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Democrat bashes "undemocratic" Democratic Party

Michael E. Arth, the other Democrat seeking the governor's mansion, sent out an email saying he's filing a grievance against the Florida Democratic Party for being "undemocratic." Here's the whole thing:

Tallahassee, FL: August 25, 2009: Democrat gubernatorial candidate Michael E. Arth filed a set of grievances and proposals to the Rules Committee and Judiciary Council of the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) today. The four page list of grievances, titled “The Democratic Party is Not Being Democratic,” include complaints regarding Arth being frozen out by the party leadership, the party’s breaking of neutrality in violation of democratic principles, and the PDP’s blatant support of another candidate long before the primary election, even while enforcing non-endorsement laws on their Democratic Executive Committees. The grievance also lists various proposed changes that would make the Democratic Party democratic. Contact information follows the attached, original grievance and proposals:....

Petitioner: Michael E. Arth, Democratic gubernatorial candidate

Grievance: The Florida Democratic Party is not being Democratic

List of Grievances:

I. Communication blackout: I am being consistently ignored by the party officials/leaders Karen Thurman, Scott Arceneaux, Eric Jotkoff, and others. Despite over a dozen emails, letters, a certified letter, calls, and other communications, my attempts to have a conversation with or get information about what services might be available to me have been systematically ignored.  These services—whether paid or not—include such things as mailing or calling lists, ads, the “featured Democrat” post, banners that link to candidate’s websites, and “event center” links to articles on the FDP home page. Refusal to discuss these services appears to be a deliberate effort to freeze out my campaign and to deny me the most basic courtesy.

II. Undemocratic practices:

1. Violation of Neutrality: May 2009: Chairperson Karen Thurman endorsed Alex Sink within minutes of Sink’s announcement that she was running for the office of governor. This was followed by three months of fundraising ads, website banners, speeches, and other efforts (to the exclusion of any other gubernatorial candidates) “authorized and paid for the Florida Democratic Party.” The advertisements were paid for with money raised from Florida Democrats to support Democratic candidates. To spend these funds to support one candidate over another more than a year before the Primary Election is to deny these Democrats any say in how their money is spent and to dilute their choice in the primary. The primary should exist for the purpose of allowing the democratic process to work. Viable candidates within the parties have the right to reach the electorate, and these endorsements and fundraising have soaked up millions in campaign cash for one candidate and made it seem that there is only one serious choice. The primary should be an election, not a coronation.

2. Vote-Buying: On 5 June 2009, a week after I filed for office, I called the Florida Democratic Party. By chance, communication director Eric Jotkoff picked up the phone. In the only conversation that I have been able to have with any top FDP official or leader, Jotkoff told me not to run for governor unless I had $3 million to start and $1.3 million a week to win. As Jotkoff told me, “It’s not about the issues, it’s about the money.” To make the elections about the money, and not about the issues, robs the electorate of their constitutional right for fair and democratic representation. Vote-buying and pay-for-play have become institutionalized in our two-party system, and perpetuated by the leadership in Tallahassee led by Karen Thurman. The Democratic Party should seek the high road and fight for electoral reform instead of affirming that it is about the money. Candidates should be discussing serious issues and learning how to be better leaders instead of learning how to be better fundraisers. Jotkoff also said that our money-grubbing electoral process was why he did not work in fundraising. “It would shred every last bit of idealism that I have left,” he said. If the Democratic Party has any last bit of idealism left, it should be striving to improve our democracy rather than seeking to exploit every legal advantage in the pursuit of raw power.

3. FDP Bylaws and the Florida Constitution: Florida is a democratic constitutional republic. Section 1, Article 1 of the Florida State Constitution states that “All political power is inherent in the people.” In keeping with the intent of the Constitution, the Democratic Bylaws have this provision:

Section 3. Endorsement 3.1 Definition: Endorsement shall be defined as endorsing, certifying, screening, or recommending, in any manner, candidates in primary elections.
3.4 Candidate Qualifying: No endorsement shall be made prior to the close of the period of candidate qualifying.
The Florida Democratic Party Bylaws require neutrality for the Democratic Executive Committees during the period before the close of the qualifying period, and it is commonly assumed that this applies to party leadership as well. It does not. According to the FDP’s attorney, Mark Herron, neutrality applies to the DECs but not to the FDP leaders, even though they may be members of DECs themselves. In fact, the rule of non-endorsements is tightened further and made even more hypocritical by a “statement of non-endorsement” required of the DEC chairpersons.

