Everyone who voted to keep the Chair was a member of the SEC. They are all active in their county, district and state to get EVERY Democrat elected - the entire slate. Many can and do work on individual campaigns, but we also chose to focus on the bigger picture.
Let me put it to you another way. In a county like Wake with 200 precincts, do you know how many people each campaign would need to cover every precinct with signs the night before the election? Does it make sense for each and every campaign to have so many people doing the exact same job as those in other campaigns? Or does it make more sense for some of those functions to be done in a more cost-effective (in terms of money and manpower) by a county Party that works for ALL Dems?
That's what looking at the big picture will do. And that's how people get to go from merely being a volunteer in an individual campaign to working on coordinated campaigns to being a member of the State Executive Committee who are in charge of the bigger picture.
And now to the regrettable handling of the harassment lawsuit. First off, the matter was handled internally - which is a requirement under state and federal laws. David Parker broke no state or federal law in how he handled that. So why were so many COS candidates as well as Dalton asking for him to be more transparent, and then when he was - they asked for his resignation? Could it be that they were being manipulated, first by the Republicans and then by their own paid political consultants - both of whom wanted to scramble the NCDP leadership at this crucial time?
And what of the alleged victim in this whole matter - the ex NCDP employee who was allegedly harassed by his employer? Well, the ED who resigned was able to collect full unemployment because the ESC determined that he did not in fact resign - he was given no choice but to resign, so in effect he was fired. But as it turns out - he was not fired for any good cause. Meaning ESC did an investigation of the claim, and they determined that Jay didn't do anything worthy of being fired for. And as Parker revealed during the press conference, Jay Parmalee didn't engage in any illegal conduct. Now as to why Adraidn might have felt like Jay was sexually harassing him, I have no idea. You'll have to ask him when the lawsuit comes to trial.
Was he fired for complaining about Jay sexually harassing him? I don't know exactly why he was fired, but from what I saw, he was an incompetent employee. He was the guy who flashed the "Aunt Jemima and Oprah" images up on the big screen at the April 2011 SEC meeting in Raleigh. And when he was assigned to me to help take tickets for the dinner that night, he had the attention span of a gnat - he didn't stay at the table taking tickets. Nor for that matter did the other NCDP staffer. Who knows why they repeatedly left their posts to go off and do stuff, only to come back a few minutes later.
He was also dismissed from NCSU student government for being involved in a ticket scalping incident, mainly because he knew what was going on, and he refused to accept his higher level of responsibility as a member of student government. Why anyone hired him to work for the NCDP during the tenure of David Young is beyond me. Diversity is one thing - but we need to hire competent people of good character to work for our Party. Hire good competent people first - no matter their gender, race, or sexual preferences. If you have two good candidates, then use diversity. But diversity is no excuse for hiring screw-ups.
Meek was elected by the SEC members - the same ones you bad-mouth for rejecting Parker's resignation.
I'd say that some of the candidates or electeds hurt the Party more than the decisions made by these so-called myopic and uninformed EDs. Why for example, did the NCDP have to hire lawyers to defend the Party from the actions of Easley campaign staffers? Why did the NCDP have to pay for ticket upgrades for Gov Perdue and tickets for her millionaire husband? For many years before, the NCDP was thought to be the plaything of the electeds - especially the higher-up electeds. Meek tried to change that, but even he couldn't totally change the Party in one fell swoop. We still had some hold-over policies that SEC members especially were trying to change.
And in terms of pyopic and uninformed decisions of EDs - which EDs are you talking about? OK - after Meek left, the Governor wanted us to elect a Chair who had only lived in the western part of the state as a 4-term county commissioner. His experience winning those 4 elections was supposed to be important and valuable for us in the future. His first decision was to hire someone from the Heath Shuler campaign who also happened to be dating Jerry Meek's ED. They then hired 3 key people by June 2009: a political director; a statewide Field Director who was from DC (his daddy was a friend of Obama's) who only worked in NC during the 2008 campaign with OFA; and a communications director who did little communicating to the public (but I did see her on her cell phone out in front of Goodwin House quite often). They then hired 5 Regional Field Directors by August (most of whom had NO POLITICAL experience other than working for OFA in the 2008 election campaign) - one of whom reportedly was a Republican before the 2008 election. How well did that work out for the Party?
