Wednesday, May 25, 2016
"John Wren of Save the Caucus! said... this is a shut-up-Colorado effort.” http://www.denverpost.com/2016/04/21/backers-say-colorado-primary-push-is-about-voters-being-heard/ #COPolitics #COleg #COCaucus
Monday, May 23, 2016
What does it really mean when someone says they are unaffiliated or a political independent?
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Sue's wonderful column is still very much worth reading as a reminder of why the caucus-assembly system is worth preserving, warts and all. Please share it with your friends.
John Wren, registered agent for Save the Caucus, a Colorado political committee. 1881 Buchtel Blvd. #501, Denver, CO 80210 (303)861-1447 www.COCaucus.org
Here's what Sue wrote in the Denver Post:
Caucuses aren't for ciphers
Denver Post Editorial Page, October 6, 2002
by Sue O'Brien
cipher - a person or thing of no importance or value; nonentity
- New World College Dictionary
So, what will we choose to be: ciphers or individuals?
Ciphers are faceless. They have value only as something to count - a signature on a petition or a vote to tally by machine. It's easy for ciphers to hide out. Hey, they're just part of the mob.
Individuals, by contrast, stand out. They t responsibility. And they rarely hide.
We have a sovereign opportunity to become ciphers this November. One of the few mechanisms left in modern politics that rewards individual initiative - the precinct caucus - is on the brink of being eliminated in favor of a political nominating system that would let wannabe candidates get on the ballot only by collecting - and counting - petition signatures.
It's a lousy proposal put forth by an otherwise admirable organization: the Bighorn Center for Public Policy.
Now, I have nothing against getting on the ballot by petition. But why eliminate the choice - caucus or petition - that our present system provides?
It's not as though there's something inherently wrong with the caucus. And, even though these grassroots conclaves have seen declining attendance in recent years, there's a lot inherently good about them.
Look around modern society. We have a woeful lack of what Harvard scholar Robert Putnam calls "social capital" - the dynamism that comes from doing things together and making community decisions together. Yet the spate of election "reforms" we're seeing these days almost seems designed to stomp out the last vestiges of community collaboration.
"Voting and following politics are relatively undemanding forms of participation," writes Putnam in his influential "Bowling Alone." "In fact, they are not, strictly speaking, forms of social capital at all, because they can be done utterly alone."
We can be utterly alone, too, when we perform the two other actions modern politics seems to want to limit us to: writing checks and watching attack ads on TV. We're systematically replacing "social capital" with plain old monetary capital.
Colorado's traditional caucus-convention system, in contrast, rewards the shoe-leather and diligence. It provides a low-cost way for aspirants to work the neighborhoods, investing energy instead of dollars. Recent proof of this pudding came in the race for the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District, where Rick O'Donnell captured first line on the primary ballot with a low-budget campaign that focused on traditional caucus and door-to-door campaigning. O'Donnell eventually lost the primary to the better-funded Bob Beauprez, but his achievement in getting on the ballot was impressive.
But even more important than the caucus' benefits for candidates is its benefit for ordinary citizens. It's a vibrant neighborhood forum for hashing out ideas - the last remaining arena in which you can get on the first rung of the ladder toward political effectiveness by just showing up.
I've covered precinct or town caucuses in Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Mississippi as well as Colorado. My favorite memory is of escorting a big-deal network analyst to his very first caucus in an American Legion hall in Iowa. This was a political expert well into his 50s, yet he'd never seen a caucus; primaries had always been his beat. He was blown away. For the first time in years of covering politics, he told me, he'd seen the true face of America.
He was right. Caucuses offer a peculiarly intimate view of a community and its people. They'll amaze you with the quality of caring and thought participants bring to the discussion. And sometimes, if you're very lucky, you'll see new, young leaders find their first toehold in the process.
Why is the Colorado caucus withering? First, because the legislature, in an ineffectual grab for national headlines, created a meaningless presidential primary that eliminated the headline race that once inspired much caucus activism.
