Tentative Agenda for March Business Meeting and Minutes for February Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

3/6/18

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)
  • Working Class Discussion Series (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Newark Poor People’s March (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Gazebo and Related Activism (5 Mins. 7:25-7:30)
  • Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:30-7:35)
  • Working America (5 Mins. 7:35-7:40)
  • LCP PAC (5 Mins. 7:40-7:45)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (75 Mins. 7:45-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)

 

 

Minutes for Progressive Meeting

2/6/18

 

  • We were updated on the progress of the Fair Districts Fair Elections campaign. The General Assembly was reportedly moving along a proposal that the FDFE campaign was endorsing which will – if passed via the May ballot – require a 3/5ths vote of both chambers to approve drawn congressional districts on the first try or the support of at least 2 minor party members of a bipartisan commission to approve a ten-year map or a simple majority for a 4 year map. Even with this proposal, the campaign was encouraging activists to continue collecting signatures just in case. In the discussion, it was noted that moderates of each party hate gerrymandering as well, since gerrymandered districts typically favor the base of the advantaged party.
  • We discussed the upcoming tentative calendar for the full-length Summer of Labor: kicking off possibly with a poor people’s march in March (it was suggested by another member that we reach out to Reverend William Barber, because his organization is encouraging a series of events from 40 days of lent to 40 days of civil disobedience with the poor people’s march in the middle of these actions, but the events culminate in May, not March), then we continue with a community discussion series throughout the Spring (called “Community Spring”) as a lead up to the official Summer of Labor, wherein a central theme (“Economic and Political Poverty”) will be covered through four sub-topic discussions (a. “We Need Transportation”, b. “We Need Living Wages”, c. “We Need Work Benefits”, and d. “We Need Power”). The next major event, taking in place on May 10th will commemorate the birthday of Corporate Personhood. Then, we have the official kickoff of the Summer of Labor on the first day of Summer with “Working Families Bash!”, then “Connecting Families with Opportunities”, “Restore the Dream Rally”, a July voter registration drive, a “Where’s the Dream?” Discussion panel [possibly featuring members of the teachers unions, the head of Job and Family Services, social workers, Stephanie Dodd, Guthrie, etc.], a march for Economic Fairness, another voter registration/education event, a “Fair Shake Forum”, a “Labor Day Debriefing” event, an event dubbed “Labor History Appreciation”, and finally wrapping it all up with the 2nd Annual Democracy Day complete with voter registration, education, and a call to action!
  • We discussed the current efforts by the Gazebo group to keep pressing for answers from the City of Newark and the County Commissioners. Crawford’s recent article apparently has some member riled up, the media is trying to get the Administration to come in and talk about it, and there will be a call to action at the end of March when Council hears more about the proposed blocking of the pedestrian bridge.
  • We highlighted how the spring will also feature some grassroots efforts to help build the Working Families First Initiative as an alternative source for community outreach for interested and determined public servants.
  • We had as guests the creators of “Democracy First”, a new PAC: borne out of the fact that the Ohio Democratic Party has given up on Licking County until we “lose less badly”, the goal is to facilitate a consensus and share volunteers from likeminded projects, possible candidate training, the initial goal will be to help Democrats, but will later expand to likeminded Independents, the concern is that there are too many separate causes and ineffective coordination as well as the fact that the current condition of the party sucks, the creators have experience in helping successful campaigns, the party’s “Main Street Initiative” has been decent, but it comes with strings attached and the requirement to feed information to the larger database, the new PAC wants to help generate media interest via big gatherings of the likeminded causes, and the chief rule is to ALWAYS have fun.
  • We highlighted the first meeting of Working America’s Licking County chapter (which was summarized in a previous update here), it was noted that education was one major issue that the Working America group generated a consensus on: it was noted that one problem we have is that “nothing is designed to be portable”, people still have basic needs, the lack of portability holds people back, we need to make it easier for people to take care of their basic needs, we must teach resilience (which isn’t happening in schools) with special emphasis on adaptability.
  • We discussed the recent creation of Licking County’s Our Revolution chapter by one of our members: the new PAC can meet and nominate candidates for possible endorsement by the larger Our Revolution organization.
  • There was some talk about how some in the Party are trying to undercut or delegitimize alternative options.
  • Creating a PAC for the Licking County Progressives (which was created officially today) was suggested so as to cover all bases if the intent is to influence election outcomes.

