Monday, November 05, 2012
"Imbued with unprecedented financial resources, the Obama 2008 presidential campaign established more than 700 field offices across the country, mostly in battleground states. To what extend did this form of campaigning actually affect the presidential vote? This article examines the county-level presidential vote in 2008 in eleven battleground states. The findings show that those counties in which the Obama campaign had established field offices during the general election saw a disproportionate increase in the Democratic vote share. Furthermore, this field office-induced vote increase was large enough to flip three battleground states from Republican to Democratic."
"In three of the states under analysis—Florida, Indiana, and North Carolina—Obama won the actual election but would have lost if the mobilized voters had instead voted for McCain. McCain would also have won Indiana and North Carolina had the mobilized voters simply chosen to stay home on Election Day. These three states were worth a total of fifty-three electoral votes—not enough to actually cost Obama the White House, but certainly enough to make it a much closer election."
"The results suggest that Obama very likely would have won the national contest without these field offices, but that the offices had a measurable impact on the election, likely changing the results of several closely contested states."
See below for the full study:
On the Presidential level, there shouldn't be anything as dramatic to watch as FL, but VA, CO, or maybe NC could get interesting. OH looks solid for Obama.
On the Senate level, MT has become much more interesting. Fivethirtyeight still gives Rehberg a 69% chance of winning, but pollster.com has Tester in a slight lead:
Nate Silver has Tester behind by so much because of his state fundamentals rating of MT. His state fundamentals for MT are so strongly Republican ("Rehberg +9.1") that they outweigh the fact that Tester leads Nate Silver's polling average ("Tester +1") and his adjusted polling average ("Tester +1.7").
There's a similar thing occurring in ND, but it is a little harder to read. Pollster.com has Heitkamp up by .3%:
However, you can't compare this to Nate Silver's charts as well because he does not include Pharos Research Group's polls in his polling aggregate because they refuse to give him the details of their polling methodology (sample size/etc.). It is usually a bad sign when a pollster hides the details so I don't blame Nate Silver for not including them. Nate would have the state leaning red because of state fundamentals either way though.
Tester definitely has better odds of winning MT than Heitkamp has of winning ND, but both should be interesting to watch. These two races will decide whether Fivethirtyeight.com's state fundamentals ratings are justified in outweighing the polling (and adjusted polling) averages.
The two other Senate races to watch will be WI and VA. In WI, Thompson has made up a lot of his lost ground in this race though Baldwin is heavily favored on Fivethirtyeight.com (77.2%) and very slightly favored on pollster.com (.8%):
In VA, Kaine is up by a healthier margin, and I still expect Baldwin (D) and Kaine (D) to win.
No big changes in the House races (overall). The GOP still looks prepared to keep a majority in the House. However, the national polls finally became in line with the state polls (which is great news for President Obama). For a little bit, election experts were wondering whether the national polls or the state-level polls were telling the true story about the state of the election. The media pointed to national polls because they give off the impression that the race has been much closer than it actually is. As far as the popular vote goes, it will be a close race percentage wise; however, the state-level polls have shown an Obama lead in the electoral college the entire election cycle.
For more on this topic, see below:
Towards the end of my recent prediction post, I stated that "[t]he main two I could see myself switching on are FL (from Romney to Obama) and MT's Senate race (from Rehberg to Tester); however, this late in the campaign things are usually fairly set in stone." It appears that was one good prediction on my part so far (without Nate Silver's help this time :P).
I've been heavily keeping up with election numbers/predictions since 2004. As much as I believe in the research/thought behind the experts I follow, I realize that an extremely low or very high turnout could prove the likely voter models being used by all of the pollsters wrong, which would cause all of their predictions to be off. That being said, Nate Silver and most of the other poll aggregators have been on target for the past 4 years, and I don't expect that to change tomorrow.
The best part about being a prediction/polling junkie is that you get an election day every two years. For one day the various pollsters/poll aggregators will be proven right or wrong, and then we can sleep in November to the sound of the blame game blaring from cable news channels.
Monday, October 29, 2012
President: President Obama will be re-elected (303 Obama to 235 Romney).
Senate: Democrats will retain control of the Senate (52 Ds, 47 Rs, 1 I) (The I will caucus w/ the Dems).
House: Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives (236 Rs, 199 Ds).
Marijuana legalization measures: CO and WA will pass theirs, but it will fail in Oregon (and the Ark. medical marijuana initiative will fail as well).
I've waited longer than usual to make these predictions mostly because I simply haven't had time, but also because the debates started up and the numbers were affected by them. That being said, I must give the same disclaimer that I always give: my predictions are mostly based off of Nate Silver's projections (fivethirtyeight.com), though I do also look at pollster.com and I throw in a dash of gut instinct.
Why rely on Nate Silver? Because he called the electoral vote in 2008, and he called most (if not all) of the Senate races in 2010 (not to mention that he called the Republican House takeover, though he was off by around 20 seats). His model, which aggregates all of the polls for each state, weighs every poll based on sample size, whether it is a robo call poll or a live call poll (live call polls are better), and he adjusts them for political bias (ex: Rasmussen is adjusted for its Republican bias, and Public Policy Polling is adjusted, though only slightly, for its Democratic bias). Unlike pollster.com (which I also like a lot), he also includes historical state trends and economic indicators. If you are a regular reader of fivethirtyeight.com, then my predictions will not surprise you much (though I have varied with him slightly in the past).
The right has been running a smear campaign against Nate Silver and anyone else who gives them information that they don't want, and here's a good response from Paul Krugman on the matter:
Here's a good article on polls:
Before I start to break things down state-by-state, I would like to point out one major factor that people do not consider when looking at the polls: Registered voter polls vs. Likely voter polls. While likely voter polls are definitely better to look at, the actual election results (in a Presidential year) will fall somewhere between the likely voter polling and the registered voter polling. Why? Because multimillion dollar Presidential and Congressional campaigns will be focused on turning out the "less likely" voters. This typically benefits Democrats more than Republicans because a) there are more Democrats than Republicans in this country, and, even more so, because b) because the demographics that vote Democrat are less likely to turnout (meaning that they aren't considered "likely" voters and meaning there are more "less likely" voters for Democratic campaigns to turn out). Because of this, my predictions may actually favor the GOP more than they should, though I'm sure none of them will be excited about what I see coming November 6th.
Here's a post showing the difference between likely and registered voter (national) polls:
Here's a good article/graph explaining President Obama's ground game edge, which is necessary since the Democratic Party has to focus more on turning out "less likely" voters (Republican field is not as effective because more of their people will show up to vote w/o needing as much contact). Don't allow me to overstate things though because Republicans do need field, they run it well, and they do have "less likely" voters that they need to turnout.
