The Many Faces of SCFD

April 12th, 2011 1 comment

By Pete Vriesenga

I posted an announcement and commentary on March 22nd entitled:  Please attend SCFD’s public meeting on March 24, 2011. My hope was to let our community of professional musicians know that our industry is again in jeopardy because of irresponsible decisions of the SCFD board and administrators. Thankfully, many members responded and filled all remaining chairs in the meeting room. Most were members of the Colorado Chamber Orchestra (CCO).

Many Faces

At stake was the fact that SCFD rejected CCO’s application to apply for funding in the upcoming grant cycle. Among reasons given were that CCO often performs in churches and has played benefit concerts (one for the homeless in Denver and another for AIDS infants in Africa). God forbid if CCO carried through with such good deeds in its past, and what a sad testament of just how silly SCFD policy [or lack thereof] has become.

There is also the fact that almost every other orchestra in town performs exclusively in churches. Homepage photos of the Arapahoe Philharmonic (at South Suburban Church) and Boulder Symphony (First Presbyterian Church) provide just two examples of SCFD’s latest double standard. Additionally, the Boulder Symphony’s rent agreement with First Presbyterian has musicians performing  Sunday worship services for free, including the the Glory of Christmas. According to BSO’s own press release, this is “a musical event of worship and praise celebrating the birth of Christ” that is in fact a “benefit for the Glory Community.”

SCFD officials also expressed concern that CCO’s outreach programs in Douglas County potentially benefit some students who reside in Douglas County, but live in specific areas that don’t pay into the SCFD District. At the conclusion of the March 24 meeting I reminded the SCFD board that this was yet another, serious double standard. I pointed to SCFD’s “FREE Holiday Performance Opportunity at the Park Meadows Mall” that was staged in 2003 and 2004. Prior to a the passing of a 2004 Election Referendum, Park Meadows Mall was similarly situated in a non-SCFD tax area. The difference between then and now is that SCFD was event coordinator and used public resources for their political goal of luring the Mall into the District in advance of the election.

Shame on the SCFD board, not only for stating the opposite view with CCO, but for allowing students to become victims of SCFD/Douglas County politics.

I could go on, and I will.

Please attend SCFD’s public meeting on March 24, 2011

March 22nd, 2011 No comments

Labor protests in Wisconsin and across the Midwest have shown once again that public protest is often our only tool to reverse bad policy & legislation. There’s no shortage of bad policy that is dragging our local industry down and the worst offender continues to be the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). As in Wisconsin, we have no option but to stand up collectively to SCFD’s anti-labor practices or suffer the consequences as work opportunities continue to erode. The occasion for our show of solidarity will be a public SCFD meeting on Thursday, March 24 at 1:00 PM. We need as many DMA members to show as we can possibly turn out.

I first began detailing SCFD’s negative industry impact in 1997 after volunteering to serve on a Tier III review committee. Lack of quality standards, education standards and accountability were enough for me to sound the alarm. More alarming than that was the fact that SCFD leaders really couldn’t care less.

SCFD was up for reauthorization in November of 2004. The Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) was again lobbying on behalf of SCFD, and contacted the Denver Area Labor Federation for its endorsement. DALF originally endorsed SCFD in 1988 after union members were repeatedly told that SCFD would result in quality employment for artists and performers. Who would have expected that SCFD would aggressively defend a $40 million funding model ABSENT wage or quality standards of any kind.

The DMA, in cooperation with IATSE and SAG/AFTRA, advised DALF to hold off on the endorsement until SCFD would at least commit to quality and minimum wage standards as originally represented to the voters. These sentiments were expressed by DALF President Leslie Moody in her August 17, 2004 letter to CBCA. The letter also pointed out that DALF’s endorsement would be conditional on meeting with representatives of affected unions. Nothing ever came of that effort. Subsequently, a resolution “not to endorse” was passed at the 2004 Colorado AFL-CIO Convention.

SCFD’s resolve to fund nearly every applicant, regardless of quality, continued in the years since reauthorization. Approximately 350 organizations are now dependent on SCFD funding and must in turn “serve the community” when few have any interest or ability to do so. Over 30 community orchestras now reside in the seven county funding district and collectively pull prevailing wage downward more than any other factor. Many of these organizations continue to pirate professional engagements, and only for ignorant and selfish reasons.

