Get Ready to Defend Democracy
From Spokes Council
As you know, there is a concern that the upcoming election will be chaotic. The results may not be known for some time, due to the unprecedented use of mail-in ballots that will take some time to count. There is a fear that the president will interfere with the count, perhaps claiming victory with millions of ballots still uncounted.
There are organizations currently planning for various post-election contingencies in the event Trump loses, but refuses to accept the result. Should it be necessary, we will need all hands on deck to defend our democracy.
Here are a few organizations that are making contingency plans for the days after the election.
is organizing people coming to DC, beginning election night. On their website you can sign up to get text messages and learn about direct action/civil disobedience trainings being conducted in the coming days and weeks.
Choose Democracy is “a crew of organizers, activists, trainers, academics, and concerned citizens preparing for the scenario of a coup in 2020.” On their website, you can take a pledge and sign up for their lists and trainings.
Protect the Results is a joint project of Indivisible and Stand Up America. On their website, you can sign up for updates and alerts.
But these groups are making a plan B — in case of monkey business by Trump to disregard the election. Let’s not let it get to that point. Plan A is to help bring about as big a victory for Biden-Harris as possible, so there can be no question about the outcome. There are many ways you can get involved. The Takoma Park Mobilization website has a page listing dozens of ways you can help with this election. Go to this page: https://tpmobilization.org/2020-elections to see your options. Or you can email indivisible INDIVISIBLE@TPMOBILIZATION.ORG and we will send you an email with opportunities for how to get involved. (See the below paragraph from Indivisible as well.) Make a plan, decide how you can participate in defending our democracy, and plug in to one of these many efforts.
Free Kenny Collins Week of Action October 12 – 16
From Equal Justice
Join us for a week of action to help free Kenny Collins, who has been unjustly imprisoned in Maryland for over 33 years, including 17 on death row.
There will be events Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (October 12, 14, and 16). Monday, there will be a teach-in on Kenny’s case and the fight against mass incarceration. Wednesday, there will be a strategy and letter-writing night. Friday, there will be a virtual rally for Kenny.
Speakers include Karan Taktani of the UMD Prison Resistance Project and Free Kenny Collins Campaign, Mckayla Wilkes of Schools Not Jails and, hopefully, Kenny himself will be able to join us at some point.
For more info or to RSVP, go to:
PLEASE SIGN!!!! Petition for a ruling on Kenny’s habeas petition (which asks for a new trial so that all the evidence can be heard): https://www.thepetitionsite.com/966/331/017/judge-chasanow-please-rule-on-kenny-collins’-habeas-petition/?z00m=32098625&redirectID=2958247052
Quick video introduction to Kenny’s case:
PLEASE DONATE! GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/khgj5a-free-kenny-collins-campaign-fund
Get Out the Vote in Pennsylvania
If you have not been working on getting out the vote in swing states and would like to make a few calls, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are calling friendly voters in Pennsylvania — Democrats who need a reminder to apply for a mail in ballot, or to return their ballot, or (towards the end of October) to go to the polls in person. Most people are happy to get the information. Most of the calls involve leaving a message, which is psychologically not hard to do. So even if phone calling is a bit out of your comfort zone, please join us for this final push! All of our calls go into the database of the coordinated campaign, so we are not just calling people randomly. It is targeted and smart. And you can do a half hour or an hour as you can fit it into your schedule without having to sign up in advance.
County Charter Amendments on the Ballot
From Equal Justice
If you have requested a mail-in ballot, you should be receiving it in the coming days, if you haven’t already received it. Among the decisions you will have to make is how to vote on 4 questions to amend the county charter.
Question B (the Ficker Amendment) would prohibit the County Council from increasing total revenue received from the property tax beyond the rate of inflation under any circumstances, including emergencies (or population growth, for that matter). Takoma Park Mobilization has joined a coalition opposed to this charter amendment, Montgomery Neighbors Against Question B. You can learn more on the Coalition’s Website. Instead, Question A would establish a cap on the property tax rate instead of the total tax revenue so that if the tax base increases, so would revenue — allowing the county to provide services to a growing population. Believe it or not, the County cannot currently increase revenue by growing the tax base, making the proposal outlined in question A necessary.
Questions C and D have to do with County Council representation. Question C would expand the number of council districts from five to seven, while maintaining the four at-large districts, bringing the total size of the Council to 11.This amendment would effectively increase representation for residents, while maintaining our ability to vote for a total of five members — one for our district, and four at-large members.
Question D would effectively decrease our representation, by keeping the size of the council the same, eliminating at-large positions, and dividing the county into nine districts, with each resident represented by one council member rather than one plus four at-large.
You can learn more about the ballot questions by attending these upcoming forums:
The Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club will host a (virtual) forum on Tuesday October 6 at 7:30 p.m. You can register here:
Jews United for Justice will be holding 2 forums:
Thursday, October 1, 2020 6:30 PM (register here): https://jufj.org/event/mc-ballots-oct-1/
Monday, October 5, 2020 7:00 PM (register here): https://jufj.org/event/mc-ballots-oct-5/.
Homegoing is the Book for October
From the Book Group
For October, the TPM Book Group will read the award-winning novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Each chapter follows a different descendant of an Asante woman (from the region that includes contemporary Ghana) in the late 1700s – one of her daughters marries the British governor in charge of Cape Coast Castle, while her half-sister is held captive in the dungeons below. Subsequent chapters follow their descendants through several generations. We will meet via Zoom to discuss on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. Please RSVP to Ida at email@example.com if you would like to receive the Zoom link / join the meeting.
Housekeeping Notes — We Need More Volunteers!
The TPS Spokes Council meets once a month with representatives from the various TPM subgroups. Spokes Council is looking for more volunteers to share the work that crosses the various committees. There are two immediate needs:
TPM’s first Secretary, Sarah Fitzpatrick, is stepping down because she is leaving the area (and leaving for a country that has a competent government. But let’s try not to be jealous). So, Spokes Council is looking for a new Secretary, who is our official note taker. It’s not a difficult job, and if you have a couple hours a month to volunteer, let us know. (You can send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Secondly, TPM needs volunteers to join the “COOL” committee, which runs communications to TPM members. Currently, members of the Spokes Council have stepped in to fill the communications needs on an interim basis, but communications are, in case you haven’t noticed, more sparadoc than if we had volunteers dedicated to that function. And the interim setup will not last forever. If you would like to chip in, send a note to email@example.com.