One thing to watch for in this election is that there's a chance that President Obama could win a decisive electoral vote while losing the popular vote. Nate Silver puts this at around a 5% chance of happening, but, while I agree that this won't be likely to happen, I think that the chances of it happening are more than 5%.
Presidential Predictions (state-by-state): Obama 303 to Romney 235
I am only going to focus on what I see as battleground, or at least potential battleground, states (so, if you don't see a state listed, it is because I believe it is already going one way or the other w/o need for comment). I am going to start with the battleground states that seem like they are already decided, and then I will work my way down to the more contested states:
NM: Obama. Stop calling this a battleground state.
MN: Obama. 1 poll comes out showing a 3 point race, and now people want to call this a battleground state? It won't be.
MO: Romney. Not the battleground state it used to be.
PA: Obama. Polls typically show it closer than the result we see on election day, which is something that also happens in NJ.
AZ: Romney. This state is not a battleground state this year (as I had hoped); however, I expect it to be a battleground state 4 years from now (due to demographic shifts).
WI: Obama. The media wants this to be a battleground state, but it is not. Even the group of voters that re-elected Gov. Scott Walker preferred President Obama to Romney (side note: Democrats should never create special elections...the low turnout kills us).
NC: Romney. We were lucky to pull this one off by ~14,000 votes in '08. While the state's demographics are moving in our favor (highly educated young people and Latinos are moving into it at a high rate), it is a little too early for us to claim this state.
NV: Obama. The ground game in NV is unbelievable, and Romney's campaign is having to chase votes all over rural NV while a 75,000 + strong union and Harry Reid's state party are giving President Obama a stronger edge than even the polls will permit (though they favor him too).
OH: Obama. If you are hoping for another 4 years of President Obama like I am, then this is the state that should help you sleep at night. No Republican has ever won the Presidency without Ohio, and President Obama has polled 3 to 5 points ahead of Romney in this state the entire race (before the 1st debate he was 10 points ahead...and early voting had already begun). The latest numbers I've seen in Ohio (based on polls conducted w/ early voters) show Obama with a 54% to 39% lead.
IA: Obama. Polls have looked good (though somewhat close) there, and good voting/election laws there should help out the Democratic turnout (voting is very accessible there).
NH: Obama. The polls are surprisingly close in NH, and I believe that this is one of the few battleground states (maybe the only) that has a registered republican voter advantage. That being said, NH Republicans are moderates, and I expect NH to stick with the President.
Top 3 Battleground States: (If I am to be wrong, it will probably be on one of these 3):
CO: Obama. This state had a strong lean towards Obama early on, but has since become one of the most contested battleground states. That being said, it still leans very slightly towards President Obama, and I think the "less likely" voters will put him over the top.
VA: Obama.You can pretty much take what I said about CO and apply it here as well. Nate Silver (and recent polls) have shown VA to be a more likely pick up than CO for Obama (though there is only a razor-thin difference). Even though I believe both will go to Obama, my gut instincts tell me that we actually have a better shot at winning CO than VA.
FL: Romney. Unfortunately, Romney has begun to pull away in FL, and, even though Democrats had a 37,000 vote lead in the early vote last week, I expect Romney to win FL by a small margin. That being said, the polls have tightened to a point where a good ground game could put President Obama over the top. I hope to be wrong on my prediction for this state.
Here's a good article from Nate Silver on the "state of the states":
Here's a more recent article from Nate:
For more data check out fivethirtyeight.com, pollster.com, realclearpolitics.com, and electoral-vote.com (though electoral-vote.com really only looks at recent polls/is not a polling aggregate).
2012 Senate races: 52 D, 47 R, 1 I
As you see above, I believe that the Democrats will have 52 seats + 1 independent Senator (Angus King) that I expect to caucus with them (technically, Senator Sanders from VT is also an I that caucuses w/ the Dems), and I believe that the GOP will have 47 seats in the Senate.
Here's the breakdown:
NV: Republican (Dean Heller). Unfortunately, ethics scandals will most likely keep Rep. Berkley from defeating Dean Heller. She may be able to ride President Obama's coattails to victory, but I doubt it based on the polling I've seen. This is especially disappointing since this is a state the Democrats should have picked up a seat in.
MT: Republican (Rehberg). It pains me to predict against Senator Tester, but I have to stick with Nate Silver on this one. More outside money has been dumped into MT's Senate race than they've ever seen in MT, and, even though pollster.com shows Tester leading by a couple of points (because recent Democratic leaning polls have shown Tester ahead), I fear that we will lose this contest. That being said, if positive polling continues to roll out for Tester in the coming days, I may change this prediction (I always update these a day or two before Election Day...as a separate post of course).
AZ: Republican (Flake). This future battleground state is giving us a current battleground race for its U.S. Senate seat. Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General, wasn't expected to do as well as he has, but he's proven to be a good candidate considering how close the race has become. That being said he made a minor last minute gaffe when he told the moderator in his debate that the moderator was "prettier" than Candy Crowley. I doubt that the gaffe will affect him much at all, but you don't want anything to go wrong when you are in a race as neck-and-neck as this one.
ND: Republican (Berg). This was definitely not a state that anyone expected the Democrats to have a chance in, but the Democrats picked a great candidate and Heitkamp has made this one a close race. She's won on a statewide level in ND twice before (Tax Commissioner/Attorney General), and pollster.com has her behind by only 1 point. That being said, I'm sticking to Nate Silver again on this one for 2 reasons: a) the state traditionally votes Republican, and b) the polls favoring Heitkamp are from Democratic pollsters. I hope Heitkamp's team can prove me wrong on this one come Nov. 6th, but, even if they don't, they still deserve much praise for forcing the GOP to spend money in ND.
NE: Republican (Fischer). Bob Kerrey, a former NE Senator and Governor, did the Democratic party a huge favor by jumping into this race. Though I don't expect him to win, he is forcing the GOP to spend resources in a state that they shouldn't have to spend them in. That being said, it is a red state and all of the polls favor Fischer so I expect this to be a Republican pickup.
MO: Democrat (McCaskill). GOP candidate Akin's twisted views on women has allowed this state to go from being one of the easiest Senate pickups for the GOP to a safe Democratic seat. Ever since GOP MO Senate candidate Todd Akin made the below quote, his polling numbers have been dismal.
“'It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,' Akin told KTVI-TV. 'If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.'"
Here's his screw up on a graph:
McCaskill was supposed to be the #1 target that the GOP could pick off for a gain in the Senate this election cycle; however, Akin completely dropped the ball to the point where the GOP has given up on the race (though Senator DeMint is still wasting money there last time I checked).
WI: Democrat (Baldwin). Are you a right-winger that thinks WI is a red state because they re-elected Gov. Scott Walker in his recall election? Well think again, WI is poised to elect a liberal lesbian to the U.S. Senate! Even better, the Republicans made a safe bet in going with Tommy Thompson, and even he hasn't been able to overtake Baldwin (he blames it on Romney dragging the ticket down in WI).
