Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
The Democratic Caucuses in Cambridge and Somerville are taking place over the next week.

Cambridge and Somerville wards will be electing their delegates to the 2012 Democratic State Convention, which will take at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 2nd, 2012. This is sure to be an exciting convention where we will pick our nominee for the U.S. Senate to run against Republican Senator Scott Brown. Before a candidate can be placed on the September Primary ballot they have to get the support of 15% of the State Convention Delegates and 51% to get the endorsement of the convention. But in order Linkto go to the convention, you need to be elected.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2012 Caucuses.

Cambridge-Somerville for Political Engagement

“We got used to the politics of disappointment -- figuring out how soon we were going to be let down. ... There’s a different dynamic in the ... politics of hope. It’s much more challenging. It means you’ve got to get up and do something. There’s opportunity. If you don’t take advantage of that opportunity, you really have to bear responsibility for not doing so. That’s how I see the time we’re in. ”

One of the most unique and exciting elements of the 2008 Obama campaign was the distributed leadership model.  When we were starting out, during the spring and summer of 2008, we had so many volunteers to organize, so much work to do, and no full-time staff, that we had no choice but to embrace the distributed leadership model.

State of the Union (Square) Watch Party on Tuesday Night

Cambridge-Somerville for Change and Organizing for America are holding a State of the Union Watch Party at Precinct in Union Square next Tuesday night.

We're encouraging our friends and neighbors to come, socialize and watch the fourth State of the Union address from President Obama.

This is likely to be one of the key events in the 2012 campaign and we hope to encourage lots of participation in Somerville.

Tuesday, January 24
Doors open at 8:00 PM 
Speech starts at 9:00 PM
Precinct Bar
70 Union Square, Somerville MA 02143

Sign up here:

Why should you support President Obama's re-election campaign?

There's a great, simple site that answers this question pretty nicely, with a list of the President's accomplishments:

Help get out the vote for President Obama in New Hampshire

Immediately after the CSfC Kickoff, the Obama campaign will be heading into its get-out-the-vote effort for New Hampshire's January 10 primary. The campaign is looking for a big Massachusetts contingent to knock on doors and make phone calls, to make sure people hear the alternative to the Republican message, and to lock in President Obama's New Hampshire support.  Join CSfC as part of that contingent!  You can sign up for canvasses on January 7th and 8th by clicking on the links below, and go to to sign up for phonebanks in Boston or canvasses in New Hampshire on Tuesday, January 10th. Thank you!

Cambridge City Council Forum on Energy & Environmental Issues - Wednesday, Nov. 2nd at 6:30 PM
Green Cambridge, formerly known as Green Decade/Cambridge, is again organizing an Energy and Environmental Issues Candidate's Night for this year's city council race.  Cambridge Somerville for Change is a co-sponsor of this event, which will take place on November 2nd at 6:30 pm at the YMCA Theatre in Central Square.  Please join us to learn more about the positions each of the candidates is taking on these important issues.

Come to the Progressive Massachusetts Kickoff on October 2nd!

On Sunday, Oct. 2nd, a new statewide organization called Progressive Massachusetts will be going public.  This organization is built on similar principles to Cambridge-Somerville for Change, with essentially the same strategy -- fighting for progressive candidates, organizing around democratically determined issues, and building a powerful organization through grassroots organizing.  What's so exciting about this new organization is that it's taking these principles and strategy to the statewide level!  Having a statewide ally with which we are so aligned can significantly expand CSfC's impact.

We hope you can attend the kickoff of Progressive Mass. on October 2nd.  RSVP here. More details below the fold.

Pro Choice

Andrea Miller, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, explains why NARAL's PAC has endorsed Mac D'Alessandro for Congress.

Mac D'Alessandro v. Steven Lynch Debate from WBZ-TV Today

Mac D. squares off against Congressman Lynch today and makes a strong case for replacing Lynch.

