The History of the San Ramon Valley Democratic Club

Early History

The first Democratic clubs in the San Ramon Valley area probably were organized during the early years of the 20th Century, particularly during and after the Great Depression, when wage earners and the desperate poor turned to the Democrats for relief. We have no records of organized Democratic activities for that period but it is known that residents of Alamo and Danville were organized and active after World War II in the elections of the late 1940’s.

Early History-Reagan & Clinton Years

The rise and fall of SRVDC membership mimicked the fortunes Democrats experienced nationwide. After the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 the SRVDC fell into apathy and then roused itself for the Clinton years of 1992 to 2000; the main activity was registration of voters. Patt Perlow was President and Chris McGinnis was Treasurer. In 1996 Ellen Tauscher unseated Congressional Representative Bill Baker in a bitter fight that temporarily energized the Democrats in the 11th Congressional District.

Change of Club Name

In 2002 Janine Lappin, assisted by Kish Rajan, set out to create a Blackhawk Democratic Club. Janine went to the Central Committee in Martinez to secure a Charter and was given the Charter of the comatose San Ramon Valley Club. She changed the organization’s name to the Blackhawk Democratic Club, with herself as President. For several months Blackhawk residents Janine, Teresa Cheung, Carl and Rita Carlson, and Dorie and Michael Hecker had lunch and chatted in the Blackhawk Grill, joined by non-Blackhawkers Yvonne and Gordon Kimber, and Peggy and Barney Rubin. Except for a Barbara Boxer fundraiser, those luncheons were the only activity of the SRVDC during that period.

Rubin Leadership

Janine asked Peggy Rubin to be Vice President. With a response from Peggy that only as an activist would she accept, they agreed. Realizing that a Democratic club could not flourish behind the Blackhawk gates, Peggy sought an inexpensive location suitable for club meetings elsewhere in the Valley. After a several months of meetings cramped into the bar area at Mudd’s Restaurant in San Ramon, the restaurant made their Fireside Room available for only the cost of meals. Continued availability of the room made possible the Club’s continued growth.

The Link Leadership

In 2004 Ray and Judy Link joined the Club. Ray organized meetings to rewrite the By-Laws and better define the Club organization. He became the President of the reorganized Club and held that position for five years. During that time the Club strongly participated in Democratic activities: registering voters, holding fundraisers, and phone-banking in support of candidates and ballot initiatives. We believe these activities contributed in some measure to the successful elections of Congressman Jerry McNerney, State Senator Mark DeSalnier, and Assembly Member Joan Buchanan.

New Location

Upon the closure of Mudd’s Restaurant in late 2007 the SRVDC meeting place shifted to the Crow Canyon Country Club. In 2009 the Club leadership was passed to Jim Donnelly, and the future is before us.