WI is the perfect example of the difference between 2010 and 2012. Mid-term election typically have a low turnout (meaning the likely voter polls are very accurate), and in 2010 the voting base was older and whiter than the country they were voting in. Republicans made big gains (though Nate Silver accurately called that Democrats would retain the Senate while Republicans would take the House); however, 2012 will not be a repeat of 2010 for one major reason: Presidential turnout.
IN: Democrat (Donnelly). Here is another race where the Republicans should have had an easy pickup, yet they dropped the ball. First, they made a mistake when they nominated a far-right-wing tea partier (Mourdock) to run against a moderate Democratic nominee (Donnelly). Because Indiana is a red state, Mourdock still had a slight (though very slight) advantage...that is until he said this:
“'I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God,' he said. 'And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.' Mourdock, who became visibly emotional while speaking, supports abortion only to save a mother’s life, not in cases of rape and incest."
The polls still have this as a close race (Nate Silver's model has it going to Mourdock, but that is mostly due to the fact that not much polling has been done on the race since Mourdock made that bone-headed comment), but I'm going with Donnelly on this one. The race was already close, and Mourdock's comment will scare undecided/moderate women into Donnelly's camp.
OH: Democrat (Brown). Senator Sherrod Brown has been polling above Mandel the entire election cycle, even though millions of dollars have been spent against Brown. Ohio appears to have made up its mind on its Presidential and Senate races (though I will admit that they have both tightened up as we've come closer to Election Day...just not close enough to warrant a switch in my predictions).
FL: Democrat (Nelson). Nelson has also polled ahead of his Republican opponent this entire election cycle, and I don't see him having as much trouble in Florida as President Obama will have (see above).
VA: Democrat (Kaine). Senator Jim Webb did the Democratic party a huge favor by stepping down (his polling numbers weren't looking too great), which allowed Tim Kaine, a popular former governor of VA, to run. I expect this one to be close (just like VA will be close for the Presidential election); however, Tim Kaine has been polling ahead of Allen for most of this election cycle and I expect him to slightly outperform President Obama in VA.
PA: Democrat (Casey, Jr.). The GOP picked a far right candidate, who has made some strange comments, to run against a popular moderate Senator. Even though pollster.com has this race within 5 points, I don't see it being a close one.
CT: Democrat (Murphy). This race had Democrats worried for a minute when McMahon appeared to be pulling ahead in the blue state of CT. However, recent polling (even from Rasmussen, a right leaning pollster) has shown a strong lead for Murphy so don't expect the WWE family to take over the U.S. Senate any time soon.
MA: Democrat (Warren). You wouldn't think there would be much competition in this state, but, because of a special election and a terribly-run Democratic Senate campaign (back in early '10), MA elected moderate Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate. However, Elizabeth Warren is about to take back Ted Kennedy's seat for the Democratic party, and I'm looking forward to it. She's great for the party because the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was her brainchild (and it has already penalized many credit card companies for consumer abuse/legal violations), and because her messaging is so on target. She reminds us that the wealthy would not be wealthy if it weren't for the publicly educated workforce, publicly built roads/highways/infrastructure, and publicly funded research and development that we have in this country. I look forward to seeing what legislation she'll propose/pass in the upcoming Congress.
ME: Independent (King). Republican Senator Olympia Snowe stepped down because she was tired of her party's unwillingness to compromise, and, in her place, we will get an independent that is likely to caucus with the Democrats in the U.S. Senate. I say this because he is viewed as being more liberal than anything else, and he is way outpacing both the Democratic and Republican nominees in the polls.
For a look at each race on pollster.com:
For a good article on many of the Senate races:
Of course, don't forget to see Nate Silver's Senate predictions:
Fivethirtyeight.com (click the "Senate Nov. 6th Forecast" tab)
U.S. House of Representatives
Trying to call the individual House races is painful and somewhat pointless since these races are polled less often, and most of the polls that are conducted for them are internal. Nate Silver appears to have abandoned his House forecasts for the same reason (he correctly called that the Republicans would take the House in 2010, but he was off by a lot on the amount of seats they would take it by...though he beat me :p).
The only one I truly have insight on is the 9th District of TN, where I am the Campaign Manager for Congressman Steve Cohen. Because of my bias, I will not make an official prediction for this race, but I will say that I expect the great Congressman Steve Cohen to win by a comfortable margin. That being said, we have to run like we're 10 points behind because that is what you do on a winning campaign, and because we happen to have a mini-Mitt Romney/self-funder threatening to spend up to $5 million dollars against us.
Therefore, I am only going to lay out a blanket prediction for the U.S. House of Representatives, and I'm mostly making an educated guess by relying on pollster.com's forecast:
According to this forecast, the Republicans have 231 to the Democrats 189 seats, which leaves 15 toss-up races. I expect the turnout in our Presidential election to help Democrats, and therefore I'm putting 10 of the toss-ups into the D column and 5 in the R column, which leaves us with my prediction: 236 Rs to 199 Ds in the U.S. House of Representatives. Being that I've pretty much made a guess at this one, don't be surprised if I'm off by a few :p.
Here's the "Generic National Congressional" poll aggregate:
Marijuana Ballot Initiatives
Unfortunately, the polling hasn't been very heavy for these initiatives, but there has been enough polling to make predictions. That and Intrade (intrade.com), the prediction market based in Dublin, Ireland, has made some pretty one-sided predictions in the three legalization ballot initiatives. Because Intrade typically follows fivethirtyeight.com, I trust it, and I am going with it/polls I've seen in making my predictions:
WA legalization ballot initiative: Pass.
CO legalization ballot initiative: Pass.
OR legalization ballot initiative: Fail.
AR medical marijuana ballot initiative: Fail.
WA and CO learned from CA's mistake, and wrote their initiatives to be more mainstream through the hard work of lawyers who used polling/focus groups' information to craft them (including harsher penalties for "stoned driving" and limits on how much marijuana someone can legally possess), and they've done a better job at funding their initiatives (most likely due to better polling data in both states).
It will be interesting to see how the federal government reacts to two states legalizing marijuana for the first time, but, even if the federal government reacts negatively, it will force the U.S. Congress to finally have a serious national debate on the current state of our drug laws. How marijuana has remained a schedule 1 drug while much more dangerous substances, such as alcohol and prescription pain killers, are legal baffles me.
So there you have it. These are my current predictions for November 6th. I may adjust these predictions in a future post 1 or 2 days before the election. The main two I could see myself switching on are FL (from Romney to Obama) and MT's Senate race (from Rehberg to Tester); however, this late in the campaign things are usually fairly set in stone.
