Letter to the Editor ...

Here's an interesting idea. The letter may have an effect ...
"And if you wish to submit it as a Letter to the Editor, it would be appreciated. Even if they do not print it, it helps the Editorial Board gauge community support."

Guns, Kids and Murder

Now that we have had several days without a school shooting maybe we can focus on reducing these occurrences. Clearly, having armed good guys in schools may reduce the damage, but not prevent it entirely. Clearly, having all gun sales subject to background checks may stop a few unqualified persons from purchasing a gun legally. But when kids steal unlocked guns from their parents (prosecute such parent as well as the kids) or get them illegally, this is only a partial remedy.

In my opinion, until all of us face up to the reality of many forms of violence in our communities, we are not going after the root causes that include mental and emotional stress. Police (aka School Resource Officers) cost money, but so do nurses and social workers serving schools, who are trained to notice signs of stress that lead to violence. Police are helpful after things go bad; nurses and social workers may help before things go bad.
    Another step toward gun safety is to enforce NC law that requires locking of weapons. When some adults are convicted and punished for failing to lock their guns, the word will get around and unlocked weapons will become fewer.

Both programs cost money. The policy issue is, which is likely to have the better results across schools, districts, states and the nation. Now is the time to bring forward whatever facts we can find to evaluate alternatives. Now is not the time for knee-jerk spending based on headlines.


Conversations across the fence

How do we talk with people we disagree with?

  1. Share food 
  2. Create a good mindset (moments of silence or reflection)
  3. Find something (not the meeting focus) to agree about
  4. Deal with values before projects and tasks
  5. Non-violent communication
  6. Sociocracy (discussion process)
1. Share some food; a snack, a beverage. Food brings people together over a common need and pleasure. It feels good!

2. General Mindset for a fruitful meeting, something with which a meeting might be opened in order to get the most useful discussion, very short, few words, a refocus from the world we just came from.

3. When viewpoints differ, find something, anything you agree upon ["It's raining and we need some rain for the garden."]. It should be something different from whatever we disgree about. This is a psychological starting point. If I put forward something we agree about, you are more likely to put forward another something we can agree about. Result: little steps that reduce tension, build trust and lead to ways in which we can see the disputed issue in different ways


4. Deal with values first. Do you share a value for a neighborhood, for a school. for your city, or parks, etc. What are those values? Do you have the same definitions of those values. Explore values for ones you share as fully as possible.

Only then move on to policies or programs or projects.

How do we talk and present ideas to a group with varied interests and concerns?
Example: a Raleigh Community Advisory Council meeting on 21 May 2018. The big issue was a project that would change the road system around Glenwood Avenue and Ridge Road -- just at the east end of the Crabtree Valley Shopping and Office area.

Feelings ran strong. Different persons had different sets of facts in mind and different opinions on what was good or bad as outcomes. The process for sharing facts and opinions was a bit disorganized. Motions were presented to the group before most of the group shared a common set of facts. It was easy for a speaker to impugn motives and intent or accident when the underlying issue was an incomplete base of shared facts.

In this situation, which recurs at many meetings to develop public policy, work proceeds with difficulty.

5. Nonviolent Communication -- is the focus of the organization (below), which provides resources  and training at a price. But the concept goes back to a book by Marshall Rosenberg. "Making the world a more compassionate place through nonviolent communication."
Example: avoiding describing persons with a different view of something as 'leftists' or 'nazis', use some less violent term. Not a wonderful example but gives the drift

and articles on subject in wikipedia and elsewhere.

6. Group process - Sociocracy

This is a systematic process for moving an organization forward from ideas to action. It has many moving parts from which I just want to mention a couple that might be helpful for a CAC:
  1. After an idea (motion, etc.) is put forward call for two rounds of discussion (offering each person a chance to speak or to pass)
    1. Round 1 --clarifying questions (when, where, how, etc.) One per person and then repeated until these are exhausted. Start each round with a different person.
    2. Round 2 --evaluations (good/bad because .....) Again, one per person and repeated in successive rounds.
  2. To give participants a sense that they will be heard (get their oar in the water) specify that the leader will insure that everyone who wants to will get a chance to speak:
    1. divide room into parts (2-5) and ask for rounds (above) from each part of the room in succession
    2. repeat as needed, but first the clarifications and only then the evaluations
  3. When rounds are accomplished, seek consent to move ahead on a proposal, meaning that active opposition will stop even if not everyone is whole-heartedly in favor of the proposition. By contrast, consenus  occurs only when everyone agrees to a proposition. Clearly consent is an easier goal than consensus.
This can take some getting used to, but, as was clear to me at the CAC (above), clarifications are highly important because each of us has heard something different and missed some factoid that every one needs to have clearly in mind. Once the clarifications have occurred evaluations can move forward with a common understanding of the issues.
The article, below, has much more, as well as some editorial comments that the article needs improvement. I have seen this process in action; I believe it can be useful for groups.


