More effective leadership for all-volunteer groups

If your Democratic club is coming up on an election of officers, here are a few things to think about. Like a lot of all-volunteer organizations, Democratic clubs can be sadly dysfunctional. Leadership is too easily captured by the loudest or pushiest person around. Self-important individuals suck all the energy out of the organization, demanding attention for themselves rather than the bigger mission of winning elections and building a stronger party and a stronger nation.

If you have not seen these forces at work in the organizations you participate in, you have been fortunate — and ought to be vigilant to keep them from creeping in.

Even if you haven’t seen negative patterns in play, motivating volunteers to do actual productive work can be challenging. It’s not like, an employer-employee relationship where the person who fails to do the work risks losing a source of income. A volunteer’s pay is $0 either way. Instead, you must dispense other sorts of rewards such as recognition and engage people with camaraderie.

I went looking for a few resources on better management of all-volunteer organizations, and here is what I came up with. None of these are specifically directed at political groups, but the principles could apply to any volunteer organization.

Senator Nan Rich to speak at Unity Dinner

Just wanted to let everyone know that, in addition to our keynote speaker MSNBC talk-show host Ed Schultz, we will also hear from Senator Nan Rich, candidate for governor.  We need everyone’s participation for the Unity Dinner.  If you haven’t received all the information, please call Tammy at DEC headquarter, 954-423-2200.  Thank you for your support of the Broward Democratic Party.  Maggie Davidson, Broward State Committeewoman

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Gov. Rick Scott’s (Lack Of) Jobs Record

The Miami Herald has published a series of stories and columns fact checking Gov. Rick Scott’s claims as a job creator. He and his allies turn out to be much better at creating tax breaks than creating jobs. Anything that’s gone right with Florida’s economy appears to have started been the result of national trends, or companies that have done something right independent of anything coming out of Tallahassee.

Many promises, few jobs
Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM
OUR OPINION: Governor’s job-creation pledge falls short of the mark

Rick Scott’s job boast not supported by the real numbers
Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM
Good news! The economy is improving.

Gov. Rick Scott’s ‘jobs, jobs jobs’ is just talk, talk, talk
Monday, December 9, 2013 at 6:57 PM
Rick Scott talks jobs, jobs, jobs for Florida. But Nicolás Maduro delivers.

Gov. Rick Scott’s 700,000 jobs plan appears out of reach
Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:27 PM
PolitiFact Florida: Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to add 700,000 new jobs in Florida faces very long odds.

Gov. Rick Scott’s ‘lost’ jobs
Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM
The untold chapter in Gov. Rick Scott’s jobs story: the thousands of lost jobs in every sector and region of the state.

Case study: A jobs promise that faded
Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Two years after the Colt Manufacturing Company promised to bring 63 jobs to the state, the jobs are still not here. Taxpayers are so far on the hook for about $550,000.

Gov. Rick Scott boasts about creating new jobs, but the numbers tell a far different story
Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Gov. Rick Scott campaigned in 2010 on a promise to create 700,000 jobs, but the jobs he can most directly deliver are slowest to arrive

Being a Democrat and being REALLY inclusive

In working with Clubs and other organizations and movements involved with the Broward County Democratic Party, I have heard from time to time comments that a particular candidate or politician was not a “real” Democrat. I have always found such an attitude to be puzzling, since there is no widely-accepted standard definition for what is a “real” Democrat. I have personally found that many different causes animate our base. Some are passionate about the environment, some about freedom of choice for women, other are passionate supporters of same-sex marriage. My belief is that there are many types of Democrats, and I do not believe (nor would I support) an ideological purity test for what would be a “real” Democrat.

In addition, it is also puzzling that some Democrats who see themselves as possessing totally inclusive attitudes draw the line when it comes to political moderates that have moved from the Republican Party to our Party. It is flattering that quite a few former Republicans have evolved and have moved closer to political positions espoused by many Democrats, and in the process have formally become registered Democrats. We need to keep in mind that evolving views are also common in the Democratic party – witness Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and Hillary Clinton, who finally agreed to support same-sex marriage this past summer (when it was politically safe for her to do so).

