In case you haven’t heard yet, we won! With most of the absentees and all poll ballots counted we got 8,640 votes.View the breakdown on votescount.com, Click on “Santa Cruz County Unofficial Results”, then on your left hand side look for “Santa Cruz City Council”. That puts us in a virtual tie for 3rd place with Pamela Comstock, though we are officially in 4th place as she got 83 more votes than us. Although their could be some small changes due to provisional ballots, I am definitely going to be in 3rd or 4th place and therefore have a seat on the City Council.
Many of you have sent me congratulations but I want to congratulate and appreciate all of you for a great grassroots campaign. Collectively, we knocked on 3/4 of the doors of City residents, held 22 neighborhood gatherings, and sent a bubble rickshaw to UCSC for a couple of days. We promoted specific policy changes and made campaign spending an issue that other candidates will have to think about for years to come.
Many people have pointed out that this is only the beginning of my work. That’s not correct. This is our work. Don’t you all even think that you are leaving. I have been elected to give voice to our visions and hold a seat on the Council to assist our campaigns and organizing efforts. Without community organizing and activism, I will definitely NOT be effective on the City Council.
What happens next:
Recycle your yard sign! Or request to have it picked up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come celebrate the purchase of the rail line on Nov. 17th at from 9am to 5pm. Check http://SCCRTC.org/ for locations.
People Power is holding our annual fund raising dinner at India Joze on December 9th from 4pm to 7pm. Our victory will be celebrated there. For more information or to sign up go to peoplepowersc.org.
Our volunteer appreciation party/where do we go next brainstorm will be on December 15th (after Jackie gets back from New York). A few beers will only help us envision how to put Santa Cruz back on track as the leftmost city. Mark your calendars for an afternoon event now and we will send you more information!
Again, thank you. I am looking forward to working with all of you for at least the next 4 years,
The campaign office behind my house
Emunah, my two year old, is learning to use the potty. Within a few weeks, she will be potty trained and I won’t have to wash diapers anymore, whether I win a seat on the City Council or not.
It’s going to cool down and start raining, at least at night.
One of our hens has turned out to be a rooster. I’m going to kill him and feed him to the family, whether or not I get elected to City Council.
I’m going to write thank you notes and appreciate the amazing group of people that supported my candidacy, win or not.
Today I held up a sign at the bottom of campus while Emunah played with the child of my competitor, Pamela Comstock, and the child of Dexter Cube from Take Back Santa Cruz.
Tomorrow we’ll see how the math plays out and who gets to be on the City Council.
PS: Local and national elections will be available as early as 8 PM Tuesday night at votescount.com.
10/29/2012 10PM at Home
When I first met Jacqueline, she told me that she was running for City Council. I thought that she was very brave and very smart and very interested in changing things for the better. I think that she was surprised by the fact that I did not try to dissuade her, just listened to her and was somewhat encouraging. I told her that I thought it would be fun to hear her speak at forums. At some point there was a long pause. Then she asked me, “Do you think I have a chance of winning?” I told her that she did not. She didn’t have the access to a broad range of support that was needed, especially the access to people willing to give money. I asked her to work for me instead and promised that I would take her ideas and her energy very seriously. She did and I have.
My personal courage and Jacqueline’s optimism and boundless energy are the two pillars of our campaign, which includes many, many young people and students in key roles. If we win this election we will simply be starting something, not finishing it. While I am a middle aged dude, this is a young campaign, with a vision for a different future. Below is something she wrote to me in her own words.
I know you are at Deborah Malkin’s election party so I thought I would write you an email instead of leave a voicemail, just to change it up. I am sitting here at the SEIU office helping the Progressive Coalition Doorhanger distribution with Bruce Van Allen and Jim Heany and I am so pleased with the amount of effort and energy that our volunteers have consistently given. They show up with a smile and willingness to do whatever we ask. Some of them with kids, dogs, and extremely busy schedules.
