NCDP State Executive Committee meeting in Greensboro today

Should be a big day in the Gate City, when the State Executive Committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party convenes to do whatever it does. What might that be, you ask? Well, the agenda is here, which provides some insight into the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of the party apparatus. Perhaps more important, here's a list of prepared resolutions that will be considered today, covering everything you can imagine, and then some. And finally, there are three "inside baseball" proposals, one of which would reduce the number of SEC members by half. Good luck with that.

If all goes according to plan, BlueNC's Steve Harrison will be on hand at the meeting to report on interesting developments and behind-the-scenes sentiment. If you have questions you'd like Steve to look into, just drop them into the comments below.

Lobby action:

County Party Chair meeting:

Buffalo Soldiers in the heart of America:

Getting down to business:

One of Winston-Salem's most valuable assets:

We need more troublemakers like this fella:

The NCDP Chairman embraces the blogosphere:


There are two things I'm

There are two things I'm interested in knowing: What exactly is the plan to recruit an army of candidates at every level of government over the next six months? Why isn't the party live-blogging or streaming this event so that thousands of Democrats all across the state can learn what's happening?

letting statewide Dems see these meetings

I can tell you why these meetings aren't broadcast: the NCDP doesn't want the rank and file to see how dysfunctional these meetings are.

So glad Steve is there ... so we don't have to be :)

In case anybody's wondering,

I wasn't actually typing, I just flapped my hands to make it look like I was. I'm more in the, "minutes per word" category than the other. :)

Yes the meetings are open to anyone to attend

This was one of the better meetings they've had, except for a couple of things (rooms being too small and there not being enough chairs for SEC members between the rope lines and the stage, etc.).

This meeting was very well attended, and it went off without any of the drama some were expecting.

There are things that need to be discussed openly among Dems that I know I don't want Republicans to know - like the financial stuff. Or do you really think that we should totally open our playbook to everyone?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Unless I misunderstood,

which is entirely possible, the steps to make financial information available to SEC members, that had apparently already been voted on and approved at a previous meeting, had still not been acted upon. And it appeared as if the new Executive Director wasn't even aware of this.

What gives? Is it just taking more time to accomplish, or was there some confusion about what SEC members were expecting?

The main event starts at noon

Fingers crossed that the committee members get laser focused on winning elections.

And re-building the Party?

I liked that I heard Randy Voller and other real grassroots people talking about rebuilding the party from the precincts on up.

There can't be enough talk about that.

If I were running for office to really be a public servant, I'd want to make sure that all the precincts in my district were organized with folks who were just as psyched about working for my election as they were for every other Democrat on the ballot from top to bottom.

That's something that's been missing from these meetings since early 2008. David Parker tried - but he had the 800-pound gorilla AKA the DNC Convention in Charlotte sucking the life out of his party-building efforts.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Thank you, Steve

Do you get any sense of how the rank-and-file delegates feel about Voller? (Disclaimer: I love the guy.) He's sure been getting a lot of flack about stuff that has little to do with bringing our party back.

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

Hard to tell so far

There's been one vote so far, and it didn't appear to be controversial. Only a half-dozen or so "nays". But there will likely be at least a few controversial ones, and that will help illuminate the level of opposition against him.

It's sometimes hard to tell, though. When the parliamentary procedures start flying, it's like trying to understand Russian. Or Klingon. Scratch that, I can actually understand a word here and there in those languages...

Getting set up now

I've already taken a few pics, and will drop them into the body of the diary above.

If anybody reading this is here, come back to the press table and say "Hi." I'm all alone so far...

Grrr. The Photobucket has a hole in it...

I'll stop by...

We're all here and reading. I'll stop by the table to say hello. I saw Cash back there but had to find a seat.

Special thanks to Micah Beasley

It's nice to be treated with respect (that I probably don't deserve). Good man.

Murmers and whispers

I'm hearing that the current strife in the NCDP is worrying not only NC Dems, but national ones as well. If these problems aren't solved soon, there may be two (or more) separate Democratic organizations operating in the state, with the NCDP proper being completely cut off from the bulk of the funding.

