Meeting Minutes from inSPIRE Social on October 20, 2006  

We had our seventh social event of 2006 at Will and Sharon s place on Alki Beach. Once again we had a great turnout with twenty seven guests to hear our guest speaker, David Goldstein. Thanks so much to Will and Sharon for opening up their home!

Important Announcements! With the upcoming critical election upon us, multiple announcements were made regarding voter education and getting out the vote. With two weeks to go before the election, NOW is the time to volunteer! Seattle Office: John Vecsey, an organizer with our own new local Seattle office of was a special guest at our gathering. John has just moved to Seattle from Boston to help run the office. John and his colleagues, as well as scores of volunteers have been putting in some really long hours at our new MoveOn Seattle office. MoveOn s state-of-the-art systems to get out the vote, Call for Change and Operation Democracy, have been created to make it easy for volunteers to be maximally effective in contacting other MoveOn members around the country. We re contacting members that live in the most crucial, closest congressional races to inspire them to get out and vote for the Progressive candidate. Multiple inSPIRE members have been volunteering at the office and finding the experience very rewarding. Please join John and company in these efforts. Phone-banking shift hours are 12:00-2:30 PM, 5:00-7:30 PM, and 6:30-9:00 PM Sunday through Friday, and 12-2 and 2-4 on Saturday. Office is located at 114 Alaskan Way #104, right across from the Ferry Terminal. Phone is (206) 624-2240.

No on I-933 multiple inSPIRE members have been volunteering on the Vote NO on I-933 campaign. This is the property rights initiative funded by a Chicago developer who has funded similar measures currently on the ballot in four other states. This is effectively a waive or pay initiative, and if passed would require local government to waive current zoning regulations, environmental protection and other development laws or else pay developers for profits they couldn t achieve due to these laws. It s a lose/lose situation for local government and taxpayers community protections are lost and taxpayer dollars are drained. Both the UW and the Office of Financial Management in Olympia each estimated I-933 will cost taxpayers about $8 billion dollars over the next six years alone. In Oregon a similar measure was passed three years ago, and although a multitude of zoning and environmental protection laws have been waive to let developers develop as they want, $6 billion in lawsuits have already be brought against Oregon state taxpayers! Stop this from happening here in Washington!

Adrienne discussed her efforts at the No on I-933 phone bank and Dave provided doorbelling fliers to inSPIRE members willing to walk their neighborhoods to educate voters. Including this latest batch of fliers, inSPRE members will have visited over 3,700 homes on this initiative! If you can help, please contact Katie at 206.323.0520 or for details.

Eric Oemig for Washington State Senate inSPIRE s own Eric Oemig is engaged in a hotly contested race for State Senate in Kirkland. Eric has received multitudes of endorsements and is about to bring this traditionally Republican seat to the Democrats! Please contact Eric s campaign headquarters if you can help with his efforts over the next two weeks. To volunteer or donate, please email or call 425-968-8798 or visit Eric s website at

Keynote Speaker, political blogger and KIRO 710 talk radio host David Goldstein! ( David Goldstein, or Goldy as he is known to friends, graced us with a very engaging discussion regarding his efforts as a local progressive trying to make a difference. Goldy complimented our inSPIRE group and emphasized that Democrats have a significant social deficit compared to Republicans. Republicans have highly succeeded in using the church structure as also a fun, social engagement process for conservatives. Although many progressives are also involved in their churches, churches have not provided anywhere near the social network for progressives as they have for conservatives. Progressives need to do much better at providing fun, interesting and educational forums to help build the progressive community and inspire folks to action. This, is exactly what inSPIRE is trying to do!

Goldy has been active in another progressive social network, Drinking Liberally, a national organization with 130 national chapters as well as 10 chapters in Washington State. The Seattle chapter meets at 8PM every Tuesday at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Ave E in Seattle. The Burien chapter meets every 4th Wednesday at Mick Kelly s Irish Pub at 435 SW 152nd at 7:00PM in Burien. Drinking Liberally grew up with bloggers and allowed bloggers to meet face to face. A typical night brings out 30 to 40 progressives at the Seattle Chapter. Some big name Democrats have been guests in the past, including Congressmen Jim McDermott and Jay Inslee, as well as activist Cindy Sheehan. Goldy does a live podcast every Tuesday from the gathering!

Goldy has always been engaged in politics but up until recently his activism has been more limited. A few years ago Goldy became angry at Tim Eyman (Editor question: who didn t?) and Eyman s abusive, self-serving initiatives. After pondering the idea with a few friends, Goldy decided to write an abusive, self-serving initiative of his own to proclaim Tim Eyman as an official horse s ass ! Goldy paid the $5 filing fee without thinking too grandly as to what may come of this. The next day, Spokane s newspaper broke the story of the new initiative and things soon got more than a little bit crazy! Within three days Goldy participated in seven radio interviews as well as interviews with the local TV stations. He debated Eyman twice. During one debate on KVI talk radio hosted by John Carlson, during the debate Carlson turned a TV monitor to Goldy to show him that the story had gone national on Fox News! Soon it was on the front page of the Seattle PI, on NPR radio as well as receiving some international coverage.

While sitting in the studio at KVI, Goldy had an epiphany: I want John Calrson s gig! From there, Goldy became progressively more active in the progressive movement. Goldy noted that Tim Eyman actually got his start working against sports stadiums, a reasonable cause, and somehow got radicalized along the way. Soon he became the initiative guy and has been able to make a living at it.

