Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Open membership tabled, marching on

On Monday night the Central Committee of the Thurston County Democrats decided to table the open membership by law change. This would have allowed regular, non-Precinct Committee officers, the ability to participate in our affairs, up unto the point banned by state law.

Basically, our most open option, giving anyone who comes along and pays $20 gets a vote, failed. Open membership didn't, just that version of it. From here, there seem to be two ways to go about it. One is the "club idea," which is basically the same as wide open membership, but creates a club around the central committee that does a lot of stuff (like spend money on campaigns) that a central committee would do, but isn't exactly outlined in state law.

The other is my favorite, earned membership. You wouldn't have to just pay your way in, you would have to earn it. Which is sort of the argument anyway, because we have a good number of folks that do a lot for TCD, but who don't get any vote.

Campillo mows them down

Well, not likely. Actually, what did probably happen is that he got three ground outs. But, at least he seemed impressive on his first outing:
Jeff Weaver was impressive in his first action as a Mariner, setting down the side in order, and Sean White and Jorge Campillo also had 1-2-3 innings.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sandra Romero is running for Thurston County commissioner

Last night at the central committee meeting of the Thurston County Democrats, former state legislator Sandra Romero announced that she's running for Thurston County commission. She will be seeking the seat being left open by Diane Oberquell.

Jon Halverson, a former mayor of Lacey, is the only other announced candidate.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jorge Campillo, waaaay outside

Jorge is part of the group of pitchers that are going to pitch in a fake game tomorrow, but he's the last pitcher in the last group. So, it looks like he's getting a look (not a lot of regulars are in either group), it looks like he's not getting much of a look.

From the Times' Mariners blog:

Team B

Cha Seung Baek
Jesse Foppert
Aaron Small
Jorge Campillo

In addition to hearing mostly nothing out of my man Jorge the last couple weeks, there is even more confusion because there is actually a decent college golfer in the midwest with the same name.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Better Donkey is dead, so I'm leaving and taking all my posts with me

A year or so ago I started blogging at Better Donkey. Almost as soon I showed up, the thing started to die.

I posted regularly from December 05 through the next spring, then started to slow down out as interest in the blog decreased. I was the kiss of death of something.

Anyway, I haven't posted there since August and there has been only one other post there since then. And, this post lamenting the death of Better Donkey suggested that I be neutered, so I'm thinking its time I move everything that was over there over here.

Go here for all of my old Better Donkey posts, because in a few minutes, they won't be at Better Donkey any more.

The truth about Portland and their "viaduct moment" (or why you should never believe me again)

A few days ago, I made a little fun of another blogger about world class cities. That fun is still very relevant, but appended to that post were a couple of stupid pictures displaying other cities and their downtown elevated waterfront highways. Wish I had never done that, but I'm not about to censor my past self.

One of those highways was in Portland and Floyd McKay has a great column about the history of Portland's "viaduct moment," when they made a choice between more highways through downtown and using that money instead for transit:

To your right is a stubbed-off exit ramp into southeast Portland. The aborted "Mount Hood" Freeway would have uprooted a huge swath of the city's working-class neighborhoods, only to end on the outskirts of Portland, far short of Mount Hood.

To your left, on the river's west bank, is the green stretch of Tom McCall Park, built on what had been a six-lane highway between downtown and its river. Harbor Drive expansion (to 10 lanes) was killed in 1971 by the City Council, and in 1974 the highway was bulldozed for a park bordering downtown.

The so-called Mount Hood Freeway was killed in 1974, also by the City Council. The federal government allowed Portland to divert freeway millions to mass transit. Taken together, these actions were a signal moment for Portland, committing the city to mass transit and downtown preservation.

From these actions emerged MAX, the light-rail system that now has lines to the east, north and west of downtown, making Portland a national model.
Amen Floyd. Read the entire thing here.

Let me just back up to the post I wrote above though. Portland, at the time, didn't make the choice to tear down and not build highways through downtown because it sought to be "world class," rather it was a humble choice base on being a livable city.

It was actually Portland saying that they didn't want to be Seattle:

"It was Portland's defiant 'no' to Los Angeles and Seattle, which had, in effect, dismembered themselves," adds Alan Webber, a former aide to Mayor Neil Goldschmidt. "You can think of it astearing up Robert Moses' postwar transportation plan."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

In Olympia tonight: the Clinton years, bookended

Out at Evergreen tonight, Maya Angelou who brought in the Clinton Years with one of the best poems written in my years.

And, down at OFS, Ralph Nader, of course, was many on the left's go to blame guy in 2000. From the hope of 1993 to the finger pointing of 2000, just in a few miles.

From "On the Pulse of Morning:"

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"World class cities," he said, implying Seattle, "don't build concrete highways over their waterfronts"

(or: Fred Moody, where are you when we need you most?)

Of course, some do build the wooden kind, but that's beside the point.

This argument
is the silliest of all the viaduct silliness because it implies that Seattle is a world class city. Or, that it won't be a world class city until it tears down the viaduct, and maybe builds a tunnel. The point, though, is to tear down the viaduct.

For everyone who thinks this way, that Seattle needs to freshen itself up for its world class status, I suggest: Seattle and the Demons of Ambition: A Love Story.

Seattle, beware the devil on your shoulder.

It almost seems like we're repeating some of the history that Moody writes about in "Demons of Ambition." The football team is getting close, but not finishing the deal. Our basketball team is threatening to jump ship, and the city itself rejects them, but forces behind the scene are lining up in support.

