“Not a peep on Loudoun Progress” (Edited to add what I said on DBQ)

Well, that’s because I’m making noise at doorbellqueen.com. I’ll post some thoughts here later, but the thoughts I’m expressing at the moment are not appropriate for this space.

Earlier this year I resigned from the LCDC because it was the right thing to do. I knew I would not be supporting Andrea McGimsey for re-election and Party politics being an all-or-nothing proposition, I knew I must step away.

Shortly before my resignation and for the months thereafter I sat saddened as the current LCDC leadership often paid more attention to petty personal squabbles then they did their candidates for local office. Fundraising was non-existent. They failed to take advantage of the Loudoun Republicans making international news with their Obama Zombie screw up. They sat quiet as Republican Supervisors openly accepted contributions from corporations with business before the board. They felt it was more important to punish dissenters than to fight for a common cause. And, of course, the redistricting debacle.

The LCDC is so fractured that they couldn’t agree on one single location to have a watch party. Each faction had their own gathering: one in Leesburg; one in Cascades; one in Sterling.

Loudoun County being what it is, Republicans would probably have won pretty big this year anyway. But it is due to the leadership of the LCDC that the Republicans won all but two and a possible third. The LCDC leadership forgot what its mission is: which is simply to elect Democrats.

In May, I resigned from the LCDC because I should have. After the results yesterday, I hope Mike Turner, Ellen Heald, Bob Moses, Denis Gordon, Evan MacBeth and Jenniffer Denegris-Kalinowski do the right thing too. It’s time for them to resign.

I will not be rejoining the LCDC, since it’s pretty obvious that my focus and that of the committee often diverge. But I hope that whoever steps up to take the reins will be someone who can woo back some of the good people lost during the past two years and who will make the LCDC into an organization even people on the outside can view as energetic and effective.

36 thoughts on ““Not a peep on Loudoun Progress” (Edited to add what I said on DBQ)

  1. Loudoun Insider

    What you had to say at Doorbell Queen is absolutely appropriate for this blog, but for some reason you progressives need to keep any dissension at bay here. If now isn’t the time for heads to roll then you guys are truly reduced to permanent minority status for the foreseeable future.

  2. Liz Miller

    I disagree with you, LI. The reason I’ve kept a blog of my own when we created this forum is so that I could have a space to post things I know my co-bloggers could reasonably vehemently disagree with.

    My critique of the LCDC and its executive committee does not belong here.

  3. Epluribusunum

    On the one hand I can understand your position, given that one of our colleagues is on the ExCom. But there’s also a reason that this is a progressive blog, and not a Democratic one. If we have wildly different views on what’s broken and how to fix it, that’s probably a good thing. I think we can all take criticism, and there should be no need for you to bend over backwards to avoid conflict or the appearance of disrespect for a friend/colleague, and I know it’s not a need on anyone’s part to “keep dissension at bay.” Besides, linking to your post on DBQ is just a click removed from posting it here, so it seems to me only a symbolic gesture.

    Just my .02.

  4. Paradox13

    Critiques are always welcome!

    I personally feel that I am guilty of only a few of the things you raised as critical failures. I acknowledge the role I played in some of the things that fractured the committee. And I am committed to building an LCDC that speaks for all Democratic voters in Loudoun as a lesson learned.

    We start rebuilding by refreshing our membership with strong and committed volunteers. We continue it by having real, honest conversations about what it means to be a Democrat in Loudoun County, and going from there.

    I am going to be a part of that. I’m not going to walk away from my Party when it is hurting. I am not going to turn my back on the thousands of Democrats who voted hope this year. That’s my commitment for the future. I’m going to stay. And fight.

  5. Pariahdog

    Liz,

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little bit of dissent between this blog and LCDC. On this blog, there is no “get Democrats elected” mission, at least there shouldn’t be.

