Friday, October 13, 2006

Candidates! Listen Up!

Want to guest blog and promote yourself on AthPo? Email us.


Adrian said...

Has anyone emailed yet?

Anonymous said...

Athens Democrats sign up for the Athens Democracy for America group at:


Democracy for America is building a nationwide progressive network of activists in communities all over America. Over 700 groups are active in 421 of the 435 congressional districts. That means DFA members are organizing in a neighborhood near you in Georgia.

Local DFA groups are self-organized, set their own agenda, plan events, and grow their own organization usually through civic engagement, social activities, and special events. DFA is dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government -- from the local school board to the presidency. When motivated individuals come together they have a profound impact on their community because as former U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neill was known for saying, "All politics is local politics." Please join one of Georgia's DFA groups right now.

Find a group near you at:

Tom Baxter reporting last Monday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about online organizing for offline action had this to say:

It's the power these sites give users to take control that gives them a revolutionary potential, said Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University in Washington. "In the same way that political reporters have seen that with blogs they no longer control the news media, candidates are about to find out that they no longer control politics," Darr said.

Find a group near you at:

If you want to turn Georgia one step bluer, then sign up to be a leader and organizer for any one of the Georgia groups. Almost all of them are looking for additional leaders to step up to the plate. Just reply to this message and I will contact you directly to get you started. In addition, DFA will provide a free copy of Robert Greenwald's new movie Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers to each new leader. That way you can make a film screening your next event!

Before Election Day, thousands of activists like you will provide boots on the ground for campaigns everywhere. Door knocking, literature dropping, sign waving, phone calling... you name it. DFA members are working to make sure progressive values win on November 7. Sign up now to become a part of it.

Thank you for everything you do,

Charles Chamberlain
Field Director


Publius said...

Not that I don't appreciate the good work that dfa does, but if you had emailed this to us personally, rather than using a tactic that is one step shy of comment spam (in that it is remotely related to the topic), we would have actually posted it rather than burying it in the comments.

Also, it's kind of a d-bag move.

There's been a lot of talk around certain blogs about how political communications people really don't get how blogs work. Case in point, but I would have expected some sort of outreach from a group like dfa that is known for netroots outreach.

Blackfin_Day said...


BTW, Charles... "d-bag" stands for douchebag.

Chuck said...

hah yeah right. this is exactly the place where candidates for office should want to be

Anonymous said...

Dunno, Chuckles. You sure hung out here a lot when you were a candidate.

Chuck said...

Entertainment value. I'm still hanging out here a lot now, for the same reason.

But, unless they are Her Highness Heidi Davison, who seems to be worshipped for some reason, it is extremely unlikely that any candidate who does not toe the party line is going to receive any fair treatment around here.

Publius said...

There's no question of fairness involved. A candidate writes a guest blog, we post it. Maybe we edit it to take out the misspellings and obvious typos, but other than that, I don't anticipate changing the content one iota. I'll even let your modifiers continue to dangle in the rhetorical breeze.

And to accuse anyone here of toeing the party line is just plain fatuous. I don't think I've made any bones about where I stand politically, and as I've said (sometimes, it seems, ad nauseum) when I blog, I'm giving commentary not news.

But let's do this. I'm going to call out two political folks who I know read this blog, Al Davison and James Garland, to prove my point. If you cats don't mind being called out like this, I'd like to pose a question.

James, you're pretty conservative - do you think we've let you express your views in a reasonably open environment?

And Al, I know you've gotten irritated at times when you've thought I've been less than fair and supportive of Heidi, right?

Besides, fairness isn't in my contract. Entertainment, however, is - so I'm glad I'm up to snuff.

Todd Mitchell said...

Chuck writes: " is extremely unlikely that any candidate who does not toe the party line is going to receive any fair treatment around here."

LOL. Unless you're talking about the Keg Party, you are way off base.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I appreciate the opportunity but this is the single busiest week of the campaign for me.

Maybe next week...


Chuck said...

ESPECIALLY the Keg Party, because keg parties typically involve those evil, hated students who we all want out of our neighborhoods (but we dont mind taking their money in taxes and economic benefits).

Relax Publius. Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. All I meant was that it's clear what political persuasion is dominant here, it's not like anyone's mind is going to be changed.

james garland said...