How did this happen? In Washington State we re blessed (or cursed) with boring politicians. These politicians normally don t make a good story. An arrogant blowhard like Eyman does, and Tim caught fire. Goldy wanted to fit this mold! Once the media saw that Goldy was a good interview , they kept after Goldy. In the end, although on a small budget of $3,000 Goldy gathered over 50,000 signatures on the horse s ass initiative, the Attorney General threw it out. That was too bad, because Goldy was certain that if it got on the ballot it would have passed, and if it did pass, Goldy was going to turn around and challenge it in court as unconstitutional, which would have forced the Attorney General to defend it! Oh, the fun !

The horse s ass campaign ended, but the calls didn t. Goldy soon became a regular on KVI talk radio as the whacky liberal guy, as well as other opportunities to make a difference. Goldy got into a groove. Eyman would come out with a new initiative. Goldy would hear about it and begin the groundwork to get the opposition ready to attack it. Thus, when Eyman s initiative came out they were ready to squash it. Goldy found himself actively involved in the political scene.

In 2004, a year after the horse s ass initiative came out Goldy turned this campaign into a blog, His goal was to obtain a readership of 200 people by the end of 2004. By October 2004 he d met this goal. Then the dismal election of November 2004 hit and Bush and the Republican controlled Congress were re-elected. Rightwing blogs took off. The local rightwing blog, needed an answer from the left and horse s ass provided it. The media soon was coming to Goldy for a counterpoint from the left.

Blogging had a big impact on voter opinion regarding the gubernatorial election in 2004 with the recounts. The Democrats may have won the office, but Republicans have won public opinion. A large percent of Washingtonians believe Dino Rossi was robbed. This public opinion needs to be swayed back, and that is what Goldy is working towards.

Goldy discussed how the Democrat majority needs to be moved in a progressive direction, not to the middle or to the right. Darcy Burner, the next Congressperson from our 8th district also needs to bring her district towards progressiveness. Jay Inslee has been able to do this in the 2nd district. Darcy has what it takes to do this in the 8th.

Next, we discussed how Republicans got to where they are today in regards to a fine-tuned political machine able to win public opinion and get their votes out. The r political and policy wins by Republicans in recent years are the results of forty years of work beginning after Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 presidential election. First, extensive funding by Coors, Mellon-Scaif and others was obtained. Next, extensive development of rightwing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation occurred, which develop and market conservative ideas. Next, the creation of media superstars such as Ann Coulter (editor note: she can t write let alone think) helped to shape the media. Soon a huge political base was created, educated and motivated into action. Liberals on the left have not been able to respond.

If Goldy was doing his work for the conservative movement he d be getting paid a very reasonable salary. Goldy s work would likely be financed through means such as him being hired by a rightwing think tank. Instead, he s just another starving leftwing political hack trying to get by. If progressives are to succeed at winning public support of progressive ideas and policies, we need to do much, much better at financing the folks to help craft our messages that need to get out to the public. Goldy works with a group of other progressives that are in the same financial boat as him, I.E., working hard on progressive causes and not getting paid for it. Sooner or later they will have to eat, and our progressive causes will suffer. Progressives need to support a permanent infrastructure and a solid succession plan to keep active, smart progressive minds and talents fighting the good fight.

Goldy next coined the phrase neo-progressive . What he meant by this term is that to compete and win with the neo-conservatives, sometimes we just need to do whatever it takes to win short of lying. (But he may change his mind on this lying part!)

Goldy is a host on KIRO Newsradio 710, Sunday evenings from 7PM to 10PM. Tune into his show to hear some great commentary as well as from interesting guests.

We then went into Questions and Answers.

Q What do you think of George Lakeoff s book Don t Think of an Elephant ?
A Goldy believes that Lakoff has some great ideas, but doesn t fully agree with his strict father model in all aspects. Lakeoff told Goldy that talk radio won t work for progressives because it doesn t fit our model of how to view the world . Goldy disagrees. Talk radio, blogging and other forms of media need to be used to frame the message from a progressive perspective. Progressives do a bad job of telling our story NOT in explaining an issue (which we do in detail) but in telling our story in a quick and impacting frame.

Q Where is the world of blogging going?
A Some national blogs are huge. Locally, it s growing, but not as important.

Q How do we consistently do fundraising for progressive causes?
A This is the big question! We need to do better. Goldy has been able to raise over $22,000 on his blog for Darcy Burner, etc. But that is somewhat rare for a blog. We don t always want to raise money on a not for profit basis. It can be much better to raise money for a for profit concern, so that the names of the donors can remain a secret. Goldy will be doing a fundraiser after the election.

Randy Gordon then spoke of the work he has been doing with Blue State PAC to raise funds for progressive issues.

Q What are think tanks really doing?
A They provide candidates all they need to know about any particular issues in a clean, simple packet! Issues-in-a-box ! It s a great way for a candidate to become a quick expert on an issue, and a great way for a think tank to brainwash a candidate!

Q Who do you like in the 2008 presidential elections?
A Al Gore is great. Not sure on Barak Obama. Barak seems very charismatic, but Goldy is not sure just where he is at on a lot of issues. Hilary is not Goldy s favorite, but he s not down on her. She is very divisive, but the folks that hate her would never vote for a Democrat anyway. Goldy s more concerned with who the Republicans may nominate. John McCain gets a free pass from the media.

David Goldy Goldstein talked about many other items, but, alas, once again our editor/note taker didn t write it all down. Goldy did stress at the end of the evening that we need to reproduce groups like inSPIRE and keep our progressive movement growing.

Other announcements

inSPIRE Book Club! we recently finished Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver, a book many of us loved, but one that also inspired a great debate. Our next book is American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips. Our next Book Club meeting is November 8th.

See you at the next inSPIRE meeting!
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