7. Circles

Circles are found in the Native American cultures of the United States and Canada, and are used there for many purposes. Their adaptation to the criminal justice system developed in the 1980s as First Nations peoples of the Yukon and local justice officials attempted to build closer ties between the community and the formal justice system.
{This is one entry from a search for justice, restorative, circles. These are being used in schools, prisons, and other settings to help groups learn to get along with each other.}

With appreciation for thoughts and demonstrations from D.D., J.P.  and others.


17,509 Children in North Carolina Would Lose Their Healthcare
The news media is invited to attend

WHO: North Carolinians For a Fair Economy will HOLD HOLDING ACCOUNTABLE

WHATCongressman George Holding voted with the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He voted for the #TrumpHoldingTaxCut that benefits big corporations, millionaires, and billionaires. Working families and children in Congressional District 2 are left behind while Holding enriches himself and his wealthy friends.

WHERE: Congressman George Holding’s Raleigh Office
6404 Falls of the Neuse Road, Raleigh (across from Winston’s)

WHEN: Friday, May 18, 2018
11:00 a.m.

North Carolinians For a Fair Economy is a coalition of citizens working to expose Congressman George Holding's record of harming working families in North Carolina with his votes to cut taxes for the wealthy and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Join us at ncfaireconomy.org
Press Advisory
May 17, 2018
Contact: Paula A. Wolf
(919) 260-7556

North Carolinians for a Fair Economy

New Campaign,  North Carolinians for a Fair Economy, Launches to Expose Congressman George Holding’s Record of Harming Working Families


Campaign to Launch around One-Year Anniversary of Vote to Take Away Health Care
from North Carolinians

Raleigh, NC — North Carolinians for a Fair Economy(NCFE) — a new advocacy coalition based in Raleigh, NC — is launching a grassroots campaign this week to educate constituents in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. The campaign will inform residents about Congressman George Holding’s consistent record of voting against working families. The campaign will focus on Holding’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and his support for cutting taxes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations at the expense of North Carolina families. 

The richest 5 percent of North Carolina earners will receive 53 percentof the benefits from the tax breaks next year, thanks to Congressman Holdings support for the TrumpTax. Congressman Holding also votedto take health care away from 1,301,400 North Carolinians, including 95,100 in his own district. North Carolinians will also see their health care costs increase by 20 percent

“North Carolinians for a Fair Economy will be holding Congressman Holding accountable through our grassroots program that will educate voters in the 2nd congressional district,” said MaryBe McMillan, NCFE advisory board member. “North Carolinians deserve to know when their elected officials work against their interests, particularly on important issues like access to health care and economic mobility.”

The initial NCFE Advisory Board includes a diverse group of leaders committed to ensuring that North Carolinians have the information they need about their elected officials record on issues important to working families. As we move forward from this launch, additional advisory members will be announced.

Initial Advisory Board members of the NCFE coalition include:

  • MaryBe McMillan, President of the NC AFL-CIO
  • Carolyn Smith, Southern Region Campaign Director of Working America
  • Nolo Martinez, former Director of Hispanic Affairs for Governor Jim Hunt and community leader
  • Lana Dial, Native-American leader and advocate
  • Gailya Paliga, NC National Organization For Women

“North Carolina’s working families deserve to know that Congressman Holding has not been a friend to working families in his district and has instead voted over and over in favor of his wealthy donors,” said Advisory Board member Carolyn Smith. “NCFE’s efforts at the grassroots level will work to make sure that the struggles faced everyday by these families throughout the 2nd congressional district are not forgotten.”

North Carolinians for a Fair Economy will continue to recruit new coalition partners as the project continues. Our Advisory Board will seek to engage members that represent diverse groups including seniors, workers, health care advocates, small business owners, veterans, and others who have been negatively impacted by Congressman Holding’s record in Congress. 