Speaking of the DNC

Randy just gave them a shout-out and asked them to stand, and I only counted 3 or 4 in the room (including Pat Cotham). Not sure if that's bad, but I can't imagine it being good.

Randy talking about negativity

Has attendees recite a pledge addressing such. I'll try to find the text somewhere.

Now talking about McCrory, and a petition with several declarations that he wants everybody to sign (1,400 have signed so far).

Talking about AFP's bus tours, and how Democrats need to hold the GOP accountable (locally and at state level) just like the Koch Brothers' puppets tried to do to us. Steve likes.

Sam speaking now

And it appears he's stirring up some trouble. The smooth acceptance of rules changes just ran into a tall bearded young man. And now said bearded young man is smiling. Therefore I must assume something good happened, because I trust this bearded young man.

What happened on this?

Did all the rules changes pass?

Not all of them

It appeared as if three of the proposed rule changes were struck from the list, and the rest were passed. I don't know the particulars, but I think it was rules 6, 7, and 8 that got chopped. These were rules that were proposed by the Executive Council in an earlier session today. I think.

As far as what the rules were, I'm trying to find out right now. Hang tight.

Hmm - many people don't trust him

Other than having Patsy Keever win as 1st VC (by a smaller margin than Nina won by in Feb), many people told me they were fed-up with some of the folks who were in charge of the divisiveness. They were ready for it to stop.

BTW - where was all the OTHER stuff that we were expecting from the folks led by the bearded young man? Seems to have fizzled out if you ask me - and many others.

Perhaps it was realizing that they were fighting a losing battle since Randy has larger and still growing majority of people behind him and the work he is doing.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

1st Vice Chair

Patsy Keever vs Gwen Wilkins. Can't we have both? :(

1st VP Vote count?

Is the counting of the ballots done yet? Debra McHenry of Wake County is tweeting about the meeting. I assume she is a member of the SEC.

Martha Brock

Results reported: 546

Results reported: 546 ballots, 3 invalid/illegal.
Keever: 306
Wilkins: 236
Abs.: 1

Thanks, Dan

Good to have another set of eyes and ears on the ground there. Much appreciated.

Voting took less time to count than in past

Better voter education meant fewer invalid ballots. Wonder who was responsible for that great voter ed sheet?

As I said earlier - the race was certain closer than it was in February.

But again - I have to say that although we do allow nominations from the floor, I continue to have a hard time respecting any last-minute candidacy such as this.

Gwen announced not long after Nina quit, and she got some solid folks (Linda Coleman and Cal Cunningham) to endorse and support her.

I was amazed that no one else had announced by Friday morning, so I posted something to FB about rumors that June Mabry was running. I talked with June Friday afternoon and found she wasn't running. But that she heard of others who had been asked and turned it down.

Seems some folks in the western part of the state (no ages mentioned) were really looking to split the vote Gwen was going to get. But when I turned in after midnight, there was no other candidate.

Then I woke up at 5 and there were all these FB posts about Patsy Keever and how she didn't have a dog in the fight. But the people who were posting did have dogs in the fight. They were some of the same people who were pushing Nina earlier this year, and surely for some of the same reasons.

I just have a hard time respecting candidates and campaigns that don't respect me enough to announce early enough to let me know perform some due-diligence on them and ask questions of the candidates and other Democrats. Do they really think that every Democrat knows every single person who has even thrown their hat in the ring for each and every public office in North Carolina?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Is anyone from NCDP staff or officers tweeting?

I find nothing online about this meeting, not even an announcement of the event on the NC Democratic Party FaceBook and Twitter pages? Why?

Thanks for your contribution, Steve.

Martha Brock

Look here....

No one but party insiders would look there

No offense, but unless it's on the social media sites, it won't get any exposure. I certainly look there first.

Martha Brock

I looked there when I was looking for the meeting agenda

and I'm definitely not a party insider. Hell, I may not even be a party outsider!

I guess that shows...

...we have a problem.

I just Googled it and happened to find it.

Yep. We do have a problem.

I know there are plenty of folks who still believe you have to be "in person" to make things happen, and they might be right about some things. But there's a whole new generation of political activists who couldn't care less about being in person. I'm not in that new generation, but I sure do subscribe to that new way of thinking.

