In an attempt to blog more nerd posts (thus fitting with my greenscreen theme), I speculate on whether Apple is finally using motion sensors to determine presence. Their iMessage in spite of being a flower in the walled garden, is the only between device messaging system I have. Although having it open or XMPP based would be cool so I could tie it to my Linux desktop, I noticed tonight when I set down my phone and picked up my laptop in a conversation, iMessage switched for the next received message on its own. Something I’ve wished for for a while.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Tracy Aviary seeks $19.6M bond for improvement. Goes to ballot.
The Leonardo seeks $10.2M bond for opening. Goes to ballot.
Salt Lake needs a new $125M Public Safety Building. Goes to ballot. Controversy erupts over Mayor Becker’s proposed location on Library Square, and it gets moved to a more appropriate location across the street.
A controversial Utah Performing Arts Center, that will demolish several historic contributing buildings on Main Street, costing over $100M, responds to no public concerns regarding location or impact to local groups, plows forward without vote. In conversations with an unnamed Salt Lake County councilperson, they admitted that the parking lot north of the Salt Palace would make a better location than Main Street. Tracy Aviary got pummeled for losing accreditation and had to work hard to convince the public $19.6M was worth it. The Leonardo got repeatedly raked over the coals for $10.2M by the City Council and the public. The Public Safety Building failed on the first ballot and had to regroup and try again before it was approved. Why is the UPAC not being treated with similar scrutiny? When I attended early meetings about the UPAC setup by the Mayor’s office, I asked why this project hadn’t been subjected to public approval, and I was given the response that it was moving forward so I better get on board.
Many arts groups who I have spoken to in private about this project are afraid to speak out against it in fear of city retribution. This kind of steamrolling and lack of public consent is disappointing for Mayor Becker who I endorsed and supported in his first election. I don’t know if UPAC is necessary or not, but the public should have a say when this kind of financial commitment is made, along with the amount of destruction required for its installation in the heart of downtown.
This is my third attempt at writing this. The prior two attempts were snarky, sarcastic and called plenty of people out for their incompetence, but after sitting on the second one for a while, I decided that nobody likes being told they’re stupid, even if they are.
My experience with the Utah Democratic party this year was humiliating, saddening, and sickening. I attempted to steer away from special-interest money and lost because of that. The Chair, Jim Debakis has not done a very good job, but now he’s done recruiting against willing Democrats and running against others, I look forward to seeing who steps up as the next chair. I held my tongue since the convention because I didn’t want to be accused of trying to hurt Democrats in their races. I sincerely hope the party goes looking for new ideas, rather than trying to appease Republican voters. Find me one Democrat who won because they wouldn’t say who they were voting for in the Presidential race, or waffled on government defining marriage.
Being fully concentrated on my business again, XMission, is challenging and exhilarating. I feel like I’ve done more this year than I’ve done since 1999. I will continue to fight against warrantless monitoring and corporate control of the Internet, as I always have. I’m working on archiving 2006/2012 as you can see from the links on the side. There are probably a lot of broken links inside, so forgive me for that. I’ll fix them as I find them.
Change is Quick but Progress is Slow
My husband Pete did not receive the nomination yesterday to run as the Democratic candidate for US Senate. Pete and I are sincerely grateful to everyone who supported his cause, and I am sorry to have disappointed those who believed in the change that Pete was trying to make. We were hopeful that the delegates would understand how essential it is to lead by example. If you want to solve the problem, you can’t be part of the problem. Pete had widespread support in Utah as well as support from around the country to get dirty money out of elections. We believed that in giving people a just cause around which to rally, we could beat the special interest candidate in November.
I won’t lie. Yesterday was a big blow. Not so much for the ego part of it; I am perfectly happy to send Pete back to work at XMission on Monday. Pete did not set out to become a politician, but ran because he could not find another candidate who supported his core values. Yesterday’s loss was not a personal loss, rather it seems like a setback for those who are committed to getting corporate money out of politics. There are good, honest people in the Democratic Party, courageous individuals who are willing to put their necks out, to be called “nutcakes.” We have to keep working, regardless of the powers that be and those that say you can’t win unless you stoop to what the other guy is doing. To me, the ends do not justify the means — ever.
The question is, what now? I don’t know if Pete will run again, but I do know that we need to continue to fight to support others who are making a difference. Today my confidence is low, and I feel that I am just spinning my wheels. I want to stop feeling that the only choice we have is “the lesser of two evils.”
