History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: July 2005 (Page 1 of 2)

I couldn’t agree more, build communities

I’m not a huge fan of Sen. Hillary Clinton, but I do agree it takes a village and that Democrats would be better off if we talked about building communities more. So here’s some more of that from the 43rd State Blues:

In an attempt to bring some sanity to the boards (what the hell was I thinking?) I just asked if a good community couldn’t have stopped this and many other tragedies by being more proactive. Damn, you would have thought I stepped between a mother bear and her cub. The women all went on attack mode and attempted to lay bare my hide.

So why should concerned social progressives continue to try?

Now some may wonder how I can blame the community for what happened on that highway. I say that communities should be watching each other, helping each other, there as a first line of defense against abuse, neglect and worse. But in my mind communities isn’t a reference to City XYZ, its groups of people that are aware of their neighbors, their friends and their family. Its people that arn’t looking for that next wreck on the highway to see the blood, but those that deliver a home cooked meal for the elderly couple down the road.

But I suppose I’m just a lone voice, hoping against trend that our society can still move forward from the state of fear and paranoia we’re living in and start accepting our neighbors for who they are, not what they can offer. I don’t know how to make such radical social re-programming happen, but I do know that its not going to happen under Republican-corporate leadership. I think its only going to happen when real community leaders step forward, organize and set examples for everyone else.

Let them copyright “Republican” for all I care

Far be it for me to worry about who wants to be called a Republican, but for some reason, the Republican Party is really worried about it:

…State Republicans also adopted rules for a Montana primary,— rules state GOP Chairman Chris Vance says are now in effect,— that assert the party’s “right to grant permission to use the Republican name …Only to candidates who demonstrate significant support within the Republican Party.”

In most cases, the rules require a candidate to have received 25 percent of the vote at the county convention. Candidates also could have qualified by submitting to the party by last Friday a large number of voter signatures, but Vance said he knew of no candidates taking that route.

…”What they’re really asking for is for the party hierarchy to have the ability to veto candidates,” said Jeff Even, assistant attorney general.

I’m glad that the GOP was the only party that went so far as to write special rules this year looking forward to when the Top Two would be thrown out and we would be under Montana rules. It makes them look like exactly what they are, a bunch of public excluding hypocrites.

While they say they want to fulfill the wishes of the people, what they really want is the public to take a long walk away from how exactly they run their political party.

Let them pick Mike McGavick as their candidate more than a year before any actual vote. Let them make Republican copyrighted brand name that only their chosen can use. I don’t care, they can make the Republican Party so closed to the public that you need a code word to make it into a meeting.

Let’s not wonder though why people hate political parties.

Also, I hope that the Democratic Party takes a lesson from this and runs the other way, fast. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the last thing political parties should be are closed and institutional, making decisions based on their own well-being rather than for the well-being of the democratic process. If political parties really are the work horses of democracy (as I believe) let them act that way and work to get people involved.

Not just in voting, volunteering and contributing (while those are all good things) but simply being involved in our communities and our governmental institutions. The more people are involved in their communities and government, the more trust they have in their neighbors and their public servants. Also, the less likely they are to vote down a tax increase because they don’t trust the politicians that voted it in.

If the GOP wants to push people out of their party and politics, let them. But Democrats should stand for something different.

Speaking of McCay’s piece

…he brought up an interesting topic that is close to my heart. The extent to which party leaders lobby for and encourage people to run for office.

…what happened in the gubernatorial and Senate races in 2004 was wrong — GOP leaders simply froze out anyone but Rossi and Congressman George Nethercutt, respectively. Would-be candidates, some of whom certainly had the capacity to serve with distinction, were told to bug out and were not even allowed to speak at the Republican convention if they criticized a rival.

It happened in Snohomish County recent when the Snoho GOP blocked Greg Stephens.

It happened last year when Paul Berendt got Dave Ross to run against a perfectly good candidate, Alex Alben, that had already gotten the blessing from practically the entire congressional delegation and the governor.