Also, after the election, I plan on doing a post-election article discussing these predictions and several predictions I made a year ago (a year ago I thought the Senate would be a toss-up and that the Democrats would take back the House...redistricting of the House districts and some good fortune for Democrats in the Senate races have changed both of those predictions).
While 2012 will not be another 2008 for the Democratic party, it will be much closer to 2008 than 2010 was. Presidential turnout will help President Obama and every other Democrat down ticket (in close races at least), and I expect the likely voter models to slightly underrate Democratic numbers/candidates.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
People who like to talk crap about MCS kids are out of touch. Our system is full of kids like this: smart, well-behaved kids dealing with overwhelming challenges that a child should never be forced to handle.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I'm furious with how we have become scapegoats for the right wing. I feel a calling to educate low income students for not a lot of money. I grew up poor. I know firsthand how important education is to survive. I chose to teach so I could make a difference. It may be a cliche, but it is also true. Somehow this choice makes me public enemy number 1.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
As I left, I ran into Richard Holden in the parking lot. I was less than satisfied with the conversation. He blamed the errors on the county commission making them rush. When I questioned this, he admitted that in hindsight they could have started earlier but that they had decided to do the process all at once. He made several remarks that "luckily this is early voting so we have time to fix it." Early voting is a huge percent of the vote and once these votes are cast wrongly they can't be undone. What really annoyed me is when he made an entirely irrelevant sexist remark about me being formerly part of District 89 which to quote him "as I somewhat disrespectfully like to say has always been ran by the ladies." Another time he used the word "girls" similarly. What the heck that was about is beyond me. I hadn't mentioned any of the past district 89 representatives. Women in general, and elected officials in specific deserve better than to be spoken of condescendingly because of their gender.
I have a lot of problems here. First of all, early voting is not a practice to prepare for election day. It is election day. These votes are real. Holden's cavalier attitude about early voting is concerning. Secondly, when a voter complains these concerns need sent up the chain of command. Voters don't normally have the time, resources, or knowledge to fight this on their own. Poll workers should respond helpfully and not dismiss their concerns. Finally, I'm getting reports of the same problem from across the county. This isn't limited to my precinct. We need to know how many people are affected, and how many people lost their vote.
When you vote, check everything for accuracy and demand answers if you have a concern. NEVER submit a ballot until you are satisfied with all the answers. Cancel your ballot and complain if you need to.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I am essentially in the middle of the district. It's hard to get farther from the boundaries in this district than I am. You can see here that my house is a mile from the District 98 line:
When I first complained, the election worker dismissed it by saying lots of people have been complaining that they weren't in the districts they thought they were in but that the districts had changed. She said "people are like but I have signs for so and so..." When I returned with a map, the supervisor there said that she couldn't do anything about it and that I should call the election commission on my own (the election commission was already closed as it was nearly 7.) My preschooler is quite annoyed that she didn't get to vote. Maybe her next lesson in civics will be how to complain to an election commission. If this happened to two of us, then how many people who don't pay close attention have already voted wrong? This is unacceptable. It needs fixed now, but even if it is fixed people have almost certainly lost their votes.
Monday, July 02, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
"I think the homosexual community is one of the biggest bullies in politics that there is,” he told The Tennessean. “They’ll go nationwide on a national issue to try to intimidate anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle.”I'll buy that statement when gay people start shooting straight couples, attack and beat straight boys, ban teachers from acknowledging that straight people exist, or tell us we can't adopt children.
Hopefully, Campfield can get therapy to help him cope with all the horrible abuse that he has suffered.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I watched Romney's response. They put a sign front and center on his podium that said "Repeal and replace Obamacare." Within an hour of the decision, the House scheduled another vote to repeal the bill. I want to encourage the Republicans here. Please tell Americans that giving health insurance to people with preexisting conditions is bad. Please tell us that taking away lifetime maximums is bad. Please tell us that expanding coverage and containing costs is bad. This is a fight I want. We beat them on this issue when we passed the bill. We beat them in the Supreme Court. Let's beat them again in November. I'll be taking a pilgrimage to Ohio to volunteer in a few months. Anybody want to join me?
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Senate District 30
House District 90
J. Deberry: 4
House District 93
I'm particularly annoyed that my fellow Holt scored a -3. Hopefully, Maddox can beat him and get his seat back next year.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
1. Overturn Citizens United
Citizens United was the 2010 Supreme Court case that has allowed corporations to dump millions of dollars into campaigns, and it has also allowed the formation of multi-million dollar "Super-PACs", which allows corporations and individuals to funnel in money to T.V. Ads/etc. anonymously (tearing apart any aspect of transparency in our electoral process).
Overturning Citizens United is by far the most important thing our country can do to protect our electoral and political systems.
I would also like to see all of our campaigns become publicly financed, but I doubt anything like that could ever pass through Congress. This is unfortunate though because if we pulled the money out of the process then we'd eliminate a lot of the corruption (though not all because of Congress' power over the appropriations process, which is necessary since you want people who can be held accountable by the voters to control that process).
2. Proportional Representation
This is an issue that could actually bring the far left and the far right together, and it would create a system that would be more beneficial for everyone (not just the extremes). Right now we have a two-party system, and within each party (especially the Democratic Party) there are people with many different viewpoints. Therefore, you can only predict to a certain point what you are voting for when you vote for a political party (and a lot more focus is placed on the individual candidate as a result).
As opposed to the single member districts that we have now, if we allowed parties to be voted on for Congress and if we allowed each party to take the proportional amount of seats as compared to the percentage of the popular vote that each party received (ex: A party that wins 1% of the vote would get 4 seats), then we could allow multiple parties to exist. This could be done on a national level, or Congressional seats could be voted on within each state as a whole (I would prefer it be done on national level since that would be more in line with 1 person 1 vote...it would be more proportional).
Result: We finally get rid of the dreaded Congressional gerrymandering of districts (one of our political system's greatest illnesses), and we finally get multiple parties. The significance of having a multiple party system is consistency. You can actually know what to expect from a political party. Don't get me wrong, I am one of those who actually realizes that there are gigantic differences between the two parties (I'm so sick of the ignorant statement: "Both parties are the same"...read the legislation they propose for 5 seconds and you'll see there are some gigantic ideological differences); however, I also realize that there is ideological diversity within the parties and this causes more voter confusion than anything else. If green, libertarian, and other third parties were allowed to exist, then people could know exactly what platforms they are voting for when they cast their ballot. This would create more trust between the public and the government, and the business community could actually know what to expect from the government in power at the time (business loves stability in government).
3. End the Electoral College
This may actually be carried out by National Popular Vote (nationalpopularvote.com) before a Constitutional amendment could be ratified. What National Popular Vote is doing is basically lobbying state legislatures to pass legislation that would cause the states who agree to give all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. However, states would not have to do this until enough states pass the legislation to make up a majority of the electoral college (270...they are currently at 132, which includes VT, MD, WA, IL, CA, NJ, MA, HI, and D.C.).
