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The San Diego Democracy for America Meetup Group Message Board › Mike Lawrence - Why I Resigned

Mike Lawrence - Why I Resigned

A former member
Post #: 1
Well guys, reading all of your comments is EXACTLY why, even though I was a Dean delegate in Washington, when I moved here I decided not to get involved here.

This behavior is ludicrous. There shouldn't be any other issue other than taking on Republicans and all the sorry issues they bring to the table. For instance, this Governor and his ridiculous antics.

I have been a lifelong Democrat, worked for 7 years at the California State Assembly, knew John Burton, etc. etc. etc.

There is now no institutional memory in Sacramento but evidently no one seems to even realize what that means for California and getting things done. Term limits have put into office people who have 4 years in Sacramento. Unbelievable.

And all you guys can do is fight with each other. No wonder the Republicans have taken over California and this country!
A former member
Post #: 1
I am alarmed. As a long time committed Dean supporter, Dean for America Meetup organizer in Ocean Beach, DFA member, DFA Subcommittee Outreach Chair, I find Mike's resignation alarming and so should every member. If someone as kind, understanding, open-minded, progressive, truly democratic, respectful and supportive as Mike Lawrence is resigning that should tell us all something and it is not positive.

My gut feelings and instincts have been telling me lately that not only am I sensing a disrepectful almost sarcastic tone to my suggestions but also a direction towards Dictatorship for America vs. Democracy for America. If this continues I too will be resigining from my post.

A former member
Post #: 4
Simon: You apparently have not been involved in "meet ups" for Dean or Democray for America. We have always taken our direction from the "home office of either Dean or DFA with latitude to do as our local meet up felt was needed.
I went to the meeting at the J.B. center the lst time because of my concern as to what the heck was it, why was it holding this meeting in place and time other than our meet up. This to me at least, was NEVER explained. We are part of DFA nationally and any connection to any local over all group should have been voted on. For some reason that was not part of that meeting, only voting on officers.
I also went because of talk of becoming a DNC club instead of DFA which again it was not mentioned if the meet up group would be part of this. I'm sure all love having Charlie with all his skills and talents have this county wide group do lots of things our meet up can;'t or do not wish to. Even have his group give us things that our board "might" want to use in our meetings, just as the National origanation does, but Mike was our leader and he should control speakers, when to interupt them if their out of order, etc. etc. If anything is to be voted on that effects our meet up group, it should be done at the meet up meeting on the lst Wednesday of each month. Important votes, should be announced in advance.
I'm not on either board, so what I've just said, is my personal feelings and not the meet up boards wishes though hopefully they are close. If I recall correctly, back in the early days of Deans meet ups, Charlie occassionaly was there to tell us about things such as training sessions he and others were working on, then trips to other states to help, etc. But our meet ups were always controled by our chair and direction from the Dean H.O. Suelove struck
A former member
Post #: 4
Sue: just a point of clarification.

I have been a Meetup member, of this Meetup, since June 3, 2003. I believe you can verify that by checking my profile. I did not attend every meeting since then, or even all that many, until later in 2004. And I kept my mouth shut, so you may not have noticed me.

I was an early Dean supporter because I liked what he said and how he said it. I contributed money and my time, mostly in getting the word out about him to my progressive friends and associates who weren't "getting it", and to my non-progressive friends, that Dean had ideas that they could get their arms around as well.

After the election, I became convinced that more action was needed, that as Gov. Dean said throughout the primary, we need to take our country back, and we need to do it on every level, including local and state. Since then, I've been at each Meetup, and each SD Democracy for America meeting. And talking some.

So that's what I'm doing. As is Mike. And Charlie. And Leon, and Margaret, and Miriam. And you, too. And lots of other people, all of whom don't agree at all times, of course.

The way I understand it, SD DFA is an organization, a DFA organization. One of the things it does, it has Meetups. That's not all it is, though.