I think our President...

...used it to his advantage quite well during both of his campaigns. Communication is the key to success...put it out in the open for all to see.

Voller says government transparency is a serious problem. Why not set the standard with party transparency?

Amen to that Rip

We should set the standard. And at the risk of sounding immodest, I would suggest the BlueNC is an example worth emulating.



NCDP Staffers were all busy making the meeting flow well

There was an announcement of the SEC meeting on the NCDP website.

Clearly things aren't working as well as they were working at the peak when Jerry was Chair. But we aren't in the same position (no majority means no transactional donations coming in) to have all those people on staff.

Randy is making a good transition from the majority party that some folks still think we are to the minority party that we became after 2010 and 2012 elections that Randy Voller had nothing to do with. It's gonna take time - and we need to give that to him. And make sure that we have staffers who are on board with the changes that need to be made.

One thing I did like hearing was Robert Dempsey's ED report - where he talked about firing all but a few of the expensive consultants. That drew applause from the crowd.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting


Sorry to be late to the party. The river was running nice and easy, and we just got back. Thanks for the coverage ... good stuff.

The Interwebs are not being cooperative

Everything I try to do takes for-fricking-ever. But I haven't fell asleep yet. :)

You're doing great.

Short is sweet.

Also, if you need my help for anything, just ask. For example, if you send photos directly to Facebook, I can grab them and pull them over here for you.

Or I could get you a good cup of coffee ... except it might be cold by the time I get there.

PS Take a picture of yourself with someone famous

so we can see how tall you are!

Dude, I just bought this camera

I don't want to break it by trying to capture my ugly mug. :)


Come on. You have to prove you're really there. For all we know, you could be an alien who has taken over Steve's body ... or maybe Lizard Lick has stolen your identity.

Okay, okay...

Look up above. I figured, "Hey, if I'm going to do this, I might as well grab the Grand Poo-Bah and drag him into it."


Great picture. Thanks!

Patsy wins

I finally met Jeanne in person, and all you right-wing-twits are wrong. She's a sweetie. :)

I feel much better...

....with Patsy as first chair...and Jeanne is one fine person. I'd hate to have her working against me...

Someone from NCDP tweeting results of some votes now.


Ask and ye shall receive!

Keever picture from the Twitter machine

Can't really tell what's happening now

I thought all the voting was over, but it appears there are still some amendments to the POO on the table? And some motions to postpone those until mid-November. Very confusing.

Voice vote too close, going to a ballot vote.

I take it there has been no big rift in the ranks?

Have been worried about that for some time now. What time is the thing expected to adjourn?

Just the usual circus :)

No mention of any human sacrifice, and no airborne vegetables.

Not sure when it's going to adjourn, but I'm getting ready to bail.

Thanks, man.

Appreciate you being there.

Aw man...

I miss all the good parties (well, most of them).

Thanks Steve, great job keeping us all informed.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

You're welcome

I'm not so sure about that "informed" thing, though. I only understood about half of what went on today, and half of that was probably just mistaken assumptions on my part. ;)

That's exactly the way I experienced it ....

... when I was an SEC delegate!

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

So it's not just me?

Thank God. I was beginning to think I was more of an idiot than I already thought I was. ;)

My 2 cents. More like 10 cents.

