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Friday, July 27, 2007

FDP Chair Karen Thurman Answers Your Questions

Last week, I put up a notice that the Florida Netroots site had the opportunity to interview Karen Thurman, the Chair of the Florida Democratic Party and invited you to submit your own questions. Here is our Q&A.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Death By Committee

We Democrats love our committees. In fact, we some of the time love them too much. It is necessary to have a number of standing committees to carry out basic functions of the DEC no doubt. In fact, there are a number of committees that are mandated to be in existence by state bylaws (Affirmative Action Committee, for example) and DEC bylaws.

However, not every problem needs a committee, and having too many committees end up stifling innovation, ideas, and potential new leadership.

When DECs are organized and reshuffled around at the beginning of every new leadership team, the structure that is developed should take care of basic tasks and provide for new ideas and innovation. The key here is only having committees that are doing something beneficial for the DEC and helping it progress. If there's a committee where there is all talk and no action, if it only seems to be an echo chamber, or the personal lobbying group of a particular member - its time to bring out the axe.

Its also important that committees don't turn into this, as told by BMW:

Or this

Here are some tips to make existing committees better, particularly if you're in charge of one (via Fundraising Success magazine):

1. Limit your comments. Hold your tongue and suggest changes only when you are squarely within your expertise and you have facts to back you up.

2. Work to enlighten fellow committee members. Bring in documentation from the experts. Build the case for fact-based judgment over opinion-based judgment.

3. Advocate restraint. You might be able to impact your committee’s culture and make it less destructive. Your fellow members likely are open to becoming a different kind of group for the good of your organization.

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Survey Results

Thanks to all who participated in our recent survey which gaged both reader loyalty and interest in the various elements of the site as well as opinions about the future.

A total of 35 people began the survey, and 17 fully completed it. This is actually a well represented sample of our readership.

Reader Interest
Roughly, how often do you read Build Florida's DECs?
More than one time a day: 11.4%
Daily: 22.9%
Weekdays Only: 11.4%
Weekends Only: 2.9%
Weekly: 42.9%
Monthly: 8.6%

Primary Links
The number after the primary link is the one chosen by a plurality of the voters. Remember, this was on a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being the best.

Donate- 5: 47.1%

Invest- 5: 47.1%

Store- 5: 47.1%

Find Your DEC- 5: 29.4%

All elements had many votes in the 6-10 range with only one or two votes in the 1-4 range.

Sidebar Elements

People Who Make It Happen- 5: 41.2%

About- 5: 52.9%

Proud Member- 5: 35.3%

Useful Links- 5: 29.4%

Archives- 5: 47.1%

Again, most votes were in the 6-10 range, and only one vote in the 1-4 range of all 5 elements.

What is your opinion of our collaborating with the Florida Progressive Coalition for the creation of the Virtual Think Tank?
Approve: 88.2%
Disapprove: 0%
No Opinion: 11.8%

Would you like to see Build Florida's DECs continue to work with organizations like the Florida Progressive Coalition and collaborate on projects?
Yes: 88.2%
No: 0%
No Opinion: 11.8%

Would you like to see Build Florida's DECs start doing interviews with DEC officials and grassroots activists through possible mediums such as podcasting, internet radio, or simply live blogging?
Yes: 94.1%
No: 0%
No Opinion: 5.9%

Would you like to see Build Florida's DECs use a more interactive platform other than Blogger, such as Word Press, Drupal, or Joomla?
Yes: 11.8%
No: 5.9%
No Opinion: 82.4%

This was a very interesting survey. The vast majority of respondents like what they see here and want to see it do even more. I plan to do a survey every now and then to keep track of any new changes we implement.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

50 State Strategy: Required Reading

MyDD has gotten an exclusive first copy of The Nations series on the 50 State Strategy. This article is entitled: "PURPLE AMERICA -- The Democrats' Fifty-State Strategy Stokes North Carolina's Grassroots"

You can read the full article here.

As a huge fan of the 50 State Strategy, we really need to do everything we can to preserve it - particularly once Dean leaves in early 2009.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

DEC Fundraising: Q2 2007

I've only received a little more than half of the DEC figures back from the individual Supervisor of Elections office. I'll update this post as new data comes in.

Alachua $44,067.69
Orange $34,070.00
Okaloosa $20,781.18
Martin $20,085.00
Pinellas $16,197.55
Manatee $9,969
Broward $9,903.00
Hernando $9,285.41
Brevard $8,648.58
Escambia $7,231.00
Duval $6,928.74
Seminole $6,307.08
Santa Rosa $5,342.74
Marion $5,236.00
Sarasota 4,952.64
Lake $4,551.55
St. Lucie $4,199.88
Indian River $3,046.00
Putnam $2,695.00
Monroe $2,500.00
St. Johns $2,448.05
Okeechobee $2,330.00
Holmes $2,150.00
Sumter $2,098.00
Osceola $1,852.97
Nassau $1,725
Baker $1,700.00
Walton $1,495.00
Clay $1,430.00
Polk $1,410.48
Jefferson $1,337.81
Charlotte $900.00
Pasco $733.44
Bay $645.00
Leon $470.00
Gulf $450.00
Calhoun: $0.00
Liberty: $0.00
Taylor: $0.00
Lafayette: NO DEC

The big surprise is, of course, the Martin DEC. Martin County has only 25,615 Democrats (compared to 47,307 Republicans.) Raking in $20K is no small feat. It also demonstrates the potential of DEC fundraising. Now compare the Martin DEC to Broward's stats this quarter. Broward County has 480,689 Democrats (nearly 19 times that of Martin County) and was only able to rake in $9,903.00.

DECs have a long road ahead of them to build viable fundraising operations. Posts like this (every reporting period) are designed to let people within DECs know how well they are performing in relation to other counties. Its also great ammo for DEC fundraisers to use - "If Martin County with only 25,000 Dems can raise $20,000 - we can do that - and better."

Update 11:29am: Okaloosa comes in at a resounding $20,781.18. Osceola rakes in $1,852.97, and St. Lucie $4,199.88.

Update 2: A small handful of DEC people have been grumbling to FDP about this post. I thought that would happen. Let me just say that this post isn't intended to shame DECs. We all know that DECs tend to have big annual fund raisers which therefore don't necessarily show up in these Q2 numbers. This is only the first post of its kind. I will be posting summaries every quarter which will demonstrate progress.
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Hosting "The Daily 15" Today

I'm hosting Florida Progressive Coalition's "Daily 15" today. Tune in at 12:30pm, listen in, and hopefully call in. I'll try and not screw it up :)

Monday, July 23, 2007


Hey folks. Just wanted to let you know that I've been spending some time collecting data on the amounts of contributions received by DECs in the last quarter. Its all public information, of course, but its often unattainable from local Supervisor of Elections sites. In Marion, its all right there on the website - not so in most counties. So I've sent out around 60 emails requesting this information.

I'll hopefully be able to post on this tommorrow or Wednesday...hopefully.

Update 1:54- 16/67 in. Some Supervisor's offices are pretty fast!

Update 5:00- 26/67 in. Getting better...

Update 11:25am- 34/67 in. Halfway there.