I think I’ll try to raise my spirits by listing some inspirational individuals and groups who are still fighting the good fight. I invite you to fill in the comments with your inspirations:
- I am inspired by a group called Move to Amend Salt Lake, who collected 11,251 signatures for a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to clearly state that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Its success means that this citizen led initiative will be on the ballot in SLC this November. This is a credit to the everyday people who went door -to-door, store-to-store and park-to-park, to get the word out. Ashely Sanders, one of the co-coordinators inspires me in her response to the naysayers of the work, “I know the system is broken. I have no illusions about how hard it will be to fix, how many people it will require or how long it will take. I am here for only one reason: Because I believe in a beautiful, giant, unstoppable grassroots movement of everyday people. Because I used to accept that corporations control every meaningful part of my life, then [I] sat in my basement sad and paralyzed… It is tempting to believe that our system is so broken that a people’s movement is impossible, that we have been conquered. But we cannot accept that because our history is calling to us to make it real.”
- I am inspired by Paul Krueger, who recently showed what a single person can do. Mr. Krueger started a petition that, in addition to gathering nearly 35,000 signatures, it opened the discussion and called widespread attention to a problem. We don’t think that Governor Herbert would have vetoed HB363 without Mr. Kreuger’s petition and all those who joined the cause. Without their work, Utah schools would have faced sex ed not being taught in school. Mr. Krueger is a retired firefighter who now drives school buses. He said, “I’ve never done anything like this, and it’s kind of amazing how fast this took off.”
- CleanSlateNow.org is a non partisan group that supports candidates who forgo special interest money, creating an environment where people, not money, determine the outcome of elections.
- Pete still inspires me. While he will continue to champion campaign finance reform and transparency in government, he has never given up his support of the local community and his integrity in business: He will keep supporting non-profits with free Internet service regardless of whether or not he agrees with their mission, he will continue to provide political candidates with free Internet services regardless of their party. Pete will continue to serve on non-profit boards and help them solve their technology problems. Through his own non-profit organization, Electroregeneration Society, Pete will continue to take old computers and teach people how to recondition them, give those computers to people and non-profits who need them, and thus help keep e-waste out of the landfill. He will keep on contributing to his community through donating to community events, festivals, museums and other organizations that benefit us all. Pete will continue to pay 100% of his employees and their families’ health and dental benefits. He will continue to employ people in Utah instead of outsourcing to another country. Pete will continue to fight for a free Internet and individual privacy
Here is a link to Pete’s speech from yesterday’s convention. Unfortunately he was cut off before he had a chance to finish delivering it.
Full Text of My Convention Speech
As a child I had two interests, astronauts and presidents. I was so enamored of both that I asked for two kinds of birthday gifts. Model rockets and busts of Washington and Lincoln. I believed in the promise of America then, and I believe in the promise now. That the future is bright if we only reach for it. That our government does not need to be eliminated, but can work efficiently and do great things if good and ethical people are leading.
When I declared last November, I resolved to stand for what needed to be done to balance power in our country and lift the voice of the people. I promised to run a campaign that would make Democrats proud. I will not compromise Democratic values. I will not yield to those who wish to pollute our air and water, profiteer on the health of Americans, endanger our planet, and wage needless war. I will not prevaricate, equivocate, or discriminate on the problems of our day in order to appear appealing to all. I stand as a Democrat and I will speak as a Democrat and I will win as a Democrat.
Education, healthcare, defense, energy, the economy, equality. I challenge you to find one issue that isn’t poisoned by the influence of money in Washington. Because of Citizens United, our power is dwindling. I will not take PAC money now, nor will I ever. We can only fix the problem by not being part of the problem.
This year, out of 18 county conventions, I attended 16. Two were scheduled at the same time as other conventions. This year, this race, again I am proud to say I attended more county conventions than any other Democrat, because I want to meet and listen to each of you.
An organization in neighboring Colorado named CleanSlateNow.org is promoting candidates who have sworn off PAC donations. There are currently 26 candidates nationwide who are not accepting PAC money. I’m proud to say that most of them are Democrats. Today, I ask my fellow candidates to join with me in rejecting PAC money.
Now there are some who would maintain the status quo and preserve the imbalance of power. They mock the sincerity of our cause and the intelligence of the voter. There are some who would continue to subvert democracy in the name of greed. In the immortal words of Franklin Roosevelt, “I welcome their scorn.”
We need to run our races differently if we want to avoid the same result. We are facing a special-interest juggernaut this fall. Although I have proven I can raise considerable money within Utah, depending on Utah support alone is not a winning strategy. We must appeal to our countrymen in other states and give them a cause around which to rally. Nine out of ten Americans believe corporations and special interests have too much control over congress. We, in Utah, can lead by electing those who are willing to keep money from influencing our elections.
Four years ago, they said Barack Obama wasn’t electable. He won, not by tearing down his fellow candidates, Barack Obama won by giving people something to believe in.
If you elect me today, I swear to give it my all. I will work tirelessly and I will garner financial support from all 50 states instead of just one. I ask for your vote.
