Friday, September 25, 2009

546. Update and an Email

Update on my Dad: The hospital says they are going to keep him until at least Monday and then make some assessments. So, at least he is comfortable.

An Email to read. Rather than leave the "blog on hiatus" entry up there, I thought I'd copy y'all on an email I sent earlier today concerning the Kentucky Democratic Party, an amendment I proposed in 2006 to the State Party By-Laws, and the recent resurrection of that amendment by, of all people, one of the very people who worked hardest to keep me from getting it enacted.

The email was sent to members of the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. It includes an email I sent to the KDP By-Laws Committee in 2006. Feel free to comment.

Enjoy. I'll be back in a few days.


All --

I am writing to offer comments on a matter Chairman Longmeyer addressed at the Executive Committee meeting on the 23rd. I was not aware he was planning on addressing this matter or I would have attended. As it was, the 23rd was my birthday, and unfortunately was also the day my father was readmitted to the hospital, so I've been busy. For the record, my father is not well, but he is comfortable.

Chairman Longmeyer explained a proposal he has submitted (or will submit) to the State By-Laws Committee for consideration. This By-Law amendment concerns how we nominate candidates in Special Elections, especially for members of the General Assembly, but applicable to any race where the Party must make a nomination. He suggested the current By-Law is "fuzzy" something I do not believe. The current By-Law is very clear and I am pleased he is offering an amendment to the State Party By-Laws Committee to change it.

As many of you know, I was formerly a member of the State Party By-Laws Committee, but neither Chairwoman Jennifer Moore nor the current chair reappointed me to that Committee. The By-Laws have always been a very important matter to be since former Jefferson County Chair Larry Clark appointed me to rewrite our own By-Laws back in 2001, a seven month process with my proposal approved in November of that year. I have served on the Jefferson County By-Laws Committee since that time, although I do not know my present status on the Committee.

The proposal Chairman Longmeyer outlined on the 23rd is something that I generally support, although I am not clear on the absolute details. The general idea is to change the way Nominating Committees are constituted from one person to a minimum of three. The current By-Laws afford one person, the Legislative District Chair, the absolute power to nominate someone should an opening occur in either Jefferson or Fayette County.

Most of you received several emails from me on this matter back in 2006. I have copied one of them below. In it you will see that what Chairman Longmeyer is presently proposing is identical in basis to the proposal I offered in January 2006.

The email copied below - which is admittedly very, very long - is addressed to George Blackburn, who at the time was the State Party By-Laws Chair. On it I copied other members of the State Party Committee, as well as Chairman Longmeyer, former LD Vice Chair Joyce Compton, Ray Crider in his role as webmaster for the Party, the State Party Chair, and several blogs.

I have highlighted the language I proposed in this email dated January 15, 2006. For several years I attempted to have this proposal pass at the State level, but my path was always blocked for reasons I've never fully understood. The last time I attempted to raise the matter was at a State Party meeting on March 1, 2008. As I began to speak, Chairman Longmeyer, also a member of the Committee, moved for adjournment and the meeting came to an abrupt end. I can provide you the minutes if you wish to read them. After the meeting, both Chairman Longmeyer and then-State Chairwoman Moore suggested that I should run for re-election to the State Party and bring the matter up in the new term.

I accepted their suggestion and did run again, and after a contested election was seated a year ago this month. And while I have not had an opportunity to re-submit my original proposal, I am happy that someone else is. I must admit I am a little shocked that it is coming from Chairman Longmeyer, but that is neither here nor there. The idea is a good one, whether coming from me or him.

I am hopeful that the State Party By-Laws Committee will work out the kinks in the proposal and eventually bring it to the full State Party Committee. When and if that happens, I intend to support the proposal.

Thanks for reading.

-- Jeff

See below the highlighted text of my original proposal. If you have any comments, feel free to email. Also, I am copying the current State Party By-Laws Chair on this email. -- JN


[Original Message]
From: Jeff Noble
Date: 1/15/2006 12:23:05 PM
Subject: By-Laws Proposal

George Blackburn, Chair, KDP Rules Committee, Rockport, Ky.
Sheila Holbrook, Neon, Ky.
Hon. Ed Worley, Richmond, Ky.
Denzil Allen, Prestonsburg, Ky.
Charles Wells, Georgetown, Ky.
Jimmy Morphew, Paducah, Ky.

