Tracey Gordon and the Birth of the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus

Tracey Gordon was not allowed to take her seat as a newly elected Philadelphia Democratic Committee person. When a few people tried assisting her the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee's response was no response at all. Thus was born the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus.

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  1. July 8, 2010

    Wanting to make their community better six residents ran for committee person in the 40th Ward. If they were to win they would have their work cut-out for them. In non-presidential elections the 40th Ward has about an 8 percent turnout, among the lowest in Philadelphia.

    The Democratic City Committee (DCC) challenged their petitions to be on the ballot. Only Tracey Gordon was allowed on the ballot by the Court of Common Pleas. She won on election day with 38 votes, but her fight had only just begun.

  2. July 14, 2010

    The blog post, The Philadelphia Democratic Party is worse than I realized, was written by a Committeeperson from the 9th Ward. She is a progressive from one of the more progressive ward's in the city. She is calling on all progressives to stand-up to the Democratic City Committee who, by its inaction, sanctioned the removal of Stacey Gordon from her duly elected position. She suggest that progressives should form an organized group that will work within the Democratic party to encourage change.

  3. August 4, 2010

    When Tracey Gordon was told that she wasn't able to take her seat as a committee person she was escorted out of the meeting by police. This is significant because a ward leader has called
    on a city government agency, the Philadelphia Police Department, to enforce an internal conflict.

    From the Philadelphia Tribune.

  4. August 6, 2010

    First of two letters sent to Congressman Brady, Chair Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia, asking for the Democratic City Committee to convene a special committee to review and update its bylaws and committ to a more transparent review process.

    The letter was returned with "Refused" scrawled on the front.

    Chair Robert Brady
    Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia
    1421 Walnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19102

    Re: Party bylaws and procedures

    Dear Chairman Brady,

    All of the signatories to this letter are registered Democrats who vote in the County of Philadelphia. Many of us are elected committeepeople and others are community activists signing on their own behalf as well as on behalf of their organizations.  We are writing to you to express our concern about the issues arising out of the reorganization of several Wards--the 40th, the 22nd, and the 2nd. We feel that these issues can be avoided in the future if the Democratic City Committee would endeavor to clarify and remove the ambiguities of some of its rules.

    In particular, as described in a City Paper recent article, we found the "unelection" of Tracey Gordon to be problematic and contrary to the ideals of the Democratic Party.  Although the rules (Section VII, 1 E) may state that a Committee person may be removed when they "neglect to work in harmony with the Ward Committee," we feel that this rule was used in bad faith.

    Clearly this rule should only be invoked in extreme cases when the offender is significantly disrupting the business of the ward.  Debate and disagreement are an inherent part of the democratic political process. If ward leaders remove all Committee people who are in dissent, the voices of many people in the minority will be forever silenced. The end result would be decidedly un-democratic, and our Party would be the worse for it.

    This is only one example of a DCC rule that could be improved. It is our belief that the reorganization meetings of the 22nd and 2nd Wards would have elicited less rancor if the procedures for reorganization were more clearly elucidated and communicated.  In both cases, the lack of a clear process gave the impression of a tainted process and has led to continued feelings of divisiveness.

    Therefore, it is our recommendation that the DCC convene a special committee to review and update its bylaws. The process of updating bylaws is normal for any organization and should be done periodically.

    Articles about these meetings in the Inquirer and Chestnut Hill Local have reflected poorly on the Democratic Party. Our concern is that, in a city where many people do not vote, these instances will further alienate the public and erode their trust in the DCC. An open, transparent review process would help the DCC regain the public's faith and will ultimately strengthen the Party.

    If there is any way we can help this process, please let us know and we will be happy to lend our assistance. We are committed to working with you to build the best possible Democratic Committee.

    Sincerely,

  5. November 15, 2010

    Initial meeting of the Phildelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus was held on this day.

  6. January 26, 2011

    A second of two letters was sent to Robert Brady, Chair of the Democratic County Executive Committee, requesting a meeting. The response was the same, no response at all.


    Chair Robery Brady
    Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia
    1421 Walnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19102

    BT Certified Mail No. 7001 0360 0000 7535 8164

    Re: Party bylaws and procedures

    Dear Chairman Brady:

    We are highly disappointed in not having a reply to the attached letter sent to you on August 6, 2010, regarding the failure of the 40th Ward to seat duly elected committee person, Tracey Gordon. That letter was signed by a broad group of political activists, many of whom were committee people.

    This letter is signed completely by elected committee persons from a variety of the city's wards who are concerned that the Party we represent has failed to honor the will of the voters.

    We request a meeting with you to discuss this matter which reflects so badly on the Philadelphia Democratic Party. Please respond to me at the above address and telephone number. We look forward to meeting with you soon.

    Sincerely,

  7. The letter was returned with "Refused" scrawled on the front of the envelope.
  8. March 5, 2011

    This blog post details how Tracey Gordon's ouster brought together progressives who formed the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus.

  9. March 10, 2011

    Tracey Gordon shows her resolve by entering the race for the 2nd District City Council seat by filing her nominating petition with 1,700 signatures. She needs 750 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.

  10. June 9, 2011

    The Philadelphia Democratic Caucus goes public with an article in City Paper that describes some of the reasons they feel their movement is necessary.

  11. June 15, 2011

    Gloria Gilman tells the story of how the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus got its start.

  12. Gloria Gilman - The Birth of the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus
  13. March 20, 2006

    Reminiscent of what is occuring today with Tracey Gordon some of the same players were involved in 2006 when "outsiders" attempted to become committee people.

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