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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sound Off: Open Letter to State Dem Party Chair

This letter is from Guy Watson, Democratic Precinct Chair and Pre-Primary Convention Delegate. He sent it directly to Mr. Wertheim and others as well.

To: John V. Wertheim, Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman.

I am a Democratic Precinct Chairperson and was a delegate to today's Democratic Party of New Mexico Pre-Primary Nominating Convention.  During the discussion on the NM Democratic Party Platform you used a parliamentary maneuver to first table a delegate's amendment to the platform and then, when the Chair of the Platform committee refused to cut off the discussion you asked another  member of the Platform Committee to go to the mike and call for the vote on the main motion, a non debatable motion. This action assured there would be no discussion of the tabled amendment.You then called for a vote of the delegates to accept the platform thus killing the tabled amendment.  The amendment presented by Mr. Riley was a request to substitute the more specific and shorter wording of the twice passed Resolutions for the poorly worded and vague misstatement of the document arrived at during the Platform Committee's March meeting. Your maneuver effectively cut out an open  discussion of interest to at least half of the delegates.

I was an observer and participant in the March Platform Meeting. The wording agreed upon at that meeting is not the wording or the content that was today made the Platform of the NM Democratic Party. Following the Platform meeting in early March you or a member of the Platform committee rewrote the platform into an almost apologetic statement of vague "memories" of the original intent of the Resolutions voted on and approved in April 2005 and November 2005. As soon as you tabled the amendment delegates sitting around me made numerous disparaging comments to the effect that you can be counted on to shove through your view over the views of the rank and file Democrats.

I am angry that you refused to allow a vote on the amendment. I'm embarrassed that you reinforced a belief that the grass roots work by volunteers in the party is less important than the agenda of the State Central Committee's Chairperson. I was given a sticker to wear during the convention that said "You Matter". Observing your control over the Platform discussion today convinces me that the sticker is wishful thinking.

Guy Watson, Ed.D, Albuquerque, NM
Email: [email protected]

Editor's Note: An earlier blog post covered problems with other aspects of the Party's platform process. Sound Off is an occasional feature on DFNM. If you'd like to submit a post for this series, please email me by clicking on the link in the upper left-hand side of this page. We encourage your participation.

March 19, 2006 at 03:45 PM in Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink

Comments

Thank You Mr. Guy Watson for standing up for Democracy and your letter to Richardson's Drummer Boy.

During the 2004 State Convention, Richardson's Party Chair (John V. Wertheim) did the same to me by taking the Microphone away from me during my speech to the State Delegates. I was Censored by the Party Chair because I called Richardson and his Staff Liars for getting involved in the 1st Congressional Race when they promised to stay out of the Race. At the State Convention Richardson passed out a one page Letter to all Delegates advising them that he wanted his Boy Richard Romero to Represent the Democratic Party in the 2004 General Election and the delegates responded to his wish. Even with Richardson's support Romero lost to Wilson leaving Dr. Nelson and myself out to dry. The Democratic Party of New Mexico does not belong to the Membership or to the People anymore it belongs to Richardson and his chosen few. I will continue to speak out from the outside and hopefully the Democratic Party Membership will take over the Party and become the Party of the People again. Eli Chavez, Independent

Posted by: Eli Chavez, Albuquerque, New Mexico | Mar 20, 2006 9:28:29 AM

I thought the purpose of following Roberts' Rules to protect the rights of the minority to participate. Instead, it's clear that our Party Chair is using them to cut off participation or to limit it to those whom he "approves" of. Nasty stuff.

Posted by: Old Dem | Mar 20, 2006 11:00:04 AM

I now fully understand what Eli chavez is talking about. As a supporter of Dr. Nelson in the last election I saw what happened. The actions at the State Central Committee last November and again this Saturday brought it to my doorstep.

The issues at hand seem very important one. By some form of manipulation the proposed platform for the state democratic party of NM went from 43 resolutions to only 13. It went from one page to 7 pages. Take a moment and think about this. Successful elections give credit to successful grassroots campaigns, door to door campaigning. How many homes can you visit on a good day. Let's just round this out to 100. You are going to carry 100 copies of the state party platform? Think about this, that is 700 pages! I personally like only carrying 100, if I have the choice.

If 13 issues are disscussed in 7 pages then they much be long and detailed. That might even be helpful except that if you look at that document yourself you will see that they are merely double speak. There is nothing clear in that document, sort of what the republicans say about democrats anyway.

