Bob Geary of Indy Week says Voller should resign

Last week, Bob Geary and a couple of people who blog here at BlueNC had a sit-down with Randy Voller. Today, Indy Week published Bob's report from the meeting.

Enough. After a stormy year as state Democratic Party chair, Randy Voller should step down for the sake of his party's candidates and North Carolina. I say this knowing that he won't, because Voller sees himself as a visionary leader—but he can't see that he's hurting Democratic prospects for 2014.

I was invited to go to the meeting, but declined to participate. I have no stomach for crap like this, which also explains my short-lived career in politics. But I do have the benefit of three separate and detailed accounts of what happened. I have reached the exact same conclusion as Bob: Randy should step down, but he won't.

I get that everyone thinks they're doing what's right for North Carolina over the long term. But egos, pride, and the need to be "right" seem to rule the day, no matter which side of the fence you're on. The greater good is lost in the cross-fire. It's a hard and sad situation all around.

PS Do NOT use this thread to resurrect discussions about the past or to call each other names.

Comments

Agreed

James, I agree with you 100%. I'm done with NCDP for the foreseeable future. There's much more impactful work to be done with other organizations and directly with candidates to help elect Democrats across North Carolina. NCDP has become a laughingstock all over the state and the country, and our best strategy at this point is to reroute our efforts into more fruitful areas until such time as the State Executive Committee sees fit to elect a new chair who can restore some semblance of order and integrity at Goodwin House.

Thanks, Charlie

Good to see you out an about. I appreciate your perspective on this ... both as an incredible activist and fundraiser, and also as a very good friend of my wonderful wife.

This is a hard one for me

I have known Randy for many years and have always admired him. I just don't see how he fits on the landscape in front of us for the next couple of years.

The harder truth is, I'm losing hope that our two-party system has the ability to regenerate itself to stay relevant and productive. Instead of doing soul searching and organizing to fight back, we've handed the keys to the kingdom to private interests, with a paid shill for Duke Energy as king of the mountain.

I'm sorry to say that I predict things are going to get a whole lot worse in North Carolina before they get better. It might be because I'm sick as a dog with a cold, but then again, it might be because Republicans have rigged the system so expertly.

Ouch

It's an unfortunate situation, but Bob covered the bases well. The only thing I would add:

While the vilification and efforts to remove Ben Chavis from the list (if there is a list this time) of potential ED's for the NCDP might upset many African-American Dems like Cash, the responsibility for that lies solely on the shoulders of Randy Voller. Vetting of potential candidates is always important in political circles, and doubly so when you're trying to dig yourself out of an ethical hole.

I know it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but you know what? A quarterback who calls plays his team is not familiar with is going to lose the game, no matter how clever he thinks the plays are.

Republicans are at war with themselves

I don't see the NCGOP being in any better shape than the NCDP. "Over there", they are at war with each other. Look at the number of Republican candidates that are being primaried. Also, the tea party people are challenging the establishment state republican leadership apparatus at every opportunity and the riff seems to run very deep.

We are missing a good opportunity to take advantage of the internal political problems the Republicans are going through right now because the NCDP is having very similar problems itself.

The Republican's problems ...

... are really being caused by the influence of outside "dark money" groups that have formed parallel political organizations outside the party. It's Art Pope, well-monied national evangelical groups, and the Tea Baggers all doing their own thing and trying to carve out the parts of the Republican base that look tasty to them.

The NC Democratic Party, on the other hand, just has itself to blame.

In my thinking there's only a few real options here. One would be to form a grassroots movement to take over the Dems and put their house in order (unlikely because of the power structures already in place) or to get concerned progressives and liberals to form smaller groups with very specific goals to support candidates and expose ethical or legal issues with the McCrory administration and legislature.

Or, the third option, is just to get yourself and your kinds the hell out of North Carolina before we turn into Mississippi or Alabama.

Not that you needed it...

...but James, Scharrison, and Charlie Reece, I just want to applaud you all. Thank you for posting such concise and shrewd insight.

I suspect there would be

I suspect there would be issues at NCDP no matter who was chair. Losing in 2012 has brought on a time of contention within the party.

Since the interim ED has taken over I have had more communication from NCDP that I ever had under the old ED. Nice, well written, interesting messages. There was nothing like that before and I see this as an improvement.