Anyway, this is not the end of the world as we know it - this is a dispute that I hope can be resolved by the various parties in a free and open way.

- Simon.
Pam H.
San Diego, CA
Post #: 7
Gosh, my computer breaks and I miss this!

I'm sad.

Yes, I think many Meetup folks were unaware of SDDforA. In the early days it was committee active and Charlie dared to think it was time to reactivate committees again. Folks were wanting to DO more than Meetup.

I think , Mike, that if you wait a Meetup or two, you will find you are back to your meetups being steered by the your group.

Except the goal is not ONE DFA Meetup, but many... like before. Peaple from all the Meetups will join in the DFA commitees. This is how it was when Charlie was meetup co-ordinator. He'd visit meetups and tell folks what was happening with SDDforA and invite us to get involved.

Perhaps too much transition happened at once and the "steering committee" didn't have a chAnce to get it's sea legs.

But come on, our country is in CRISIS. This is no time for setting back -- nor is it time for turf wars. We need perserverce, we need patience, we need dedication, we need not to beat up on each other.

Isn't being liberal about resprecting and working with differences? Aren't we all wanting the same things? If we can't live through some misunderstandings, how are we going to stop tthe take over of America?

Come back, Mike. Trust the process. At least give it a chance.

Diane M. S.
San Diego, CA
Post #: 1
Geez louiz, guys, we really don't need this. Mike, please don't quit. Charlie, please read between the lines on this thread. There are a substantial number of people who don't understand how SDforD is related to DFA 23, and there are probably almost as many who didn't know that either entity exists. Some of these many attend DFA Meetups and know (or think they know) what DFA Meetups are. But this thread reveals that the assumptions of SDforD and DFA 23 are not (perfectly) in alignment, and at the moment I'm not quite sure how the innocent folks who attend DFA Meetups fit into the picture. Let's all agree, shall we, that the relationship between SDforD and DFA 23 needs to be clarified. Further, let's all agree that our egos need to be subservient to the goals that we share as a group.
A former member
Post #: 2
I'm with Leon. I say we take him out back and beat the crap out of him...

... wait a moment... uhhhh...

... we're still talking about me? Oops.

Thanks for the laughs, Leon. We needed that. I hope everyone knows you were joking because pizza sauce stains are tough to get out.

I also agree with Simon. At the meeting, I didn't pick up on the idea that there was a major problem that would push Mike to resign. I certainly wouldn't have let it go, but would have addressed and resolved any issue to avoid such a result, and still will... given the chance.

Then there's Pam Hoye. Don't ya just love Pam Hoye? That woman is just the Bees Knees. I wish we all thought that clearly. She has a way of seeing through the b.s. and pointing out what we all knew or should have known deep down, but sometimes forget.

Diane, your point is well taken and I've been reading between the lines, over them, under them and around the side. I get the point and will endeavor to come up with a reasonalbe, thoughtful and concise answer to the age-old "chicken or the egg" question.

I'll offer another apology for any transgressions, omissions and perceived slights and hope that the rest of the gang feels the same way. I'm honestly not upset with anybody. I want to clear this up. We've accomplished so much and it would be a shame to let a simple misunderstanding undo that.

But at the Meetup... as a precaution... I'm bringing a really big bib and wearing some old clothes just in case Leon makes a motion that passes.

Charlie. wink
Robert P.
San Diego, CA
Post #: 1
Dear friends,

I always want to believe the best of people for purely selfish reasons. I want to believe I'm living in the best possible world that at least has some grounding in reality. I'm not going to think badly of anyone unless it really slaps me in the face. I'm afraid I can't think much good about Bush and the neo-cons because seeing them as anything other than evil is impossible for me. However, I think that Mike and Charlie are both good people with the best of intentions.

I sit on both the organizing commitee for our local meetup group, and am co-chair one of the San Diego for Democracy sub-committees under Charlie. I only say this to demonstrate that I believe both groups are doing important work that I feel is worth my effort to try to assist.

