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by J Garcia
Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Crime Victims Humiliated at Democratic Party of Orange County
The March 28th meeting of the Democratic Party of Orange County was something to write home about if you like beating up women.
A liberal Democratic club was fighting to take a resolution opposing domestic violence to the California Democratic Convention. They were unprepared for a well orchestrated attack against victims of violent crimes that was out of order and in violation of the party bylaws.
The DPOC has a reputation for requiring women to kiss up to Chairman Frank Barbaro and the man behind the DPOC John Hanna, son of a Congressman who went to prison for corruption. Committee women have learned to go along with Barbaro and Hanna and do whatever the two men want. There are severe repercussions for standing up to these two men. The party leadership prided itself on having humiliated two widows off the committee. Both of these widows were well respected in the community. Both had volunteered long hours for the Democratic Party. Hanna has a history of backing male Republicans over female Democratic candidates in his district. The party accepts and allows Hanna to do this.
At Monday night’s meeting, in the front row sat a DPOC member who had assisted a batterer who had come close to killing three Democratic women. In violation of the party’s own bylaws, Barbaro turned over the floor to a Greg Diamond who came with a prepared speech in which he called for an unprecedented procedural motion aimed at blocking the domestic violence resolution from being heard at the convention this year. Although clubs are independent of the DPOC, the DPOC has long used its power to keep down progressive Democrats in Orange County and to block progressive resolutions.
In recent years, most liberal Democrats have given up on the DPOC. Since 2003, leaders in the DPOC have harassed. threatened and intimidated liberal Kucinich supporters within their ranks. The progressive club pushing the resolution against domestic violence came from the Kucinich wing of the Democratic Party. When you combine Kucinich supporters with supporters of women’s rights. you find a very angry Frank Barbaro. A couple of people said he looked as if he were about to foam at the mouth as he worked to stop the club from taking the resolution to the convention.
Instead of supporting the right of women to be free from violence, one officer of the DPOC stood at the front and attacked club members for being crime victims. Barbaro, himself, attacked a domestic violence victim who had once been a long-standing member of the committee for her former husband’s violent actions against her. She appeared to have difficulty breathing but this only seemed encourage him to continue his verbal attacks. Committee members knew she was a heart patient and perhaps Barbaro was hoping to push her over the edge. There were no claims that current members of the club had done anything to violate any party rules.
Hanna smiled and laughed as the domestic violence victim was subjected to Barbaro’s rant that was clearly personal in nature. Barbaro complained that women had previously accused him of mistreating female committee members. Hanna laughed and booed at the woman as she mentioned the violence the members of her club had survived. It was less a debate than a burning at the stake as Barbaro refused to recognize speakers who supported victims’ rights. One member recalled watching in horror at the insensitivity towards crime victims
Why does the DPOC support domestic violence? Perhaps it is because one of its prior candidates for Congress was the recipient of two domestic violence restraining orders. According to case information at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, the Democratic Congressional candidate even starved and dehydrated an elderly woman while looting her funds. The restraining orders did not stop the man. His wife has almost died more than once since the restraining order because of his actions. Their daughter is also lucky to be alive.
In speaking to the club spokesperson after the meeting, she said she had sent Barbaro an email asking that they put their personal differences aside in the interest of party unity. This display was apparently his response.
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