Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Who are your neighbors?

To find out, join Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods, and start connecting with your neighbors.

Using it helps us love our neighbors and do some good for them.

For more about it and to introduce it to your neighbors see http://www.nextdoor.com/!AWQZJA 

Why neighbors?

What issue? What candidate? In our representative democracy these are not the questions I ask myself very often, but rather I ask what good may I do today?

Some use their neighbors to advance their cause.

I prefer to help my neighbors learn about our Colorado Caucus, regardless of their political opinions, trusting that those neighbors  those who become block workers or precinct committee people or district captains will pick good representatives for us, or they will become candidates for elected office themselves and if they are elected they will make up their mind on particular issues. 

Ben Franklin told us we have a republic if we can keep it. Picking one issue and insisting on my way with it seems to be not in the spirit of what had made this such a great country until the late 60s to early 70s. We are a republic and not a democracy. 

And being selfish and self-centered, insisting on my own way is certainly not very neighborly. 

For more about this between now and the 2016 elections watch this educational (we hope) site sponsored by the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc 

We as an organization are not affiliated with any political party, issue committee or candidate, but we cooperate with all who love the United States of America and our radical experiment in self-government that began in 1776 and continues today to the extent that we continue to be free citizens in a republic. http://www.COCaucus.org 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Caucuses aren't for ciphers.

Caucuses aren't for ciphers.
October 6, 2002
by Sue O'Brien

cipher - a person or thing of no importance or value; nonentity - New World College Dictionary

So, what will we choose to be: ciphers or individuals?

Ciphers are faceless. They have value only as something to count - a signature on a petition or a vote to tally by machine. It's easy for ciphers to hide out. Hey, they're just part of the mob.

Individuals, by contrast, stand out. They take responsibility. And they rarely hide.

We have a sovereign opportunity to become ciphers this November. One of the few mechanisms left in modern politics that rewards individual initiative - the precinct caucus - is on the brink of being eliminated in favor of a political nominating system that would let wannabe candidates get on the ballot only by collecting - and counting - petition signatures.

It's a lousy proposal put forth by an otherwise admirable organization: the Bighorn Center for Public Policy. Now, I have nothing against getting on the ballot by petition. But why eliminate the choice - caucus or petition - that our present system provides?

It's not as though there's something inherently wrong with the caucus. And, even though these grassroots conclaves have seen declining attendance in recent years, there's a lot inherently good about them.

Look around modern society. We have a woeful lack of what Harvard scholar Robert Putnam calls "social capital" - the dynamism that comes from doing things together and making community decisions together.

Yet the spate of election "reforms" we're seeing these days almost seems designed to stomp out the last vestiges of community collaboration.

"Voting and following politics are relatively undemanding forms of participation," writes Putnam in his influential "Bowling Alone." "In fact, they are not, strictly speaking, forms of social capital at all, because they can be done utterly alone."

We can be utterly alone, too, when we perform the two other actions modern politics seems to want to limit us to: writing checks and watching attack ads on TV. We're systematically replacing "social capital" with plain old monetary capital.

Colorado's traditional caucus-convention system, in contrast, rewards the shoe-leather and diligence. It provides a low-cost way for aspirants to work the neighborhoods, investing energy instead of dollars.

Recent proof of this pudding came in the race for the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District, where Rick O'Donnell captured first line on the primary ballot with a low-budget campaign that focused on traditional caucus and door-to-door campaigning. O'Donnell eventually lost the primary to the better-funded Bob Beauprez, but his achievement in getting on the ballot was impressive.

But even more important than the caucus' benefits for candidates is its benefit for ordinary citizens.

It's a vibrant neighborhood forum for hashing out ideas - the last remaining arena in which you can get on the first rung of the ladder toward political effectiveness by just showing up.

I've covered precinct or town caucuses in Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Mississippi as well as Colorado. My favorite memory is of escorting a big-deal network analyst to his very first caucus in an American Legion hall in Iowa.

This was a political expert well into his 50s, yet he'd never seen a caucus; primaries had always been his beat. He was blown away.

For the first time in years of covering politics, he told me, he'd seen the true face of America. He was right. Caucuses offer a peculiarly intimate view of a community and its people. They'll amaze you with the quality of caring and thought participants bring to the discussion.

And sometimes, if you're very lucky, you'll see new, young leaders find their first toehold in the process.

Why is the Colorado caucus withering? First, because the legislature, in an ineffectual grab for national headlines, created a meaningless presidential primary that eliminated the headline race that once inspired much caucus activism.

Second, because we're all getting good at sitting on the sidelines. The Kettering Foundation's David Mathews once reminded readers that the word idiot comes from the Greeks. Privacy, they thought, was akin to stupidity. "Idiots" were incapable of finding their place in the social order.

Why bow to the trend of letting the next guy do it? Why sell out to letting money replace shoe-leather at every level of American politics? Why not keep the caucus as an open door to involvement, while continuing to provide the petition alternative?

Bighorn's goal may be to increase the number of people peripherally involved in the process - but the initiative will never replace the quality of participation the caucus can provide.

Good political talk … is where we recognize the connectedness of things - and our own connectedness. … Good political talk is also where we discover what is common amidst our differences. -David Mathews, "Civic Intelligence"

Sue O'Brien was editor of the Denver Post editorial page. See passed on not long after writing this. We miss her.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Neighborhood Caucus?

If you are already involved, you already know about the system in your state. In Colorado and some 16 other states we have a caucus-assembly system that other states should consider. It's the best chance for the common person to serve in elected public office. Check it out, click the above tab for more about it:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Write-in candidates?

Denver hasn't made it as easy as it really should be to run as a write-in candidate. 

If affidavit could be completed electronically, would make a big difference.

Unless someone mounts a write-in campaign as the ballots are being mailed out in the next couple of days, will be very difficult to win. 

We know from past experience an anyone-but campaign doesn't work with pen and paper affidavits.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Still time to run? Really?

If your unhappy with the choices on your mail in ballot, you may have other choices.

Watch here later today for more on how to be a write-on candidate, and how to find out those who decide to throw their hat in the ring.