"Heaven has a road, but no one travels it; Hell has no gate, but men will bore through to get there."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aldermania 07/011 Denouement... four years after

You probably heard that Joe Moore won last night, with over 72% of the vote. A far cry from four years ago.
Over 9500 people voted. The opponent was a glengary glen ross- type slick character with a knack for masking cynicism as thoughtful policy. Moore won handily because he changed his tune entirely after the last election.
As the City steadily cut services he started doing things you all told me four years ago were missing, and that we assured people we would do.
There's now an excellent website and email notice system here. Moore goes to train stops and even Dunkin' Donuts four times a year to actually ask people for input. He fought like hell and together we almost pulled off a Boys and Girls Club for local kids- and that may yet happen. There's a new farmers market and the first participatory budgeting process in America. Then there's the new staff...(no more Nibbler!)
The list goes on, but all of it was either promised to us specifically in exchange for endorsing Moore in the runoff we forced, or came about as he chased our ideal of energy and innovation trying to connect with human beings on their level. So...
This was our victory.
We had a vision- not some slogan about 'change we can believe in' but specific plans we knew would rock in this community. In more than a thousand meetings these past four years I've thought over and again about what we were together and the picture we painted for real people. They still talk about our campaign- someone said just a couple weeks ago: “You all were incredible”.
A nationally- known campaign professional told me: “You had no real record, no money, the worst ballot position and frankly the worst political name I've ever seen short of bin Laden- how the hell did you guys figure out how to do this?”
Still not sure exactly how we did it, but since then I've used your skills to push our style on a local government that badly needed it.
For the last four years I've persisted like Terry walking that train platform bareheaded in the blowing snow as he chipped away at voter's skepticism and indifference. I've tried to be as honest and outspoken as Francis, and as pensive as Tom can't help but be. I've crafted each message as though Tara were reminding me that “how you say this matters at least as much as what you say,” and when it all became a confusing morass I tried to boil it down into one cogent yet palatable thought like Chris taught me. When people gave me credit for stuff I thought about Monica's studious avoidance of glory-seeking, and tried to be humble. And when the rejection was at its nastiest (and believe me that happened), I always thought about Kathy saying: 'This is bullshit! You're right. They're wrong. Don't even think about backing down!'
We've mostly drifted into other things, and 'Ginderske 2007' is ancient history really. But besides the enormous personal gratitude that I feel to each of you, you should know that in the end, we achieved much of what we set out to do. Certainly Joe has done some things that we would have handled differently, but there is no way he would have gained 22 points in four years unless he was kicking ass in a serious way. Moore did it by doing what we promised, and the governance we designed ended up as the new standard here. Not all of it, of course but a lot of it and clearly the spirit (if not our unique Attitude.)
People frequently tell me that I'm the reason Joe changed his ways. I tell them that we were the most incredible team, and that money couldn't buy better passion and skills. Its the obvious truth.
FYI, that health center we organized- while campaigning- has now seen over 10,000 patients. Roughly 82% live below the poverty line, and three quarters of the adults are uninsured.
We didn't 'win' the election or fix the world, but we changed it a little for the better. You were our brain, guts, heart, and definitely our soul. A lot of lives improved some because of your hard work and sacrifice, including my own. For them, and from me,
Thank you.

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