In what follows I'm trying to avoid getting into personalities and to only talk about oganizations and roles.

I've spent considerable time trying to talk with the people involved to get a meeting of the minds. Sadly this didn't quite happen, though I think we agree on a lot of issues. I am going to try my best to fairly represent what I see as their views and then give mine. My apologies if I misrepresent anyone's views, I'm trying my best not to.

The incident at our last Meetup, where Jim got up to give his opinion that we should consider the Govenor's proposed redistricting plan and Charlie over-rode Mike's moderation of our Meetup group to shut Jim down was unfortunate. Charlie's view was that people were seeing Jim speaking as a representative of our Meetup group, and by association DFA, as supporting the Governor's redistricting. He felt that this was confusing, especially to new members and was desperate to shut it down.

My view, which I later found out was shared by (to my understanding) all of our Meetup organizing committee, was that Charlie had clearly trampled on Mike's role as moderator of the group and on Jim's right to express his opinion. Different views depending on whether you were seeing Jim speaking as Jim or Jim speaking as an official representing our Meetup's view.

I think the key problem is a disconnect between Charlie's view and our Meetup committee's view of what a DFA Meetup group is and its relationship to the DFA.

My personal view is that the value of the Meetup is be be an open and accepting forum for people to discuss their views. Charlie is concerned that we don't get too "off topic" from the message from DFA, or that we present views as representative of DFA that are not.

And now, after a George Lakoff "Framing the Message" warning, I'd like to say I see the difference as whether the meetup discussions come more up from our membership or more down from DFA. (Do you want control or to be controlled?) It's hard to paint this in a neutral way so please step back and try to think of this from the point of view of organization. How do we set our agenda for the monthly meetups? It's something we have to do every month.

In fact, while I'm asking questions:

How do you want our meetup organized?
How do you want items and speakers selected for the agenda?
How do you want our organizing committee selected?
What do you see the role of a central DFA organizing body to be in relationship to our meetup group?
Who, for that matter, officially represents DFA in San Diego?

I think the answer to these questions must come from the people who attend our meetups.

I think that Charlie has done a great job in organizing San Diego for Democracy, and in forming the commitees. Candiate ID; Framing the Message; Legislative Alert; Meetups; Media Watch; Web Design.. all very relevant with great people on the committees.

I think that our meetup has been great too. I've been getting head counts averaging in the high 70's. People keep coming back which I think means they're finding them interesting.

And here's where I think a good division would come. SD for Democracy runs the committees, presents at meetups (hopefully presenting at a growing number of meetups around the county) and I would suggest as a courtesy has a heads-up on what the individual meeups are intending to present so they can raise any red flags that they see. If people at our meetup feel that all we're doing is talking and they want a venue where they can actually do something (which is not fairly representing the work that many people from our meetup do perform) then the SD for Democracy group would be a great venue for them to do this.

Keep in mind though that we can do whatever we as the membership want. We're a DFA Meetup group. To my mind that means we are a group of people that are interested in DFA and are getting together to talk about DFA related issues. We could get together and talk exclusively about basket weaving if we wanted to. (Newcomers would (rightly) think that our name was misleading.) What we are not is a group that has to answer to DFA, or any central organizing body, about what we can and can't talk about. At least that's my opinion.

Having said all this though, if we all work together we'll have a much better net of information coming in, pool of speakers to draw from and organized communications between the groups. Hopefully we'll get a consensus view from our meetup group's attendees as to what is wanted by the majority.

Best wishes to you all while we get this issue resolved.

