Final Agenda for August 7th, 2018 Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting
8/7/18
7-9pm
24 Mill St., Newark, OH

Subject to Change
• Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
• Summer of Labor Update (5 Mins. 7:05-7:10)
• City-Based Activism (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
• Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
• Our Future (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
• Open Discussion (If Desired) (95 Mins. 7:25-9:00)
• Adjourn (9:00)

A Comment on the Special Election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District

By Daniel Crawford

The following represents the opinion of Progressive member Daniel Crawford alone and does not represent the view of the larger Licking County Progressives. As noted in past published statements and meeting minutes, the Licking County Progressives currently does not endorse federal or statewide candidates. Any and all endorsements will be offered following an “ask” by local candidates and following a vote of the participating members.

Danny O’Connor is ready and willing to serve in the United States Congress, and the same can be said of Joe Manchik and Troy Balderson. The question here is “why?” Why is each of these candidates ready to serve and to whom will they answer? In the special election to finish Former Congressman Pat Tiberi’s unexpired term, early voting is upon us. Aside of the attack ads financed by wealthy conservatives, the Republican Party, and the like we have very little to base our opinion about any of these candidates. Unless you’ve been deeply involved in the parties from the outset of the primary campaigns, you are not likely to know much more today than you would have a year ago on where these people stand.

Television coverage has been largely limited to the aforementioned attack ads with a smidge of positive ads by Balderson or O’Connor. Balderson’s positive ad or two makes references to him being a decent person and O’Connor’s highlights him as a guy willing to work with anyone and who can empathize with families struggling, especially with health scares (since his mother survived breast cancer). Manchik hasn’t even appeared on the media’s radar for a variety of reasons, but largely because he is not a member of either major party. In social media, you will see a ads from the major party candidates – mostly for O’Connor, it seems (though, this could be the result of filters I have created for myself over time by following left-leaning pages and the like) -, but even those tend to skip the details which would be helpful in guiding the working class voter at the ballot box.

I suggest that anyone reading this ought to pay a quick visit to each candidate’s website (you can google them, as they aren’t hard to find). When you review where each man stands on the issues, this is the impression you get:

1) Balderson likes the tax cuts (which have overwhelmingly helped the rich, as usual), wants to build the wall, pledges to “support Trump”, claims that he wants to help the “working class” by protecting them from “illegals”, boasts his support for extremist positions on abortion, opposes seemingly any concrete action on gun violence, gloats that he opposed Governor Kasich’s acceptance of Medicaid in Ohio through the Affordable Care Act and declares that he is intent on seeing the healthcare law repealed, and – laughably – conveys his support for what would be a fiscally and economically disastrous balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
2) Manchik supports Medicare for all, ending needless wars, a living wage, reinstating Glass-Steagall, getting the money out of politics, taking solid action to thwart gun violence, and strongly supports public education up through at least a debt-free experience in a four year public college. This is not a complete list of where he stands on issues, but it is a highlight and what you typically expect from progressives.
3) O’Connor plays it safe on his website; a little too safe. On the issues he mentions almost no specifics as to what he would like Congress to do. He merely offers comforting words about compromise, his life experience, and vague pledges to expand health coverage, help create jobs, and taking a stand against privatizing the safety net. To his credit, he explicitly endorses renewable energy, Automatic Voter Registration, and increased financial aid.

Now, from a purely-progressive perspective, it would appear that Manchik is the ideal candidate. The problem here isn’t with Manchik’s progressive positions, but with the reality of the political duopoly that he correctly and repeatedly condemns in public and through his website. Ours is a system rigged by the two parties through manipulating what was intended to be a nonpartisan structure for the purpose of shutting out alternative voices of dissent. In a first-past-the-post design such as ours where the candidate with at least a plurality of the vote wins, it is near impossible for any candidate to succeed while lacking a solid ground game, a formidable coalition of support extending beyond their “base”, and the financial resources to spread to word.

With respect to Manchik as a candidate, there are some things which he says that may render him unelectable regardless of the party banner he flies. At one point on his website, he asserts that President Obama committed “treason” in his decision to bomb Syria and assails former Speaker Boehner as well as Former Congressman Tiberi as “evil”. While there is plenty about which to harshly ridicule each one of these politicians, labeling someone as a “traitor” or “evil” is going a bit far without concrete proof. The challenge for Manchik here is that one can not expect to be effective in Congress if everyone who disagrees with you is seen as coming from the bowels of hell. Not only that, but the standard for treason is laid out pretty explicitly in the Constitution and it is not clear how President Obama ever met those standards, let alone in his conduct with respect to Syria. Still, this is an unfortunate distraction from the other very important positions espoused by Mr. Manchik.

