As I’ve written a few times, there are two things we need to turn things around in our political system: 1) strong direct action, and 2) good, honest people running for office. A new progressive project, 2,012 for 2012, helps to propel that second need forward. The project is “hosted by the Candidate Project, a program of the New Organizing Institute, and is a collaboration between organizations who have successfully recruited and trained candidates for years – including Progressive Majority, Democracy for America, and Emerge America – and innovative organizations who are new to candidate recruitment – like CREDO, Rebuild the Dream, and Color of Change,” someone from the project emailed me.
“In addition to trainings on the ins and outs of running campaigns, 2,012 for 2012 will provide tools to help them determine how many votes they will need to win and how to target voters,” my contact noted.
Initially, the plan was to get 2,012 people to run for office through the project in 2012 (hence the name). But the response has been tremendous and they recently raised the goal is 5,000.
But guess what? As I’m writing this, they’re now well over 5,000.
Promising! Exciting! Hope this really takes off and the goal keeps getting raised and beaten.
Inspiration for 2,012 for 2012
As Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post notes, this grassroots campaign is actually a little late to the scene when compared with conservative efforts like it (all the more reason to pump a lot of energy into it asap!):
“Groups like the Christian Coalition and the Moral Majority led the way in grassroots organizing in the latter part of the 20th century — long before George W. Bush became president. They took advantage of local organizations that already existed in church and home-schooling groups and turned them into powerful political constituencies. Activists backed socially conservative candidates at all levels and elevated issues like school prayer to the national stage.”
However, those conservative efforts were actually inspired progressive efforts (it’s a cycle, I guess):
“Ralph Reed served as executive director of the Christian Coalition in the 1990s and now heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition. He told The Huffington Post that while progressives may now be looking to stop conservative gains at the local level, conservatives were originally taking a page from the progressive playbook, pointing to politician and presidential nominee Bob LaFollette in Wisconsin, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor movement in Minnesota and Woodrow Wilson in New Jersey.”
Of course, the Obama administration was so successful in large part because of its tremendous grassroots energy and organizing. And, clearly, the Tar Sands action we’ve seen this year and the Occupy actions around the country show there is a lot of potential in better involving citizens in political matters.
2,012 for 2012 Closeup — One Candidate
I was put in touch with one of the grassroots participants running for office this month, Sabrina Brennan. Brennan has pledged to run for San Mateo Harbor Commissioner just south of San Francisco. She’s got a history of involvement in the environmental movement and in the Occupy movement (Occupy Half Moon Bay and Occupy Redwood City).
“I’m running for Harbor Commissioner in 2012 because I want to insure that decisions about public resources are made with the community’s best interest at heart,” Brennan wrote to me.
“In San Mateo County, Pillar Point ranked number one in beach closure days (145 days each at 2 different beach locations) and Oyster Point (96 days) had the second highest number of closure days in 2010.”
More on the problems beach pollution creates from the NRDC (via Brennan):
“Beachwater pollution nationwide causes a range of waterborne illnesses in swimmers including stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, ear, nose and throat problems, dysentery, hepatitis, respiratory
She sent a lot more info on that, but she also sent here plan if she is elected to office. Here’s that:
What I would like to do:
- Engage residents (live-aboards), commercial, and recreational users as well as visitors about the hazards of dumping septic waste, plastic bags, cans, garbage, oil, and fuel.
- Improve water circulation patterns within Pillar Point Harbor and support solutions to improve water quality.
- Improve trash disposal areas overall at both Pillar Point Harbor and Oyster Point Marina.
- Improve pet waste disposal areas and signage.
- Publish water quality educational information on the Harbor District website.
- Post warning signage at beaches with contaminated beachwater
Hopefully, this 2,012 for 2012 project will continue to take off and we’ll have more and more candidates (and elected officials) like Brennan.