For Your Information

Recent bullet points of local information you might want to know, but may have missed:

 

  • Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Connie Pillich visited Licking County and spoke to local Democrats. As part of her commentary, she noted her support for “Medicaid for all” that citizens of Ohio should be able to buy into.
  • Newark City Councilman Jeremy Blake, whom had previously been prepping a run for State Treasurer – even visiting multiple counties in the months leading up to now – suddenly announced a bid for State Representative for Ohio’s 71st District. Note: another candidate has announced for State Treasurer.

For Your Information

Recent bullet points of local information you might want to know, but may have missed:

 

  • A representative of Working America – a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO which helps fight for the rights of working people whom aren’t lucky enough to have a union – spoke at the Democratic Club meeting and even touched based with me (Daniel Crawford) about coordinating our two groups in the near future.
  • A newly-announced candidate for Congress in the 12th District, a teacher named John Peters, also addressed the Democratic Club with a fiery speech aimed at taking the fight right to Congressman Tiberi.

“Working America” comes to Licking County

On Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 a growing working class-driven organization which serves as the community partner of the AFL-CIO launched its chapter in Licking County, Ohio. It was a fairly productive meeting featuring a number of the county’s activists. After it was all said and done, a second meeting was set to come some time later this month.

Here are a few highlights from that initial meeting:

  1. Attendees were asked to fill out a card listing the three most important issues for them. A number of participants named “addiction”, “equality”, and “justice reform” (specifically inspired by a desire to see some attention given to the very legitimate concerns of Black Lives Matter). There was general consensus that we needed to address healthcare (an argument for single-payer was made with no apparent opposition), lack of living wages, and the most unifying theme seemed to be a need for a greater emphasis on the issue of education.
  2. The hosts (one is the chief organizer from the Franklin County chapter, named Corissa, and the other was a trainee from California who happened to have an inspiring story being a DACA recipient while bravely advocating in door-to-door canvassing for the working class) introduced the group to Working America’s background, noting that much of their work is done through grassroots organizing and regular canvassing while also helping to set up actions meant to help make the voice of the working class heard.
  3. The group was fielded for ideas on some actions that we can take and/or some issues that we can focus on initially: a. right off the bat the issue of poverty emerged and a reference was made to the work of the “Newark Think Tank on Poverty”, b. we also highlighted the re-emerging debate on transportation and the role played by “Transport Licking County”, c. some extensive conversation referenced the success of the approximate 250-people turnout for the first annual Women’s March in Newark and the plans underway for the sequel in 2019, d. the dual and connected issues of Healthcare and addiction came up alongside the lack of education around it and how it is impacting even our schools, e. we covered – at length – the vital debate over homelessness and how it is directly impacted by the lack of affordable housing as well as a deficit of awareness on renter’s rights and the insufficient protections which exist for renters, f. we noted the unyielding right-wing pursuit of “Right to Work” legislation to attack unions and how we need to organize and educate against the coming onslaught, g. the thread of “JOBS JOBS JOBS” was circled back through all of the above needles with the need to underscore the poor quality and dangerous unpredictability of jobs currently available (special emphasis on Licking County’s dominance by low wages, temp services, and part-time work), h. and, finally, we repeatedly expressed the need to help the community reconnect with one another to recognize that we – as individuals – are powerless to confront these challenges, but as a unit we can achieve the change we desire.

Very much looking forward to what comes out of this and hope that the newest chapter of Working America can become a permanent partner with the Licking County Progressives, maybe as another nonpartisan (er, “trans-partisan”) subgroup.