As regular readers may have noticed, I haven’t made any postings of late. Though I’ve kept up with the discussions, the demands on my time these days are acute and pretty much preclude active blog participation (right there with you, Al). My input was specifically requested, though, so here goes:

Yes, I feel that I have been treated fairly by the owners/moderators of this blog in every respect (and over at Safe As Houses, too, for that matter). While I come at issues from a different perspective than do most of the folks in Clarke County, I do not recall any instances in which my comments were edited, altered, or otherwise suppressed in any way. Instead, I have been invited to participate in the discussion of issues and have done so regarding specific ones. Not that my comments were necessarily agreed with, mind you, but the local blogosphere and I have been able to find areas of common ground on occasion.

And since I’m temporarily back in blog mode, I will throw this out there. I found the Unified Government’s list of legislative priorities for the 2007 session of the General Assembly quite disappointing. A couple of ideas I have advanced specifically regarding that list are requesting that the legislative delegation introduce a bill to take legislative and congressional redistricting out of the hands of the General Assembly (the proposal has been on my campaign web site since late February or early March, which I think predates related proposals made by both Governor Perdue or Representative Kidd) and introducing local legislation permitting a referendum on a “floating” homestead exemption to limit property tax increases on owner-occupied homes (thirty Georgia counties and the City of Atlanta have already enacted such measures). I regard these as important issues for all of the county’s citizens.

Instead, we simply got more of the same micromanagement, punitive, unfunded mandate measures that have characterized the Unified Government’s approach to all manner of issues for years (as noted elsewhere, some of these indeed predate the current administration, not to mention that the commissioners have had substantial input on them as well, so don’t pounce on me about that). Here are my comments on the list of legislative priorities as published in the Banner-Herald, which reflect some of what has already been mentioned by others:

-Making it a crime to possess someone else’s ID while violating alcohol laws.

So we want to make an illegal activity (underage drinking) even more illegal? I just don’t see the point. Given the valid reasons that one may have for possessing another’s ID at any given time, I suspect that enforcement of such a law would be problematic at best. As noted elsewhere, the state Code already has provisions for misusing another’s ID.

-Making it easier to charge bar doormen with a crime if they let in underage drinkers.

So we penalize people trying to do their job (doormen) for being fooled by someone else (underage drinkers) actively trying to break the law. Unless you can prove that the doormen acted purposefully to allow underage drinking, how is this even remotely fair? All you would do is ensure that the occupation of “doorman” would entail even higher turnover, thus less expertise, than now.

-Placing a bar code on Georgia driver’s licenses.

The civil libertarian in me cringes at the thought of this one. Besides, who pays for the new IDs? Who pays for the scanners? What happens to a bar if the scanner goes down?

-Allowing local government to levy a special sales tax dedicated to transportation.

I have maintained for years that the Unified Government will never tax its way to prosperity. This is a general position. With regard to this proposal specifically, it is my understanding that without the subsidy from UGA students in the form of mandatory fees, Athens Transit would be a financial black hole. So, you say, why not chip in more money for its operation? Because I suspect that the end result would be that everyone would pay higher taxes, but that not everyone would benefit (transpose the routes of local bus lines over the map of District 1 to see what I mean). In other words, the folks who would be my constituents would pay more in taxes without getting more in services (yet again).

-Increasing the fine for not wearing a seat belt.

Again, to me this is a civil libertarian issue. Besides, wasn’t the seat belt law originally enacted as a “secondary enforcement” measure? In other words, wasn’t the only way to fine someone for not wearing a seat belt was if he/she was pulled over for another offence? Is the state’s seat belt law the result of federal coercion (you know, like when the Feds held highway funds hostage, thereby forcing states to raise their drinking ages)?

-Adding a second judge to Clarke County State Court.

I fully support this one (weren’t expecting that, were you?).

-Making elections for Clarke County magistrate and probate judges nonpartisan.

I fully support this one on philosophical grounds. I was active on the “yes” side in the debate over nonpartisan elections for mayor and commission. When I did the research back in 2004, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (I always want to insert another preposition) advocated nonpartisan elections for the office of county commissioner and the Georgia Sheriffs Association did the same for the office of county sheriff. For what is it worth, Cathy Cox’s platform included making the elections for many county offices nonpartisan (though not those of commissioners – to me, an excellent question would have been why not?). Our local experience with other judgeships determined by nonpartisan elections would seem to favor extending the practice.

