Ron Klein vs. Allen West: What We’re Up Against

Congressman Klein will face one of the toughest Tea Party Republican challenges this year, so please make every effort to support him.

For background on what we’re up against, see the Broward New Times article, For Allen West, “War Hero” Is in Eye of the Beholder and the Sun Sentinel’s assessment from a few months ago Ron Klein faces tough challenge from Allen West, and this video of West addressing a Tea Party rally.

West is getting support from the likes of Sarah Palin, and from voters who think it’s a good thing that he was brought up on charges for prisoner abuse as an Army officer. We can’t afford to lose any of our good Democratic legislators, but we particularly can’t afford to lose to this guy.

To find out how you can help, contact volunteer coordiantor Anthony Morse by June 10, or 561-995-9626 or visit

Our Successful Weekend and Other Items

I just took action on an issue that I consider very important.  I have (again) asked Governor Crist to veto HB 1143 – a bill that will drastically undermine women’s privacy rights and access to reproductive healthcare.  Please call his office at (850) 488-4441 or (850) 488-7146 or send him an email at and ask him to veto HB 1143.

We had a very successful weekend of canvassing for Organizing for America in Plantation.  We knocked on over 300 doors, had mostly enthusiastic responses, collected dozens of commitments from neighbors that they will vote again this year.  Many thanks to Ralph Rickel for helping to plan and organize this event, and to canvassers Don Borim, Susan and Robert Mencia, Debra and Ron Edouard, Felicia Grey, Jessica Ryner, Kitty Gearhart, John Ziegler, Janet Thompson, and Errol Brown.

I still have maps and lists of our targeted voters (people who voted for the first time in 2008) in Plantation.  So let me know if you’d like to volunteer a few hours next weekend or the weekend after that, and I’ll set you up.

Another item:

My friend and fellow ACLU Board member Barry Butin would like to have an organizational meeting about setting up a mass protest against BP and its oil spill at a time and location to be discussed.  Barry says that “While many valuable protests, comments, and discussions are held on the internet, I believe we should be out there in droves to protest BP’s arrogance and incompetence.”  Please call or send your thoughts about organizing such an event to Barry Butin at 954-217-6916 or

Oh, the things you can do with Kendrick Meek

(Reposting from Philip Busey <> and Grassroots Patriots)

To paraphrase Dr. Seuss . . . Oh, the things you can do with Kendrick Meek as U.S. Senator! Oh, the things President Obama can do with one more solid Democratic Senate vote!

Let’s begin the New Decade doing everything we can for Congressman Meek to win the U.S. Senate. Let us help him get the petitions to be the first person in the history of Florida to qualify by petition. Kendrick will be top of the ticket on every ballot in the State of Florida. Every Democrat running in every election in Florida will need Kendrick to win too. And for Kendrick Meek to win the Senate big. We can do it.

To jump start the New Decade a number of us, including Alan Ehrlich, David Carr, GRASSROOTS PATRIOTS, and the Kendrick Meek organizers, such as Kate Nowak 718-715-6437, and Samantha Shalda 708-638-6836 are planning a neighborhood petition canvass. Please mark your calendar to join us:

Saturday, January 9, 2009, 9:30 am (walk at 10:00 am)
African-American Research Library
2650 Sistrunk Blvd. (NW 6th Street)
Fort Lauderdale, FL

The nail-biting, white-knuckle health care debate in the U.S. Senate is over. But close votes are scary. Compromises are made. We are not yet getting everything we need. Because of the nonexistent margin in the U.S. Senate, reconciliation will force the U.S. House of Representatives to go along with just about everything in the Senate plan.

A Democratic margin in future Senate votes is one reason we need Kendrick Meek in the U.S. Senate. The other reason is he’s a great guy!

Also, please donate to Kendrick Meek’s campaign:

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

Phil, 954-579-3932

Marleine Bastien for U.S. Congress

I’m writing to introduce you to Marleine Bastien, who is running for the U.S. House District 17 seat Kendrick Meek is giving up to run for Senate. Though the district is mostly in Miami-Dade, it extends into southern Broward cities such as Hollywood and Hallandale.

I am in this race as a web consultant to the campaign and am just getting to know Marleine, but for years she has been a leader of the Haitian-American community and as a progressive activist. I attended a campaign organizing meeting last week and came away very impressed by the passion of her supporters and how much they believe in her candidacy, even knowing that this is going to be a tough and very competitive race. Her friend Jack Lieberman praised her as someone who has always been there for her community at critical times when her competitors were not.

As I say, she has some very passionate supporters, but she will also need to mobilize voters at the grassroots level to compete against better financed rivals. And of course it would also help if some money would flow her way, even if in the form of small donations.

If you would like to help, please consider donating, signing up for her email list or as a volunteer at, and becoming a “fan” on her Facebook page.

For the record, as an institution does not take sides in primary contests between Democrats, and Marleine’s competitors and their supporters are welcome to post entries on this blog, events to the calendar, and so on. This website is as much of an equal opportunity tool for Democrats as I know how to make it.

Still, I’m excited to be part of this campaign. The message below is from an appeal to supporters that went out this week.

