Transparency matters

Let me go on the record to say I have no first-hand knowledge of Ben Chavis. For all I know, he could have been the guy Democrats in North Carolina need to save the day. Whether he is that guy or not, however, has become moot. His nomination fatally tarnished by the lack of a transparent process.

It will be tempting for some to see this as a conspiracy against a long-standing black leader. That's certainly the view of Cash Michaels, who wonders out loud whether this episode should give black voters pause.

But the behind-the-scenes movement among Democratic rank-and-file members to ensure that Dr. Chavis, a veteran civil rights leader and member of the Wilmington Ten, was stopped, is something that may give African-American voters pause come the critical 2014 mid-term elections.

Mr. Michaels singled out BlueNC for contributing to the feeding frenzy. I hope he will reconsider his conclusions.

On the liberal “Blue NC” blogsite, reader comments after a story where Chairman Voller denied media reports that he and Chavis were old friends, and dismissed charges that past allegations and associations were primarily material to Chavis’ qualifications for the post, were negative.

“What really got under my skin were Chavis' attitudes toward my fellow Jews,” posted Mike Radionchecnko under the title, “An Anti-Semite Running the NCDP.” “When he was fired by the NAACP, he claimed that a Jewish conspiracy brought him down.”

Two posts down, under the title “This Would Be Wrong for the Party,” someone identified as “chambers1” wrote, “If Chavis is no longer a member of NOI, this would be the first time that has ever been stated in the media. Frankly, I want to hear him say it. The NOI has done a lot of good work for the black community but nothing can excuse the fact that the NOI is a virulently anti-Semitic organization ... "

Without commenting on the substance of their claims, something about which I know nothing, I'll point out that I have no knowledge of either Radionchencko or Chambers1. And like any other of our community members, they in no way speak for BlueNC.

Our community thrives on transparency. We engage in full-throttled debates. We discover the messy truth by digging in until we get to the bottom of things. BlueNC is not part of any conspiracy, and certainly don't represent any wing, moderate or otherwise, of the dysfunctional Democratic party.

I was arrested on June 3 for participating in a Moral Monday protest. I fully support the NAACP and the fusion politics that is taking hold in North Carolina right now. I am happy to stand beside Cash Michaels. I hope the same is true for him.

Comments

Party Rules require public notice

The Party rules require public notice of party meetings "at all levels." Public notice and access to meetings for folks like me--who are not insiders--are among the top five principles stated in the Plan of Organization.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES FOR ALL LEVELS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

0.01 Open Party
0.02 Encourage Participation
0.03 Non-Discrimination
0.04 Publicize Meetings
0.05 Broad Registration
0.06 Notice of Selection of Party Officials

0.04 PUBLICIZE MEETINGS

The time and place of all meetings of the North Carolina Democratic Party at all levels shall be publicized fully and in such a manner as to assure timely notice to all interested persons.

Such meetings must be held in places accessible to all party members and large enough to accommodate
all interested persons.

Randy Voller and Casey Mann lost credibility with me and others, because I can find no one who received a press release announcing the meeting on Tuesday night. I did not know of the meeting until Wake Co. Party Chair Dan Blue III made formal announcement on the county site and via emails and Twitter. This was after I wrote my post on Ben Chavis early Tuesday. I looked for a notice on the Party's web site and found none.

I thought Voller would follow through on his promises of transparency and inclusion. I don't see that happening.

I have to differ with Cash Michaels. I would have written my BlueNC post very differently had I known of an imminent vote on the hiring of Ben Chavis. I certainly would have alerted BlueNC readers on how to contact NCDP Executive Council members with their suggestions or concerns, as I did after learning of the time of the meeting.

I only learned how to access the teleconference ,because a member of the Council sent me the phone number and the access code around 9pm. WRAL's Mark Binker apparently had the same experience, and he was on the call because someone who had received the access info, not party officials, sent it to him.

Martha Brock

Martha Nails it

Martha, thank you for noting this about the meeting notice. I thought I was the only one left out of the loop. Our party's problems stem from the lack of full communication to our dedicated party activists who give of their time and resources. We simply must stop this class system from continuing within the party. If we expect every democrat to rally to the aid of the party and its candidates, it must rally to inform us all of the party actions and meetings. Its really not too much to expect.