Gaining the support of former Republicans is good politics, especially when considering an upcoming statewide election and an electorate that is substantially different from that of Broward County. Many former Republicans have left because of the relentless drive rightward of the Republican Party, which has been happening for years now and most recently has been exemplified by the rise of the Tea Party’s attempts to “purify” Republican Party organizations. We should welcome these Republican exiles wholeheartedly and not impose purity tests of our own.

When the time comes, I intend to vote in the Democratic primary for the candidate that at that time I believe strikes the most fear in the heart of the Florida Republican Party and has the best potential of defeating Rick Scott.

Demand Respect for Nan Rich for Governor vs. Charlie Crist

With Charlie Crist about to end the worst-kept secret in Florida politics and officially announce he’s running for governor as a Democrat, it’s important for the supporters of former State Senator Nan Rich to speak out. She has been running hard for months without getting much respect from either the party brass or the media. Re: the media, see Joanne Sterner’s plea below.

If you believe as I do that hard work and principled leadership are the most important thing, Nan Rich deserves your support. She is an articulate advocate for Democratic principles and brings none of the baggage that Crist would related to his frequently-changing stands on every issue.

Don’t get me wrong, BlueBroward is available as a promotional platform to Crist and his supporters, despite my editorializing (see site policy). If Crist is the ultimate nominee, I won’t hesitate to vote for him over Rick Scott. Crist undoubtedly wins on name recognition, but I resent the assumption that the nomination is his for the taking because he was willing to change parties. Choosing Nan Rich will take more courage, and she needs all who support her to speak up now. Learn more at

From: Joanne Sterner []
Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2013 3:07 PM
To: Joanne Sterner
Subject: re: Chris Matthews interview with Charlie Crist Monday night


Chris Matthews of MSNBC has an e-mail address of:

Chris Matthews announced on Friday he is excited to have an interview with Charlie Crist Monday night after he announces..  I don’t believe he has ever reached out to Nan Rich who has been running and the only real Democrat in the race.  We need to let him know were’re not happy about this.

Send this email to all Nan’s Fans to write MSNBC about interviewing Nan Rich.



For background, video from a couple of months ago of Nan Rich discussing how she compares with Crist.

Obama’s Syria Decision: Advice and Consent

Recommended reading on the potential military strike on Syria: A Very Wise Decision by Obama – James Fallows – The Atlantic.

Fallows had been arguing that it was in Obama’s best interest to seek a vote in Congress, but like the rest of us had been resigned to the fact that it probably wasn’t going to happen, since Presidents of both parties tend to fall in the pattern of wanting to preserve their right to take military action unilaterally. Some of the analysis this morning emphasizes the potential embarrassment Obama could suffer if his request for military authorization fails. Fallows emphasizes the extent to which many of those in Congress calling for a vote were hoping he would ignore them so “they could complain about his arrogant imperial overreach now, plus themselves avoid taking what can only be a difficult vote.

I haven’t figured out the right thing for the country to do in this horrible situation. There is something perverse about making distinctions about good ways to kill people and bad ways to kill people (drones and cruise missiles: good; chemical weapons: bad). And yet if the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons were to become routine, we would condemn those who had failed to stop it from happening.

Either way, waiting another week to do a national gut check on whether the U.S. is willing to take this action won’t hurt. Our military will not lose the “element of surprise” — for that, the action would have had to come a week or more ago — and acting precipitously would not have been wise.

One dog and two kids

Remember when Rick Scott latched onto a dog as a campaign prop in 2010, in an effort to prove his humanity?

And, how we laughed when Rick Scott so quickly dumped the dog after the election?

Reagan, the now famous dog that once belonged to Gov. Rick Scott, was banished from the Governor’s Mansion after biting an employee who moved his water bowl.

