Archive for the ‘Caucus Dispatch’ category

ColorsNW – Dispatch from the precinct caucuses – Tacoma

February 11, 2008

From Carolyn Wright, Tacoma –

We the People—Precinct Caucusing, Family Style

Like many others this Saturday afternoon in Tacoma, we came caravanning into the Clover Park Technical College, family style. Although ‘we’ was intended to be the other members of a book club that I am a part of; those plans were thwarted upon discovering that every book club member belonged to a different voting precinct. So ‘we’ ended up being my mother, father and grandmother. To come with my family members was good for me because I was quite bleary-eyed from partying like a rock star the evening before and early into the morning. I’d accepted the invite from an old friend and ex-Seattleite, visiting and performing at the Nectar Lounge in Freemont. Might I add that while out on Friday night at this neighborhood bar, I overheard several conversations among the 21 and over set, discussing politics and caucusing the next day which I found outstanding and refreshingly unusual.

When my family rolled up to our designated precinct location a little after 12:30 p.m., there were lines of people waiting to get into the lobby. Calvin Goings (D-running for Pierce County executive) supporters were working the outside lines handing out fliers. One volunteer tried to give one to my mother and she asked quite pointedly, “Does he support Barack Obama—because if he doesn’t support Obama, I don’t support him!” The elderly volunteer searched for a response as he persisted with giving her a flier anyway. Meanwhile I was busy taking pictures and recording this event for the ColorsNW blog posting.

Once we got into the building, the neighborly vibe continued. Even though the location was filled to capacity (1,500+), everyone was under their best behavior giving up chairs to the elderly and those with children in tow. The crowd was mixed with women and men, those who looked like they will be voting for the first time in November and those who looked like they had been voting for some time. As far as the racial demographics go, the crowd appeared to be mostly white, although there was a very generous smattering of blacks, a few Latinos and some Asians.

What we had at Clover Park Technical College was definitely orderly chaos. Attending caucus was like attending a reunion or outdoor BBQ in the summer. There was a palpable excitement felt upon reuniting with old friends and family, as many were doing in the lobby as we waited for the main vestibule to be opened for caucusing. I noted the vibe and made a mental note of the mood. It was obvious to me that we were all starving for the opportunity to fellowship with our neighbors like this. Furthermore it is amazing that politics—a taboo subject, usually not to be mentioned in polite company, is providing the backdrop this year for bringing so many of us together.

The distinction is that this year, overwhelmingly we have the hope and expectation that common folk can make a difference. In fact the caucus leader excitedly announced that between Friday night and Saturday morning many websites had crashed and phone hotlines had become tied up under the weight of voters trying to find out their caucus information. He stated as he began leading us through our caucusing activities that, “this is grassroots citizen democracy at its best!” Even saying the pledge-of-allegiance, which I haven’t done for years, took on a particular significance in such an environment.

The actual conversation among those in my legislative precinct was tame and not too brisk. For some reason I was expecting more of an explosive encounter than the cautious starts and stops of dialogue that we partook in. Some at the table, including myself got pretty vocal after an elderly couple mentioned how they wanted to vote for the “proven quantity” which they felt was Clinton.

Those leading the proceedings for my precinct, another family group consisting of: mom, dad and grown son, were initially the only undecided representatives at the table which I thought to be an interesting twist of fate. God bless them anyway because the majority of the precinct participants, irregardless of age, were at our first caucus and just barely familiar with the proceedings for the event.

Just after 2 p.m., rather anticlimactically, caucus was over. At my table, Obama finished with four delegates, the same as Clinton—thanks to her apathetic voters. In the end, those precinct leaders, I believe feeling some pressure, chose to caucus for Clinton because they said they wanted to support the underdog!

I volunteered to be a delegate for the Legislative District Caucus—and nobody objected. I hope I encounter a similar power-to-the-people vibe in early April for the next round of caucusing.

Carolyn J. Wright

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ColorsNW – Dispatch from Precinct Caucus – Native Action Network

February 10, 2008

by Native Action Network –

This morning I woke up to the phone ringing followed by my seven year old son shaking my shoulder and whispering loudly, “Mom, the presidents keep calling you. They want you to do something.” Hmmm. It took a moment for me to wake up enough to realize that caucus day had arrived. Some folks look forward to Christmas; I look forward to elections.

I quickly jumped out of bed and made my way downstairs to put on a pot of coffee. “So, what did the presidents say?” I asked smiling at the thought of my son taking messages from the “presidents.”

“I don’t know. I was watching cartoons,” he said with a sheepish grin. Crazy kid. He later told me that if he could vote he’d vote for the “man.” I wanted to ask why, but figured that was a conversation better left for another time. I’m just glad he’s talking about voting at the ripe old age of seven.
Last night I tracked down my mother and sisters and encouraged them to get out to their caucus. To make things easy I even located their caucus sites for them so that all they had to do was show up. I followed up this morning with more phone calls and pleadings on the importance of the caucus. I’m so proud of them! They not only showed up; they actively participated in their caucus.

