Negative Campaigning – Colorado Coffee Party Takes a Stand
Negative campaigning recently became an unpleasant feature of the Colorado Senate seat race, within both the Romanoff-Bennet contest for the Democratic Party and the Buck-Norton contest for the Republican Party.
Mindful of this backdrop, the Colorado Coffee Party movement sent a letter to 58 candidates for offices throughout Colorado.
Kudos to the seven candidates who signed and returned the Unity Pledge included in the letter. They are:
• John Finger, candidate for US Senate
• Kevin Bradley, candidate for US Congress (District ??)
• Walker Robert Stapleton, candidate for State Treasurer
• Stan Garnett, candidate for Attorney General
• William Townend, candidate for Board of Education,
• Steve Bosley, candidate for UC Regent
• Melissa Hart, candidate for UC Regent
The Unity Pledge they signed reads as follows:
“In this election, I confirm that I will find a way of campaigning without deliberately triggering anger, hatred and fear. I undertake to avoid contributing to the disuniting of America. It is the last thing we need in a time of two wars, an environmental catastrophe and an economic crisis. I commit to working against division and towards being united as a People for the good of all citizens of the United States of America.”
“The responses were from an interesting mixture of Republican, Democratic and Libertarian candidates” said Suzanne Metlay, Colorado Statewide Coordinator for the Coffee Party movement. “The Coffee Party wants to promote good government and this is the first outreach we have done to candidates. We will follow up on this further after the Primary, with the intent of reducing negative campaigning and keeping the focus on effective governance.”
According to ThisNation.com, a non-partisan website for American Government and Politics, a 1999 survey showed that voters are quite capable of distinguishing between what they feel are fair and unfair attacks in a political campaign. 57% of voters interviewed believe that negative information about a candidate is fair if it reveals talking one way and voting another, accepting campaign contributions from special interests and exposes the opponent’s voting record as an elected official.
The Coffee Party in Colorado wants candidates to know that voters are watching, perhaps more carefully than they have done before. When a negative ad is beyond the bounds of what voters feel is relevant or fair, then the effect may be just the opposite of what was intended. If the facts in the ad are wrong, that must be exposed and refuted. To make judgment calls easier, the Boulder Coffee Party group is putting together a list of resources for its members, listing websites for organizations such as Colorado Ethics Watch, Media Matters and the Colorado Government Accountability Project (CGAP).
Voters seem to be increasingly turned off by negative campaign ads but political candidates continue to use these tactics. Yet there is conflicting data about whether or not negative campaigning makes a candidate more likely to win or lose, or whether intense competition increases voter turnout or has the opposite effect of turning people off the whole political process.
The next meeting of the Coffee Party in Boulder, is Sunday August 8th from 1-3pm at the Meadows branch of the Boulder Library on Baseline Road. The Longmont Coffee Party meets on Saturday August 7th at 4pm at the Brewing Market, on S. Hover Street in Longmont.
For more information about the Coffee Party movement, please look up your local chapter on Facebook or visit the national website at www.coffeepartyusa.com .
The Coffee Party movement began in February with a “rant” on Facebook by its founder Annabel Park. Since then it has grown into a phenomenon with over 250,000 followers and it looks as if it is here to stay. It may have started as a reaction to the Tea Party, but it is turning into something more thoughtful and powerful – a movement for good government. It may be more academic and centrist than some of its members had hoped for but nevertheless, it is a timely and welcome development of a more intellectual form of political activism.
Like the League of Women Voters, The Coffee Party is intended to be non-partisan, with goals of reinvigorating the public sphere and reinstating commonly held democratic ideals such as civic duty, civic pride and expecting government to be accountable to the people. Like the League, members vote to achieve consensus on issues to study and support and like the League, members are mainly members of the Democratic Party with a deep concern for voting rights, election finance reform and the restoration of ethics in government.
It is interesting to see that now the shouting of the Tea party adherents has died down, or at least has turned into domestic squabbling, the voices of thoughtful conservatives are now being heard in the Coffee Party. One self-described representative of libertarian and conservative voices recently wrote on the Coffee Party website that he hopes the conversation will continue to include his viewpoint. “Why I think the Tea Party movement will ultimately be ineffective,” he writes, “is because probably all their positions are- to put it lightly-contrary to reality.” He goes on to say that the need is for solutions that work and that requires an understanding of the problems.
The Coffee Party expects its members to be informed and participatory. Groups all over the country are being encouraged to be autonomous and not look for leadership to tell them how to run their meetings and activities. That has not stopped some dissension, as disappointed progressives have left the movement for more activist organizations or issues, and some centrists or independents have left because the agenda may have seemed too partisan. Those who are staying are enjoying the civil conversations taking place over coffee and may not be completely aware that they are maintaining a long tradition of political discourse beginning in the coffee houses of Europe, leading to political change and even revolution.
