Home Virginia Politics Why Several of Us Won’t Be Participating in Brian Moran’s Conference Call...

Why Several of Us Won’t Be Participating in Brian Moran’s Conference Call Tomorrow Night


This morning, a number – not sure how many – of Virginia Democratic activists received a letter from DPVA chair Brian Moran. I’ve posted that on the “flip,” and I recommend that you read it. The gist of the letter is that DPVA is supposedly “applying the lessons of the past year to our 2012 campaign effort to build a more aggressive, effective and responsive Democratic movement across the Commonwealth,” and wants to tell us all about it on a conference call with Brian Moran “on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30pm.”

In addition to the email, many of us also received a short note from DPVA 1st Vice Chair Gaylene Kanoytan, as follows (I left the bad formatting and typos – “insure?” – as is):

Good morning…hope you had a good holiday.

I  want to insure you received this Town Hall Conference call invitation from Chairman Moran. Hope you can join the call.

Thank  You,


Since then, several invited Democrats have contacted me with their responses. One of these people is former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Peter Rousselot. According to Peter (who asked me to print this with attribution):

The main reason I am not going to participate on this call is that I consider this a deliberate effort to distract attention from the many, many criticisms by many, many different people about:

—DPVA and the way it is run

Brian Moran and his leadership of DPVA

—All the other strategic failings of which VA Dem leaders were guilty over the last 3 years

Rather than directly addressing each or all of the petition signers, and engaging in a public and transparent discussion of all the issues raised by the petition and all the posts on BV and NLS, Brian and DPVA want to quickly change the subject by focusing on how to help elect Tim Kaine, pretending either that all these other problems don’t exist or that, to the extent they do (something Brian and the DPVA insiders would like to hash out in secret), DPVA will be fixing them in secret and let us know what they decide.

I am a strong supporter of electing Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate in 2012, but I am not going to let my strong support for Kaine be used by DPVA to try to mask its own problems. DPVA first needs to restore its own credibility by involving grass roots activists in a meaningful and open discussion of all the issues that have been raised before trying to pivot to the critical task of carrying Virginia for Kaine.

I couldn’t agree more, which is why my response to Gaylene began with the line, “With all due respect, is this a bad joke or something?” I then echoed much of what Peter said, concluding, “why would I – or anyone else with half a brain – fall for this?

Another invitee emailed me her response to Gaylene. Let’s just say, if you thought Peter’s and mine were rough…ha. According to this Virginia Democratic activist – and former Brian Moran for Governor supporter, by the way – she will not be participating in the call for two main reasons. First she cites “the disturbing actions by Dick Saslaw in both redistricting and in the primary here in NoVA for the 31st Senate district…[and the] travesty the redistricting plan was…As for the 31st race, I simply have no desire to work for a party whose entrenched leaders are trying to discourage voter choice and are pouring money into primaries between quality candidates.”

Second, she points to “our DPVA chair’s day job,” that “it is embarrassing and disgusting that the current DPVA chair’s day job is to SUE THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION and to actively lobby on behalf of an industry that preys on the poor, on minorities, on military members, and on tax payers.

Even worse, she adds, Brian Moran is “abdicating his responsibilities in favor of actively lobbying against our Democratic administration and against the very people our party purports to defend.” She asks, “What could the justification possibly be for selecting such a person as our party chair?” The bottom line: “Both of these items stem from the same sickness at DPVA:  We have an entrenched, small group of crony leaders who don’t care about their party but care only about themselves.  This has to change.

Bizarrely, the response to this scathing email from Gaylene Kanoytan was “Thank you for your response, we need you to win in 2012!!!” Seriously? Kanoytan continued, “Can I suggest you have a conversation with the Chairman? He’s easy to talk to and need to hear from other people. He was able to clear up some of my concerns. I can set it up for you.”

My god, what can you even say to this pablum? As the Democratic activist quoted above wrote, “I really don’t see what having a conversation with Brian will achieve, so I will decline your suggestion, with thanks to you for your interest.” I couldn’t have put it better myself and have nothing more to add. Your thoughts on all this?

P.S. Here’s the original email, as I mentioned at the beginning of this (lengthy) post.

Dear Friends,

With the 2011 elections less than a month behind us, next year’s races are already ramping up. I want to thank each of you for the outstanding effort you made on behalf of our candidates all across the Commonwealth this year. With your help we elected Democrats to the General Assembly and to local offices all around the Commonwealth.

As we move forward, the Democratic Party of Virginia is already applying the lessons of the past year to our 2012 campaign effort to build a more aggressive, effective and responsive Democratic movement across the Commonwealth.

A major component of that effort is to open a conversation with Democrats like you who are out there everyday fighting to make Virginia more equal, just and prosperous for every person. That’s why I hope you will join Tim Kaine for Senate campaign manager Mike Henry and me this Thursday for a conference call on how the party is already working to send Governor Kaine to the U.S. Senate next November and how you be the difference in this importance race.

We may be just a few weeks past the last election, but the Republicans aren’t skipping a beat and neither are we.  In 2012 we have the chance to make history. Not only by driving President Obama, Governor Kaine and our congressional candidates to victory, but also by continuing to build on our successes and build the infrastructure that will serve our candidates and grassroots Democrats for years to come.

I hope you can join Mike and me on the call on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30pm. You can reserve your spot on the call by clicking here and filling out the form provided. Once you’ve done that we will call you at the number you provide with instructions to stay on the line and join the conversation.

