Thursday, August 27, 2009

Phase Two - Training Wheels Off!

We have had our eighth Board meeting and our fourth group meeting and significant milestones are being met. We are moving in a bigger direction. Our membership now stands at over two hundred and fifty. We are in more than half of the township neighborhoods. We draw from all over the county. People who come to our meetings do so to learn and to be involved. It is clear that our members want to take action not just sit in a meeting and listen. We have established a Health Care subcommittee and we have had no problem getting volunteers to work on this issue and they are doing fine work. We have another committee, working on the upcoming Cincinnati TEA Party event that is to be held at the Voice of America Regional Park on Sept. 5th. This event is expected to draw thousands from around the state right into our backyard. All of this activity makes the board very busy. Our last meeting attracted a reported and a photographer from the local press and we are expecting to be featured in an article in this Sunday's Journal-Press in an article on local Grass Root Groups. The article will feature both Conservative and Liberal groups. All of this drives me to say that we are moving into a stage of the group’s development where it is time for the volunteers to step forward and take on more of the load. We can't be just about the meetings; we have to be about more than that. We have committee's to fill and positions that need to have volunteers doing the work on a regular basis. The people are there and they are willing to do the work. It is the Boards job to identify what needs to be done and then guide the group in the direction it needs to go. The question is how? We don't want to lay out a long laundry list of positions to fill and then have people fill in on a roster sheet where and when they will work. That is sort of like the snack bar duty at the local youth sport activity, nobody likes to do that. No, our challenge is a bit different. We have a number of interesting tasks or positions and we need to find and match people that have the interest and the skill to the positions so that we have the right people with the right interest and skill in the right position. This is a harder task. But this is what we must do. In the end, we will have a stronger organization if we do this right.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker!

Our third meeting this past Monday, attended by our largest crowd to date, 185 Patriots, was our most diverse crowd to date! It was a great meeting! But let's go back to the organizing committee and the two meetings and all the emails that led up to that meeting before we talk about the meeting itself.

These past two weeks have been primarily about our young organization and the issues involved with organization. We have much to do to get this train moving down the tracks. We need volunteers and we need them to fill the right positions. We need to identify what those key needs are so that when we are asked; "what can I do?", we have an answer. We need to think ahead and try to form a vision of where we want to be six months, a year, two years from now and start planning on how we are going to get there. We also have to understand how we fit in with the greater Tea Party movement and in particular with the Cincinnati Tea Party group and our sister groups in West Chester, Mason, Fairfield, Fairfield Township, Middletown, and the surrounding localities. So for the past two weeks we have been, as a group, grappling with those issues and trying to work them out. We also have some competing events that require our attention and support. The Health Care forum coming up and the September 5th Rally at the Voice of America Park will need our support, resources and effort. Plus we have bi-weekly meetings to run, issue groups to get off the ground and neighborhood groups to launch. Full plate!

Once again meeting night came and we had an agenda but no idea what the turnout would be. We were again pleasantly surprised. We had a full room of Patriots. Over 185 came to this event. We saw some familiar faces and some new faces, we saw some young faces, some old faces and some not so old faces. It was a very good cross-section of the community. Perhaps, our most diverse crowd yet, hence the title of this installment. The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. We are not a mob, we are not an unruly gang of activists bent on overturning the government, we are not even any of the things the left has labeled us to be. We are simply what we say we are; a group of concerned bi-partisan citizens that care deeply about their country and the direction that we see it going and want it to change but not in the direction that the current administration is taking it. It is as simple as that. Every meeting that we have had has been polite, has had a high level of decorum and has been characterized by an extreme level of I just want my voice to be heard. All of the people that come to our meetings are looking for an outlet to have their voices heard in a meaningful and respectful manner. They do now want to be ignored. It is clear to me, at least, that many of them feel that they have been ignored for all too long. We had a speaker from Congressman John Boehner's office describe the process of what happens when you email, call or write a representative. He answered the question; "is it read, does it make a difference?". He did a very good job and a lively discussion followed his presentation. We had our normal opening remarks, pledge and prayer. We had a lady come forward and challenge anyone that wanted to run for public office to pick-up a petition from her. She had drawn all the necessary petitions and had them with her. This is representative government in action and while we may not have been ready for this at this meeting. Next time around we will be! And one gentleman has some very good prepared remarks regarding the Constitution that was very well done. Our topic of the evening, as it has been for the past couple of meetings, was the Health Care bill and we had a good exchange of ideas regarding this topic. We were able to, at the close of the meeting, recruit many people to serve on both our Health Care Issue committee and our Membership Group. So, all in all it was a very productive meeting and moved the ball forward a great deal.