From the Desk of Marleine Bastien

My Dear Friends:

After spending the last 28 years organizing and championing issues related to affordable housing, education, employment, women’s rights, and health access, and immigration, I decided to run for U.S. Congress, District 17. Throughout the years, I’ve successfully combined strong advocacy and services to serve families and give them a voice. I developed a team of workers and provided quality services to thousands of families in the district.

Now, I’m ready to continue my services on your behalf in a much larger scale. My life has been one of service. My parents taught me to care for others and give back. I’ve been deeply engaged in the district. I know the challenges facing our constituents today.

I know that you are tired with more of the same. You need fresh ideas, new vision, and new leadership. I’m ready for the challenge.

I want to make sure that government works for you and not for the rich corporations. You deserve to have stable, gainful employment to take care of your family, send your children to college and save for your golden retirement years. Your children deserve the best education so that they can look at the future with hopeful eyes and trusted hearts and not with the dread of a bankrupt, debt ridden, and fearful nation.

I’m entering the race to change the way business is done in Washington. My priorities are to:

* Look for ways to cut government waste that bails out those who wronged us
* End wars with countries that do not threaten us
* Develop training, create new green jobs, foster economic development
* Spearhead the passage of healthcare reform
* Invest in small businesses, quality education and affordable housing
* Create comprehensive immigration reform, including passage of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) and Temporary Protected Status for Haitians
* Stomp the foreclosure debacle once and for all to help save your American dream

I will put you and your family first, always.

I understand that these are difficult times economically, socially, and politically. However, we need to look to the future and invest now so that our communities will become better later. Please consider making a personal contribution of a minimum of $20 and a maximum of $2400 to support my campaign.

Go to to make your donation today or mail your personal check to: P.O. Box 381255 Miami, Florida 33238. Organize a group of friends and encourage them to do the same and so forth. Please call (305)785-3814 to volunteer or organize for “Bastien For Congress”.


Marleine Bastien

Please contribute to Marlene Bastien for Congress. We need your help in being able to spread our message to voters throughout the 17th Congressional District.


Contributions or gifts to Bastien for Congress are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes. Federal election law requires political committees to use best efforts to report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 during an election cycle. An individual may not contribute more than a total of $2400 per election to the committee. Federal law prohibits contributions to the committee from the general treasury funds of a corporation, labor organizations or national banks (including corporate or other business entity credit cards), from any person contributing another’s funds, from a Federal government contractor, or from a foreign national who lacks permanent resident status.

Organizing for America’s Idea of “Change”

Real change in health care comes from changes in the law, not a patchwork of temporary fixes.

The Obama campaign changed its name after the election… from Obama for America to “Organizing for America.” Its intent was to continue the momentum of the campaign by getting Americans involved, but Organizing for America does not, in fact, state a specific agenda that we should be involved in.

Organizing for America is a project of the Democratic National Committee. OFA is promoting National Health Care Day of Service, and I recently attended two health care reform meetings promoted through OFA. One was hosted by Dianne Zeller, who named her group Organizing for America, Hollywood Chapter. That meeting was held on June 13th, a week after OFA had suggested that meetings be held to discuss health care reform across the country. The first such meeting I attended had been the week prior on June 6th, which was when health care reform meetings were suggested by OFA. That meeting was hosted by Sandy Davies, a chapter head in North Miami for Progressive Democrats of America. The two health care reform meetings discussed the same agenda, but both took different approaches to reforming health care.

OFA has provided an agenda for those meetings in order to plan for National Health Care Day of Service on June 27th. It suggested community service efforts like contributing to a food bank, organizing a blood drive or starting a “victory garden.” Such efforts were discussed at the Hollywood meeting, and it was suggested that a food drive could be organized in Hollywood that could also promote what the North Miami meeting had proposed: a march and rally to support single payer health care and House Bill 676- enhancing Medicare for all Americans.

Since that meeting, however, Dianne Zeller has communicated her intent to either hold her own rally on the 27th, which she then said was not feasible, or hold food and blood drives before and after the 27th. While the North Miami meeting has planned on a National Health Care Day of Service effort that specifically promotes legislation that will reform health care and is supported by Progressive Democrats of America, the Hollywood meeting’s plan is specifically along the lines of what is suggested by Organizing for America in regards to a local charity effort.

I also attended an Organizing for America Listening Tour event in Plantation last night. The agenda there was very non-specific, and did not target any specific legislation that has been proposed in Congress. Their intent was to ensure that members of the community “support the President.” While the dialogue from the two employees of OFA was akin to corporate-speak, the dialogue from much of the audience in attendance was unsurprisingly angry and more determined to see legislative change that would benefit individual Americans rather than just huge corporations. Not only was that dichotomy evident, but the OFA representatives voiced their belief that food and blood drives and similar community efforts across the country on the 27th would get huge national attention for health care reform.

Patching the immediate problems in regards to lack of food or the need for stockpiles of blood, let alone feel-good efforts like starting a garden are vital ways of building a sense of community and helping others, but they are continuous efforts that Americans can always get involved in every day. Targeting specific legislation that is on the table in Congress right now is what really leads to reforming health care for all Americans. Progressive Democrats of America’s intent to promote legislation rather than do something like a local food drive is evidenced by the North Miami’s choice to march and rally for single payer health care.