I do not exactly know how to express the amount of gratitude that I have for everyone who has helped this campaign, it is almost overwhelming. Last night, I was thinking that I would be up all hours of the night labeling over addresses for our volunteers to hand out today, and I come back to the office after dinner to find the job ¾ of the way finished. Not only was it a relief but it was refreshing encouragement for the final few days. Even if we have reached our spending limit within the confines of the campaign expenditure limit, we will continue our momentum through the power of our volunteers.
It reminds me of why I applied to be your campaign coordinator in the first place – grassroots organizing. Seeing what you did with People Power in the time that you were director was spectacular. Organizing several groups of people for political events, volunteer activities, and neighborhoods. Involving cyclists and allies from all different backgrounds and perspectives with one commonality: alternative forms of transportation. Ultimately signifying that you will do the same as a Councilmember if given the opportunity, but the commonality will be residents of Santa Cruz. I believe, the energy that our volunteers possess stem from their same belief in you. I did not realize at the beginning that it is the people that we have brought to this campaign that will allow me to continue full throttle for the next 9 days.
Looking forward to election night!!
Micah For Council,
October 24th. 10:14PM. The campaign office at the back of my house.
I just went to my 20th neighborhood gathering at Sam Baron’s house on King Street. My campaign has been built on knocking on doors in neighborhoods with volunteers, talking to the people who actually answer the door and inviting everyone, home or not, to gather at a supportive neighboors house at a later date to get to know me as a candidate and have nuanced discussions about what neighbors want for their own part of town and for Santa Cruz as a whole. About 3/4 of the voters of Santa Cruz have been invited to one of these gathering with more precincts being walked everyday. As usual, the gathering was full of intelligent people with important concerns and great questions.
I was very happy to see the Olsons at the gathering. They were just one of many, many people that I wanted to spend more time with at their door but felt that I had to keep walking so as to meet as many voters as possible. They had great questions: How are you going to work with others to get things done on the council? Will you be willing to change course if people do not support your ideas?
In fact, the policy ideas and issue perspectives that come streaming out of my mouth are the results of the thousands of personal and group conversations that I have had in the last few months, including the forums with the other candidates. I put out ideas based on my values and watch them sifted through the perspectives of the people that I meet going door to door everyday. What is distilled is the truth that we have found together in the ongoing conversation, carried by me from person to person.
But the values always form the base: Compassion; Justice; Kindness; Care for the Earth; Patience; Commitment; Courage. Especially Courage. As long as we bring these values to our conversations, we will come out with some excellent ideas to work with, and find a way to make them real in our town.
I am so busy knocking on doors and directly responding to voters. The blog is a bit different from my usual private journal writing in that I want the blog to be honest, but at the same time improve my chance of winning. I will say this – I have really enjoyed connecting with people at our multiple house parties and at the forums. Also, I think that our messages as a campaign are resonating well when I get to express them to folks directly. I have also been enjoying working with the staff of young volunteers that are doing much of the ground work for this campaign. The following email is one I got from Eric Hernandez, a young navy veteran who is attending UCSC on the GI bill. He has never done political work before. His dedication, his enthusiasm, and his appreciation keep me going.
I think you had a really good day yesterday. You were connecting with people. I enjoyed the interaction you were having with the people from El Rio Trailer Park. People seem to really like you. You also were very strong at the Forum on Compassion put on by the religious community. I could feel that you spoke from the heart on several issues. I felt that your experience in activism and community involvement stood out in your answers as well. I think it was wise of you to express your disappointment in Richelle, Cynthia, and Pamela, the candidates who did not attend the forum. It had to be said.
You got a positive laughing response when you said (and this is my favorite quote of the night), “As far as the camping ban, I mean, ideologically I don’t like the idea of a camping ban – the idea that we’re going to make it illegal to have the human right to sleep. But on the other hand, ideologically, I don’t think we should have automobiles either.” I think people didn’t blame you when you said that getting rid of the camping ban is not on your agenda for the next 4 years. People understand that making change involves building consensus, and that we don’t have that consensus around the camping ban issue right now.
Great work last night Micah. I’m really proud to be working on your team.