George and fellow By-Laws Committee Members:

Greetings from Louisville and Happy New Year.

I am writing to you to open a discussion about a By-Laws amendment, having
to do with the selection of nominees in Special Elections, specifically in
House elections in Jefferson County. I will be forwarding to you as part of
my request an email which I sent recently to the Jefferson County Chair
Tim Longmeyer, our State Chair Jerry Lundergan, the 37th LD Chair Joyce Compton,
and our nominee in the 37th House special election, Metro Councilman Ron Weston.

Councilman Weston was chosen as our nominee in the vacancy created by
the resignation of State Representative Perry Clark, who is running for
the 37th Senate Special Election. (Both of these special elections, the 37th
House and the 37th Senate, will take place on February 14th). This By-Laws
proposal should not and does not in any way reflect on these nominees, as I
am fully supportive of both of them. Nor should it reflect on Chairwoman
Compton or Chairman Longmeyer in Jefferson County.

As I have explained in the second email you should receive, I am
concerned that any nominee for special election is, under our present By-Laws, selected by one single person. I do not believe this is right or correct, although it is how our By-Laws presently provide for such nomination. I have spoken to Tim Longmeyer personally about this, and while he made no commitment to me on the matter, he did understand why I am pursuing this.

He also explained to me what he believed to be the reason for this, and given his explanation, I understand why the change was made, but I do not feel the change is in the best long-term interests of our Party. I have also, via email, discussed this with Chairwoman Compton, who has indicated to me she supports this effort.

Prior to the change to the current rule, Legislative District nominees were selected under a precinct committee process of the committeemen, committeewomen, and committee-youths of the precincts of a given House district. I understand that over the passage of time, many of these persons move from the precinct or district from which they were elected, thus
creating a vacancy. For instance, I was elected Precinct Committeeman for
my precinct of M-144 in the April, 2004 Reorganization, but have since moved to precinct L-143. It is very likely the position of committeeman in my old precinct remains vacant.

I see returning the Special Nomination process to these folks, the very basic level of our Democratic Party, as a way of ensuring the grassroots, to which we often refer rhetorically, remain in actuality an integral part of the system, not just a one-time need of Reorganization Day every fourth year. In 2001, I ran for chairman of the Jefferson County Executive Committee and one of my proposals was to ask the LDs to update their precinct committee personnel on a regular basis, whether it be annually or quarterly. This would provide for a ready base of voters in events when there is a need, such as a Special Election. Although I did not win that race, I feel the proposal has merit.

However, under the current By-Laws (Article X, Section B), keeping this vital link to the bottom rung of our party organization is unnecessary. This is wrong and reflects badly on the way the Party operates.

Below is my proposal:

A proposal to amend Article X, Section B, Subsection 1 of the State Party By-Laws.

To delete in that Article and Section and Subsection, in its first
paragraph, the word "legislative" from the text.

To add a second paragraph to Article X, Section B, Subsection 2 to
read as follows: "A rules committee shall be formed composed of the
Legislative District Chair(s), Legislative District Vice Chair(s), and Legislative
District At-Large member(s) from such district(s) the vacancy to be filled
Such Rules Committee shall have the authority to determine how
all nominations within such districts shall be made and to declare all nominees
not inconsistent with public or party law. Each member of said Rules Committee of the respective Executive Committee shall cast a vote proportionate to the number of registered Democrats in the political subdivision which that nominee represents divided by three (3)."

The first part of this proposal will return the power of selecting Legislative nominees to the precinct committees in a weighted vote, away from the Legislative District Chairs. By deleting the word legislative" from the text of Subsection 1, the authority for such nominations would automatically be governed by Subsection 2.

The second part creates a committee to deal with how the races are ran and who is qualified, and provides the Rules Committee members a weighted vote proportionate to their representation.

I am very eager to see this enacted.

3rd CD member
KDP, By-Laws Committee member
Louisville, Ky.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.