If you’re wondering where this is headed, look only to the current example of the Colorado Chamber Orchestra (CCO). In its three years of operation, the CCO has shown an unprecedented 300% growth in budget, despite the economic downturn. In addition to scale wages, CCO makes pension contributions for their musicians under a collective bargaining agreement with DMA. CCO is one of the few organizations that is truly qualified to serve the public in the manner that the SCFD statute demands. Unbelievably, SCFD refuesed to allow CCO to even apply.

But the fact is, accomplishments in both quality and professionalism are meaningless in this game because SCFD never has and never will make artistic judgements. Consequently, the doors are closing on new applicants because SCFD has no ability to weed undeserving organizations out. All 350 lucky organizations who are now grandfathered into this system will continue to receive funding for the foreseeable future. All those looking to apply should accept the fact that the glory days of signing every 501©3 with a pulse are now over.

The time is NOW! Please attend:

SCFD BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Broomfield Council on the Arts & Humanities
640 Main St.
Broomfield, CO 80038
12:30 Board lunch, 1:00 p.m. public meeting

Im In! – for AFM International Executive Board

June 12th, 2010 No comments

Dear Friends and Delegates,

Pete Vriesenga

Pete Vriesenga

I write to you today asking for your vote and support for my candidacy for election to the AFM’s International Executive Board. Most of you know me as president of the Denver Local since 1995. Many also know me as an AFM officer who stands up and speaks up with researched opinions, openly and respectfully.

Historically, the IEB is a rather silent and elusive body. This does not make for healthy democracy. Always in the 11th hour prior to a Convention, the floodgates of pent-up sentiment suddenly break loose in the form of communications by the truckload. My apologies for adding to your pile, but I am committing to you now that I will listen, research, and then report while taking early positions on these critical matters.

Our bad habit of sweeping controversial matters under the rug extends well beyond the IEB. As a member of the former AFM Futures Committee (2003-05) I faced a wall of resistance against my modest proposal for a joint venture recording agreement. AFM orchestras with $100 million budgets were already adopting this model, but extending this same right to Indie musicians and small touring bands didn’t sit well with established interests. My remaining option was to present a Minority Report on the subject at a meeting of the full committee in Las Vegas. Absolute silence followed … not even one question was asked.

Persistence ultimately paid off. My resolution for Joint Venture recording was adopted unanimously at the 2007 Western Conference. Months later, with support of the Conference and multiple Locals, my Resolution #75 passed at the 2007 Convention. This historic passage for Joint Venture recording paved the way for AFM’s Freelance Services Division to now present you with an online distribution system for member recordings.

The AFM is strong and it’s here to stay, and we would be doing our union and membership a disservice to pay too much attention to those who believe otherwise. I don’t buy into the personal attacks or the doomsday view of our future that is so pervasive in AFM politics.

Yes, I do jump when a committee chair or member of one of our major bargaining units calls on me for assistance.  But, I also respond in the same manner when I receive a call from a member who hasn’t played a gig in months. As taught by the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, strong and vibrant unions extend equal respect to their most distinguished and most humble citizens. This directly contrasts much of the chatter and division that we hear about working musicians, small vs. large locals and who pays more dues. This is a core principle that I live by because it translates to strength and unity among all members who are called upon to stand together.

I would be honored to have your vote.

In Solidarity,

Pete Vriesenga
President, Denver Local 20-623

Campaign Brochure

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Special Election for Denver City Council, District 1

April 13th, 2010 No comments

A special election is being held in Denver’s District 1, to fill the unexpired term of City Council member Rick Garcia who accepted an appointment to HUD. There are a total of 10 candidates in the race, and Susan Shepherd received the Denver Area Labor Federation (DALF) endorsement. DMA member/IBEW Local 68 president Ed Knox  participated in the DALF Candidate interviews, and confirms hat Susan Shepherd presents herself as the strongest supporter of our issues.

Susan K. Shepherd has received the endorsement of the Denver Area Labor Federation. Ballots must be received by May 4, 2010. If you’re a resident of District 1, please get out and vote!

I am proud to stand up for ALL working families in Denver City Council District 1. I am pleased to be endorsed by the Denver Area Labor Federation and the Teamsters Local 17. Having campaigned for political leaders like Joanna Conti against divisive figures like Tom Tancredo and having championed progressive causes like raising Colorado’s minimum wage, I am ready to serve my community in a meaningful way as the representative of District 1 on Denver’s City Council.


