Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Live (or delayed) Blogging of Precinct Caucuses in Centerville/Farmington

It all depends in my daughter, who is half-time teacher other half district science mentor for Davis Co. Schools will give me the wireless code for Farmington Jr. High. (Don't tell anyone!) The best part is that she mentors her mom who went back to teaching Jr. High Science a couple of years ago! They have a great time.

Yes, we have several precincts meet together so we don't feel so lonely. We have a group meeting/discussion, then break into our caucuses for our own business. We have as many as four to ten show up for our precinct. As we have to share around the duties among so few, I have been precinct chair and a delegate to the County and State Conventions (2010).

Well, I'm on my way over there. We'll see if we get that code.

Oh, on my way out the door, I have to share this thought I had while walking home from the bus stop:
Government of the People, by the People, and for the People is not the Problem.
Pretty good, huh? Now, if we can just get our friends at the caucuses Thursday night to agree that corporations are not people . . . .

Made it. Still On 4G on the smart phoNe. I cant type with aotofill keyboard. My daughter is on her way.

I got to help tape up packets around the wall of the gym for all the precincts in Lay'uhn and Kaysville.

My daughter just came and logged me on. I didn't even look at the codes. (But if I accidentally save it I'm good hanging out at any Davis School).

Utah has had weird election process but the legislature just passed new procedures on threat of a public uprising from a referendum petition going around called "Count My Vote" (link, later). The process has been that party candidates are nominated at precinct, through county, and then state conventions. If they have 60% or more votes in the state convention, then they are the candidate. Any less, and the top two have a run-off primary election. The problem is that the process draws the most politically motivated (i.e. extreme) from both sides of the spectrum. Remember, it's hard to be a passionate moderate. The worst of it, as we have seen in recent years, is that a few motivated and some of them financed tea party types can easily dominate a precinct, then a county, and ultimately the state convention. The LDS Church call to have more participation in caucuses last time and this resulted in a moderating influence on BOTH parties as mainstream LDS are not radicals, the strange people you sometimes see in politics from Utah or other states with Mormon populations, more likely represent that extreme right fringe that can dominate the Republican caucuses. (There really aren't enough left-wing wackos to dominate anything in this state).

Anyway, the heavily Republican and right-wing legislature and governor were negotiating with the Count My Vote petition leaders for a compromise. There are still caucuses, but they raised the threshold for domination to 66% in state convention and more chance for all-inclusive primaries by candidates qualifying by signatures of registered voters. I'll get the details or a link and fill in on that.

And the conservatism of Utah is more a factor of geography than Mormonism. Yes, Mormons are generally socially and politically conservative. But look at our neighboring states. Wyoming especially with a significantly smaller LDS minority is more conservative. Idaho, even with a few more Mormons, is much more right-wing than Utah. One advantage we have is our outdoor wonders with skiing and southern deserts - National Parks, etc. That draws or converts many here to a more conservationist philosophy which finds no home in the modern Republican Party. (TR spinning in his grave. . . )

The room is starting to fill. It was amazing in 2012. This is a midterm so we may not get quite as much.

Starting up

Just realized I was sitting next to an old (I shouldn't say "old" even if she is retired and I'm eligible) work associate. The was with the Bureau of Reclamation when I worked up here in 1987-91!

Richard Bagley, a candidate for the State house is speaking. His mom and wife were school teachers. (kind of a theme). Hes a moderate, he says. And threw out the hint that he is getting a son off to Bulgaria or somewhere which is code for an LDS mission. He's all for health care cuz he has a brother with health problems (and he gets emotional).

Some other guy Eric Last, wife and 3 children, he's young so that's LDS code enough. Loves Utah. Didn't catch what he is running for. He asks for non-Democrats in the room and quite a few hands go up. He says, "Oh, good. Some investigators!" [laughter]. Coding accomplished. And his inspiration to become a Democrat occurred in a priesthood meeting. (Too much - he's not helping).