Every chair of every DEC has to sign this statement if they want to receive their portion of the filing fees from the FDP. I propose that the bylaws be amended so it is clear that neutrality applies to the FDP in the same manner that it applies to the Democratic Executive Committees. I also propose that the period of neutrality extend to the primary.

This attempt to freeze out a legitimate candidate and endorse a person chosen by a few party leaders is undemocratic and makes an oxymoron out of the term “Democratic Party.”  It’s like the old Soviet Union where candidates under the control of a few party leaders are hand-picked for the millions of voters. I agree with the statement sent to me by Hilliary A. Martin, secretary of the Northwest Volusia Democratic Club:

The Florida Democratic Party bylaws tell me that our Democratic Executive Committee has to remain neutral while a few party leaders select, promote, and fund-raise for a candidate who is far less suitable than Mr. Arth. It’s outrageously undemocratic, both for us and for the voters. The party bylaws need to be rewritten so it that it is clear that both the DECs and the FDP stay neutral before the primary. In compensation, Mr. Arth should immediately receive the same number of ads that were already given to the other candidate. Anything less would be a disgrace.
III. Proposed Electoral Reform: Neutrality within the party organizations for their own candidates is especially important under our notoriously unfair plurality system. I am aware that the practice of anointing candidates takes place within both the Republican and Democratic Parties in violation of democratic principles. Like other abuses of power that have been common in the era of dirty politics, this should be exposed to the light of day in this age of increasing transparency. This attack on our constitutionally protected right for representation is further compromised by certain blatantly undemocratic practices. The Democratic Party should stand for these additional reforms in order to live up to their name:

1. Majority Voting: We should replace the winner-take-all scheme to elect leaders in single-member elections with instant runoff voting. With IRV, voters rank their candidates in order of preference. Only a majority can win, so if there is not a majority the one with the least votes is automatically dropped with the votes re-tabulated until there is a majority. This instantaneous, automatic process opens elections to new ideas and prevents third party challengers from turning into potential “spoilers.” If Ralph Nader had not run in the 2000 presidential race, Al Gore would have won instead of George Bush, for example.

2. Public Campaign Finance: Special interests, or rich candidates, should not be allowed to compromise the public interest through private campaign financing.

3. Direct Voting: Replace the Electoral College with direct voting.

4. Proportional Representation: We should abolish single member districts for representatives elected by plurality voting. This allows for redistricting fights every 10 years and excludes the majority of people from being properly represented. We should have proportional representation in newly created multi-member districts for truly fair redistricting, and fair representation.

 5. Restore Ex-Felon’s Right to Vote: About 1 million ex-felons are denied the right to vote in Florida. In Florida, we incarcerate people at a rate that is 8 times higher than Canada yet we still have a higher rate of violence. While addressing the systemic reasons why we have the world’s highest incarceration rate, we should also restore the vote and other rights for those who have done their time and who are struggling to reenter society.

 


Voters often complain about not being properly represented, but they usually do not blame the real culprit—our electoral system. Instead they tend to blame the politicians who they see as venal, superficial, power-hungry, mendacious, and preoccupied with non-stop fundraising. Only by reforming the electoral system can we get the leaders we both need and deserve. Electoral reform, both inside and outside the party, would bring dignity to politics. It would also stop the vote-buying, help keep good people honest; eliminate spoilers and vote strategizing; make gerrymanders extinct, and bring out the best candidates.

VI. Conclusion: As an example of the proper and reasonable respect for neutrality, here is what state committeeman Ed Matson wrote me:

We are the Democrat Party of Martin County with the objective of electing Democrats and we try not to charge fellow Democrats for any type of advertising on our website. We have a limited budget, but do what we can. Alex Sink was the only gubernatorial candidate I was aware of until your announcement and that is why we had the big splash for her. We try not to “endorse” any particular Democratic candidate until after the primaries and we will try to give equal space and time to all of our viable people….I was looking at your website and I must say, I like and agree with almost all of your issue positions. There needs to be more enlightenment like that in this state.
 My grievances are as universal as they are personal. It is reflected in the reaction of others within the party—many of whom are outraged but reluctant to speak up out of fear of retribution. I have voted Democratic for over 35 years because I believe this to be both a party of principle and of responsible change. Everything I have seen on the local level within the Democratic Executive Committees and Democratic Clubs reinforces this belief. The Democrats I meet have generally welcomed my attempts to discuss important issues in this race, to give 4 million party voters more than one choice, and to stay neutral until after the primary. I ask for the same treatment by the Florida Democratic Party.