Well - two of the three June hires were fired before the 2009 elections took place. The remaining June hire did very little communicating that anyone could see - there were no press releases or press conferences coming from Goodwin House to counter the daily press conferences that NC GOP Chair Tom Fetzer was making. Three of the 5 RFDs were "loaned" to the Anthony Foxx campaign, instead of working around the state doing more good on school board and municipal races. Nearly 3/4s of a million dollars were funneled into the Foxx race - which he won by around 3K votes. It was apparently that important for Foxx to win this race even though Dems already controlled the Charlotte City Council. After that election, we only had 4 RFDs. And instead of building the Party, they worked to con volunteers into phone banking only - no canvassing. That's important because studies have shown that door to door canvassing is more effective in getting out the vote than phone banking. One big advantage that phone banking has is that it allows the folks managing the phone banking to better control the volunteers - and that's what OFA was about. Not building a community or a party - but about controlling the message. Which was very Obama-centric by this time right down to the new Democratic Party logo - which appeared to be a small "D" surrounded by a BIG "O" (right from the President's own logo. As if the entire Democratic Party was smaller and less important than either the President or his campaign. That insulted a lot of Dems who realize that there are many more races than the every 4-year Presidential race that needed to be won.
So yes - I agree that all those Obamacentric decisions were myopic. They hurt many more candidates than they helped in 2009 and especially in 2010. So what's your point again - that OFA methods WORK? Other than for the 2008 election (and the 2012 election in every swing state OTHER THAN NC), they failed to work to elect Democrats. Otherwise, how do you explain the huge ass-kicking that was 2010?
While there are more voters in NC in 2012 than in 2008, and more voters voted, turnout as a % of registered voters was DOWN in 2012 compared to 2008 when the NCDP and county Parties were stronger. SO the decision to weaken the Party was not a good one - and SEC members know that.
First off, most SEC members run for that office in their own county convention, elected by delegates from the precincts. Those are the people who are in the trenches electing Democrats at the local level. We vote on resolutions and changes to the NCDP Plan of Organization. Many SEC members are also county Chairs and Vice-Chairs, US Congressional District Chairs, Presidents of Democratic Party auxiliaries, and some elected public officials. By the way - none of the Council of State members who were pushing Parker to resign actually cast a vote in that May 12 SEC meeting to reject or accept Parker's resignation. There's a saying you might have heard of (or maybe you have not been around long enough to know it), but it goes like this: "if you don't vote, don't bitch!"
Funny thing about that May rejection of David Parker's resignation. David's resignation was defeated by a larger majority than he got when he was elected NCDP Chair in January 2011. Do you not respect the will of the majority? That's what elections are all about. Funny that you claim to be working in campaigns but you don't respect the results of the votes that campaigns make possible.
The NCDP is a political party. OFA was a $750 million top-down business in 2008, and it was a $1 billion business in 2012 with only one goal - to sell their product in 2008 and then again in 2012. They cared about nothing else. Most didn't care about the downsides of what they did and how OFA methods affected other candidates in those years or the years in between. They also didn't care about the Democratic Party. Plouffe pretty much said so in his book.
But do they think that working for strong myopic leaders (those who only have one product to sell and don't care about other races or the Party Platform that is created by a more democratic process than whatever process a campaign or an elected official uses to create their agenda - like the Obama agenda which seemed to change quite often?
Which people know the donors? Where were the donors this year - they were donating to the GOP, because the GOP got the majority in 2010 because too many people allowed OFA the organization and former OFA staffers to destroy the Democratic Party.
And in all your worldly experience, do you really think Bev Perdue making people think that she was going to run for Gov again in 2012, and then announcing at the last minute that she was not going to run was a smart idea? Especially when McCrory started running for 2012 the day after the 2008 election? I can tell you that after 2010, many people who would normally run for office had to think twice. Once because they knew that OFA would suck all the oxygen out of the room in 2012 - much like they did in 2008. And that the NCDP and many county Party organizations had been severely weakened by what OFA did in 2008 and so in 2012 the Party would not be able to provide anywhere near the help for all candidates that we did in 2008.
And of course there was Charlotte. While many people lost their perspective (and minds) trying to get to the big dog and pony show that was the 2012 DNC Convention, many people realized what a total waste of time that would be in terms of getting out the vote and winning local elections. That's why many key elected officials initially talked about staying home and working to get out the vote. If the Charlotte convention was such a good thing for NC - why do you think that Obama lost NC in 2012 by nearly 100K votes when he barely won it in 200*?
I don't know how that would happen - unless OFA was telling volunteers directly in 2008 that the NCDP and county party organizations were a waste of time. We had one OFA worker call up our former county party Chair Doris Weaver and tell her that directly in 2008. This guy got a paid NCDP staff job in 2009, but got loaned to Charlotte in 2009 even though his resume says he didn't start working for the NCDP until 2010. He worked for the Wake Dems on the 2011 school board election even though he somehow got deregistered to vote in North Carolina for a couple of months.
