Monday, August 15, 2016

David Cobb to Speak on I-735

David Cobb an Outreach Director of Move to Amend, and one of the founding members of the Board of Directors and authors of the We the People Amendment will be speaking about the movement to get big money out of politics on Monday, August 29th, at the Richland Labor Hall, 2505 Duportail St., Richland, WA.

Are you passionate about protecting, repealing, reforming X, Y, Z? Good for you. Congress doesn’t care.

A recent study found that little of what's done by the U.S. congress has any correlation whatsoever to the issues and outcomes about which American voters care. What matters to congress is not the opinion of Republicans, or Democrats, or the Tea Party, or the Occupy Movement, or any other average citizen or interest group, but rather the opinion of people and groups with big money.

David Cobb
An organization here in our state has been working to change that. WAmend collected over 333,000 signatures and suceeded in getting Initiative 735 on the ballot in November.  I-735 is a proposed amendment to the federal constitution that would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment affirming that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money. In other words, corporations aren't people and money isn't speech.

Friday, August 12, 2016


8th LD PCOs, Precinct Leaders, and volunteers please join us Saturday morning at the Laborers’ Hall for a precinct organizing workshop.  (9th and 16th LD precinct activists are also welcome.)

     When:  9:00 AM-Noon, Saturday, August 13
     Where:  Laborers’ Local 348 Hall, 2505 Duportail St, Richland.
As a PCO or Precinct Leader, your most important duties this summer and fall are to canvass your precinct and make a list of all current residents who appear likely to vote Democratic.  In a little over two months, on October 19, the Election Dept. will mail out the ballots for the November 8 General Election.  

The goal of our Saturday morning workshop is to provide you with everything you need – tools such as a VoteBuilder account, training, and materials like voter lists and campaign literature – to be ready to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) in your precinct.  Even if you are an experienced PCO who is already canvassing your precinct very efficiently, you are invited to attend the workshop.  You can meet some of our new 8th LD precinct leaders and give them the benefit of your knowledge and skills. 

Four new PCOs -- Yyvonne Aguilar (Precinct W3-P555), Matthew Bonomo (Precinct 180), Xander Lih (Precinct 145), and Kate Moran (Precinct WR 13) -- were appointed and affirmed at the July 20 BCDCC meeting.
Tony Ramirez <>, the WA Democrats’ Coordinated Campaign field organizer for our area, is coming to the workshop on Saturday.  He worked closely with the 8th LDDO to help us get out the vote for August 2 Primary Election. Some of you met Mr. Ramirez at U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s Coordinated Campaign GOTV event, held at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Hall in Pasco on July 31.

By the way, Patty has received nearly 54% of the votes counted so far, nearly double the number of her chief opponent, Republican Chris Vance. Tony will talk about what’s at stake, locally and statewide, in the November election, and how the Coordinated Campaign can help us win big in 2016!
John Christenson, Chair
8th Legislative District Democratic Organization
(509) 783-0282  home

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Newsletter to be Published

A team of 8th LD PCOs led by Neil Norman, is publishing a bi-monthly newsletter for the remainder of the 2016 Election Year. The newsletter will be emailed to all PCO’s and Precinct Leaders every two weeks during these last three months before the November elections. Its purpose is to keep PCOs and other 8th LD and Benton County democrats informed, and to seek input from PCOs in order to keep party leaders abreast of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) progress.

Newsletters will include:

  • Information on candidates
  • Information on initiatives on the November ballot
  • Notification of local activities, such as candidate forums
  • Feedback from PCOs and party leaders
  • Updates on key races
 Our democratic candidates are shown in the table below.
(no democratic candidate)
(no democratic candidate)

A number of initiatives will be on the November ballot.

The first newsletter, emailed Monday, August 8th, provided a capsule summary of some of the initiatives of particular interest:

I-1433 -- would boost the state minimum wage to $13.50 an hour over four years, up from the current $9.47 per hour;
I-1464 -- A "yes" vote supports creating a campaign-finance system allowing residents to direct state funds to qualifying candidates, repeal the non-resident sales-tax exemption, restrict employment of former public employees and lobbying, and revise campaign-finance laws;
I-1491 -- Would authorize courts to issue extreme risk protection orders to remove an individual from access to firearms;
I-1501 -- A "yes" vote supports increasing criminal identity-theft penalties and expanding civil liability for consumer fraud targeting seniors and vulnerable individuals;
I-732 -- would place a carbon emission tax on the sale or use of certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity, starting at $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide in 2017;
I-735 -- would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment clarifying that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations.

Detailed information on all initiatives may be found on the Washington Secretary of State Elections and Voting website, and on Ballotpedia.

Please send material you'd like to see included in the newsletter to Neil Norman at

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Striking Difference Between Democrats and Republicans on Climate Change

Massive fires in California have forced thousands of evacuations (Photo: AP)
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times compared the Democratic and Republican platforms. The difference on climate change was particularly striking.

Democrats describe climate change as a “real and urgent threat,” and they call for setting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists in Congress to start listening to science,” and government officials must take any steps they can to reduce pollution, the platform says. It calls for the country to generate half of its electricity from clean sources in the next decade and for cleaner transportation fuels, more public transit and a tax code that creates incentives for renewable energy. The platform also beats back suggestions that protecting the environment would be bad for business. “Democrats reject the notion that we have to choose between protecting our planet and creating good-paying jobs,” it says.

Republicans say “climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue,” as Democrats have labeled it. They oppose international accords like the agreement crafted in Paris last year that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow the climb in global temperatures. The platform also blasts President Obama’s “clean power plan,” which would cut emissions by shifting away from coal-powered power plants. The initiative has been put on hold by the Supreme Court; Republicans vow to do away with it entirely. They also pointedly describe coal as a “clean” energy resource, a description environmentalists have roundly rejected.

To learn more about climate change, go to the Climate Change Primer on the Benton County Democratic Central Committee website.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Practical Political Activism

In terms of participation in the governance of our civil society, voting is just the beginning of our civic responsibility. Admittedly for most people, it is seen as the end of their responsibility. For good or ill, what this means is that those who choose to be more active than just voting actually have more influence over policies and governmental actions than their mere numbers would suggest. Furthermore, in practice the people in office only hear directly from a very few of the people they represent. Therefore, those who make the effort to communicate with them can do much to inform them about non-obvious aspects of different issues.

Our representatives do hear from lobbyists and other folks who earn their living working to influence policies in one direction or another. But, in the final analysis, representatives want to win elections. And they judge what their electorate expects by the information that comes to them from their electorate. Every elected official has a good place to which to send email than will be read.

Representatives are hungry for good data and information. If you have some expertise in a given area, offer yourself as a resource in that area and be prepared to be called upon. What better way to influence policy is there?

To do their work, every representative's office has people that specialize on particular issue. If your information is useful, there is a pretty good chance you could establish a working relationship with the appropriate members of the staff. When a question or concern comes up, "Who are they gonna call?" You don't necessarily have to wait for their email sorting process to filter your letter to the specialist. You can ask the office who their specialist on a particular topic actually is and communicate with them directly. Those staff folks work under lots of pressure and really value having a go-to person on their list.

Sadly under current law, elected officials need to spend 60% of their time fundraising. Contributions count. It's always helpful to add a note explaining what actions of the officials lead you to want to support them.

Voting is important. But you actually to get to "vote" more often if you are active in communicating with your elected officials. Figure out a way to build a relationship with them or with members of their staff and your view on your favorite issue gets a bigger hearing.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lies in the Media

This piece in the Washington Times about the ACA does not get a single fact correct. The truth is pretty much the reverse of everything that is said here.