Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"If it exploded in my mind and something came to me, I wrote it. I never thought about it. I don't believe in thinking about stories; I believe in doing them. . . . Everything I do is passionate. . . . It's all from the heart. All my stories are me." Ray Bradbury, whose 'The Stories of Ray Bradbury"—a 1,112-page Everyman's Library anthology will be published April 6, a few months ahead of his 90th birthday on Aug. 22

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Good literature continually read for pleasure must, let us hope, do some good to the reader: must quicken his perception though dull, and sharpen his discrimination though blunt, and mellow the rawness of his personal opinions." A.E. Housman (1859), who worked as a clerk in the Patent Office in London for 10 years.

"A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom."
Robert Frost (1874), who John F. Kennedy asked to read a poem at his inauguration.

Both men were born on this day, March 26.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My computer got a virus, emails were sent from my account that were in very poor taste. Thanks to my friends who alerted me to the problem, I think it is cleared up now. If you get anything along those lines, please let me know at once.

John Wren

Friday, March 19, 2010

The more time you spend talking about what you have been doing, the less time you have to do what you have been talking about. Eventually, you spend more and more time talking about less and less until finally you spend all of your time talking about nothing. Denverite Norman Ralph Augustine in his 1983 book Augustine's Laws. He is a former CEO of Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin, National President of Boy Scouts of America (he was an Eagle Scout), and he is currently serving as the chair of a committee that is reviewing NASA's plans for the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Join us? I'm forming a new Franklin Circle that will meet monthly for people new to Colorado or new to Colorado politics who want to learn more about how to serve in public office or help other good people get elected. Our focus will be the 2012 Colorado Caucuses. For more see: http://www.COCaucus.org

Want to know why I'm enthused about our Colorado Caucuses? I just received this email from a new friend:

John, I met you in line at the democratic caucus training in Lakewood on Saturday.  I had said I would report back how our meeting went. 

I am a New Englander who grew up with the idea of town meetings. When I first registered to vote, I took great pride in declaring myself an Independent I have only slowly become involved.  It has progressed to my attending training and directing our precinct meeting. 

The caucuses I previously attended were either so small that it was a visit or so large it was almost chaos.  Last night was just about right, a very positive experience.  Our precinct was attended by 14 folks, 7 men and 7 women.  Unfortunately we didn't see many very young faces--only a few younger than 50. 

Because I had never led one of these conversations before, I had my watch with its sweep hand ready to monitor how long people spoke for their candidate.  After we moved to a quieter spot in the cafeteria and sat in a circle, the conversation took on its own life.  It required no leader. 

Everyone was attentive and involved, listening and speaking.  I feel comfortable that people felt heard and respected.  We did keep the time in mind and were able to vote after speaking our minds and hearts.  We successfully elected 2 delegates from our precinct, one for Michael Bennett and one for Andrew Romanoff.  Our group had one uncommitted which helped to effectively direct the conversation.  Our group made seven resolutions for consideration to the party platform. 

It was good to see folks still talking issues with one another after our precinct business was done.  I do think that the caucus was productive and reflective of the town meetings which still occur in the many smaller towns in New England

I can see ways of making improvements to the meetings----better environment, better organization, etc., but I don't think we could improve on the discussion and business accomplished in such a short time.  I look forward to attending and participating next time.

Thanks, John,
I hope this adds to your story.
Elaine Branjord
Evergreen, CO  

What was your experience with the Colorado Caucuses? Share them with us under "Discussions" on the Facebook group "I'm a fan of the Colorado Caucuses." To see what the media is saying about Colorado Caucuses see the Facebook page "Colorado Caucuses News". Links to both at http://www.COCaucus.org.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy anniversary Mom & Dad! Married on this date in 1944 in Amarillo, Texas, moved here to Colorado in 1949. We lost dad to cancer in 1979, way too soon. 

Don't forget to go to your neighborhood caucus today,
for more see: http://www.COCaucus.org

Friday, March 12, 2010

Next Tuesday (Mar 16) be a reporter for the Denver Post from your caucus. For details: http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_14651483

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When we vote next fall, most of the candidates on the ballot will result from meetings this coming Tuesday, March 16.

That's when neighbors who want to service in public office or who want to help other good people get elected will gather in Denver and across Colorado. The Colorado Caucuses consists of 6,000 public neighborhood meetings across the state, the start of the nominating process to the primary ballot and for electing party leaders for the Democrats and Republican.

My neighbor Lyle Lindesmith taught me to love our Colorado caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot. I learned from him it is the best chance the common person has for getting elected. It neutralizes the effects of big money and big power in politics. The system has served Colorado well since it was created in 1912 as part of the Teddy Roosevelt progressive reforms.

In 1974, I was a recently elected precinct committee person going door to door looking for a block captain on one of the few blocks in my precinct that didn't have one already. It was at one of those doors I met my neighbor Lyle. He invited me into his home and we had a long talk.

For years, Lyle told me, he'd led a four session workshop called "Action Class in Practical Politics." Each week speakers were invited from both major political parties, and the adult learners in the class were given homework assignments to check out the party of their choice in their local neighborhood and county, and report back to the class what had been discovered.

Not long after that first visit, Lyle asked me to help with what I think was the last session of the Action Class he ever led. The breakfast sessions were held in the old Petroleum Club dining room. Young community activist Jeanne Faatz http://www.jeannefaatz.org/
  was in the class, just starting to think about running for elected office. She was soon chosen for the state legislature, and she now serves on the Denver City Council.

From time to time I stopped by and visited with Lyle at his business, Englewood Press on South Broadway, and he steeped me in his long-time political wisdom, advice that would have served me well if I'd paid more attention to it. Here's some of what I remember:

*Make a decision whether you want to be a candidate for elected office, or if you'd rather be of service through party work. Lyle had learned from personal experience the two don't mix, that's been my experience, too.

*Party leaders, from precinct committee person to state chair do their job best when they stay neutral in candidate races. Let all the candidates bring new people into the party rather than compete for the party faithful.

*There are three ways to get involved: 1) Through the party structure; 2) Through auxiliary organizations such as the Young Democrats and College Republicans; and 3) Through candidate organizations. Lyle had Action Class members contact their local leaders in all three areas, look for opportunities to fill voids and be of service.

Now I'm trying to recreate Lyle's Action Class in Practical Politics for people here on the Internet, see http://www.COCaucus.org
, where I've posted the reading material from that original class, links to other sources of information, and weekly online "speakers" and follow up discussions where any question you have will be answered. You can join at any time and it's free.

You don't have to learn anything more than where to go March 16. Many successful political careers have been started by common people like me who just showed up. In my opinion, it's the best networking event in Colorado.

John Wren has been a precinct committee person, district captain, and candidate for the state legislature, and on the board of a political auxiliary as both a Republican and a Democrat. He was part of a group called Save the Caucus that defeated Amendment 29 in 2002 to preserve our Colorado grassroots system for selecting candidates for the primary ballot. He is one of the founders of Denver Speakers Corner, where you can find him on the soap box each Sunday afternoon http://meetup.com/Denver-Speakers-Corner. He loves to talk with neighborhood groups, service clubs, and other forums about the Colorado Caucuses. Contact him at (303)861-1447 or John@JohnWren.com