Wednesday, May 31, 2006
It might be news to Unity08 - "The center doesn't exist"
NATIONAL: Popular Vote Plan vs. Electoral College
Texas: Strayhorn, toll roads and Primary Screenout
Pennsylvania: Russ Diamond speaking in Philly today at noon
While third-party fantasies are political perennials, they need almost perfect conditions to bloom. They do best in a vacuum, when the public is disgusted with both parties and no appealing leader of national stature is running.... " (Even the New York Observer notices the Bloomberg-Third-Party run talk...) Goodwin goes on to say that while the public is disgusted, there's no end to major party candidates who can step in, and Mike doesn't want to be a spoiler.
Maybe third-party fantasies grow in perfect conditions, but who needs fantasies? -NH
They're centrists. They're concerned about the increasing polarization of partisan American politics, and they want to nominate -- through an online process open to every American voter rather than through the front-loaded caucus and primary system -- a presidential ticket which will appeal the the American "moderate/independent" voter.
My big question for Unity08 (unasked on the conference call -- I only asked one question, and wouldn't have had to ask that one if I'd done better homework) is this:
How do you set the "center" on fire, politically speaking?
A plurality of Americans describe themselves as "centrists," "moderates" or just "independents" -- but so far as I can tell, they've never historically hung together as a bloc at the polls. I'm not sure that they can.
The thing about the center is that it doesn't really exist as such. As you zoom in on it, it turns out to be composed of its own mini-polarizations. Some centrists "lean right," Some "lean left," on an issue-by-issue basis, with different issues being important to different people. The "center" isn't a bloc -- it's a bloc of blocs..... [more]
KELLEY SHANNONAssociated Press Contra Costa TimesMay 31, 2006
AUSTIN - Independent candidate for governor Carole Keeton Strayhorn chided Republican Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday for keeping secret the details of a state contract with a private company building Texas' colossal highway toll system.
It's been exactly a year since Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled a contract between the state transportation department and Cintra-Zachry is public information, Strayhorn said.
"We need government in the sunshine," Strayhorn said. "I'm calling on Gov. Perry to order his transportation department to drop its lawsuit and release to all Texans the secret contract with a foreign company.".... [more]
Rock Howard (Libertarian) writes:
Republicans Hurt Own Cause 2006-05-30 ...In the last general session the Republican Party killed the bill I had drafted to improve ballot access in Texas by ending the practice of "Primary Screenout" (which is the archaic rule that says that primary voters can't sign petitions for independents or other political parties trying to get on the ballot.) A few months after the bill (HB 1721) was killed in committee I heard the scuttlebutt that a Republican strategist had decided that the bill would help Kinky Friedman too much. (Strayhorn was not yet running as an independent at that time.)
Killing the bill did not prevent Kinky or Carol from picking up their required signatures, but it significantly impacted the Green Party efforts to get on the ballot. It should not have mattered since petition signers are allowed to sign for both an independent candidate and a political party, but apparently many of the Friedman and Strayhorn petition gathers told their signers to play it safe and not sign any other petitions for fear of possible invalidation. .... [more]
May 31, 2006 Email: email@example.com
Russ Diamond, Independent Candidate for Governor, has strongly condemned the usage of the words "Postage will be paid by addressee" on mailings designed by a slots applicant to be sent to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
According to a spokesperson for the Gaming Control Board, "The Gaming Control Board did not pay for these postcards, is not paying for these postcards, and we are investigating right now to determine where they came from and who is paying for them…."
"It’s outrageous that a slots applicant is confusing citizens by implying they have an inside connection with the Gaming Board," said Diamond. "The level to which the gaming industry is willing to stoop is matched only by the level of deception of lawmakers who passed Act 71 in 2004 as sleight-of-hand, late night legislation in the first place - just like last year’s pay raise.”
According the Allentown Morning Call, the mailing was the brainchild of Jim Crounse of the Virginia-based Mack/Crounse Group, a direct mail consultancy firm working on behalf of Sands Bethworks Gaming.
“It comes as no surprise that the brains behind this misleading mailing have a long history of consulting on the campaigns of career politicians,” added Diamond. “Ed Rendell’s slots game is getting seedier all the time, and Lynn Swann is content with inheriting it. They’re both willing to gamble with Pennsylvania’s future.”
Diamond, who favors an immediate moratorium on all slots activity in Pennsylvania and a full repeal Act 71 – the bill which enabled expanding gaming - will be speaking at an anti-slots rally at Broad and Spring Garden Streets in Philadelphia on Thursday at noon.
NATIONAL: Unity08 seeks to unify voters, not create party
New York: Hillary doesn't get independent vote
Texas: Strayhorn playing politics? ...Isn't that the point?
Arkansas: Greens fail to make ballot
Illinois: Continued media coverage of Meeks and the Guv
Missouri: Growth Forum new independent party
Connecticut: Clifford Thornton, Green, first black man to run for gov from established party
Michigan: Sombody independent save us!!
Oregon: Westlund independent run a standout in ho-hum gov race
NATIONAL: In the meantime.... on-line third-party convention plan hatched from Unity '08
New York: Mayor Mike for President - as an independent???
Event: Anti-Casino Rally
Location: State Building, 1400 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19130
Date/Time: June 1, 2006, 11:00 AM
Russ Diamond will be in Philadelphia to gather signatures for ballot access and attend the CasiNO! rally sponsored by Neighbors Allied for the Best Riverfront, the Multi-Community Alliance and other anti-slots groups at noon. Russ will also be meeting with the editorial board of the Philadelphia Tribune in the afternoon and may make a stop at Independence Hall, if time permits.
By BART JANSEN, Washington D.C. Correspondent Maine TodayMay 31, 2006...The difference is that Unity08 seeks to unify voters behind a candidate, rather than have a candidate such as Perot create a Reform Party.... [more]
Tuesday, May 30 2006 Zogby: Hillary May Not be Anti-war Enough BBS News ...On that question, Hillary performed better among NYC voters (45% versus 28% for the anti-war opponent), and fared well among likely voters upstate (37% for Clinton, 29% for the anti-war candidate). However, she suffered in the voter-rich suburbs of NYC, trailing the unnamed anti-war candidate, 40% to 31%.