10 PM. In the campaign office behind my house.
This evening, going door to door, I ran into a supporter who asked me what I felt about another candidate. I said, “Well, she won’t be as good as I am,” but the supporter didn’t laugh. She really wanted my opinion because she trusted me and was thinking about who else to vote for.
I didn’t know what to say. The nice thing about the crazy format of this election (8 candidates for 4 seats) and the lack of polling is that each of us candidates can work on the assumption that no one particular person is our competition. We can appreciate each other as we watch each other go through the grind of the campaign and hope for the best for all of us. So I’m not the best one to ask about the other candidates.
However, there is a website that has impartial and even some objective information on all of us candidates. It’s not MicahForCouncil.org. MicahForCouncil.org is subjective. It’s the City’s website and I encourage everyone to make use of it:
On the website you will find ballot statements from each of the candidates with their contact information. You will also find, prominently displayed, whether each candidate has agreed or has not agreed to the City’s Voluntary Campaign Expenditure Limit Ordinance. I have agreed to the limit. I think it is very important to put boundaries on the amount of money in politics.
Perhaps the best part is simply the contact information of each candidate. You can use the contact info to ask all of us candidates some hard question.
My advice? Don’t let any of us equivocate too much. There was one forum, the one put on by Santa Cruz Next, where they made us raise our hands. Yes or no? Desal or not? Limit money in politics or not? If we expect to be leaders, we should have opinions. See if our opinions match yours and then vote for up to four City Councilmembers. It’s going to be a hard choice. All eight of us are running because we care about Santa Cruz and want it to be a better place. And, in my opinion, all of us have some pretty good perspectives on what we need and want for our town.
As I mentioned before, one real challenge while walking precincts has been to not say things just to be liked, but to be entirely honest. This is actually becoming easier as I realize how much people appreciate it.
One way to keep myself straight talking is to be OK with not winning. Winning is important. I’m going to try my hardest to win and our chances seem good. But I don’t want to win so badly that I lose track of who I am and what I stand for. I had just talked to my partner Akiko about this prior to leaving for a neighborhood gathering “to meet the candidate” at my friend Randy Widera’s house.
My first question was from an elderly woman, Maybel, who arrived early. “What will you do about my neighbor who parks his car in his front yard and has trash on his property?” I told her that as a City Councilmember, I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything about such a specific annoyance. However, I did suggest that she should talk to her neighbor and enroll her other neighbors to help her if needed. If that doesn’t work, she could talk to the Planning Department.
I had a very good, thoughtful, and nuanced discussion on a variety of topics with the neighbors on Randy’s porch. Maybel was the last to leave. “I’m going to vote for you,” she said. “You know, you are the 3rd council candidate who I’ve talked to about that car on my neighbor’s lawn. The other two said that they would take care of it and didn’t. You strike me as someone who is honest. You’ve got my vote.”
That’s a vote that I’m very proud of.
P.S.: If you’re reading this blog, please consider hosting a neighborhood gathering at your house or helping a neighbor to pass out invitations for one in the area. It’s a wonderful way to talk about values, civics, and to get to know your neighbors. Let’s keep the amazing grass roots campaign staff coming…
Jim Brown from the Sentinel has rightly determined that desalination (desal) plant construction will be the defining issue over the next few years in Santa Cruz politics. He asked candidates for 150 words describing our positions. I sent him the following:
I am opposed to the desal plant. Having struggled to reduce our collective dependence on automobiles for my entire adult life, I cannot endorse a change to our water supply system that makes it more dependent on cheap, ever-increasingly costly fossil fuel derived electricity. While I appreciate the plan to mitigate these missions with solar panels, these panels could be built with or without the desal plant using the same funding source. Because the desal proposal is essentially a tax increase through water fees that faces significant and organized resistance, it is unlikely to be approved in 2014. The city should immediately prepare and present alternative proposals that provide a measure of drought security while allowing for water-neutral infill development at the University and within the City.
