First I owe my faithful readers an apology. Ron Kim was unable to complete his coup d'état. As the following e-mail shows the plotters had hoped to remove the whole Executive Committee to pave the way for Ron Kim although Al Turkheimer, the Chairman resigned the rest of the committee refused. Under committee rules the First Vice Chair moves up. Seems Spaniard Thilo Ullman had his luckiest day since he scored his green card as he was named the new Chairman of the Democratic committee. But don’t turn your back Theo the long knives are still out and your head might be next.
Dear Democratic Committee members,
In light of the recent events, e-mails, phone conversations and the emotional reactions to such, I feel it is time for me to weigh in on all of this. Let me start by saying, that, while there has been some inner damage, the building has not yet collapsed, and the core of it is still very much worth saving. And, at the core are our collective democratic principles and values, and our desire to work for the betterment of the whole. Unfortunately, some have lost sight of the latter.
While I am not on the committee and I was not in attendance at last Saturday’s meeting, I have attended most of the committee meetings over that past 12 months, and, more recently, have been involved with a smaller group of committee members, whose goal was to bring to the entire committee an organized and rational resolution that addressed the November election disaster. It is obvious to me that there are people on the committee who actively worked against our candidates and will continue to try to sabotage any positive momentum. What is occurring right now, is playing right into their hands. That will be an ongoing issue and a discussion for another time.
After the sweeping victory for the Democrats for Change in 2008, there was finally a sense of hope for progressive politics and the door of opportunity was swinging our way. From the very beginning, there were discussions about the type of leadership needed to move our group forward in a proactive, positive way; one that would distinguish us from the Republicans and from those who were more content to live in the past than look toward the future. Those discussions have been ongoing. I do not need to spell out the obvious. Leadership can look like many things. But the bottom line is, people who are volunteering their time and energy (no matter how much or little) need to feel appreciated and inspired. Ask yourself if you have felt either of those things over the course of the past 13 months.
Last Sunday, I was involved in a meeting with four other members of the Democratic committee. This meeting was, in effect, a culmination of a series of meetings of a larger group of committee members where a change of leadership was the major focus (and not just a change of the chair, but of the entire executive board). Al Turkheimer has been present at every meeting in which leadership change was discussed. No meetings, to my knowledge, have taken place behind his back. In fact, meetings to discuss moving forward and presenting an organized and concise message and plan to the entire committee took place at Al’s house. There was no coup and there was no conspiracy. That the entire committee was not involved in those discussions was a decision of logic and logistics, not one of secrecy.
Feelings have clearly been hurt, relationships have been damaged, and runaway egos have impaired the heart of our core. All of this is very unfortunate, but not totally unpredictable. We are human, after all. I still have a vision and the desire to see good things come to and from the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, and I am willing to continue with the hard (and sometimes nasty) work that needs to be done to develop and cultivate the identity of our committee. But, in order for that to happen, changes need to occur. Life is fluid, and organizations, like families, need to always be reacting to and addressing problems and issues as they occur. There are some problems here, and there was a sincere effort to address those problems with a smaller group before coming to the entire committee. Sadly, the results of that effort are what we see now. What has happened in recent days is very telling and extremely disappointing. And while it may not have been clean or immediately clear at this point, the intent was only to move this committee to a better place.
In hopes of providing a forum for informing the entire committee of discussions and meetings that have taken place recently and in the more distant past, and as a way of coming face to face with our difficulties and differences, I will open up my house to anyone brave enough to enter tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 7:30. Don’t expect to be fed and please bring your own drink. No glass containers will be allowed. Leave your personal issues behind, but be prepared for some conflict, and, hopefully, some conflict resolution. As you all know, I am a fighter, and I have taken on far bigger battles than this. Let’s all get in a room together and either work it out, or duke it out. Now’s the time.
P.S. Please park on