A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

No Precinct Captain's Program in Alameda

A great program to take back our country, voter by voter, called the Precinct Captains program, has been underway all over California. The idea is that at the grassroots level, volunteers become "captains" of their voting precincts, and in a year-round program, get to know their neighbors and make sure they are educated about the issues, are registered to vote, and get to the polls. It's a different approach to what Democrats have traditionally taken, which is to be strangers for 95% of the time and then descend in the two weeks before election day. It's closer to what the Republicans do (often through churches, unfortunately) quite effectively.

So why is there no Precinct Captains Program in Alameda?

Last summer, a good handful of Alamedans (mostly members of the Alameda Democratic Club) attended a training session over in Oakland. Everybody was jazzed about it, it seemed. And then, nothing. One person was arbitrarily "handed the keys" to the database, and then did nothing. I tried desperately to get things started. I was able to get to the database for my own precinct, so I started the program here, without any support from the club. (I printed my own business cards, made and copies little flyers to leave at the doors of households that didn't answer the door. I spent a great weekend walking the neighborhood, and then a few months later, with the Anti-Arnold election around the corner, I did another pass, this time with my own home-made leaflet with a summary of the propositions.

It has been very rewarding. I'd like to take a look at the statistics for my precinct compared to neighboring ones; I'm sure I made a difference. (Though realistically, it can take years to build up a permanent presence.)

Unfortunately, the Alameda Democratic Club was not receptive to the program. Well, actually, one member of the executive board didn't think it was such a good idea, couldn't see the point of it, so it was shot down. The club, like many organizations, is resistant to change.

I have a mind to bring it up again one of these days and try it again. We need it to be led by somebody who actually believes in the program and will make it a reality.


Blogger Matt said...

Hey Progressive Alamedan,

I think this is a great blog you've started here. And I'm really happy to know that someone in the local Democratic grassroots is blogging about local issues. It's hugely important IMHO. Anyhow, if you want to talk shop about blogging (or about local politics) don't hesitate to contact me.

And thanks for the link to Say No to Pombo.

Matt Lockshin
emetbloom at hotmail dot com

9:22 AM  

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