I was well-prepared to pull my thoughts together about the desal proposal after spending an hour talking about the issue with Mike Rotkin, one of the architects of the proposal. Despite our clear differences on desal, Mike has endorsed me:
“ I’m supporting Micah Posner for City Council because he not only has the activism and the experience working with the community on specific issues, but a good grasp of the big picture and the direction we need to move in to become a sustainable community that really meets the needs of its residents. He’s someone who will often push staff, but also works with them to make things happen. It’s the combination of his strong commitment to the values we all share and his ability to effectively get things done that makes him a good Council candidate.”
I am very thankful for Mike’s endorsement. Under the circumstances, it doesn’t just speak well of me, but of him. To disagree with someone about a very important issue and still be able to respect and even endorse them shows a high degree of diplomatic skills and an even-handed approach to politics. Like so many people for so many years, I have a lot to learn from Mike Rotkin.
It’s all going to come together on September 9th, Sunday at 2PM at the Resource Center for Non-Violence. There will be (free) food by India Joze and Gabriella’s Cafe. Local wine and beer for sale by Vino Cruz, jazz to relax by and speeches to get inspired by. I will speak as well as past California Senator Fred Keeley and current County Supervisor John Leopold. I’m really excited to be doing the party at the non-violence center as it is a place where people talk about values. Conversing about values should be what politics is all about.
The hope is that this is where the campaign really starts coming together. For those of you out there who are supporting me, we need you to come and see each other and get energized. We need you to bring your checkbooks or bank cards, your calendar (to sign up for whatever volunteering suites you), and your friends, who can see what the campaign is about. We need you to pick up yard signs.
Of course I’m nervous that no one will show up. My campaign manger, Jacqueline Seydel is out of town so I’m left promoting this thing by myself, as well as walking precincts, filling out surveys and doing fund raising calls. It’s a lot of work. Somehow I was taught that this kind of work- taking leadership and making change, is the most important thing that a person can do. I guess I got that from my dad, who was a freedom rider who spent two months in jail in Mississippi.
I am always nervous, but so far the campaign is going fine. We have raised about $10,000, our of our budget of $26,000 (as per the expenditure limit). Both I and other volunteers have been knocking on doors (more about this on the next blog) and the signs are starting to pop up. (If you want a sign, now is the time to ask!) . Here I am in my campaign office behind my house on a beautiful day, madly sending emails out about the campaign party.
It does seem a little bit crazy, but I’m going to keep on doing it. And, hey, there are 7 other people doing the same crazy thing. That makes it less lonely, even though we are in a competition. CeCe (Pinheiro) and I have a date to go surfing the day after the election. I’m sure that I won’t get out until then- not surfing.
10PM. At home
I’ve been reading and hearing some harsh criticism of Fred Keeley recently due to his endorsement of Republican Bruce McPherson for Supervisor in the “valley’s district”- San Lorenzo and Scott’s Valley with a bit of northern Santa Cruz. I don’t think this is warranted, but first let me state where I stand on this important race.
Eric Hammer is a local Democrat who grew up around community organizing in the San Lorenzo Valley. Bruce McPherson is a statewide Republican leader (or, to be specific, he was a Republican until the election). His home is at the north end of the city of Santa Cruz on the edge of the district but his political work and focus of his activities have been in Sacramento for the past couple of decades, where he recently served as Secretary of State for Arnold Schwarzenegger. McPherson is able to raise loads of money though state-wide connections. I worked with Hammer and McPherson to drum up support for a safe route to school network within Felton and north to the SLV schools. They were both supportive and I enjoyed working with both of them, but I found Eric to be more engaging and more tuned into the SLV community. I have supported Eric Hammer for Supervisor since April, well before it became fashionable.
I know Fred Keeley much better than Eric Hammer and have worked with him for 5 years or so on transportation and other environmental issues. His endorsement of McPherson just increases my respect for him. In addition to being a great local activist and organizer who currently serves as County Treasurer, Fred has been, and is to a large extent, a statewide leader who has made it his job to get past partisan politics that have made the state ungovernable. McPherson has been a consistent partner of his in this critical endeavor. Why would we expect Fred to abandon him now that McPherson needs his support?
Fred Keeley should be loyal to his longstanding ally Bruce McPherson and we should ignore him and work hard to get Eric Hammer elected to a local position in local government.