The Coffee Party recently ran a National Coffee Summit, followed by a Café Call and a National Vote, using information and internet technology to reach across the country and determine members’ main concerns. Overwhelmingly, the core issue was determined to be Money in Politics with 95% of members voting for a specific course of action, based on support for the Fair Elections Now Act, the DISCLOSE Act, the Shareholder Protection Act and a constitutional amendment to reverse corporate personhood.
This does not mean however, that other issues are being overlooked. The Boulder Coffee Party group in Colorado for example has set up a special interest group to include the environment and clean energy. Other groups are addressing immigration reform which will be an ongoing issue till the election and beyond. Local groups are being encouraged to take an interest in state and city politics to complement the national campaign and many state groups are seeing the efficacy of scheduling meetings with their elected representatives and hosting public forums for civil discourse on matters of timely importance.
As people look to leadership for guidance or give their input for leadership to follow, it is becoming apparent that the first National Coffee Party Convention will be an interesting place to be. Scheduled for September 24-25 at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky, one has to wonder if the hotel was named after John Galt in Atlas Shrugged. No doubt that will be a conversation starter at social hour. Hopefully Ayn Rand’s influence will be balanced by quotations from Jefferson such as, “Difference in opinion leads to enquiry, end enquiry to truth; and I am sure….we both value too much the freedom of opinion sanctioned by our Constitution not to cherish its exercise even when in opposition to ourselves.” (written to P.H. Wendover, 1815)
Meetings of The Coffee Party in Colorado are held in Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Arvada, Castle Rock, Craig, and Denver. Details of meetings can be found on their respective Facebook pages.
The Longmont Coffee Party also meets Saturday July 10th at 4pm at the Brewing Market And residents in Boulder County are urged to attend the next meeting on Saturday July 10th at 11am at The Boulder Library, Meadows Branch, located behind Safeway, 4800 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO 80303.
The following is the text of Andrew Romanoff’s speech before the Colorado Democratic Party State Assembly:
Andrew Romanoff at Colorado State Assembly - May 2010. Photo from Romanoff for Colorado
Thank you for that warm welcome, and thank you to Polly and Mary Beth for your nomination.
I want to begin where I began, by thanking my mother, who is here today. Everything I am and hope to be, I owe to her more than anyone in the world.
I am lucky to have the love and support of my Uncle Bill and my Aunt Susie and my cousins Melissa and Mac, who are all here as well.
I wish that my grandparents could be with us today. My grandmother Rose was my secret weapon. She came to the state convention in Pueblo 14 years ago to help me get elected to the Democratic National Committee. She sat just inside the front entrance to the convention hall.
She wore a name tag that said “Andrew’s Nana.” She used her cane to pull people towards her with one hand, and then slapped a “Romanoff” sticker on them with the other.
Nana would be proud to see so many Romanoff stickers on display here today. I’m just glad that we didn’t have to cane anyone into wearing them.
Whatever sticker you’re backing today, let’s make sure we’re all on the same team by August 11. That is my pledge. I respect my opponent. I will support him if he wins our party’s nomination. And I will ask you to do the same.
But with all due respect, let me also say this: This Senate seat doesn’t belong to him any more than it belongs to me. This seat belongs to the people of Colorado. It belongs to you.
If you give me this nomination, I promise you this: I will never forget where I come from or who I’m fighting for.
Too many politicians become so easily seduced by the lobbyists who line their pockets and whisper in their ears that they can’t remember why they sought office in the first place. That is a mistake I will not make.
My campaign and my career are rooted in the people of Colorado. That’s why I fought for kids in the San Luis Valley and the Arkansas Valley and the Eastern Plains, so that they could go to school in buildings where the roof wasn’t caving in and the floorboards weren’t rotting.
That’s why I fought for people with mental illness, so that their diseases wouldn’t condemn them to the shadows of an underpass or a prison cell or an early grave.
That’s why I fought for the victims of domestic violence, so that they wouldn’t have to forfeit their jobs or spend every night in hiding, in fear of a predator who might find out where they lived.
I know how to fight when the odds are against you, and I know how to win:
We took the House when nobody thought we could, and we kept it – twice – after the pundits said it was a fluke.
We took on a deep recession and passed an Economic Recovery Plan called Referendum C, so that the doors of college would remain open to students of modest means.
We took on the insurance industry and cracked down on companies that refused to honor their customers’ claims.
We took on the Bush Administration to stop toxic polluters from poisoning our air and our water.
We took on the far right and stood up for equality so that citizens would be judged not by the color of their skin or by the love of their life but by the content of their character.