 Sincerely,

 

Michael E. Arth (386) 626-4884

http://www.michaelearth.org


Comments

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Cynical Idealist

Well, thanks for opening a can of worms, Mike.

You claim viability as a candidate, yet I've never heard of you, and I'm pretty active in political circles.

So, I challenge your claim of viability and ask that you raise enough money so you can afford to send me mailer that outline your platform and positions on the issues.

Can't raise the money? I didn't think you could.

WatchDog

Thank you for opening this can of worms indeed. I agree with one point that Cynical idealist makes. Michael Arth is an unknown. The Florida Democratic Party is supporting Alex Sink before a primary has been completed. Mr Arth will most likely struggle to raise campaign funds. Cynical idealist and other Florida voterst would know who Mr. Arth is if the Florida Democratic Party gave equal support to Democratic candidates prior to the primary, unknown or not. All politicians were unknown at some point. Their popularity does not dictate their value as a politician.

William Hall

The assumptions here are that money rules. Being an unknown doesn't matter if you have a warehouse full of money with which to purchase fame. Therein lies the problem. If campaigns were publically financed then we would have a more level playing field. Nevertheless, most would still make their choices based on "likeability" rather than ideas. To the extent that we rely on money to inform us - we are subject to the rule of the powerful (wealth equals power).

Burning Man

It is sad to read comments from one "so active in political circles" which disregard Mr. Arth's legitimate and astute complaints regarding the current state of the democratic process in Florida as "opening a can of worms."

My read is that this is a "can of worms" well worth opening and perhaps Michael Arth is just the one to do it.

Mike Arth would easily be found the best candidate to serve the needs of the taxpayers of Florida if it wasn't "about the money."

the Dude

the cynical idealist should be aware that it has been written 1 man can only worship one thing God or Mammon (Demon of Greed) I think we all know where he stands

Chairman BJ Chiszar

From what I have read about Mr. Arth, he seems to be a decent and reasonable man, one with proven results on the ground in Deland, Fl. He singlehandly redeveloped and revitalized a rough part of town into a beautiful Garden district. I think he will be breath of fresh air for Florida and the Democratic Party and only add to the public discourse. I am glad that Mr. Arth has decided to stand up to the Florida Democratic Party, they brought this on themselves with how they treated him.
BJ Chiszar, Chair- Miami Dade Democratic Party

picdesign

Elitism stinks! The smell that came from the cynical idealist's post was FOUL! The problem (one of the many) with Washington is greed. We need someone who is in it to be a true voice for the people and not for the money. The person who is least influenced by money is a much better candidate and will have more success at winning the trust of the public. We need someone who will be accountable, not a free spender but a GOOD STEWARD of OUR money and that would be someone who is responsible and honest. Elitist just don't fit that bill. The average American will take note. The average American wants a voice and the way Michael is being ignored is what enrages us. We can relate to that. I wish Mr. Arth the best.

Democratic Supporter

Thank you "Cynical Idealist" for proving Michael's point. You are one of the reasons our political system is so screwed up. Instead of reading through Michael's ideas on issues and political reform, you probably went right to the bottom of this web page to post your obtuse comments.

You probably only vote for the candidates who are on Satuday Night Live the most, huh?

Scottie Campbell

I knew of Michael Arth prior to his campaign for governor. He is a candidate that has demonstrated his commitment to community with his revitalization of DeLand's "cracktown" being a glowing example. If you haven't heard of him, do yourself a favor and learn. Picking up the documentary "New Urban Cowboy" is a good place to start. I first became aware of him when my partner studied him in college -- how often can you say that of a candidate, unless the class is politics?

Unfortunately what Mr. Arth is experiencing is an example of how our American political system has gone wrong. If we are truly democratic, we should have more than two choices, but the current system doesn't allow for that sort of thing. If you don't have the right amount of dollars, if you don't play the game of the existing parties, then you don't stand a chance. How then do you know you are electing the best person for the job? How?

