Friday, January 07, 2005

VFP 56 Endorses No Confidence Resolution, Humboldt Day

Veterans For Peace Chapter 56 has endorsed the No Confidence Resolution. Another motion passed at tonight's VFP meeting officially made the group a co-sponsor of Humboldt Day.

Earlier in the day, both Humboldt Day and No Confidence were discussed at a press conference at Eureka City Hall. Ellen Taylor led off our presentation talking about the then ongoing Ohio electoral vote debate in Congress. Kudos to OH Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and CA Sen. Barbara Boxer for finding the fortitude to stand up.

I'm loathe to sound like I'm criticizing but this was hardly a genuine challenge when the complaint was coupled with the resigned conceit of its outcome. See simulated competition. Really it was trademark Democrat pseudo- opposition, tilting at symptoms without a mention of root causes (see the reforms suggested in the No Confidence Resolution). At any rate, it was a good move for us to ensure the news of the day would get local coverage and be wrapped in our perspective.

Humboldt Day conceptual architect Jack Nounnan also spoke at the press conference, describing a day of performance art in which music and audience participation will keep discussions of war tax resistance, corporate personhood and election reform from becoming at all like lectures.

I also spoke about the No Confidence Movement, citing developments I'll cover shortly. Realizing Community essayist Scott Menzies and VFP 56 secretary Jim Sorter were also present. Only the Humboldt Advocate covered the event. We were told to expect a story, with photos, in next week's edition due out on Wednesday.

Following the press conference the Advocate reporter/photographer team followed us around the corner to the Eureka Times-Standard. It seemed to add some amusing color to the press conference story when a T-S reporter (Andrew Bird?) met our group in the lobby and had to insist that the photographer stop taking pictures. We re-created an abridged version of the press conference and provided some literature, all of which we were told would be incorporated in a planned story due Friday on Eurekan and Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb.

Later in the day I was back at the T-S to meet with Managing Editor Charles Winkler. We had a very cordial ten minutes where I was flattered to hear that last summer's media outreach on behalf of No Confidence had really made an impression. Winkler was never supportive of the particulars but performed admirably in allowing ample coverage. He agreed to let me write another My Word opinion column to run before the next Eureka City Council meeting on 1/18. I got a similar invitation from Kevin Hoover at the Arcata Eye.

Regarding the Council(s), we are positioned right now about as well as we could hope. On Wednesday I met with Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan. He said two great things to me. Kerrigan feels so comfortable about the suggested changes listed in the No Confidence Resolution that he went so far as to say they're not even controversial. He also commended the "calm" and "moderate" way I have made my recent repeated visits to the Council meetings.

The Brown Act prohibits Councilmembers from discussing pending business. I mention this only to note that Kerrigan, even while privately voicing this support, could not do anything to help bring the other Councilmembers on board. Despite his assessment, he's not so sure the others will be as open-minded. The sum of these circumstances mute the relevance of his pessimism - it's up to us to convince the others anyway.

Fortunately, Friday afternoon I'll be meeting with Councilmember Mike Jones. Apparently he will offer some modifications to the resolution though I know nothing more about what to expect. Bumping just one step further ahead, Kerrigan suggested that if Jones and I can build a bridge we will likely get the whole group. Of all of these details, the most immediate thing I am seeking to confirm is presence of the resolution on the next Council meeting agenda (1/18). I am very optimistic that I'll be able to announce this confirmation by the end of Friday. Regardless, our phone and e-mail campaign to the Councilmembers should immediately kick into high gear. Click here for contact info.

Also Friday I will be submitting the resolution to the Arcata City Council. It will be accompanied by a brief cover letter bearing the signatures of 25 people I spoke with just this afternoon. We are requesting the resolution be considered at Arcata's next Council meeting on 1/19. The Arcata Councilmembers also need to hear from us:
With a concerted burst of outreach to both the Councilmembers and the media we can hit these two consecutive nights of Council meetings with a lot of momentum. Not to mention what a boost it will be in the days immediately preceding Humboldt Day. It can be tough to find the good in things but right now we really couldn't be in a better position to take our long declared next steps.



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