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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Saturday, September 10, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA "Meetup"/DFA-Linkup Report -- Join Us!
Hello Everyone:

We had an unusually busy and successful DFA meeting last Wednesday at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe.

In This Report:

1. Ron Vanselow Endorsement
2. Leave My Child Alone --
3. Join In LMCA -- More Schools need contacting!
4. Voting Machines
5. Join The Voting Machine Team
6. DFA-Link gaining speed
7. Upcoming Demonstrations Next Week -- Cindy Sheehan in Albany
8. Are Democrats Speaking Out? Clinton and Dean

1. Our first action was to unanimously endorse Ron Vanselow for a seat on the Johnsburg Town Board. Ron has been a long term Planning Board member in Johnsburg and is riding a wave of concern about development changing the town. For those who don't know him, Ron was a major supporter of Governor Dean's from the beginning. I think it's fair to say we were pleased to give Ron our support.

2. The bulk of the evening was spent on DFA's Leave My Child Alone initiative, beginning with a moving video featuring Gold Star Mother For Peace Cindy Sheehan. Quite a few of us shared personal experiences in dealing with recruiters, especially Kameron Spaulding.

In a truly remarkable development, we scored a victory before we even met. How is that possible?

You probably saw the article in article in the Tuesday Post Star on our LMCA initiative and Wednesday's "meetup"/DFA-Linkup. Quoted in the story at some length was one of our members, Rev. Sandra Spaulding, who discovered recruiters came up onto her porch when she wasn't home hunting for Kameron.

Wednesday was the first day of school, of course. When Kameron, who is also a regular member of our meetup and the head of Washington County Young Democrats, arrived in class, he discovered that, contrary to what had been the practice in every previous year, every desk in the school had an opt out form on it to be taken home. Kameron's school mates were all ribbing him as to what his mom had wrought. They thought it was pretty funny. But the forms went home, of course, with all the rest of the paperwork.

Kameron and his mom Sandra deserve a real tip of the hat for this; we won one before we began, I don't think I've ever had that experience before.

3. We agreed to take action on Leave My Child Alone; there are 23 area school districts. Meeting attendees are now contacting 15 of them. They will do the following:
*Explain they are from DFA
* Determine the superintendent's and the school board's policies and what they are or are not doing.
* Ask them to support parent's and children's privacy rights by sending home opt-out forms just as Kameron's school is now doing.
* Report back and visit the school board meeting and ask to speak.

We still need people to contact and possibly visit some schools! The following have not been taken: North Warren, Saratoga Springs City, Hadley-Luzerne, Bolton, Warrensburg and Corinth. If you want to contact these schools, please email me back.

The materials you will need, including a sample School Board Resolution, a School Board meeting tip sheet, a sample opt-out form and a sample Superintendent Letter are online at: http://tools.democracyforamerica.com/resources/

4. The next piece of business was voting machines. As we all probably know, New York State is replacing its voting machines. We set up a team, headed by Bob Rockwell, to do some fact finding from the Warren County Board of Elections. Bob spoke with Mary Beth Casey. He learned the Commissioners are going to be pushing for the infamous touchscreen machines. As we have noted, progressives everywhere are pushing for optically scanned paper ballots that can be reliably recounted. There have been serious problems with touchscreen machines, known as DRE's, for Direct Recording Entry, all across the country. If Florida had optical scan machines in 2000, Al Gore would be President. We will be checking into this; a public forum and reaching out to supervisors will probably be required. Stay tuned.

5. Our Voting Machine Team is going to be contacting supervisors; if you want to help, contact me or Bob at rrockwel@nycap.rr.com.

There are some really interesting demonstrations coming up:

6. DFA-Link is gaining speed. We have almost 30 people signed up! This will really build our group by making it easier for all of us to contact each other. This is about empowering YOU! If you haven't signed up with DFA-Link, now's the time! Just click this link, enter your name, create and password and join. http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?c=g&id=91042f3ae603ef90&

I would note, some people registered without joining a group. You might want to check to make sure you did: http://tools.democracyforamerica.com/link/group.php?id=113


7. On Wednesday, Sep. 14, Cindy Sheehan and the Bring Them Home Now bus tour, http://www.bringthemhomenowtour.org/, will be arriving
in Albany, NY, on it's way to the peace rally in Washington, DC, on Sep. 24.

Details are still being finalized. The tentative schedule of events is

10am - set up symbolic Camp Casey at Capitol Park West; Camp Casey to be staffed throughout the day; memorials, musicians, poets, and other events going throughout the day

Noon - Vigil on west side of Capitol building

7pm - Evening forum where Cindy Sheehan and all BTHN bus tour members will be speaking to a large public audience at Chancellor's Hall in Education Building across Hawk St from the Capital.

Additional information will be posted here and here:
http://www.bringthemhomenowtour.org/userdata_display.php?modin=50&uid=24 as it becomes available and details are finalized.

This event leads into the big protest demonstration in Washington, D.C. scheduled for September 24th. Friday, Sep. 23, in Albany there will be a kick-off rally. March begins 4:00PM at the Federal Building across from the Palace Theater, corner of Pearl and Clinton. They will march down Pearl St, up State & Washington, stop at the Capital (west side, Washington & Swan at 4:30PM. Then on to Townsend Park (Central & Henry Johnson Blvd) for a rally beginning at 5:00PM with music, speakers, and ending with a candlelight vigil. A very large crowd is expected for this as well as for the Bus Tour and the buses to DC (see next item) and are working with other groups nationwide to make this all happen.

There will be Buses to September 24-26, Peace Rally in Washington, DC leaving from Albany. The Northeast Peace and Justice Action Coalition, www.nepajac.org, is coordinating buses to the Peace Rally in Washington, DC on Sep. 24, Call Joe Lombardo at 439-1968 for more information about getting a seat on the bus.

8. We hear people ask, why aren't the Democrats speaking out on the dual Katrina catastrophe (the hurricane and then the bungled relief effortt staffed by political pals, now fired)? At least two of them are: Senator Clinton, who always opposed putting FEMA into Homeland Security, tore into the Administration and called for an independent investigation: http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/afx/2005/09/07/afx2210373.html

Governor Dean made a tough speech linking the explosion in poverty to the Katrina disaster: http://www.democrats.org/a/2005/09/governor_dean_s_2.php


Thanks everyone! Have a great weekend!



Larry

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