Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Did I mention that I'm running

by paul spencer Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 12:49:56 PM EST

for State Representative in the 15th Legislative District of Washington? Since I wasn't elected as POTUS in 2008, I thought that this would be a good fall-back.

Got past the Primary, which was actually a 'lock', since it's top-two, and there were only two of us. The incumbent is a Republican - as are almost all of the rural WA state legislators - who has been elected 6 times. (Thought all Repugs supported term limits - perhaps the limit is 6 terms.)

The Primary was low turn-out - particularly for Democrats, which may be a demonstration of the CW concerning Democrats' enthusiasm level. So the strategy is GOTV. The demographics of our District actually seem to favor Dems nowadays. Obama won my County in 2008 - barely. The potential is actually much higher in the northern stretch of my District, which is a concentrated agricultural region along the Yakima River.

At any rate I wanted to present my campaign platform to y'all for your review and critique. It fits on both sides of one piece of paper, along with a small picture and contact information.

To the Voters of the Washington state 15th Legislative District -

I am running for State Representative, Position 1, of the 15th Legislative District. I retired in 2008, and now have the time to be fully involved in public service. In particular the development and direction of rural WA counties is a major concern of mine. This paper is an inventory of some of my major concerns and positions. Feel free to contact me at   spencerinthegorge@yahoo.com   for further discussion of these matters.

I invite Republican and independent voters to consider that the rural forested and agricultural regions of our state are short-changed by their tendency to elect Republican politicians in a state with a solid - and stable - Democratic Party majority in the State Legislature. The Republicans are the "Party of No" at the state level as well as the federal level. Many are 'heel-biters' with almost no clout in our state government. We rural citizens will be well-advised to elect Democrats such as myself, who support our interests and can negotiate with the urban Democrats on a collegial basis. I can raise our issues effectively in the State Legislature.

Major issues for our district include:
Support for development and deployment of renewable-energy-based power generation.
Support for utilization of biomass (particularly forest-derived) for combined-heat-and-power facilities on a small-scale, distributed basis with an emphasis on industrial or municipal heating applications.
Sustainable resource management (timber, fish, game, livestock, water, soil) state-wide on both public and private lands, balancing exploitation of resources with protection of our citizens' safety and health.
Building a diverse agriculture with an emphasis on local market development, local processing, and nutritional content and with less emphasis on commodity yields.
Increased emphasis on implementation of Firewise principles in and near rural communities, plus a rapid and strong increase in action to reduce hazardous fuels build-up in our forested regions.
Revision of our tax code to replace B&O Tax and most Sales Taxes with a progressive Personal and Corporate Income Tax (Initiative 1098 is helpful in this regard, but not sufficient).

To sum up, yes, I'm a 'tax-and-spend' liberal - in the current context. Increase taxes on the very wealthy and spend on long-term investment in smaller, local business with both feet in our state and no intention to maximize profit by moving operations to South Carolina - or wherever. Spend on infrastructure that supports greater energy autonomy for our citizens. It can start in Districts like the 15th. We need old-school Democrats who support small-business and working people in rural districts, who can work with legislators from the metropolitan areas to rationalize our policies and programs in favor of the overwhelming majority of our state's citizens.

I support careful eco-tourism development such as the Broughton Mill resort project in Skamania County. As long as long-term residence is excluded, it fulfills a number of objectives: 1) one of the last logical resort sites within the context of the current applicable federal statutes; 2) potential solution to the traffic issue involving wind-surfers in the area; 3) clean-up of the mill site in the context of a viable economic project; 4) possible reduction of wildfire dangers along this section of the Underwood Bluffs. This culminates the vision that Phil Crawford, Van Vandenberg, Wayne White, and I had 25 years ago, when we created the Skamania County EDC to promote economic diversification via destination-resort tourism in our county.

I propose positive encouragement and public investment in solar- and wind-based electrical generation systems in the District. Therefore, I support most of the SD&S wind turbine project above Underwood. In addition wind-rich counties should increase careful and environmentally-sensitive regional development of these resources in alliance with their PUDs via public/private partnerships. In 2006 I helped to obtain signatures on the petitions that brought Initiative 937 to the voters. I-937 has been a major factor in the development of wind-based generation of electricity in our state. I will support increased incentives to build renewable-energy-generation capacity in Washington.

I am determined that forested WA counties (e.g., Skamania County) return to the timber management business on federal forest lands - on a sustainable basis. Collaboration between local citizens and forest managers is essential to achieve this via such entities as the Mt. Adams District Collaborative Group on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which I helped to create. As a State Legislator, I will work to integrate WA DNR's (Dept. of Natural Resources) successful forest management practices with those of our National Forests.

