Political Activism

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Oct 302012
If you’ve been reading the COMING UP calender of the Northern Light or your neighborhood utility pole, you know that we’ve been promoting progressive people for office–see this post.

First Congressional District candidate Suzan DelBene, with one of the event organizers, Ruth Higgins, thanks residents for their interest in her campaign, October 28, 2012 at Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro. Photo by Al Krause

In earlier times, the leaders of our community organized forums where voters could see and hear opposing candidates present their views.
If you’re still looking for information on the 42nddistrict state legislature candidates, John Stark at the Bellingham Herald wrote two excellent articles comparing Natalie McClendon (October 21) and Matt Krogh (October 22) with their competitors. You can find these articles on the Herald’s site. Go to the search window to the right at the top of their online masthead.

Suzan DelBene–A Remarkably Pleasant Experience

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Suzan DelBene–A Remarkably Pleasant Experience
Oct 302012
As publicized, three of the Birch Bay Democrat PCO’s, Sunny Brown, Pat Jerns and Ruth Higgins, organized a “meet and greet” for Suzan DelBene, the First Congressional District candidate, Sunday, the 28th.
My tasks were to register participants at the door of Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro, and to keep free a parking space for the candidate’s vehicle. In addition to one space I had two-thirds of another where a motor cycle was parked. That made enough room for a limo, but what if she had a retinue with two or three cars?
Shortly after one o’clock Sunny and I were startled to look up and see the candidate walking to the door with one assistant. Smiling, more relaxed than most participants.
I waited ’till one thirty to go upstairs to find Ms. DelBene still talking with small groups of people a stranger might assume were old friends.
Campaigners are coached to tell “your story” that will gain emotional appeal from voters. If you know anything about Suzan DelBene, it is that she is rich. That she held management positions with Microsoft and a couple of successful tech start-ups; that her husband is a division president at MSFT and they live in a multimillion dollar house on Lake Washington.
So here’s DelBene’s story: When she was in high school her father, an airline pilot lost his job, and the family moved around as he sought work. She got through college on scholarships, grants and work-study programs. In her first year out of school she was able to take her family into her home. She knows what it’s like for people are suffering now. Here she is in a simple black sweater and slacks that she might have bought at Target. Empathy!
And it gets better when she asks for questions. To a long list she spontaneously renders the progressive’s perfect answers. Asked about the proposed coal pier and more coal trains–“the question that is asked most up this way”–DelBene said she is waiting for answers from the scoping process and environmental impact study, and then went on to enumerate all the issues involved–mostly negative.
When she put her competitor, John Koster, away with, “I believe in science,” the 50 people there broke into applause.
For me the most interesting answer was to the question, “How can you, as a new Congresswoman, expect to make a difference in a body with 435 partisans?” Her answer: Information can be powerful. If one knows a subject she will be sought out even if one’s office is in the basement of the Capitol. “When John Koster voted against an appropriations bill five times in six, he said it was because he hadn’t had time to read the bills–you don’t want to employ someone like that to be your representative.”
Via, the view of the Bay and the people at the meeting who came from Blaine and Custer and elsewhere were just as attractive as the candidate. It is satisfying for our community to make such a good impression on someone whose base is Bellevue.



*** ***
Standing by the door, I found that as many people were coming to Via to eat as came to meet DelBene. After Suzan left, Ruth and I stayed to split a small salad and eat two appetizers–Steamed Mussles and Seafood Mitkof. When I asked Google about the latter, up came Via Birch Bay and explained it is a seafood saute in a brandy cream finished with a toasted smoked Gouda. With this meal, we drank a nice Pinot Grigio. Via Birch Bay Bar and Bistro is a keeper!

Congressional Conversation

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Congressional Conversation
Oct 152012
Meet 1st Congressional District Candidate Suzan DelBene.


Sunday, October 28th, 1 to 2 p.m. at the Topside Room, VIA Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro, 7829 Birch Bay Drive, Birch Bay, WA.
Complimentary snacks, tea and coffee; no-host bar.
RSVP: 371-5312.
Organized by Birch Bay and Blaine Precinct Committee Officers in cooperation with the Whatcom County Democrats.

Vote for Darcy Burner

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Jul 302012

How you get ahead in this society: You’re born in Alaska and adopted by a family in Nebraska. The father had enlisted in the Army after high school. The mother, who already had two sons, wanted a girl. But Darcy was a tom-boy geek. (A second daughter was a girl-girl, now a nurse.)

Darcy applied to Harvard and worked her way to a degree in computer science. Then to Seattle and Microsoft where she wrote code and rose to become manager of a significant project and a successful product.

When Darcy decided to run for office she went to see one of the oracles of the Congress who told her to concentrate on fundraising. Instead, Darcy Burner joined a number of significant organizations including the Afghanstan Study Group whose report on ending the war was endorsed by Republicans as well as Democrats.

A few weeks ago, Burner was impressive as keynote speaker at the Netroots Nation conference. More impressive than Elizabeth Warren, running for the Senate in Massachusetts. Darcy has been going around the new 1st Congressional District with Retired Major Gen. Paul Eaton, who was a leader in Iraq. Recently they talked at the Blaine Senior Center about the cost of the Afgahanstan war in money and lives. Here’s a summary in a devastating New Yorker article – July 9-16 issue – by Dexter Filkins who was co-winner in 2010 George Polk award for coverage of this war:

After 11 years, nearly two thousand Americans killed, sixteen thousand Amerricans wounded, nearly four hundred billion dollars spent, and more than twelve thousand Afghan civilians dead since 2007, the war has come to this: mission not accomplished.

Burner and Eaton note that 80 percent of Americans are against this war, as measured by opinion polls. They argue the end should be now rather than 2014, as the President has projected.

The trend in TV ads and direct mail is for candidates to keep the message simple, easy to understand by children of all ages. Examples are the mailing pieces we are getting daily from Suzan DelBene and Laura Ruderman. Darcy Burner’s brochure is a small book that covers the major issues.

The 1st Congressional is a district that was structured – not gerrymandered – for an equal contest. There are six Democratic candidates.

With phone calls and knocking on doors we have been surveying voter attitudes. Many are disgusted with the lack of substance. Darcy Burner is a candidate who is showing the way to better politics.