Thursday, August 11, 2005
Speaking Engagement Confirmed With Humboldt Republicans
On April 28, the Voter Confidence Committee conducted a town hall forum on preferential voting sponsored by Eureka City Councilmembers Chris Kerrigan and Mike Jones. Kevin Matlock was in attendance. He was then the Executive Director of the Republican Party of Humboldt County. As part of our routine follow-up on the event, we called all those who attended and signed in. By luck of the draw, I got to call Kevin. Our great conversation turned into a meeting for coffee and from there an invitation to address his group.
It was understood at the time that it would be a while before the speaking opportunity would come up as they book speakers rather far in advance. I had been given today's date, August 11, as a tentative date and chose not to publicize it until I knew it was confirmed. This past Monday I contacted Kevin and learned that three weeks ago he resigned his position with the Party in order to sit on the County grand jury without a conflict of interest (though his former credential has not been removed from the Party website as of this writing). Kevin said he could not confirm my appearance and referred me to the Republican Party County Chairwoman, Lori Metheny.
My immediate efforts to reach Lori were unsuccessful and so I continued to mostly avoid mentioning the tentative presentation (apologies to everyone at last week's Communities For Peace meeting; I hope you'll come on Sept. 8). Finally, today I did speak with Lori and she gave me the choice of speaking for up to 10 minutes tonight during the casual dinner hour, or being the featured speaker for 20-30 minutes during the main agenda of next month's meeting. I chose next month for various reasons, not the least of which is that Lori confirmed the meetings are open and I am welcome to promote my appearance as much as I want. She added the caveat that they do reserve the right to go into closed session if the meeting is disrupted. I do not foresee that being necessary.
This is an amazing opportunity for the Voter Confidence Committee to continue escalating its non-partisan community profile. My presentation will focus on what our group is about, why we choose the projects that we do, and a bit about each of our three main "fronts": the Election Advisory Committee being developed on the County level, the preferential voting campaign for Eureka, and the Voter Confidence Resolution already adopted by Arcata and now being promoted around the country. My appeal to the Republicans is simple: we seek systemic reforms that will benefit all voters equally; if you embrace this posture too then we can build what many will consider to be a very unlikely bridge, and the Party will be seen taking the "big tent" approach it fancies for itself.
I would agree that we need to approach many reform issues as "non-paritsan" efforts. We have done the same thing locally on election reform, social security, TIFs, and now the issue of eminent domain. I think this is the only way to energize the electorate and to solve problems. I also think working locally - in our communities - is real important to building change. Thanks for your thoughts:)