I am proud of the leadership I brought to the Statehouse. I am proud to have been recognized as the most effective legislative leader in America. And I am especially grateful for the progress that you made possible. Thousands of Coloradans who may never learn your name – or mine – are better off today because of the work we did.
But the challenges we face now are too broad and too deep for a state to solve on its own.
If we’ve learned anything over the last year and a half, it is this: It’s not enough to put a president of real talent and vision and leadership in the White House if the same qualities are not matched at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. We need leaders who will bring the courage of our convictions to Capitol Hill. That’s why I’m running for the U.S. Senate.
This is the best chance we’ve ever had to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans. I will not allow that opportunity to be squandered – as it has been – sabotaged not just by Republicans who stand against us but by Democrats who sell us out.
The voters in Arkansas and Pennsylvania sent a loud and clear message to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night – and we should, too. The message to our own party is this: “Stiffen your spine – or step out of the way.”
I am not a perfect messenger, but in the Democratic Party I led – and the Democratic Party I still believe in:
We don’t cut deals with drug makers to protect their profits. We put patients first.
We don’t reward companies for exploiting workers or shipping our jobs overseas. We defend the right to organize and invest in education and training here at home.
We don’t give Wall Street CEOs bonuses when their banks become too big to fail and then give them a card that says “Get out of jail. We’ll pay the bail.” We punish financial predators and protect families from foreclosure.
And we don’t let drillers off the hook when they desecrate our environment. We force them to pay for the damage they cause and make sure it never happens again, and we revolutionize our energy policy, so that no longer have to foul our oceans or spoil our skies – or spill our blood – just to power our planet.
I want to pause on this point. While we gather here this morning, an oil slick bigger than the states of Delaware and Maryland combined is spreading through the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion on Deepwater Horizon will rank as the worst economic and ecological disaster in our history. Yet the company responsible for billions of dollars in losses to the coastal communities faces no more than $75 million in civil liability – that’s a single day’s profit for British Petroleum. That’s outrageous.
But it’s the result, in part, of an even bigger slick of oil money that our own party has done little or nothing to clean up. The same flood of corporate cash washed away our hopes for a public option, drowned discussion of a single-payer health plan, and watered down the reforms we need on Wall Street. And too many politicians, complicit by their silence, surrender without a fight.
That’s why your decision today is so important. We’re here not just to select a senator. We’re here to decide who we are, what kind of party and what kind country we want to be. You choose.
We can settle for the status quo, where we sell Senate seats to the highest bidder and turn Congress into a wholly owned subsidiary of the industries it’s supposed to be regulating.
Or we can say no. We can reject the politics of business as usual, the pay-to-play culture that corrupts Washington and corrodes our country.
Part of changing that culture, a member of the Senate once said, “is recognizing that special interests – the insurance companies, the banks, the drug companies, the HMOs – have come to dictate” our agenda. And “the only way you break out of that,” this senator said, is to stop taking money from those groups “so that ordinary people’s voices are heard.”
I believe Senator Obama was right.
I am the only candidate in this race – and one of the few in America – who refuses to accept contributions from special-interest groups. When we win this election, I will owe my seat not to Washington, not to Wall Street. I will owe this seat to you.
A lot of the power brokers and party bosses say that you need special-interest money to win. But I say if you take that money, you lose – and more importantly, the people lose. Millions of people are already losing; they’re losing not just their jobs and their homes and their savings, they’re losing their faith in our political leaders and in our principles.
And it’s no wonder – when some of the most powerful corporations on earth spend millions of dollars to bankroll Congress and block reform. When the Supreme Court of the United States gives those corporations even more power by transforming them into people. And worst of all, when our own party puts democracy up for sale.
Washington will never change on its own. But when a grassroots campaign like our wins a race like this – without a dime of corporate cash – our victory will send a shock wave to a town that needs one.
And when we win, some other candidate, somewhere else in America – maybe someone who hasn’t even thought of running for office yet – will take the same approach. And when he or she wins, another candidate will follow suit, and then another, and another. You and I can chart the course not just of this campaign but of our country.
Join this cause, and we can reshape politics and restore public trust. We can turn America into what it once was, and what it can be again: a source not of cowardice or complacency or despair, but of courage and confidence and determination.
“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” Stand with me now, and I will lead this ticket. Stand with me now, and I will hold this seat. Stand with me now, and I will always, always stand with you.
Tomorrow, April 19th , Americans will mark the 15th anniversary of the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City — the worst single act of domestic terrorism in our nation’s history and a grim reminder of the fruits of right-wing radicalism.
