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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This post isn't very political, though it's environmentally friendly:

I try not to print things very often, but when I do, I use the back of already-printed-upon paper if at all possible.

At the delegate election meeting this last weekend, somebody asked me if there was a recycle bin around to collect all of the campaign literature that people had put out. I didn't see one, so I quickly grabbed a marking pen, wrote "Recycle/Reuse Paper Here" on a manila folder I had brought, and started a pile on top.

By the time I left, I had a big stack of brightly colored paper to take home and feed to the printer, give to the kids to do art projects, etc.

Only a few of the sheets were white paper, alas.

Does anybody know of any sources for good condition, printed-on-one-side office paper? Maybe somebody who works in an office where they waste a lot of paper, and they'd like to see it go to better use than the recycle bin or trash? (Obviously, it would need to be non-confidential material!)

If so, I'll be happy to take a ream or five of it! Please drop me a line (dan followed by the current year at karelia dot-com).

... And now we return you back to the usual left-handed lib-rul musings ....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Grassroots Victory in the 16th Assembly District

Today we had our elections for delegates to represent the 16th Assembly District (Alameda, Piedmont, and most of Oakland) for the Democratic Party. We had something like 270 votes cast (Sorry, I didn't write down the exact number), which was phenomenal turnout.

The winners:

Women: Michelle Gabriel, Suzy Goldmacher, Linda Joseph, Tara Marchant, Rachel Richman, Veronica J. Williams

Men: Mark Briggs, Arnold G. Fong, Jason Gohlke, Wayne Nishioka, Anand Singh, Dan Wood.

Mark Briggs was elected as the Executive Board representative.

It was a clean sweep for the candidates who had organized together as a progressive slate. I think this was due to some intense outreach on our part to our friends and neighbors, and the fact that we had the backing of East Bay For Democracy and the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, who apparently contacted all of their members with our information. It also didn't hurt that 2/3rds of our slate was endorsed by Sandré Swanson and 100% of it was endorsed by Wilma Chan. We worked really hard to put together a group of people that is active, passionate, and diverse in many ways, and I think our district will be well-represented.

I was very pleased to win and see the fine folks I was running with all win. Actually it was kind of surreal that we all won, because there were many other great, progressive candidates running as well, and I wished that somehow there was some way for them to win as well! We are all on the same side here, regardless of slight differences in approaches to things. Choosing among candidates who are so like-minded is difficult. Fortunately - I hope - those who didn't make it as delegates will continue their great work. Actually, there are possibilities for some of them to become delegates in spite of the election results; elected officials like Sandré Swanson can appoint up to five delegates themselves. He has a great selection to choose from.

The election process was a bit strange, though I guess it went smoothly as could be expected. I had heard about a few logistical problems that had happened around the state in yesterday's elections, and I made a point to warn our convener and the many volunteers about them, just to be on the safe side. Most ballots were cast by people showing up, filling out their ballot, and then leaving, so when it came time for the candidates to give their one-minute speeches, it wasn't in front of a particularly big audience. I think that next time, it would be better to have a particular scheduled time for the event to start, then a time for the speeches to start, and then after the speeches are over, a period of time for the ballots to be cast. That way, people could do a quick drop-off of their ballots if needed during certain time period, but at least the candidates would be likely to have a more substantial audience. Keeping the ballot boxes open for a bit of time after the speeches would allow for latecomers, allow candidates and citizens to talk and discuss after the speeches but before the votes, and possibly give people a chance to pick and choose candidates better, based on what they heard.

In any case, I'm jazzed for this April's convention in San Diego. I really appreciate everybody who took time out of their busy day to come out in the cold for this.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Thursday January 11: Protest at Alameda City Hall

The Alameda Peace Network (and MoveOn) is sponsoring a vigil and walk on Thursday, January 11th from 6:30-7:30 in front of Alameda City Hall.

The message is simple: NO. No escalation in Iraq. No Attacks on Iran.

We will gather at City Hall and then peacefully walk along Park Street to demonstrate our opposition to the Bush Administration's planned escalation of war in Iraq. We will be joining citizens across the country who our reaffirming the message of the November elections that Americans want troops withdrawn as quickly as possible from Iraq and want an end to preemptive wars, whether it be in Iraq, Iran or small countries like Somalia.

My take: Dear George, Dick, and company: Which part of "NO" don't you understand?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Please come vote for MEEEE!

As I mentioned just over a month ago, I'm running once again to be a delegate to the California Democratic Party. The state party needs some serious help from active, engaged citizens to stop pandering to big-business interests.

This election looks like it will be quite a race. There are twelve positions available (six men, six women) and, I believe, at least eighteen candidates running, possibly more.

The election process is, to be honest, annoying. Unlike the County Central Committees (another way that citizens can become part of the party), which appeared on your general ballots last June, the delegates are elected by whomever shows up at a particular meeting. That means that the winners will probably be decided by a small handful of votes; the candidates who are able to round up the most allies to come to the meeting are more likely to win.

I am hoping that you, local Democratic reader of this blog, will consider taking a couple of hours out of your afternoon next Sunday to support me and the other active, progressive Democrats who have been working hard to make the world a better place. (I'll have a list of other candidates I'm supporting later, once I get the final list of who has filed.)

It's an interesting feeling - I've been working hard appealing to voters to vote for other people - Howard Dean then John Kerry, Jerry McNerney, Debra Bowen, Sandré Swanson, Frank Matarrese & Lena Tam, and so forth. So now, in this case, I'm campaigning for myself.

This election meeting will be at 2 PM, next Sunday, January 14, 2006, at the Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St. at 9th St. in Oakland, across from the Lake Merritt BART station. I know, it's off-island; what a hassle! Would you come anyhow?

Note: To vote in this election, you must be a registered Democrat. Also there is a requested five-dollar contribution to cover meeting expenses *cough* poll tax *cough*, but it can be waived if that's a hardship.