Among independent voters, 38% said they would favor the anti-war candidate and 28% would favor Clinton. Among women, Clinton would win, 42% to 32%. Men were split, with 33% supporting her, 33% supporting an anti-war candidate, and 34% unsure or supporting someone else. ... [more]
Strayhorn delayed certifying that the state actually could pay for HB 63, which contained $34 million in Hurricane Rita relief to repair damage the 2005 storm caused at Lamar. She eventually did certify the funds, but in the process she denied Perry the signing ceremony that likely would have shown up on the governor's campaign ads later this year.... [more]
KTHV Little Rock May 30, 2006 -- The Green Party of Arkansas turned in far fewer signatures than is required to gain recognition on the fall ballot, but state party officials say they plan to challenge the state's rules for third parties.
Party officials turned in a little over 18,000 signatures to the secretary of state's office yesterday afternoon. State law requires more than 24,000 signatures for the party to be recognized..... [more]
Suburban Chicago News May 30, 2006 -- About three years ago, newly elected state Sen. James Meeks was wondering where he could get a desk in Springfield.
"He called me and said that Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) was refusing to give him office space," recalled Burton Odelson, who was Meeks' election attorney.
Meeks had run as an independent candidate for the Senate against incumbent Democrat William Shaw, the Dolton mayor and close personal friend of Jones. .... [more]
But Thornton, 61, hopes his campaign will spur discussion on the war, on drugs and on related issues of race and class..... Thornton is the first black man to run for governor from an established party in Connecticut....
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
This in from Newsweek: ...The Unity08 plan is for an online third-party convention in mid-2008, following the early primaries. Any registered voter could be a delegate; their identities would be confirmed by cross-referencing with voter registration rolls (which would also prevent people from casting more than one ballot). That would likely include a much larger number than the few thousand primary voters who all but nominate the major party candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. This virtual process will vote on a centrist platform and nominate a bipartisan ticket. The idea is that even if the third-party nominee didn't win, he would wield serious power in the '08 election, which will likely be close....
Texas: Latino vote in question
Texas: Strayhorn stands to gain from Repub convention this weekend....
Montana: Independents and ticket-splitters will determine elections
Pennsylvania: Rasmussen poll leaves out Russ Diamond
Illinois: Did the gov test his plan before making deal with Meeks?
California: Committee for an Independent Voice endorses Ron Dellums in Oakland mayoral race, citing his support for election reform
Hankster Comments: Good luck to Ed Packard in Alabama!
Hankster Comments: Betting on "One Tough Grandma" Strayhorn...
Monday, May 29, 2006
California: Committee for an Independent Voice endorses Ron Dellums in Oakland mayoral race, citing his support for election reform
The Committee for an Independent Voice has endorsed Ron Dellums in the Oakland mayoral race. In an email, CIV says the endorsement is based on Dellums' history and activities in support of political reform:
- As a Congressman he sponsored ballot access reform legislation to level the playing field for independent candidates.
- He has fought for the inclusion of all Oakland mayoral candidates in the debates.
- He publicly refuses to engage in negative campaigning.
- He rejects partisanship, and reaches out to Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.
Independent voters are expected to determine the outcome of the June 6th election. This is an important opportunity for independents to leverage our growing numbers and elect a candidate who is committed to an open, inclusive, non-partisan political process. If we are successful, it will send a message to other politicians that if they want our votes, they will have to support these issues.
We urge you to vote for Ron Dellums on June 6.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Forward this email to everyone you know who is concerned about ending partisanship and political corruption;
Speak to friends, co-workers, family, neighbors and others who live in Oakland and share this information.
Committee for an Independent Voice
The Governor is running a big buy TV ad campaign touting his accomplishments during the special session, which supposedly fixed school financing. Problem is that voters won't see how they got short changed, likely till after the election. And, members of his own party are in revolt over a new business tax which hurts small business. Then he's got a wild coalition of farmers and environmentalists fighting his massive toll road projects. And, then he's got the possibility of a unified movement of voters willing to cross party lines who will decide last minute, who's the best candidate to take him out. It ain't over till it's over! (I'm betting on Carole "One Tough Grandma" Keeton Strayhorn) who says she will "die an independent".
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans
Hi Ed, Bravo!Good luck with your campaign. I am so glad that you are running and using your campaign to expose the extent to which the government is using it's power and resources to limit and discourage dialogue and debate. I believe that the government's insistance to keep the people out of politics only contributes to our social problems, such as millions of Americans living below the poverty line (children, elderly, veterans, etc.) and young people leaving school not knowing how to read. I am sure that with increasing voter participation/interest, real dialogue and discussion on issues of concern, we the American people can turn this around. I am a New Yorker and a regular reader of the Hankster, that's how your blog came across my desk.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
New York: Lenora Fulani leads grassroots fight for justice within Independence Party
New York: Independence Party set to endorse Spitzer?
New York: Repubs in a fix...
California: Independent voters leading state politics
Texas: Strayhorn invited to investigate social service call center complaints
North Carolina: Letters from independent voters say GO INDEPENDENT!
Maine: Independent candidates will break the Clean Elections bank
Massachusetts: Mihos plays center field
Illinois: Meeks puts a lot of stock in a wink and a promise from the players...
Oregon: Independent voters will determine gov race
Read Dr. Fulani's press release from March. Rob Redding also reported on this fight in March in Redding News Review. Read the Justice Department complaint and cover letter submitted by Fulani attorneys Harry Kresky and Gary Sinawski. The New York City IP has launched a 3,600-grassroots candidate petitioning drive to secure local control in the five boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island so that the state leadership and the Dems or Repubs can't tell city independents who they can vote for. Below is an update on court hearings posted in Richard Winger's Ballot Access News.... Stay tuned! --NH
Fulani Sues State Chair of Independence Party in Federal Court
Ballot Access News, May 25th, 2006
On May 16, Lenora Fulani and her political allies filed a federal lawsuit against the state leaders of the New York Independence Party. Fulani v MacKay, s.d., 06-cv-3747. New York city is under the Pre-Clearance Requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit justifiably claims that when the state Independence Party dissolved 3 county units of that party, that the action amounts to a change in a voting procedure that should have been submitted to the Justice Department before it was implemented. It is true that political party rules changes, in covered jurisdictions, are subject to the Voting Rights Act. A US Supreme Court case, Morse v Virginia Republican Party, 517 US 186, established that in 1996.