I look forward to hearing from you about working together to move our party forward.

Thank you for all that you do,

Brian Moran  

  • Matt_H

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this post, and for the reasons you cite, I have given up on the state Democratic party – it’s really not inclusive and as Ms. Konoytan’s inarticulate words demonstrate, obviously she is not concerned with the issues that are important to the voters.

    Sadly she is caught up in the false hubris of being near the semi-powerful (how powerful can any of us Va. Democrats be since we are led by such weak leaders who are only interested in their own ambitions?).

  • sbroy2013

    I AGREE WITH PETER! They are trying to spin this and lessen the blow coming towards Hampton!


    Send your stupid email to someone who actually gives a damn.

    I’m with you all.

    I especially love this line:

    I look forward to hearing from you about working together to move our party forward.

    REALLY??????????? Since when? My question to him is WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO PULL US OUT OF THE DITCH?? What’s the plan??

  • commentator1

    That e-mail response sounds like an automated message to me. That could mean your e-mail was not even read. At any rate, the response was totally inappropriate and arrogant.

  • pontoon

    The way to change any system is to work within the structure that is there.  I’ve complained too, but I think everyone needs to be realistic as well.  

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    I guess if a person is a member of the Central Committee (me), then HQ figures we will go along with whatever crap comes out of there without ever saying anything. I didn’t get an invitation to waste my time on the conference call. Had I received one, I would have echoed some of Peter’s concerns.

    I expect to work very hard to re-elect President Obama and to elect Tim Kaine. My money will go to those campaigns. My time is far too valuable to waste listening to Brian Moran or Don Mark or whoever else is in on this dumb idea of a call try to justify gross incompetence.

  • Teddy Goodson

    inasmuch as I did not receive THE e-mail (despite receving a note from Gaylene that I’d be “hearing from Brian”), and so will not be on the conference call. IMO that is not my loss. Athough preference is to work within the system, Itoo well recall the wonderful conference call with Messina and DPVA a few months ago, in which I did participate, and, if this one turns out anything like the Messina call, it will be an exercise in futility, mere kabuki theatre (if it even rises to that level). It will consist of those pro-forma alibi-ike orations in which everyone tries to tell everyone else how much behind Tim Kaine they are, and Obama, and what can they do to help. Very little to zip genuine cross discussion, and, I suspect, any who attempt to raise their heads will subsequently find their heads rolling for having dared to peek above the general level of inmcompetence.

    Do you suppose that this conference call will be considered to fulfill the requirement that DPVA listen to the grassroots; goodbye any chance of speaking up at the meeting, since any reform thoughts will “not be on the agenca?”    

  • Paba

    Are we just assuming they have a “bunker mentality” and won’t respond to anything? What’s the harm in making some people we don’t particularly want to protect uncomfortable?

  • Mike1987

    and a note from a Gaylene. My response was one word.


  • Jim W

    I was signed up.  Just got a robo call saying so.

  • Charles Stanton

    and is the kind of crap that makes it difficult to be a Democrat. Seems like one hell of allot of sour grapes from the folks who failed to gain the Chair last year. Yes I have problems with a host of issues that are magnified by 2 straight election losses. My answer will be to continue to build the party at the local and precinct level and stay involved as best I can with DPVA.

    Lastly, Gaylene works her ass off for this party and does not need this pettiness revealed to the world instead of directly and privately with her. I sure as hell hope my spelling and grammar are to your satisfaction as my post was not one of hundreds of emails today to be dealt with by our wonderful 1st Vice-Chair.

    To all the Republican reading this post, enjoy it as I am sure your excitement of facing a divided Democratic Party has visions of Newt/Mitt and Felix victories dancing in your regressive right wing brains.

  • Dave

    I just wrote back to Gaylene and respectfully declined. Not attempting to pile on, not trying to be disrespectful. I really do appreciate that she reached out at all, especially to those who signed the petition. It’s more than we can say about almost anyone else at DPVA.

    But I will say this:

    1. Too little, too late: a secondhand invite to a tele-town-hall is not “hearing from Brian.”

    2. If I wanted to be “talked at” for an hour, I’d call my grandmother.

    3. If I wanted to be further ignored, as I have been already, I’d, again, call my grandmother.

    It’s not too late to sign the petition. We’ve got 60 signatures, and maybe we can get 100 before the meeting this weekend.


  • Charles Stanton

    To be clear, the comments aren’t disturbing because they are critical of the DPVA and its leaders, but because they simply stop there at the criticism (which in some cases is unfair) and seem, therefore, pretty futile.

    We Democrats pride ourselves on having a big tent and being the political home of people with many differing opinions on countless different issues. That’s actually good, in my opinion. We may not all agree on a set strategy, but we tend to agree on the goal.

    What disturbed me most about the comments, though, were the attacks (direct or implied) on the hundreds of Virginians who work in a volunteer capacity for the DPVA.

    Again, I have problems with DPVA. Losing certainly will magnify any difficulties we have. Seems you have 2 choices, quit or work harder. I choose the latter with Brian and Gaylene who defeated Peter and Susan in their elections. If we made a mistake, we can correct it at the next election.

    Look me up this weekend if in town and in the Irish way, share a pint!

  • The Richmonder

    I might have listened to their call just out of curiosity, but I wasn’t invited.  Oh well, so much for outreach.