“The governor and first lady love dogs, and they had to make a hard decision when it was clear that Reagan was very anxious around lots of different people,” Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said.

The dog bite occurred while the governor was in Orlando on Jan. 7, 2011, just three days after Scott took office, according to an incident report released by Scott’s office late last week. Mansion grounds employee Jennifer Kinsey was arranging flowers in the mansion when Reagan bit her on the right hand, according to the incident report made by her supervisor for the Department of Management Services. The report noted that the injury was not serious and required no medical treatment.

Scott introduced the yellow Labrador to Facebook readers on Sept. 7, 2010, shortly after he won the Republican nomination and before his election in November 2010. Facebook friends chose the name Reagan from a list of three choices suggested by the campaign and applauded the candidate’s decision to adopt a rescue dog.

After the bite report, Sellers said, Scott flew Reagan back to Naples on his private jet and returned the dog to All Pets Grooming and Boarding, a Collier County groomer.

Does it make you wonder about Charlie Crist’s wife’s kids, the ones he latched onto before his senate race in 2010, as proof of something or other?

The ex-husband of former Florida first lady Carole Crist has been granted full custody of their two daughters, after alleging that she abandoned them and hasn’t returned messages in nearly two years.

“She’s completely abandoned them,” Todd Rome said of his former wife of 14 years in a brief telephone interview Friday.

He said Mrs. Crist, married for four years to former Gov. Charlie Crist, has not seen or spoken to her 14- and 16-year-old daughters since June 8, 2011, and that even simple tasks like getting her signature on documents have become a challenge.

Mrs. Crist and ex-husband Rome had joint custody until Feb. 1 when a family court judge in New York granted him temporary full custody. Rome said he may seek full custody permanently. . . .

Reached by phone as he was driving with his daughters, Rome said he has no explanation for why Mrs. Crist, 43, cut off contact with his daughters. He then passed the phone to his wife of four-plus years, Vanessa Rome.

“Anything that needs a co-parent signature becomes a complete ordeal, because she doesn’t answer,” Mrs. Rome said of Mrs. Crist. Mrs. Crist used to visit her daughters every other weekend in New York City.

Mrs. Rome said Mrs. Crist had no patience for the girls any time they complained about something.

“She doesn’t like to discuss anything or be called out, so if they say anything that rocks the boat she’ll say, ‘Okay, bye. I have to go,’ and hang up.”

The former governor has in the past spoken warmly of his stepdaughters — he called them “our children” in 2009 — but Mrs. Rome said “he wanted no part of them.” When in Florida during 2010, the girls constantly found themselves bored at political fundraising events with no one to talk to. Mr. Crist, she said, also had no tolerance for any hint of unpleasant teen behavior.

“He would say, ‘I’m not coming to dinner with you with that attitude,’ ” she said. “Often they were left alone in the hotel room to order room service.”

Which do you think plays worse with the public – – returning a dog you no longer have any use for?  Or, returning two kids?

Charlie Crist and marriage equality

In 2006, Florida’s Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist signed a petition to enshrine a ban on gay marriage in Florida’s state constitution.

Thereafter, Florida’s Republican Governor Charlie Crist, as head of the state Republican Party, “helped fund [the campaign for a state] gay-marriage ban.”

“And,  he boasted about voting for it.  “I voted for it,” Crist told the Tampa Bay Times outside the polling place at the time. “It’s what I believe in.”

On 8/29/10, during his 2010 run for the U.S. Senate, self described “Reagan Republican” turned “Jeb Bush Republican” turned “Independent Conservative” Charlie Crist told CNN that he backed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Within one day, Crist clarified “that the governor just meant an amendment to the Florida constitution.”

Now a Democrat, Crist “regrets signing a petition in 2006 calling for a gay marriage ban in the state constitution.”

Okay – – now Crist regrets signing the petition.  But, does he regret supporting the campaign?  funding the campaign?  voting to amend the constitution?  In fact, does he still support Florida’s ban on gay marriage?   

I guess it depends.