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Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008!

On this day in: 1879 - Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time. 1891 – The immigration depot is opened on Ellis Island, New York. 1904 - The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square New York. 1929 - Guy Lombardo performs Auld Lang Syne for the first time.

Most of the feedback I've gotten from my change of party has been positive,
but I just got this email from a friend(?):

John,

While I appreciate your energy, I simply cannot take time to be part of (pardon me if I am frank), reckless and non-productive enterprises. This is an election year and you are off the map so I have no time for you or your followers. I think you actually registered as a Dem. Why should I give any time at all to you? Now you are the enemy so "Get a life with the Dems and have a great time!".

TAKE ME OFF ANY OF YOUR LISTS! YOUR HAVE JOINED THE ENEMY SO I DON'T WANT ANY PART OF YOUR CRAZY RANTS!

M


So I emailed this back just now:

Hi M,

Your frank, open feedback is invaluable. Thank you.

It may be that what I'm doing is way off base, we'll see. In our free marketing economy, the marketplace renders the final decision.

The work I'm doing to try and encourage more grassroots civic participation and business entrepreneurship seems to be helping people.

It was people like you, good Republicans I offended with my change of registration, who I had in mind when I posted this on my blog last week:



On December 5, the deadline for affiliating with a party to be able to vote in the February 5 precinct caucus, I became a Democrat. A friend says I’m BAD, a Born Again Democrat. Some of my friends are asking why.

I started my political life as a Democrat. When I cast my first vote for President in 1968, it was for Hubert Humphrey. My friend was disappointed I didn’t support Eugene McCarthy.

A few years later when I owned a small business, Richard Nixon sent me what seemed to be a personal letter. This was before the wide spread use of word processors, so I wasn’t hard to fool.

Nixon’s letter got me thinking about politics, so when my business failed and I retreated to graduate business school at the University of Denver, I was easy pickings for cute girls at the College Republican’s table at registration.

This was during Watergate, so it was easy to rise to the top of College Republicans. Soon I was State Chair, meeting with Dwight Hamilton, Bob Tonsing, and the Colorado Republican’s Executive Committee each month. I helped Karl Rove give seminars around the country teaching about how to appeal to young voters. I appeared on a Republican National Committee TV special called “Republicans Are People, Too.” At that year’s National Convention here in Colorado, Karl and I met Dick Wadhams (then 18-years old, now Colorado GOP Chair).

Since then, I’ve been a Republican precinct committee person, district captain, and volunteer for various Republican candidates and organizations. In 2002 I was part of Save the Caucus which defeated Amendment 29 which would have killed our wonderful Colorado grassroots political system.

Over the years, everyone who I’ve respected, from Karl Rove to Phil Perington (past Colorado Democrat State Chair who was driving force behind the Save the Caucus effort) have said that it is important to affiliate with one of the major parties, but which one was a matter of personal taste.

Democrats are slightly biased towards justice, Republicans towards freedom, but they are both for freedom and justice. The 2-party system that has served us so well over the years is just a tool for encouraging good debate between the best and the brightest each party can put forth for each office. It’s like sports; I cheer for my team, but I’d be insane to believe my team was God’s choice, too.

David Fogel (past Denver County Dem Chair who helped with Save the Caucus) and Republican leaders I’ve spoken with privately have said that what makes the most sense politically is to join the majority party in your county if you are interested in helping improve local government. Pat Waak and Dennis Gallagher seemed open to the idea of me changing. So that’s what I’m doing. After 30 years, I’m a Democrat again.

Why now? The final blows were: 1) A note I got from a Denver Republican volunteer telling me that if I was prolife, they wouldn’t help me as a precinct committee person, making concrete the underlying current in the Denver GOP; 2) I was sensitive to this issue ever since I’d had no cooperation from a former Republican district captain because of the same issue; and 3) Finally, when Denver GOP leaders were so forceful about their support of pro-death candidate Rudi Giuliani. It became clear it was time for me to leave.

Besides, my beautiful finance Mary is a Democrat! She has shown me the light! We hope to both be volunteers at the Convention here next summer. Who knows, maybe we’ll decide to get married then. But that may be too soon. We’ve only known each other for 42 years; you don’t want to rush into these things!


M, to the extent that you and I share what I see as the foundational principles of the GOP, it seems to me I can be much more helpful in advancing those principles in Denver right now as a Democrat. If I can be helpful to you or the people you serve, please let me know.

If we don't agree on those foundational principles, we were enemies before, and you are just confirming for me the wisdom of my decision.

But I've been given instructions to love my enemy, so whether we are friends or not, I sincerely wish you a very happy & prosperous 2008!

John


The Denver Post has a “news” article in today’s paper about some of the political implications of the crazy compensation plan adopted by Denver Public Schools that was used as justification a yet another tax increase by Mayor J-Hic. To see the article, go to http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_7845650

Here is the comment I just posted in response to the biased article:

"(Denver) Republicans will favor it without thinking about it."

Yes, I certainly agree with this, it's one of the reasons I'm now a Democrat. Time after time, there has been no opposition to these kind of harebrained schemes by the Denver GOP.

"Denver's ProComp plan was a grassroots effort"

This is simply NOT true. It is an elitist plan that used propaganda to put on grassroots sheepskins as it went to the voters for yet another tax increase.

So how well is it working? It's been in place for over a year. Has recruitment of new teachers for Denver Public Schools been improved? Has retention of GOOD teachers improved? What do the teachers now think of the plan? How can a news article not address these critical issues?

I opposed ProComp because it forced another tax-increase on voters, using the gimmick of an incentive plan that was overcomplicated and that could only increase the very, very negative effect of CSAP, teaching to the test rather than truly educating students.


Happy New Year! I'll see you back here in 2008!

John

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