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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Friday, May 06, 2005
Glens Falls Meetup Report
Hello Everyone;

This is a update for those who couldn't make it to yesterday's Meetup at the Rockhill Bakeshouse Cafe; the event was very productive:

1. Mission Statement Adopted
2. Tentative Commitment To Host DFA Training
3. DFA National Action Day Event May 14th: Bike Path Clean Up
4. Many Members Interested In Working Families Party Club
5. Message From Mark Sullivan on School Elections

1. Mission Statement Adopted

Most local DFA groups are adopting Mission Statements now that we are no longer formally the Dean campaign, even though we are committed to carrying on the principles of the Dean For America campaign of empowering Americans, building a new American community, supporting progressive candidates and policies and fighting the radical right.

After an active discussion, we unanimously modified the Rochester DFA Mission Statement with language of our own that added additional inclusiveness, among other clarifications. Because the Mission Statement can wait, I will be posting a special message on upcoming school elections at the bottom of this message. I will email you all the Mission Statement in the next update.

2. Tentative Commitment To Host DFA Training

DFA National in Burlington has begun a new training initiative and it is very impressive. These are two full day session with about half a dozen instructors who are political professionals. If you go to the Democracy For Virginia website you can see the syllabus: DFV Training Generally, about a 100+ people are expected to attend these events. The cost is a very reasonable $50 ($10 for students).

As many of us have observed from time to time, the level of skills of Democrats in our area could be better. This is a critical need going into major races in 2006. Rochester is preparing to hold a DFA training in June. However, we really could use one in our region. This would possibly be next fall or even next winter. Glens Falls is the largest urban area in the 20th CD and we are the largest and oldest DFA Meetup in the District; clearly, if we don't do it, it won't get done.

After discussion, there was considerable interest in this project. It was suggested by Pat Dudley we see how Rochester's event works out, and to learn from it. We unanimously agreed to tentatively offer to host a DFA training weekend.

Importantly; many of our members signed to become committee members. This is critical because this necessarily will be a group effort; one or two people simply could not do all the work required. I would note we could have well more than a 100 attendees; for instance, perhaps we could rent the Wood Theater which holds 250. We will have to set up the venue, attend to food and beverage needs, other comforts and the like, as well as direct people to overnight housing, if needed. If you want to be added to this committee please let me know.

But this could prove to be one of the biggest things our group could do to raise the competitiveness of our Party in the 20th CD.

3. DFA National Action Day Event May 14th: Bike Path Clean Up

Last month we participated in a DFA National Action Day; talking to a representative of Rep. Sweeney about Social Security. (This was very successful -- Sweeney is backing off the issue as we saw in the Post Star. That is a real victory and we played some part).

For May DFA is suggesting all the meetups do a local community volunteer project. After discussion, we agreed to participate in this effort and we decided to go as a group to clean up the Warren County Bike Way. We will be starting at Noon on May 14th. Walt Combs agreed to chair this committee, and we will be getting further details to you. Obviously, everyone is invited to participate! This will give us some genuine community recognition and do something nice as well. We suggest wearing rubber boots and gloves and bring a trashcan bag!

4. Many Members Interested In Working Families Party Club

We were recently approached by the Working Families Party. The WFP was formed about a decade ago to advance progressive candidates. One of the interesting things about the WFP is that you can become a member without changing your registration by joining a WFP Club. Being able to give a second line to our candidates would be a great advantage to them. If we can get enough people together we can form a local Working Families Party Club. This club could then meet in a local caucus and put candidates directly on the ballot together with the State WFP.

Many of our members were very interested and took membership cards to join. If you could not make the meeting and are interested, please let me know. Also; if you send in the card and join, let me know that as well.

5. Message From Mark Sullivan on School Elections

Finally, Mark Sullivan spoke about the upcoming School Board and budget elections which are on May 17th. These are really important; the far right has been targeting school boards for take over and we need to watch out. Also, here in the City the school board budget is about half again larger than the city budget! That's a lot of our tax dollars. Here is the message from him:

An Important Date and Civic Duty for Every Citizen
Just below Churches, our schools are the oldest and most valued main stay institutions in our community!
May 17, 2005
Leave No Child Behind....Vote Yes for Education
State Wide Budget Votes and School Board Seat Elections
School Board Seat Elections are Very Important! 
A School Board Member is essentially a trusty of the district.  They have a great deal of power.  Their agenda is not always what is in the best interest of the school, students and community at large.  Conservatives and Right Winged Party Members want total control our education system.
Vote for Progressive, Liberal and Democratic minded School Board Candidates.  I hate to say this, but there are even some Moderate Republicans who value fair and equal education.  So ensure that the candidate has pledged to value and promote education. 
Obtain candidate information before voting
• Call school districts to find out when they will have meet the candidate forms (Maybe sometime next week)
• Check school newsletters or web sites for information
• Keep you eyes open for articles or paid advertisements in the Post Star, Chronicle, Adirondack Journal, etc.  The candidates may note political affiliations, agenda, etc.  A key indicator for a poor candidate is when they say they will hold down or lower school taxes.  Schools are strapped with many non-funded mandates that must be fulfilled or they lose State and Federal funds.  Also like any employer schools also face skyrocketing insurance cost (liability, worker's compensation and health).  It's impossible to lower school taxes unless the district has recently paid off a Capital Improvements or Project Bond. 
• If you know little about the candidates talk to people in your community to find out what they know about the individual. 
Spread the word to Vote YES on May 17, 2005.  Our kids deserve a good education.  We owe it to them!

Thanks everyone for a great meeting!

Larry Dudley

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