Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 235

The Progressive Democrat got some major readership during the election. Not sure how much of an effect it had, but certainly in some of the smaller races where I cover Progressive Majority candidates I think I make a bit of a difference.

Progressive candidates did very well in Washington State and Minnesota. Not so well in Pennsylvania or Colorado. Virginia and New Jersey governorships switch to Republican. NYC continues to be dominated by political machines and developer money. I would say that the elections were NOT a referendum on Obama, who remains very popular everywhere but the South. Rather it is a referendum on the Democratic Party which has been tending to do what it always does--water down its message until it no longer seems to stand for anything. This always happens for good, logical reasons. But people don't vote for good, logical reasons. They vote for a strong message that they feel attracted to and the Democratic Party is not delivering that right now. Obama often is, but the party as a whole is not. That is what is happening.

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Kalamazoo Voters Overwhelmingly Support GLBT Rights

It's not as contentious an issue as marriage equality, but the good guys (and gals) won the battle for an anti-discrimination policy in Kalamazoo, MI.

Final vote tallies:
YES: 7671
NO: 4731

I haven't crunched the turnout numbers, but at a glance it looks to be around 10-15% higher than normal in an odd-year election. For details, please dig:

http://www.electionmagic.com/results/mi/ K39results/K3900104007.htm

Update [2009-11-4 18:49:10 by lucky monkey]: Turnout in Kalamazoo was 12,572 -- 148% of cast ballots in 2007, which was 8,489. This translates to approximately 23% of the total number of registered voters (55,351) for 2009. Turnout in 2007 was approximately 16.6% (out of 50,969 registered voters).

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 234

November 3rd is election day. PLEASE VOTE!!!! I highlight candidates in several states like Minnesota, Washington State, NYC, and Pennsylvania. I also highlight the elections in Texas, Virginia and New Jersey. Voter turn out will be low so PLEASE read up on these elections, make your choices and vote. I should note that many more places have elections than I have been able to cover, so even if I am not covering your local elections, please vote.

For other states I continue highlighting the same facts and figures on healthcare reform that I have for weeks. I want to keep these handy for everyone until we have a bill passed. Keep up the pressure!

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Volunteers for equality needed in Maine, Washington and Michigan

Next Tuesday important votes on LGBT equality will take place in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Michigan. I'm cross-posting (with permission) information from the Courage Campaign on how people can get involved in the final days of the campaign.

Washington:

Who we are: Approve Referendum 71 is the campaign to preserve domestic partnerships in Washington State. By voting to approve, voters retain the domestic partnership laws that were passed during this year's legislative session, including using sick leave to care for a partner, adoption rights, insurance rights, and more.

What we need: We need phone bankers to get our supporters out to vote. Washington is an all mail-in ballot state, and we need to ensure our supporters put their ballots in the mail. Also, youth turnout is a critical component of our campaign, and youth turnout historically drops in off-year elections. So we need a lot of help to turn them out.

How you do it:Sign up here to make remote calls for Approve 71. We'll then contact you for a training, and you can make GOTV calls.

Maine:

Who we are: The No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign is working to protect Maine's recently-passed law legalizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Our opponents have put the issue on the ballot for Nov 3, 2009. Because of Maine's early voting election laws, people are already voting at the polls, so we need help immediately to turn out our side at the polls.

What we need: We need you to devote a few hours to Call for Equality. Call for Equality is a virtual phonebank set up so that you can call Maine voters wherever you are. Much of Maine is rural, where canvassing isn't effective, so we need to reach these voters- along with other supporters- by phone. All you need is a phone and internet connection. No experience required! We'll provide the training, and all you need is a a few hours to help get a win in Maine.

How you do it:Click here to sign up for a training and your shift. There are lots of times available for your convenience.

Kalamazoo, MI:

Goal Thermometer

Who We Are: The Yes on Ordinance 1856 / One Kalamazoo campaign is working in Michigan to support the City Commission of Kalamazoo's twice approved ordinance for housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for gay and transgender residents. Opponents forced a public referendum on the ordinance so dedicated local volunteers, led by former Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley, are working to ensure voters say YES to fairness and equality and keep Ordinance 1856.  

