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This is an updated and revised version of a diary I wrote during the week. I left out some points and endorsements which are important. And I want more discussion on this as a
way of judging candidates.

And that is the question I want to discuss: What makes a good candiate? I do get excited about candidates when I find one who really seem  good. The candidates I find inspiring are not the ones who are supported by big money interests. Instead they are smart, articulate, and good on the issues. But there is one thing more that really makes a candidate kick ass. Dedication to the community. In some ways this may be the thing that can break through racial, cultural and political divides, because a candidate who proves him or herself to the community can get broad support. I want to discuss just such candidates.

Edited to inlcude some info that sardonyx points out I leave out. Awhile back at a Democracy for NYC meeting I met an unlikely DFA-type activist. He was a UAW organizer from a blue collar part of Brooklyn. He had a rather disdainful attitude to the discussion of progressive candidates and reform candidates. In his mind none of that mattered. He didn't care what a politician was labeled, what he wanted to know was what had the politician done FOR the community as a PART OF the community.

His viewpoint really struck me as being pretty important for winning elections. Politicians who prove their dedication to the community DESERVE community support and will GET community support.

The problem is that community activists are seldom the candidates who get the big bucks from big business to win elections. Instead they are usually grassroots candidates who need our help to win. They may get recognized by some grassroots organizations, but they often don't get far because they don't have the money to get their message out.

I want to introduce you to three candidates that need your help to get their message out. These people are superb candidates. Intelligent, dedicated and endorsed by many progressive organizations. And, in the spirit of trhe UAW guy, they have already proven their dedication to the community far more than most politicians ever do. Please help me elect politicians who are DEDICATED to the community. They deserve our support.

Chris Owens running for NY-11 Congressional Seat: I want to start with Chris Owens because he is also a friend of mine. This is a picture of him and his father with Howard Dean. The Owens family were early endorsers of Dean, long before most of us jumped on board. Chris Owens does come from a political family. His father is my Congressman. Chris is running to replace his father in Congress, something that I did not like at first but was quick to forgive when I realized what a kick ass candidate Chris is. Chris has also proven himself as a community-dedicated candidate. Chris Owens had a distinguished tenure on a local school board, a tenure that a friend of mine who has been a NYC community activist since the Civil Rights days of the `60's praises quite strongly. Chris is the only African-American man to have served on the Political Action Committee of NARAL-NY and is a dedicated advocate of a woman's right to choose. In recognition of this he has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood's Action Fund. Chris is also an advocate of marriage equality. Chris is an ally of the excellent Civil Rights advocate Norm Siegel (former head of the NY Civil Liberties Union and a strong civil liberties advocate in NYC). Chris has been extremely concerned with the mayor's closing of firehouses in poorer areas of Brooklyn, something which has left some areas, mostly poor areas, iadequately protected. Chris was arrested while protesting the closing of one firehouse, indicating that he is willing to put himself on the line for his community. Chris has been working to preserve the cultural heritage of Brooklyn, serving as President of the Weeksville Society, working to preserve historical sites in the Weeksville and Bed-Stuy communities in Brooklyn. Some people know my work with a Latvian synagogue and realize how important I view the maintenance of cultural heritage. Chris has also been a dedicated Democrat, founding the Paul Robeson Independent Democrats (PRIDE), serving as chair of the Kings County Democratic Coalition (KCDC), and serving as Co-Chair of the New York State Democratic Coalition (NDC). His dedication to the Democratic party and to Howard Dean is how I met him. He was active as a member of Democracy for NYC since before he declared his cadidacy and our conversations at those meetings are part of what has led to my support of him. He has been endorsed by Democracy for NYC with an amazing 96% of the endorsement vote. Jim Dean, head of DFA, will soon be coming to town to help out with a fundraiser for Chris. Chris has also been endorsed by another group that originated in the Howard Dean campaign: New Democratic Majority. NDM rarely gets involved with primary elections, but they consider Chris to be such a good candidate that they have decided to endorse in a primary. As a progressive and a dedicated community activist, I ask that you support Chris Owens.

