This Wednesday, September 21st, County Committee members will vote on changes to the Brooklyn Democratic Party rules that will make it easier for regular Brooklynites to have a voice in our party. A summary is below, or you can read the full text here.
These seven changes will be a big step towards transparency and accountability in a local Democratic Party that has been plagued by corruption in the past. The proposed changes have broad support from progressive groups, including Brooklyn Young Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, South Central Brooklyn United for Progress, South Brooklyn Rising, and North Brooklyn Progressive Democrats.
1/7: Proxy reform — Today, those with power can control all County Committee decisions by holding hundreds of proxy votes.
Proposed changes will limit the number of proxies any one member can hold to 10, so we don’t see a repeat of the 2018 meeting. The Daily News Editorial Board has endorsed this proposal to limit proxy votes.
2/7: For too long, the establishment has relied on filling the County Committee with folks who may not even know they’ve been appointed, then collecting their proxy votes. We want people appointed to County Committee seats to give written consent first, so this doesn’t happen anymore.
3/7: Current rules require just FIVE days’ notice – and do not require publishing an agenda – for these important meetings. This inhibits participation & engagement. These proposed rules changes would give members sufficient notice of meetings, so they can plan to attend, and require sending a meeting agenda.
4/7: Too many of these important meetings are held in physically inaccessible locations often far from public transit. These proposed rules will require more accessible locations, near the subway, with a hybrid option for people who can't attend in person. Locations should be ADA-compliant and should rotate around Brooklyn so everyone has the same opportunity to participate.
5/7: Past changes to party rules have gone through an opaque and unaccountable Rules Committee, often at the last minute. These proposed changes would define that Committee’s role and responsibilities more clearly.
6/7: The County Committee used to meet twice per year, but leaders have cut back to one formal meeting every two years. These proposed changes would bring back two meetings per year, and would lower the quorum requirement slightly to make it easier for these meetings to take place.
7/7: The Judicial Screening Committee is a black box of power. It has an outsized influence on judicial elections. These proposed changes would clarify the Committee’s role and its relationship to Party Leadership, as a first step towards increasing transparency.
The rules that govern our local party – and the process for changing them – are opaque and complex by design. You deserve to understand how decisions are made that affect your community AND ladder up to our national Democratic Party. It starts with the grassroots. Let’s organize and pass these reforms this week!
These changes will make our local party more accessible and accountable to Brooklyn Democrats. We urge all County Committee members to attend the meeting this Wednesday and support these changes. Read the full text of the proposal here.