Stop for a moment and think what could be done with the $3 million dollars the FDP tells Mr. Arth he would need to be a viable candidate. How about education? How about putting it into programs that supplement our embarrassing healthcare system? How about investing it in sustainable living options? (We're the Sunshine State and we've long ignored that gift as an energy resource.) Simply put: Worlds could change with that kind of money.

My disgust with the American political system came to a head during our last election. I voted in a primary, then my vote was not counted. I dropped all affiliation to a political party. I decided I would start voting for the person that best represented my ideals; not the candidate that comes closest to the pin. Some may see that as a waste of time, I see it as participating in democracy.

Open up that can of worms, Michael. Open it up.

SickOfTheNon-Democracy

I am continuously dismayed by the non-democratic way our nation is run, top to bottom. The process is SUPPOSED to be that the people choose the candidate in the primary election - this is not and never should be the choice of the "Committee". I applaud Mr. Arth for his courage to bring this extreme bias into public view. A man who is willing to stand up to the current corrupt level of politics is the kind of person I want to see in office. Good job Mr. Arth, and don't let the turkeys like Cynical Idealist make you cynical. If he really was involved in political circles, perhaps he would understand the way our election system is SUPPOSED to work. Keep up the good work Mr. Arth!

Faye

I'm sorry, Mr. Arth is going the route of the "I lost before I even enter". Mr. Arth hasn't held office, has no name id inside the state, isn't raising money...

There may be two people in the race, but only Sink is "running".

Frank Azzurro

about time someone called out the so called "democratic" party on this stuff.

Michael E. Arth

Faye,

The fact that I have not held office is a mark in my favor. I'm a policy analyst and urban design in a time when we need someone who understands policy and who knows about growth management. My work rebuilding Cracktown and working with the homeless speaks for itself. My name ID was 9% among Democrats (according to Mason Dixon poll) only three weeks after I announced. It's probably twice that now and it will be nearly 100% by the time of the primary after I have debated the other candidates in the statewide televised debates (for which I already qualify). 45% of those Democrats recognizing me said they'd vote for me. Considering this was accomplished without millions in special interest payola shows that there is more to running than being in the right place to be anointed by party hacks. Please read the grievance to learn how our system is cheating the electorate out of proper representation.

Sydney Solis

This is the state of America - the cronies in office want their cronies and don't want democracy! This is an outrage! Arth's rights are being violated, as well as all citizens! Shame! The people need to rise up and complain about these loss of freedoms! Go MIchael Arth! What a great man!

not pollyana

is 'cynical idealist' the new DICK? how about you read michael's stance on the issues for free on his websites, instead of waiting to be hand-fed your choice? does 'pretty active in political circles' mean reading matt drudge to you? wow, how enlightening you are! NOT!
BTW, worms are the new red meat, didn't you know???

John Locke

Cynical Idealist claims to be active with the party. Who knew that anonymous trolls were "active with the party" and are here to tell us what to think and how to vote?

Cynical Idealist, if you had the courage of your "convictions" you'd at least have the decency to use your real name, instead of hiding behind a stupid online handle. People like you are not "active with the party" you're active on your keyboard safe at home, where you troll and flame anyone who's at least trying to make a difference like Mr. Arth. Reveal yourself or go back to playing Warcraft all day.

CHOICE PLEASE!

A man with good ideas can catch big fish with some worms in a pond! If that pond is a Sink hole, WATCH OUT! It does seem like the Democrats have eyes blind to progressive politics. And Obama is starting to swim in his own sink hole too. It seems like the choices are not ever so different. The system is broken

Greg Gimbert

While Developcrats occupy Democrat leadership positions we peasants will get nothing but a facade of party ideals while they serve the same masters as our Republican Legislature. Is it a coincidence that Arth supports holding development to what can be safely supported by our Aquifer without a local vote or that he wants to erase the "spoiler" effect the helps keep out real resident representation at the local level on up? Another coincidence that he is the only Gubernatorial candidate that supports Amendment 4 aka Florida Hometown Democracy? I don't think so. Solve the problem by supporting Arth and help clean out the Sink.

Miss Mann

It's admirable that Michael E. Arth is exposing the problems with modern politics. Nowadays it's all about the money rather than the issues. The other candidates running avoid discussing the real hard-hitting issues that most heavily affect the daily lives of Floridians. Whether or not you agree with him, Arth's willingness to engage in these conversations really makes him stand out from all the other run-of-the-mill political candidates we see in all these races. Michael E. Arth has my support and I hope that the democratic party will give him the chance he deserves!!