Related to this, we need to add woody and agricultural 'waste' biomass to our definitions of renewable resources, both on the state and federal levels. The state has made a good beginning. Now we need to encourage the development of the production side, since, given current fossil-fuel prices, the biomass alternative can be economically viable. In this regard I support public/private arrangements (similar to New Deal support for rural electrification) as an important part of the process.

In parts of our 15th Legislative District, the impact of feral (mostly abandoned) horses on rangelands is an increasing problem. Legislators from our District must work with the Yakama Nation toward workable solutions. Some may be controversial, such as humane slaughter of abandoned horses, but it's decision time.

CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) in the Yakima valley and on the Yakama reservation appear to be strong sources of ground and air pollution. These, along with other pollution sources in the region, must be investigated by the State Legislature for potential mitigation via regulation and program.

Statewide, Washington has the most regressive tax system in the USA. (We're middling as far as average tax loads, but the ends of our income spectrum are statistical extremes.) The simplest solution would be to scrap the sales tax and go to an income tax. Income tax is typically progressive (higher rates for highest incomes), while sales tax is always regressive (low-income folks pay a higher percentage of their income than high-income earners). Income tax is simpler to administer, as there are orders of magnitude less transactions to monitor. Also, there is an inherent fairness issue within the state. Our state currently loses sales tax income to all of us on the border with Oregon, because we buy some percentage of taxable items in Oregon, where there is no sales tax. Income tax spreads the load to all regions of the state. As a start, I support Initiative 1098.

The wheat-growing region of our state is becoming the same kind of petroleum-based-chemical-dependent, investment-house-controlled industry as that of the corn-growing states of the Midwest. There are quasi-organic, old-fashioned techniques that can brake the current trend toward industrial farming. We need to bring the academics and the practitioners into public hearings to understand their analyses of the situation, at the least. From this information we can make decisions as to the rationality of the current direction and, if warranted, begin to create or redirect public policy.

Another trend is the relegation of our state's agricultural base to the status of plantation. Large parts of the food processing, storage, transportation, and marketing sectors of our agricultural economy have gone to the 'big box' stores and to huge, regional processor/warehouse corporations. I will promote regulation, tax breaks, and related programs that increase the local content of our food industry and decrease corporate consolidation.

That's enough for this platform piece. It's your turn: contact me to tell me your concerns and recommendations.

Hi Paul.

Found a website at


Needs some work.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 04:16:56 PM EST
I just started one for myself last night. I've already responded to a number of PAC-type questionnaires that end up on their web-sites.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 07:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would think your platform should appeal strongly to working age adults in your area and be opposed fiercely by CAFO operations and by large land owners via media purchases. Some of your proposals could be the difference between having a decent income and a minimum wage income or having two instead of one income in a family. What portion of your voter base is it possible to contact personally? How close is this area to Tom Folely's old district?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 05:28:48 PM EST
Congressional District, which are larger than State Leg. Districts. He had the easternmost area, which, if I remember correctly, included Spokane and Pullman. I'm in the mid-southern region.

As to contact, I need to roust about 500 people to run a GOTV effort. The good news is that Patty Murray needs to do the same thing in my district, so our state's "Coordinated Campaign" is working on it, too.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 07:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now.  Today.  Do not eat dinner, do not pass Go, don't collect $200, do not fart, belch, or piss before


Please, please, please.

Within days you're going to be meeting people and they will be talking to you, asking questions, & all that.  THEY WILL REMEMBER!  If you remember you're a nice guy; if you don't you're a shit.  

You'll need a stenographer to be your shadow at all public events writing down all public conversations and transcribe it so you have a record.  This person will also manage the information/action items until you get yourself a secretary who reports directly to you, bypassing your Chief of Staff, but also regularly informs your CoS.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 07:30:44 PM EST
And/or an official videographer with a hand held camera and a wireless mic receiver connected to the audio input with the feed being from a very visible mic on your person.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 10:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you happen to have a link to an online Farley File Howto or something similar?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 02:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the best I can find on the web.

A Farley File is a diary and aide-mémoire.  The easiest way to construct one is as a computer file arranged by Name.  Each entry should include the contact information (address, telephone number, email, etc.) if appropriate and known.  With the ubiquity of digital cameras a photograph could go in there as well.  The diary part is a running record of information regarding the person: spouse, children, hobbies, likes/dislikes, beliefs, questions, requests for information, & etc. and a record of interaction(s) with the person the Farley File is for.  Also an assessment and comments section could be in there.