However, I still think it is worth bringing this up here since it only makes sense that we allow the nation as a whole to elect our President (as opposed to allowing a handful of battleground states to elect our President). This issue also has more bipartisan support than the other two issues I brought up above. People on the right and the left realize that its unfair that Democrats in TX and Republicans in CA, both of which are large groups of people, hardly have a voice when it comes to Presidential elections.
4. Getting rid of or at least modifying the filibuster/unanimous consent rules in the Senate.
This would probably be a given if the rest of the above proposals were to pass, and this is also something that would not require a Constitutional Amendment. The filibuster and the other procedural rules are not given to us by the Constitution. They are given to us by the tradition of the U.S. Senate. One of my law professors once convinced me that we should keep the procedural rules of the Senate intact since they force compromise, make sure that any change that is made in our country is a baby-step as opposed to a leap forward, and that business loves the stability that this type of process creates. However, I have since been convinced that this process has been broken by a political party that refuses to compromise. Maybe I'm wrong, and, after the GOP loses badly in a couple of election cycles, they'll realize that you have to have the middle on your side to win. Until that happens, I'm sticking to my opinion that these procedural rules need to go.
On the first legislative day of every Congress (which usually goes many real days so don't take this as meaning one day), the Senate can change its procedural rules with a simple majority. Senator Udall attempted this earlier this year, and here is the list of his reasonable proposals (quoted from the CNN article linked below):
"Udall is considering four key proposals as part of the resolution he will offer. One would prevent filibusters to taking up a bill or on a nomination, although it will still allow filibusters to end debate on a bill. A second would eliminate so-called "secret holds" in which a senator can anonymously stall legislation or a nomination from coming to the floor. A third would require senators leading a filibuster stay on the floor and debate the issue during the entire filibuster.
A fourth proposal from Udall is aimed at appeasing GOP concerns about being locked out of the process. It would require a certain number of amendments for the minority party for any bill being debated."Here is a link explaining the end agreement that the two parties settled on earlier this year (which resulted in small changes in the right direction as opposed to the bigger/better changes proposed by Sen. Udall):
Here's a more condensed version of the agreement: http://fixthesenatenow.org/news/entry/senate-leadership-agrees-upon-rules-package/
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reached a mutual agreement on a new procedural system for the 112th Senate, earlier today.
The agreement eliminates secret holds, prohibits delay tactics like forcing the reading an amendment that has already been submitted for 72 hours, and exempts about one third of executive nominations from the Senate confirmation process.
Additionally, Sen. Reid agreed to reduce the use of 'filling the amendment tree,' while Sen. McConnell agreed to limit the number of filibusters. Both party leaders agreed not to seek the Constitutional option to change rules in the 112th or the 113th Congress."
I understand the argument for preserving the filibuster and other procedural rules of the Senate, which mostly evolve around the fear of the Senate becoming the partisan House. However, when one party decides gridlock is better than compromise, its difficult to side with the status quo on the rules of the Senate.
These proposals would not solve all of the world's problems, and we would still continue to have plenty of problems in our own country. However, what these proposals would produce, if they were to pass, would be a cleaner, fairer, and more transparent electoral and political system, which would better represent our country's electorate and would create more trust between Americans and their government.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Supercommittee: Will fail. (Called this a long time ago, and made some further predictions on this topic earlier this month. Just wanted to point this out since I know by the time I actually post this the news will already have declared the supercommittee a failure).
President Barack Obama: Re-elected.
House: Going back to Democratic control.
Senate: Toss-up (not much of a prediction here hah).
Affordable Healthcare Act: Deemed Constitutional before the '12 election with Scalia voting in favor of it.
Prop 19 in CA to legalize marijuana: A majority of voters will vote yes this time around.
First off, these are predictions (not things I'm certain of), and I'm sure I will adjust my predictions as the 2012 elections get closer and as new data comes in. However, I've been looking at a lot of information on the topics below lately, and I'm liking the trends that I'm seeing so much that I wanted to ramble on about it for a bit. It really is a bit early to be making the Presidential and Congressional predictions, but a few factors that I will discuss at least make it worth looking at.
Earlier this month, I made this prediction on what would happen with the supercommittee, and it appears that at least the first part will be the case with the latter being very possible (though, technically, a last second deal could still be struck by today):
"My prediction on the supercommittee (or at least what I expect): Republicans will continue to refuse to increase taxes (and refuse to compromise in general), supercommittee will fail, Congress will immediately reinstate (at least part of) the defense cuts (via a bipartisan vote), they will actually compromise on where the cuts go (as a full Chamber after the supercommittee fails)...though that's already been agreed to previously to a certain extent, Bush tax cuts expire for everyone, President Obama scolds GOP for allowing tax cuts on the middle class to expire in order to stand by their demands to keep the tax cuts for the rich in place, and then the Democrats push tax cuts for the middle class to be reinstated over and over again to bait the Republicans into voting against it (I doubt they would, but who knows with today's GOP)."
The supercommittee failing should've been the obvious from its inception, since we currently have a GOP that has forgotten the definition of compromise and how important compromise is to our current Congressional system.
As I mentioned above, there is still time for a last second deal to be struck, but I just don't see the GOP budging with the current environment in D.C. Also, it would be worse for the Democrats to accept a deal with no tax increases than to just let it fail and allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of the year. Reinstating the tax cuts for the middle class would provide political cover for the tax increase, though it would increase our deficit.
I look very forward to seeing the figures on how much the deficit decreases once the Bush tax cuts expire (the data is already out there but, when it becomes official, I'm hoping a lot of voters' eyes are opened).
Rep. Frank also believes that the supercommittee failing is a good thing (and he seems to agree with many of the other predictions that I made earlier this month about the supercommittee):
"'The people who want to say ‘no’ have more leverage,' Frank said in a telephone interview. 'Every showdown until now, the right wing had more leverage. They tended to benefit more from gridlock. Now, thanks to sequestration and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, gridlock is bad for the right wing. So they are now going to be forced to deal.'
Frank said the supercommittee’s inability to produce a plan was not a failure of Congress, but rather a reflection of the country’s 'peak divisions.'
He said that Democrats should offer to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and end them for the wealthy, counting that as savings against the automatic cuts.
'And if you don’t like it,' Frank said, 'well, then we’ll just sit back, see sequestration and the taxes go up on everybody.'"
As far as the 2012 predictions go, this is much more of a guessing game since anything could happen between now and late 2012; however, there is a lot of data out there on the race for President and various Congressional seats.