I was there for the whole meeting as well and the whole drive back home I've been debating if I should publicly say something about my experience
Let me first say that I'm sure Randy Voller is a nice guy. I've never met him really, but I'm sure his heart is in the right place.
I'm saying that because I'm now going to tell you i think he's just the wrong guy for the job.
I've been to a lot of SEC meetings in the past and I usually left there at least a bit re-energized and inspired. Not so this time.
It might sound cruel (sorry) but to me Chairman Voller has as much charisma as a wet mop.
If you have to start a meeting with about 15 minutes of begging people to like you, e.g. making them repeat some "unify" chant, I think you've already lost.
I remember thinking the whole meeting that Voller just hated being there. He didn't really have control over the meeting and/or had no clue what to do. At one point he said "everyone can just pick a color" when it was time to fill out a paper ballot. I think most people know everyone needs to use the same color ballot, otherwise everyone could fill out multiple ballots and sway the vote.
The financial report they presented also didn't look exactly great. Chairman Voller said a few times that some checks were coming later and that several sponsors had not donated for the JJ dinner but that they were going to sponsor the Western Gala later in the year, but it seems to me the party will have to go on a strict diet, especially now we've lost hundreds of thousands in "tax check-off money".
To me the Chair of the Party needs to be able to do 2 things: rally and inspire the troops and raising money. Randy Voller is bad at both.
The good news is that I think the NCDP is still filled with a lot of talent, a lot of Young Dems and also a lot of great women.
I was a lot more inspired by the 5 minute speech of our new first vice-chair (Patsy Keever) than by the hours Mr. Voller spent at the podium. Maybe we can have her be the Chair? It's about time a woman takes the reigns, especially if you see what the General Assembly is doing to women in NC.
Sorry if I sound really negative, maybe it has something to do with the nasty weather this weekend, but I don't think i was the only one at today's meeting with these same impressions.
You may now start attacking me.


...for a very nice wrap up of the meeting and although I and a lot of other good Democrats weren't there we share the same sentiments about our party's current situation.

If I were going to attack you ...

If I were going to attack you, it would only be for assuming that people reading this are interested in arguing with you rather than appreciating your point of view. We need to listen to each other respectfully, and the people on BlueNC usually do just that.

Personally I've found Randy Voller to be very inspiring, and I can introduce you to others who feel the same way. (I haven't seen him run an SEC, so I can't evaluate your reaction.)

Even if Voller didn't inspire me, that would be no excuse for sitting on my hands: this is my party and my country and I'm not waiting for anyone to inspire me. I have to work within the constraints I'm presented with (political parties, voter suppression, top-down-media, etc.). I have no choice.

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

The SEC is supposed to be a business meeting, not a revival

That's what conventions are for. Randy Voller's job was to give an account of where we are as a Party and lay out our strategy going forward. IMO, if we are not inspired to action by the destruction wrought by the current Legislature, there is no hope left for the Democratic Party.

What bothered me more than any lack of "charisma" was the laziness of the SEC to do the work necessary to get the Plan of Organization amended and approved. The long and hard work of all the good Democrats who spent three years traveling to meetings and conducting listening tours on their OWN DIME was summarily dismissed as SEC members just kicked the can down the road once again instead of buckling down and do some heavy lifting. Good luck to that new committee. The stars are not in your favor. And I can tell you from experience, a technical writer will not make up for failing as an organization to function as such.

And this was not necessary if SEC members had taken this seriously rather than the rumor mills. The POO has been on the NCDP website since January 1 and the amendments since May. Our county's SEC members met for over two hours the weekend before the SEC meeting to discuss the changes, so that we would be prepared going into the discussion. We did this because we consider it our duty as SEC delegates to move our Party forward, not take the easy way out.

So yes, some parts did not inspire me either.

Resistance is Fertile

Talking PoO as Democracy and Earth burn

The burden of leadership wore heavy on me today. Susan Campbell and I talked of this at dinner in the lovely restaurant on site at the NC Democratic Party State Executive Committee meeting in Greensboro at the Kourey Convention Center. Week before last I was in Chicago at the McCormick convention center with the honorable Al Gore as a mentor for The Climate Reality Project, his training arm of presenters that talk to anyone and everyone about the existential crisis we as a species are living through as our planet's climate changes to wreck havoc on an unsuspecting populous. I pray the Lord's Prayer under my breath almost ceaselessly these days. I add a bit of a twist though that I hope you will allow me, it is my breath and prayer. I pray, "Our Father who art in the heavens, our Mother who art the Earth...." All the rest is the same. "Thy will be done..." "Forgive us our trespasses..." But to me that means, forgive me and us for our greed. We all have oil on our hands. We all have participated in the planet's demise.

But locally, Monday before last, I was at the King Library where Clean Water North Carolina spoke about the Mining and Energy Commission and their clout. Just so you know, the oil and gas industry are running our country.

Fortunately efforts to speed up fracking were stopped that week:
NC Senate Bill 76 would have lifted the moratorium on fracking, but was revised by the House to keep the promises made just last year in Senate NC Bill820 to allow the Mining and Energy Commission to do rulemaking before issuing permits. And when similar language like that which was in the original SB76 was inserted into an entirely unrelated bill, the House declined to take the bill up.
This was a big win.

Anyhoo, the GOP is a puppet of the oil and gas industry if you have not figured that out. They use the Tea Party base to focus on social issues to keep us all riled up and fearful. The GOP throw the right-wing Tea Party some red meat every now and then. But all the while, they are fleecing us and buying up our local government which tow the line right along as good sheep via a program called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a 501 American organization composed of legislators, businesses and foundations which produces model policies for state legislatures and promotes free-markets. Free-markets that let them frack our land and pollute our water and air without having to obey the EPA's clean air and water act. The oil and gas industry simply rewrote the law for their own purposes headed by Halliburton and Dick Cheney back in 2005. Our own representative Bryan Holloway is a member on the Education Committee and appropriations committee. He is responsible for this latest draconian anti-education budget. ALEC is behind ALL of the shenanigans in the general assembly. The GOP is a puppet of this organization and it is funded by the oil and gas industry. They even bought off the supreme court and Clarence Thomas and won the unprecedented Citizen's United case where they can give unlimited money to their candidates. The oil and gas industry has a bottomless pit of money. If we are to stand a chance of getting our democracy back, we must overturn this case and get the unlimited money out of politics. "ALEC is the creation of the Koch brothers who amassed their fortunes in oil. The goal of ALEC is to influence legislators across the nation." All of this is documented in the not so gently named movie, Greedy Lying Bastards, which I highly recommend.

So my point is ENERGY is ground zero for Stokes County's JOBS, EDUCATION and EQUAL RIGHTS. Get ALEC and the GOP out of office, reverse Citizen's United ruling with unlimited money in politics (being challenged now) and we solve a lot of issues! Whew, glad that was so easy, huh? Just kidding. We have much work to do!

Here is my Stokes County August eNews with some of the same info as above but more to my point, let's focus on the BIG stuff and rally our troops. The time for leadership has never been more important. I loved the reference this evening to the battle of the bulge and Sanford's imposing demeanor henceforth afterwards back in our state as he led. It is time for each of us to step into our higher selves and lead or get out of the way of those that are trying. Stop focusing on that speck of dirt on the carpet and get a bull dozier going to move these mountains. Forward together!

I was at the meeting, and

I was at the meeting, and besides the usual discussions on the arcane, parliamentary rules, felt it went pretty well. We were able to make and renew connections with Dems from other parts of the state, and that will help us all in the elections to come.

Some of my observations.

Some of the old party regulars don't like Randy and it seems to be because he is not what I call a Country Club Democrat. He does not hang around with the monied Democrats of the state. That, however, is no reason to denigrate his leadership. He did a very good job as Chatham county chair. He brought in both the money and the votes. What other Dem leader was that successful in our state? No one. That cannot be transferred to the state level overnight and it is perfectly alright to allow some time for his efforts to take affect. As to his business difficulties, they put him in an ideal position to relate to the working people of North Carolina. He has personally felt their pain. And he should tell them so.

With all the hoopla, I am unclear as to what NC expects from its party leader. He is not a candidate. Should he be barnstorming the state, giving rousing speeches? I have the clear impression work is going on to build networks in counties that need support. He seems to have visited more local party groups all across the state in only eight months than I heard of previous leadership doing. He does reach out to membership and is available to them.

I grew uncomfortable with efforts to remove him. Especially after watching our NCGA, unhappy with the Wake School Board Elections, seek to get their way by means of redrawing districts and mandating new elections---they can't get what they want by playing by the rules so they try to change the rules to get what they want. Very Un-American. Very unfair. Dems cannot sink to that level and try to undo a valid election just because some don't like the winner. And the last time I looked at the 'petition' to have a vote of confidence in Randy's leadership it had only 25 signatures. It is time to move on.

We have local elections this fall. Money may be tight but it will start rolling in next winter as we all start thinking more about the state and national elections of 2014. Yes, it will.

I was glad to see Steve, with his fingers flying over the keyboard, there is the press section! Sorry I could not stop to chat!