I did start the applause when he said we need more balance in the state so that corrupt politicians are held accountable - although the Republicans did get rid of the former AG and cut off the former, former AG even if it has cost a lot of time, money, and national embarrassment.

Current speaker says we still have contests in the county with no candidates (Democratic). Trying to recruit party officials and candidates. I can't do much of that as I'm "Hatched." There are limited opportunities in the party, but I can't collect funds at all. And obviously, I can't run for elective, partisan office. Blogging is just fine, though - First Amendment and all.

Reading message from State Chair, Jim Dubakis, encourage participation in neighborhood caucuses. Fight for balance, prosperous family. our air is toxic, elected officials corrupt, real solutions for real people. The fight starts at the grass roots level. Contribute and volunteer.

Steve     running for County Commissioner speaking. He outperformed Obama last election by 10,000 votes. (36,000 to 20k something). Repubs wanted to push Swallow scandal under the rug (well, some of them - led by Ken Ivory my arch-nemesis as I just whispered to my daughter).

Josh Clemens representing Uncle Peter Clemensr who is running for District 2 (US House). He's a doctor (the uncle candidate). Platform is education. involved with academies (charter schools??) Member of physicians for clean air. Protect Utah's economy and education. - Jobs, corporations must pay their fair share -Education -Comprehensive Immigration Reform -Conserving Natural Resources. Endorsed by many prominent Dems.

Now elderly lady rises from the floor to propose youth initiative. It's perfectly legal for anyone 18 or older to start a special election. Lost children in suicide. she's got every type of religion in her family. Only time she voted Republican was Reaganomics and her economic troubles have been going up ever since. She writes letters to the editor. (Okaaaaay . . .) Proposing "rainbow council" for your family or neighborhood. mental health - school zones - police officer backing. Now the chair of the county party stops her rather abruptly. And we all applaud her (the nice elderly lady).

Now, instructions for precincts. Find the envelopes on the wall for your precinct (Hey! I taped those up!) Pink sheet are the instructions. Yellow is the important one. (Not sure what it is yet). And take home numbers on a little note to get party officials.

All done.

I thought I would be alone because I didn't see any of the precinct people I know (I have been chair before and had the list). But I met three new and really nice people. They live just east of me on the last street before the mountains - Island View Drive. And it looks like it will be a good year. We set up one as chair and the other to go with her to the state convention because I told them it was really cool and everybody should have the chance. Oh, one of the people is not old enough to register. She's a junior and knows my son! Favorably, too.

Well, I have to go out and see which issues to sign up for and talk to any other candidate who may be here.
one of the taped-up packets

It's a Party! Go, Dems!

This is the place

My daughter far right, Farminton Jr. High, Democratic Caucus


  1. Thanks for blogging the caucus, and for your input. I love the title of your blog. I'd love to participate in a blog post of yours, maybe answer some questions or whatever you think. Hit me up at lastforutah17@gmail.com if you're interested.
    I'm also here: https://www.facebook.com/Eric4UT17
    and here: https://sites.google.com/site/ericlastforutahhouse17/

    Thanks again -Eric Last (for Utah House District 17 by the way.)

    1. I'd be very happy to host a guest post or two (or more) from you! Sadly, I'm in District 18 but we need to promote all the moderate Dems we can! Thanks for checking the blog!

      You can contact me direct at grant.vaughn [at] gmail etc.

  2. Thanks for the report on how the Democratic caucus went. I had thought of attending (I requested a sign advertising the event to be put on my lawn, to go with the Republican caucus sign someone put there--I want lots of participation on both sides of the aisle), but it was not a good week for me.

    I did go to the Republican caucus. The majority of participants were from my neighborhood (code for ward), and as far as I can tell, I was the most liberal person in the room by a huge margin. I was so frustrated by the affair that I was thinking of re-affiliating. But I think that the right thing to do would be to encourage my more moderate neighbors (i.e. the ones who didn't show up on Thursday) to come next time.

    I don't want to win. I just want the moderate voices to be heard. As was said above, the majority of Mormons are more moderate than Utah state politics would indicate.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!