The Tide Has Turned
October 13, 2009 – DeLand, FL
We just returned from an intense weekend at the Florida Democratic Conference. Efforts by the Florida Democratic Party leadership to undermine the democratic process continued despite overwhelming support from the rank and file to hear about the real issues.
Party chair Karen Thurman stopped me from speaking at the convention. At the reception on the first night she blocked me from the microphone and said, “I'm not going to let you do that because I want to focus our resources on one person.” This came after she introduced Alex Sink, whom she is presenting, endorsing, and fundraising for with our donations. Apparently it's like the old Politburo. The party leaders let us vote on the candidates they choose, in order to give the illusion of choice.
On the first day my $500 table happened to be in the best location at the convention –– at the terminating vista of the reception hall. When my delegates and I returned the next morning, we found that FDP officials had put all of my campaign materials in storage and I had been assigned to a barren and distant room at the opposite end of the convention center. Disney officials helped us carry the table back to the area with the other candidates. My HD video camera was rolling the whole time to prevent any further shenanigans, but as soon as the camera was put away, another FDP official appeared to tell us we couldn't put our table in that spot and he tried to prevent us from putting up a banner like the other candidates had. He told us we didn't have the official “Disney tape” and that the FDP had a special contract concerning how to put things on the wall. Again Disney official intervened and told us we could stay where we were, there was no special contract, and there was no such thing as “Disney tape.”
Our banner went up with “Arth's blue painter's tape” and we connected with over 1,000 people that weekend, talking about the issues the party leadership is so afraid of. Here are just a few of the forbidden topics:
• Electoral Reform – the winner–take–all and pay–for–play system that makes a mockery of our electoral system has got to go and be replaced with instant runoff voting (majority voting), public campaign financing, and proportional representation. We'll never have the policies we deserve until we have a system that selects for the best qualities in our leaders.
• Judicial Reform – Florida has the fastest growing prison system in the US, with an incarceration 8 times that of Canada (and higher violence rate). Why? 1. Incarceration of the mentally ill, 2. The War on Drugs which was declared by Nixon as a cynical and racist campaign ploy in 1969, and 3. Minimum sentencing laws that began in the 1980s that takes the power away from judges to do what they do best, and fills our prisons with non–violent offenders who would be better off in less expensive programs. There are practical, rational solutions to all these problems.
• Economic Reform – The State Board of Administration's nest egg of over $200 billion was scrambled despite 19 audits warning the trustees (Crist, Sink & McCollum) of fiscal mismanagement. We need transparent, economic policies that help the middle class, put people to work, and build sustainable, future–oriented industries.
• Development Reform – Growth management policies should use planning and zoning regulations to support the principles of the smartest kind of smart growth, New Pedestrianism, instead of the dumbest kind of dumb growth: sprawl.
• Energy Reform – The Sunshine State should take advantage of its motto and be a leader in solar energy. No more nukes. No more drilling. These are dirty, dangerous, expensive, dead–end technologies that will keep us from being competitive in the future.
• For more go to http://www.michaelearth.org.
P.S. The tide has turned. Our fundraising efforts have exploded despite party leaders trying to keep us from buying their email list (even while fundraising for Sink). In the last week we got pledges to bring in over 1,600 donations. We've done this through word of mouth and people passing on these emails. We can win, and we can bring the future to Florida while restoring democracy in the Democratic Party. Please forward this to everyone on your email list. Thanks!