His Democratic opponants are Yvette Clarke (links with Republicans and most likely to vote with Republicans on so-called "social issues" like marriage equality, etc, and has been a frequent liar regarding who supports her), Carl Andrews (formerly the right hand man of the head of the county's Democratic Party machine...that former head, Clarence Norman, is in jail for corruption and many are sure that Andrews will be in jail himself within 1-2 years for his connections in Norman's corruption) and David Yassky (someone else I know personally who WAS a grassroots candidate, but now is the recipient of a record amount of money, mostly from big business interests and who supports bombing Iran).

Bill Batson running for Assembly in the 57th AD: Bill Batson is a candidate whose dedication to the community is what has driven him to politics. In fact, he came to politics quite reluctantly. Like Chris Owens, I met Bill at a Democracy for NYC meeting, though in his case that was after he declared his candidacy. Those who saw my recent diary on the Latvian synagogue and why I am fighting to save it may remember that I quoted Bill. He feels that the cultural heritage of Brooklyn is being systematically destroyed by developers who have no respect for the community, and he sees this loss of heritage as a considerable threat. He says it this way: "If you take away a person's heritage, you can do anything you want to them."  I found this a very powerful statement and I admire his dedication to the community he lives in.

Bill Batson has expressed considerable concern over the suspicious fires hitting poor and minority areas of Brooklyn and believes that these fires are suspiciously benefiting developers. He called it the "Disneyfication of NYC by arson." Rather than merely complain, Bill Batson has actually organized arson patrols, modeled after Community Watch programs, to protect neighborhoods from arson fires. He has served on a local community board, focusing on both fire issues (such as the mayor's closing of critical fire houses) and on preserving neighborhoods from excessive development. He has been endorsed by the Sierra Club in recognition of his work to preserve a healthy and safe urban environment for Brooklyn residents. He has also spearheaded a movement to save cultural heritage sites in Brooklyn such as homes that had been stopping points on the Underground Railroad. Bill Batson worked with Norm Siegel at the NYCLU protecting the civil rights of New Yorkers. Recently, Bill Batson was endorsed by the Civil Service Employees Association, CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME in recognition for his work negotiating union representation for workers at Lifespire, Inc., who chose to be represented by CSEA. Bill Batson has served his community, furthering union representation, fire safety and preservation of cultural heritage sites. He, too, has been endorsed by Democracy for NYC. Bill Batson is one of the best candidates I have known.

His Democratic opponants are Freddie Hamilton (very nice grandmotherly type who is allied with the same corrupt machine as Carl Andrews) and Hakeem Jefferies (who is an ornary, hostile person who can spend 6 hours, litterally, with community members and STILL leave them uncertain where he stands on an issue).

Finally there is Eric Adams running for State Senate in the 20th SD: I met Eric Adams, a candidate for NY State Senate, at a meeting of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID), a local progressive Democratic Club. My wife had previously had some interaction with him and had considered him largely a grandstander. So she was very skeptical when he started speaking. But we both were extremely impressed with him at the CBID meeting. He was direct and addressed issues of concern to us. Eric Adams has served his community as a police officer AND an advocate for civil liberties (a rare an refreshing combination) as well as a liaison between the NYPD and the black community. In NYC there is a considerable split between the NYPD and the black community. Eric Adams is dedicated to bridging this gap. He is best known as being the NYPD Captain who is willing to criticize his police superiors on minority relations, civil rights and on their handling of terrorist warnings. Eric Adams is the head of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and an ally of the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Norman Siegel. So, in my mind, Eric Adams combines some very fine qualities--service in law enforcement, spokesperson for minority rights, and advocate of civil liberties. He also, along with Bill Batson, is concerned about the unusual number of suspicious fires hitting poor and minority areas of Brooklyn near areas coveted by developers, though he was more circumspect in his linking it to development. His style is very much that of a police captain: rather gruff and no-nonsense. Eric Adams has real dedication to the community, to law enforcement and to the rights of all Americans. He genuinely seems to be running so he can bring that dedication to the state senate. And here is another common theme among these candidates: Eric Adams, like Bill Batson and Chris Owens, has been endorsed by Democracy for NYC.