Second, because we're all getting good at sitting on the sidelines. The Kettering Foundation's David Mathews once reminded readers that the word idiot comes from the Greeks. Privacy, they thought, was akin to stupidity. "Idiots" were incapable of finding their place in the social order.
Why bow to the trend of letting the next guy do it? Why sell out to letting money replace shoe-leather at every level of American politics?
Why not keep the caucus as an open door to involvement, while continuing to provide the petition alternative? Bighorn's goal may be to increase the number of people peripherally involved in the process - but the initiative will never replace the quality of participation the caucus can provide.
Good political talk … is where we recognize the connectedness of things - and our own connectedness. … Good political talk is also where we discover what is common amidst our differences. -David Mathews, "Civic Intelligence"
Sue O'Brien was editor of the Denver Post editorial page.
For more about Sue and original of this column, click here.
The Villager will be one of our primary ways Save the Caucus will attract the $1 million in contributions that will be required to defeat any ballot initiative to kill the Colorado Caucus via the slow death we know from previous experiment takes place with a Presidential Primary.
If you are a Villager reader, please, help your neighbors understand why a Presidential Primary is so harmful to Colorado grassroots. Encourage them to just say NO when they are asked to sign a petition that will put anything of the ballot in November changing Colorado election laws.
Many work hard to preserve the rain forests, tidal marshes, and open space because they are so vital to our environment. The grassroots are just as important to our political environment.
See the wonderful editorial a few posts above by Sue O'Brien, Denver Post Editorial Page Editor when the 2002 Save the Caucus found Amendment 29. Share it online, print it out, a little effort now could prevent an expensive campaign later. Help your friends understand the value of the grassroots and our Colorado Caucus.
For more watch for our media release that will be posted here the Thursday before June 11, and pencil in that June 11th date for a luncheon that will be announced with the release, we hope to have it sponsored by our friends at the Villager, the power of the Villager is absolutely essential for any winning political effort. Thanks again, Villager!
If you haven't seen the Villager article, check it out on http://Facebook.com/Colorado.Caucus.News or this direct link to the Villager website:
I'm also the owner of this Internet site. He has always used it for civic education, and I see it continuing to be used it this way for both myself and the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc, it will help us to be prepared if a mass campaign is needed to preserve the Colorado Caucus and no one else steps forward for that fight.
Right now we are trying to find out all we can about the June 11th meeting at the Colorado Capitol to discuss the election process in Colorado. We expect to have a luncheon meeting nearby before the 1 pm meeting. We will probably do it as a Small Business Chamber Meetup.com event and we will make it open to anyone who'd like to join us. Stay tuned. Here is our new Yelp page:
John S. Wren, MBA+++
Founder and President,
Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Save the Caucus and What's Next will be the topic of today's show. The media release made yesterday (see below) will be discussed.
The Startup Show is Sponsored by Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Free startup workshop, peer advisory groups, and other resources at http://www.SmallBizChamber.org. To be a guest on the show to share your startup experience call Monday or Tuesday (303)861-1447
Thursday, May 12, 2016
John Wren, registered agent. 1881 Buchtel Blvd. #501, Denver, CO 80210
For more contact: John Wren cell (720)495-4949
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2016
New Caucus Corp hyper-local network for communications and education being formed.
“We are recruiting a state-wide network of volunteers and a steering committee for civic education,” says John Wren.
Denver—Caucus Corp is the working name for a new effort to bring civic education to each neighborhood in Colorado. For all the details see the “About us” section of www.Meetup.com/Caucus-Corp or call John Wren (303)861-1447.
“The Colorado Caucus is under attack again from powerful forces and their dups who have been conned into thinking that a drive by vote in the AstroTurf of a Presidential Primary is better than the grassroots of their neighborhood caucus for a couple of hours every two years,” said John Wren, long-time community activist.
“I'm the registered agent for Save the Caucus, a Colorado political committee. We may have to raise as much as $1 million if out of state money funds a campaign to kill the Caucus as expected,” said Wren, “but we are hoping we can get all sides of the issue involved in an educational, not political, campaign in the next couple of weeks.