The party was in power for decades and then it was not. The soul searching and rebuilding will take time. Just as changing the political climate of the state will take time. There is not a one election solution and we have to stop pretending one exists. We need a ten year plan, and yes, a twenty year plan, to turn NC blue. We need to let our voters know that we need them election after election after election, not for just one November. We need to focus less on just the next election and more on the principles we believe are right. In the past, we were not so much driven by grassroots as we were led by Democratic governors and powerful legislative leaders. That won't work now. And it won't work for some time to come. Their absence leaves a vacuum. And in the struggle to fill it, we need to get back to our declared role as a grassroots party, not a top-down party. This party needs to be re-built from the ground up.

Re-electing Kay Hagan is going to be difficult, and that is not the fault of NCDP. She has had mis-steps of her own that are going to be difficult to recover from. Poor constituent service is one of them. Alienating Hispanic voters is another. Randy cannot be blamed for her mistakes and should not be held responsible for them.

Our districts are so gerrymandered that there will, indeed, be losses in the next election. Randy did not draw these districts. And problems will continue until these districts can be withdrawn, hopefully in 2020, when we will once again have a real voice in our legislature.

And all those empty districts where no Dem is running against the Republican incumbent? Where is the Senate Democratic Caucus? I've heard them claim it is their responsibility to recruit candidates for Senate seats. They did not plan to consult the party leadership in that, either. What have they been doing??

What we do need from NCDP is more communication. Requests for donations cannot take the place of telling us what the party is actually doing. There has been talk of recruiting candidates, but no reports, talk of helping county parties organize, but no reports, talk of using census data to help organize, but no reports, talk of candidate training, but no reports. State Executive Committee meetings are too bogged down in procedure to be really informative. Give us less of a pep rally and more reports on action.

Randy needs to stay and finish out his term. We cannot fall prey to the Republican crowd that cries Impeachment! every time a Democrat they don't like is elected president. Nor can we fill this position with a politician awaiting election to his or her next post. The term of office is two years. There will be another election. If you don't like what is happening then start looking around for the person you can nominate for the next election. That won't be easy to do. It is not a sinecure. It is a full time job with no pay, bad publicity, lots of work and little thanks. Do you want to take it on?

Thoughtful comment

Much to consider. Thanks for writing it.

Well said Vicki and chambers1

We need to keep our eye on the prize and should already implementing our GOTV plans we are already behind. We have no time to waist. Lets join together and lets capitalize on the GOP fighting instead of fighting among ourselves.

Stephanie Goslen

good points

Vicki, you make a lot of sense but I do reserve one question for you and anyone else who may know...

What has Randy Voller accomplished so far halfway through his term? Some of his staunchest supporters made claims without specifics so I'll repost these questions once more and ask that anyone who responds do so only with actual specifics not hyperbole or fanaticism.

1. How much money has Voller actually raised? (in actual dollars)
2. How much debt was retired? (in actual dollars)

Please give us info to celebrate if it exists.
Thanks.

The problem is not just Voller

Anyone who has witnessed the bickering here on BlueNC has seen only the tip of the iceberg as far as how far the Chairman's supporters will go in his defense. Folks who would normally step up and lead action against Voller will not, because he does have widespread support among the State Executive Committee's 700 members.

The only way to have a more sensible leadership in the Party, therefore, is to have those who disagree with the current party's leadership attend their local and county precinct meetings and run for the SEC. I won't. I tried twice, and I could not even get listed on the ballot in my county.

Maybe there is more hope outside the Raleigh beltline. The precincts have alread started meeing and will continue into lMarch. You can find your precinct information at the state party's web sitea;

NC Democratic Party – Calendar of Events 2014

Precinct Meeting Dates
February 25 - March 10

County Convention Dates
April 5 - April 12

Congressional District Convention
May 17th

Martha Brock

You never know how low...

...the Voller-haters will go in their constant attacks on him.

Tell me Martha - what basis do you have for stating that Randy Voller doesn't have widespread support among the 700 SEC members?

How many of them have you personally contacted?

As I suspect, if you have not contacted them - perhaps you might want to modify your statement.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

I buried the hatchet...

…quite publicly with the Chairman in a joint email to the Party in January, and I don't intend to take back any of that statement.

But I'll share that- in my personal experience- service at the NCDP is a glorious thing to walk away from. I guarantee that you won't find a single former staffer or Chair who misses the experience or would ever go back to the Goodwin House. The relationships are wonderful, sure; but the work, the pressure, the responsibility, the scrutiny- who needs it?

Let this be a bit of comfort for anyone looking to walk away: by noon of the second day, you'll wonder what possessed you to fight for the job in the first place.

