Hello there,

Welcome to this month's issue of The Eleven, my take on the world - filled with ideas, and suggestions for action.  As my previous note  to the world mentioned, I am focused on getting everyone to register to vote and also sent word of my thoughts on some of the more important issues/candidates of the day.

If you live in Oregon, the last day to register to vote is October 12th.  I am sending this note out early in the hopes that you or someone you know will make use of this information! Click here to register on-line.

Voting Party 2010!
I mentioned our upcoming voting party, on Monday, October 18th, but which will be held at a local furniture store, Sofa Table Chair instead of our house due to our growing numbers of participants over the years.  Details: 10/18, 6:30pm, Sofa Table Chair, 18th and Broadway, NE, bring snacks and clear liquid drinks (sofas and red wine don't mix!).

Yes, it's election season, and as someone with a BA and MA in political science and a life full of political activism I figure it's my job/passion/decision to encourage others to participate.  Thus, the voting party. Thus, the Voting Virgins FB Fan page.  Thus, the action items below!
Personally & Professionally
On a more personal note, I've been working for the last 3 weeks for a small website design company in downtown PDX. It's good work, and I'm learning some new skills - how to work with a CMS (content management system) called Sitecore, and some new software development tools.  Right now the contract ends on October 27th, but I am hoping they might want to keep me around. 

We'll be having another house concert.  Friday, November 5th with Rob Tobias and friends from Eugene, Oregon.  Details here - hope you can make it.  The last one with Ben Bochner was delicious.

On the legislative front, I'm working with my State Senator, Chip Shields, to move opt-in for telephone books legislation forward in the 2011 session in Salem. It turns out that the big telecoms don't want to print and distribute white pages anymore. That's great news and a start towards getting rid of telephone books altogether.  This time round I hope to gather more support from various environmental groups and elected officials and that's going well with support coming from OEC, DEQ and Metro.
Who we elect does matter
Ya see, it really does make a difference who we elect.  Individually, they can't do too much, unless they're at the top, but together, many of them form a team and can actually move things forward.  Like decent legislation to make things better.  Without quality people running our various levels of government we get no movement or backwards movement.  I ache for decent change for this country.  And I don't think we will be able to keep living the way we have - wasting resources, and making bad decisions, and that's why I write this newsletter and push for changes I'd like to see.

Because I think we can do better than we're doing.  Nature may force us to come together and make a lot of changes quickly, soon, but I believe we're also capable of planning ahead.  I wrote an article about how we might learn how to open to feedback in an easier fashion a couple weeks ago and I'd love it if you'd read it.  So far the feedback I've gotten has been some of the most interesting feedback I've ever received from anything I've written.  And, what's true for us individually is I'm sure true for us as a species.  By not learning what we need to, we're bumping up against limits - population limits, resource limits, space limits, etc.  A billion people go hungry every day.  2 billion don't have adequate supplies of water.  Obviously, we're doing something wrong, and it behooves us to turn things around, sooner rather than later. 

I sat in on an interesting lecture with Howard Gardner this week @ PSU.  His books on multiple intelligences are legendary and are shaping education thinking around the world.  The room was filled with the highest level education minds in Oregon (deans, superintendants of ed), and yet when it came time for a Q&A instead of an interesting dialogue, what took place was a lot of defensive posturing and a "we're doing the best we can" kind of attitude.  Rather than the group hearing and learning from what Professor Gardner had to say, they seemed to get defensive about what he is putting forward - CHANGE!  And the same thing plays out every day - climate change?  We can't do anything about that.  Healthcare?  We have the best system in the world.  Etc.  It doesn't help that corporate America seems bent on taking what they can and not really considering the health and welfare of the people of this country and the rest of the planet.  And now thanks to the Citizens' United Supreme Court decision, they're able to pour as much $ as they want into our elections.  One way to push back against this effect is via Voter Owned Elections, something we're deciding whether to keep in Portland this November.

Voter Owned Elections have been operating in Portland since 2005.  What it means is that if you can gather 1,000 $5 signatures you receive money from the city to run your primary (and if you make it past the primary, general) campaign.  Only a few people have made use of the system, but the effect has been great.  In those races where VOE was used, the amount of $ collected from corporations has gone down.  Candidates get to spend time talking to voters instead of being on the phone raising cash.  It's also a way to bring in new voices to politics and I expect that it could transform things given enough time and fine-tuning.  (Disclosure: I hope to someday use this system to run for public office :)

And, there are so many issues, and so many candidates. Our voter's pamphlet this year is like a course catalogue.  What's in there?  People who might make a difference.  Initiatives that might allow something to get funded or not.  In California they're voting to legalize marijuana.  Can you believe we're still putting people in jail for growing/smoking pot?  I can't.  So, if you know someone in California give them a call and ask them how they're going to vote on this issue?  Might lead to an interesting conversation.

actionsPick an Action Item
Election 2010
Here are a few action items for this month.  Do at least one thing that's political. Some suggestions:

Take a moment and help someone new to town get registered to vote.
Encourage someone young to get registered to vote
put up a lawn sign for a candidate
join a candidate's FB Fan Page and say hello
donate to a candidate
canvass for a candidate or issue
write a letter to the editor about a candidate or issue that you support
say the word politics out loud at the dinner table, at work, on the bus - see what happens!
come to our voting party!  Hold your own.
If you want to follow along really closely, read a blog or two.  I like Daily Kos for the national view and Blue Oregon for Oregon issues.

Thanks for reading and for taking action.  Don't sit this election out!

Politically yours,

Albert Kaufman
Albertideation Small

  • Where I was a year ago :)  The Eleven, October 2009
  • The Write up in November 2008 of our Voting Party which made the front page of the Sunday Oregonian
  • Marcia turns 50 in November, please come join the Wileyware Fan Page and send her a nice note! And if you're thinking about a nice gift for someone or yourself this holiday season... need I say more?
  • My housemate and amazing woodworker, Eric, is making GoStools.  Learn more @
  • Aaron Trotter, a good friend, and incredible artist, is making a name for himself in Portland drawing a series called Portland Places.  He's got cards and prints for sale, and hopefully soon, a deck of cards. 
  • Congratulations to the greatest Supermarket in the world, New Seasons, for their upcoming store opening on Hawthorne!
New Seasons
Drawing by Aaron Trotter