Greg Laden

I think maybe you have a local problem that is not reflected broadly in the party. Here are my comments about unity vs. diversity.

Rob Field

The Florida Democratic Party is consistently undemocratic. Rank and file members have little or no voice in policy, the Rules Committee has had the same Chair since 1968, and using monies donated by Democrats to support a particular candidate before rank and file members have had a chance to nominate a candidate in the General is obviously wrong. Michael is a serious candidate. His views might not be in the center of political life, but the voters deserve a chance to make up their minds without their party stacking the deck.

Ron

I would like to remind Mr. Arth according to Florida law no one is a candidate for any office in the Democratic Ticket until the Chair puts them on the ballot. After such nonsense it is likely she will not be putting this malcontent on the ballot.

Charles Smith

Does this have anything to do with the FDP trying to rid itself of the dixiecrats who have been sabotaging the party for 60 years?

Michael E. Arth

Ron,

If that is true, it is even worse than I thought, and what I wrote is even more applicable. Also, you should know that I spent months trying to communicate with the Florida Democratic Party only to be ignored. What am I supposed to do? Roll over and play dead? Maybe that's what you and some others would like. It's not going to happen. I'm running and the powers-that-be who want to maintain the status quo will just have to get used to it.

Also I noticed that several times today, for several hours, this blog was not accessible. I'm curious to know if it was a denial of service attack. If so, it won't work. People will find out the truth about the issues and our broken electoral system. As Martin Luther King once said, "The soft man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea."

For new ideas go to http://www.michaelearth.org

Susan Chandler

NOTE: This letter (reposted on behalf of Susan Chandler with her permission) was sent to party chair Thurman today and will also appear in the Progress Florida blog.

Dear Ms. Thurman:

I strenuously object to your selecting Alex Sink as our party's gubernatorial candidate.

If you had picked either Clinton or Obama prior to Florida's presidential primary, you'd have split our party in two. Still, you erred disastrously in declining funding for Dr. Stephen Blythe, who could have easily defeated Bill Posey with a little well-deserved help. $2,000 the day before the election, if memory serves, was the extent of the party's support - under your direction - for a candidate who would have foreshortened the Congressional healthcare controversy, having worked for the Canadian healthcare system while working as a physician in Maine. Dr. Howard Dean has no similar experience, has taken no pains to educate himself on other nation's healthcare systems and continues to ignore the existence of the 17,000 members of Physicians for a National Health Program, allowing the Senate to follow suit and deny them a seat at the "roundtable," resulting in a circus of arrests and ensuing months of contrived controversies.

Unlike Florida's past two governors and candidates McCollum and Sink, Arth believes in due process, and will not turn a deaf ear - as the other four have - to the pleas of more than 100 Floridians and their families who've waited for 25 years for relief from bogus "scent evidence" expert John Preston's perjuries. When the Innocence Project says they believe a death row inmate is innocent and will fund DNA tests, Arth won't rush to execute, as Crist did Wayne Tompkins. Nor would Arth have executed John Marek last week, being capable of distinguishing the difference between six jailhouse informants in search of prosecutorial favors and three inmates that put themselves in harm's way - with nothing to gain - to try and save an innocent man.

Apparently, Alex Sink will do whatever is best for Alex Sink in every circumstance, evidenced by failing to decline the party endorsement as premature. CFO Sink did not commit to investigating Brevard until Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Maxwell put her up against a wall; she did not follow up that commitment with a press release indicating that help was on it's way, should she be elected, for those victimized by Brevard law enforcement officers and the likes of John Dean Moxley, Norm Wolfinger, Chris White, Wayne Holmes, etc.

I've struggled with health problems all my life due to birth defects; I've been an environmental and social justice activist since the 70's; I've been battling Brevard's corruption since 2001, having twice battled public corruption before - once with the deft, unsolicited assistance of legendary Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley. It does not fall to you to preempt or override my decisions on who will best champion my struggles, beliefs and battles by overreaching your authority with endorsements or inequitable distribution of contributions.

Please immediately notify me, and the media, that you have retracted your premature endorsement of CFO Sink, whom I'm copying in hopes she steps up and spares the party embarrassment by stating that your premature endorsement is not in keeping with party principles, preventing another circus.

Thank you for your time and attention. I request a response no later than close of business tomorrow, August 27th. This cannot wait.