Smulowitz and Ross Mini-Debate on WBZ today

WBZ hosted a brief interview with Peter Smulowitz and Richard Ross this afternoon. You can watch the video at WBZ's web site. CSfC is supporting Peter Smulowitz for state senate in the special election coming up on Tuesday. Join us tonight for a phone bank in Harvard Square from 6:00 to 8:30 PM.

CSfC Supports Peter Smulowitz for MA State Senate

The membership has voted and we're pitching in to turn Scott Brown's long-held State Senate seat Blue by supporting progressive Democrat, physician, and first-time candidate Peter Smulowitz.

The Boston Globe endorsed Dr. Smulowitz today, praising his "refreshing willingness to challenge established political figures."

Election Day is just 4 days away! Below is the schedule of events between now and Tuesday, including phone banks in and near Cambridge and Somerville, as well as door-to-door canvasses in the senate district. Note that CSfC is hosting a phone bank at HUCTW in Harvard Square on Sunday night, from 6-8:30pm (sign up here). Please sign up for all events by clicking on the RSVP links, below.

Please spread the word by joining Peter Smulowitz's Facebook page and please forward this message to anyone you think might be interested in helping out.


Phone Banks:
Cambridge-Somerville for Change, 6pm-8:30pm
HUCTW, 15 Mt. Auburn St., Harvard Square

Mass Dems, noon -
Mass. Democratic Party Headquarters, 56 Roland St., Charlestown
Smulowitz Campaign, 10am - 6pm
Smulowitz Campaign HQ, 56 Pickering St., Needham


Phone Bank:
Mass Dems, 10am -
Mass. Democratic Party Headquarters, 56 Roland St., Charlestown


Phone Bank
Mass Dems, 10am - 8pm
Mass. Democratic Party Headquarters, 56 Roland St., Charlestown

Smulowitz Campaign, 6am-8pm
Smulowitz Campaign HQ, 56 Pickering St., Needham

Electing Cambridge Delegates to the State Convention

Registered Democrats in Cambridge will be holding their caucuses throughout the city Feb 10-24 to elect delegates and alternates to the 2010 Massachusetts Democratic Convention. This is an easy and effective way to get involved in local politics. In addition to having a voice in who is on the state primary ballot in September, the convention provides great opportunities to meet other Democrats across the state, participate in workshops, and learn about candidates. Last year CSfC had 7 members elected as delegates to the convention.

To find more information about what ward you live in, see the Cambridge Democratic Committee Website, and go to the “wards” link. The caucus is open to all Cambridge residents who were registered Democrats by Dec 31, 2009.

This year's convention will take place Friday June 4th and Saturday, June 5th at the DCU Center in Worcester. Delegates will nominate candidates for all constitutional offices: Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor. All candidates for these offices must win 15% of the votes of convention delegates in order to be listed on the primary ballot in September. While the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General have all indicated they are running for reelection, no incumbent is running for Treasurer or Auditor this year.

Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, disability, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation or economic status in the conduct of the caucus is strictly prohibited. All ballots will be written and secret. Delegates will be divided equally between men and women. Those not elected as Delegate and/or Alternate, who meet the qualifications, may apply to be add-on delegates in the following categories: youth, minority, and disabled.

Challenges to the delegate selection process can be filed with the Massachusetts Democratic Party, 56 Roland Street, Suite 203, Boston, MA 02129 no later than ten days after the caucus date.

For more information, go to the Cambridge Democratic Committee Website,

Stopping the Next Brown

This election didn't end up the way I wanted it to, but it's only a small setback in a campaign that started some time in the distant past, and will probably go on forever.

I'm happy today. I'm so proud of all the activists and the great work we did. The Cambridge/Somerville ground campaign that we built over four days was inspiring. We couldn't win the whole state, but we could boost turnout in Cambridge and Somerville for Coakley, and with hundreds of volunteers and dozens of GOTV events, we absolutely did.

We had organizers, volunteers, and local groups working toward one goal. We abandoned factions and borders. We made new alliances, and strengthened old partnerships. Progressive organizers in Massachusetts came together, mostly outside formal organizational structures.

