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October 20, 2007

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Cynthia Baughman

ONE COMMITTEE PERSON'S PERSPECTIVE ON TODAY'S MEETING: Today's County Committee Meeting included presentations from our exceptionally strong slate of Democratic candidates, preparation for Election Day (distribution of poll watchers' certificates, candidate buttons, and lit); reports from the leaders of the various regions of the committee--advancing the 50-State-Strategy, all!; other odds and ends (a proposal to raise funds by selling custom-woven blankets with a Democratic message; a decision to stop buying our donuts at Wal-Mart; a lament that the Republicans mailed out absentee ballot applications more broadly than the Dems did) and…an update from the Chair on the resolution demanding that the name of this blog be changed. Apparently both the PA Democratic Party and the DNC lawyers don't think the County Committee has grounds on which to sue John over this name of this blog (that's what I said August 18 when I and voted against the resolution). Apparently the word from the lawyers is not yet final, but my read of the situation is that it's become clear to all concerned that this ill-advised resolution has no legal grounds for going forward, that it has sapped a lot of our Chair's time, and that a lot of people who voted for it probably feel somewhat chagrinned about their impulsive and uninformed "yeas." Maybe they also feel some resentment towards the lawyers who urged them forward without presenting evidence or the law, but no one said that.

Then our Chair proceeded to decry this blog's attacks on our local party and its officers and candidates (I don't like a lot of those attacks myself), and to say that he has decided to suspend John Morgan from his post as Democratic Committee Man. He said that the State Party Constitution gives him the right to do that, and that he would form a judiciary committee to look into the grounds for John's suspension, at which John could be represented by a lawyer, and—I think I got this right--that the judiciary committee's findings would be presented to the entire Berks County Democratic Committee. I didn't really catch where things would go from there: would we all vote on John's suspension?

If it were put to a vote, I don't think that John would be suspended. My sense was that more people were disturbed by the notion of suspending John than were in favor of it. Many hands shot up. One Committee Man said that a Committee Woman had contributed money to his Republican opponent when he was a candidate for an elected office, and she was not suspended. The Chair said that he was looking into other instances of bad behavior from Committee People, but that he "had to start somewhere." A lot of members wanted to chime in, but at some point John Ryan shouted out a call to table this discussion until after the election. There was hearty applause for this—coming, I think, from the general feeling that a lot is at stake in this election and that we are all pretty tired from our letter-writing, phoning, door-knocking, sign-planting, fundraising, etc. I was surprised to hear John Ryan say that he opposed suspending John—after all, he got this ball rolling at the last meeting, proposing the resolution to demanding that this blog's name be changed, or else. Maybe he likes playing Good Cop, Bad Cop. Maybe he did a little legal research into internet domain name law in the last month or so. Maybe someone told him he did something stupid. Maybe…maybe…his conscience awoke, and he realized, as one of my Committee Woman friends said to me after the meeting, "We are the party the respects dissent." We then voted on Mr. Ryan's motion to table discussion. I was in the minority that voted "No," and the discussion was tabled until after the election.

My guess is that a majority would not vote to remove John from the Committee. A belief in freedom of the press is too important to Democrats for us to feel good about punishing a blgger that way. Plus we can all see that we could be next. Could I be the next to be suspended for attacking our Committee because I wrote this report?

I do hope that we will all come to our senses by the next meeting and rescind the resolution threatening John with a lawsuit, affirm the right of Democrats to criticize each other, have a little truth and reconciliation, and then find a way to move forward together in the crucial run-up to the 2008 election on which so much hinges for people who don't have the leisure to come out to a Saturday morning meeting and debate freedom of the press issues, and where to buy our donuts. I hope that John will return to covering Berks County politics.

In the meantime, I hope that we all get out there and work for our great candidates. This election is about competence and integrity and belief in making government serve the citizens and protect our natural resources, versus the incompetent Brownies and the despoilers of our beautiful county.

Off to the Boyertown Halloween Parade to march with the Dems…

John Morgan

Nothing in the state bylaws gives him this authority. Yes, I will be represented by a lawyer but not in front of his kangaroo court. Oh, and he'll be the accused, not me.

The Kevin Barnhardt mailer was a disgrace. How many voters even know what a clearance rate for police is and I don't recall him still being Mayor of West Reading when the Penn View came down. I could have said a lot more than just ridiculing him for wanting to can our farmers. Maybe he wants AWI to be able to sell them?

