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Byline: Tony Castro

Staff Writer

Thousands of Democratic activists, including dozens from the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley

Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills.
, will gather across California today vying to be chosen for the elite cadre of pledged presidential delegates who will head to the Democratic National Convention.

A total of 21 slots as delegates and four as alternates are up for grabs in the four congressional districts Noun 1. congressional district - a territorial division of a state; entitled to elect one member to the United States House of Representatives
district, territorial dominion, territory, dominion - a region marked off for administrative or other purposes
 that cover the San Fernando Valley. Sen. Hillary Rodham Rodham is an English surname which may refer to a number of persons or places. People
Family of Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008 presidential candidate and current junior U.S.
 Clinton's supporters will elect 12 delegates and four alternates in those four districts. Sen. Barack Obama's backers will elect nine delegates.

But Clinton's threat to fight for Obama's pledged presidential delegates all the way to the convention has roiled Obama supporters heading into today's caucuses.

Last week, the top national official for Obama's campaign stepped in to head off a potentially embarrassing backlash from some 900 supporters who had been purged by the state campaign from running for the congressional district-level delegate spots.

"There has been an extraordinary outpouring of grass-roots support for Sen. Obama among Democrats and independents in all 53 California congressional districts The U.S. state of California is divided into political segments known as California Congressional Districts. Bi-partisan Gerrymandering
After the 2000 census, the legislature was obliged to set new district boundaries, both for the state Assembly and Senate and for
," Obama national campaign manager David Plouffe David Plouffe is a Democratic Party campaign consultant in the United States.

As executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 1999-2000, Plouffe led a focused national campaign that moved a record $95 million to House of Representatives
 said in an e-mail to delegate applicants, notifying them that they had been reinstated.

"In recognition of this tremendous enthusiasm, our campaign has asked the California Democratic Party The California Democratic Party is the local branch of the Democratic Party in the state of California. It is presently chaired by former State Senator Arthur Torres. It is the majority party in both chambers of the state Legislature, i.e. the State Assembly and the Senate.  to allow all persons who have filed to be a district delegate candidate for Sen. Obama at the Democratic National Convention to participate in the caucuses this Sunday."

Infiltration infiltration /in·fil·tra·tion/ (in?fil-tra´shun)
1. the pathological diffusion or accumulation in a tissue or cells of substances not normal to it or in amounts in excess of the normal.

2. infiltrate (2).

The controversial cuts, which state Democratic officials said would have been unprecedented, were made midweek in an effort to help elect longtime supporters as delegates who would be less likely to bolt for Clinton, one Obama campaign official said.

"Real concern was expressed to me about Clinton's vow of fighting all the way to the convention for pledged delegates and the fear of being infiltrated by (delegate) candidates saying they were for Obama when they were actually for Clinton," said Peter Rothenberg of Northridge, who will be in charge of today's Obama caucus in Rep. Brad Sherman's 27th District.

"That's the only reason I can think of for this pruning pruning, the horticultural practice of cutting away an unwanted, unnecessary, or undesirable plant part, used most often on trees, shrubs, hedges, and woody vines. ," he said.

By contrast, the Clinton campaign cut only about 40 district-level candidates from competing for a delegate slot.

The district-level delegates are distributed among California's 53 congressional districts, with 134 going to Clinton -- because she won 42 congressional districts in the state's Feb. 5 primary -- and 107 going to Obama, who won 11 congressional districts.

San Fernando Valley political activist Marilyn Grunwald of Canoga Park -- an Obama delegate in Rep. Henry Waxman's 30th Congressional District -- was among those notified they were initially being cut.

Grunwald said she was disappointed that her loyalty to Obama was questioned.

"I supported (John) Edwards until he dropped out, but ever since then I have been doing all I can on behalf of Senator Obama," Grunwald said.

In Rep. Adam Schiff's 29th Congressional District, veteran Latino activist Alex Jacinto of South Pasadena South Pasadena (păs'ədē`nə), city (1990 pop. 23,936), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a residential suburb of Los Angeles; inc. 1888. Medical supplies, clothing, and transportation and electronic equipment are manufactured.  -- originally a supporter of New Mexico New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S).  Gov. Bill Richardson This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches.
 -- said the Obama campaign had chosen "to slash and burn This article is about the agricultural practice of slash and burn. For the military tactic, see scorched earth.

Slash and burn refers to the cutting and burning of forests or woodlands to create fields for agriculture or pasture for livestock, or for a
 its list of supporters."

"I just hope this doesn't come back to bite (the Obama campaign)," Jacinto said.

Die-hards favored

Grunwald, Jacinto and others who had been targeted for cuts said the removal of so many grass-roots supporters from seeking delegate spots ran counter to Obama's reputation for reaching out to all voters, including those outside the political establishment.

Obama state officials did not return calls. But Bob Mulholland, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said such cuts are necessary every presidential election year because some people might be supporters of another candidate or have "extenuating circumstances Facts surrounding the commission of a crime that work to mitigate or lessen it.

Extenuating circumstances render a crime less evil or reprehensible. They do not lower the degree of an offense, although they might reduce the punishment imposed.

Grunwald and Jacinto said they understand the Obama campaign's concern in light of Clinton's remarks that she believes pledged delegates still may be up for grabs, even though they were won by presidential candidates in primaries and caucuses.

While Democratic National Committee rules state that pledged delegates "shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them," the rules do not legally bind them to vote for the candidate to which they have been designated.

Still, Grunwald said being originally cut from the list of district-level delegates candidates will not weaken her support for Obama.

"As I understand it, the rules allow pruning by the campaign so that their die-hard volunteers have a better chance of winning and also to avoid folks just running for any candidate to get themselves to the convention," Grunwald said.

"That is fine, as far as it goes. However, the process for coming to the result should (have been) made public."

Grunwald said that if she is unsuccessful today, she still hopes to win an Obama delegate slot to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August when California selects its at-large delegates on May 18.

Some at-large delegates will be chosen from among lesbian, gay, bisexual bisexual /bi·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al)
1. pertaining to or characterized by bisexuality.

2. an individual exhibiting bisexuality.

3. pertaining to or characterized by hermaphroditism.

 and transgender transgender or transgendered
 voters, the handicapped and others not already represented on the state delegation.

"I intend to do everything I can," said Grunwald, "to see that Barack Obama is our next president."


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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 13, 2008

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