Yes, it was too late to win. But we tested our organizing strategies and tactics. OFA swooped in from every state and provided a massive calls-to-voters operation. It wasn't perfect - there were flaws in everything we did. I'd rather know what those flaws are now, when there's one critical race, than in November when there will be dozens of critical races.

We have so much work to do this year, and we are not yet prepared to win the array of contests coming in November. Democrats across the country should look at this election and learn. We need to commit to preventing the complacency and inertia that allowed this to happen. Every progressive organization in the country should be building their plans for November right now, every day vowing No More Browns. No more unforced errors on Election Day.

As Massachusetts organizers, we are stronger today than we were a week ago. We need to keep exercising those organizing muscles, starting today, to prevail in the 2010 races. It can be done.

If you're not already a member, sign up with CSfC today.

(cross-posted, with edits, from BlueMassGroup)

Pulling Out All the Stops

In just three days Massachusetts voters will go to the polls to elect a new US Senator. It's hard to imagine a vote cast in the Commonwealth that will have a greater impact on national politics.

This is a great time to volunteer for a political campaign - the race is close and the stakes are high. With partners in our communities we've put together 59 events in the next three days.
Let's have some fun.

Somerville GOTV events

Organizing for Martha Coakley for Senate - Two Weeks Till Election Day

As you may have heard, Rasmussen released a poll today showing GOP State Senator Scott Brown within 9 points of Attorney General Coakley. That's just too close. If you're reading this blog, I don't have to tell you that we can't afford to lose a US Senate seat.

The CSfC Elections Team has two projects during this brief, wintry campaign to keep that from happening. We're holding phone banks with our old friends the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) at their offices at 15 Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge, between Harvard and Central Squares, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday night through (Special) Election Day, January 19th.

Sign up here to join us from 6 to 9 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 5:30 to 8:30 PM on Sundays. HUCTW has phones, comfy chairs, the works.

We're also working with the Cambridge Democratic City Committee on an Absentee Voter project to increase voter turnout among local seniors - you can sign up for that project on the same form.

An Exciting Weekend for Change!

Delegates from around the state will be converging on Springfield this weekend for the 2009 Massachusetts State Democratic Convention. It has been an historic year for Democrats and this convention will be a time to celebrate our recent successes and begin thinking about the party’s future.

This year’s convention is an exciting and important one. David Plouffe, Obama’s presidential campaign manager, will be the keynote speaker and the most anticipated guest of the weekend. Delegates will be discussing and voting to approve the Platform that will guide the Party for the next four years. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to attend workshops with topics ranging from community organizing to creating campaign strategies to the world of electronic communications.

Cambridge Somerville for Change would like to congratulate delegates from all over the state and especially those chosen to represent Cambridge and Somerville. We are pleased that a number of delegates from the area are also CSfC members. Check back here for their reflections on the opportunities presented at the convention and how they fit into the needs of our community. We look forward to taking the lessons learned at the convention and applying them to our work at Cambridge Somerville for Change.

Should We Support State Ethics Reform?

Response needed by midnight, April 1.

We hosted a forum on ethics reform with Common Cause on March 8. Those who attended want to take action. What do you think CSfC should do? Take the poll at the top of the page to let us know what you think.

In a year when House Speaker Sal DiMasi resigned amidst ethics investigations and State Senator Dianne Wilkerson resigned and was charged with bribery, Governor Patrick filed reform legislation to close major gaps in ethics and lobbying laws. On Thursday the House passed a bill that weakened two key parts of the Governor's package but added important campaign disclosure requirements. Now it goes to the Senate.

Both the Governor's proposal and the one passed Thursday (House Bill 3853) do the following:
  • Expand the Secretary of State's, Attorney General's, and Ethics Commission's authority to enforce lobbying and conflict of interest laws
  • Increase penalties for lobbying and conflict of interest violations
  • Define "lobbying," increase reporting by lobbyists, expand restrictions to the executive branch and increase the amount of information available online about lobbying activities
  • Give the Attorney General greater investigative tools, including power to convene statewide public corruption grand juries
  • The Governor wanted to change state law to prohibit gifts given for or because of an "official position" (existing law requires linkage to a specific act). The House version prohibits such gifts only if done "knowingly."
  • The Governor also wanted to give the Attorney General power to record conversations in public corruption investigations, with judicial approval; the House bill omits this provision.
For more detail, check out: Governor Deval Patrick’s Task Force on Public Integrity. House Bill 3853 (as passed) is not online yet; the version filed on March 25 can be found here:

Dusting Off Our Clipboards

President Obama has asked us to get back to our campaign-organizing days and go out in our neighborhoods this weekend to help him get support for his agenda on Education , Health Care, and Energy.