And how will the NCDP get it's act together if OFA is trying to destroy the NCDP? We had OFA staffers following behind NCDP staffers at phone banks, actively poaching those NCDP volunteers. When caught in the act, they claimed that we are all in this together. If so - why doesn't OFA share their volunteers? And why does OFA poison the NCDP well?
NCDP will get it's act together and build itself up to be the strong Party organization it once was when we learn that no candidate or campaign is bigger than or is the boss of the Party. And we can start by getting OFA volunteer data from OFA, then showing them the door. And never making the same mistake again to let any candidate or campaign make the Party subordinate to the candidate or campaign.
Funny that no one mentioned the fundamental changes to the Democratic Party that were ushered in by former DNC Chair Howard Dean and NCDP Chair Jerry Meek that resulted in phenomenal growth of the Democratic Party from the grassroots up. Those changes were single-handedly undone by the Obama campaign beginning in June 2008, largely because a Party run by the grassroots was seen as a threat to the legislative agenda that Obama would be pushing. First and foremost on the Party agenda would be significant healthcare reform: Single-payer universal health care and not the health insurance mandates that the President rejected in secret before he was elected.
So instead of continuing to do what led to Democratic successes in 2006 and 2008, Democrats around the country were lulled by our elected Party leaders into allowing Obama campaign to control the Democratic Party. From picking Tim Kaine to allowing the Obama Campaign organization to morph into Organizing For America and become part of the Democratic National Committee, OFA was able to demobilize the Democratic army beginning in 2008. Instead of following the Democratic Party platform crafted by members and delegates beginning in the precinct, we were forced into supporting whatever the President's "agenda du jour" was - and it changed a lot. We were told that we had to give the President wins on his agenda - instead of realizing that the President ran as the nominee of the Democratic Party, with a mandate from us to work to turn our Party platform into public policy. Which is more "democratic" - a national agenda that began to be crafted in each precinct that works its way up through the county, congressional district, state and then national level - or an agenda crafted by political staffers for the President? It's especially galling to realize that under DNC by-laws the President doesn't even have a vote for DNC officers or on the platform!
And while the OFA campaign methods crafted by Axelrod, Plouffe and Messina were successful in getting Obama elected, they were not much good for anyone else. Obama had no coat-tails in the 2008 election. Many statewide candidates that he did not pull up along with him got more votes than he did: Beverly Perdue, Elaine Marshall, and Roy Cooper. And the OFA methods didn't work in elections held immediately after November 2008: 2008 GA Senate runoff, 2009 VA and NJ gubernatorial races, and the MASS Senate special election to fill Teddy Kennedy's seat. All were losses for Democrats, and if OFA was involved in them - they were too little too late! OFA entered late in the WI recall elections, until they were pulled back by the national leaders.
Certainly there were other problems: Beverly Perdue waiting until the last freaking minute to decide she wasn't going to run for Governor in 2012. She cursed ANY Democrat who would win the nomination because McCrory began running for Governor in 2012 as soon as he lost in 2008. I suggest that Dalton and anyone else interested in running for governor begin to do what McCrory did - start running now. Just because someone loses one year does not hex them for future runs. Frankly I'd like to see someone like Roy Cooper or Janet Cowell run for Governor. But they would need to make amends for interfering with the NCDP in the Spring of 2012.
Another problem was the DNC Convention located in Charlotte. Since we were the host state, many Democrats lost their perspective and lost their freaking minds trying to do whatever it took to go to Charlotte even if it was just to hold the door for some lower-level elected Democratic dignitary. They didn't organize precincts, they didn't build their volunteer list of precinct volunteers, etc. For example, Wake County had 145 organized precincts in 2008 - at one point in 2012 we had under 100. Of the 24 precincts I was personally responsible for in 2008, I had 21 organized. In early 2012, another person had let that fall to 2012. (on a side note - perhaps the reason why we needed to have a school board runoff for Kevin Hill in November 2011 was because 20 of the 26 precincts in his district were unorganized - he could have avoided the runoff had he only won 51 more votes in those 26 precincts - right around 2 votes per precinct).
If you remember the line from Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan - "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one!" It seems as though many Democrats need to take that to heart - especially here in NC. President Obama may have won this state in 2008, but those OFA methods resulted in a nearly 100K loss for Obama in 2012 in NC, but many other North Carolina Democrats lost because we did not have the critical mass needed to advance the entire Democratic slate. We also had OFA staffers poaching Democratic Party volunteers during the campaign, while OFA has yet to share their list of volunteers with the Democratic Party to help us build the Party for the future. This appears to be a re-play of 2008. Only time will tell.