Now it is time to move forward and to start the planning for our fourth meeting. Actually, we have now laid out the schedule for the rest of the year and have scheduled a joint meeting with our sister West Chester group for later on this fall. We are getting there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gaining Momentum - Strength in Numbers

Who would have thought that 400 people would have attended the West Chester Tea Party meeting this past Friday night? Yes, they did have a local radio personality. Yes, they are a community of 50,000 residents. Yes, they are mostly a conservative leaning community. And yes, all the ingredients were there for a large turnout. All the ingredients with the exception of one or two major ones. What were those ingredients you say? Well how about; no press releases and no mention of the event on the Brian Thomas morning radio program. And with just that and with the Cincinnati Tea Party, its Community Groups email mailing lists and word of mouth over 400 people showed up on a Friday night to hear a great conversation on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by Brian Thomas from 55KRC Radio in Cincinnati. You might wonder why I am making such a big deal out of this? Well, I will tell you, I am making a big deal out of this because the Cincinnati Tea Party organization started on a kitchen table in February of this year and the West Chester group is only one month old. Four hundred people at a meeting with little or no advertisement, basically just email and word of mouth is a fine testament to the strength of this young and growing movement.

An even finer testimony occurred the following day in Columbus, OH at the Statehouse. You may not have heard about it if you depended upon the "Old" media for your information or if you did hear about it from the "Old" media you may not have known the true size and importance of this event. State Sovereignty is the issue. The founders of the Cincinnati Tea Party, an organization less than seven months old; have created a statewide umbrella organization, the Ohio Liberty Council, to bring together the many groups working within the state that have similar interests. This group the Ohio Liberty Council will sponsor and facilitate statewide events similar to the one that took place this past Saturday. It will bring together people from many different organizations and unite them in a common cause to have their voices heard. I will let this report by Bill Standish speak for itself regarding this event, but the bottom line is ten thousand like minded conservatives from across the state found the time on a Saturday to make their opinion known to the powers that be.

August 2, 2009
Tea Party Excursion

On Aug 1, two bus loads of Cincinnati Tea Party patriots along with another bus load of 9-12 Project supporters all converged on the State House in Columbus, OH for a statewide consolidated rally in support of the State Sovereignty issue.

The buses were packed with excited patriots as we passed by the State House and saw thousands of people from all over Ohio arriving and anxiously awaiting the start of a two hour speaker packed program. Once we disembarked from the buses the Cincinnati contingent of about 165 patriots paraded onto the west lawn of the State House as our arrival was announced from the podium. We got rousing cheers from the growing crowd as our banner carrying group took our place near the podium. Ten minutes before the scheduled start of the event there was a down pour of rain that soaked everyone but it ended quickly. By the time Mike Wilson gave the opening remarks the crowd had swelled to nearly 10,000 enthusiastic patriots.

Our own Mike Wilson was the first on the docket and he also served masterfully as the MC for the whole event. A great singer from a local Tea Party sang a great rendition of the National Anthem and we were off to a amazing line up a dozen speeches about a wide range of issues from liberty to taxes to the 2nd Amendment and of course State Sovereignty. The day was capped off by Judge Andrew Napolitano who spoke eloquently about individual rights relative to our government’s authority and responsibility. For example, he noted that “President Obama said his job is to protect the American people; he is wrong, his job is to protect our liberty”.

