Category: Radical Report
Published: Saturday, 22 June 2019 01:34
Written by Ric Rooney
As I get myself up to speed on the realities of recall, I understand now why only one person (Victor Head) has ever accomplished the task: MONEY! As the recall playbook is currently written, costs for recall campaigns can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Very few districts can fund that kind of expense. The frustration and desire of so many Coloradoans to recall our current Democratic legislators is at a level I've never seen in the 40 years I've lived here. Yet the costs to do so make the venture a virtual no-win situation.
But where there's a will, there's a way. In Star Trek lore that 'way' was known as 'The Kobayashi Maru Solution.' You'll have to look it up but basically the lesson was, "when the rules are stacked against you...change the rules." So that's what we've done. We've changed the recall rules by building a 'Pre-Register Your Recall Vote' tool on the Radical website.
If you read my Colorado Redprint article, I talked about the four steps business people usually go through when evaluating a new market opportunity. The fourth step was 'Get Your Checkbook or Line of Credit ready!' So last week I asked Ben Engen of Constellation Political Consulting to give me a detailed cost estimate for my House District 18 recall attempt.
I can't say enough about Ben and the professional help, guidance and education he's given me on recall campaigns. Ben came back with a detailed, soup to nuts, eight page breakdown of the estimated costs for the House District 18 recall attempt, under the current format that recalls are done.
I was stunned. I won't give you the exact number but let's just say it was a multiple 100K estimate. Here's what was even more eye opening: two thirds of the cost was earmarked to pay circulators to collect signatures. Going out into the public to collect signatures for a recall petition is not easy and I have a ton of respect for the people that do this work. But it's such a horrendously inefficient, time consuming and expensive way to collect signatures. If only there was a better way.
I believe there is. I'm hoping when my fellow Coloradoans see the plan, they'll agree. Up to now, getting petitions signed has always been a matter of circulators going out into the community, searching for signers. We know there's enough of you out there, Victor proved that by doing the near impossible, finding 13,000+ approved signatures, one at a time. A truly herculean effort on Victor and his team's part.
But what if instead of going out in a purely hit or miss fashion in search of signers, we instead asked you to digitally raise your hand, tell us who you are, where we can find you, and how to get in touch with you?
Welcome To 'Pre-Register Your Recall Vote.' Objective #1: 30 Seconds, 3 Clicks.
Our 'Pre-Register' feature can be a game changing way recalls are conducted. All we need is thirty seconds of your time. Follow the instructions in Objective #1 on the Home page and you've done your part to 'Kobayashi Maru' the current recall protocol for petition signing!
As pre-registrations come in, we'll now be able to parse people into their districts, geo-locate groups of people within those districts, and set up petition signing stations nearby. With the contact information you provided (email/text, both), we'll be able to let you know where and what times we'll be close by.
If successful, it will be a faster, more efficent, less stressful way to gather signatures. Most importantly, it will dramatically reduce the cost of a recall campaign. Our hope is to have tens of thousands of Coloradoans help us out by using our Pre-Register tool. The more that use it, the more powerful we become!
Sometimes the best solution is the one hiding in plain sight. The shock of that cost estimate Ben gave me was the precursor to the 'Pre-Register' idea that popped into my head 48 hours later. It's a beautifully simple, yet incredibly powerful concept. It was right there in front of me the whole time, but I didn't see it until the no-win cost scenario of Ben's proposal smacked me in the face.
Thank you Captain Kirk for the help in solving our Kobayashi Maru problem. I loved that show!
Category: Radical Report
Published: Saturday, 01 June 2019 02:03
Written by Ric Rooney
Did you know that a symphony orchestra is comprised of up to 100 musicians? Each one superbly talented, capable of creating beautiful melodies. Yet when these musicians get ready to perform, what do you hear prior to the conductor's 'tap, tap, tap' of his baton, signaling it's time to begin? NOISE! The process is called tuning. Here's what it is and why I think it's relevant to us;
"An orchestra tunes itself to a very particular frequency, usually 440 hertz, a note known as A 440. The note is played by the oboist, and the rest of the orchestra tunes their instruments to match it. The oboe leads the tuning because of all the instruments, it is least affected by humidity or other weather conditions. In music, tuning an instrument means getting it ready so that when it is played it will sound at the correct pitch: not too high or too low. When two or more instruments play together it is particularly important that they are in tune with one another."
