Tuesday, May 18, 2004

No Confidence Pitch Gets Refined

Thanks to Arcata City Councilman Michael Machi, this morning I made a presentation to Rebecca Lesley and Gene Joyce of the executive committee of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. Both of them had read the No Confidence resolution before the meeting, and I appreciated the respect.

As this campaign is introduced to broader sections of our community, I am determined to develop a consensus. I am also focused on how to pitch the idea to different groups. This morning I started seeking agreement on two basic foundational contexts for our discussion.

First, I was NOT speaking on behalf of a business, party or other organization. I was there as a concerned American citizen and as a neighbor. I asked that everyone make an effort to focus on what they really think rather than the imagined response of a group.

Second, I determined (yet again) that everyone old enough to remember the recount of 2000 seems to be capable of imagining an another uncertain outcome this year. It is important that we take responsibility for ensuring this doesn't happen again.

My premise is verbatim: We have no basis for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results that will be reported from the upcoming election.

We did not spend much time on the whereas clauses comprising the grounds for the resolution. Not all audiences will be as current on the news. Informing/educating people will be a huge part of the consensus building campaign.

Rebecca asked how I would appeal to people who feel like they're losing faith but who might not be prepared to support No Confidence. The response is to focus on BASIS for confidence. What are they clinging to that lets them believe this is absolutely positively going to be a legitimate election with a certain and agreed upon outcome? Elections should be beyond question.

The majority of the meeting focused on the resolve clauses. As usual, the idea of triggering a domino effect was simple. The question is what to do after the tipping point? Of course this is appropriate to ask and it is something on which we should all collaborate to determine. This response continues to draw people in, specifically inviting them to answer "what would be better?"

Gene stated clearly that he would want the resolution to take an extra step at the end which would begin to describe the systems we'd like to put in place. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), proportional representation, and public campaign financing were all mentioned and I agreed we could work on such language.

As long as I can engage people in making the resolution better, more appealing to more people, then this is the best support I could want. In retrospect, I didn't really make any kind of "close" in the sales call sense where I might have asked what next steps they could commit to. It wasn't so necessary here but I'd do well to have some help with a volunteer coordinator. For now, please e-mail me if you're ready to get involved.

Though I'm glossing over them here, we did get into some of the headier points about Consent of the Governed. For more context read this. It felt colossal and I very much enjoyed talking directly about the language in the Declaration of Independence.

Overall I felt like this was well received. Mr. Machi mentioned he would try to arrange presentations with other local civic groups.



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