Manifest

I've been reading this from John's perspective for the last month or so, so I don't know what John may have said to warrant the actions against him. What I can say is that no matter what he said, I can't agree with any actions taken against him.

A HUGE part of the problem with the Bush administration is their refusal to accept criticism. I don't think there is a Democrat in this nation that doesn't agree with that sentiment. So, how can we decide that we should also refuse to accept criticism? Aren't we then no better than they are?

Like I said, I'm not sure what John has said, and I'm not going to sift through old posts just to find out. I may agree with him, I may not, but either way I will stand by his right to say it.

DC 93

Well, I am glad then that I did finalize my resignation from the county party committee yesterday. Truthfully, I told Tom I don't have the time to commit to doing party things and that is true, now that I am teaching 2 classes in addition to my full-time job and prize sanity above many other things.
However, given what has transpired both in the previous meeting, and since the previous meeting, and apparently what came out of this current meeting, I wouldn't want to set foot back into the county committee right now with a 100 foot pole's distance to spare. I think I might actally vote Republican this fall election in utter protest of what has become a joke of a party, run by people whose mentalities I deeply question as to their soundness in positions of any authority. To think, I actually voted for Tom Herman for county chair, and at the time I had a much better opinion of him, or perhaps it was shaded by mere ignorance of the deeper natures at work. Nevertheless, I say good riddens and best of luck to those who are opting to shoulder it out and perhaps try to right whatever pieces of a ship are going to be left, if this sort of lunacy continues.

I'm telling you all folks, go with No Party affiliation, because these days no party is worth the trouble of being party to them, IMNSHO. We've got to do more to reform politics and bringing the voice of the non-party voters and truly independent people is a start I think.

Ya know, I'd expect to see this kind of in-fighting and strong arm nonsense from the
GOP or some fringe party, with really rigid principles, but not the "big tent" of the Democratic Party, but alas like the GOP, it has become coopted and hijacked apparently.

Just a reminder, if you want to reprimand me for my comments and views shared here, I've already tender my resignation and I don't plan on being a registered party member much longer.

The tighter you squeeze your fingers, the more the sand will simply slip through and make you look all the more the fool folks.

True, John is party to the situation of why there is even a situation at all, but if we can't take an honest look at ourselves and own to our shady behaviors and dubious conduct, then what are we to say to any part of the voting public to trust a Democrat in any elected position. We demanded that of the GOP and challenged them successfully on it in the last Congrssional election, but now we are basically becoming more guilty of virtually some of the same tactics, ploys, and nonsense that they did.

If that doesn't sicken you, if that doesn't make you want to demand change and reform and to hold those who don't do so accountable to the fullest extent, then I'm sorry you are living in denial, ignorance, and no better than those who you scorn for the things that you either do or condone, when faced with the facts of situations.

I am not cynical, I am tired of all the mullarky from every side for their own personal petty advantage and the cost to the real truth and integrity of any public office anymore.

John Morgan

Tom Herman and his cohorts, mostly Bob Millar, have been engaged in a feud against me for several years. They have slandered me with false rumors that I was fired from the Herr and Pennacchio campaigns. Those are utter and complete lies.

They tried to get me fired from the Herr campaign the day after Tom Herman threatened to destroy me while we conversed in the garden of Dr. Stan and Johanna Grabias' home at a Lois Murphy event in 1984.

He has been engaged in this conduct ever since, long before I had any blogs so it really has nothing to do with the blogs.

I did threaten to begin writing critically of some of our own candidates if he didn't back off. He proceeded to make things far, far worse with the motion to sue me. Therefore I've begun writing critical things about some of our candidates: this is the price he is going to pay. This is a direct result of his actions against me.

Now I am going to file suit, hopefully before the upcoming election. County Committee members will be personally liable for any monetary damages above and beyond what the Committee has the ability to pay, including lawyers fees and expenses.

If i was one of them I'd take immediate action to call a special meeting for the purpose of impeaching the Chair. I do mean immediate. Once the suit is filed fees are involved and there's no going back.

I will also sue Tom Herman personally and probably several others.

Kirk Wentzel

Wow...sounds like the sleeper has awakened!

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