President: Barack Obama gets re-elected
The main thing that has made me feel strongly enough about this to make a prediction on it this early out is the numbers I'm seeing in Ohio. More than one recent poll has placed President Obama ahead of Mitt Romney by 6 points (49-43). He polls even better against failed candidates like Herman Cain and Rick Perry. The significance of polling at around 49% is that it leaves President Obama only needing to convince a few undecideds in order to win there (even if the polls get a little closer).
The reason that good numbers in Ohio alone would make me feel confident about a President that many people think will not be re-elected is because of two things: 1) Republicans have a very hard time winning the electoral college majority without Ohio because it forces them to have to pick up states that they do not traditionally win. (Note: No Republican has ever won the Presidency without Ohio.) 2) If the Republican overreach against labor has backfired this badly in Ohio, then it has probably backfired on them in many other states such as MI and WI, which are even harder places for the GOP to win in than Ohio. I expect this overreach to not only benefit President Obama, but I also expect it to help the Democratic Senate candidates in many states.
Republicans keep pointing to the close numbers between President Obama and the "generic Republican"; however, that is wishful thinking considering the fact that their primary field is one of the worst I've ever seen. The fact that Newt Gingrich has become the new anti-Romney candidate should have the GOP base disturbed (though at least Newt is smarter than Cain, Perry, and Bachmann combined).
When it gets closer to the 2012 Presidential election, I'll do a state-by-state analysis. For now, just keep an eye on the typical battleground states, and expect Arizona to be a battleground state this time around (I could see the Democrats pulling a surprise win off here based on recent polling on Governor Brewer's approval rating and based on demographic shifts/the population increase in AZ).
House: Democrats retake it.
Earlier this year, I would never have made this prediction. While I knew all along that Democrats would make gains in the House in '12 (Republicans spread themselves thin and won in areas that they would normally never win in on election day 2010), I figured that the Republicans' 2010 success in taking over many state legislatures would lead to gerrymandering heavily slanted in their favor, which I thought would possibly even out the advantages that the Democrats have in 2012, which mainly consists of the higher voter turnout associated with Presidential races and the higher number of vulnerable Republican incumbents.
However, redistricting in CA, IL, and TX has given me new hope on that front (these states together will probably give Democrats around 10 new seats in Congress...they only need 25 to win the chamber). Though redistricting will hurt us in other states like NC and possibly MI, I'm starting to doubt that they will be able to do anything beyond break even with the Democrats on gains (nationally).
There's also good news from AZ and OH. In AZ, the AZ Supreme Court recently reinstated the independent commissioner on AZ's redistricting board after a Republican attempt to impeach the independent. In OH, the Democratic map will be placed on a voter referendum to oppose the current Republican map. Most likely the same people who defeated the anti-union law in OH recently will also approve of the Democratic redistricting map, which means more gains for Democrats in Congress in a state they were supposed to lose seats in as a result of the GOP takeover of its state's legislature.
Therefore, with redistricting not hurting the Democratic party like I thought it would and with a recent poll showing 12 Republican incumbents as likely to be defeated in 2012, I'm thinking that the Democrats will definitely make gains and have a good shot at retaking the House in 2012 (especially when you factor in the higher-than-usual turnout that is associated with Presidential elections).
Here's a good write-up on this topic from Tom Jensen from Public Policy Polling: (3 page report)
"Over the last few weeks national polling has increasingly showed House Democrats recovering from their defeat in 2010 and taking the lead back on the generic House ballot. An October 10 Reuters survey showed Democrats ahead 48-40 and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll the same day found Democrats with a 45-41 advantage.
The national numbers point to the possibility for Democrats to reclaim a majority in the House next year, and a series of polls conducted by PPP in 12 individual Congressional districts last week backs up what the national numbers are showing. The 12 districts we polled are all in states where redistricting has already occurred- Arkansas, California, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
And in all 12 we found the same thing- voters would like to replace the Republican incumbent with someone else, and for the most part the new GOP House majority is proving to be extremely unpopular."http://www.politico.com/static/PPM41_pppmemo.html
Here is the one place where I do not feel comfortable enough to even make a guess at this point. While I do think 2012 will be a good year for Democrats, the Democrats have to defend 23 seats while the Republicans only have to defend 10. The Republicans will only need to win a net-gain of 4 seats to control the Senate (3 seats would be enough for them to have the VP break tie votes if President Obama loses), but this of course would require them to not lose any seats, which I don't see happening.
Here's a good map of the states that are having U.S. Senate Elections this year:
States to watch:
MO: This is probably the main Senate seat that I see the Democrats losing. Sen. McCaskill's numbers have not been good.
MA: Elizabeth Warren is going to make Scott Brown a 1-term Senator, though should we really be surprised? She's a great candidate, and MA is a very blue state.
NV: Either party could win here, but keep in mind that they re-elected Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010 (which was a bad year for Democrats...even if 2012 is not the year I'm expecting for Democrats, it will be better than 2010).
AZ: I'm one of the few talking about AZ, and I stand by this prediction: AZ will be a close state for the Presidency and for the Senate in 2012.
MT: This is going to be a close one. Senator Jon Tester is a fairly moderate Democrat, and he and his opponent are currently fighting it out for the NRA's endorsement.
NE: Ben Nelson will always have a tough re-election bid in the red state of Nebraska (especially in the current political environment).
ND: I actually think the Democrats will put up a really good fight here. Their candidate is a popular long-term politician in the state.
VA: Governor Kaine will hopefully pull this one off, but it will be close.
WI: With an unpopular governor like Scott Walker, I see the Democrats retaining this open Senate seat. It should still be an interesting race to watch though.
Other people talk about OH, PA, NM, and MI; however, I think the Democrats will safely retain all of those Senate seats. As far as Florida goes, I'm much more worried about President Obama's chances down there than I am of Senator Bill Nelson's chances for re-election.
Wild Card to watch out for: Hopefully the tea party will nominate some crazy/awful candidate to replace Lugar in IN or Snowe in ME. If that happens in either state (especially ME), then expect that state to be much closer. Otherwise, the Republicans will likely keep both seats.
Here's a good article with more information on the 8 top races to watch:
Affordable Health Care Act: Constitutional w/ Scalia voting for it.
I'm not going to say as much on this topic, but my primary reason for thinking this is precedent (the wheat case and the medical marijuana case that Scalia voted for), and the decision upholding the constitutionality of the healthcare mandate recently rendered by Judge Sutton, who is the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge that was appointed by George W. Bush in 2003. This is especially significant because he served as a law clerk for Justice Scalia. That seems to hint to me (along with other votes that he's made in the past) that Justice Scalia would vote in favor of the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act's individual mandate.
Here are some excerpts from the opinion:
In his 27-page opinion, Judge Sutton said that the health care law meets the classic tests that the Supreme Court has imposed in deciding whether Congress has acted within its authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause, the provision that empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce or matters that otherwise 'substantially affect' interstate commerce.