Official Agenda for Tuesday’s Business Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

2/6/18

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 (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
  • Working Class Discussion Series (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Newark Poor People’s March (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Democracy Day (5 Mins. 7:25-7:30)
  • Gazebo and Related Activism (5 Mins. 7:30-7:35)
  • Working Families First (5 Mins. 7:35-7:40)
  • Democracy First (5 Mins. 7:40-7:45)
  • Working America (5 Mins. 7:45-7:50)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (70 Mins. 7:50-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)

An Analysis of the Cordray Visit to Licking County

Disclaimer: The following are the thoughts of the author – Daniel Crawford – alone and are not reflective of the thoughts of the Licking County Progressives, its core membership, or its supporters.

First and foremost, I liked Cordray and always have liked him. He speaks clearly and respectfully. There’s a reason why I was happy to support his bid for Treasurer in 2006 and his dual bids for State Attorney General in the 2008 special election and his unsuccessful reelection effort in 2010. I was also happy when he joined the Obama Administration as the chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Honestly, I would have no real problem supporting his bid for Governor should he win the nomination.

Having said that, I did have some concerns after his visit to our county on Tuesday, January 23rd. Look, I get it, he’s a skilled politician and he – as he proudly noted – holds the record for winning more votes in Ohio (when he won in the 2008 Special Election to replace Marc Dann for Attorney General) than anyone who wasn’t a presidential candidate. So, he has experience in winning statewide. Still, a great deal of his responses this evening were too measured and overly vague for someone who wants a champion of the working class ready to go to bat for them.

On numerous occasions he avoiding expressing a specific policy position that what he would advocate as Governor with the slight exception of placing education at the top of our state’s priority list. With healthcare, he didn’t directly answer the question of whether he supported or opposed a state “public option” or if he preferred a “market approach”. Instead, as seen in the “For Your Information” update, he merely said he was open to hearing suggestions from anyone with a better idea while indicating he may try to improve the status quo. With a “living wage”, he simply said that he strongly supports such as chained to inflation and said that he feels it needs to be raised…but raised to what?

In response to the “working class”, all he had to offer was that he and his runningmate – Mrs. Sutton – represent the best ticket for the working class of Ohio and then he touted his expectation that same said ticket will soon receive broad support from organized labor. This begs the question: HOW is your team the best for the working class? He gave lip service to the need to address the growing algae bloom in Lake Erie and noted that we need to be more careful with our environment – even highlighting support for green energy -, but he offered no specifics as to where he stands on reigning in on the sources of pollution in more than a moderate manner. Where does he stand on fracking, for example?

Then, on the controversial issue of guns, he arguably took the coward’s way out. Yes, it is understandable that avoiding the issue of gun control is the default stance of Midwestern Democrats, but that should be no excuse in an era with a growing focus on the epidemic of gun massacres on a nearly-weekly basis. It is admirable to try and avoid the wedge issues, especially since Republicans use such to split the aforementioned working class and prevent us from focusing on economics, but just flat-out saying that you oppose further regulations on guns because it would not help – or even claiming that it is solely a problem for the federal government to tackle – is not acceptable. This makes one wonder what he will do if there is a Sandy Hook-style event in Ohio during his tenure as Governor. Will he just hide behind his desk and hope that it goes away?

Sometimes doing what is right is NOT the popular action. We need courageous leaders, not a careful politician. Yes, I can see myself working to elect Cordray after the primary – with more enthusiasm than I did on behalf of Hillary in 2016 -, and I appreciate his recognition that being a Trump voter doesn’t equal automatically being “deplorable” or unreachable as well as his statement suggesting that we need to give voters something to believe in (in other words, EARNING their vote). However, I am very concerned that he seems unable or unwilling to clearly state a position on a number of issues and am seriously disappointed with his lack of will to confront the gun lobby.

In one last critique, I want to express my discontent with the fact that a young lady in the audience was directed to stop recording Cordray’s comments. The Party Chair stated that it was not permissible to record the proceedings without the expressed permission of the candidate or his campaign. The young lady cooperated without a fuss. Still, why the lack of willingness for transparency? This was a public meeting featuring a candidate for public office. Doesn’t the public deserve to know what was said and HOW it was said?

Again, these are just my thoughts. Thank you for reading.

