campaign for Assembly in 2014, I e-mailed Thayne for a response. Here's what he wrote back earlier this week:
"I made clear when I ran for Congress that I was very interested in public service. I have made no decisions, but running for the Assembly certainly may be something I will take a look at down the road."