While I don’t claim to have all of the answers to local problems, to me this list concentrates on the high-profile issue of underage drinking, which I think has been exaggerated, and ignores some more import concerns that affect the county’s broader population. And by the way, back when I was an undergrad, the drinking age was 18 and we didn’t seem to have anywhere near the problems that (supposedly) exist now.

Anonymous said...

hey those students aren't subsidizing a damn thing, James, they're paying what's called the best fare rate, or roughly 85 percent of the total fare for their rides.

admittedly, it should be way more, so that we can actually add routes instead of only serving the student population efficiently. They're the only ones that get 15 minute (or even less) frequency. The rest of us have to stand around or fill an hour between rides unless we want to go back and forth from the mall.
that's every twenty minutes... yee ha, huh?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

OK, folks. I sorta promised I’d blog a little about Heidi’s campaign when I had a moment to catch my breath so, here is just a little. (Obviously I’m not going to tell everything.)

We are taking NOTHING for granted in this race! We’ve been busting our humps since the day Heidi announced. We knew we’d be leading from the moment she announced because of all the urgent pleas we were getting for her to run again. It seems that the more they heard from the other guys in the race, the more pressure they put on Heidi to run again. And, yes, it was completely true and sincere that she was not sure whether she wanted to do this job for another 4 years. It’s a life-swallowing job if it’s done right and “right” is the only way Heidi would ever do it. Finally, she decided that she had to do it because the other choices were just not acceptable. She loves this town and she couldn’t abandon it or trust it to any of the other announced candidates. It may sound cheesy or trite but, it’s just absolutely true that she’s running out of a sense of duty and responsibility.

We’re proud of all our endorsements. We’ve gotten endorsed by everybody who does endorsements – except the Chamber PAC and they have yet to announce. We’re starting to wonder if they are afraid to endorse their candidate (you know who I mean) since we’re seeing lots of signs (pun intended) that the Chamber and hard-core Republicans are getting nervous about how closely their candidate is being identified with them.

On that subject, I have to say that there is really nothing at all non-partisan about this race in actuality other than the missing party identification on the ballots. The vast majority of the local (and state-wide) Dems have lined up behind Heidi. The vast majority of the Deep Red Team has lined up behind one of the other 2 “serious” candidates. That is not to say that Heidi does not have support from a lot of locals who usually vote Republican – she does. It’s just not any of the rabid far-right crowd. Heidi has built some great relationships with folks who don’t really agree with her on a lot of issues but they trust her and they know that they can work with her so, they appreciate that she’s honest and will seriously consider their points of view even when they don’t necessarily agree. That’s all good because we can’t win without support from folks who disagree on some issues.

In fact, one of the most gratifying things that we’re discovering about Athens voters is that there are very few “single-issue” voters out there. There are also very few who vote along the lines of race or gender. I’m pretty happy at how savvy is the majority of the local electorate. In fact, I’m proud of us! I’m equally happy that this town still frowns heavily on negative campaign tactics. I truly believe that, in Athens, the first one to go negative loses. We will absolutely NOT go negative! It’s not just good campaign strategy, it’s the only way Heidi and I will ever run a campaign. We do expect some last minute desperation attacks because that’s been the style and tactics that we’ve seen from the folks who are actually running some of the other campaigns – not the ones who have their names listed but the real campaign teams. Good luck to them – it won’t stick to us but it will stick to them long after the election is over. My old football coach once told me something I’ll never forget: “you play the way you practice”. We plan to “practice” and “play” in ways that will never cause us shame even if we lose.

OK, what else can I tell you? I guess the main thing is that we’re doing all we can to win this thing on November 7th. I think I was the only person in town that thought this was possible up until recently. I always knew it could be done. I’m not predicting anything – I’m just saying that there are now a lot of pundits who agree that we might win without a run-off and I’ve not heard from any respectable pundit who thinks Heidi won’t win on either Nov. 7th or Dec. 5th. We aren’t going for a landslide – we don’t really care if we only win by only 1 vote. There are other candidates in this race that are decent folks with plenty of support so there’s no reason to think that Heidi is going to win unanimously. ;-)
I do hope that we don’t have to campaign through Thanksgiving, though. I can imagine that the voter turn-out on Dec. 5th will be one of the lowest on record (unless there is a run-off for Governor).

Good luck all the candidates! Keep it clean, keep it issue based and true – let the people decide and be happy with the results if you can. There is life after Election Day.