Troy Balderson is reprehensible to his core as a prospective representative for the people of ANY district in this country. His blind devotion to the Trump agenda indicates that he will continue and even exacerbate the subversion of Congress, the system of checks and balances, and the rule of law to President Trump’s will. He is almost gleeful in his advocacy against expanded Medicaid for the poor here in Ohio and throughout the nation and is unapologetic in his blatant use of racist and xenophobic rhetoric to divide and conquer the working class whilst doing the bidding of the oligarchs. Balderson is EXACTLY the type of politician that we must defeat this year; both in the August Special Election and in the November General Election.

That final point brings me to Mr. O’Connor. This is where I have to give my “full disclosure” notice. During the primary campaign, I worked on the very unorthodox campaign for my good friend – and Danny O’Connor’s most vocal and controversial opponent – John Peters. Regardless of what Mr. Peters and Mr. O’Connor said or thought about each other I NEVER ruled out the possibility of supporting O’Connor after the primary. However, there were a few areas of concern which emerged out of this experience, and those concerns largely circle around the key questions of “why is Danny running?” and “who will Danny serve?” On paper, Danny is running because he wants to serve us, and that seems perfectly fine.

What has troubled me, though, is that Mr. O’Connor jumped into the race after having just won an election for County Recorder just over a year before announcing this bid. On top of that, when he was asked – yes, by my friend, John – about why he was initially not going to participate in what was then the only scheduled debate amongst the Democratic candidates, his response was that he had a fundraiser he had to attend (to his credit, he did wind up participating in same said debate). Then, the Franklin County Democratic Party inappropriately intervened in the primary by endorsing Mr. O’Connor over the other six candidates; a number of whom also lived in Franklin County. Mr. O’Connor lack of boldness on vital issues leaves me in a predicament of sorts, for the very least that he could do is tell us what he would prefer Congress to do instead of using this pathetically weak language intent on appeasing certain voters that he will never win over.

I’m not saying any of this as a declaration that I will not vote for Mr. O’Connor. Don’t get me wrong, I want to vote for Mr. Manchik and absolutely would if we had a nonpartisan and/or ranked-choice system wherein I could cast my preferred vote for Manchik and then my safe second vote for Mr. O’Connor. Sadly, we are denied such an open and truly representative democratic system here in Ohio and in most parts of this country. Instead, what we have is a single vote which must be cast with the bigger picture of our corrupt system in mind. In that corrupted political design we have to carefully make our decision, and my decisions have to be based on campaign viability.

My unresolved questions about O’Connor’s motives hinder my ability to enthusiastically advocate for his election. I have no present assurances from any of his ads, literature, internet communications, or other available information that he will not prove to be another sell-out to the oligarchs for his own selfish interests while throwing the working class to the proverbial wolves. It is my hope that he will reach out to me soon to discuss my concerns – and address some specific policy positions – before either election. I want to feel energized by this campaign and excited to promote him to a resounding victory over Balderson, but I need something more concrete from him.

Back to Manchik for a second, I want to vote for him – as I noted before -, but his campaign has demonstrated no ability to break through the numerous obstacles put in place by our establishment politics. If it weren’t for me directly participating in politics I would have no clue as to who Manchik is, and that is the case for most voters going into this vote. This is an indicator of Mr. Manchik’s electoral lack of viability. For the sake of my kids, I can not justify a vote for someone who has no realistic path to victory given such an ineffective performance at reaching out to the voters. I have no doubt that Manchik would be a true and fervent fighter for the working class and for peace if he were to be elected, but his chances of winning are as probable as a house cat beating a tiger in a catfight.

So, yes, I will vote for Danny O’Connor to represent us in Congress and will encourage my loved ones to follow suit, but I will do so devoid of the excitement which I feel like we need to win this election outright and to restore the power of the people. As mentioned before, O’Connor and his campaign have a chance to make me a solid believer and even a passionate volunteer, but the clock is ticking. We have to do more than win. We have to win for the people. Otherwise, we will remain on our current path of self-destruction.

Onward.

We Need Your Help

Due to a lack of interest in helping to facilitate a march for transportation, the scheduled event for July 31st, 2018 has been cancelled. It’s not something that we had advertised, just an event that was brought up in passing in recent discussions. An email was sent about a week or two ago to those of you on the direct email list asking for help to organize this event, but no one responded in enough time to sufficiently begin planning. More events are already being planned (for this year and next), so please look out for that information.