Funny thing about Bob Geary

He got many factual details wrong. Perhaps his friendship with Nina clouds his ability to remember or look up facts.

The serious problem here is that good people are being run out of politics by allegations, rumor and innuendo. The Republicans in Congress don't like Obama, so they obstruct everything he tries to do. The folks who tried hard to get rid of David Parker are largely the same folks who supported candidates who ran against Randy Voller - and who are attacking him now.

The problem is not with Randy or his ego. The real problem is with people who cannot accept the results of an election, refuse to work with the majority winner, and attack him at every step.

What good are elections if the people who lose win in the end by being able to force the winner to resign from office by obstructing the work they do, or constantly attack them for whatever they do and say?

And I did work for the NCDP for two months back in 2012. I didn't work in Goodwin House, but worked in the field. I enjoyed the work I did, but I was amazed at the attitude of some of the staffers then. They work for the Party - not for their political patrons.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

That is just what I was suggesting

that folks who are among the disgruntled Democrats who have no recourse other than to choose new leaders for themselves in a truly democratic process. I am not trying to overturn a past election. Instead I am giving information that could lead to change in future party elections. Why does that bother you?

It bothers me that in Wake County the GOP purchased a huge ad in the Raleigh N&O advertising their precinct meetings and are going door-to-door leaving flyers in some areas. what has the Wake Democratic Party done to announce--let alone publicize-- its meetings?

I have called and emailed the Wake Dems ED and our Chair. I never get replies, so I don't know what is going on.

If we are going to grow the party, more needs to be done to attract new voters into the Party apparatus; and new blood is needed on the State Executive Committee and the State Executive Council.

Chris, I did call many members of the SEC. They would not talk to me. I frankly don't know what to make of that. And when I quoted Wake Dem's Chair Dan Blue III here on BlueNC.com, he called me up and asked me to delete his name from any posts on BlueNC.com. I did not, as the comments I quoted publicly had been on Twitter and in emails signed by Blue.

I don't know all the inner workings at Goodwin House, but I will continue to try to promote openness and inclusiveness in the party. I don't see you doing that. IF you are, please give examples that others can use.

Martha Brock

You've had my freaking cell phone number for YEARS!

You've called me before when you needed me to bring my truck and haul your stuff from one house to another. Why aren't you calling me NOW?

I have numbers for you that DON'T work anymore!

that folks who are among the disgruntled Democrats who have no recourse other than to choose new leaders for themselves in a truly democratic process. I am not trying to overturn a past election. Instead I am giving information that could lead to change in future party elections. Why does that bother you?

First off - I have to ask why there are so many disgruntled Democrats. These may be Dems who don't have any real access to information OTHER than what they read in the newspaper. If that is the case, the info they are getting is very limited.

They aren't spending time in Goodwin House like I am. But I am disgruntled too - but for different reasons. And those reasons aren't being reported in the press.

I am disgruntled because I can step back and see what has and hasn't worked in the trenches at least since 2004. When I try to do what works and am held back by incompetence or stopped dead in my tracks by sabotage, I have to wonder who is doing it and why. If Randy is the Chair and the ED works for him, and the ED is constantly fucking things up, making mistake after mistake on his own, or allowing others who work under him to make mistakes and not fixing them - I have to ask why?

When Geary writes and runs an article asking Randy Voller to resign, that is trying to overturn a past election. It's giving people information from a particular point of view, when in fact the voters that matter aren't getting the whole picture from Geary or you either. When that information is so one-sided, that bothers me.

It bothers me that in Wake County the GOP purchased a huge ad in the Raleigh N&O advertising their precinct meetings and are going door-to-door leaving flyers in some areas. what has the Wake Democratic Party done to announce--let alone publicize-- its meetings?

I have called and emailed the Wake Dems ED and our Chair. I never get replies, so I don't know what is going on.

If we are going to grow the party, more needs to be done to attract new voters into the Party apparatus; and new blood is needed on the State Executive Committee and the State Executive Council.

That is something you will have to take up with Dan Blue. As for calling the Wake ED - she's not been at Goodwin House for weeks. I think it might have had something to do with her applying and interviewing for a job in DC. She was not at work the week after Robert got fired. She wasn't there last week when I came by. I know because I was there volunteering to answer phones. Answered a call from Patsy Keever and she complimented me on my phone answering skills. She wasn't at the Board meeting this Monday and tomorrow is her last day.

As for building the party from the precinct on up. I was part of the precinct org team back in 2008 that started working in the summer of 2007 to organize a record number of precincts going into the 2008 election cycle. So I know there is a better way of doing it in Wake County.

