December 26, 2010
Germantown NN Community Meeting
Summary of the Meeting Dec. 12, 2010
The Potluck dinner meeting began promptly at 6PM with David Schogel updating everyone on the last meeting that was held in November at the Germantown Friends Meeting House. The December agenda was a result of that meeting. David also referred everyone to the PhillyNN.com web site for an up to date report. He mentioned that there is an effort to start a Progressive Caucus within the Philadelphia Democratic Party spearheaded by NN members who are Committeepersons. Everyone present was introduced, and divided into 3 sub groups to discuss various topics...
Topic: Endorsing a candidate for City Council
In addition to a Republican, a Green and a possible Socialist candidate, we have heard rumors of the following Democrats maybe in the race for the 8th Councilmatic District: Cindy Bass, Verna Tyner, Greg Paulmier, Latrice Bryant, Jordan Dillard, Derrick Green, Irv Ackelsberg and Donna Miller. As in past years we think the wide field works to the advantage of the incumbent. Our goal is to elect a more progressive candidate.
After some discussion, the group agreed with recommendations from the November meeting:
- Use the NN web site to review the candidates’ answers to our questionnaire.
-Sponsor a “Meet the Candidates” events
- Vote to select our choice.
- Help raise funds to support the candidate we choose
- Distribute campaign literature of the candidate we choose
- Canvas and phone voters in support of the candidate we choose
- Put out our sample ballot and get out the vote
In addition to the above, we discussed that just a candidate’s questionnaire and a Meet the Candidates Night would not be sufficient to make a selection. We want a progressive candidate (concerned with representing all the people, concerned with social and economic justice, able to address the many issues of housing, employment, health and the educational needs of our communities in NW Philly). We want someone who is a leader, has interpersonal skills and is dedicated, conscientious, authentic and candid. We want to ask them what they have done to warrant our support; where do they get their empowerment to run? - money & political support? In addition we wanted to know what were they stand on the issues; what were their pet peeves, what would they concentrate on if elected? Specifically, what do they think are their responsibilities to the 8th District?
Two new ideas were introduced to help us decide who to endorse, because some of us felt the candidate’s spontaneity in answering important questions and how they relate to people are important.
- One suggestion was to ask the candidates to allow us to shadow them for a few days so we can get a better sense of who they are and how they interact with people. We have at least one volunteer (an objective journalist type person) willing to do this and if the candidate wants our endorsement, (s)he would allow us to accompany them. The volunteer would then report back to us.
Another idea is to invite each candidate separately to meet informally with our members for a few hours so they can ask questions and get to know the candidate better. We want to do this before the candidates have officially filled, and with the understanding that we are looking for one candidate to endorse early and will commit fundraising and troops to follow.
After the process is complete, we will request all the other candidates to withdraw from the race as their candidacy may not be viable. We might include in the deliberation all of the elected Committee persons who would like to see a more progressive candidate represent the 8th District.
Topic: Platform Issues
The platform committee had a very lively discussion of things that we want the next City Council and Mayor to deal with. Here are some of the things we came up with:
- City services. We want the vital ones preserved, and everything else looked at carefully.
- Fair and adequate taxes. We know we need revenues to preserve vital services. We want to raise those revenues in a fair and progressive manner. Those who don’t pay what they owe should be listed on a City website. Those who use loopholes to avoid payment, like many of the City’s large “nonprofits” like Penn and Temple, should be forced, or shamed, into paying a service fee.
- Reduction of prison costs. Too many people are incarcerated for too long without having been convicted of anything. Alternatives should be looked at.
- Tax abatements. The 10 year tax abatement should be cut back in either time, available locations, or both.
- Police. Police misconduct must be curbed.
- Education. The School District must be restored to local control.
- Health Care. Creative ways to cover city residents for health care should be looked at, such as development of a cooperative model for providing health care coverage, and using the City’s power as a customer of Blue Cross/Blue Shield to influence the design of the products it makes available to all of its customers.
- Day Care. Use bully pulpit of elected office to persuade major non-profits to make day care services or subsidies available to employees
We all felt that the list, and our discussion of it, was a good first step in insuring that candidates for local office be serious about issues, and be accountable for making real change happen. We agreed to continue the discussion at our next meeting.
The "Organizing" sub-group set out a strategy that will focus on Voter Registration from now until the beginning of April. We will start to switch focus to promotion of a slate of candidates and Get Out the Vote around the end of the first quarter. We brainstormed who we most want to reach (Elderly, students, working parents are the audiences we are targeting) and the places we might reach them.
The following tasks are what we have assigned ourselves.
1. Lori will develop (or get from Committee of Seventy) a one-page Guide to how to complete a Voter Registration form
2. We will solicit indoor places where people can go to register, We will contact locations that are willing to participate, and we will provide training to their front desk or reception person so they can answer questions.
3. We will obtain voter registration forms and make copies of the Guide
4. We will distribute the forms and the Guide and arrange to collect the completed forms, so we can check that they have been done properly before submitting them.
5. We will also ask about upcoming large crowd events and get permission to set up a table so we can do mass registration.
6. Each member of the committee committed is to contacting different organizations:
Voter registration Locations to solicit:
· LA Fitness Andorra, City Line Ave
· Target - City Line, Cheltenham
· WalMart - Cedar Brook Mall
· Phila University
· Coach Hawkins at Germantown High
· Student volunteers (community service credits) to help in registration
· Center in the Park
· Senior living
· Green & Cliveden
Working adults, single Moms
· Day care center owners
· Transit Locations -Broad & Olney
· Wissahickon transfer center
· Regional Rail stations
Unemployed & ex-offenders
· Halfway houses
. Vocational programs
· Phila Unemployment Project
· Develop flyer for Outreach education: “You need to re-register if you have a new address...etc.”
· Train desk staff to do registrations
· Training sessions for students
Set goals, e.g., Number of people registered
Next Meeting Jan 10th
Our next meeting will be on Monday, January 10th , 2011 and will be a Potluck to be held at Germantown Y, 5722 Greene Street.
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