Regards,
Susan Chandler
Democratic Precinct Captain #501
1060 South Highway US 1 #99
Vero Beach, FL 32962-5681

Bobby Bush

I've been trying to decide what it would be like to be as omniscient as Cynical Idealist. Would it be intoxicating to realize that I already know about everything in the universe that has any merit, or would it be lonely and depressing to spend the rest of my life with the understanding that I will never again encounter anything for the first time that isn't utterly worthless?

I think I'd have to have a surprise now and then to keep me from giving up, and a candidate like Michael Arth who is capable of independent thought fills that bill quite nicely. I'm for him.

Paul Still

I am wondering if the FDP has lost its way and has decided ideas don’t count only money counts. The party is focused only on money and if you don’t have the money you can’t participate. This is wrong. Alex Sink is a great candidate but Michael Arth has some great ideas. Why not let us Democrats have an open debate and maybe some great ideas can be developed and we can elect a Democratic Governor with great ideas.

We saw what big money did for us Democrats in the last gubernatorial primary it created a sore loser and maybe cost us the governorship.

Maybe its time to kick the money changers out of Tallahassee and take our “Democratic” party back.

Paul Still
Bradford County State Committeeman

John Russell, MS/ARNP

To Ron,

Check the rules sir... No candidate is "appointed" to any ballot by the FDP Chair. You either pay the filing fee or you submit enough legal petition cards to ensure your name is placed on the Primary Ballot.

"Playing Ball and Going along to Get Along" while purposefully "engineering" poor opposition to the Republicans is SOP for the FDP!

Kudos to Arth and others willing to challenge the perpetually self agrandizing powers that be.

There are volumes to be spoken about the ineptitude/corruption so rampant at the upper tier of the FDP... and it NEVER changes!

Notwithstanding some of the witless underlings scattered among the county chair group.

As Republicrats, it is... ALL 'bout da Money and to these amazingly like-minded and less than introspective people who care less... substantially LESS in fact about winning ELECTIONS... as a mechanism to advance the foundations of Democracy...

Than they do about securing their own personal agenda at whatever foolish level such ambitions reside...

John Russell, Pasco County

Sydney Solis

This is great stuff, as a dialogue in a newspaper is what democracy is all about. Let the truth be shown about just what is at hand - a democratic system hijacked by greed and corruption, leaving the American people as slaves. But now is the time for the people to rise up, as what have we got to lose? Our schools are in shambles, public funds are cut, cut cut. We are taxed to death. We need to take back our democracy and we need electoral reform so that we the people can have our country back. Michael Arth is a hero for the people.... A true modern-day David agains the Goliath of the Corporotocracy greed fest our country has slide into.

Ms. Debra   Ann Ferguson

Opening a can of worms............Time for them to be exposed!! What does him being an unknown have to do with this MAN stepping forth to work for the people. Appears to me, he understood his Civics teacher.
Reagan was an ACTOR, so did that prepare him for the presidency? I was so happy to see persons with intelligent minds standing behind, and beside Mr. Arth. It's time for a NEW Florida. I trust him to lead us into better times.

Gary Davis

I didn't realize that following legal and ethical principals was a "can of worms," a rather negative and cynical term for raising legitimate and serious issues. Viability... how viable was Baraq Obama 3 years ago? Most of the country had never heard of him. Michal Arth is an extremely well-intentioned, capable, articulate and action-oriented individual who has backed up his words with significant and measurable action. What better qualifications could one want? A fat pocketbook? Thank goodness the country didn't go for Mitt Romney and many others with deep pockets and shallow platforms. Or should we follow the Republican model and give it to the guys who already have the cash and cronies behind them?

Ms. Debra   Ann Ferguson

Thank you Mr. Davis for such a well written opinion. You could not have said it any better. As I too agree with your comment on having a "huge war chest". I'd much prefer a wagon load of truth and principles instead of a lot of talk with no substance behind the empty words.
We must ALL stand up for Mr. Arth, as he has the State's interest in mind.

L Strawn

Michael Arth is an extremely intelligent and competent man who has already made a difference in DeLand, Florida. He is a visionary and has the determination to succeed against the challenges Florida faces. He deserves our consideration as a candidate for Governor. The Democratic Party should not pre-choose for the voters who will be the "Democratic" candidate. Florida will not be served by business as usual. Think about how great Florida could be, and think about a new approach to politics with a candidate like Michael Arth.