One thing is for sure. Former Presidential candidate and DNC Chair Howard Dean's mantra was: "you have to take back your Party before you can take back your country!" The growth of the Democratic Party from the grassroots made up largely of Deaniacs was proof that you can win elections (2006 and 2008) from the grassroots up. The failures from after November 2008 - including the 2010 and 2012 General elections - are proof that we should tear up the OFA playbook and kick OFA to the curb now that President Obama can't run for office.
> Meanwhile, Brooks, who served as labor commissioner for 16 years, from 1977–1993, has a spotty history. It was under his watch that the infamous fire at a Hamlet chicken processing plant, Imperial Foods, killed 25 workers. It was later learned that exit doors had been locked and the labor department had not conducted a safety inspection at the facility in 11 years.
> Should this incident color Brooks' political career? For the families of the 25 workers, yes it should. In addition, Brooks, currently a staff attorney with the N.C. Industrial Commission, had 16 years to accomplish his goals.
This is just bull and any responsible reporter should know that. Go to any law library and you will find more pro-worker labor law precedents set when John Brooks was Labor Commissioner than any one fore or after him - even their precious Harry Payne.
Yes - John Brooks was Labor Commissioner when there was a fire at the Hamlet Food Processing Plant - it was not a chicken processing plant. Get that right PLEASE!
But due to the business progressives in the NC Legislature, they wrote the laws which stated clearly that NC-OSHA can only inspect businesses that are registered with the Secretary of State's office, or if there was a complaint received. There were no complaints received from employees, and the folks at Imperial Foods did not properly register their business. Therefore NC OSHA didn't know Imperial Foods even existed until the fire. So please tell me how that is the fault of John Brooks?
You mention the locked exit doors - that's the responsibility of the Fire Marshall who is also the Insurance Commissioner. So why blame the Labor Commissioner for that too?
The incident should not color Brooks' political career. You are either lying or misleading your readers and the families of those workers when you continue to spread falsehoods about John Brooks. And you most certainly know that we've had plenty of elected leaders want to make much needed reforms and they can't succeed because of resistance even from members of their own party. How long have we been trying to have real health care reform in the USA? How long have we been trying to get collective bargaining for public employees? Yet you have the nerve to claim that one man trying to bring labor law into the 20th century when dealing with legislators who after Payne was elected overturned a reform that came about AFTER the Hamlet Fire?
I saw you smear Brooks when you endorsed a corporate lobbyists (government affairs lawyer) for the Democratic nomination. But when real Democrats spoke up and elected Brooks in the primary runoff, I can't believe that it pissed you inside the Beltline types so much that you would pick Cherie Berrie? Are you nuts? She's ready to re-institute child labor and indentured servitude!
Didn't make sense for them to fire him right now - and throw all that red meat to the Republicans right before this election and help them get ready for next year's election - without thinking ahead a little bit and being more political.
Perhaps they need to stop letting all the non-profit special interest groups (and their paid consultants) be the only folks they listen to?
Check it out - even Don Vaughn wants David Parker to stay on as NCDP Chair: http://www2.mooresvilletribune.com/news/20…
One thing that those who have rushed to judgement on Parker have not done is state how they would have handled personnel matters different and stayed within the law. This is something that all NCDP Chair candidates should be asked to do - tell us how they would do things differently!
Let me put it to you another way. Don't ask someone to respect you when you take something that belongs to them which you are not entitled to have. Don't expect me to just give you something of mine because you ask for it - without giving me something in return. If I decide to give that thing to you - what are you going to give me that is of equal value?
Not asking for a handout or a direct payout here Bob. Just asking if you know what things are worth - and if the nominee has anything valuable enough to trade in return?
There is nothing in the NCDP POO or the DNC By-Laws that declare that the highest elected public official or nominated candidate is the leader of our Party. Therefore I don't have to respect a grab for power they don't have. We elect leaders in the Democratic Party from the precinct up to the entire State Party.
And if you want to talk about respect - many of the "electeds" don't care about the Democratic Party platform that the party activists put together as a product of deliberative bodies from the Precinct on up. The whole point of a Party platform is to represent our values and have people who want to run with a "D" behind their name work to turn our platform into public policy once we elect them to public office. If you want respect you first have to give it, and that would include not grabbing something that isn't yours to begin with. Like the right to name the new party Chair.
Another point to consider is who is forcing Parker to resign? If merely the allegation of sexual harassment and claims of a cover-up without knowing all the facts are enough to force someone out of office, then that is wrong. And especially when it looks like all this was pretext to force Parker out over the taxpayer checkoff money that the "electeds" want to have all of in 2012 (instead of only half in 2010).
I would have thought that a thoughtful journalist like yourself would want to have all the information before passing judgement instead of just parroting the claims of consultants and "electeds" who have never really cared about the good of the Party. Or is the country-club crowd more important than the grassroots?
All Comments »
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation