Monday, August 27, 2007

Campaigning to candidates, Some events do have almost all Raleigh residents

I went to the Democrat-sponsored Meet and Greet Friday night. It was an interesting couple of hours, but mostly the same folks that were at the Triangle Community Coalition forum -- candidates and candidate representatives. There was a joke going around about finding someone that wasn't a candidate to talk to. But a few voters were there plus other candidates do vote. It was the place to be if you wanted to talk to a candidate -- a Democrat, one anyway. I got a history lesson or two and continued discussions with people I had met at other events. There were also candidates for the 2008 elections, which was useful for me as voter to get to talk to them. Besides. there was free food.

Saturday, I spent several hours at the Southeast Raleigh Mini-Neighborhood Exchange at Saint Augustine’s College. This is first event that I've attended for the campaign that all but one person I talked to was a Raleigh resident -- and I talked to dozens of people. Usually about a third of folks I talk to don't live in Raleigh.

The event was a collaborative effort among North Central CAC, the Southeast Raleigh Assembly and the college. I thought it was odd that there was no sign of the event on the Community Services city webpage though. Apparently, since it was listed on Southeast Raleigh Assembly webpage, the city thought that was enough. There was a lot of useful information, entertainment and rides for kids -- even free food. It's just a shame that more people weren't there enjoy it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I got mentioned in the N&O

I may have only gotten 4 votes in the straw poll at the Triangle Community Coalition's "pig picking", but I got quoted in the N&O's story on the event. Read the entire story here:

Maybe honesty is the best policy.

I did tell them a little about my background and my reason for running: to improve citizen involvement. Then I used the rest of my time to pitch one of my ideas that it would be much easier for the developers to do than for government. I think that in mixed-use projects (commercial and residential combined), the businesses should get a condo -- or a least a good deal on one -- for one of their employees to live in. That way it makes the commercial space more attractive because the business can give their employees a very valuable benefit. It also assures at that least some of the employees at the businesses are not adding to the automobile traffic problem that density can cause.

The big problem with mixed use in general is that there is no guarantee that the people living in the condos are going to be working in the development. This idea would help address that problem.

Originally I was going to tell the folks there that improved citizen participation could work in their favor too. After all they are citizens too. Then I thought about how difficult it would be for me as a regular person to get two minutes with many of the people in that room. It seemed a better use of my and their time to get one of my ideas in front of a group of people that had the power to do something with it.

Here I am on stage, looking at the back of the room so I wouldn't get too scared by the reaction to my ideas.

I really shouldn't worry. My experiences with the TCC, Chamber of Commerce, Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors, Homebuilders, and with business folks in general is that they are very nice people. They behave professionally and politely even when they disagree with you.

My biggest adventure was after the event, trying to find my way out of Brier Creek and back to Hwy 70. I never did find 70, but managed to get home on I-40 instead.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Palm Cards Are Ready!

My first tool to start really campaigning is ready for me to pick up at the printer.

I'm proud to say my printer is Grass Roots Press on Peace Street near my neighborhood and beside Raleigh landmark Finch's Restaurant. Besides wanting to support a local small business, I choose Grass Roots because they offer a wide range of 100% post consumer waste recycled paper -- and they are only union shop in the area.

I'll be using the palm card(see definition in an earlier post), featuring a photo of me and my dog Ernie, when I'm talking to people in my and surrounding neighborhoods. We've been walking through neighborhoods for 8 years now. I figure people will be more willing to open the door to someone they know has been in the neighborhood for years. I can also give several of them to my friends to give to their neighbors. The palm card also has info about me and my contact info.

With real printed promotional material in hand, I feel like a real candidate.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Milestone yesterday

For the first time since I've been going to meetings for the campaign, all 6 candidates for the 2 at-large positions were in the same room together--thanks to the Chamber of Commerce candidate breakfast. There were also Board of Education and District seat candidates there as well. Even one of the current Council Members that doesn't have opposition was there for awhile.

We were all there to listen to Chamber representatives explain how the Chamber works: committees, funding, members, services, and philosophy. The first message was: "Party politics just aren't welcome" in Chamber activities. Another message was that Chamber is focused on specific issues and to not make assumptions on Chamber positions on those issues. The Chamber position on those issues depends on the people who are involved in the committees and boards. (Who knew the Chamber was grass-roots organization!) Looking through the information provided for us, they have a group of people working on almost any issue that the community-at-large cares about: Education, Environment, Government, even Sports-- to name just a few. (See for yourself; I added a link to the Chamber website to my Links section.) With almost 3000 member organizations, they have lots of people to get involved.

For those of us running for a Raleigh office, it was especially interesting to see the 2-minute recruitment video(actually a DVD) developed by the Chamber staff person for Raleigh. We even got a copy of it.

There was a comment and questions opportunity at the end, plus after the meeting we could talk one-on-one with the rest of folks there. The one-on-one is always my favorite part. I got to give several people my page-long "introduction". I ended up going home and printing out more copies for my next meeting, with the Homebuilders.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too busy having adventures to record them

Monday, I started the day discussing ways to improve Raleigh's recycling program with a professional in the biz.

I delivered the design for my very first professionally printed campaign materials -- on 100% post-consumer stock by one of Raleigh's two union press shops.

A campaign glossary term: Palm Card-- those pieces of cardboard about a candidate that get put in your palm, unless your quick enough to avoid it. Except of course, mine which you'll want to treasure.

Then I dropped off a proof of the palm card with my biggest contributor yet. (I've just topped $500 in contributions.)

All before 10am!

Then family time with hubby and the red dog walking through the neighborhood, and reminding myself why I love living in Raleigh so much.

I spent the afternoon preparing for my first double meeting evening. Apparently you're not a real candidate unless you have more than meeting for every part of the day.

First was a pleasant hour at Wake Democratic Mens Club monthly meeting. Had I not attended one of these meetings a couple of months ago, I wouldn't be a candidate now. I got to talk to a couple of dozen people that seemed very interested in what I had to say. I also learned some things from the people I was talking with -- always one of my goals. I and the rest of the candidates at the meeting got recognized at the start of the program, just before I had to leave for my next meeting.

One of the neighborhoods near mine is doing a great job of getting together and improving their community--and often seem to be having a good time doing it. They kindly let me campaign for a few minutes at the end of the meeting and were encouraging. I told them one of my favorite ideas of the City having an umbrella non-profit Community Watch that could receive donations so every Community Watch didn't have to pay the $500 fee to the state to set up a non-profit.

I gave out lots of my cards that night. I haven't heard back from anyone though. I've got to be more assertive or find a campaign manager to help me.

Gosh that's just one day...and I've got another big day on Friday: Chamber of Commerce breakfast, then an interview with the Homebuilders!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the web at last

After hoping someone would magically appear and build me a website, I've decided to take matters into my own hands.

I'm always telling people how wonderful the Internet is and that the city should put more information on their website. I have admit, it isn't as easy for me as I'm always telling the current City Council that it should be for city employees.

So here goes: My first adventure as a candidate was a lovely afternoon of talking with folks that live in a very pleasant neighborhood just off of Trawick Road. Even though a major connector street was within view of the yard where the cookout was held, you barely noticed it. I'd probably passed by that neighborhood a hundred times on the way to Tower Shopping Center, without ever having a clue there were children growing up and couples growing old together there.

Running for Council At-large is a wonderful way to expand my horizons without ever leaving the city that I love.