In 2009 I got paid to run the sign shop and to write a Precinct Organization/GOTV manual. People refer to that manual and that I wrote it. But no one has actually implemented it. But instead of building on that success, each successive precinct org effort has been worse than the one before it. After redistricting, they went to a District Coordinator plan that left 70 out of 200 precincts (not all unorganized) without a District Coordinator to provide communication and other support between the precincts and the county party.

Instead of starting early, people do the same stupid , last-minute, dog-ate-my-homework-that-I-didn't-start-till-Sunday-night, seat of the pants, hyper-mnanic, campaign-mode way of doing things.

That comes partly from a mindset among the establishment Democrats that the only thing the Democratic Party does that matters is to elect Democrats. Everything else is not important. Therefore, partybuilding takes a back seat - or is dragged along behind the car as an afterthought.

I agree that new blood is needed. Why don't you ask the Young Dems and Teen Dems why they aren't focusing on organizing precincts? Geeze - Blaise and I were at the Mansfield meetup at the PR in early 2013. A female Young Dem introduced herself to us and told us she wanted to get more involved in the Party. We asked her what her precinct was. She told us - and we knew it wasn't organized. We told her how easy it was to organize a precinct. She told us she didn't have time for that.

Where do you think the new blood is going to come from for the SEC if not from people who come up from the precincts? Do you think the SEC should be composed entirely of people who have never organized a precinct, never ran a door-to-door canvassing event, never staffed poll greeters, or never ran a sign shop? Should it be like a trophy given out to young people just for showing up?

Chris, I did call many members of the SEC. They would not talk to me. I frankly don't know what to make of that. And when I quoted Wake Dem's Chair Dan Blue III here on BlueNC.com, he called me up and asked me to delete his name from any posts on BlueNC.com. I did not, as the comments I quoted publicly had been on Twitter and in emails signed by Blue.

You never called me. I've sent you my phone number and asked you to call me. I have many numbers for you - but none of them work.

I don't know all the inner workings at Goodwin House, but I will continue to try to promote openness and inclusiveness in the party. I don't see you doing that. IF you are, please give examples that others can use.

Martha Brock

You don't see me doing that because you aren't opening up your eyes, have blinders on, or are being selectively fed information. I have already listed MANY examples of the garbage that's has been going on at Goodwin House, and the constant attacks on Randy coming mostly from people who aren't making money (or as much of it) off NCDP as they used to or as they feel they should be.

People have asked me why I don't name names, and it's mostly for a couple of reasons. One is that while I am thankful that some people aren't working for NCDP anymore, I don't want to prevent them from learning from their previous mistakes and getting another job where they can do a better job in the future. Not just pull the same shit and not get caught.

And sometimes you can tell a thing is not being done right not because you can't see the thing being done right, but because the other things that need to be done along with it that you can see or should be able to see aren't being done. But you have to ask yourself if they aren't being done due to incompetence, lack of supervision, or sabotage?

We shouldn't be hiring incompetent people for these jobs. Everyone tells us how competent and professional these folks are. So we can check that off. How professional is it when activists complain that a staffer is drunk in public at party events - and falls on their ass? How professional is it when staffers leave half the names off a list of speakers at the last Sanford Hunt Frye dinner?

I don't think it's lack of effective supervision. When Randy tries to supervise the staffers, they complain about him being a "bully" and run off crying to their political patrons. That leaves sabotage. Sabotage that makes Randy look bad and gives the Randy-haters more to complain about.

I am trying to communicate with you about the things that I and anyone else walking into Goodwin House can see, hear, smell, etc if they only take the time to do so. Sometimes this info only comes from being at the right place at the right time, or

When you called up PR Latta on Wednesday afternoon, guess who was over there and heard you gleefully tell him about the Geary article? Perhaps you couldn't hear me call "bullshit" on you in the background, but if you are calling up many people to tell them to read this one-sided article yet you claim you have tried to call up members of the SEC who wouldn't talk with you - in my mind that tells me you have a bias against Randy.

Prove me wrong - call me up (you have my number) and I will share with you the details I can about what's been going on at Goodwin House.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Yes, please call Y'all !

This back and forth here is like watching two of my kids when they used to get in a sibling pissing match. "Yes you are, No I'm not". "Yes you did, No I didn't".

Call each other. Email each other. Text each other. Whatever !

From what I see, everyone here wants what's best for the NCDP. How to get there probably won't be worked out on a blog site.