The Fulani lawsuit had one preliminary hearing on May 24 and will have a more substantive hearing on June 1. The case is before U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels, a Clinton appointee.
Now that the state Conservative Party has officially given its nod to John Faso, Bill Weld is increasing his push for the state Independence Party.
Weld was in Albany last weekend hosting Independence Party leaders. Earlier this week, two of the party’s county chairs (Richmond and Ulster), who are also executive committee members, unveiled Independents for Weld, (a.k.a I4W, not to be confused with WD40). The Weld campaign called this “a grassroots effort to draft Bill Weld as the Independence Party’s nominee for governor.”
The Independence Party is scheduled to hold its nominating convention Saturday, June 3 in Albany, the day after the GOP convention ends in Long Island.
It’s a safe bet the party will ultimately give its nod to whichever candidate its members believe is most likely to get them safely past the 50,000 threshhold and allow them to retain their official status, and, more importantly, their ballot line.
Last I heard, party leaders were leaning in AG Eliot Spitzer’s direction. Both Spitzer and Weld would need permission to run on the line (otherwise known as a Wilson-Pakula), since neither is an enrolled Independent. It takes a majority to land a Wilson Pakula - a far more difficult achievement than the 25 percent weighted state committee vote necessary to get on the ballot.
I assume Spitzer’s predisposed to accept the line now, given state Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay’s efforts to sideline the organization’s most controversial figure: Lenora Fulani.
Fulani and her allies are continuing to fight MacKay in court over his move to dissolve three NYC Independence Party county committees (Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx), which he and his backers did because they believed those organizations were too controlled by Fulani et al.
The next hearing in this case is June 1.
Albany Times Union Sunday, May 28, 2006 ...The featured event in the two-day GOP fandango is the expected mud wrestle between William Weld and John Faso to decide who gets to lose to Spitzer-Paterson in November. The mud will surely fly in Garden City, and stick as much to the handlers and supporters of the two as to the candidates themselves. Not so far behind the scenes, Governor Pataki has been cuddling up to Weld while Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is seemingly inclined toward bolstering Faso. Upstater Faso appears to have the momentum going in..... [more]
California voters still like the governor, and that is why Westly and Angelides remain stuck in his shadow.
By Lou Cannon
...Schwarzenegger's personality was an asset in the recall election that ousted then-Gov. Gray Davis, a lifelong politician who came across as wooden. His likability contrasts with the unpopularity of President Bush. Although the Public Policy Institute poll didn't directly measure Bush's likability, a spate of national polls have shown that many Americans, including overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents, have an unfavorable personal impression of the president and also reject many of his policies. Likability isn't everything, but it can cushion a political leader in bad times, as it did President Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair and President Clinton throughout his impeachment ordeal.... [more]
Angelides Pulls Even With Westly
The Democrats are neck and neck with 10 days to go in a fiercely contested race to take on the governor. Many voters are still undecided.
By Michael Finnegan, Times Staff Writer May 28, 2006 LA Times ...In the primary, Westly has lost the lead he held last month among a broad swath of likely Democratic primary voters. (Independent voters will be allowed to cast a ballot in major party primaries this year.) Most significant, liberals and union members have tilted toward Angelides, the favored candidate of the party establishment and organized labor.... [more]
We're sick of voting
Californians are suffering from election fatigue. Symptoms may include a record-low turnout for the June primary.
By Tony Quinn, May 28, 2006 LA Times
CALIFORNIANS set a record in 2002: Fewer turned out for a primary election than ever before — just 34.6% of registered voters. Even fewer may turn out for June's primary.
The problem is that Californians are suffering from election fatigue. This will be the fourth election in four years. Two were for governor and a third was a proxy vote for governor..... [more]
Defenders say savings, efficiency in social aid programs will take time
Sunday, May 28, 2006
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
The Dallas Morning News AUSTIN – Texas' health and welfare agencies are undertaking the most sweeping and rapid privatization of social services in the country, but the experiments are plagued with problems.
Tens of thousands of aid recipients can't get through to privately run call centers. Thousands more poor families are complaining that their children were wrongly denied health insurance. At state hospitals and schools for the mentally impaired, head nurses must slog through new and burdensome online payroll duties. ...Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, an independent candidate for governor, has accepted the invitation of one moderate Republican and two liberal Democrats in the Legislature to scrutinize the call center contract. She has accused Mr. Perry of implementing the plan "in haste" and has said the contract creates conditions ideal for "profiteering.".... [more]
....When we look at the current problems facing the United States, it has never been more important that we select the person rather than the party. --JACK D. HESTER, Kernersville
..... There is no surprise that voter turnout continues to decline. I encourage more people to drop their allegiance to the two parties and to think for themselves. Register as an Independent and ignore the spewing of propaganda. --Don Briscar, Rocky Mount
From the Peoria Journal Star: "Here's how Meeks described his meeting with Blagojevich before dropping out of the race. 'You (Blagojevich) look me straight in the eye and promise me we're going to do these things. And he looked me straight in the eye and he said, 'I can't do them if I'm not re-elected,'' Meeks said. It doesn't look like a promise was made, and if it was, Meeks should have gotten it in writing. Oh, we forgot, written promises are no guarantee either."
Saturday, May 27, 2006
California: Mudslinging turns voters off
Oregon: Closed primary system excludes independents
Pennsylvania: Judge tells PACleanSweep to work it out
Alaska: Halcro to run for gov as independent
Massachusetts: Mihos in second debate June 29
Maine: 1/3 of voters are independent
Oregon: Major parties not paying attention!
In case you're not familiar with what's happening in the Independence Party of New York, the short story here is that the IP state chair MacKay recently ran a McCarthy-esque purge of the "downstate" leadership (i.e. the New York City black and progressive operation that was Bloomberg's margin of victory in 2001 and went on to pull 75,000 votes for the Mayor in 2005, along with 47% of the black vote -- and boy, does that make the Dems and Repubs nervous!).