I believe we have a tuning problem with the recall efforts here in Colorado. We have thousands and thousands of very talented, very capable people trying to contribute. But we have no oboist, no singular 'recall' frequency to tune to. The result is too much noise, not enough music (progress).
The problem quickly became apparent when I first decided to get involved in the Recall Polis effort. There's no need to get into the details, as I'm sure most of you by now are aware of the dueling recall groups. Its unfortunate because I believe the vast majority of people involved in the efforts are great patriots and dedicated people.
If there's that much disjointed noise trying to focus on a single recall campaign, how the hell do I propose to orchestrate 54 of them? Because I have an obiost to focus us; this website. Let me explain;
The four people who changed the political landscape in Colorado...weren't politicians. They were three businessmen, one businesswoman and four obscenely rich bank accounts. They threw out the 'good ole boy' political playbook that often times prioritized personal friendships over polling data as the basis for doling out campaign funding.
The new sheriffs in town, known as 'The Gang of Four' did away with all that and evaluated candidates based on cold, hard facts about where their money should be allocated for maximum results, friendships be damned. They utilized technology, social media and opposition research in new and innovative ways. They created a disciplined business plan for political campaigns and turned out to be as successful in politics as they were in business.
So I read their playbook, looked at their strategies and tactics and decided to tip my hat and copy them...just without the four obscenely rich bank accounts. This website is my attempt to mirror their success.
Let's Look At This Website And See If We Can Make Some Recall Music.
HOME PAGE: On the home page we state our objectives, #1, #2, #3. If you join us, you'll clearly understand the recall goals and how we plan on achieving them. Also under the home tab you'll find 'Ric's Radical Report'. This is original content, articles relevant to our mission. If nothing else, they will give you a feel for my thinking and strategy for the recall campaigns.
DISTRICT FINDER Tab: Many people who are interested in getting involved in a recall campaign aren't sure what House and Senate district they reside in. Click on the District Finder tab, enter your address and zip code and you'll get your answer, courtesy of BallotPedia.
CO RECALLS Tab: This is the heart of the RADICAL website and the beginning of the recall symphony. Hold your mouse over this tab and two drop down menus will appear; Senate District Listings and House District Listings. Click on either one and you'll see a list of all Senate/House members, color coded to let you know the current recall status of each.
Click on any name and you'll get the 'Legislative Ledger' for that member. Unique to this website, the Legislative Ledger is all about the big D, Data! It shows you how that person voted on three key bills we chose and based on those votes why we feel that person should (or in two cases, shouldn't) be recalled.
Next, we've calculated how many verified signatures it will take to recall that candidate. As importantly, we've shown how many votes the Republican candidate received in that particular election. It gives important context to the recall signature number. You see, in many of these races the Republican candidate received far more votes then would be needed in a recall campaign. This is your lowest hanging fruit and gives you a better sense of the odds of successfully collecting enough signatures. Where this is the case (more republican votes then recall signatures required) you'll see a green checkmark on that member's Ledger.
Finally, we're giving a 1 (fair), 2 (good) or 3 (very good) star rating on those green checkmark members, indicating where we think our best chances for success are. For good measure and a extra boost of confidence, we also show how many people in that particular district didn't even bother to vote in that election! So in making your recall decision you will know;
1) How the candidate voted on key bills.
2) How many signatures will be needed to recall.
3) How many people actually came out to vote against this Democrat.
4) How many new people there are that you can go after for signatures who are registered but didn't vote last time.
5) What we think the chances are for a successful recall campaign.
Now This Is Where Recall 'Noise' Stops And The Music Begins
For each Legislative Ledger, on the right side you'll see a green checkmark or a red X at the top to indicate if there is an active recall campaign underway or not for that particular member. If there is, you'll see the name of the Recall Leader. You will be able to EMAIL that person directly from the website. If there is not a recall leader yet, YOU can volunteer to get things rolling!
