Welcome new members and welcome back returning members

Now that the primary results have been certified by the County Registrar as of April 24, 2020 , we are going to be welcoming newly elected members to our Democratic Central Committee here in San Bernardino County for the 2020-2024 terms! 

As a Democratic Central Committee member of the largest county in the country, with our new members, you represent over 422,500 Democrats across San Bernardino County either as an elected official, DNC Member, Statewide Caucus or Organization Chair, CDP E-Board Representative, or as the highest finishing Democrat in your primary race. This is an extraordinary time for new and re-elected members as we go into the next phase of our election year – and your voice in our party will be crucial to our efforts to support and elect progressive Democrats up and down the ballot and defeat this president in November. 

Over the next few weeks we will be reaching out and working with you to get you ready for our first meeting together – our organizational meeting. This first meeting includes our ceremonial swearing-in, election of your Assembly District Central Committee members, and nominations for Executive Board officers for the 2020-2024 terms. As our country and communities continue to grapple with the affects of COVID-19, we will keep you all updated on a scheduled date, and any changes to our regular schedule.  

As difficult as isolation and social distancing have been, we can only imagine how much worse things would be without the technology that keeps us all connected.  Nothing has exploded more than Zoom, the teleconferencing and video conferencing software that was ubiquitously adopted at the beginning of the pandemic.  In fact, as a result of how common Zoom usage has become, we, as a board, have seen a significant push from users to switch to Zoom meetings over the past few weeks, but like many organizations (the Federal and State Courts, Google, SpaceX, NASA, and multiple Governments, to name a few), we have an obligation to evaluate the security of using such a service and/or alternatives.  This obligation increases exponentially, when we are considering having meetings to amend our bylaws, swear in members, and elect a new Executive Committee.  

So far, Zoom has not proven to be sufficiently secure to hold such fundamental meetings.  Security issues for Zoom are nothing new. In the summer of 2019, Zoom had a security on Mac OS that could turn personal computers unknowingly into servers that could allow strangers to look into your webcam. More recently, Zoom allowed would-be attackers to bypass email confirmation requirements for meetings by copying the ID tag in a meeting URL.  And, of course, there is Zoom bombing, where attackers could gain access to meetings randomly.  But even these are not the worst security issues.

Currently, Zoom continues to misrepresent its encryption protections (claiming to use AES-256, when in reality they use the outdated AES-128) and continues to route a significant amount of traffic through China.  Accordingly, the use of Zoom for internal political discussions must be done with the understanding that our calls are subject to warrantless searches by the Chinese government. 

Altogether, these may not be reasons for not using Zoom, but they are reasons for us to pause.  Zoom meetings as a solution put us in unpalatable positions.  One option, for example, is to limit participation to members of the SBCDCC, while muting the rest, but then our meetings would be construed as not open to the public. Similarly, putting password protection on the meetings would create the same limitation. Notably, even if we were to conduct online meetings, the fact that any of our members may not be prepared or able to call-in or receive notice, would make us abandon some of our members at a time when we should be united.

Finally, in addition to the questions of security, the EC must also consider logistic questions and access for anyone who is impaired or financially unable to participate.  Keep in mind that members of our central committee reasonably relied on the fact that none of our meetings were being held online, and making a radical change to that policy must take into account every member’s rights.  This is particularly true, when it comes to our election process. 

The State CDP has recommended that ALL business meetings be cancelled or continued to a future date or conducted remotely.  To date, we have chosen to continue the meetings, but we have not made a final decision due to the fluid nature of the pandemic circumstances.  The EC continues to consider all of our options.  

We will make recommendations that resolve the significant security problems with electronic communications (Zoom in particular), serves all of our members, takes the current pandemic into account, and recognizes that no one should have to choose between being a member of the SBCDCC and their health.

San Bernardino County Democrats have continued to lead our state on the issues that matter to Californians and the American people. From healthcare, to income inequality, housing, criminal and economic justice reform and so much more, the work we will do together over the next four years will help shape the future of our county and our country. When California succeeds, the Nation Succeeds. 

On behalf of the elected Executive Board, welcome new members and welcome back returning members. We look forward to our continued work together, collaborating with you, and working towards our shared goals. 

Democratically yours, 

Chris Robles, Chair

Mark Westwood, 1st Vice Chair

Jim Gallagher, 3rd Vice Chair

Carol Robb, Treasurer

Mario Alfaro, Parliamentarian

Sean Houle, Sgt at Arms

Joe Britt, Corresponding Secretary