Fulani is controversial because she's independent. She plays politics on behalf of ordinary people, not the party hacks of New York or the nation. [Read Richard Carter's article from the Amsterdam News here.]
CALIFORNIA Democrats want to hear their candidates for governor talking about schools, immigration and the economy. But if they watch television, voters are hearing Phil Angelides and Steve Westly talk about which candidate was the first to launch negative ads, which one is more likely to sell out his environmental principles or which is more likely to raise taxes on the middle class.
That disconnect may be why one-third of likely Democratic voters say they have yet to make up their minds in the race, and more than four in 10 say they don't know enough about either candidate to have much of an impression of them, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. ... [more]
If Oregon changed its system, we could battle against voter apathy ...Under the closed system, only the most committed members of the two parties typically participate, while independents are shut out altogether from participating in deciding partisan political races. This has the effect of selecting candidates who represent the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, to the detriment of candidates who speak to the more moderate core of the electorate, the great middle in which many independents reside.... [more]
Also from the Daily Astorian: Westlund declares independence from majot parties...
A Lebanon County judge said he is reluctant to interfere in internal corporate squabbles, so he told board members of PACleanSweep yesterday to try to iron out their differences.
Judge Samuel Kline was responding to a lawsuit filed by three members of the political reform group against its founder, Russ Diamond, and six other members. ... [more]
....Even before the June 13 primary, there is another important deadline creeping up. By June 1, independent candidates hoping to get their names on the November ballot must each submit 4,000 signatures; the next day, those seeking public funding must turn in 2,500 checks of $5 made out to the Clean Elections fund.
Roughly a third of Maine’s independent-minded electorate is not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic party. Maine also is one of the few states that has been prone to elect independent candidates as governor, choosing James B. Longley in 1974 and Angus King in 1994 and 1998.... [more]
Friday, May 26, 2006
Don’t count out indies ...If the major parties think that this law will do anything except cause even more voters to change their registration to independent, they have not been paying attention. George Waldmann Northeast Portland [more]
New primary rules may not bring voters ...Your assertion is wrong. Independents can help decide who should be on the November ballot, by signing petitions for independent candidates and also for new parties. State Sen. Ben Westlund is circulating a petition as an independent candidate, and so is the Working Families Party. Independents can sign these. Richard Winger Coalition for Free and Open Elections Editor, Ballot Access News San Francisco [more]
California: Anti-incumbent mood
Texas: Strayhorn at 20%
Florida: Independent voter registration blocked by party ploys
Massachusetts: Mihos to labor - Be independent!
Ohio: When partisans run as independents...
Alabama: Ed Packard wants to lower signature requirements for independent candidates...
Campaign 2006: Positive tour, negative adsWestly upbeat on bus trip, tough on airwavesBy Peter Hecht -- Bee Capitol BureauThursday, May 25, 2006 ...Westly said his campaign is making a major effort to win independent voters. Meanwhile, in challenge to Angelides' domination of major endorsements and his hold on the Democratic Party establishment, Westly said his grass-roots campaign would connect with average Democrats "who are not on the state Democratic Central Committee."... [more]
...How many believe that their representative to Congress should not be re-elected? In all, the figure was 28 percent; among independent voters, 36 percent. In 1994, the corresponding numbers were 30 percent and 34 percent. In the two intervening midterm elections, in 1998 and 2002, the numbers were not even close.... [more]
Support for Rick Perry increased this month in the Lone Star State, according to a poll by SurveyUSA released by KEYE-TV. 41 per cent of respondents in Texas would vote for the incumbent governor in this year’s election.
Perry—a Republican—took office after George W. Bush resigned on Dec. 21, 2000, and was later elected to a four-year term in November 2002, defeating Democrat Tony Sanchez with 58 per cent of the vote.
State comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn—a Republican who is running as an independent—is second with 20 per cent, followed by United States congressman Chris Bell of the Democratic Party with 18 per cent, and independent candidate Kinky Friedman with 16 per cent. One per cent of respondents would vote for other candidates, and three per cent remain undecided.... [more]
There is no problem so great that the Florida Legislature can't make things worse.
Take voter registration. In 2004, this state's elections were closely watched, with groups from across the country pouring in to observe and, in some cases, help out.
Several independent groups got involved in voter registration and some, intentionally or otherwise, botched it pretty badly. The incidents were rare, but attention-getting: Some voters found their registrations were never turned in. Other groups were caught shredding registrations of voters who didn't match the group's own party affiliation, or turning in registrations for people who didn't exist.... The Legislature might not have intended to go after groups like the League. But lawmakers definitely didn't intend to go after the most likely sources of elections fraud -- because they didn't name political parties. Party operatives don't face fines of up to $5,000 per voter registration. Only independent groups do.... [more]
...Democrat Chris Gabrieli and independent candidate Christy Mihos, specifically reached out to organized labor, which traditionally sponsors far-reaching, get-out-the vote efforts and funnels money into advertising campaigns.... Mihos sought to distinguish himself as an outsider, not beholden to party politics. "I represent the biggest voting block," he said, referring to the 49 percent of Massachusetts' voters who identify themselves as unenrolled.... [more]
Thursday, May 25, 2006
For example, we have Traci Kennedy, a Repub who apparently worked with/for incumbent Jim Laria supposedly to take votes away from the Dem challenger in a 2005 race for Akron clerk of courts. It looks like the Dems' cultivation of identity politics backfired -- Kennedy is a black woman, and the Repubs counted on that to take votes away from the Dem. Her 10% in that race wasn't the margin of victory, however.
We also have Repub Charles Morrison going up against Repub incumbent Deborah Pryce and Dem challenger Mary Jo Kilroy for US Congress in the 15th District. Repubs are now protesting Morrison's independent run saying he's really a partisan, and there's a legal hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Morrison says he's been an outsider for years....
Call me old-fashioned, but I come from a tradition that says there's not a dime's worth of difference between the Dems and the Repubs. All candidates -- Dems, Repubs and independents -- should be put to the test - they should be asked if they support opening up the process for independent, grassroots and insurgent candidates, and for the inclusion of independent voters in the process. And it's independent voters who can put them to that test.