Altogether it was a great program and well received by the whole crowd. The Cincinnati group arrived back home right on schedule and everyone was glad they had made the trip. If you ever have a similar opportunity, like the Sep 11-13 trip to Washington DC, you should seriously consider going. A commitment such as this is a small thing you can do for your country yet it can influence the future of the country.

Field Patriot Reporting,
Bill Standish

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported this event to have several thousand in attendance. They buried the story on the obituary page and to add insult to injury they took the story from the Columbus Dispatch. One news outlet reported that only 300 attended. Others ignored it altogether. But my point is not about how the "Old" media reports these events, my point is that in the short time that the Tea Parties have been organized in Southeast Ohio we have had the ability to tap into what is clearly a raw nerve of thousands of concerned conservatives in the state. The numbers speak for themselves. Fountain Square in Cincinnati on March 15th with very little advance or professional planning drew an estimated 5000 protesters and may have been the largest protest gathering since the Vietnam War era. Subsequent meetings at the Miami University Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) in West Chester, OH have drawn upwards of 200 hundred people at each meeting held. The Liberty Township Community group now stands at over 200 active members and is growing. Attendance at each of the Liberty Township meetings have exceeded the last and we are working hard to keep that trend. The point I am making is we have the numbers and the momentum. I think Fountain Square and the Statehouse are connected. Five thousand in March and ten thousand in August! There is an event coming up in September at the Voice of America Park in West Chester, OH. Watch those numbers you may be surprised at what you see. The Tea Party movement is not an aberration, it is the response to years of frustration by many, many deeply concerned conservative people that see their country going in the wrong direction.

Changing the subject just a minor bit, we had our Suday meeting as we normally do and we had several issues to discuss and act upon. Our last Liberty Township Tea Party meeting drew over 150 people and we were able to get neighborhood information from all who attended. We now have an email listing of our members that is over 200 hundred Liberty Township Patriots and that allows us to identify folks by neighborhood. We have over sixty neighborhoods in Liberty Township and we are represented in 65% of them. We are working to get 100% representation. We hope to be there by Fall. Our meeting this week centered on a couple of main topics; what should our action items be going forward, and what should the frequency of the meetings be. We also discussed our need for volunteers and what positions they would fill. We are all in agreement that Health Care is a the top of the pile at the moment closely followed by Cap and Trade. However, we did add the Census to the Action Item list as this is coming up soon and will be an issue that has a lasting impact on many issues both at the national and local level. We are looking at sponsoring or co-sponsoring a Health Care symposium as a major event in September and will approach the Cincinnati group regarding this event. We plan to hold a volunteers meeting in the next week to get that effort off the ground. The intent is to keep builidng on the momentum that we have built so far. Our website continues to populate with much useful information but there is much more to do. This is an example of where we need volunteer help. We could use some help initiating a forum and perhaps some data driven applications on the website and a volunteer with IT skills would be a handy addition. The same is true in the Media area. We need somone to help out in Media and Press Relations. An excellent position for someone that wants some experience in this area or that already has these skills and wants to keep them fresh. We need to put out meeting notices and stories regarding our meetings and events that we are involved in. This is a job that won't take a whole lot of time but is a weekly requirement and requires dedication and attention to detail. We have other positions to fill such as comittee chairs and help at the meetings, etc. We will be putting a "help wanted" page on our website. Most of these positions will not require a whole lot of time but will require dedication and attention to detail. Other items we discussed were upcoming events, options for meeting locations, Agenda for the next meeting and the content. Lot's of work to do as always but its worth it. This will be our third meeting coming up, we are looking forward to it. The energy, enthusiasm and commitment that our members bring to each meeting is worth every minute and hour of work we spend in this.