    I resigned from the LCDC by allowing my membership lapse. I miss the people, but not the work, especially not the Treasurer work. I also took issue with the mission. Electoral politics is hard work as you well know, and after all the money is spent and the promises are made, the Democrats aren’t that different from Republicans (sorry Republican readers). In Mississippi, for example, both gubernatorial candidates supported the “human life” ballot initiative. It was defeated in spite of both parties.

    The LCDC’s biggest problem is that its membership doesn’t go to church enough. That’s where I believe their grass-roots organizing effort really breaks down. I’d like to see a Loudoun exit poll that correlates voting behavior with chuch/synagogue/mosque attendance.

  6. Epluribusunum

    I’m surprised that I’m not seeing anyone discuss this: What was immediately striking to me was how extreme an outlier Loudoun is. Obviously overall, in the context of outcomes in Ohio, Arizona, Maine, Iowa…Mississippi of all places! but even compared to the rest of Virginia where the Republicans were predicted to pick up 7 or 8 Senate seats and fell far short of that. The Republican tsunami in Loudoun indicates something very wrong locally, but is not a bellwether for anything larger.

    Have you read Peter Rousselot’s piece at Blue Virginia? I’m not much of a strategy geek, but if his critique has merit it underlines even more what I’m saying.

    There’s also quite a bit of blame that should go to the local news media. Things that should have been investigated, weren’t. LI has done some good work picking up the slack – and once they were provided with evidence collected by others some of the media did report on things like the Speakman penis picture texting, but there were some, shall we say, curiousities that they didn’t bother looking into at all. It appears that if we – collectively, those interested in integrity and good governance – want actual investigative journalism we will have to do it ourselves.

  7. Epluribusunum

    I also don’t believe that the “no difference” observation holds up well in Loudoun, with very few exceptions. Democrats and Republicans in Loudoun – at least at the leadership level – are like night and day on civil rights. The problem is a disparity in the will to stand up and fight for core values. There is sometimes an inexplicable timidity about certain issues that needs to go away, but still there is a world of difference.

  8. Dave Nemetz

    I guess I can take some of the blame, too. I was both a District Chair for almost 2 years, as well as the Treasurer for a good part of this year. Granted, I wasn’t there when the season really started heating up in the late summer, so I can’t speak on that. But I probably could have recruited better, district-wise. The former Broad Run District (now Ashburn) wasn’t very cohesive, and instead of trying to find new blood, I tried to slog through with what I had, and that didn’t work.

    But generally, I think it all started back in the re-org, when we had 2 distinct camps. We lost a lot of good volunteers after that, and it was hard to make up the losses.

    I wish you guys the best of luck from here on out. Sorry I’m not there to be a part of it.

  9. Just thought

    Dave Nemetz said “But generally, I think it all started back in the re-org, when we had 2 distinct camps. We lost a lot of good volunteers after that, and it was hard to make up the losses.”

    This is true.

    Paradox (Evan Mcbeth) said: “I acknowledge the role I played in some of the things that fractured the committee.”

    This is also true. Evan did play a divisive role in tearing down the committee and enabled Mike Turner every step of the way in doing that. It’s great that Evan wants to keep fighting and he’s a great member of LCDC, but he’s not ready to lead. He proved that these past two years.

  10. Andrew Wexton

    I have to say that the local media completely dropped the ball on this election. They went with some of the “sexy” stories (no pun intended) like the Speakman photo and the Simpson lawsuit, but they performed no investigations at all. They took candidates at their word about everything (FBI investigation settled? Must be true!) and didn’t dig an inch into the dirt.

    We compiled a lengthy, substantive and well-documented list of Jim Plowman’s legal missteps, ethical failings and abuses of office, put it all together in a well-organized website (theplowmanrecord.com), and handed it to them with a bow on top. Not only could they not be bothered to investigate the matters described, or even mention them in a substantive way, they took Plowman at his word when he said ridiculous things like “My budgets have gone down” or “The Oei case was dismissed on a techinicality and I’d do it again.” Even Dusty Smith at the Patch, who covered the previous Loudoun corruption scandals and knew about some of Plowman’s actions from that time, couldn’t be bothered to take a few hours and write something that would inform voters.