Only two quick responses

1) You called me to say I sent you my cell number, which you said you did not have. You also asked by phone will I name names, if you want to talk off the record. That is your choice. But you asked me to name names. Since you already named him, yes, P. R. Latta was someone I called--more than once. He is an expert on the Plan of Organization.

Actually when I called him the Wednesday after the State Council conference call, which he said he was on, he offered to help me do a petition to unseat Randy Voller.

2) Why did I not have your cell phone? I deleted it from my list of phone numbers, because I no longer have any patience for listening to you. It is bad enough to read your rants online.

I spoke to some members of the Executive Council, and they are also--many of them--on the SEC. I do not plan to name them, as those I spoke agreed only to talk off the record. I am not going to keep playing your game by responding to every part of your attacks on BlueNC.com.

Martha Brock

Just came from my precinct meeting

In Haywood County, we are planning to go it alone to try to take back Senate 50 from Jim Davis. There is no reason for us to believe there will be any help from NCDP.

I don't know all the politics at the state level, I just know what I hear from around here.

______________________________________________________________________

The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Why aren't you asking for help from the caucuses?

The Caucuses help the candidates. Ask them for help.

And ask them what they did with the combined $50K loan they got from the Taxpayer Checkoff Committee back in June?

These guys were so broke that they went BEGGING the Taxpayer Checkoff Committee to give them money! The Committee figured that this was as good a time as any to set up something to replace the Taxpayer Checkoff program and perhaps make it better. So they set up a plan for a recurring small dollar donor program, where the TCC would LOAN $25K to the House Caucus and $25K to the Senate Caucus (along with an extra $10K to the NCDP to set it up) under the condition that the Caucuses would encourage donors to participate in the program.

The deal was approved and loans made in June. It's the end of February now, and they've done nothing to help set up the program.

The way I understand it - Nesbitt, Hall, Voller and the majority of the District Chairs love the idea and want it to start up. It's the various staffers who have been the problem.

The way I understand it, one staffer first said the donor's don't understand it. How could donors not understand something that hasn't been set up yet? The donors who don't understand it are the big donors who don't understand how they'll maintain control over the party, candidates and consultants if their big donations don't carry as much weight as before.

Next we were told the staffers didn't think the plan required hiring outside help to get it started up - they could do it in-house. To which I replied: if you could have done it in-house, why haven't you already done it?

What it really comes down to is they didn't want to participate in a plan where they didn't benefit 100% from the donations, or where it wouldn't build them up professionally. So they took the money and didn't deliver. Insubordination, incompetence or sabotage?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

You have no idea!

There is a rump caucus of malcontents determined that NCDP shall fail, so they, enlightened beyond all reason, can resurrect it. Their tools are media (fools like Geary), gossips carrying rumors with little or no information, and some who determined long ago that if there is noise, there must be trouble. The Malcontent Caucus has run around to nearly two years and demanded that NO ONE give to the Democratic Party, only to them, their C4s and their candidates - a parallel Party. Then they excoriate Randy Voller for not succumbing to the lies and innuendos they promote full time. And no, they do not bring money or service to the Party, only accusations directed personally, politically and professionally at destroying Randy Voller, just as the COS and others in this group did to David Parker. So, the Malcontent Caucus owns the incipient full failure of the Democratic Party and continuing this ship of fools, only adds to the problems, to the solipsism, rumors, gossip and the like rampant here. The Malcontents reason: well NCDP is failing (it is not, yet but with help from this crowd - quite likely), so why not destroy it so we can gain control!! Over what? This schism was avoidable but, a number of people, working with fools like Geary would use the accelerant of personal public destruction at set intervals. To the malicious Malcontents, I ask: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken?" as Cromwell asked the Church of Scotland. The state of NCDP is not bad, but it is perpetually maligned by self appointed witch burners. And, the Randy Haters, some of whom are on this list are totally blind and intent on killing Voller, who has served without pay, visited 50 or so counties and tried to stabilize a ship assaulted hourly by this crowd and others. My advice for all of you is GROW UP. Help Voller get this ship righted and quit chewing holes in the hull. I have just seen successes: paying off bills, winning in Charlotte, extensive training, etc. And far as I know, I am the only one who put money on the table with Auditor Wood made a fool of herself. How many others? Figures. Folks quit killing the navigator. Maturity counts. Use it. And Martha, you are an expert in your own mind, only.

I have followed blueNC a long, long time and am sorry to see it turn to the dark side. But, hard to resist, is it not. Remember that word: solipsism. Look it up.

wafranklin

 

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