History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: January 2007 (Page 2 of 3)

Membership debate to go on one more month

The vote on whether to allow earned voting membership in the Thurston County Democrats won’t happen next Monday, but rather at February’s central committee meeting. We’ll certainly discuss the idea, but not vote on it. There is a requirement for ten day notice for any bylaw change, which wasn’t met this month. Anyway, gives us more time to sharpen the idea.

Currently only Precinct Committee Officers can vote for anything in the central committee, the governing body. State law only requires them to vote for a limited amount of positions on the executive committee, making all other decisions by the central committee (like how to spend money and what positions to take on policy issues) open to a vote by a membership, if there is a membership. My idea was to give a vote on the central committee to folks who have “earned” it.
The debate on our PCO email list is continuing, with a handful of folks criticizing the idea by explaining how the PCO system is supposed to work. Neighborhood based organizations, with PCOs door belling and organizing their neighbors. Though, people hate answering the doors to strangers and neighborhoods ain’t what they used to be.

That’s not to say that people aren’t organized socially, in the way that neighborhoods were once the strongest of peoples’ social ties. We just have to recognize the more organic way people are organizing themselves nowadays, and it isn’t by neighborhood. It is through interests, social circles or any number of social ties.

No more plans for “West Field” mine in Centralia

The silver lining of the closure of Transalta’s Centralia mine had been that they’d expected in about five years to have another mine open:

TransAlta is one of Canada’s biggest private power producers with coal, natural gas and hydroelectric plants in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Australia. The company said the Centralia mine was too expensive to maintain.

TransAlta officials have said they will seek approval for coal mining nearby at a site known as West Field, but that process could take up to five years.

According to Paul Hirsch at Environmental Law in Washington State blog, that isn’t going to happen either. As of yesterday, when the Corps of Engineers filed a notice in the federal register, Transalta is no longer working to open another mind down there.

Right wing netroots=impotent

This graph displays the impotence of the right wing netroots.

They don’t really exist. They talk a big game, but when it comes down to it, they don’t matter.

After the President crowned Sen. Mel Martinez as RNC “general chairman” in November, the right wing netroots exploded. Most of all, they were mad that Martinez was a pro-amnesty guy, but it also seemed like there was an impression that we’d entered an era where publically voted positions would no longer be anointed from above.

The race for chair of the Democratic National Committee is a perfect example of how the netroots can influence an election like this. This post from two years ago on MyDD is a perfect example of what was going on at the time. There is no parallel on the right wing netroots today.

By the beginning of December of 2006, though, all wind was out of their sails of the right wing bloggers who didn’t like Martinez. No umbrella organization was created, no altnerative candidate floated.

The rebellion against Martinez isn’t coming from your wired everyman (like the support for Dean in 2005), its coming from inside the RNC. An insider rebellion, even if it is succesful, will be much different than the organized opposition that came from online Democrats in 2005.

Martinez will have a fight, it will most likely be too little, too late, and it didn’t come from the netroots.

Membership compromise discussion

When I first starting talking about some sort of compromise in terms of a rank and file membership in Thurston County, I was hoping there would be a healthy discussion on this blog, our county Democratic blog, or somewhere else. That didn’t happen, but after we discussed the idea last week at the county executive committee, I emailed the idea out again.

Since then, there has been a more than healthy email conversation. Not as public as I would have liked, but there have been some changes in how I’d propose the compromise now. Those changes are reflected here.

The nut of the compromise is that someone can’t just show up one day, pay their $20 and be a member. They have to prove their commitment through a series of options, such as being a member of a TCD committee. One of the changes to the propose bylaw outlines who decides when someone has been active enough to become a voting member. In the current draft, it would be the Executive Committee, in a manner similar to how they approve unelected PCOs.

While most of the emails discussing the change have been supportive, not all have, including Guy Hoyle-Dodson’s from this morning:

This is asinine. Are you deliberately trying to drive away involvement by rank and file democrats? This kind of strident money grubbing, pedantic exclusiveness, and distain for keeping the county party a truly open public institution will only end in the total irrelevance of the TCD. It is just the outcome that was feared when dues were thrust upon us two years ago. Then as now, it is not well thought out.

Drinking Liberally in Olympia

The local DL Chapter will be a the the Tumwater Bar and Grill this Monday at 7 pm:

There is lots to talk about. With the new Congress finally in session, the debate now is “will they or won’t they?” Will the new congress have the guts to de-fund the Iraq war? Will they do the “Kahuna Katrina Dance” and start an investigation into the inept (and most likely illegal) federal response?

Hope to see you there for a fascinating Drinking Liberally discussion of “Will they or won’t they?”

Orbusmax is full of Sh*t

This morning Orbusmax, the Drudge Report knock-off of the Northwest, added the following headline to their rotation:


If you follow the link, you’ll learn that HJR 4203 is not actually a Democratic bill, but rather one of the few bi-partisan bills introduced this year, hardly evidence of “Blue Wave” excess.

Hey Orb, for the record, Rep. Tom Campbell of Roy? He’s a Republican.

Legislative session blogs

A handful of new and old blogs that I’m going to be reading over the next few months.

Rep. Kirk Person is blogging at “Session Notes.” No comments enabled (crap-oh), but he seems to know what he’s doing.

Paul Shinn’s legislative assistant, Jim Freeburg, is blogging at “Forever Flippant.” Mostly looks like a personal blog, but he’s writing a bit about his job in a general sense. Should be good reading.

Jim does give a pretty good peak into an LAs life:

In 2 days, nearly a dozen lobbyists met with my boss. Not all were from big business: some represented “special interest” groups such as the environmental community, municipalities and education groups. Time is scarce however, 15 minutes max for meetings, scheduled back to back to back to back. We also got some big news, my boss will be the chair of the new Senator Higher Education Committee. Democrats, as the majority party, have the power to choose committee structure so they decided to split the Early Learning, K-12, and Higher Education committee into two. This is done by Democrat leadership in the form of a Committee on Committees. This is a group of powerful Senators who decide who will head up each committee, rewarding loyal friends, and leaving independent Democrats out of positions of power.

With the new committee assignment, I’ll be having a whole new challenge: trying to figure out how to properly fund our institutions of higher learning while also coming up with funding to get a new 4-year college in Snohomish County.

And, of course, there is the great Uptheblog by Rep. Dave Upthegrove. I’ll let Noemie at Washblog tell you about this one. Its pretty sweet. You have to like a guy who can make fun of his own pretty silly sounding name.

Upthegrove is Chair of the House Select Committee on Puget Sound, and here he is quoted in a recent Seattle Times article on the legislative agenda for the environment. Here’s his My Space page. I subscribe to it and occasionally follow the links to the blog entries, which tend to detail days packed with meetings with teachers, environmentalists, journalists, lobbyists, business people, other legislators and government officials, etc. He notes meeting blogger, Andrew Villeneuve, founder of Northwest Progressive Institute at a recent event. One of the entries not too long ago recounted a triathlon he completed: running, biking, swimming. Then he dried off and went to a meeting or panel or something. How cool is that!

Here’s an old post of mine where I reflect on how important it is that he posts at MySpace.

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