Why The Urgency: In the final weeks, the opposition has gone all out with aggressive disinformation and misleading red herrings to try to defeat the ordinance. This includes signs that say "No to Discrimination" (even though voting No actually supports continued discrimination of GLBT residents), transphobic door hangers and fliers, and now radio ads that falsely suggest that criminal behavior will become legal when this simply isn't true. The Yes on Ordinance 1856 supporters are better organized but many voters who want to vote for gay and transgender people are getting confused by the opposition.

How To Help:

1) Help the One Kalamazoo campaign raise a final $10,000 specifically dedicated to fight back against the lies on the local TV and radio airwaves and fully fund the campaign's final field and GOTV efforts.

Give here:http://www.actblue.com/page/3-2-1-countd own

2) If you live nearby and can physically volunteer in Kalamazoo sign up here. If you know anyone that lives in Kalamazoo, use the One Kalamazoo campaign's online canvass tool to remind those voters that they need to vote on November 3rd and vote YES on Ordinance 1856 to support equality for gay and transgender people.

Contact voters:http://www.onekalamazoo.com/tellfriends2

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The Pain in Detroit

The Michigan Messenger has the bloody numbers. They are painful.

The September unemployment stats for Michigan came out this week and they are high -- as expected.

Mlive.com highlighted the statistics on a municipal level, showing the five cities with the highest jobless rates are all over 25 percent. The cities of Highland Park and Pontiac, which leaned heavily on auto-related employment, had the highest unemployment with 35.2 percent of residents reportedly jobless. Both cities have declared bankruptcy in the recent past. Highland Park recently emerged from state receivership and Pontiac just slipped under state control last year.

While the overall state's unemployment rate is the highest in the nation at 15.3 percent, the top five hardest hit cities in the state are all former automobile production hubs.

According to Mlive.com:

   1.Highland Park 35.2%
    1. Pontiac 35.2%
    3. Detroit 27.9%
    4. Flint 26.3%
    5. Port Huron 25.7%

Back in April, the Detroit News reported that a Michigander family was leaving the state once every 12 minutes. Using US Census Bureau data, the paper found that Michigan gets less populated, less educated, and poorer because of outmigration.

The state's net loss to outmigration -- the number of people leaving the state minus those moving in from other states -- has skyrocketed since 2001. Although the Census Bureau does not report totals moving in and out each year, Internal Revenue Service records show that the population decline is a result of two disturbing trends: The number of Michigan residents leaving the state rose 25 percent between 2001 and 2007, while the number of new residents moving in plummeted by nearly one-third.

Since 2001, migration has cost Michigan 465,000 people, the equivalent of the combined populations of Grand Rapids, Warren and Sterling Heights -- the state's second-, third- and fourth-largest cities.

Population loss of that magnitude is so rare that its impact has never been studied. But The News' analysis discovered some sobering trends:

* Those leaving Michigan are the people the state most needs to keep -- young and college-educated. The state suffered a net loss to migration of 18,000 adults with a bachelor's degree or higher in 2007 alone -- the equivalent of half the staff of the University of Michigan crossing the state line.

* Michiganians who fled the state in 2007 took with them almost $1.2 billion more in paychecks than the paychecks of those moving in. That represents a 45 percent increase in lost wages in just one year, money no longer spent in Michigan businesses, paying mortgages or paying taxes.

Those leaving Michigan had incomes 20 percent higher than those who moved here ($49,700 to $40,000), a disturbing reversal of a long-standing trend.

And those figures don't take into account the "ripple effect" those paychecks would have had here -- an estimated $3.7 billion.

* The net loss of school-age children was more than 12,000 in 2007 alone, costing individual school districts roughly $84 million in state aid.

* With about 36,000 more households leaving the state than moving in, that leaves 36,000 empty houses and apartments, damaging already weak home values. "When there are more properties on the market, it drives down prices," said Ron Walraven, a real estate agent in West Bloomfield. "With the layoffs and the buyouts at the auto companies, people are leaving. Some are just abandoning their homes."

* People moving from state to state are disproportionately young. While almost 13 percent of Michigan's population is over 65, only 2.5 percent of those leaving are that old. That means outmigration is adding to the costs associated with an aging population, such as the state's share of Medicaid payments to retirement homes.

* There will be fewer tax dollars to pay for those services, maintain roads or run schools. According to Senate Fiscal Agency estimates, the income leaving the state cost Michigan more than $100 million in personal income tax revenue in 2007 alone.

How desperate are people? This desperate: Help Me Leave Detroit. It is just painful.

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Diaries

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