Public events are difficult to organize, and it is even harder to get people to participate. Still, if we hope to make a difference – for progressive change – then we must be prepared to do more than simply “liking” and commenting on social media. A number of you are out there and involved in numerous causes, and that is admirable (KEEP IT UP!), yet, there are far too many who follow the messages of this organization without directly getting involved in some way. The question which must be asked is “why?”

You may be working 40+ hours a week. Your work hours may be inconvenient for political activism. Childcare needs might be a factor. Health issues may be disabling your involvement. It also may be the case that you – as noted before – are overwhelmed with other activism. All of those are justifiable reasons for not getting engaged fully, but there may be some way that you can lend a hand.

If you can’t attend meetings or at least participate in organized events, offer to help promote these things in whatever spare time you may have. Obviously, you can always spend your free time composing letters to the editor, writing, messaging, or calling loved ones as well as our elected officials. There is always something that you can do. Not sure what to do? Just ask for advice and we will be sure to send you a list of possible tasks.

As for those of you whose only excuse is that you want to spend your free time at home relaxing, the question must be reiterated: why?! Why is it more important for you to relax than to be out there demanding progressive change? Are you not concerned about the future of this country? Don’t you care about the assault on everything we progressives have accomplished? There is a very real ideological war raging – against our values and against democracy itself – and you are sitting there in front of your computer or television and/or holding that damn phone in front of your face instead of getting up and resolving to do anything in your power to make a difference? Why?!

Don’t you know that your vote isn’t enough? No wonder why so many of our peers consistently say they don’t vote because “it doesn’t change anything”. In fact, the problem is that too many of us who do vote just go back to our daily lives and do nothing to demand that our representatives take action. That – the lack of consistent and persistent activism – is the self-fulfilling prophecy which enables the nonvoters to claim that voting doesn’t matter!

There are numerous activists trying their best to make a difference, but we can’t do this all alone. No, not anymore. This is a serious, all-hands-on-deck, emergency and you – yes, YOU – are a citizen ON CALL for DUTY. There’s no excuse for your lack of interest in activism in this day and age unless you are childless, have no surviving loved ones, and care only about yourself. Even then, it is STILL in your best interest to do something.

THE VERY LEAST you can do is to help spread the word on the various causes you see shared by the Licking County Progressives and the numerous like-minded organizations. However, if you have nothing which significantly prevents your participation, doing the LEAST is inexcusable. The point is that we need you to do more than bitch about politics amongst coworkers and loved ones, and if you don’t really care then we need you to start caring.

Pay attention to what is going on at the local, state, national, and international stages. At every single level our values are under siege by the forces of greed, fascism, and injustice. If you are a progressive you MUST be determined to help in a concrete way and there is no better time than now for you to start.

With love,

Daniel – Licking County Progressives

June 2018 Meeting Minutes and Tentative Schedule for August 2018 Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting
8/7/18
7-9pm
24 Mill St., Newark, OH
Subject to Change

• Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
• Summer of Labor Update (5 Mins. 7:05-7:10)
• City-Based Activism (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
• Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
• Endorsements? (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
• Open Discussion (If Desired) (95 Mins. 7:25-9:00)
• Adjourn (9:00)

 

Minutes for Progressive Meeting
6/5/18

• We discussed the success of the Fair Districts Fair Elections effort. The FDFE is now pushing for better districts – via court ruling – prior to the 2020 census.
• We also touched on some updates about the Summer of Labor. The original dates for the series for 2018 has been modified. June 21st will now be the first of three Summer of Labor planning committee meetings, with a gathering planned for 2-3:30pm at the library in Meeting Room A. This will be followed by meetings on July 17th and August 21st, both in Meeting Room B at the library from 4-5:30pm on both dates. In addition, We are hoping to host a march in Downtown Newark for Public Transportation on July 31st. We will also be partaking in the labor day parade on additional festivities that day and looking forward to our second annual Democracy Day in September. Finally, on Tuesday, June 12th, there will be a final meeting for the Community Spring Discussion Series on Transportation.
• We highlighted the effort to spread the word on Working Families First via the weblog, website registration, and through postcards that we can and should canvass to have citizens fill out during the summer and beyond.
• We briefly noted that if any candidates at the county, state district, or local level want an endorsement, they merely need to ask and we will post the request before everyone who follows us on facebook.
• We also had a brief update about Move To Amend, which apparently plans on promoting an initiative relative to Citizens United in Westerville.