Thanks, Ed! That's something I believe independent voters can get behind! --NH
Here's his email:
As you know, ballot access has been an area of concern for me as an election official. You know I'm supportive of expanded ballot access for independent candidates and minor political parties.
As I had mentioned to Stephen Gordon a few days ago, I planned to add a posting to my campaign blog about ballot access. I have done that tonight.
I invite you to visit the blog and read the entry. Comments are welcome and invited.
Thanks for all your support.
California: 50th District will echo voter revolution of 1994? Well, it's not 1994, do you know where your independent voters are?
Texas: Nobody likes Perry's tax plan
Oregon: Dems don't understand independent petitioning process: "All this talk" about Ben Westlund hiring petitioners -- are the Dems serious when they say it indicates lack of support?
Massachusetts: Mihos to participate in AFL-CIO forum
There is a growing sense among those who pay even the slightest attention to politics that 2006 could become a watershed election year that will echo the voter revolution of 1994.
A refresher course: 1994 was a midterm election that followed a series of highly publicized legal and ethical misdeeds by congressional leaders in the party that controlled both houses of Congress.
It produced a revolution. Republicans took an astonishing 52 seats in the House previously held by Democrats, gaining control of the House for the first time in 60 years. In California, the GOP tide was so strong, Republicans captured all but two statewide offices and gained a tenuous majority in the state Assembly.
Twelve years later, there are early signs that the same dump-the-incumbent sentiment is roiling in the body politic, with one major difference. This time around, it's the Republicans who control everything in Washington... [more]
Jason Stanford, spokesman for Democrat Chris Bell, called the school finance plan "a sham" because too little money was earmarked for classroom initiatives and teacher pay.
"Most Texans and Chris Bell agree that improving our public schools should be job No. 1, which is why the vast majority of Texans are ready to fire Rick Perry," Stanford said
Independent candidate Kinky Friedman said the plan "is not a real solution." He also chastised Strayhorn for going on the attack..... [more]
The Washington Times catches up to Kinky's campaign:
The Texas governor's race is likely to get pretty wacky as November draws closer. Some might even say pretty kinky. It's likely to be the most expensive campaign ever, and some predict it's likely to get mean at the edges. When the dust settles on Nov. 8, it seems certain Texas will have elected a governor who polled less than half the vote. Petition drives to get two independent candidates -- state comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and musician/humorist Kinky Friedman -- on this year's ballot have made it all but certain that both will be factors in the race. Both are running against the incumbent Republican, Rick Perry. .... [more]
Independent gubernatorial hopeful Ben Westlund is launching an all-out effort to gain a spot on the November ballot that he says will include the use of paid petition carriers to gather signatures for him.
The central Oregon senator says he decided to use paid petitioners because his signature-gathering effort has been made more difficult by a state law passed by the 2005 Legislature.
It says independent candidates can only get valid signatures from fellow independents or from Democrats or Republicans who didn’t vote in the May 16 primary. Before the new law, any registered voter could sign a nominating petition for an independent candidate.... [more]
That makes today's forum an important test. In addition to the three Democratic candidates, an independent gubernatorial candidate, Christy Mihos, also plans to attend. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey has declined to participate.
At the forum, the candidates will answer 2 1/2 hours of questions from a panel of five labor leaders, a spokesman for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO said.... [more]
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
NATIONAL: And in this corner, we have the Constitutionalists....
New York: Faso or Weld?
California: Independence plays with Immigration
Texas: Merit pay raises for teachers?
Oregon: Independent voters are all the rage!
Ohio: Repubs claim independent candidate as one of their own.....
Florida: Voter anger = independent voter influence = bad news for incumbents
Alabama: Redistricting plan nixed...
Illinois: Was this what Meeks folded his independent tent for??
Unscientific Psychology : A Cultural-Performatory Approach to Understanding Human Life
Independent voter surge coming from voter disgust.....
Another article on the panel that endorsed nonpartisan open primary system...
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Philosopher and psychotherapist Fred Newman and developmental psychologist Lois Holzman challenge psychology’s understandings of what a human being is, what mental illness is, and how people develop and learn. They show how these understandings were created, marketed and sold to the American public. Going beyond critique, the authors argue that instead of psychology, what people the world over need is a cultural, performatory approach to human life. Unscientific Psychology is based on the authors’ twenty-five year practice of creating such an approach and the network of therapeutic and educational projects that have been built with it.
Read what Russ has to say about the legislature's self-promotion and what the Other Two gov candidates say about it....
California: Would you trust your citizen initiative to these guys?
Texas: School funding or political football?
Oregon: And what about the membership/leadership split in the unions?
Massachusetts: History lesson for independent voters
Oregon: Panel -- Partisan primaries exclude independent voters
INTERNATIONAL: The boundries of redistricting....
Monday, May 22, 2006
Congratulations to the Castillo Theatre and all the awardees!
Illinois: Lessons learned? Imagine the possibilities
Texas: What happens when independent candidates run for governor....
Pennsylvania: A great new anti-payjacker tune by Diamond for Governor supporter and Signature Captain Quince Eddens! Warning: Contains some mild expletives. For family listening, please download the 'radio edit' version instead.
Colorado's independent voters will have a say...
NATIONAL: To war or not to war
Ballad of the PA Pay Raise - A great new anti-payjacker tune by Diamond for Governor supporter and Signature Captain Quince Eddens! Warning: Contains some mild expletives. For family listening, please download the 'radio edit' version instead. http://www.russdiamond.org/audio/payraise.mp3
Ballad of the PA Pay Raise (Radio Edit) - Suitable for family listening, with the mild expletives bleeped out. Sanitized for your protection! http://www.russdiamond.org/audio/payraise_clean.mp3
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Saturday night I attended a modest get-together of Queens County NY Independence Party activists at the home of one of our members in Long Island City. The purpose was two-fold: One, to celebrate our hard work over the past year that had put the country's leading independent Mayor in office with 75,000 votes on the IP line and brought about a 47% bolt from the Democratic Party by African American voters in the one of the most heavily DP registered electorates anywhere.