His main opposition, Musa Moore (close ally to Carl Andrews and Clarence Norman) dropped out. Elizabeth King is his remaining opponant. I am not so familiar with her. She seemed nice but out of her depth to me. Eric can DO something in Albany. Elizabeth probably can't.

I am pushing for these candidates to a national audience because they are up against strong opposition from well-financed politicians whose dedication to the community is luke warm. Bill Batson and Chris Owens in particular need help overcoming the advantage money gives to their opponants. I am blogging for these candidates partly to introduce the idea of "community candidates" and also to try and get national grassroots/netroots support for these community candidates. Please help us out if you can.

Originally posted to mole333 on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 04:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am The Community and I endorse this message! :) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sidnora, lilibolero

    Hi, all! - I met Chris several times at meet and greets when Democracy for NYC was considering endorsing him, and I've rarely been so impressed so quickly with anyone I've met, personally or politically!

    Chris hit all the right issues (I'm taking back the word "right," here, folks! - you know what I mean!) and he impressed me as a smart, personable, approachable guy with a HEART. So rare in candidates and just in PEOPLE IN GENERAL, these days!  

    So what do my other fellow Chris Fans have to say??

  •  Chris Owens (3+ / 0-)

    Everyone who has been asking the last few years, as George Bush took us to war, raised the national debt and turned much of this country over to the super rich "Where are the democrats?"  should vote for Chris Owens.  With Chris in congress we will have an active voice for progressive ideas who will not be afraid to speak up for those things the democrats have been quiet about the last few years.

  •  Yeah, and Bill kicks ass! - in the nicest of ways (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BrooklynBoy

    Met Bill briefly at a Democracy for NYC monthly mixer - okay, we have great parties! - especially when special guests like Bill Batson pop on by - and you wouldn't believe the warm and wonderful reception he got.

    Norm Siegel, a terrifically progressive guy, is supporting Bill, and if Norm is for Bill, you KNOW Bill's priorities are there for the people. - A TRUE "Community Candidate!"

  •  Eric Adams Was Quite Visible... (3+ / 0-)

    ...when he was head of the Guardians, the African-American police officers' organization.  I always thought he would make a good Police Commissioner.  I know he ran for Congress years ago (perhaps against Chris Owens' dad ?).  I think the combination of someone who made a career in law enforcement with progressive principles is an appealing combination.

    •  Talk about a real 'Community Candidate' ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Grand Poobah

      ... Eric used to walk the streets of "all 185 neighborhoods" of New York City, in all the boroughs, when Norm was running for NYC Public Advocate. I know, 'cuz I worked on Norm's campaign. I remember seeing Eric traipsing all over town on NY1, thinking, Wow, THIS is really getting to know your city, when you've walked every square inch of it ... I wished I could walk right there beside Eric ... what a great thing to do.

  •  This is MY community (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie C, Blue Waters Run Deep

    maybe that's why this diary is resonating so strongly with me. I have lived in Brooklyn all my life. In fact, I've lived within the current boundaries of NY-11 all my life. I know the pulse of this district. Chris is it. I knew him (through the Dean campaign) before he was a candidate, and I was thrilled when I heard he was planning to run. I've never before met a candidate who so perfectly embodies the essence of his/her community, its spirit, its sensibility, its goals and aspirations, as Chris Owens.

    And to those who might have qualms about electing a Representative's son: it's only nepotism if you're not qualified.

    I know I sound like I'm gushing, but I've seen a lot of candidates come and go, and worked for not a few of them, and I truly believe Chris is special.

    Not to say that Batson and Adams are chopped liver. I've seen them both speak, and I'd be proud to have all three of these guys representing me. Unfortunately, I'm not in Batson's district, but two out of three ain't bad.

    Great diary, mole. And I saw that your synagogue diary was glowingly rescued, as it deserved to be.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Send Chris Owens to Congress!

    by sidnora on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 05:10:34 PM PDT

  •  One more thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Waters Run Deep

    I think Chris, Bill and Eric would get a great reception here on Daily Kos if they chose to join up and diary their own campaign experiences.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Send Chris Owens to Congress!

    by sidnora on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 05:16:22 PM PDT

  •  These candidates deserve netroots support! (3+ / 0-)

    Do they have Act Blue pages? I'm in for contributing more than mojo!