H. Taracka

"...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people, shall not perish from the earth." President Abraham Lincoln, 1863.
Michael Arth IS one of the people, not a polished and sculpted super-wealthy politician. He is a great example of what our government sorely needs - a person who has their finger on the pulse of society's problems. Arth is a real person who is not afraid to say what he thinks, regardless of other's opinions. Isn't this the kind of person we are always hoping will run and win public office? Arth's vast knowledge of social issues and his ability to hands-on tackle problems really impresses me. And, his courage to stand up to the "political machine" impresses me even more. Thank you Mr. Arth for being a breath of fresh air.

Greg Gimbert

Hey, the site is back up. Wonder who launched the denial of service attack to take it down? Perhaps Sink and her party leadership handlers? While it was down I thought of some campaign slogans; What do you call a candidate beholden to every big business interest but the kitchen sink? Alex!, or maybe - As bad as this CFO has let the states finances get do we really want to "Sink" any further?, my favorite is Sink with Alex or Swim with Arth, your vote your choice Florida! Just like this web site try as they might you just can't keep a good man down. All for now, G:)

Nancy Richards

Mr. Arth's predicament reminded me of my months of service for and on bahalf of Dr. Steve Blythe, who ran against Dave Weldon for the U.S. Congressional 15th District this past year. Not only didn't the State Democratic Party support the candidate who outran his 30 second before the deadline bell registered Republican (Paul Rancatore) who switched to Democrat and plunked down ten large ones to run; they further insulted him by having $2K delivered the day before the election; too late to do any good, but now being able to say "well, we sent our candidate money"! Blythe got two votes for every one vote Rancatore got; which shows the will of the voting folks for the 15th District. In spite of this slamdunk; no word from the state party was forthcoming------in fact they went out of their way to ignore Dr. Blythe; slighting him when Joe Biden visited the state; not introducing him to Senator Biden, so he could be presented on the state stage------HOW CRASS! This experience has clearly demonstrated to me that the State of Florida Democratic Party is rotten from the top down; and they violated their loyalty oath by enabling Bill Posey, a rabid right wing Republican to win by the sin of ommission. Shame on Thurman; et al. Shame on Nancy Pelosi too, quoted in a leading national magazine on the record who stated "we will not help or support liberal candidates in areas which are known to be conservative"-------well, guess what--she meant it, it filtered through the state parties and many did not win; so now we have a congress full of Blue Dogs; all of them rabid who will bite the hands that fed them by voting against universal health care and other important things the American people voted Obama into office to bring to them. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME-------I advise a class action suit if there is a lawyer who thinks you folks have a case; Russell, Blythe and now Arth----sue their pants off. They are a disgrace to true Democrats, who run on traditional Democratic principals.

Marcelle

Why would a person who has never run for political state office in Florida suddenly decide to run for the highest office in the state? Call it paranoia, if you want. But I wonder if this is an instance of tactics practiced by our opponents here in our county.

Greg Gimbert

Good question Marcelle, Maybe he has had the same feeling as others who were ignored by local government and realized that even if he won a local office it would only be a purgatory of 6 to 1 commission votes against him. The next progression is government change via initiative petition, but that is a "Herculean" task for a single result. Perhaps he realized that it is not much more of a job to put a person to the people as it is to put an idea. From there one only need remember that this is America and therefore he can. I wouldn't worry too much, the Judicial Branch and the Development led Legislature are all the check and balance you will ever need.

Stephen

Thanks so much for taking on the system. The nay-sayers on this comment thread make me sad, because the change you want to bring is overwhelmingly positive for the people of Florida.

I assumed it was pretty well known that our democratic system is broken, and we should be cheering on people like you. The people that this complaint hurts have the power, popularity and money, but no substance in their policy. Dems are supposed to be for "the little guy" not "the man." Seriously, FDP. Get it together.

Whatever happens with the ballot, you still have my vote, even if it's a fill-in.

anitastewart

So it has come down to popularity and money rule and you gotta pay to play! This is not the democratic way! There is no such thing as a "spoiler." A candidate is electable when you VOTE FOR HIM/HER! Voting is consistent with VOTING OUR VALUES and voting for those candidates that HAVE our values. We need to vote those candidates out that do NOT UPHOLD our values. Who cares if this guy has not run for office before? Everyone has started somewhere...that argument is dead in the water!