For Your Information

Former State Treasurer and State Attorney General, and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chairman Richard Cordray – a candidate for Governor alongside his runningmate, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton – came to speak before the Licking County Democrats on January 23rd, 2018. In that meeting, he answered a series of questions. Here are some highlights as to his responses (paraphrased as best as I can, according to memory):

 

  1. He said that his campaign is “the best ticket for the working class”, made it a point to highlight that this includes both “organized” and “unorganized” labor. Later, when asked where he stood on a “living wage” and whether he supported such being attached to inflation, he expressed that he strongly believes in a living wage and likewise feels that it should be chained to inflation. He pointed out that the current minimum wage standard in Ohio is far too low and that another measure may need to be placed on the ballot. Also, he expressed his solid opposition to “Right to Work”.
  2. In response to a question which asked whether he supports an Ohio approach to a “Public Option” or if he prefers a market approach he said that he is open to “suggestions” on how to improve our healthcare in Ohio. Expressed his belief that healthcare is a “right” and that he would like to focus on preserving the Medicaid expansion, work on “affordability”, and improve our presentation of the “Healthcare Exchange”. He repeatedly mentioned throughout his visit the need to deal with the opioid epidemic.
  3. On local issues and how the state impacts such: Cordray expressed his opposition to what the Kasich Administration has done to the local government fund – for example, the changes stripped $2 Million annually from the city of Newark – and that he believes educational funding needs to be the number one priority. He then went further on education, highlighting the recent scandal involving ECOT and how the current State Auditor’s office seemingly dragged feet in dealing with such. Finally, he said that he and even a growing number of Republicans feel that some serious changes are needed for our educational system to help deal with the “skills gap” and perhaps to reduce the immense pressure for constant testing.
  4. Responding to a question pertinent to how he would go about working with the likelihood of a Republican-controlled legislature, he referenced his track record of working with Republicans and noted that he will have to find common ground. He also noted that it will be easier if we can flip a handful of State Senate seats to give him leverage to eliminate the veto-overriding supermajorities the Republicans presently enjoy.
  5. With respect to his answers on questions relating to winning over the voters; Cordray conveyed that he doesn’t see people as “Trump voters” or “Cordray voters”, but as “Ohio voters”. He assured the audience that he feels a segment of citizens whom voted for the current president can be persuaded if we reach out to them and hear them out. Also, he noted that engaging younger voters largely requires exploring “strategies” to “inspire” them, by giving them something to turn out and vote for.
  6. On party unity, he simply noted his belief that the party will – and MUST – come together, because a united party is a party which can win. He also took a moment to respond to a question which involved a reference to Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s campaign. In this respect, Cordray noted that he acknowledges Kucinich’s passion for the issues, but he sincerely believes Kucinich is unelectable.
  7. On wedge issues: Cordray was not hesitant in conveying that he is pro-choice, and he pledged to fight for restoring state funding for Planned Parenthood. Regarding guns, he said he believes in the Second Amendment and opposes the idea of any state-oriented gun control as he believes it would be virtually ineffective. In his opinion, implementing measures to deal with the gun show loophole and to create stronger background checks are the territory of the federal government. He expressed his desire to stick to economic issues and to avoid the divisive politics which accompanies these more controversial cultural debates.

 

Immediately following this post will be a SEPARATE opinion critique regarding this meeting, as composed by the author: Daniel Crawford.

Exciting things coming in 2018!

So, the first few weeks of this new year have led to a number of new developments which we are proud and excited to share:

 

