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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Saratoga DFA Endorses Val Keehn, YouTube, DFNY Conference Report,
Hello Everyone!

In this Update:

1. Democracy For Saratoga Springs Endorses Val Keehn For Reelection
2. YouTube Changing Face Of Politics
3. DFNY Albany Conference Report
4. Friday Night Film Fest

1. Democracy For Saratoga Springs Endorses Val Keehn For Reelection

Monday Night at Sally Kirouac's home in Saratoga Springs, Democracy For Saratoga Springs met for a talk with Mayor Valerie Keehn. Mayor Keehn spoke for about 45 minutes on a broad variety of issues facing the city of Saratoga Springs, including affordable housing, bring young people into city government, going green and many more. Then she answered questions from the group on an equally wide ranging series of issues. I was there and I have to say, it was a very impressive performance.

Afterwards, there was a discussion and a motion to endorse Val Keehn for a second term as Saratoga Spring's Mayor was unanimously carried.

Two years ago DF Saratoga endorsed Val, and played a major role in her victory, which got national attention from DFA and on Blog For America.

I will post the full press release about her appearance and the endorsement at the bottom.

And many thanks to Sally for picking up Pat's mantle as DFA host now that Pat is working for Kirsten Gillibrand.

2. YouTube Changing Face Of Politics

Global Warming may be changing the face of the planet, but YouTube is changing the face of politics. We all probably know how Senator George Allen of Virginia was basically brought down by a YouTube video that caught his famous "macaca" statement. But now the revolution is moving down into local politics and campaigns that have never seen video coverage before, and have the same power to expose as Allen's "macaca" video.

The Saratogian recently had an article on videos posted to YouTube by Democracy For Saratoga Springs Steering Committee Member Roger Wyatt, which illustrate a breakdown of civility in Saratoga Springs City Government. Roger's videos have been seen over 4,000 times, which is a phenomenal number in a city the size of Saratoga Springs. On a national basis, for a YouTube video to reach a comparable penetration, it would have to been seen 45 million times. That is a staggering percentage. Considering that fact, the real potential and impact of YouTube may not be in national politics, but local.

Read the Saratogian piece at:

Wyatt's videos are a form of citizen journalism. Others can be more editorial.

Former Glens Falls City Treasurer and now attorney Paul Kemnitzer has created his own video on the similarities between the Vietnam War and Iraq, focusing on US casualties wracked up after defeat in the war was recognized. It is a powerful statement.

To take a look at these YouTube videos and you will get a sense of how television is being democratized, and not a moment too soon. This is yet another revolution in political affairs:
For Roger Wyatt's:
For Paul Kemnitzer's:

3. DFNY Albany Conference Report

Last weekend was the Third Annual Democracy For New York Conference in Albany.

First, a special thanks to John McBride and all the members of Democracy For The Hudson Mohawk Region for their hard work to put this conference together, and to Andrew White for getting the SEIU Hall on Washington Avenue again!

There were many fascinating things that happened at this conference. The first day saw the opening address by Democracy For America Chair Jim Dean. Jim set what was to be the tone and theme of much of the conference; small "d" democracy. He spoke at some length on how television based campaigning is a thing of the past and the kind of grass roots, community based politics DFA exemplifies is the wave of the future.

Afterwards, I had a great talk with Jim. The first thing he asked me was what was going on in our area. I told him Saratoga was meeting Monday. He immediately demanded to know: "Is Val running again? I sure hope she is!" I assured him she was. "That's great! She went to one of our trainings! She's one of our stars!" And more. Jim was really pumped to learn Val was running again.

The rest of the morning was a program by Jessica Wisnewsky, who spoke on Clean Money Clean Elections. Clearly, New York has a huge problem with campaign financing, but governor Spitzer is moving on the issue. Alan Goldston spoke on the NY Democratic Lawyers Council and Bo Lipari (who we sponsored at the Crandall Library November 2005) followed with a presentation on the dangers of Electronic voting machines.

The afternoon featured Brian Keeler and others talking about the dysfunctionality of State Government.

Saturday night was a big highlight, with a phenomenal, rousing speech by NY-29 candidate Eric Massa, who lost last year by a mere 3,000 votes. His speech was followed by a showing of the new video Taking The Hill, about former Senator Max Cleland and the many veterans who ran for Congress the last time. Very sadly, just as some of our veterans are not getting the support they need now, many of these veterans did not get the support they needed, or even intelligent advice, as the video makes clear. Eric is running again and it's clear he will win this time!