I made a donation to the NAACP

I'm speaking as a non-affiliated voter who switched from being a registered Democrat before the Tea Baggers took over the legislature.

I left the party because of its unresponsiveness to grassroots liberal voters and sentiment, and, with the NC Democratic Party in particular, a general inability to look beyond the Beltway in planning and focus. The party just seemed to be on auto-pilot as Pope and the Tea Baggers made gains in the state over the past few election cycles.

Reading about the Chavis debacle brought back all the frustrations and bad memories of trying to work with NC Democratic Party insiders in the past. Chavis is a name I recognize, but don't know that much about - I couldn't say one way or another if he would bring to the party what I personally think it needs.

However, the way in which the leadership of the party handled the whole thing left me very dismayed. I'm seeing a party in such a shambles that it can't get its house in order and concentrate on the job at hand.

I went online and donated to the North Carolina NAACP. The way things stand, environmental, education, LGBT, civil rights, and social justice groups organizing against the Pope machine in Raleigh, challenging the Tea Bagger legislature and McCrory administration head on with research, protests and court actions are doing far more to energize and motivate liberal and progressive voters right now.

North Carolina is in a crisis, right here, right now.

We need to support groups that are raising awareness of the damage being done to our state by extremists in the Republican party and giving North Carolina's citizens an agenda worth voting and fighting for.

We need leadership, determination, and the will to create a better future for all the citizens of our state.

If the NC Democratic Party can't pull itself together for the fight, it's going to get left in the dust by organizations outside the formal two-party structure in the state that are getting the job done.

Show me a one hundred county strategy for the party to move forward. Show me you can directly engage voters in _all_ parts of the state and address their concerns about the future. Show me how you're preparing new voices and young liberal and progressive voters to lead in North Carolina.

Show me any of that and maybe I'll give a damn again about the North Carolina Democratic Party. Otherwise, get the hell out of the way and at least show enough savvy to keep all the infighting, disorganization and insider politics to yourselves.

Beautifully said

My sentiments exactly. Jane and I have also contributed to the NAACP in North Carolina, as well as a boatload of other groups involved in frontline litigation and activism. It feels good to be doing whatever little bit we can to make a difference.

____________________________________

“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

The 2nd comment cited

was attributed to Chambers1, but the text was actually posted by JAG88, a brand new poster.

I understand where Cash is coming from. Icons of the civil rights movement have the potential to motivate great numbers of people, and not just African-Americans. But they are human, with human failings. Whether Chavis' good deeds outweigh the bad is debatable, at least in a free country. And yes, Chavis did catch some flack that was targeted at Voller.

All that being said, Cash's downplaying of the sexual harassment scandal and his tacit acceptance of Chavis' reasoning for wanting to pay a settlement erodes the credibility of his opinion. It's apologism, by any other name, and using sexism to fight perceived racism is a battle that everyone loses.

Wait a minute

Where did I say this: "someone identified as “chambers1” wrote, “If Chavis is no longer a member of NOI, this would be the first time that has ever been stated in the media. Frankly, I want to hear him say it. The NOI has done a lot of good work for the black community but nothing can excuse the fact that the NOI is a virulently anti-Semitic organization"?

I am being singled out here for things not said.

This is wrong.

You didn't say it

The guy that wrote the article in the link above misquoted you. Your comment (I believe) was just below it, so he was looking in the wrong spot.

Thanks

Okay, I can unruffle my feathers now !

I believe what we have here

I believe what we have here is referred to as a, "dumpster fire." Voller needs to submit his resignation for the good of the party and then somebody needs to drive over to Fayetteville and see if Eric Mansfield is interested in the Chairmanship. This is pitiful.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

A leader with a clue will do!

Mansfield, Cal Cunningham.....there are numerous qualified candidates for the job. Any leader with a clue will do! having a clue is a rare commodity in the NCDP these days!

Robert Kellogg

Connections

One thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet is the fact that one week ago, Claude Pope said that Dr. Barber was the de facto leader of the Democratic Party in North Carolina. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Ben Chavis was named executive director? I say this both as a June 3 arrestee (hi James) and as part of an organizing team for the Colonial Capitol Moral Monday, there is a real concern about keeping the movement non-partisan, there doesn't seem to be a need to draw scrutiny to the movement that has brought more awareness and unity then anything else in the past year