USD Law School hosted an event by San Diego CoastKeepers called "Signs of the Tide:How to Be an Advocate for Your Community." The event focused on training environmental activists and advocates to be more effective when dealing with legislative and regulatory agencies. As a tea party supporter, the event was an opportunity to learn the tactics of the environmental left.
Before we dive into a summary of the discussion, let me set the scene. CoastKeepers served Oggi's Pizza, cookies, submarine sandwiches and even mini-muffins. It was a delicious and free meal for aspiring environmental lawyer activists. The organization must be well funded. The USD campus is beautiful and the building Warren Hall was nice. Room 3A was very hot and a diesel generator was just outside the window. The noise made it difficult to hear the discussion. The tea party did not place the generator nor turn off the air conditioning.
Former San Diego city councilwoman, Donna Fry used humor to keep the crowd engaged. Democrat San Diego City Council president Tony Young participated. Sara Wan, former California Coastal Commissioner and Arthur Coe, a former staff member at Regional Water Quality Control Board rounded out the discussion panel. The audience consisted of various former and current officials and staff members along side the future environmental advocates.
The presentation was even-handed and avoided most extreme left-wing politics. The event was informative but for a target audience of lawyers it seemed simplistic. Much of the discussion centered upon building credibility with officials who you intend to influence.
Aspiring activists were given a list of do's and dont's: ( listed in approximate order of importance)
- Build Credibility.
- Be concise.
- Propose a solution. "State what you want the officials to do."
- Stick to the main topic.
- Understand CEQA.
- Bring someone with a personal story related to the issue at hand.
- Understand the political climate around the decision makers.
- Bring supporters who are informed about the issue at hand.
- Spread major points between several concise allies.
- Get a meeting with the officials you wish to interact with. An introduction meeting is enough to get the ball rolling.
- Know your audience. "Do not talk to the Water Quality Control Board about air quality."
- Get involved at the beginning of the process because the "ball is rolling downhill" later in the process.
- Learn about the officials you are presenting to and know details like what they like for breakfast.
- Sue the government to force enforcement of existing law.
- Insult the officials.
- Lie or make unsupported claims. "You will lose all future credibility."
- Don't come late to the party. "By the time something is on the official agenda, you are a year behind the political process."
- Antagonize your opponents or engage in a debate during your limited presentation time.
- Make enemies with your opponent activists and advocates because you may be able to work together on other issues.
- Don't bring a bus load of "people wearing buttons who don't know why they are there."
First, the medical marijuana movement had won. It then worked to repeal its own victory in San Diego in order to get a more perfect outcome. The result was a shut down of the marijuana dispensaries by the Department of Justice.
Second, Occupy San Diego evolved from gaining the sympathy of left-leaning Democrats into a disorganized mess. Examples were given of occupiers arguing among themselves. OSD also lost coherent leadership which could be worked with by other advocates and activists. It is assumed that references to "people wearing buttons who don't know why they are there," referred to Occupy San Diego.
At risk of wandering off topic, Doo Doo Economics has been tough on the occupy movement. This is not due to hate, but of concern for American's safety. The occupy movement is now cannon fodder for the progressive movement.
Occupy is simultaneously being used as controlled opposition and demonized as violent. Controlled opposition takes political focus off of the multiparty success of the tea party movement. Demonization establishes, with regard to President Obama, "the perception of a violent occupy movement is a perfect opponent." This perception of violence is used to assault the first and second amendments and further centralize corrupt power. We may disagree on the chicken-and-the-egg arguments between government corruption and corporate corruption, but that does not preclude compassion for fellow Americans.
Absent were mentions of factual arguments. Most of the discussion points came down to "personal relationships" with the decision makers, their staff and other advocates. This is not surprising as the speakers were all left-leaning and more concerned with emotional appeals.
Humanity is best when intellect and emotion come together. In sports we call this convergence, "being in the zone." America has traditionally benefited from having liberals and conservatives approach common problems from different points of view. So, hopefully, some left-wing advocates will develop working relationships with the rest of us. Don't hold your breath, but this civility sentiment was echoed when Donna Fry mentioned:
Don't make everything personal. Not everyone on the other side is evil because they disagree with you.It is unlikely to happen while the Obama administration drives division through class, sex and race warfare.