Democrats stand for privacy, balance, transparency, accountability and good government! Democrats stand for science, education, and healthcare for all! Democrats stand for equality, women, immigrants, working people, and all Americans! Democrats stand for democracy! Let us not shy away from our values, but stand tall together and be proud Democrats!
The words of Robert Kennedy guide me, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
Congratulations Move to Amend!
Move to Amend Salt Lake City has collected 11,251 signatures for a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment. The amendment would clearly state that corporations are not people and money is not speech. The Salt Lake City canvassers needed to collect 9,000 signatures and they collected 2,251 more than they needed. This is the first citizen resolution to collect enough signatures to make it on the ballot in Salt Lake City. Congratulations to all involved!
If you haven’t listened to This American Life’s recent episode, “Take the Money and Run for Office”, you should. Every American would be well served to take an hour and listen to what our elected spend most of their time doing in Washington. This is why I’m not taking PAC money. This is why I want public financing of federal campaigns.
County Conventions Underway, Volunteers Needed, Upcoming Debate Video Streaming
County Conventions Underway
Millard, Juab, Kane, San Pete, Cache, Weber, Iron, Wasatch, Emery, Carbon, Summit and Utah county! I’ve been enjoying getting out and about Utah again to listen to Democrats all over the state. The energy and enthusiasm is inspiring. My apologies to Washington and Grand counties, which I had to miss due to the overlapping schedules. I look forward to seeing you all again at the state convention on the 21st.
Get an Ashdown for Senate T-Shirt and help the campaign by volunteering for the Salt Lake county convention on the 14th and the state convention on the 21st. Three volunteers will be drawn at random to sit at my table with a guest at the Taylor & Mayne dinner on the 20th. Sign up to volunteer here, and be sure to check the “Events” box. We will contact you with more details.
Upcoming Debate Streaming Link
I hope to see as many of you in person at the upcoming Democratic Debate, tomorrow at Juan Diego High School in Draper. If you can’t make it, the event will be streamed live on the Internet. Go to this web page to view it.
Democratic Debate, April 11th
Wednesday, April 11, at 7:00 PM, The Women’s Democratic Club of Utah will host a debate between Democrats Pete Ashdown and Scott Howell, candidates for Utah’s U.S. Senate seat now occupied by 6-term Senator Orrin Hatch, who is seeking a 7th term. The public is welcome to attend.
Juan Diego Catholic High School
300 East 11800 South, Draper (accessible via 12300 South and 300 East)
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Debate begins promptly at 7:00 PM and concludes at or before 8:30 PM
Details regarding possible radio broadcast and Internet streaming to be announced.
This is a letter asking you for money.
This is a letter asking you for money. Although there are many things to be outraged about in our current political system, I am emailing you with the frank needs of a U.S. Senate campaign rather than manipulation of your emotions for financial gain.
The primary plank of my 2012 campaign is a constitutional amendment requiring public financing for federal campaigns. Passing a constitutional amendment is not possible through a U.S. Senate seat alone, however, it is essential to enable more diverse political candidates to viably run for office. This is the only way to return health to our government and allow it to serve its true purpose, representing the needs of all of our citizens. The influence of money in Washington has gone over the brink. Past efforts to limit, restrict and regulate campaign finances have only resulted in preserving incumbency. We need a constitutional amendment to repair our democracy and make government work again for the people.
Once publicly financed candidates are elected, their first concern would be governing to serve all Americans rather than just serving the wealthiest few. Many politicians start out with good, honest intentions, but the current system of campaign finance muddies the water by making elected officials indebted to wealthy donors and PACs. Right now, Senator Hatch has nearly eight million dollars, with only 1% of that figure raised by small dollar individual donors. I can run a winning race on much less, but since I have decided not to take PAC money or seek bundled corporate individual donations, I need 100% of my funds to come from individuals like you.
March 31st marks the last day of the first quarter of my campaign fund raising. My campaign’s viability will be judged by the number of donors showing support as well as by the amount raised. If everyone who reads this letter donates $100, I can cover my campaign staff budget. I understand that this economy has tightened belts everywhere, but if you support the ideals I am running on, I humbly ask you to financially support my campaign with as much as you are able to right now.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your past support as well as for what you are doing now. Together we can make a real difference.
All of the county Democratic conventions are on my calendar now. I am going to try and attend as many as possible. In spite of having a possible airplane ride to St. George, I think there is a distinct possibility that there isn’t enough time to do both Weber County and Washington County conventions, which start 30 minutes apart from each other. In this case, I am asking for any volunteers in Washington, Iron, and Grand counties to represent my campaign to their conventions. Please email my staff to let them know if you would be willing.
I could also use some driving help to get to some of these conventions. Also email staff if you are able. You only need a current license, I will provide the transportation and gas.
Please attend your county convention! I look forward to seeing you there!