Twitter: @NCFairEconomy
Facebook: North Carolinians for a Fair Economy
Website: ncfaireconomy.org

Paula A. Wolf
(919) 846-1432 (voice)
(919) 260-7556 (mobile)

Moderation in all things

Jerry Brown, Governor of California and a Democrat,  has said he practices "Canoe politics"
" - paddle a little  on the left, then a little  on the right."
--- article in The New Yorker, 2018

WCSD President's Message, May 2018

2018 Democratic Primary Postscripts

The 2018 Democratic Primary is now over, and I am left without the anticipatory enthusiasm that I had envisioned. Yes, some of my candidates won and some lost, but mostly I believe that the Democratic Party lost.
Number one, the voter turnout was not the anticipated “Blue Wave” that some predicted. Number two, there was far more negative campaigning than I believe is healthy for our party or for the future of our American democracy. That is not the message that I believe the Democratic Party should be marketing to the voting public if we are going to be successful in changing the direction of our country.
I felt inundated with negative robocalls as well as negative mailers. I actually rejoiced when I finally received a totally positive call from one candidate.
I still believe that the average voter is looking for a positive message as it was offered by leaders like Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The negative campaigning in our primary just sets the table for even more negative campaigning in the general election, and the opposition is far too ready to flood the media with ads designed to discourage informed voter participation and encourage disharmony, anger, bigotry, and all forms selfish motivation rather than simple patriotism for the good of all.
All that said, I still believe in the inner goodness that lies within our nation and our greater society. I also believe that the Senior Democrats can help reignite the positive motivation within our party and within our country.
We must, and we will!
Benson Kirkman
President, Wake County Senior Democrats

WCSD Newsletter, May 2018

Wake County Senior Democrats

May 2018 Newsletter

Meeting: Wednesday May 16, 2018

Please share this with relatives, neighbors, and friends; 
invite some to join you at the meeting

at Golden Corral, Glenwood Ave, 11am-1pm,
buffet lunch $11.75 plus gratuity (a discount is given for seniors)

Wake County Senior Democrats –meeting of fellowship, discussion and Activism.

Virginia Reed, Executive Director,
Wake County Democratic Party

will speak about the primary results, plans for the general election and how all democrats can volunteer to ensure a successful outcome.

 Virginia Reed is a proud North Carolina native who grew up right here in Raleigh. She attended and graduated from Leesville Road High School and holds a degree in Public Relations from Appalachian State University. While in college, Virginia spent a summer as an intern at EMILY’s List in Washington, D.C., where she discovered a passion for electing progressive leaders at all levels of government and learned more about the need for women (especially women of color) to have a seat at the table. Since then, she was selected to participate in Lillian’s List’s Jamie Kirk Hahn academy, where she was trained to be an effective campaign manager.

 NC Senior Dems -- Call for Outstanding Chapter Members

Tom Rothrock, President of NC Senior Democrats, needs to get nominations for your Outstanding Chapter member [1].  
He also seeks nominations for the State Senior Democrat of the Year. [2]

Board of Remembrance entries can be received right up to convention time.  You need a picture and a write up. These are posted on a display board that will be available during the convention. Convention goers can actually read about those persons who have died since the last state convention. [3]
Material for all three of these recognitions should be sent as soon as possible to Matilda Phillips at matphil25@yahoo.com  or at 806 Warwick Court, Burlington, NC 27215
March Meeting: What the Federal Budget & Tax Plan Means for People in North Carolina by Luis Toledo

For a Fair America (FAFA).
--- A slogan for our times? [Courtesy of TW]

In April retired Judge Don Stephens detailed The GOP Legislative Attack on the Judiciary. A pretty scary talk!

⧩ ⧩ ⧩ ⧩ ⧩ ⧩

Minutes of Meetings – 2018

Are on the website

Treasurer’s Reports – 2018
Are on the website

Links for Dems
Web Site

Wake County Senior Democrats
Where you can comment on posts.
Our Twitter feed

Senior Dems -NC

Wake Dems

State Dems

Other Wake Auxiliaries (Young, African-American, Progressive, Fighting, LGBT, Men’s, Women)

This document may be cited as:
Wake County Senior Democrats Newsletter, 2018:05, May

Lunch at the Media

As the saying goes, "There is no free lunch." To which I would add, "But there are free riders." So, activat...