“We just won the fight in the Colorado State House, and it made clear an educational process is what is needed now. Caucus Corp will not take positions on issues, candidates or party leaders. Hope you'll attend on of the free informational meetings we will be having Fridays and Saturdays through the end of June about this new Caucus Corp effort. For more see http://Meetup.com/Caucus-Corp or call me (303)861-1447"
John Wren is founder and CEO of Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and a long-time business consultant and community activist. He was one of the co-founders of the 2002 Save the Caucus that defeated the Caucus killing Amendment 29, despite being out spent 1400 to 1. For more see www.SmallBizChamber.org www.JohnWren.com or call (303)861-1447.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016
Having unaffiliated voters choose candidates for a political party they play no active part in makes absolutely no sense at all. We will fight it.
Contact your Colorado Senator by email and/or phone, urge a NO vote on this misguided HB16-1454 that would give those who refuse to participate in a political party the right to select the leaders for that political party that they are not part of.
There may be millions of dollars spent this fall on a similar misguided effort. If it is, we will oppose it with a network of advocates across the state. If you'd be willing to help us call (303)861-1447
For more see our Facebook Page, http://Facebook.com/Colorado.Caucus.News John Wren is the registered agent for Save the Caucus!, a Colorado political committee. 1881 Buchtel Blvd. #501, Denver, CO 80210 (303)861-1447
Get ready to rumble if a move to kill our Colorado Caucus makes it to the ballot this fall.
John Wren is the registered representative for Save the Caucus, a Colorado political committee, 1881 Buchtel Blvd. #501, Denver, CO 80210 (303)861-1447 http://Facebook.com/Colorado.Caucus.News
This photo was taken right after I won my weight at 1967 NCAA Division III Midwest Conference Wrestling Championship. #2 was enjoying that spot for the 3rd time, due to my last second take down. I was a sophomore at Cornell College.
Never give in!
To the Initiatives! We will have an announcement from the West steps of the Colorado Capitol next week, watch for the details in a release this Thursday. We hope to announce my friend Tim Dore as one of our steering committee members. AMDG
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Posted By Blogger to GrassrootsRules.us at 5/07/2016 12:01:00 PM
Friday, May 6, 2016
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
(Please share this with your Colorado legislators and urge your friends to do the same):
Save the Caucus! Vote NO on Colorado House Bill 1454.
The room is buzzing with conversation. Neighbors who may only have shared brief greetings in the past are now discussing pressing public policy issues and presidential candidates who will shape the nation for decades.
Neighbors connect with each other at levels of nuance and depth that is nonexistent for passive subjects watching the nonstop chatter of today’s news media. They discover common ground that is translated into political action by their representatives at the local, state and federal levels.
This is the wonderful Colorado Caucus.. This is the grassroots of our representative democracy at its very best. In some 6,000 gatherings across Colorado citizens interact in an iron-sharpening-iron forums that challenge, enlighten, clarify.
This is usually the Colorado Caucus, the wonderful grassroots system that has served us well since 1912 until recently. It was almost killed with a misguided experiment with a Presidential Primary for three election cycles, the test ended in 2004. It was never fully restored to health, and it has been under attack by powerful forces ever since 1912.
These forces are united by a single idea: to dupe Colorado citizens into reverting back to the pre-reform days, with party bosses having almost no oversight from rank-and-file party members.
If the Empire, in StarWars terms, fools enough into signing and then voting for Initiative 98, or right now Colorado HB 16-1454, our wonderful Coloradan grassroots will once again be replaced with the astroturf of a Presidential Primary. This is not a new fight.
Save The Caucus, a Colorado political committee, was first formed to do precisely that, to save the Colorado Caucus, which would have been killed by Amendment 29 in 2002. Despite being outspent 1400 to 1, Amendment 29 was defeated 60% to 40%.