Paul McClain

I have known Michael since moving to Florida 9-years ago. He is a very decent individual who cares for community and bringing about real change in government. In DeLand he created a garden community from what was once a drug ridden run-down urban area. He kept prices down for purchase and for rentals; a very unusual business model in the "rip-off" real estate marketplace of today.

Who cares that he has never run for office before. In my view not being a part of the political community is a plus.

Michael E. Arth

Re: Instant Runoff Voting: If runoff voting is important for democracy in Afghanistan, why can't we have it?

There was an interesting item in the paper a few days ago. The U.S. envoy, Richard Holbrooke, pressured the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, to submit to runoff voting in a recent election. American officials know perfectly well that runoff voting is more democratic because it prevents spoilers and always produces a majority winner.

Holbrooke is a life-long Democrat, author, and editor. Why has Holbrooke not promoted majority voting such as instant runoff voting in the U.S? Apparently it's important to build democracy in a third world country but not here at home. Why would he not want this for Americans? Because it would help end the abuse of power occurring within the Democratic and Republican parties.

Michael E. Arth

"Pigs at a Trough" Indeed!

Karen Thurman, the Florida Democratic Party chair sent out an email blast today (along with a plea for cash to buy more votes) to Democrats titled, "Pigs at a Trough." She wrote:

"When I heard about Gov. Charlie Crist appointing his crony George LeMieux to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez - I was shocked....In short, with Charlie Crist and his crony George LeMieux going to the Senate, all their friends in special interests are acting just like pigs at the trough, enjoying all the benefits of friends in high places....After Republican Speaker Ray Sansom's indictment and revelations about the Republican Party of Florida's AmEx slush fund, now Charlie Crist taps his friend and campaign manager to go to the U.S. Senate. These people aren't standing up for Floridians. Instead they let corruption and cronyism run rampant here in Tallahassee - from Ray Sansom, to former lobbyist Bill McCollum, and now current lobbyist George LeMieux. Together, we'll work to put an end to the Republican culture of cronyism and corruption in Tallahassee and usher in change in 2010."

Is this the pot calling the kettle black or what? Karen Thurman was shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, to see "corruption and cronyism run rampant in Tallahassee," so "make a contribution" to the FDP to "usher in change." This is the height of hypocrisy and all Democrats should feel ashamed. It's time for a top down change in our party and time for real electoral reform to really stop the corruption, cronyism, vote-buying, vote-rigging, gerrymandering, vote spoiling, and other undemocratic nonsense.

Michael E. Arth

P.S. Of course Republicans should also be ashamed, but they are shameless and beyond all hope.

Michael E. Arth

Scott Maxwell at the Orlando Sentinel wrote a column today titled "Politicos are hacking away at our choices" with a sub-title on the second page, "Democrats -- sans democracy."

He writes, "Highlighting the party elitism is Volusia Democrat Michael Arth....Arth decided to run for governor--and had this silly idea that the Democratic Party would welcome another Democrat to the race...Boy, was he wrong...."

Maxwell concludes his meaty call-to-arms with, "...if Democrats want people to believe they're the party that stands up for the little guy, they shouldn't slam the door in the little guy's face when he stands up for himself."

Read more at http://tinyurl.com/nytprz

Another excellent article, written by Pat Hatfield, titled "This Means War!" can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/n4yzzr

Sincerely,

Michael

(A little guy working toward the big dream of a more representative democracy that produces better leaders and--as a consequence--better policy)

VolusianforDemocracy

As an elected officer of a local Democratic Party, I have familiarity with most of the major by-laws of the state wide party.
Overall, the individuals that represent and volunteer for the Florida Democratic Party are passionate, intelligent activists, as proved by the 45% of Democrats (so far) that know of Michael Arth that would vote for him, w/o looking for the millions of dollars and hours of airtime that usually follow bought out candidates.
That said, Michael Arth's grievances are as on target as his stances on policies (YES, HE ACTUALLY CONFRONTS ISSUES & PROVIDES SOLUTIONS, go to his website), and either the state-level leaders of our Party have to change the way they are running things, or the leaders themselves must be changed.
I support Michael Arth for Governor in 2010, because politics as usual has not worked for any of my neighbours. Michael Arth is the right choice for FLORIDA. Do the research.

El Matador

ASB Bank Ltd

Frederick Marsh

Let Me Tees You

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