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Urbana Politics - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Feb. 21st, 2005

03:07 am - Urbana Politics

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In Urbana, everything is decided in the Democratic Primary. Please go out and vote this Tuesday, February 22nd. We have an incredible opportunity to really transform Urbana by electing a solidly progressive City Council and Mayor.

I strongly support Laurel Prussing for Mayor.

She is the ONLY active member of the local Democratic Party who has been a consistent ally of the Green movement. Rather than attacking us like so many other Democrats, she's always reached out to us and worked with us. Her expertise as a long time local grass roots politician really helped our local Green Party get started. She was able to find the space to be an ally of the Greens (she supported the Nader campaign) without renouncing her Democratic Party membership.

She also has a history of winning races in districts dominated by Republicans. To me this is always a sign of a model politician, a true grass roots citizen who can hear and synthesize the voices of everyone into sound responsive government policy.

She was a founding member and ongoing supporter of the Coalition for Citizen Police Review. She is an environmentalist. She has been a state legislator and long time county auditor. And she's a damned nice person, easy to talk to and friendly.

Tod Satterthwaite on the other hand is a power hungry party hack who has no intention of integrating outside voices into his expansionist sprawling Big Box dream for Urbana. He's shown contempt for progressive members of his own party on multiple occasions, going so far as to personally campaign against Danielle Chynoweth and to run a non-Democrat independent against Laura Huth. He and Milton Otto lead the successful drive to get Laura Huth to resign from city council with threats of trumped up ethics violations. He led the (failed) campaign to override the Democratically chosen ward map in order to jerrymander Milton Otto's new house into Ward 4. He led the (failed) campaign for the +2 at large seats. He was a driving force behind the Walmart deal that has established big box development in a part of the city that is entirely unsuited for it. He threw a chair at a friend of mine for having the nerve to release a press release critical of the mayor's decision to shut down the IMC's performance space (regardless of whether the space shutdown was the right thing to do or not...the chair throwing was NOT). He has yelled at his political opponents on many occasions in public, bringing at least 2 of my friends to tears. He has got to go.

His only hope in this race is to convince Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary and to vote for him. This has been one of his major campaign strategies over the past month and it could be a close race because of it.

Out in the wards I support:

Ward 5 - Ricky Baldwin - a long time and well repsected area activist, he is the major current active democratic party supporter of the Coalition for Citizen Police Review. He is one of the major tireless organizers of the Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort in Champaign-Urbana. He is completely dedicated to grassroots progressive government and he has my unwaivering support. He has personally indicated to me that he would be supportive of voting reform such as Instant Run-Off voting. Ricky's opponent is also very progressive but doesn't seem to have much initiative, Urbana needs active leadership and vision and think only Ricky can provide that.

Ward 4 - Brandon Bowersox - His only downfall is that he answered his party's call to help challenge the ballot access petitions for Socialist Tom Mackaman last fall. He is the secretary of the county Democrats and I'm happy to see a very progressive and community minded guy like him "on the inside". He is a person who really pasionately belives that the local Democratic party can be reformed by progressives from the inside and he's putting his money where his mouth is. I don't share that view but I'm happy to have folks waging the progressive fight on that front. He is a MAJOR fighter for local GLBT rights and has been very successful as a citizen in organizing that struggle, I am eager to see him on the council as there are still many GLBT-equity policies that need to be passed in Urbana. He works in downtown Urbana and I know he has the right perspective for really envisioning a path towards making downtown a vital and active place.

Ward 7 - Durl Kruse - He's been a long time supporter of every community organization that I've been involved in. WEFT, IMC, the Greens, the Channing-Murray. I've been to more than one protest with his daughter who is an AMAZING human rights activist from this area. I don't know Durl that well and don't know his campaign super well but I'd vote for him if I had the chance.

Comments:

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From:sueg
Date:February 21st, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for your perspective. I had already decided to vote for Laurel Prussing on library issues alone, but was not sure about Bowersox vs. Diana. I'd been keeping an eye out for your thoughts on the matter!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 21st, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC)
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Glad to be of service!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 21st, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
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Illinois has open primaries. You don't register with a party when you register to vote. Instead you go into the primary and say "give me the Democrat ballot" or "give me the Republican ballot". You are effectively registering with the party by requesting the ballot at the primary but there is no reason you can't switch parties at the next primary.

This year in Urbana there are no republicans in primary races so there is no reason for Republicans to choose a republican ballot at the primary. The only choices are for Republicans to skip the primary or to try to sabotage the Democratic primary.

Not all states do it this way.
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From:mrscake
Date:February 21st, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
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Durl's a great guy! If I were in his ward, I'd vote for him.
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From:juvenilia
Date:February 21st, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)
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i voted absentee, on saturday, and i was given a democratic ballot without actually asking. probably because in my ward, there is no council election, and there's no republican candidates.

had i the presence of mind to have already changed my voter registration, things might have been more interesting.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 21st, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC)
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There is no space on the Illinois voter reg form to specify party affiliation. There is no place in the county clerk's database where party affiliation is stored EXCEPT that they keep track of which primary ballot you pull each primary.

So there's no sense in which you could "change" your registered party other than by requesting a ballot from another party.

I'm certain that the reason they didn't ask which ballot was because there was only one ballot. They would not have assumed Democrat if there were two ballots even if you'd ALWAYS voted Democrat.
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From:juvenilia
Date:February 21st, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
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that's kind of what i figured.
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From:juvenilia
Date:February 21st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
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i meant more interesting in terms of there would have been more holes to punch, since there might have been council people in my ward fighting over the title.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 21st, 2005 08:18 pm (UTC)
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Oh! I see.

I'm very saddened by the number of uncontested council seats. Like some of those seats don't have a primary AND they don't have a republican, green, or independent running. Lame.
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From:juvenilia
Date:February 21st, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
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well sascha and i weren't even sure until we got to the place whether or not there WAS anyone running in our ward. turns out, there is not.

i really wish we'd actually changed our registration, because then we could have voted for you in the fall (though i was actually ok with voting for susan instead ;) and ricky now. but things being what they are (busy), that just hasn't happened yet.
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