And, the more I think about Alex, the more I get ticked off that it doesn’t look like the KC Dems are fielding anyone for the Sixth council district. Not fielding a Democrat in any King County district is a shame. Alex Alben not coming forward to run against Jane Hague is either an indictment against his dedication or to the KC Dems for not going after him.

I’m not moving to Montana, not that I cared for the cajuns anyway

In a column that seems to argue for the Montana style primary Floyd McCay makes the case that really any primary will do. It is the people that matter, rather.

It is not the system that determines quality — it is the quality of the electorate. You and me.

To the extent that we allow party officials to determine our choices, and disdain politics as dirty work for someone else, we will elect hacks and lackeys beholden to special interests. To the extent that we support friends and neighbors who are willing to sacrifice privacy to serve in public office, we will elect strong people.

Perhaps the most disturbing electoral development in Washington in the past few years is not the endless primary battle but the extent to which party leaders and bankrollers want to control the nomination process.

…what happened in the gubernatorial and Senate races in 2004 was wrong — GOP leaders simply froze out anyone but Rossi and Congressman George Nethercutt, respectively. Would-be candidates, some of whom certainly had the capacity to serve with distinction, were told to bug out and were not even allowed to speak at the Republican convention if they criticized a rival. Let’s hope the same pattern isn’t emerging with McGavick. Some lively competition would be good for all.

That type of muscle does not serve the voters — it serves the entrenched powers of the party. Would Democrats have done the same? Perhaps, but certainly not in 2004. Then-Attorney General Christine Gregoire had lively competition for the open governor’s seat, although Sen. Patty Murray enjoyed the usual incumbent’s advantage.

My point is that under any system, party leaders can muscle voters out of the picture by intimidating challengers to the party’s favorite and drying up their funding. When that happens, as it clearly did in 2004, voters don’t get the chance to pick someone willing to buck the party establishment.

To the extent that the Top Two primary was unconstitutional (bearing in mind I’m not all that up on my constitutional law) I woudn’t support it. But, to the point that it was a popular idea, the parties should have gotten behind it because apparently, the people don’t want to have to declare what party they belong to, if any, in order to vote.

What is never really talked about is the nature of parties. Something that could really change politics, and what kind of politicians we have, it determined a lot by party. How open our political parties are in Washington may be up for debate, but I’m willing to say that they could be more open. People may not want to be part of an organization that looks like it wants to keep them on the outside, or at least, stiffle competition within the party.

“How Democrats can support local business”

The Olympia Democratic Party meetup will discuss “How Democrats can support local business” on Tuesday, August 9 from 7-9 p.m. The Democratic meetup is an informal discussion group. People who are not currently active in the Democratic Party, but want to be, are
encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, July 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Olympia Center
222 Columbia St NW
Olympia, WA
Room 101 (first floor)

For more information, go to http://thurstondemocrats.org/meetup

Bring McGavick on

Amen, brother:

As a CEO, Mr. McGavick certainly has the right credentials for a Senator. With his compensation ($8,854,747.00 in 2004), he can really understand the needs and challenges of working families and those struggling to decide between buying food or buying medicine. Queue the older actors and the family actors for those compassionate conservative photo shoots! CEO’s are also noted for their ability to get along with others – there’s no actual reason that whole organization chart all rolls up to just one king! He’s a common man of the people who gets along with others. Grassroots all the way!

And, in the other corner, we have the sitting Senator, Maria Cantwell, fighting for the rate payers of Snohomish County against Enron.

PI overstated their case a bit

Another route is the most obvious now for those who cannot accept anything but a wide-open primary in which all voters may vote for any candidate. The Grange and others would better spend their energies promoting an initiative to convert to a completely non-partisan election system for all local, legislative and statewide offices.

While technically justified in pursuing what they viewed to be their overriding constitutional rights through the courts, the state’s political parties have roused widespread ire among voters of all political stripes. The virtual elimination of political party relevance may be the final, unintended result.