Final Agenda for June 5th Meeting and Notes from Second Transportation Community Spring Discussion

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

6/5/18

7-9pm

24 Mill St., Newark, OH

Subject to Change

 

  • Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
  • Fair Districts = Fair Elections Update/Review  (5 Mins. 7:05-7:10)
  • Summer of Labor Update (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
  • City-Based Activism (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Endorsements? (5 Mins. 7:25-7:30)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (90 Mins. 7:30-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)

 

 

Notes from Second Community Spring Discussion on Transportation

5/15/18

 

  • 1) Writing a Letter
  1. a) We must unify behind a core message that we want to send.
  2. b) We need to determine what our goal is; relating to how the public should respond to the letter campaign.
  3. c) We must decide on our goal relative to how these letters will woo officeholders.
  • 2) Summer Organizing
  1. a) It could be helpful to hold a march or rally: perhaps we can attach this to one of the Summer of Labor events.
  2. b) We ought to have a coordinated plan to address the naysayers who oppose our efforts.
  3. c) Attending all public meetings and attempting to address the officeholders as a unit can help.
  4. d) We should draft the survey we discussed before.
  5. e) Our efforts could be aided as part of the Working Families First Initiative.
  • 3) Coordinate with Others
  1. a) The Newark Think Tank on Poverty has valuable outreach experience.
  2. b) The Freedom School of Licking County has the ability to help us educate the public and generate a helpful community conversation.
  3. c) The Licking County Progressives are ready to take a stand on this as political activists.
  • 4) Pressure on the Politicians
  1. a) Keep contacting and lobbying action from current elected officials (get them on record).
  2. b) Compel each candidate to stake a position and show them that there is a groundswell of support.
  • 5) Disseminating Information
    1. a) Some/most citizens need to be educated about the problem and the available solutions.
    2. b) If possible, some form of regular newsletter could help educate and generate support.
    3. c) Entertainment of some form which addresses the problem and solution could go a long way in educating while keeping it interesting.

Agenda for Second Gathering in the Community Spring Discussion on Transportation – May 15th, 2018

Date: May 15th

Time: 6-8pm

Location: Meeting Room A at the Newark Public Library in Downtown Newark (101 W. Main Street)

Agenda/Details:

This is the second discussion in the series on transportation.

Agenda:

1) Brief review of previous gathering.

2) “Let’s Write a Letter!”
a) Core Message
b) Public Engagement Goal
c) Officeholder Outreach

3) Organizing for the Summer
a) Rally/March?
b) Dealing with detractors
c) Public Meetings
d) Survey
e) Working Families First

4) Coordinating with Others
a) The Newark Think Tank on Poverty
b) The Freedom School of Licking County
c) The Licking County Progressives

5) Pressure on Politicians
a) Elected Officials
b) Candidates

6) Disseminating Information
a) Education
b) Newsletters?
c) Theater?
d) Additional Options?

7) Adjourn

Paid for by the Licking County Progressives.

May 2018 Meeting Minutes and Tentative Agenda for June Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

6/5/18

7-9pm

24 Mill St., Newark, OH

Subject to Change

 

  • Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
  • Fair Districts = Fair Elections Update/Review  (5 Mins. 7:05-7:10)
  • Summer of Labor Update (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
  • City-Based Activism (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (95 Mins. 7:25-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)

 

 

Minutes for Progressive Meeting

5/1/18

 

  • We discussed what will probably be the final update on the Fair Districts Fair Elections campaign. The group is trying to promote the passage of Issue One. They’re considering handing out leaflets near polling locations, and we briefly talked about the need for them to be aware of the rules on doing so.
  • We highlighted the upcoming Summer of Labor schedule, and how it was recently tweaked to reduce the number of dates. The final dates are as follows (starting with the Community Spring schedule): (Corporate Personhood “Birthday”) May 10th, (Community Spring Discussions) May 15th, June 12th, (Working Families Bash!) June 21st, (Restore the Dream Rally) July 17th and (Where’s the Dream? Panel Discussion) 31st, (Economic Fairness March) August 21st, (Labor Day Parade and Debriefing) September 3rd, and (Democracy Day) September 17th. We plan on starting advertising for the Summer of Labor – specifically with respect to Democracy Day – in the coming weeks.
  • We noted the city-based activism: the gazebo group is still around and awaiting answers, but not currently planning anything major, there is more of a controversy around the discussion on closing off the pedestrian bridge which crosses State Routes 79 and 16, we mentioned the need to keep our eyes on the drift towards gentrification, brought up the food deserts such as the one created by the closure of Lil Bear, and – as expected – went more in depth on the need for transportation and how that discussion is progressing locally.
  • We addressed Working Families First, underlined the overlapping interests and goals, reviewed the film and discussion event on April 14th, it was noted that more film discussions are to come soon, and we briefly pointed out that we would like to help with post-primary canvassing to help build a network.