My sister in Auburn had no idea what to expect, but quickly took charge and helped organize her delegate elections and is now a delegate herself. When she stopped in her grocery store on her way home other caucus participants not only said hi, but engaged her in conversation. “Wow, no one’s ever talked to me in the grocery store before,” she commented in amazement. Now, she’s looking forward to her district caucus in April. She’s promised me that she’s going all the way to the national convention.

Over in North Seattle my mother and stepfather located their precinct table and got to know their next door neighbors whom they hadn’t talked to before. When participants spoke in support of their candidates my stepfather found himself standing up and speaking out for his candidate. He is now an alternate delegate.

“This was a great experience. I had a chance to witness just how excited everyone is about their candidate and now I know what this caucus is about,” my mom said. She’s really glad she attended and feels like she was a part of the election process.

I spoke to a friend in Kent and she said her caucus was well run and very well organized. She attended with her husband and daughter and both her and her daughter were elected as delegates.

The big surprise of the day came when I learned that my husband and friend are both supporting a different candidate from myself. In my husband’s case we were standing in line at our caucus when a woman offered us stickers and I declined. He, on the other hand, took several stickers and plastered them across his shirt. I have to admit I was more than just a little surprised. At the same time it’s not really an issue because when it comes down to what matters I’m just excited that everyone I know and care about is committed, involved, and actively taking part in our political process. YEAH!

All this excitement reminded of an email that someone sent in last week about the elimination of Urban Indian Health Care funding from the 2009 budget. The writer reminded me that the elimination of this funding was something that should have us all “protesting in the streets.” She’s right. This election process is just one component of the political process. There is legislation being decided on locally, statewide and nationally that impacts us all that deserves our immediate attention. So, let’s make sure that our participation continues long after the media loses interest. Let’s make sure that our voice continues to be heard throughout the legislative process.

ColorsNW – Dispatch from Precinct Caucus – Lewis County

February 10, 2008

By George and Stephen Miller-Zauner, Lewis County –

Our caucus was in the Randle at the Fire Station Community Room and basically covered nine precincts basically have of east Lewis county

From those there for over 75 years to newcomers they all were amazed to see so many people still coming in as we shot this picture just before 1 p. m.

They normally expect no more than 20 people

The ages too were amazed to many for those there covered the very young 17 to as we said 80 something

At one point we count more than 20 under 30 years old

As for as we could see we were of course were the only two that checked off the LGBT question on the sign in sheet

As for the result we still have not seen the whole picture from there but know we will be two alternates at the next level for OBAMA

The general mode was we’re here to end the Clinton Bush then Clinton reign

Overall many changes need to be made if this type of voting is to be fair

It really showed little chance of answering how folks working during this time could vote, how those disabled and couldn’t get there felt etc

George and Stephen Miller-Zauner

Working Toward Equality Since 04/20/1990

ColorsNW – Dispatch from Precinct Caucus – Rainier Beach

February 9, 2008

Submitted by Naomi Ishisaka, Seattle –

Our caucus met at Rainier Beach High School in South Seattle where a very diverse group of many hundreds of people packed into a stuffy, hot lunchroom to caucus for their candidate of choice. While there were many, many Obama supporters, there were also a number of Clinton supporters as well, with many people – particularly white women – displaying their support for Clinton.

The process was incredibly chaotic, with no room between the different groups and a lot of difficulty hearing the speakers. After the first tally of our group, 53 people voted for Obama, 12 for Clinton.

After the first vote, supporters weighed in on their choice. Many speakers — all caucasian — spoke passionately for their support for Clinton, with one woman adamantly saying, “When you are looking for someone to fix your car, you need a mechanic, not a dreamer,” implying that Obama does not have the qualifications to lead the country. Another pro-Clinton speaker said that only Clinton had a plan for health care or Social Security.

A much more diverse group of Obama supporters also spoke, with one woman saying that she had nothing against Sen. Clinton but felt that the energy that Obama has tapped is the spirit of multilateralism in foreign policy, transparency in government and collaboration vs. authoritarianism. Ultimately, our group awarded four delegates to Obama and one for Clinton.

The enthusiasm and energy in the Democratic party — particularly among Obama supporters — is incredibly powerful. I have not seen this level of excitement — particulary among people of color — in my life. – Naomi Ishisaka, ColorsNW

Democratic caucus Rainier Beach, Seattle

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

Results after first tally.

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

A supporter speaks for Obama.

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

Rainier Beach caucus Seattle

ColorsNW – Obama Rally Draws 21,000 – PHOTOS

February 9, 2008

ColorsNW’s photographers, writers and videographers were present in full force at the Obama rally at KeyArena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2008. We first arrived at 9:30 a.m. to set up our gear and were surprised to see so many people already lined up to get in. When we finally got through the rigorous security checks, the first of the many thousands of people began to pour in. – Photos by Naomi Ishisaka
img_6526.jpgObama rally Seattle

Obama rally Seattle

Obama rally Seattle

Obama rally Seattle

Obama rally Seattle

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Melissa Ponder Photo - Overflow crowd outside of KeyArena

An overflow crowd waits to get in to the Obama rally at KeyArena on Feb. 8, 2008, in Seattle. PHOTO BY MELISSA PONDER