And the other purpose was to raise money for our 2006 ballot access drive that will field some 900 county committee candidates in Queens alone. The New York City Independence Party operation is known nationally for its dedication to and expertise in grassroots organizing.
Chairman of the (former) Queens IP Interim County Organization Jerry Everett pointed out in his remarks that independents are people who have volunteered to become second-class citizens (because that's what we are in this two-party winner-take-all clubhouse monstrosity of a political system) in the fight for grassroots democracy.
I couldn't help but imagine living rooms all over the country where independents were gathered to figure out what to do about the state of our political affairs.
An article this morning by Ron Brownstein and Janet Hook in the Seattle Times [Changing horses in midstream: Why it's harder] reminded me that the parties are worrying about this. Brownstein and Hook report, "In this year's midterm election, control of Congress may turn on whether the public's clear desire for change is powerful enough to overcome the resistance to change built into the political system."
Party politicians everywhere are trying to play conservative positions over liberal positions on any issue small or large to gain an edge in these elections. One problem for them in Oregon is that there is an independent Ben Westlund who is going for the governorship as a "radical middle" candidate willing to build coalitions to solve problems.
In Pennsylvania, Russ Diamond has discovered that it may not matter what positions entrenched politicans take on any issues--voters are fed up with the entrenched positions of all of them.
Welcome to the Civil Rights movement of the 2000s. I'm proud to be a volunteer in the second class citizen army. It's how we'll get from here to there.
Changing horses in midstream: Why it's harder
By Ronald Brownstein and Janet Hook Los Angeles TimesMay 21, 2006 ...But today's wave of dissatisfaction is crashing into a political structure that is much more stable than in 1994. It now is tougher to beat House incumbents or to win Senate seats in states that usually back the other party in presidential elections.... more
Issues are the election lure to re-engage voters
Governor hopefuls need to focus on five factors to spark voters' interest
May 21, 2006 Salem Statesman Journal-- The Ron and Ted shows bored Oregon voters during the primary election season. Although Republican Ron Saxton and Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski handily won their respective party primaries, more than 60 percent of Oregon's registered voters didn't bother to vote.... Maybe having a credible independent in the gubernatorial race, state Sen. Ben Westlund, will spice up the campaigns and draw voters' attention this summer and fall. There certainly is no shortage of issues to discuss.... Let's hear the governor candidates admit that. Then let's hear them specify what actions, if any, state agencies should take in dealing with undocumented immigrants, their families and businesses that employ them.
And one last request as Westlund, Saxton and Kulongoski -- and their supporters -- campaign during the next five months: Focus on these issues. Not each other.... more
Shockwave shatters Pa. politics
By Brad Bumsted, Debra Erdley and Mike Wereschagin TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sunday, May 21, 2006 ...It's not unusual for the talk-show circuit to bash legislative pay raises, but this time it was different. Russ Diamond realized that July 14.
Diamond walked into the Downtown Lounge, a sports bar in the mid-state town of Lebanon, for dinner. Instead, he got an earful from his nephew, a 20-something who usually couldn't care less about politics. On this particular night, he couldn't stop railing against Senate Majority Leader David "Chip" Brightbill, R-Lebanon, one of the pay-raise architects.
"He laid into me," said Diamond, a business owner who had flitted in and out of politics with a failed congressional bid in 2004 and an aborted local school board race that year.
His nephew's belligerence gave Diamond more to chew on than his pub food: If his usually-uninterested relative was so angry, Diamond reasoned, perhaps he wasn't alone.
The next day, Diamond bought the domain name >a href="www.pacleansweep.com/'>http://www.pacleansweep.com">www.pacleansweep.com for $182.47, threw together a Web page featuring a clip-art sheep, and wrote a screed about the need to send packing each of the 228 state legislators up for re-election in 2006. .... more
Democrats should make own primaries
Richard Langley May 21, 2006 Orlando Sentinel ...The open primary concept is a perversion of the political process. If the Democrats and others want to vote in a primary, let them field candidates and support them. A cross-over primary defeats the purpose of a multi-party system.
A multi-party system is healthy for the political process. It provides opportunity for contrasting policies and beliefs. My opinion is that we should do whatever is necessary and legal to prevent the opposing party from participating in Republican primaries.... more
by Deanna Bellandi, APMay 19, 2006Chicago Defender -- State Sen. James Meeks thrust education to the forefront of the campaign for governor by announcing Friday he had abandoned plans for a third-party bid because Gov. Rod Blagojevich promised him a major push to increase spending on Illinois schools.... more
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Ben Westlund threat to Dem inclumbent Kulongski... Dems on the skids in Texas despite Repub Perry's low numbers in the polls and Carole Strayhorn is running strong... No matter how you cut it, independent voters will determine the outcome of governors races in Texas and Oregon.
James Meeks apparently settled for some school finance reform. He's decided not to run for governor of Illiniois. You gotta wonder how much more he could have won if he stayed in the race as an independent....
Barbara Merrill has qualified as an independent for the ballot in Maine for gov race, joining Green Party candidate Pat LaMarche.
I’m happy that they are independent voters because that’s where the action is. … We should look at issues not as political issues, but look at them as people’s issues. Why are we talking [about] a Democratic issue or Republican issue? That’s all nonsense talk.
I will always represent everybody. It doesn’t matter what their background is, where they came from. Here in California, they can count on [being] represented by me. ... more=
The debate, sponsored by The Boston Globe, the Kennedy School, The Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, was broadcast live on New England Cable News and WBUR-FM.
Green-Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross was not invited.
MassINC president Ian Bowles defended the decision not to invite Ross. He said sponsors came up with three criteria to determine if a candidate should be invited: name recognition, support in the polls and money. Bowles said Ross didn't meet any of the criteria.
"As a result, Grace Ross was not invited to participate in this early season event," he said. He also said the Green-Rainbow Party is not an official political party in Massachusetts as recognized by the Secretary of State.
Ross said the debate sponsors have created a "self fulfilling prophecy" by blocking her from the debate.
"If the press doesn't include people who can't come up with a few million dollars or hundreds of thousands in a war chest from a previous campaign they are undermining their role in a constitutional democracy," she said.