  1. January 20th: A Women’s March (which we contemplated at our January meeting and which is now a reality thanks to the hard work of fellow local progressive leader, Jen Kanagy) in Downtown Newark, starting at the old location for the Gazebo. It will transpire from 2-4pm and will include some speakers. Hope you can partake!
  2. The official launch of the new “Working Families First” initiative. This was also discussed at the January meeting, as some of our core members are helping to build this movement. In many respects, it has overlap with the “99% of Newark and East Central Ohio” subgroup of the Licking County Progressives with its message of uniting the working class and abandoning our needless and divisive labels. There is currently some talk about bringing this initiative partially or wholly under the umbrella of the Licking County Progressives as another “nonpartisan” or “trans-partisan” project thereof. In the spring, the initiative will take on an exciting new phase as we go door to door in an outreach effort to build this into a transformative grassroots movement. Stay tuned!
  3. Dates have been chosen for a complete “Summer of Labor” series and will be revealed sometime shortly after the next two business meetings of the Licking County Progressives! Some of the details (such as whether we are able to partially partner with the Freedom School of Licking County) for this series in its inaugural year still has to be ironed out, but this is an important first step. Of course, one event of the series will be the 2nd Annual Newark Democracy Day on September 17th, and more will be unveiled about that event as the year progresses.
  4. We will be contemplating – at our next business meeting – another opportunity for civic and community engagement. An idea was brought to the attention of one of our core members by a leading member of the Newark Think Tank on Poverty. This stemmed from a conversation about empowering the working class and empowering it to recognize its common struggles. A model emerged for going forward – at least initially – with a series of community discussions consisting of an overarching theme supported by a number of subthemes. This will be briefly discussed at our February business meeting as we attempt to put the final touches on the details and the exact framework so that we can begin the series at the outset of spring.

 

As you can see, we have much to be excited about! Stay tuned and get involved!

January 2018 Meeting Review and Tentative Agenda for February Meeting

Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting

2/6/18

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 (5 Mins. 7:10-7:15)
  • Democracy Day (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
  • Gazebo and Related Activism (5 Mins. 7:20-7:25)
  • Open Discussion (If Desired) (95 Mins. 7:25-9:00)
  • Adjourn (9:00)

 

 

Review of Progressive Meeting

1/2/18

 

  • We discussed the current progress on the Fair Districts = Fair Elections effort, with noting that some in the state legislature partook in a Committee – as covered in the local newspaper – to consider forwarding an amendment to the people of Ohio to make our redistricting for Ohio’s Congressmen nonpartisan and fair as is the case with the redistricting for our State Legislative districts. Our job is to keep an eye on this, keep pressure on the elected officials to follow through and maintain transparency, all the while we continue to collect signatures just in case they fail us.
  • With respect to the Summer of Labor: we will pick at least 12 dates from June-September (3 events per month) in the coming weeks, and perhaps try to organize alongside the Freedom School and others. If the Freedom School finds it suitable to host some of these events, the events they’d host MUST remain nonpartisan, since it is a nonprofit organization created for educational purposes. In those cases, the Licking County Progressives can help promote the event and possibly co-sponsor the event via our nonpartisan/“transpartisan” subgroup, the 99% of Newark and East Central Ohio.
  • As part of the Summer of Labor, the 2nd Annual Democracy Day will be held again on Constitution Day, we will begin promoting it with a smaller event to be held on May 10th, which is the official (132nd, to be exact) anniversary of the Court precedent establishing corporate personhood. On the September 17th Democracy Day event, we will focus more on what the call to action is, and a little less on the historical background of the issue.
  • We then shifted focus to the Gazebo group. It was noted that they are still – through some good detective work – digging in to the details to find out what happened and why. It is arguable that their pressure for information helped compel the administration to reveal that a local construction company tore down the Gazebo free of charge for the time being until it is rebuilt. The group is continuing to ask questions, make their presence known, explore where dots may or may not be connecting, and planning their next move over the spring.
  • In open discussion, it was noted that rumors are abound of a possible independent PAC for local progressive candidates being developed right now, and that this may well coincide with the creation of a new likewise independent initiative – dubbed “Working Families First” – which is being developed via a grassroots campaign to help provide progressive candidates with a reliable database and healthy network with which to capitalize on in future campaigns.
  • We also discussed our ongoing consideration on hosting a debate/forum for the 12th Congressional District Candidates as well as contemplated whether we should host a Women’s March in Newark at the old Gazebo location on the one year anniversary of Trump’s Inauguration (January 20th).
  • Additional note: we affirmed in this meeting that the agenda from now on will officially set the bulk of our actual business for the first half hour with open discussion being an option if the attendees would like to remain and talk afterwards. This will be the goal so as to make for a faster regular meeting which gets right to the point, with the bulk of our organizing occurring via social media, text, phone, and email. Effectively, the business meetings will now serve as a report on the progress of each project and maintain – via the open discussion section – an opportunity to ponder new ideas for projects moving forward.