Community Organizer in Chief Calls on Locals

On Tuesday night five people met in a Washington State University classroom to discuss the federal government’s economic stimulus push, but perhaps more tellingly what they can do to help people stung by the current economy.

“It’s not just what we want, it’s where it’s going to do the most good,” said Ginny Duff, who organized the event after answering the call made by the president’s people. It was one of two that we know of in Kitsap County this week. The other was on Bainbridge Island Monday.

Ideas discussed included community and personal gardening, doing small things like taking a neighbor with you when you shop for groceries, bartering, healthcare, or waiting as long as possible to take unemployment to make sure the system doesn’t dry up.

During the 24 hour blitz in February, when Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain touched down in Washington prior to the caucuses, the one thing that distinguished Obama supporters from the others was who they talked about. Clinton’s supporters talked about her. Obama supporters talked about themselves. They talked about what they would do, not so much about him but about what he motivated them to undertake.

More of Steven Gardner’s Clips

Tuesday’s meeting, though only attended by four, could be a small representation of that.

The event did have some hints of partisanship. Duff criticized Republicans for going against the economic stimulus package. Adam Brockus, Bremerton city councilman made a jab at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, without naming her. She has been critical of what Congress and Obama are doing with the current proposals on the table. “Why don’t you say again, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,'” referring to her account of the Bridge to Nowhere.

But Tuesday’s meeting also had signs of not fitting the traditional stereotypes of what liberals would like. When discussing foreclosure assistance, the group seemed to favor some relief in the form mortgage renegotiation. But the group had little sympathy for those who bought well more than they could afford. “It’s called a reality check,” said Eileen Dye of Bremerton.

The ideas will be sent to the president. It’s part of the broader community organizing Obama hopes to carry from his day with that title to the one he has now.

There was some question about whether the snow might deter attendance. There were logistical problems. Duff had a PowerPoint presentation including a video by Va. Gov. Tim Kaine answering economic recovery questions prepared, but the equipment wasn’t available to present it. So the group talked and wrote down concerns and questions, which will be sent to the president.

To see the video by Kaine, go to the video attached here.

3 thoughts on “Community Organizer in Chief Calls on Locals

  1. Ok, Steven,

    This story is telling me it is a slow day for you on blog stories…now get over to the Bremerton Beat and make fun of Port Orchard like you promised us.

    The people in this story are depressing me. As someone who is actually out there, currently involved in a collective community partnership that is effecting change right now, I am at a complete loss as to why they are sitting around talking about what they could be doing when they could have actually accomplished something in the same amount of time they were sitting around talking about it. More disturbing is the fact that it actually made it as a story.

    I will share something the interim pastor at our church said last Sunday about helping people in the community who are really struggling.

    “I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony. So much area to cover that I don’t know where to start.”

    People, there is ground to cover…get started.

    I really need a Port Orchard laugh…..stop holding out on us.

  2. Colleen, the thing is when people were telling me this stuff a year ago I was making a mental note to myself to watch for what happened should he get elected. The fact is the current economic state we’re in makes it easy for the president to keep his word, because asking for people to volunteer is no shocker when times are tough. Nonetheless I think it’s something worth following. If in a year from now we find out not much is happening, that’s a story. That there were five people there last night can’t yet be judged, because it’s early yet. Let’s see how this plays out. Everyone, including Port Orchard, is on notice.

    Speaking of Port Orchard, you’re right. I’ve got to get on those guys. They make me take a winding path to the county administration building because there’s a little bit of snow on the ground. I guess I should be thankful for that, because sure enough I’d be parking the back end of the Taurus in a mailbox. I’ve got something in mind for the Bremerton Beat blog dealing with the sewer issue. Stay tuned, because within a day or so there might be something even better than that.

  3. The biggest and best Port Orchard/South Kitsap story (all of KC story!) is that the prime Howe farm cropland given to the dogs at taxpayer expense was borrowed back due to the present economic need and used by the south end community for growing crops. Taxpayers could continue paying the dog management fee and in a few years, when the economy recovers, give it back to the dogs if they still want it.

    We NEED to help people feed themselves. The dogs have two other tax supported off lead dog parks in the south end plus all the on lead parks there.

    Now THAT would be an outstanding headline for PO/SK…real front page stuff.
    Sharon O’Hara

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