Susan K. Shepherd
Candidate for Denver City Council District 1

Contact information:

Susan Shepherd
2126 Grove St.
Denver, CO 80211
Phone: 303-960-9783
Website: www.shepherdfornorthwestdenver.com
E-mail: skshepherd68@yahoo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com Shepherd for Northwest Denver

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Internet Music Lessons and the Touring Musician

April 11th, 2010 No comments

By Steve Eulberg

Like many musicians, I have found teaching to be the butter for the bread of performance. Truthfully, the balance between performing and teaching helps me survive as a working musician. I simply love sharing the music with public and private audiences, and equipping them to participate in the creative process.

Steve Eulberg teaching dulcimer class

Steve Eulberg teaching dulcimer class

When I began my private studio I was teaching unusual instruments (mountain and hammered dulcimers, mandolin, bowed psaltery, Irish Bodhran and African hand percussion) as well as guitar. This has turned out to be a good niche for my interests, skills and experience and led to my establishment of the annual Colorado Dulcimer Festival in Fort Collins, which just completed its 7th year. I am also on the road teaching at festivals across the US about once a month, which I link with performances to, from or near the festival region; in short, the life of a touring (and teaching) solo musician.

HOW I FOUND MY WAY ONTO THE WEB
I’ve been drawn to acoustic folk instruments, and because I am a part-Luddite (resisting new technologies), these proclivities may make my story a bit surprising. The development of my private music studio was concurrent with my development of an internet presence for my music and music lessons.

It began when a computer programmer who heard me play at a local open mike scanned my postcard-schedule and posted it to the internet and then sent me an email to let me know he’d done that (back in 1998.) Because I was busily making these postcards and spending money to mail them out, I immediately saw the potential of having my performance and teaching schedule available on the world-wide-web. So, I developed my first webpage. Over the years I would post photos of my students’ recitals and make my recordings and published books and lesson materials available for sale, had my products included at Amazon.com and cdbaby.com (and then iTunes) and various other avenues for disseminating music.

To further develop my understanding and teaching skills, I earned a Master of Music Education degree from Boston University, where I was in the second graduating class of their on-line program. It was amazing to me that I could study at this level and interact with my professors, facilitators and peers through this internet medium, do it from home, and from such disparate places on the road as urban Berlin, Germany and rural Evart and Oscoda, Michigan. I was better equipped to teach my private students, and this education helped equip me to work at the junior high level in our local school district for three years.

HOW I GOT FOUND ON THE WEB
What I didn’t know is that I was being prepared for the opportunities that were not yet present, and which now occupy a good deal of my time as a music educator. Through an email, I was approached in 2005 by Jeff Booth, a young northern Colorado man with computer programming and internet experience who wanted to offer guitar lessons on the internet. Together with his partners he had formed www.JamPlay.com and they were looking for teachers. After meeting to explore the idea of offering video lessons that would be posted on the internet via their website, I filmed an audition tape and became the first teacher they hired.

We proceeded to film Beginning Guitar lessons in high definition video, first from two camera angles, then three and now four. The finished product is captured, edited (with multiple views), rendered and delivered in Flash technology on the website. An affordable monthly subscription fee opens the door to all the lessons and features available. Other teachers were hired, and I added the following lessons series: Fingerstyle, Celtic, Bluegrass, Kids and Guitar, Singing with Guitar and several songs in the Phase 3 section of the website. In addition, students would write in to ask clarifying questions about lessons, guitars, repair, gear and styles and we would film video answers to those questions.

This work rhythm continued until last year when the site, which had included a chat room for subscribers to write posts to each other in real-time, was expanded to include a real-time audio/video feed from teachers. At first we were recruited to be available with a webcamera for special events, but then the partners decided to offer a regular schedule of on-line chats with the instructors.

Now I am on-line with my webcamera, a microphone and guitar 11-15 hours a week as part of the 18-hour-a-day schedule to offer live answers to questions and teach specific techniques or styles and songs. Because these lessons are offered via the world-wide web, I am often on-line with students from Beijing (China) Adelaide and Brisbane (Australia), Sao Paolo, Brazil, Mexico City, across the US and Canada, Ireland, England, Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Afghanistan and Iraq, all at the same time! I’ll post a set of lyrics and chords, or a leadsheet and then host a world-wide jam. (This works because the instructor is like the hub of the wheel, with all of the students as spokes. They can see and hear me and themselves as they play along, without the disruption of latency or echoes of other students’ live signals.) I’m currently preparing everyone for a St. Patrick’s Day Ceiligh since I’m scheduled to be on-line that night.

