Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Open letter to District One for a grass roots council election


I have been talking with people in the community and have spoken with most of my fellow candidates for Oakland City Council District One and have found broad support for a grass roots campaign close to the people.  So I am writing this letter with three sets of suggestions on how to make that happen.

First the community needs to step forward and take the lead.  All of the grass roots groups can invite candidates to their regular meetings, hold mixers and/or forums, interview candidates etc.  By grass roots groups I mean everyone from the Friends of the Tool Library to Business Improvement Districts including the NCPC’s, PANIL, STAND, OCO and all the other friends of other libraries, and local groups.  This would be a good time for a local union or chamber of commerce to host an event and get their questions asked to the candidates too. 

Second, we need to make it easy and inexpensive to do.  Here are some things I saw two years ago that I think could help:
·         Just hold a mixer, pot luck food, minimal time for the candidates to introduce themselves and maximum time to meet and talk one on one. 
·         Only meet with a couple candidates at a time, easier to schedule, less of a production.
·         Hold a couple of small panels on the themes of interest to your group members instead of one big panel that crams too much in. 
Record your meetings with candidates and post them to Ustream for your members who could not make the meeting. 
·         Let the candidates speak.  Answering questions is fine, but at some point letting the candidates define what they (we) think is important. 
·         Invite a candidate or two to your regular meetings to be part of the agenda but only part of the agenda.  The candidates should commit to being there for your whole meeting and seeing what your groups regular business is.  Between now and November there is time to get to all of the candidates running to at least one meeting with some calm.
·         INVITE PRESS THAT MIGHT REALLY COME AND REPORT, that means people like and and our local neighborhood print. 

Third, all of us candidates need to make ourselves available.  Speaking with those fellow candidates I found at the Oakland Builders Alliance, I felt that all the candidates would like to have these close, grass roots meetings.  It is obvious that the grass roots groups will need to do the organizing and inviting.  The candidates need to make it clear when they will be available.  (for myself, see below)  I have copied all of them on this open letter.  

Available for public events starting July 13th
all Wednesdays and Thursdays afternoon or evenings.
Friday-Saturday-Sunday by Fridays 7/13, 7/27, 8/10, 8/24, 9/7, 9/21, 10/5, 10/19 and 11/2.

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