And, the viaduct is seen as a wall that prevents the city from being "world class." Now, that is something that has gotten the city into trouble before:
What had been envisioned as yet another showcase for Seattle as an emerging world-class city has turned into an epic disaster. The WTO convention was shut down, and Seattle was being exposed to the world as an overreaching dunce.
I wouldn't compare the WTO directly with removing the viaduct, but I think they're a symptom of the same disease.

And in regards to Andrew's picture from the above post, I give you, FDR Drive in New York:

Interstate 5 in Portland OR, which probably isn't very world class:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I support the Yankees Elimination Project

This is genius.

Get rid of the Yankees in your community:
The Lowell Spinners want to eliminate the Yankees again - from youth baseball leagues in New England.

The minor league baseball team said Wednesday it will continue the campaign it launched last year. The team will donate hats and pay $200 toward the cost of new uniforms to teams in leagues that change the name of their Yankees teams to the Spinners.

The Spinners are a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox [team stats], archrival of the New York Yankees.

Last year, 76 Yankees teams were replaced, the team said. The Spinners said 43 teams have contacted them for this season. The promotion will be limited to 100 teams, the Spinners said.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Super PCOs: Neighborhood Organizing Committees

The last few weeks as I've been thinking about the membership bylaw proposal and my own role as a PCO, I've been looking at the map and pondering the PCOs around me. I've been thinking that I should get to know these folks and see what we all can do together. I've even started trying to recruit a PCO in an empty precinct just north of mine.

Here's a cool idea from the 36th LD that seems to tie PCOs together locally:
In 2005, we introduced into our bylaws the Neighborhood Organizing Committees. The goal of the NOCs is to create a tangible way to organize the district for political action. We created 5 geographic ‘chunks’ of the district, and elected an organizer from each area to the e-board to support PCO efforts in the area. Many of us work individually to elect Democrats or to push forward issues we feel are important. The NOCs are a way to ‘lobby’, but on a district-wide scale, reaching out to the 80,000+ registered voters (and those that aren’t registered) in our district, and using all of the resources we have on hand to do it


But if we as a district have no way to take that discussion to the people, what is our relevance?
Read more about the idea in the 36th LD newsletter.

In the past, for every precinct there had been a "committee" or a group of dedicated volunteers that a PCO led and acted as a liaison to the larger county structure. Now, for every precinct, there might be one active Democrat even willing to serve as a PCO or forget finding anyone to serve on a precinct committee.

But, if say, five or so PCOs banded together to support each other as a Neighborhood Organizing Committee. Now, that might work. I could see them teaming together and door-belling each other's precincts, working with Neighborhood Associations and even holding inter-precinct events.

Open membership discussion

We're going forward in Thurston County with a discussion on open membership for our county Democratic organization. Right now, only PCOs have a vote at all in our organization, this idea would open it up to anyone who either works or pays enough.

Things seem to be going well, and I've been doing some research into what other local Democratic organizations do. In addition to three county organizations that have open membership, I've also come up with 16 legislative district organizations that do.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Democratic Victory Circle: Exclusive Crap

This will guarantee that I don't get another "exclusive" email from Dwight Pelz, but what the heck.

The Democratic Victory Circle is a boneheaded idea. The last thing you should try to do, especially when you're leading a political party, is ever try to be "exclusive" with your communication. Instead of taking a page from Colorado vice-chair Dan Slater who blogs out in the open, Washington State Democratic Chairman Pelz is sending emails seeking donations in exchange for "insider" gossip.

Here's his "exclusive notes" on his trip to the DNC (published here). Here is the pitch for you to donate $1,000 a year so you can keep on getting these "exclusive" emails.

From the pitch:
Special Benefits Include:
  • Participation in quarterly Democratic Victory Circle events with recognized speakers and/or elected officials (i.e. nationally recognized pollsters)
  • Regular updates from Chairman Dwight Pelz on state and national political developments, projects, and events
  • Recognition at Washington State Democratic Party events
  • Special reduced rate to attend Washington State Democratic Party events
  • Photo opportunities with State and Federal elected officials
  • Special recognition in Washington State Democratic Party publications and website
This kind of "insider" stuff is one of the reasons I don't like politics.

I understand the attraction of the recognition stuff and the reduced rates, photo opportunities and other stuff that don't particularly attract me. I don't participate in politics so people will like me, but rather to make the world a better place (I know how stupid that sounds). Writing special emails to a special group of folks who have paid for the privilege is a quick way to making politics unbearable.

The sad thing is that his notes would actually make a nice blog post, but for some reason, instead of actually sharing what he thinks Pelz wants folks to pay for it. The really sad thing is that I don't think he expected anyone to copy and paste what he wrote.

Jorge as "sixth starter"?

Lookout Landing lists Jorge Campillo as a possible sixth starter (which I guess also means long man out of the pen):

Sixth Starter Candidates:

Cha Baek
Jake Woods
Jorge Campillo
Justin Lehr

Campillo and Lehr are both older than the other two on the list, which means not a lot in this case. But, its nice to see him get mentioned in a major league role.

This week in Olympia

Find out what this map is all about and more, this week on the Olympia City Council.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jim Parque coming back with the Mariners

Jim Parque, who last pitched with the Devil Rays in 2003, is signing with the Seattle Mariners as we speak, according to folks I know. Its going to be a minor league contract, which is basically no lose for either side.

It seems like he had a pretty good career going until he fell down the stairs in 2001. Wouldn't be a bad signing for the Ms, except makes it less likely that my man Jorge Campillo is going to get a roster spot.