  11. Epluribusunum

    Absolutely, it was unpaid citizen journalists who were responsible for what exposure that material got outside of the campaign efforts. And if they won’t report a story for which the work has already been done, they sure aren’t going to put effort into digging for information that someone is trying to hide. “The Oei case was dismissed on a technicality and I’d do it again.” Good lord, what does he think the technicality was – that Oei didn’t break any laws?

    Even when the Times-Mirror published an expose of Delgaudio’s hate crime image and his lies about it (and bless them for at least doing that) they still felt the need to create a false equivalency for “balance.” Let’s see: an image of a bloody hate crime scene to positively illustrate violence against gay people vs. an image of a woman on an exam table to negatively illustrate the idea of medical privacy being violated. Yeah, those images and their messaging are so comparable.

  12. Loudoun Mom

    Blaming the media is simply passing the blame away from LCDC leadership. The Loudoun media is what it is, but they aren’t the reason Democrats lost.

  13. Loudoun Insider

    Good comeback, Stevens!

    Andrew – good to meet you the other night, and indeed the Loudoun press is pathetic. Of course one of the major papers is partly owned by Bill Dean, LCRC funder extraordinaire, and he’s interested in buying the for sale Leesburg Today as well.

    The LCDC’s performance was amazingly anemic and truly pathetic. Simply the worst party-wide local effort I have ever seen. How you could even think of turning to anyone that had anything to do with this “effort” is incomprehensible to me.

  14. Andrew Wexton

    There’s plenty of blame to go around, LCDC most certainly included. But I think an electorate needs to be well-informed to make good decisions, and that has to be the role of the press. As a former journalist and lawyer, I’m pretty sure that the 4th estate was given Constitutional protections because the Founding Fathers saw it as having a key role in keeping the citizens informed about their government. To say that the blogs or some candidate mailers can fill that void is ridiculous. We have two weekly newspapers, and neither did its job with anything resembling journalistic rigor.

  15. Eric the 1/2 troll

    “I’m going to stay. And fight.”

    By all means stay and fight the good fight on behalf of Loudoun Democrats (not AGAINST any Loudoun Democrats mind you). But if you were on the ExComm this time around, you should not be fighting that fight in a leadership role going forward, imo. Looks like its time to clean house.

  16. Elder Berry

    70% of Loudoun’s registered voters did not vote. How many of those who stayed home were Democrats? To fix things, start by taking a hard look at how THAT happened. The ground game was all but invisible.

  17. Andrew Wexton

    The ground game by the LCDC may have been invisible. The coordinated campaigns, under the leadership of Mark Herring’s and Shawn Mitchell’s campaign staffs, was supposed to hit 18,000 doors twice in the last two weeks. They were stymied a bit when the DPVA stepped in, and certainly the lower ballot races were sacrificed by the state leadership. But a month before of the election, there was a good plan that everyone bought into. It just didn’t work out, partly because of the state interference, partly because the second most important GOTV date got snowed out, and partly because some campaigns (I’m told) didn’t play nice and work as a team.

    That said, as a campaign manager for a countywide race, I never felt we had much, if any, official LCDC support. When I tried to reach out to District chairs for various things, it was like pulling teeth. Only three really stepped up, as far as I could tell: Evan Macbeth in Leesburg, Joe Pabis in Blue Ridge, and Tony Barney in Sterling (though Tony seemed preoccupied with Al Nevarez’s race). Ellen Heald provided some assistance in Catoctin, and Laurie Penland stepped in to help with Ashburn. But by and large, there was no LCDC organizational help with this election. I’m not sure what they normally do, or should have done, since I’m new to this. But if the LCDC goal is to get Dems elected, they dropped the ball on Jennifer’s race, to be sure.