Noting that health care is a $2.5 trillion industry, Sutton said that 'no matter how you slice the relevant market,' virtually all of it affects interstate commerce, and Congress may constitutionally regulate such interstate economic activity. 'Few people escape the need to obtain health care at some point in their lives, and most need it regularly,' he observed. Everyone will eventually have some sort of big emergency bill that, left to their own devices, most individuals would be unable to pay. The health care mandate, he concluded, is little more than a requirement that everyone have insurance now so taxpayers and hospitals will not be left holding the bag later. Indeed, as he observed, federal law actually requires hospitals to accept many patients without regard to their capacity to pay.
Furthermore, wrote Sutton, 'No one is inactive when deciding how to pay for health care, as self-insurance and private insurance are two forms of action for addressing the same risk. Each requires affirmative choices; one is no less active than the other; and both affect commerce.'
Those opposed to the health care law raise good questions, he said, based on an intuition that this law cannot be constitutional. But '[n]ot every intrusive law is an unconstitutionally intrusive law,' wrote Sutton."http://www.npr.org/2011/06/29/137506928/federal-court-upholds-health-care-law
The only good legal argument I've heard from the right is that there is a difference between the precedent and the current case in that the government is forcing people to do something as opposed to forcing people not to do something. While this is a legitimate argument, I do not think it is a strong enough argument to make Scalia vote against the Affordable Healthcare Act and prior Supreme Court precedent. However, even if he does, there is always the chance that Justice Kennedy will vote that the mandate is constitutional, which is something that I also expect.
Prop 19 in CA: Passes
I'm not going to write as much on this topic either, but, if you aren't aware of Prop 19, it was the referendum over whether or not to legalize marijuana in CA. I believe it only obtained 46% of the vote in 2010, but I still found this to be impressive considering that turnout is typically lower in mid-term elections (and young people turn out much less in mid-term elections).
Since its failure, Gallup and other groups have released polls showing the legalization of marijuana favored by 50% of Americans for the first time ever. If the numbers are that high nationally, one would only assume that the numbers are even better in CA.
The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform 2012 thinks that its approach this time around will calm the concerns of many growers in CA who actually voted against Prop 19 in 2010:
Dale Gieringer, California's NORML's state coordinator said, "There's more confidence that whatever emerges is more likely to be from the marijuana community than there was with Prop. 19."
Assuming that the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform 2012 is successful in crafting a referendum that is more in line with what the local growers want, I think this + the increased turnout in 2012 will ensure a victory for Prop 19.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Contact us with any neighborhood clean-up, community garden or other neighborhood activities that your association or congregation is working on. Please list the dates and times and how many volunteers are needed and a contact person's info. Juvenile Court will then work with our staff to assign young people with court-ordered community service to opportunities that are close to their homes. The Neighborhood Alliance sees this as an opportunity for mentoring and reaching out to young people within our neighborhoods and more than a simple community service opportunity.
We are proud to report that we have already secured commitments from the SOUTH MEMPHIS FARMERS MARKET as well as the Binghampton-based URBAN FARM and URBAN MARKET. We want to extend our thanks to these wonderful new partners, and we hope they are but the first of many more.
If you have any upcoming events that would be a good opportunity for youth community service, please contact our Organizing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.725.4990.
This project is a venture of the Community Alliance to End Homelessness and the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center is proud to be a community partner in this effort.
We urge everyone to please sign up to be a volunteer at this event, this will be a massive effort and we as a community must mobilize to ensure that it is as much of a success as it can be. To register to volunteer or to get more info go to the event page here. and help us spread the word to your neighborhood association, civic clubs and congregations. They need 1,000 total volunteers, so please make every effort to help yourself and spread the word.
What - Project Homeless Connect
When - Friday,September 16th
Time - 9am-5pm
We are also asking that you help us spread the word about the dire need of those who in the brutal summer heat are experiencing homelessness. We are calling on the community to call our Mayors' AC Wharton at 576-6000 and Mark Luttrell at 545-5000 and urge them to keep their campaign promises and provide set-aside jobs for those who are experiencing homelessness out of the 7.4 million dollars in city contracts for blight demolition, neighborhood clean up and renovation work. We can curb blight and give those who are homeless a fighting chance at the same time.
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
Thursday, June 30, 2011
The Mayor explains that these cuts will be done in lieu of the 12 holiday furlough passed by the Memphis City Council as a sort of humanitarian gesture to avoid hurting worker families during the holiday season.
Here is a link to that story here
There's just one problem with this story.....it's all spin.
Here is the truth...
Back on Jun 21st, the Mayor presented his revised budget to the Members of the Memphis City Council...among other things was a vote to furlough 12 holidays. At the time City Council veteran Joe Brown voiced concerns throughout this affair that the vote and action to do so was improper and illegal as those holiday's were protected by ordinance. In fact here is said ordinance right HERE
Councilman Brown informed the Mayor and the other members of the Council of his doubts about the legality of such a motion..but was ignored and his questions brushed aside...and that is tragic, because now what we have is yet another serious miscalculation made in needless haste by our elected officials..and once again an outright refusal by anyone to admit such mistakes...to the point of being untruthful.
Saddest of all is now we have yet another manufactured crisis that again seeks to cover the carelessness of elected officials on the back and the pocketbooks of lower paid city workers...none of the top earners will be receiving these cuts...no...no...no... salary cuts are for the little people I suppose.
Now..in the coming days you'll hear alot of indignation from elected officials about how "unreasonable" the public sector unions are being...but let's be serious for a moment...
The Unions all negotiated with the administration back in April in good faith...those negotiations are done...now in the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and those unions there is a procedure for situations of fiscal emergency..so that these things can be renegotiated in times of fiscal hardship. The problem is..that procedure requires the city to open up their books to the unions to prove such hardship is real......and the Administration does not want to do that...why?...I don't know and won't speculate..but it really does not matter why.
More to the point...all this bluster about "coming to the table"...is just a ploy to get the Unions to concede to a process outside of their Memorandum of Understanding..thus automatically putting them in a weaker bargaining position.
Alot of Council members are lawyers as are members of the administration...and none of them would ever advise their clients to negotiate outside of a contract or MOU....NEVER....but that's exactly what the Unions are being asked to do here....and the media is allowing this to go on with ZERO scrutiny.
You see what really matters here are two simple questions....IS THE CITY ACTING IN GOOD FAITH WITH IT'S WORKERS?....and....just how many other mistakes have happened and been covered up?
I do so hope that as many of you as possible will join us at City Hall, Tuesday July 5th at 3:30pm as we watch the spin continue.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Go ahead...i'll wait.