Check out President Obama’s message about the budget and what we can do to make sure it passes:

Porter Square, 10am-noon
Porter Square, noon-2

Davis Square, 10am-noon

Davis Square, noon-2

Harvard Square, 10-noon
Harvard Square, noon-2

Central Square, 10-noon
Central Square, noon-2

We're going to have an exciting weekend and we can't wait to see you there.

Planting Seeds

Over the weekend we've started planning up for the first major Organizing for America drive to build grassroots support for the three big initiatives. Look for an email about next Saturday's activities from OFA today.

LIVE: Clean Up Politics on Beacon Hill

Live-blogging the Clean Up Politics on Beacon Hill ethics reform meeting. Latest comments at the bottom of the post.

  • Contact your own representative
  • Contact the members of the House Ethics Committee
  • Write Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor
  • Set up phone bank
  • Meet face-to-face with Cambridge/Somerville legislators
4:10 PM: Passing out materials.

4:12 PM: 14 community members plus Pam Wilmot and Andrew Kingsley from Common Cause so far.

4:13 PM: Introductory comments by CSFC Ethics Reform organizer Larry Field. Brief comments about the origins of Cambridge-Somerville for Change.

4:18 PM: Starting introductions around the room.

4:22 PM: Introductions over. Mostly Cambridge residents, many involved in the Cambridge Democratic City Committee. Moving on to discussion led by Pam.

4:23 PM: Background, history on Common Cause.

4:25 PM: Public needs to hold power accountable.

4:31 PM: Pam along with Scott Harshbarger appointed by Governor Patrick to Task Force to review at the lobby ethics and conflict of interest laws. Paraphrasing Governor Patrick, "Currency of government shouldn't be money, it's public integrity."

Fine for criminal bribery is $5,000, lowest in the country. Hasn't been updated since 1962.

4:36 PM: No civil enforcement authority. Ethics Commission cannot make regulations, only makes case-by-case rulings.

Proposed law includes ethics training for all public officials. Currently, bill is before Ethics Committee. Committee chair needs to hear from community members but also the members of the legislature.

4:38 PM: Create a climate in the State House that is supportive of these reforms. Establish path for continued reforms. Pass bill through the State House unchanged. Open floor to questions.

4:41 PM: Q: People want something and funnel money to legislators to get what they want. Is it correct that these are the sorts of issues the ethics reform package is meant to address?

A: Not just contracting, but also licensing and regulation. Influencing people is not necessarily as simple as contributing money to a legislator's campaign fund. These are the worst examples, but "revolving door" hiring is another problem.

4:42 PM: What is the bill number of this legislation? House 95.

This bill is amending approximately 30 different laws.

4:44 PM: The idea is to have a level playing field, where money is not an issue.

4:45 PM: Calling this "ethics reform" is a misnomer because it's not really ethics, just the subcategory of "conflict of interest". Conflict of interest involves money, familial ties, employment, using your official position for private gain. Private gain is typically finanical in nature.

4:47 PM: Discussed some of the more nuanced conflicts of interest. An appearance of conflict is not a conflict of interest; an appearance can be resolved by disclosing everything that causes the appearance of a conflict.

4:51 PM: Q: How are people working to get "more transparency" defeated?

A: Transparency is not part of the current bill. Legislature not subject to public meetings laws. Governor Patrick is developing a web site to track and shed light on how the money from the federal stimulus package is being spent. Cities and town are subject to the public meeting laws.

4:57 PM: Massachusetts is behind in ethics reform. In part, because of the traditional of old machine politics.