The high point of Sunday was a presentation by Amy Little, Rep. John Hall's campaign manager in NY-19. Hall won a primary and then went on to win the general election, even though right after the primary he had only $10,000 in the bank. But he had two things that were more valuable: people and Amy Little. Little created a brilliant grassroots campaign against Republican Rep. Sue Kelly. People in his district, especially our DFA people, put their shoulders to the wheel, carried out the plan and won. Little amplified Jim Dean's point about small "d" democracy: the way to win is as a progressive.

The final highlight of Sunday was the Gore Global Warming power point presentation by Gore trained activist Patrick West. This is the full power point only shown in the movie The Inconvenient Truth. It was stunning. Global Climate Change is the issue of the century.

4. Friday Night Film Fest

The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe continues its Friday Night Progressive Film Festival at 7:30 with a double bill:

May 11 DOUBLE BILL * * Not To Be Missed * * 80 min. combined
INDEPENDENT MEDIA: IN A TIME OF WAR (2003) Democracy Now! / Hudson-Mohawk Independent Media 30 min.
"In 2003, the reality of war set in, and the roar of the mainstream media seemed to deafen our ears and stifle our voices. Hudson Mohawk Independent Media center responded by coming together to make this documentary". Part scathing critique, part call to action, this film incorporates footage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with Democracy Now! host, Amy Goodman, arguing
that dialogue in the press and public spaces is vital to a healthy democracy. An analysis of the mainstream media's coverage of the push to war and of our attack on Iraq, comparisons of the Arab, European and American media coverage are not to be missed. Be forewarned that this film contains some graphic footage of victims of the war, many of them, children.
INVESTIGATION OF A FLAME (2001) Lynne Sachs 50 min.
On May 18th, 1968, three priests, a nurse, an artist and four others walked into a Catonsville, Maryland draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records and burned them with homemade napalm. Ths film is an intimate look at this unlikely band - dubbed the Catonsville Nine - who broke the law in a poetic act of civil disobedience. The publicity and news coverage from their ensuing trial helped galvanize an American public that was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Vietnam War. "Investigations of a Flame" explores this sixties protest within the context of these extremely different times; times in which foes of Middle East peace, abortion, and technology resort to violence to access the public imagination.
Filmmaker, Lynne Sachs, has combined volatile, long-unseen, archival footage with a series of informal interviews with Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Howard Zinn, John Hogan, Tom Lewis and Marjorie and Tom Melville. The meditative result encourages viewers to ponder the contempaorary relevance of civil disobedience and the implications of personal sacrifice for the greater good.

Thanks everyone! The Val Keehn press release is below.

Larry Dudley

Press Release

For Immediate Release

May 8, 2007


Monday night, May 7, 2007 Democracy For Saratoga Springs hosted a talk and question and answer session with Saratoga Mayor Valerie Keehn at the home of local host Sally Kirouac.

After an introduction, Keehn spoke first about her endorsement by Democracy For Saratoga Springs two years ago and how she had attended a Democracy For America training session in Cazenovia, NY. "It really solidified my desire to run," said Keehn, "it was run by an enthusiastic group of young people who really knew how to run a campaign."

The Mayor then spoke about her first sixteen months in office, "We've set the stage for what we want to accomplish in the next few years."

Much of her comments centered on the issues of affordable housing, touching first on senior housing, "we relaxed rules to get more senior housing that is affordable." New senior housing was being built, Keehn noted, but it was not affordable for most seniors, especially long term city residents.

Keehn also spoke with praise of the two new City committees she has started for senior citizen's issues and energy, and of appointing new people to other City committees, "we especially wanted to bring young people into City government." She was particularly pleased with a Skidmore student presently interning in City Hall, "He's working on an environmental energy plan-- where do we use energy? Looking into converting city vehicles to biodiesel. What can we do with green buildings?"

But senior citizens also responded with great enthusiasm to the Senior Citizens Committee, Keehn said, "Within a week there were fifteen to twenty people who formed the core of that committee who came in with great ideas." The Senior Citizen's Committee especially responded recently when CDTA proposed route changes: some senior housing complexes might have been stranded by the changes. "But now, thanks to them, CDTA is putting on a special bus to connect with those locations so those residents are served."

Following Keehn's talk, the members held a discussion and unanimously endorsed Keehn for a second term as Saratoga Springs Mayor.

Additional Democracy For Saratoga Springs meetings, called Link-ups, will be held in the future.

Democracy For Saratoga Springs follows Democracy For America, the nation wide activist organization founded by former Vermont Governor and Presidential candidate Howard Dean. Its goals are to empower Americans, support progressive candidates and policies, resist right wing extremism and build a new American community.

For more information on Mayor Valerie Keehn, go to her website at:

For more information on Democracy For Saratoga Springs, go to their webpage at:
For more information on Democracy For America:


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