  18. Stevens Miller

    Andrew, welcome to Loudoun Democratic politics. LCDC stopped being a helpful agent of change when the polls closed in 2008. My ’09 campaign staff still gets red-faced with anger if you ask them to compare the help we got from FCDC with that we got (or didn’t) from LCDC.

    Every year we say two things: This is the year we’ll get the lazy Dems to vote, and this is the year the campaigns will multiply investments by really working together.

    No one knows how to do the first thing. No one believes it will help their campaign, to do the second.

  19. Elder Berry

    Andrew. build your own organization. That’s my unsolicited advice. Surely Mark didn’t lead you to believe they’d do much for you. They’re useless, they’ve been useless. The successful candidates win almost in spite of them by finding and pumping hard on a serious backyard issue from the ground up. She was a new face, she’s got a good chance next time if you do your own groundwork. In other words, what Stevens said. They appear to be useless right up the ladder, really. Otherwise people wouldn’t be occupying wherever. Honest, though, is it news to you that the media is not a progressive’s friend, and just could be actively shooting you in the butt, or have you been hiding under a bushel for the past decade or so.

  20. Larry Roeder

    To be honest I found the actions by the Millers to be self-serving, sometimes petty and definetly destructive. It is one thing to have internal fights. That’s normal and healthy; but to publically undermine so many official campaigns does no good to the progressive movement, certainly no good to the Democratic Party. And to act childishly from the dias was unhelpful. To the contrary, it helped the Republican Party turn our county Red. I doubt any political party trusts Stevens or Liz now. But heck, they could form their own party.

    But I am not blaming the Millers, or LCDC or the bloggrs for my campaign, I take responsibility for my own decisions. I received help from my District Chair Doug Miller at every turn, had a wonderful Precinct Captain in Carter, and got great help from Precinct Ops and others. Bob Moses and others often provided advice. I also enjoy being a member of LCDC and the company of the members, a value Ellen Heald once ponted out to all of us.

    It should be said that being a candidate is a unique experience, something a volunteer can’t grasp. It’s not fun playing spear catcher. And everyone had advice, and often thought he or she knew best; but they were not running. I was. You have to run your own campaign and accept the consequences. I’m proud of my goals, every volunteer, and my friends in LCDC. I did find myself holding my tongue when lies were told about my background. I recall LTM printing a letter by one Republican that I’d never worked in the field of economics. If Ronald Reagan were alive, he would be surprised, since I worked with him to expand US trade to China, and on other issues. BUT LTM and the bloggers don’t check facts. Lesson learned. I held my anger back with ethnic slurs and people using the N word on Anjan, and I have should have hit back harder. I certainly was annoyed with the Millers, in case that has not come through.

    But with the exception of my Miller remarks, I’m thinking it better to smile, move on, study the lessons and build an organization for the future. I’ve shook the hand of my Republican opponent; and even made a few Republican friends along the way; but I plan to watch, and be a vibrant, engaged opposition that supports Unions, the Middle Class and a just economy. I hope LCDC will do the same. I may have friends of many political persuasions; but we Dems are on the right side of history. We do have better answers and the progressive movement is a better approach. We will win, if we stick together and help each other, and plan properly.

    I would like to say I am proud of all who ran as Democrats, especially Jennifer Wexton,my friend Bob, and Kelly and the other Supervisor candidates, and Elder Berry has an excellent point. We need to find out how to get people to the polls. Just today I met someone in South Riding who was not aware the election had even happened. He has lived here for a decade!

  21. liz

    Thank you for your comments, Larry.

    I did my best to stay out of your race, because I found it painful to watch. But I worked pretty hard for and with Jennifer Wexton, Mike Kondratick, Shawn Williams, Joy Maloney, Bob Ohneiser, Al Nevarez, and Valdis Ronis.

    Granted, I worked harder for Cliff Keirce. but he was an independent and had fewer resources he could reasonably call on.

  22. Eric the 1/2 troll

    “…it helped the Republican Party turn our county Red…”

    No it would have happened with or without the Millers. That needs to be accepted before moving on.

