Neighborhood Caucus









Learn it, Apply it, Share it
 Attend your 1st Colorado neighborhood caucus Tuesday March 1, 2016, you will learn a lot. Then apply that knowledge by just saying "yes", become a precinct committee person and apply what you've learned. Then share what you've learned as a precinct committee person as a district, county or state leader. Want help? . (Thanks to Jossey-Bass for this great illustration.)


The caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot came into being in Colorado in 1912, it's been under attack since then by powerful people who see it as inefficient. See links to "Better" Colorado meetings.

Why do those who understand it think that the Colorado Caucus is worth understanding and defending? Because it's the best chance the common, ordinary, everyday person has of serving in elected public office.

Colorado is divided into 3,000 or so neighborhoods, the major political parties have a meeting every two years to start the process of electing party leadership and nominating to the primary ballot. Candidates can skip this system if they want in Colorado and get on the ballot by petition, which acts as a good safety valve in case the party doesn't operate fairly.

Here's the 4th weekly lesson on how to participate in our wonderful Colorado caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot. Still very relevant, you can see earlier lessons, too. Editorial from my friend Sue, no longer with us, but her powerful words still touch my heart. http://coloroadocaucus.blogspot.com/2010/03/week-4-from-john-wren-please-post-your.html

 In 2014 we'll be holding this neighborhood meetings in Colorado for the 101st time. Here's some good information from the Colorado Secretary of State: that will help you inform yourself to make a real difference in your neighborhood.  http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Candidates/FAQs/caucuses.html

Our fight to defeat Amendment 29 that would have killed our wonderful Colorado Caucus, our best, perhaps last, hope for preserving the grassroots in politics, was successful. This editorial in the Rocky Mountain News, which had supported Amendment 29:

GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT CAUCUSES - CAN THEY BE REVIVED?

Rocky Mountain News (CO) - Sunday, November 17, 2002
Despite having virtually no money to spend, John Wren helped lead the successful opposition to a well-funded Amendment 29, which would have abolished Colorado's caucus system.

But victory was just the beginning, not the end, of his crusade. He's now embarking on an effort to improve the crippled system he played a part in rescuing. More power to him.

In a letter to colleagues last week, he noted that caucus supporters ``seem to agree that the defeat of Amendment 29 . . . does not mean the caucus has been saved, but that it has given us an opportunity to correct some of the problems that have developed with the system over the last couple of decades.''

The biggest problem is obvious enough: People don't go to caucuses much any more. The reasons are numerous: Lifestyles have changed; the system is complicated and newcomers, especially, don't understand it; people are alienated from political parties; federal rules regarding handicap access mean caucuses can't be held in nearby private homes but must often be in regional schools instead.

On top of that, the creation of the presidential preference primary a decade ago, and the mandate that delegates be allocated proportionally, means there's less reason to try to become a delegate to the national conventions - a process that has to begin with the caucuses.

We're not sure the problems are solvable - we backed the amendment, after all - but respect the effort of caucus supporters to try and make the system popular once again.

Wren intends to discuss possible changes during the weekly meetings of his long-established ``Idea Cafe,'' at which entrepreneurs gather weekly to discuss how to start new businesses. The meetings are held Tuesdays in Denver at the Panera Bread cafe, 1350 Grant St., from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Suggestions he's already received include:

* Returning the caucuses to May from April in order to shorten the campaign season. (Presumably the primary would also once again be held in September instead of August.)

* Change the day to a weekend from the current Tuesday.

* Require that the caucus system be explained in high school government classes.

* Put an explanation of the caucus system on the secretary of state's Web site as well as in the ``blue book'' that is mailed out to voters in election years.

* Encourage precinct officers to discuss local issues such as street repair as well as the political races at the biennial meetings.

In addition to the Idea Cafe, suggestions will be also entertained on the opposition group's Web site, savethecaucus.org, which is still up and running.

We don't mind throwing out a proposal of our own: Reduce the threshold for making the ballot from the current 30 percent of delegate strength to the 20 percent that it was until the mid-1980s. That might encourage more candidates to take the caucus route instead of circulating petitions.

And Republicans might consider doing what the Democrats already do: Apportion delegates to higher assemblies based on the support candidates get at straw polls during the caucuses.

No doubt there are even better ideas out there. Since the caucuses are apparently here to stay, they might as well be improved.

LIB3
Memo: Rocky Mountain News Opinion
Edition: Final
Section: Opinion/Commentary/Editorial
Page: 7E
Index Terms: EDITORIAL
Record Number: 0211190420
Copyright (c) 2002 Rocky Mountain News
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