    •  Act Blue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eddie C, Blue Waters Run Deep

      I have an Act Blue site for Chris. The other candidates do not as far as I am aware. Donations can go through their campaign sites, linked in the diary.

      Donations are critical. I know more about Chris' finances than the others. Eric Adams is doing well, I think. Chris gets many small contributions, but few large ones. So he definitely needs our help.

      •  campaign finances (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mole333, Blue Waters Run Deep

        Chris is running against an extremely well financed candidate.  Real estate developers have given  large sums of money to this campaign.  Donations are needed.  Progressives say a lot.  We can talk to each other.  It is the people with money who are likely to control this election.

      •  Act Blue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eddie C

        doesn't have fundraising pages available for state candidates in New York, but they do have a list of all candidates, with the ability to set up five links: Website, Donate, Volunteer, Events, and Blog.

        At the moment, there are no links set up for Carl Andrews (NY-SD-20), though his name is there (and the only one listed for that seat on the Democratic side). It's worse for NY-SA-57: the only candidate listed there is Roger Green, who isn't even one of the two opponents that you listed below (Hamilton and Jeffries) -- I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to get Bill Batson up their and with as many of those links as possible (heck, you have the web site listed here!).

        I realize that Act Blue would be a better resource if they did support state-level funding, but they need to set this up one state at a time, and they haven't hit New York yet. (Texas, yes; New York, not yet.)

  •  More info needed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lilibolero

    At a minimum, you should tell us what office and in which district your candidates are running for. Extra information is things like opponents, whether or not the district tends to run Democratic and if there's an incumbent.

    This is especially true for state races, where out-of-state Kossacks are unlikely to know about the legislature. You didn't tell us anything about what office Bill Batson is running for (though thanks for omitting the obligatory Shazam! joke). Do edit your diary to include/highlight office and district.

    •  D'oh! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sardonyx, Eddie C, lilibolero

      You are absolutely right! That shows how much time I have spent focused on these races. If I blog about other races I include that info. If I blog about these there is a part of me that assumes everyone knows what I am talking about.

      When I blog for Daily Gotham, everyone knows what I am talking about, and that is my main territory.

      So, Chris Owens is running for Congress in the NY-11 district. His Democratic opponants are Yvette Clarke (links with Republicans and most likely to vote with Republicans on so-called "social issues" like marriage equality, etc), Carl Andrews (formerly the right hand man of the head of the county's Democratic Party machine...that former head, Clarence Norman, is in jail for corruption and many are sure that Andrews will be in jail himself within 2 years for his connections in Norman's corruption) and David Yassky (someone else I know who WAS a grassroots candidate, but now is the recipient of a record amount of money, mostly from big business interests and who supports bombing Iran).

      Bill Batson is running for Assembly in the 57th AD. His Democratic opponants are Freddie Hamilton (very nice grandmotherly type who is allied with the same corrupt machine as Carl Andrews) and Hakeem Jefferies (who is an ornary, hostile person who can spend 6 hours, litterally, with community members and STILL leave them uncertain where he stands on an issue).

      Eric Adams is running for State Senate in the 20th SD. His main opposition, Musa Moore (close ally to Carl Andrews and Clarence Norman) dropped out. Elizabeth King is his remaining opponant. I am not so familiar with her. She seemed nice but out of her depth to me. Eric can DO something in Albany. Elizabeth probably can't.

      •  Thank you very much for this diary. (0+ / 0-)

        It is informative and very well written. The communities are where it all starts!

        I have been so caught up in the bullshit the Republicans have been putting us through on a national level that I rarely get a chance to look at the local situation.

        I am a Bronx resident and never heard of your progressive candidates.

        Thank you also for the link to Daily Gotham. I’ve used it before. Actually I am planning use a link in a diary tomorrow. But I never realized it take articles from us average guys.

        So I signed up and I’ll probably start posting. I plan on writing mostly about the police department and people’s rights.

        If I have trouble understanding the different method of posting would it be alright if I ask a few questions through your public e-mail?

        How do you think Neither Trees, Children nor History have any Rights! would fly?

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