In addition there is a 'Register' link if you would like to volunteer as a petition circulator or general volunteer for that particular recall. That information will be forwarded to the Recall Leader and he/she will get in touch with you. So as a Recall Leader you will be able to use this website to help gather volunteers and communicate with them individually or as a group. Effective communication and timely dissemination of information will be critical to our success. You now have that via RADICAL supported email. And the best tools are yet to come!
CO DEMOCRATS Tab: So the Recall tab is where you go if you're ready to roll and join/start a recall campaign in your district. But for those that want to do some in-depth research on a particular member of congress, the CO DEMOCRATS tab has already done the work for you. Hold your cursor over the CO DEMOCRATS tab and you'll see two drop down menus appear; CO Senate Directory and CO House Directory. Click on one and it will bring up a picture and short bio of each member of that chamber. If you want more detailed information, click on the 'global' icon graphic at the bottom of their bio and it will take you to their comprehensive BallotPedia profile. So we can be motivated and as importantly, we can be educated on both the candidate and the issues.
RECALL 101 Tab: Hold your cursor over the RECALL 101 tab and five menu items will appear. #3 and #4 are game changing technologies for recall campaigns. This is the 'Everything you need to know about recalls' tab and there is a LOT to know! An hour or two of prep on this website can be the difference between success or failure in a recall campaign.
1) Recall Petitions: For those who want to read the exact recall guidelines per the Secretary of State.
2) How to Mount a Recall: This is a superb presentation on all things recall presented by Ben Engen of Constellation Political Consulting. A must watch video that will open your eyes to just how much there is to do in a recall campaign, and has to be done EXACTLY right.
The Technology Game Changers for Recall Campaigns
3) Find My Voter Registration: This will change how signatures are collected in future recall campaigns. We're now working with the Pueblo Freedom and Rights group, who were involved in the successful 2013 recall campaigns. Using mobile technology they put together, it allowed them to verify in the field in real time, whether the signature they just collected was valid or not. It increased their efficiency tremendously and gave them the confidence to submit their signatures for verification with just a two thousand name surplus for any disqualifying issues. We'll be deploying a modified version we call Colorado QuickCheck for our petition circulators which can be used on iPhones, iPads or Android phones. It will not only verify signatures in the field in real time but will also instantly upload that information into our database.
4) Video Collaboration: Interactive video conferencing is the second technology that will change the way future recall campaigns are conducted. Geographical distances and logistical problems setting up traditional town hall type meetings are a thing of the past. There will always be a proper time and place for face to face meetings, shaking someone's hand and personally saying 'thank you.' But interactive video conferencing allows us to increase our reach ten fold, at no additional cost but tremendous additional benefits. We'll be the first to use this one-to-one video technology in a recall campaign. Check out the write up for specifics.
5) Recall Checklist: A downloadable, one-page overview of the key points to be aware of and suggestions on how to prepare for a recall campaign.
Closing Thoughts. Can We Make History? Yes. Here's How.
Remember, there is strength in numbers! What makes this website unique is that although each recall campaign stands on it’s own, you now also stand with 10, 20, 30, maybe even 54 other recalls campaigns to draw strength, encouragement and inspiration from! Recall Leaders will be able to communicate and learn best practices in real time from other Recall Leaders via web conferencing. You won't be working in a vacuum, you'll have the support of teams of hundreds, maybe thousands of other volunteers in other recalls around the state. Don't underestimate the power of synergy!
Mike and I have given it everything we have in putting this recall website together. Now the only thing to do is...go out and do it! Will we be successful? I don't know but Mike and I are going to try and we hope you'll join us.
However, here's what I do know and can say with absolute confidence; While running a successful recall campaign is difficult, filing the paperwork for a recall campaign is NOT! There's no reason we can't at least successfully begin the process. We need Recall Leaders for each district to step up, organize and be ready to go. That's it initially. We keep our powder dry until we're ready, then we ALL FILE OUR RECALL PETITIONS ON THE SAME DAY.
Can you imagine the media shock wave that will roll through Colorado and the rest of the nation when news gets out that grass roots Coloradoans have organized and filed 54 recall petitions at once! At a minimum, it will send an unmistakable message to Colorado Democrats that a storm is coming. At best, it galvanizes thousands of Coloradoans to get involved with a movement they can believe and have confidence in. And if THAT happens...anything is possible.