In today's press:
Hopefuls use debate to gang up on Mitt By Kimberly AtkinsBoston Herald ReporterFriday, May 19, 2006 ...But Mihos praised Romney, saying if he were in charge, he’d follow his playbook point-by-point, calling on federal and state emergency agencies to move quickly and asking the president for disaster relief. “If I were in his place I would do the same thing,” Mihos said. But none of them missed a chance to take swipes at Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the Republican nominee, who declined to take part in last night’s contest or any other until after the Democratic primary. ... more
Strayhorn touts poll Houston Chronicle blog May 19, 2006 ...The respondents in the Survey USA were 35 percent Republican and 41 percent Democrat., and the Democrats overwhelmingly disapproved of Perry. The April survey had a poll sample far closer to the Texas electorate: 38 percent GOP, 31 percent Democrat and 30 percent independent.
The bad news for Perry in the Survey USA polls is that he is not doing well among self-identified independents, who tend to be the swing voters in Texas. In the May survey, 58 percent of the independents disapproved of Perry. In April, 53 percent disapproved.... more
Todd J. Gillman:Texans on ethics committee keeping busy Friday, May 19, 2006 ...The new White House press secretary, Tony Snow, has taken command of the briefing room, leaving predecessor Scott McClellan free to lounge, catch up on sleep – and schmooze with Jay Leno.
"I was hanging out at the pool earlier today, getting a workout ... it's really nice to have a life again," he told the Tonight Show host.
It was an especially appropriate venue to reveal the real reason he quit: "I was showing up too much in your monologues," he told Jay.
Still no word on whether he'll help the independent bid for Texas governor by his mom, state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn. ... more
The Democrats and Republicans stole my vote and my freedom of speech by passing a law that says if you turned in a ballot that contained a Democratic or Republican contest on it, you are no longer eligible to sign a petition to place another person on the general election ballot. It did not matter if you chose not to vote in a partisan race, you then were also prohibited from voting on any ballot measure or nonpartisan position. ... more
Westlund fired back on Friday. "The Democrats call me a Republican. The Republicans call me a Democrat. They don't get it. I'm an independent," he said. .... more
It’s Saxton vs. Kulongoski General election match-up sparks high interest in ag community Mitch LiesCapital PressMay 20, 2006 ...Pacific University political scientist Jim Moore also put Kulongoski as the early favorite, but said if Westlund qualifies for the ballot – he needs 18,000 signatures to get on the ballot – the governor’s seat is up for grabs.
“If Westlund makes a strong run, then all bets are off and it could be anybody’s race,” Moore said.... more
OR Primary: Post-mortem By: GOB · Section: Diaries RedState blogMay 19, 2006 ...State Senator Ben Westlund (I-Bend) will take care of the problem for him, drawing suburban moderates and disaffected liberals with his strong pro-health-care and pro-gay-rights stances, combined with a proven record of fiscal conservatism. Conventional wisdom is that Westlund, despite having left the Republican Party mere months ago, will draw about 2-1 from the left over the right. It's bad enough to make the normally genial governor, in addition to criticizing Saxton right off the bat, add in a jab at Westlund's "change of stripes." ... more
Kulongoski wins teachers union endorsement 05/20/2006 By BRAD CAIN / Associated Press KGW -- After being snubbed by public employee unions in the Democratic primary, Gov. Ted Kulongoski received a major boost Friday night when the influential Oregon Education Association endorsed his re-election bid. ... more
LaMarche, who garnered 7 percent of the vote in the 1998 gubernatorial race, helping her party to gain official state recognition, and was the national Green vice presidential candidate in the 2004 presidential election, was scheduled to be the featured speaker at the Green Independent Party convention Saturday in Portland.... more
Illiniois: Meeks gets school reform, drops out of race -- imagine what he could have gotten if he stays in....
Sure he got his way, Meeks will not run
School deal keeps him out of governor race Chicago TribuneBy Rick Pearson and Ray Long, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporters Diane Rado, John Chase and Maura Possley contributed to this report Published May 20, 2006 -- State Sen. James Meeks folded his potential challenge to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's re-election on Friday after the governor agreed to push a multiyear plan for reforming state schools.... more
Friday, May 19, 2006
There are 500,000 independents in Oregon, and most of them didn't vote in the primaries this round. The numbers are there, and Oregon independent voters are increasingly vocal about the need for Open Primaries and other electoral reform. Former Republican Ben Westlund is a hot independent ticket for governor. What's gonna happen?
Massachusetts independent candidate for governor Christy Mihos was in the debate yesterday, but not the Green Rainbow candidate. The debate sponsors decided she didn't have enough support to be heard in that forum. Who's watching the debate sponsors?
In 1946 Waco, Texas businessman Bernard Rapoport gave $1,000 to his candidate out of his $5,000 income. Now, that's putting your money where your mouth is! He gave $10,000 to Carole Strayhorn for her indie run this year.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY Al Gore well prepared for 2008
By WAYNE MADSENwww.onlinejournal.comMiami HeraldMay 19, 2006
The man served two terms as vice president under a popular president. He then lost the presidency in a razor-thin election. After eight years, he repackaged himself and won the race for the White House and was reelected in a major landslide.
The man was Richard Nixon. What he did in 1968, Al Gore could repeat in 2008. Like Nixon, Gore faces a nation divided by an unpopular war. And like Nixon, Gore could transform anti-war anger and general public malaise into votes. Moreover, Democrats, moderate Republicans and independents are eager for a change, and Gore could emerge as a central agent for change in 2008..... more
"For all his wealth and power, he remains down-home and humble," said Bob Mann, a veteran Democrat who also teaches journalism at the University of Texas, Huston-Tillotson and Texas State universities.
Rapoport was born into politics, he said, but not money. His father, who fled czarist Russia in 1905, was the leader of the Socialist Party in San Antonio.
"I was raised in a family that did not have means, but there was a lot of love in the house," he said.
His parents insisted that he needed to "have a sense of outrage at injustice," he said.
He started giving money to Democrats before he had much to give.
His first contribution was $1,000 to Homer Rainey's gubernatorial campaign in 1946. At that point he and his wife, Audre, made only about $5,000 a year from the jewelry store they ran. .... more
An employee and political rival of Secretary of State Nancy Worley says she has asked her employees to contribute to her re-election campaign in apparent violation of state law.