Final Agenda for May Business Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

5/1/18

7-9pm

24 Mill St., Newark, OH

Subject to Change

 

  • Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
  • Fair Districts = Fair Elections Update  (5 Mins. 7:05-7:10)
  • Summer of Labor Update (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
  • City-Based Activism (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (95 Mins. 7:25-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)

Minutes from First Community Spring Event on March 27th, 2018

Community Spring Discussion Series: Transportation (1st Meeting)

• Discussion led by Daniel Crawford. Introduced himself with his background in local politics/activism and noted the brief history of the Licking County Progressives.
• Testimonials: Crawford discussed past history of having to walk to and from work at the age of 19 for up to 5 hours round trips (about 3 hours when on a bike) in all weather conditions when taking a taxi or carpooling proved unreliable. Also noted how he has since had to provide regular rides to family, including his ex-wife all due to a lack of public transportation despite a busy schedule. From the others in attendance, we learned stories about how one gentleman living in Newark provided another with a ride from Mt. Vernon to Hebron, another citizen reportedly had to walk 7 miles so that they could participate in mandatory AA meetings and regain custody of their children. Another reportedly had to share a vehicle with their roommate. Another apparently had to ride a bike from Granville to Columbus in order to then take a COTA bus. It was pointed out that in our recent past Newark and Licking County citizens had access to “Park and Ride” service via the COTA bus and that one also used to be able to visit numerous cities by train. An affordable service called “Go Bus” was also mentioned.
• Past Committees and Inaction: we discussed the past efforts led by the Freedom School in 2011 (which inspired an extensive study) and the Newark Think Tank on Poverty after that. In both cases, the City of Newark and other local government bodies chose not to act. Crawford shared his recent experience as a champion for Nonpartisan elections in Newark wherein he served on the Charter Review Commission in 2017 and pushed for action, managed to get consensus on the City needing to create a study group to further explore the issue, but that the City has since ignored the issue entirely. Crawford’s primary connecting concern with these examples is that the lack of public pressure on the policymakers will open the door to the City, the Transit Board, and the County ignoring the need for public transportation – despite the progress of the current “Transport Licking County” committees – much like how they did in the past and like how the City has so far continued to not act on studying nonpartisan elections. Crawford, for an example on a guide for future action, pointed out the success story (which arguably happened because of a grassroots and community-centered lobbying/activist effort) in the Newark Think Tank promoting Newark’s city government to “Ban the Box” which made it significantly easier for returning citizens to at least apply for a job with the City.
• Plan to Take Action: here we discussed a number of possibilities, including extensive community outreach, letters to the editor, contacting local government officials (preferably by phone over by email, since it is harder to ignore a phone call), social media organizing, commenting on relevant news media articles to help draw attention to the need, attending, occupying, and speaking at meetings of each relevant local governing body, and with public demonstrations.
• As an extension of the plans to take action: it was stated that we need to come up with a plan as well as wait for candidates and officeholders to propose a plan that we could then support., the current work of Transport Licking County’s committees was highlighted (including a series of public and business surveys and some research on the cost), it was said that we should find out the local work shifts which could instruct us as to when the need was greatest, expressed that we should survey other beneficiaries such as church-goers, some believe that the number one focus of transportation is a reliable route to and from work, an idea for organizing 10 citizens who need a ride to sign a petition seeking help with a reliable busing service at the same times and same location, it was suggested that we look into “Ask Kent (Mallett…the Advocate reporter)”, another participant pointed out that we can cite the examples of Medina and Mt. Vernon’s transit systems the latter of which you can call for a ride and travel anywhere within the city for a dollar, it was suggested that we organize a number of people (possibly including local politicians) to use and document their use of public transit where it exists, hosting a march or rally was suggested complete with citizens/speakers talking about transportation as well as spots for sign-ups/petitions and some musical entertainment that the organizers to learn ahead of time and partake in, it was noted that we can host a party, and it was noted that we should reach out and ask where people need to be transported and when they need that transportation.
• Next meeting is April 17th, where we will be deciding our first plan of action and delving more deeply into advanced planning.

Final Agenda for April 2018 Business Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

4/3/18

7-9pm

24 Mill St., Newark, OH

Subject to Change

 

  • Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
  • Fair Districts = Fair Elections Update  (5 Mins. 7:05-7:10)
  • Summer of Labor Update (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
  • Gazebo and Related Activism (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Working America (5 Mins. 7:25-7:30)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (90 Mins. 7:30-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)