HOW STUDENTS FIND ME ON THE WEB:
Long-Distance Private Lessons
This daily on-line presence has also opened up another avenue of on-line instruction which utilizes Skype software. Skype (www.skype.com) is free downloadable software which allows the user to contact other users and talk with them, using their computer as a telephone, for free! (I am a dual-AFM member, also serving on the Local 1000 Executive Board and we’ve been making good use of Skype conference calls as a way to help us to our work more efficiently and save on our bottom line.)

With the addition of the webcam and microphone (sometimes one or both of these are built into one’s computer) I have been able to offer private, long-distance lessons for students on guitar and my other instruments. Students contact me, we schedule a mutually-agreeable time to do a Skype call to test connections, agree on payment and method (most use Paypal), and then schedule a lesson. I use my normal private lesson rhythms with lesson times, cancellation (24-hour notice), re-scheduling, etc. Because people are in other time zones, I can usually schedule these lessons in slots that I am unable to fill locally. What I haven’t yet figured out is how to have these long-distance students participate in one of my two semi-annual recitals, but I’m haven’t given up on that idea!

What this has meant for me is that I can afford to work from home or on the road, providing quality music education which is tailored to the students’ abilities, needs, instruments and musical genre choices. I can do this with a flexibility that a fixed school schedule does not allow, with pay that is comparable or better that in school and I can continue to tour and perform on the road. I get good bread and good butter!

Lone Tree Symphony’s taking much, giving little

February 6th, 2010 No comments

Every summer, residents of Lone Tree, CO and neighboring communities enjoy a free concert by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. These concerts are presented in Sweetwater Park by the City of Lone Tree, but this coming summer the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra (a volunteer community orchestra) will replace the CSO. A CSO file photo still adorns the Lone Tree Summer Concerts website, but now accompanies a July 24 listing for the LTSO.

Of course the City of Lone Tree should support their local orchestra, and by all accounts they heavily support the administration. Past Minutes of the City of Lone Tree Arts Commission show that the LTSO was in line to receive $35,000 in city support for 2010, and $45,000 the previous year. All metro-Denver residents should take a bow for YOUR hefty support through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). According to SCFD’s 2008 annual report, $76,856 was paid to the Lone Tree Arts Commission that year. The report also shows that LTSO received another $7,000 that year in direct support from SCFD.

Commission Minutes also reveal that “Each member of the LTSO pays annual dues of forty dollars” to play in the orchestra. The Lone Tree Arts Commission should net additional savings by removing costs for professional musicians, but this assumes that LTSO volunteer musicians are willing to take on the additional workload. According to Commission Minutes, the LTSO will be “working toward increasing visibility and the number of performances, while working with schools, various groups and boards and the general community.”

What protections are there for an LTSO volunteer who is injured on the job? Do Lone Tree residents recognize and accept new liabilities that now fall on them? I seriously doubt that City officials ever discussed such matters among themselves, let alone with their constituents.

The coup de grâce of public support is a new $17 million home for the LTSO, which would be the envy of any professional ensemble. Funding for the Lone Tree Cultural Arts Center was narrowly approved by voters in 2008 and is scheduled to open in 2011.

With all of these public funds that are exchanging hands, one would assume that Lone Tree officials and orchestra administrators have at least taken the time to read the conditions of funding that are mandated in SCFD’s Tier III grant application. Apparently they haven’t, because #22 (Assurances) of the Tier III Application states: “The applicant pledges that they will comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act“ Beyond the obligation to Minimum Wage, the FLSA cites clear prohibitions against replacing professional employees with unpaid workers.

Looking for answers, I contacted LTSO board president John Nemcik. John immediately took offense after realizing that I was speaking on behalf of the Musicians’ Union. John said he grew up in Pennsylvania, and proceeded to blame Unions for the loss of jobs in the region. I responded by asking what jobs he’s creating [or taking away] in context of the upcoming LTSO Season? I’m still waiting for his answer.

I asked John if he had any plans, now or in the foreseeable future, to compensate his musicians? His response was an immediate and resounding NO. I asked if he was aware of SCFD’s Fair Labor Standards/Minimum Wage requirements that LTSO must follow in the example of the July 24 concert. Needless to say, John had no understanding of the requirement, nor did he voice any change of mind.