A good idea is put people not met but important such as Congressional members, leaders and VIPs of all political parties, major businessmen, personnel within the organization, and so on.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 08:56:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Farley. I carry a small pocket notebook and make notes about to-do, events, names, and contacts. I have boxes of such booklets from the last 33 years of work. Of course, I never look at them nowadays, but they were invaluable at the time.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 03:05:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best of luck. go get 'em

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 05:22:25 AM EST
Excellent idea, Paul!

I would gladly help you GOTV, but it's a bit far from Lyon... ;-)

I wish you good luck.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 05:49:09 AM EST
to Lyon.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 03:05:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I might have done better than 2.3% when I ran for a French rural district in 2002, had I had such a good one...

Might I suggest that the phrase "I'm a 'tax-and-spend' liberal" is a real red rag, an absolute roadblock to a lot of readers, and might conceivably be phrased differently without denaturing the meaning?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 07:10:49 AM EST
yes! good manifesto, though i concur with evergreen about tax'n'spend.

both parties (should) hate waste, bloated bureaucracies etc, so leaner government should be on dems' agendas too, obama knows this even.

i think that crying for better spending, rather than more spending will get you further, as will the continued emphasis on renewable resources and economic sustainability as a better value system than pure short-term (economic) profits. the same for taxing, as in: 'would you rather a community with a few rich at the top, then a huge gulf between them and the rest? or some more equitable setup?'

yeah, socialist i know... social capitalism, enlightened capitalism, something new that doesn't ring too many historical bells. techno-socialism, hmmm.

well done! keep us posted. maybe it is better to cut your teeth this way before becoming president, lol.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 08:24:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the same from others here. Problem is that I'm not trying to sneak up on anybody. Part of being a candidate for me is telling the truth as I see it.

WA is the most regressive state in the USA. It's a simple matter of basic fairness, and it's a Democratic Party issue here, because we endorsed I-1098. The Republican is going to hit me with it anyway.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 03:11:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just admit you're a 'tax and spend wisely' Democrat, or something like that. The connotation of 'tax and spend' alone has been made to mean 'tax like crazy and spend like crazy'; you must use your 'admission' to kick that connotation in the tail and advance your take.

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 06:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good text (though I agree with eurogreen about tax-and-spend) and I would like to stress that it deserves a nice layout. Good layout does not win voters, but bad layout can loose you voters.

If I may suggest a simple, not costly way of presenting your text: fold the paper. This makes a standard A4 into a 4-page A5 leaflet.

Page 1: Picture of you and statement of purpose, ie Paul Spencer for State Legislature!

Page 2 and 3: the text you have. Put two columns on each page and be generous with headlines. Throw in some pictures here to.

Page 4: Contact info, how to get involved in the campaign etc.

It can still be multiplied on a standard printer or copier, and the down-the-middle folding is easy enough to do by hand (while the neater folding where one A4 turns into six pages is much harder to do). Many printing establishments offer the simple fold for a small fee.

I do not design stuff for a living, so if anyone gives you an idea that sounds better, used that instead. I have extensive experience with low-budget campaigns though. And the above is for a no-budget campaign, essentially giving you and your activists something to hand out as an icebreaker. If you want have some money to spend and some time to wait, I suggest contacting real printers (lots of cheap ones online). The costs per item goes down dramatically with volume.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 02:28:06 PM EST
I've been considering how to arrange it. I have it on two sides of one sheet currently, and I advertise it as a sleeping pill.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 03:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good advice. Especially about short headlines that help you navigate the text quickly and gives something to anchor in your memory.

I'd be happy to turn any text into a 'slide presentation' (it causes me pain to even say powerpoint) - that can then be turned into a short video if needed. If you need a radio spot - I can lend you my voice (and production) for free. Though a British voice might agitate the Tea Party sympathisers. Oops! I can do passable American accents that fool a Finnish audience, but I don't think I'd get away with it on radio stations of these united states.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 03:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the only radio that I'm going to do is on the Yakama Nation station as an interview. They support me and will loop the interview now and then during the election period.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Sep 9th, 2010 at 08:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What portion of the electorate is comprised of Yakima?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 10th, 2010 at 04:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the '80s) represent about 12% of the District electorate.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 01:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Small world.  I used to live upstream in Lyle.
by rifek on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 12:07:57 PM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]