The committee was formed by John Wren, Phil Perington, Frank & Sylvia Sullivan, Sharron and Ben Klein, , JoAnne & Dan Gray, Ruth Prendergast, Bill Armstrong and many others to fight Amendment 29, which would have killed what was left of the Colorado Caucus that had almost died trying to co-exist with expensive Presidential Primaries that were tried in 1992, 1996 and 2000. We fully re-adopted the caucus system in 2004.
Wren recently reactivated Save the Caucus with the Colorado Secretary of State and listed himself as registered agent. “Our intention was to be ready if a ballot initiative arose that would have the same impact as Amendment 29 in 2002, and that has now happened with the Secretary of State’s approval of the title of Initiative 98, the Trojan Horse legislation with a poison pill that could take either party back 100 years to the corruption that existed then that finally stopped with the progressive reforms adopted by states across the country.
Why is the Colorado Caucus worth saving? Here's what CU political scientists very familiar and experienced in it's operations before our experiment with the Presidential Primary has said:
“…(The Colorado Caucus— the unique Colorado system adopted in 1912) permits citizens to run for office even though they may not be the ‘pets’ of the party organization, and at the same time it discourages persons without any real stature and public standing from becoming candidates,” wrote Curtis Martin and Wallace Stealey of the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1967.
Caucuses are held every other year in 3,000 neighborhoods across Colorado, often in public spaces such as schools, and also in homes that are handicapped accessible. This is the start of a process that ends up with delegates going to the Democratic and Republican national conventions, where they will vote for a nominee for each party to represent the voters in the general election.
At each neighborhood caucus, members of one of the major political parties vote for delegates to their county assembly. At the caucus and assembly citizens have the chance to persuade their neighbors about why their preferred candidate should be elected. A candidate must garner a minimum number of votes to be presented at the next level. At the county assemblies, some of those delegates will be chosen to go to the seven congressional district assemblies and others to represent the candidate at the state assembly April 16. From there, delegates are chosen for the national convention, where they will have a chance to choose their political party’s nominee for President of the United States of America.
Some say our Colorado Caucus is too complicated. It is true that to be a self-governing citizen takes time. The obsession our culture has with instant gratification is not healthy for our society when it comes to important matters such as who represents us politically.
"I love the caucus process," Chuck Broerman, El Paso County clerk and recorder, told the Colorado Springs Gazette in February. "I really enjoy the fact that grass-roots people can get in and participate in the process and make a decision about who the candidates are going to be."
If there are bad leaders in the party or among elected representatives, the Precinct Caucus enables concerned citizens to begin a powerful process to set a new direction. A Presidential Primary only allows the quick pull of a lever or check of a box, the opportunity to easily correct problems is lost, which is exactly why dictatorial party leaders hate our wonderful Colorado Caucus.
People complain that our nation’s elections are dominated by monied interests. Our 6,000 Colorado Precinct Caucus gatherings are a powerful corrective to this domination. The Colorado Caucus enables those who feel powerless to have a voice and enter the political process. Apathy about governance disappears when the politically-poor find their voice and connect with neighbors. Many, many of these formerly silent citizens over the past 100 years have subsequently been elected to public office.
“We're systematically replacing ‘social capital’ with plain old monetary capital (with primaries),” wrote Sue O'Brien in 2002. “Colorado's traditional caucus-convention system, in contrast, rewards the shoe-leather and diligence. It provides a low-cost way for aspirants to work the neighborhoods, investing energy instead of dollars.”
Those screaming “Kill the Caucus” say the 6,000 neighborhood gatherings for a couple of hours every two years creates radicalization, but the opposite is true. When they are well led, which they were not this year, face to face discussion helps citizens realize the people they share their votes with are real human beings with similar life struggles, experiences and desires.
Washington State has estimated changing from a Presidential Primary to a caucus-assembly system like the Colorado Caucus would save $11 million. Political parties pay for the caucus.
Cost of Presidential Primary— $Millions. The experience of shared humanity lost— Priceless. That is why it is so important that we once again Save the Caucus. Urge your Colorado legislators to vote no on 1454, it is a Colorado Caucus killer.