The resolutions that were voted on and passed at the April 2005 and November 2006 State Central Committee meetings are very concise. They also fit onto one page if printed on both sides. People will be much more likely to read a simple crisp statement AND UNDERSTAND IT than to even consider reading a 7 page document.

There is another very important point to consider. Why do we have the right to tell the people and the county parties that proposed the resolutions, resolutions that followed proper procedure all of the way, that their issues and opinions are not of interest to the democratic party? Will YOU walk your neighborhood if your issues are nowhere in the party platform? If 13 of 43 are all that is left?

The leadership of the democratic party of NM is ensuring that the voice of the people is kept from attention, kept silent. Disenfranchisement at its best!

Why bother? Why vote?

Terry Riley

Posted by: Terry Riley | Mar 20, 2006 11:06:09 AM

I was a delegate and I was shocked how things were run. Is this how the Chair runs other meetings too? If so we're in trouble. I'm new to this and the whole thing was confusing and you couldn't hear where I was sitting.

Posted by: delegate too | Mar 20, 2006 12:00:14 PM

I was a new delegate too and I was amazed at how things were run. It looked more like the republican party than ours. They practically yelled at that guy who was offering a motion on weapons in space. I guess party "leaders" WANT weapons in space huh?

Posted by: Robert | Mar 20, 2006 1:19:32 PM

Why are they so scared to allow people to take part?

Posted by: Silver City Jan | Mar 20, 2006 2:42:42 PM

I'd like to see some these "leaders" go knock on doors and see if this platform would convince people to come out and vote. Either we stand up for our values or we cower.

This is the same fight that is going on between DLC type Dems and their "strategists" and Dems like Feingold, Conyers and Boxer who are willing to lead and fight for what is right.

Having lost the whole Congress and two presidential races you'd think the advice of the "strategists" would be thrown out, but no.

Posted by: Nmexdem | Mar 20, 2006 2:47:57 PM

It is a sad day for the voice of democracy in the dem party.

I was there and I was so excited that we were moving the resolutions duly passed into the platform. Then it was like having a punch in the stomach, when the question was called. And especially the individual who called the question...he had had his turn at the mic to the tune of four motions to be added to the platform. Then he had the nerve to shut everyone else down.

I have pity for the people on the left side of the room from the stage. They did not get called on but once. A true way to conduct would have been from right to center to left, calling on each line of people waiting to have their voice heard. The chair claimed he could not see the people on the left due to the light blinding him. True as that may be...the line at that mic was about 6 or 8 people long. One would think to be fair he would let some of these people contribute.

There is nothing fair in politics is what i am learning.

Posted by: mary ellen | Mar 20, 2006 3:33:24 PM

Why did he let Marshall introduce four resolutions that were not passed at the lower levels while stopping that other guy who tried to make the motion about weapons in space? He told that guy he couldn't introduce it because it hadn't traveled up the chain yet he let Marshall do it. Hmmmm.

Posted by: QT | Mar 20, 2006 4:39:06 PM

So, when is Wertheim up for reelection?

Posted by: John | Mar 20, 2006 5:15:34 PM

Not for another year, unfortunately. At other times when confronted he has said he would be glad to step aside, but lo and behold, we don't have anyone to replace him. But we do.

Posted by: barb | Mar 20, 2006 5:43:01 PM

So what needs to be done over the next year to ensure that the current leadership, which is so preposterously unresponsive to its membership, is replaced by those who are both good leaders and good listeners?

Posted by: John | Mar 20, 2006 7:42:34 PM

Nothing is more important than to produce a simple, direct, workable platform. This has to be done well before the next election. So-what are we going to do about it? I suggest that we come to the next meeetup with a plan for making sure that the platform that was rammed through on Saturday gets revised. Step #1 is for everyone to understand the process of how we ended up with this mess before it can be changed. Then let's figure out how to change it.

Posted by: :Jeanne Carritt | Mar 20, 2006 10:25:30 PM

Thank goodness we managed to pass some floor amendments to the platform. At least we go through that one about impeaching Bush, and the one about banning torture. Two of the most important issues in today's political discourse.

Posted by: Bernalillo Delegate | Mar 21, 2006 9:56:20 AM

What are they so afraid of that they work against people who are working hard to make the party better? I don't get it. We need all the help we can get.

Posted by: L. Archuleta | Mar 21, 2006 6:36:31 PM