A former member
Post #: 1
C'mon everybody, can we agree to be active member of a "big tent" organization that is linked to a "big tent" party (the Democrats). I think there is room for personal dissent and open conversations about the issues and democratic decisions to be made about the roles we take on for our local group (be it SDfD or Meetup 23, not even going to get into what's what...) We all have a great deal of common ground on some issues, maybe not every issue with every individual but it's the big picture we should be looking at and that's what brings us together. Gov. Dean himself took a few positions he knew would be at odds with many of his supporters, and while proud to present a progressive agenda eschewed devotion to rigid ideology. Dissent of one member should be welcomed, and we can all chew over the finer details of an issue instead of considering someone to be an infiltrator (which I do not think Charlie was ever doing, to be fair). The original DFA welcomed Greens, Libertarians, independents, and strayed progressive Republicans as well as Democrats and I think we should remain a nonpartisan group while certainly there is a strong link to reforming and acting within the Democratic Party.

Bottom line: Charlie's a great guy who's done a lot for our local group. He deserves kudos. I also admire Mike and sympathize with his sentiments. I would hope he may reconsider his decision, but that may take some time and consideration. Let's all work to keep our group intact. No slinging of pizza sauce!biggrin
Pam H.
San Diego, CA
Post #: 8
Hi All,

I've been thinking of some information that is both related and not related to some of the discussion here. It was in Feb, just after Jim Dean became the chair of DFA. I visited the DFA web site, as I do from time to time. A featured thread was, oddly enough, about Jim's vision for taking DFA "to the next level."

Folks were invited to download a draft pdf document which offered helpful information about forming locally independent DFA organizations. Independent, meaning that as a registered PAC, Democracy for America can have no official ties with groups being formed, but would serve as a resource as it has done with the meetups themselves.

The title of the document is: "Taking Your DFA Voluteer Coalition Group to the Next Level"

The Subtitle is: "How to Build a DFA Volunter Group into a Long-Term Political Force in your Community".

Much of the information in this guide came from already existing DFA groups that have gone to "the next level".

Many of the suggestions already apply to us. Why? Because as Howard Dean and others, including that notorious Charlie fellow, have observed, California has been among the more active in DFA organization and leadership.

It does, however, go beyond even our local San Diego for Democracy scope.

It talks about forming formal, legal organizations, for example one that allows a group to raise money and use these funds toward reaching stated group goals. It tells about the different kinds of formal organizations that a DFA group might consider depending on its goals, such as becoming a Federal PAC, a 503(c) Civic Organization; a State PAC; an IRS 527 nonprofit political organization...

It gives examples of DFA groups in Chicago, San Francisco, and Kentucky, each of which has taken a different approach.

I scanned the DFA website tonight didn't find the link. I'll be happy you look more carefully in the coming days, and to bring copies to our Meetup next week, if anyone's interested.

I am mentioning because I'm sensing that the idea that some folks think Charlie has pulled "his" organizational ideas "out of the blue", and that they somehow conflict or compete with the DFA meetups. It's important to realize why and how DFA "isn't just meetups" , and also that the Meetup is and has been a prominent and important part of DFA, and will continue as so. The meetups, among other things, are a common thread, tying all DFA groups together. On the first Wed of each Month, DFA is a united force! This is a powerful fact. The Meetup is also the "frontline" where folks come to discover DFA and enjoy being with like-minded people.

Beyond and behind the Meetup is the local DFA organization.

I THINK -- as, "in my opinion" -- that it's also important to realize that everyone need not be everywhere doing everything. I was perfectly happy to go to Meetups and get my Progressive fix, and be satisfied with that. Then I became interested in doing more. When my life turns crazy full again, and I can't do more, I'm grateful knowing that I can at least go to the Meetup. In other words, being aware ... now ... that a local "next step" DFA organization has existed doesn't demand anyone be involved, directly or otherwise. On the other hand, I suspect many have been involved in local DFA activities without even realizing it. To me, this is the wonder of DFA, bringing folks together for a purpose, be it a Meetup, an event, a campaign, an issue of concern... all contribute to the goal of taking back our country. Each helps to inspire us to keep going.

So, let's keep pluggin' -- and having fun at it!

PS. Wet noodles, no sauce? Sounds fun to me. wink
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