Sunday, August 2, 2015

More visions surveys for Northside DFA

The first four responses were posted in the previous blog entry.

During Northside DFA's annual Voting Members Retreat (Saturday, August 8, 2015), NDFA will discuss specific ways to improve the organization.

Question 1. In April, 2018, Northside DFA will have just completed the March, 2018 primaries and be switching to focus on 2019 municipal elections when Mayor of Chicago & Chicago's 50 aldermen will stand for election.This is two years and eight months from the August, 2015 voting member retreat.What is the SUCCINCT version of where NDFA will be as an organization at this point? 

Attract more candidates
Same as where now but facing growth pressure form rising endorsement requests  

Voter registration
I would like to see a voter registration component incorporated into our vision. 

With a Democratic President and two Democratic Senators, Illinois voters in 2018 will be ready to boot out the Republican governor and in Chicago his little bosom buddy mayor. NDFA will be an active force in gaining a semblance of progressive control of the city council. A new coalition of wards from the South Side, Southwest Side, Lakefront, and Northwest Side voters will be voting out the hacks who maintain business as usual. We will be backing the strongest opponent to rid us of the jackass Rahm. 

Question 2. Please use the space below to expand on the vision you expressed above.
More challengers in 2019
Dynamic 2015 municipal cycle with become even moreso with the city's dire financial situation, resulting in even more candidates/challengers. They come court NDFA because it's a useful endorsement that requires very little.  

Register in precincts
Perhaps we could target a precinct work to increase registration by x% and then follow up with targeting our new registrations to make sure they vote. 

Don't be prisoner of past & expectations
We need to continue thinking outside the box. The 2015 contest in the 10th Ward, once fairly reliable machine territory, produced one of our finest aldermen. We can and will win in wards once written off as unlikely converts. The Laurino gang needs to be beaten and sent packing. 

Question 3. Five years from now will be August, 2020. The Illinois primary will presumably be in March, 2020. This will be the year of a presidential election.What is the SUCCINCT version of your vision for NDFA going into the 2020 general election? 
Growing pains, fragmentation resulting from growth and membership turnover.

Can't see that far
Too far ahead for me to know what to do by then.

One-term POTUS
With the ages of our two leading candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, it seems fairly likely that he or she could be a one term president. In that case, NDFA will be fighting to get a progressive candidate to represent us for the term beginning in 2021. It is crucial that we aim to do our part in forcing whoever the 2016 primary winner is to pick a viable, progressive running mate who will be ready to take the reins in 2020 should the need arise. 
Question 4. Use this space to expand upon your vision for NDFA in the summer of 2020. 
There will be challenges
Increased diversity and a large membership base will be tricky to manage as either larger version of the current monolith org or in some kind of decomposed (chapter) model. Distractions by non-candidate agendas may compromise effectiveness. 
Independent delegates to Dem Convention?
We will be running some candidates as delegates to the Democratic convention. 

Question 5. What is your vision for how NDFA interacts with other organizations in Chicago?  
Loose coordination
My hope is NDFA finds some way to work in loose coordination with other progressive orgs to find synergies where their immediate goals overlap and reduce the friction in those inevitable areas where they differ. See it possibly subsuming the IVI-IPO if it were no longer able to function independently.  

Perhaps work more with Chicago Votes and Board of Elections to increase voter turnout, especially in elections where we have endorsed candidates. 

More interaction
Though I am a newbie to NDFA, it seems we could increase our interactions with other organizations with similar goals. 

Question 6. What is your vision of how NDFA interacts with organizations in Illinois or in the greater Chicago region?

Same as #5 - I see no big difference in the city and state/regional level. I don't see any org at the state/regional level that isn't at the city level; maybe OFA?  

Not sure

Build relationships
The more friends and contacts we have outside our immediate neighborhoods, the better we will do.

Question 7. What is your vision for how NDFA should interact with Democracy For America? 
Same as now, working together for national efforts and helping candidates cross-market themselves.
Not sure

Not certain
I am not certain of the history of the relationship, but I followed DFA before I became a NDFA member.
Question 8. What is your vision for how NDFA should do fundraising? 
Love Small Change For Big Change
Voluntary subscription membership to subsidize website & other ongoing tech/communications expenses. Can move beyond a tip jar at meetings to leverage regular participation into donations. Love the Small Change events. 

Not sure

Dig deep
We probably need to dip into our own pockets more often, as too much focus on external fundraising might limit the amount of donate time members make for candidates.

Question 9. What do you envision NDFA's brand being in the future? How is this different from NDFA's brand now?

What about Chicago DFA?
After last year's retreat I thought we were shooting for Chicago DFA which I think is a better brand for making that first big jump beyond the Northside. Sticking with NDFA acronym may work better if the goal is really to be more statewide/regional. Other brands have done fine with that approach (e.g. KFC, the Y). 

Effective GOTV
An effective group for getting out the vote for our endorsed candidates. Not different, just stronger.

Pragmatic about winning
We should remain a multi-flavored organization that seeks to elect good, progressive candidates. Sometimes we may support those who are not ideal in a continued effort to remove ineffectual politicians. We should aim not to be too mushy by supporting multiple candidates for the same position while at the same time not being so strict that no one wants to apply or run under our brand.

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