Q: Any correlation between corruption and full-time legislators versus part-time legislators?

A: If you're talking about bribery, no, there's no correlation. There is a correlation with transparency laws, and a modest correlation with competition.

4:59 PM: Q: Presumption that the press will identify corruption and ethics violations. With the state of the press, who does that responsibility fall to?

A: Press still has some power, but not what it used to. Citizen journalism is going to become increasingly important. But this has more to do with accountability; transparency is how the government operates.

5:01 PM: Internet will be important in transparency. Can watch proceedings online. But bills that were filed in February are just now being put online, and many don't have bill numbers.

5:03 PM: Q: Why keeping doing this?

A: There are people like Barack Obama, Alice Wolf. And we need to make their job easier.

Moving into the Action portion of the meeting. Brainstorm some ideas.

5:05 PM: Get in contact with your representative. Contact members of the House Committee considering this bill. None of these members are from Cambridge or Somerville or even Boston.

5:11 PM: Q: Is there value in contacting your own representative versus the entire delegation?

A: Yes.

Q: What are the positions of Cambridge/Somerville representatives?

A: Everyone on the list is in favor of the bill. Some members may have an issue with the provision regarding political gifts for a "particular act" in their official capacity.

5:13 PM: Q: What is the future of this legislation, if it passes the House?

A: This bill would have more trouble if it had started in the Senate. Need to contact Senators, including Senator Galluccio.

5:15 PM: We could explode our effect if we wrote to our friends and relatives, i.e., form letters, scripts and templates, and have them contact their own representatives.

Tool available on Common Cause's web site to send a "canned" letter to your representatives. Not as good as a hand-written letter on paper or a phone call, but it's better than nothing.

Can also get representative information from Secretary of State's web site.

5:17 PM: Contact your representative, even if they are in favor of the bill, so that they can feel the support from their constituents.

CSfC should post on Blue Mass Group that this meeting occurred.

5:19 PM: Q: Is there a timeline by when the House needs to vote on the bill?

A: This bill will not turn into a pumpkin, but the Governor wanted it voted on within a month. Best guess: this bill will come up for a vote in the House in about 3 weeks.

5:21 PM: Q: Could this bill get gutted as it works its way through the legislature?

A: There are 5 areas that might be problematic and get removed, but the vast majority is fine.

5:23 PM: It would be terrible if they don't fix the gratuity statute. Courts have conflated the bribery and gratuity statutes, so you almost have to prove bribery in order to prove gratuity. This issue was exemplified by the Diane Wilkerson case.

5:26 PM: Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor of the Cambridge Chronicle, the Phoenix

5:27 PM: There are 10,000 Common Cause members in Massachusetts. Set up phone bank to contact legislators or write letters.

5:30 PM: Set up a face-to-face meeting with Cambridge and Somerville delegations. Marty Walz may be very influential. Several members of the Cambridge delegation have committees of their own.

5:33 PM: Ethics reform is an ongoing issue for CSfC. You can use the CSfC web site and email address as a resource for ethics reform.

5:35 PM: Q: At what point does an issue like this rise to the level of a referendum?

A: Let's see what the legislators do, but this kind of issue is what the ballot initiative process was created for. However, a ballot initiative is very difficult and requires a lot of money. A ballot initiative typically requires 100,000 signatures.

5:36 PM: Thanks everyone. Meeting wraps up. Summary of actions is at the top of the post.


Cambridge-Somerville for Change is an all-volunteer community group dedicated to harnessing the grassroots energy and spirit of change inspired by the Obama campaign. Our organizing work includes electoral and issue-based campaigns at the local, state, and national level. Our members have chosen to work on promoting economic fairness, comprehensive health care reform, creating policies that conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide for fair and adequate access to public transportation, and promoting in-state tuition for immigrant youth.

This is an organization built by and for you, the community, and we look forward to your participation and feedback. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about getting involved, please email
or call us at
(617) 302-7324.

CSfC on Facebook

Support CSfC with a Contribution

Note: Contributions are not tax-deductible.