Airing on MSNBC this Monday at 7:00 PM, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow will present an insightful two-hour documentary. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups throughout the country, the program will help answer questions about McVeigh’s motivations and those of others like him. The film draws extensively on audiotapes of the two reporters who interviewed McVeigh at length before his execution.
Since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that it has documented 75 domestic terrorist plots, most of which involved individuals with extreme antigovernment views. One of the plots, if carried out, would have resulted in the deaths of some 30,000 people.
According to Mark Potok, Director of the SPLC Intelligence Project, “The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.”
In what was the largest public demonstration in history, hundreds of millions of people in 126 countries turned off their lights for one hour on March 27, 2010 in support of World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour. In the U.S., 90 million people–representing every state and the nation’s capital–participated in Earth Hour’s call for action on climate change.
The spirit of Earth Hour will be carried forward in practical ways, as cities and individuals go beyond the symbolism of turning off lights to taking real climate-saving actions in their daily lives. That spirit will be expressed as we move to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and beyond.
Earth Day was conceived by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a nationwide teach-in day on the environment. The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement as more than 20 million people organized to protect the planet.
Media coverage of the first Earth Day included a 1-hour special report on CBS News called “Earth Day: A Question of Survival,” narrated by the late Walter Cronkite with correspondents reporting from a dozen major cities across the country. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, public opinion polls indicated a permanent change in national priorities following Earth Day 1970.
During the 1970s, a number of important pieces of environmental legislation were passed, among them the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Another key development was the establishment, in December 1970, of the Environmental Protection Agency, which was tasked with protecting human health and safeguarding the natural environment—air, water and land.
Many cities now extend the observance of Earth Day events to an entire week, usually starting on April 16 and ending on Earth Day, April 22. These events are designed to encourage environmentally-aware behaviors, such as recycling, using energy efficiently, and reducing or reusing disposable items.
Longmont will celebrate Earth Day in conjunction with Arbor Day and the 30th year that Longmont has been recognized as a Tree City USA. It will be held at Thompson Park (4th Avenue and Bross) this Saturday, April 17th between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. The event will be held on April 24th in the event of rain.
According to Xcel Energy, there are two hatchlings in the Bald Eagle nest at their Fort St. Vrain Station in Platteville, Colorado.
According to Xcel’s website, the pair “have a 6-foot-wide by 5-foot-deep nest that sits high in a cottonwood tree near the plant. Eagles return to the nest in the fall and conduct nesting activities from about February to June. The nest has been active for years, with the Colorado Division of Wildlife banding young birds at the nest site each spring.”
Split Estate will screen this Friday, February 12th, at 6:30 P.M. in the Community Room of Longmont Firehouse #5 at Airport and Nelson Roads.
Director Debra Anderson will be present to answer audience questions following the screening.
Split Estate is a compelling documentary that maps a tragedy in the making, as citizen in the path of the new drilling boom in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health.
Close to home, hydraulic fracturing, or fracing as it is frequently known, is occurring on farmland east of Union Reservoir and Longmont .
“Split Estate is a moving portrait that highlights important questions regarding the safety of hydraulic fracturing near our local communities.”
RidgeviewTel First Team to Enter Smarter, Safer, Greener House Contest
DaVinci Quest announced that RidgeviewTel, a leading manager of wireless broadband networks, is the first Team to enter its green building renovation innovation competition.
Centennial, CO (PRWEB) February 11, 2010 — DaVinci Quest is producing an open international innovation competition on the subject of green building renovation in the City of Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado, United States. Today, DaVinci Quest announced that RidgeviewTel has agreed to enter the Smarter, Safer, Greener House Contest as a Team.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to advance innovation toward the goal of reducing energy consumption, increasing the efficiency of information transfers and improving our environment,” said Vince Jordan, President and CEO of RidgeviewTel. “Since our company is based here in Longmont, we feel compelled to be part of this unique contest which benefits not only everyone within our City, but gives Longmont a platform to reach much further.”
The RidgeviewTel Team will be a collaboration of individuals and businesses with different areas of expertise that can address each of the Contest outcome criteria. DaVinci Quest will facilitate identification of team members and support RidgeviewTel in building its Team.
Karl Dakin, CEO of DaVinci Quest, stated “We believe that RidgeviewTel will be a great Team in our Contest and represents the kind of Team that will do well by organizing and orchestrating all of the skills needed to perform well.”
RidgeviewTel is a communications company based in Longmont, Colorado, composed of several different business lines that, together successfully engineer, construct, deliver and manage converged broadband services via wireless and wireline technologies.
To view the documents, just click on the links below to view the PDF files for the Council Retreat. IMPORTANT: You MUST have the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system prior to selecting an item on the agenda in order to be able to view these files.
City of Longmont
2010 City Council Retreat
January 22-23, 2010