A nice op-ed by the Seattle PI, except that they overdo it just a bit with the last sentence. Governments don’t make political parties relevent by crafting election laws, political parties are relevent on their own by influencing politics.

This logic trap is one that the PI is joined in, seemingly, by our party leadership(s), in that they see the way an election is run as the key to their power. I like to think that a group of people, empowered by their numbers, who are interested in influencing the opinions of citizens in a democracy would be relevent anyway. And, that you could run any sort of election — open primary, IRV, non-partisan — and that the political parties would have say in what the results are.

The War of Southern Aggresssion

Basie doesn’t like coffee mug smashing mayors:

I, for one — as a Portlander for more than 19 years — will not stand for this act of aggression.

Sir, I say sir, the days of Oregon aggression against the peaceful people of Washington State has come to an end.

Your state shall submit to coffee mug smashing and college football thrashing or feel our wrath.

Top Two gone, next stop, non-partisan

Not too many tears being shed round the partisan world this morning for the Top Two. Not that I was any big fan, it just seems that the writing on the wall is that if the parties didn’t like this one, I wonder how they’re going to feel about a non-partisan election system statewide?

Don Whiting, a Grange spokesman, said the farm-rooted organization isn’t giving up in its effort to allow Washington’s primary voters to choose any candidate of any party.

Whiting said if Zilly’s decision is upheld on appeal, the Grange might consider sponsoring another initiative, to give the state a completely non-partisan primary, in which candidates would run without stating a party affiliation. “In (Zilly’s) opinion, at least, it has to be completely a non-partisan primary in order for a voter to vote for whatever candidate he wants,” Whiting said.

Secretary of State Sam Reed similarly suggested the possibility of yet another version of a modified blanket primary, commenting, “I’m relieved (Zilly) didn’t say that the Top Two per se is unconstitutional, but this particular version is. … What we may have to do is go back to the drawing board and figure out how to do it in a way that is constitutional.”

The least we can expect is that this isn’t over, not nearly over. Washington State had the so-called “Jungle Primary” for 70 years, it has shaped the way people think about political parties and voting. Being forced — and that is the way they feel, forced — to choose a political party isn’t a comfortable thing for most Washington citizens.

That the parties challenged the Top Two, imperfect as it is, or the jungle primary in the first place, shows a general disconnect from party activists and rank and file voters. Instead of pushing back each time the voters decide on a system they like, the parties should do the opposite of forcing people into our ranks and instead make the parties more open.

Horsesass.org: Judge tosses out ““top-two”” primary
Washington State Political Report: Primary
NW Progressive: Zilly: “Top Two” Primary is Unconstitutional
NW Progressive: Zilly’s Injunction
Josef’s Public Journal: Top-2 (Dumb-@$$) Primary Scrapped
Evergreen Politics: “Top two” primary is history
NW Progressive: Reed to auditors: Back to the open primary
Progressive Majority Washington: Second chance for Dunn, Edmonds, Hobbs

RE: GrowOhio

Jan has seen the future:

Grow Ohio has a group blog format divided into Ohio’s five distinctive regions that lets anyone post their entries on regional news — and later will allow for group blogging in all 88 of Ohio’s counties. It also collects the user membership information into a database, and has a front-page concept that fuses local politics with statewide concerns. Not only this, but the site is developed to soon offer all sorts of directory contacts and links to activists and local officials, breaking down to the most local levels, including a calendar for locals to list their events.

The most pressing need that GrowOhio is taking on right now is the lack of websites for about half of Ohio’s county parties. This isn’t just a concern for tech nerds, it should be a concern for all off us that saw Kerry go down to the slimmest of defeats last year. It may have really been technology that doomed us in Ohio, but not the voting machine kind.

Its sad that the DNC or the state parties aren’t taking this kind of lead on things. In Thurston County our website is recently very robust, but I can’t say that about every county Dem website. It would be great if the DNC or the Washington Dems would provide an out of the box website tool that could do the local to statewide thing that Grow Ohio is doing.

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