Ed Packard, director of the elections division in the secretary of state’s office, filed a complaint Tuesday with Republican Attorney General Troy King alleging Worley sent letters to employees that included pledge cards for her campaign.
As there is no third party or independent candidate in this race, I’ve had to take a look at candidates the two big parties. Obviously, any ethical person will dismiss any consideration of voting for Worley for the reasons outlined above. .... more
Anger, apathy won Oregon primary 05/19/2006 Associated Press KGW.....A likely factor is the rise of the independent voter. Eighty percent of the state's 500,000 independent voters did not participate Tuesday, according to a survey of 16 county election offices conducted by The Oregonian newspaper.
Independents were not allowed to have their say in the Republican and Democratic races for governor, leaving them to decide lower profile and often uncontested races. There were also no statewide ballot measures to generate interest. .... more
Let independents vote a complete ballot in primary May 19, 2006LetterSalem Statesman Journal LETTER: C'mon, Oregonians -- you can do better than this in regards to a poor voter turnout.
Oregon has a stupid law that will not let independent registered voters vote a complete ballot in the primary. Only the registered Democrats and Republicans can vote a complete voter ballot. This stinks!
If this were changed, perhaps there would be a better impact on the better choices, resulting in fewer political plums.
Are we independents, ignorant people? Change this law and find out. I think you would be pleasantly surprised. We, as independents, do care enough to vote for all on the ballot.
-- John Kirk, Sciolink
Saxton may need to move right and left in months ahead 05/19/2006 By JULIA SILVERMAN / Associated Press KGW...Social conservatives remain wary of the Portland attorney, while some of the party's moderates were privately concerned by Saxton's noticeably more strident tone in the primaries.
That could force Saxton to navigate the tricky waters of running both to the right and the center in the months leading to the November general election, trying to entice independent voters while keeping conservatives on board. .... more
Massachusetts: Party candidates debate independent candidate Christy Mihos, Green candidate excluded
By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Boston Globe Friday, May 19 CAMBRIDGE — Three Democratic and one independent candidate for governor sparred on everything from wind-energy farms and the minimum wage, to the MCAS exam and the recent widespread flooding in the state when they met yesterday for the campaign's first live televised debate.All four — Democrats Tom Reilly, Deval Patrick and Chris Gabrieli and independent Christy Mihos — took jabs at the administration of Republican Gov. Mitt Romney for everything from the economy to his handling of this week's weather crisis.... more
Thursday, May 18, 2006
New York (un)Observer columnist Michael Thomas joins the chorus of NY press talking about a third party run in 2008 and says Michael Bloomberg is the perfect Third Party candidate - "how [he] has accomplished what he has, and the way he's done it, it's hard to escape the conclusion that he is, in fact, a one-man third party..." Hmmm.... unless you also see that it was the New York City Independence Party that put him in office in 2001 and garnered 75,000 votes and 47% of the black vote in 2005. Hardly a one-man show.... See Jackie Salit's "The Black and Independent Alliance".
Bad news for Dems in Oregon: In spite of the exclusion of independent voters (the Open Primary Initiative would help), Kulongski isn't getting support at the base and independent governor candidate Ben Westlund is coming after him from the left. Keep track!
New York: If Bloomberg is a "One-Man" Third Party, who were all those independents who voted for him?
Hurray for Bloomberg, A One-Man Third Party
New York Observer By Michael M. Thomas
I wonder if other readers of the Times Op-Ed page are as aware of the mighty struggle that seems to be taking place in that venerated temple of received wisdom. It would appear that David Brooks has thrown down the gauntlet and seeks to unseat Tom Friedman as my-lips-to-all-asses, all-things-to-all-men purveyor of regime-justifying bromides. Personally, I think Mr. Friedman stands no more chance head to head with the odious Mr. Brooks than Salieri did against Mozart; whether it’s chamber music or intellectual sycophancy, mere talent has no chance against genius.... more
Why vote? Oregon seeks answers This state needs more inspiring campaigns, fewer disincentives to vote and open primary elections Thursday, May 18, 2006 The Oregonian ...Too, Oregon keeps clinging to a partisan primary system even as more and more Oregonians vote with their feet and register as independents, rather than Democrats or Republicans. Oregon just held a primary election that had the effect of deliberately excluding 450,000 independent voters. ... more
OREGON GOVERNOR'S RACE Thursday, May 18, 2006 David Reinhard The Oregonian ...Worse, this spring's Hill-Sorenson Democrats could have a vehicle for their discontent come fall. Voters who don't think Kulongoski's been aggressive enough in championing a sales tax or gay rights could find Sen. Ben Westlund's "independent" candidacy appealing. Suffice it to say, this kind of candidate isn't likely to take many votes from Saxton. Again, not good for an incumbent with low approval numbers. ... more
Waiting for Westlund to crash the party Thursday, May 18, 2006 The Oregonian ...Westlund has a dynamic challenge facing him: He must convince moderates -- who see no reason to reward Kulongoski with four more years -- that votes for the independent don't so split the field that the conservative block hands Saxton the keys to the governor's mansion. ... more
Immigration is testing loyalties to GOP
GORDON DILLOW Orange County Register columnistGLDillow@aol.com ...And while I'm not a political scientist – or a registered member of any political party – it seems pretty clear that if the president and the Republicans drop the ball on illegal immigration, if all the talk about border security and employer enforcement turns out to be just another dog-and-pony show, if immigration reform becomes a blanket amnesty, the Republicans are going to lose the Bridgetts of America.
And if they do, the Republican Party just might have to get used to the idea of having liberal San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
That's an irony of the two-party system that's not lost on Bridgett – that if she and others like her desert the Republicans in sufficient numbers over the issue of illegal immigration, it could help hand over power to politicians who actively favor illegal immigration.
"I know, the Democrats are even worse" on illegal immigration issues, says Bridgett. "It makes you feel helpless, and hopeless."
Nevertheless, she says, there's a principle involved.
"I'm not party-loyal anymore," she says. "I will vote for anybody who will actually do something about this" – even if it's a third-party or independent candidate who is unlikely to win. ... more