    Maybe it was demographics (my theory), maybe it was national trends (don’t think so), maybe it was being out performed by the LCRC (possible), but it wasn’t the Millers. No two people have that sort of power (if they did you should be doing everything you can to make up with them, eh?).

    I certainly hope the opposition is being formed as well speak because January is right around the corner. If you want to put any kind of brakes on the 9-0 R majority, you should be starting now. They won’t wait for you and they will do their most damage early on so as to give it 3-4 years for the sting to wear off.

  23. Loudoun Insider

    Another fine example of how out of touch most of the LCDC is, and how divisive and inept the Mike Turner regime was. If they had never started investigating the Millers because of Miller’s stance on redistricting (he knew it was a disaster in the making, WHICH IT WAS!) they wouldn’t have widened the rift so much. Looks like the LCDC “leaders” still have their heads in the sand. Amazing.

  24. mosborn

    So the Millers wouldn’t have actively campaigned against two sitting Democrats? Or Mike and the LCDC just shouldn’t have cared?

    Lots of statements being made in the past week about the LCDC from people who aren’t actually members. Can’t say I agree with many of them.

  25. Loudoun Insider

    What I am saying is that if there wasn’t that ridiculous investigative team (including ole Paradox 13VA here) to look into bogus charges against the Millers, all because he didn’t support a stupid very unpopular redistricting plan (set up to provide McG with a new district) that produced NO Democratic victories, then maybe some of the LCDC shellacking could have been avoided. Turner is without a doubt the single worst party Chairman I have ever seen. He oversaw the complete destruction of his local committee. You cannot saddle the Millers with that blame.

  26. Eric the 1/2 troll

    I am saying the D’s would have gotten trounced no matter what the Millers did.

    “Lots of statements being made in the past week about the LCDC from people who aren’t actually members.”

    Such is the nature of the internet.

  27. Marty Martinez

    What I am so tired of is the constant bickering and political correctness (of which I too can be guilty of). We all should take a good look in the mirror and ask the question, what could we have done to help our candidates win. I looked and I realize that I procrastinated, didn’t make enough phone calls, and did not call the republicans, like Ken, on thier B.S, etc..

    I also looked and asked the question, did I do anything to hurt our candidates campaign? I don’t think so. .

    I also agree that the Rs love to work the churches and get a lot of thier base support
    from there. Look at the Cornerstone forum. In my eyes a complete set up and ambush for our candidates. Does that mean we try to do that to? A good discussion point for our next executive committee. Personally, I believe in the separation of church and state.

    So where do I go from here? For one, I definitely agree with Joe that we can’t have any race in Loudoun County go unopposed. No one should get a free ride. With every seat having a candidate, there shouldn’t be an endorsement issue.

    I am not a cheerleader, but I do have a positive attitude and feel that we can be sucessfull in the future. I am going to work with the leadership and do what I can to grow our committee. The one comment I have for the people who feel they need to thow rocks, is that if you feel our leadership is so wrong, are you going to step up and help fix it.

    As my mother told me, “If you not going to help fix it, you can’t whine and complain”. What I learned from that is that when I get in to fix something, I stop complaining. Even though our leadership may have faltered, I do give them credit to take on the job, and run the committee in the worst of times.

    By the way, I rarely post any blogs, but when I do, I always post my name. I find anoymous blogs self serving and not honest. I know some people are concerned about repercussions, but I find that superficial and just an excuse. You have an opinion, let us know you.

    Kelly, Dave, Joy, Al, Jennifer, and all the candidates, don’t quit because you lost. Keep in mind that we need you all to continue to work for the good of our community.

    Regards, and best wishes to all.
    Marty

  28. Wolverine

    Liz — Just a personal word for you. The two of us agree on very little with regard to political and social issues. But, Madam, you do walk your own walk; and that is a thing which always impresses me. Stevens will understand when I say that I am figuratively raising my right hand to the bill of my cover to honor a very determined opponent.

Comments are closed.