Some of us who attended the Hollywood meeting had expected that we would hold a food drive during the day on the 27th in Hollywood that could promote the march and rally for single payer health care that evening in North Miami, but Dianne Zeller is apparently resistant to that effort. I think that Dianne’s approach is emblematic of what Organizing for America is lacking in really effecting change in America.

Change doesn’t come from promoting the continuation of a patchwork of community efforts to feed the hungry and bank pints of blood and start neighborhood gardens. Change comes from legislation that involves the heft and financing of the government to solve social problems, not a patchwork of community volunteers constantly trying to fix small and immediate problems that never end.

I was extremely disappointed in last night’s OFA Listening Tour meeting. OFA has thus far organized volunteers to ask other Americans to “sign a pledge” to support the President. Pledging support does not achieve what the last Presidential campaign was able to accomplish: getting needed votes.

Until the next election, we need votes not of “support” from Americans for an ethereal agenda of “affordable insurance premiums” and “quality health care” and “expanding coverage” as promised by OFA employees last night, but votes for legislation from our Congressional representatives. Small neighborhood food and blood drives will not promote specific legislation in Congress, and real change in health care comes from changes in the law, not a patchwork of temporary fixes.

Like many people I spoke to at the Listening Tour meeting last night, Organizing for American completely failed to inspire me to do anything that will effect change in America. I’ll stick with the very specific agenda of Progressive Democrats of America. On National Health Care Day of Service, I’ll be marching and rallying with members of North Miami’s Progressive Democrats of America to show my support and encourage the support of other Americans in the community for HR-676 or similar legislation that will effect real and tangible health care reform in the United States of America.

I expect that as time goes on, we’ll have a nearby PDA chapter in Broward County, too, and members will be coordinating efforts with PDA across the country to effect real, tangible legislative change and get more progressives elected in Washington and throughout the country. Right now, in these next few weeks and on National Health Care Day of Service, we need health care reform across America, not just temporary patches in our neighborhoods.

March & Rally for Single Payer Healthcare in North Miami June 27th

Organizing for America asked Americans to gather together on June 6th to discuss health care reform.

Progressive Democrats of North Miami Dade had a productive meeting that evening in North Miami Beach, which included attendees from Broward because there is not yet a PDA chapter here.

A march and rally supporting single payer health care was planned for a couple of weeks from now. Here is the summary of the meeting and that plan:

We had a great meeting with a lot of personal stories about the inequities, absurdities and tragedies of the U.S. for-profit medical industry, and some good analysis of the underlying political and economic culture of exploitation, corruption and inhumanity that has produced this terrible mess.

More importantly, we developed a plan of action to build support in our local community for a national, not-for profit, publicly-funded healthcare system.

Our work will climax in a March and Rally for Single Payer Healthcare on Saturday June 27th in North Miami. Here is the tentative plan. Please let me know asap if you have suggestions for changes to this plan:

– We will gather in Griffing Park in North Miami at 5 p.m. (West Dixie and NE 122nd Street).
– We will march up West Dixie Highway to NE 125th Street, and then along NE 125th Street to MOCA Plaza (before NE 8th Avenue).
– At the major intersection at NE 6th Avenue, we can pause for a honk-and-wave and to distribute flyers.
– We will hold a rally in MOCA Plaza at 6 p.m. with several speakers.

Between now and then:

* We will each write to and call our elected representatives in Congress to tell them that we support HR676 and S703. We will ask Representative Meek, who has co-sponsored HR676, to take a real leadership role on this issue. We will ask Representative Wasserman Schultz and Senator Nelson to reject plans to expand the corporate for-profit medical industry and instead sign on to HR676 and S703.

* We will each spread the word through our own contact networks, by phone, e-mail and text-messaging. Our goal is to activate others to join the single payer movement and do all the things20that we are doing. We recognize that this is a “viral” movement that is taking over the country via word-of-mouth and the internet, so we will maximize these strategies.

* And we will stay in touch with each other to organize door-to-door canvassing, leafleting in public places20and other activities. If you want to do some canvassing or leafletting at a particular place and time, let the rest of us know and hopefully you won’t be out there alone – this sort of work is easier and more fun that way. We will work as a democratic group and share initiatives and ideas with each other.

Here are some online resources that should be helpful:

PDA web site:

To order FREE Healthcare not Warfare flyers (you only pay for the postage): Id=139

Physicians for a National Health Program web site (lots of good resources and info):

The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Healthcare (National Nurses Organizing Committee and California Nurses Association):

PDA board member David Swanson sends out concise and informative action alerts on healthcare and warfare issues. You can sign up at:

David’s web site currently has a link to the House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee hearing on Single Payer Healthcare at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, hopefully with a video feed when the time comes.

For further information about the Progressive Democrats of America North Miami-Dade Chapter and the July 27th March & Rally, contact:

Sandy Davies
Progressive Democrats of North Miami Dade