Now if you have been to this blog before or in anyway know me you will already know that The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center opposed passage of this law a year ago and in turn offered what we saw as a more moral, human and viable alternative. If you would like the back ground you can read about that here and here
...Now my point today is not to rehash the particulars of that debate persay..more to the point... Isn't it odd that when special interest want the Council to pass unconstitutional laws the panhandlers all become "con artists". Yet when we talk about mental health and substance abuse treatment for those who panhandle...all of a sudden they become "homeless" and the buck gets passed to the Mayor's plan to end homelessness?
Mr. Collins with respect is not being truthful here.
In the ABC24 story above it is mentioned that the City Council also voted to commission a special task force authorizing then City Council chair Harold Collins to convene a meeting with mental health, substance abuse and criminal justice shareholders to look at ways of effectively curbing Aggressive panhandling via treatment as opposed to counter productive and EXPENSIVE incarceration and Law Enforcement manpower hours.
Yet this body as the article above shows has never met....
But it's far worse than that..... For one... Mayor Wharton launched his Task force to End Homelessness...the same task force that I and MSPJC staff worked on as members ...MONTHS before the Council even took up the Panhandling issue. True, the media kickoff happened in late April but everyone involved knew that it was in the works and I had gone to early meetings as far back as Jan 2010....
So, Mr Collins assertion that the Mayor announced it just weeks later is misleading...and he was well aware of that..afterall Harold Collins himself is listed as a member of the Mayor's Task force to End Homelessness....tho I never saw him at any of the meetings or events....but in fairness...maybe there's a reasonable explanation for that.
TWO. Last year I met with Mr. Collins several times which his staff can verify and explained to him that the Mayor's plan was speaking to the issue of homelessness..but our initiative with the council was about mental health screening and diversion options for substance abuse for panhandlers arrested at 201 Poplar. At our last conversation..which was in AUGUST 2010, Mr Collins was no longer using the canard of not wanting to duplicate efforts..but at that time was citing slow action on the part of Judges at 201 Poplar as the hold up.
He then tried to pass us off on Councilman Kemp Conrad who at that time had a task force as well...which also was not or may never have met. Never got a clear response on that. Still it matters little as it was Harold Collins...not Kemp Conrad who has the responsibility to oversee this process as Council Chairman as outlined in the original resolution.
Our Alternative plan was seeking to have all "homeless related crimes" panhandling, trespassing, public urination, loitering, climbing on a municipal structure..etc..sent to a single designated division of General Sessions Court so these cases could be handled consistently.
The outlier "con artist" could be consistently prosecuted and those with mental health, addiction or homelessness issues could be diverted into existing services.
Thus saving jail costs and reducing aggressive panhandling in a effective and humane manner.
As Mr. Collins WORKS in the D.A.'s office he knows full well what our intentions were..in fact we presented the council with a power point of our plan..which led to Councilman Joe Brown sponsoring the creation of the Council's task force in the first place. All of this is in the Council record...and that alternative proposal Document we submitted is in the Commercial Appeal article i linked above...
THREE. Even if Councilman Collins is sincere in his belief that this is better handled by the Mayor's task force....which again..I sat on......if he really believes that...then why did he ignore our request for better funding of said plan? So a year down the tubes and only $250.000 in local funding...for homelessness..
So.....Who believes that Councilman Collins is being upfront here?
With all due respect to the man....who like myself is a former graduate of Memphis Catholic...I don't,i'm sorry but I do not believe you are being truthful here.
Monday, May 23, 2011
We know that you are working hard to ensure that your neighborhoods are healthy, thriving communities...but you don't have to do it alone.
Join the Neighborhood Alliance to work with others to advocate, organize, and promote legislation and policies to improve the quality of life in all of our neighborhoods.
Working as a team we can make a difference!
Organizing Your Community Workshop
Tuesday, May 24th at 6pm-8pm
Workshop Topic: House parties and Member recruitment-Learn how to use house party events to build up your membership for your community organizing efforts.
Guest Speaker: Former County Commissioner Deidre Malone will share insights on how your County Commission functions in the day to day as well as share her advice on how neighborhood and community activists can be most effective in lobbying their elected officials. She will also offer advice for candidates seeking oﬃce.
*Open to the Public-Light refreshments served
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center Oﬃces • 1000 South Cooper • North side rear entrance of First Congo • Look for MSPJC sign next to bright red doors.
Contact Brad Watkins at
email@example.com or 901-725-4990
Friday, May 06, 2011
The Mayors' Plan to End Homelessness is the single most significant series of local reforms in modern history….but…without your help and support, it’s just pretty words on paper. You can read it for yourself here.MAYORS' PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS
In the coming weeks both Mayors will go before the City Council and County Commission to present their funding requests for the plan and the needs of our brothers and sisters are great. So we need you to remind our leaders of just how important funding of this plan truly is.
Just take a look at a few recent headlines:
* Joblessness rate increases ranks of Memphis homeless by 20%
* 26 families left homeless after fire at Memphis apartment complex
* Homelessness haunts US tornado victims
* Man Critically Burned in Vacant Memphis House Fire
ANYONE CAN BECOME HOMELESS AT ANYTIME....and as flooding concerns fill emergency shelters we must be mindful that our problems and challenges are all connected.
Please call Mayors AC Wharton at 901.576.6000, and Mark Luttrell 901.545.5000 and urge them to keep their campaign promises and to support significant funding for the plan to end homelessness.
Two calls could make an enormous difference in the lives of those living on the street. Thank you and please urge your friends to do the same, every call matters.
H.O.P.E. Campaign Organizing Meeting :: Monday May 9th at 7pm
There will be a campaign organizing meeting on Monday, May 9th at 7pm at the offices of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.(map) At this event we will discuss how we will push this issue out into our communities in order to rally community support for this plan and how you can be involved. If you are interested in becoming involved in this campaign please attend.
For any questions pertaining to any of these events please contact Brad Watkins, Organizing Coordinator for H.O.P.E. at 901-725-4990 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone banking for H.O.P.E. :: Starting Wednesday May 4th
We are also seeking volunteers for our phone banking drive, where we will begin to call most likely voters across the city to place calls of support of funding this plan to end homelessness to their elected officials. These calls will be made from the offices of MSPJC starting on Weds, May 4th from 6:30pm-8:30pm and will continue every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the city and county budget process.
It is crucial to understand that the City of Memphis and Shelby County currently contribute $0 (zero dollars) to homeless services in Memphis. That is if you don't count the money spent on medical care at The Med, MPD and Sheriff man hours spent "policing" this population, jail costs spent locking the homeless up, fire costs associated with fires in vacant houses that people are forced to turn to because we have no free shelter in Memphis. Full implementation of the Mayors' Plan to End Homelessness could put an end to these negative costs, but only if we invest in a positive future for those living on the streets of Memphis.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Brad Watkins, Organizing Coordinator for H.O.P.E. at 901-725-4990 or by email at email@example.com.
If you have any questions please contact me at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center at 901-725-4990