LTSO is just one example of labor abuse that occurs in our community on a daily basis, and we all share responsibility for allowing this to happen. We must continue to pressure SCFD to enforce their own FLSA provision, but I have yet to see that happen and frankly don’t expect to. These self-serving examples of ignorance and abuse will only worsen until musicians and performing artists everywhere take a very simple stand:

Click your heels three times and tell yourself that you will no longer accept your pre-classified status as a “volunteer.” If that happens the LTSO will become a professional orchestra by 5:00 PM on Monday. Then, take a moment to reflect on the hard-won labor rights & protections that many generations before us have fought for.

Open Letter to Senator Bennet regarding healthcare

August 11th, 2009 2 comments

August 11, 2009

Dear Senator Bennett,

I am writing to ask you to please support health care reform in the United States.

I recently visited the emergency room at my local hospital with a possible case of appendicitis that turned out to be diverticulitus, an infection in the lower intestine. Fortunately, I did not need surgery AND I have health insurance. However, I have not seen my final bills from visiting the emergency room, so it will be interesting to see what my insurance covers or not.

I’d like to tell you my personal story about health insurance, because it surely demonstrates that the current system of health care in the US is not working to the benefit of the people of this nation.

I have been a professional musician and teacher all of my adult life. As a member of various orchestras and the musicians union, I have had health insurance up until the spring of 2003, when the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra went into bankruptcy, and all the musicians of the orchestra (75 people) including myself lost our health insurance.

At the time, I was not making enough money to buy health insurance, so I went on what I call the “Denver General” plan. As a resident of the city and county of Denver, I can go to the Denver General Hospital Emergency room and they will treat me and charge me on a sliding scale (my mother also used this “plan” until she was eligible for Medicare).

In 2007 I got married. My wife then tried to add me to her health insurance plan that she has for herself and her children. Her company is Humana, and the following events seem like they an episode from Michael Moore’s film “Sicko”.

A nurse from Humana came to our house and took blood and urine samples, weighed and measured me. Several weeks later I received a letter from Humana. Two doctors in Minnesota who I never saw or met with looked at the test and measurement results from the nurse. These doctors determined that I am obese (I am 20-25 pounds overweight). With this information, Humana determined that while they could insure me (for a hefty price), they would try to tie anything that was wrong with me to my weight and therefore avoid letting me use my insurance benefits because of this “pre-existing condition”. There was also no possibility of having a new assessment after losing weight. I am permanently blacklisted with a “pre-existing condition”.

There was one piece of seeming good news: I could get some sort of affordable insurance through the state of Colorado called Cover Colorado, which is administered by PacificCare. This insurance is relatively affordable ($160.00 a month) and they could not turn me down for a “pre-existing condition”.

It is also a program that is subsidized by Colorado tax-payers. Can you say “socialized medicine”?

On the surface, Cover Colorado looks like a good thing for me. But actually using it has shown a number of absurdities. For starters, I can’t make an appointment with my doctor until I get permission from the Cover Colorado nurse who rarely calls back on the same day, and in one case didn’t call back at all. This is another person who I have never seen or met!

This spring I got permission to see my doctor for a persistent cold and/or flu. My doctor ran a test to see if I had a bacterial or viral infection, since he did not want to prescribe anti-biotics if they weren’t needed. Cover Colorado refused to pay for this $35 test! So the next time I saw my doctor later in the spring, he went ahead and prescribed anti-biotics without the test, and Cover Colorado was happy to pay for the drugs, even though there was some question as to whether I needed them.

The Cover Colorado plan is heavy on administration, and it’s approach to good health is random at best, and financially wasteful as well.

I am 49 years old, and I teach part-time at Red Rocks Community College and am Vice-President of the Denver Musicians Association. Sir, we badly need health insurance and health care reform. The United States is the only developed nation that does not have some sort of universal, public health care.

Please vote for a health care plan that will give me and millions of Americans who have either no insurance or inadequate insurance the right to good and safe healthcare. It is morally and ethically correct, it is the humane and fiscally responsible thing to do.

Supporting health care reform is a clear indicator of whether you as our elected representative stand for us, the people of this nation, or if you are a lackey of the insurance and medical industry, and only interested in your own re-election with funds from these industries. And if you don’t vote for and support universal health care, please put your money where your mouth is, and refuse to use the health insurance plan that you receive from the government as a government employee, funded by the taxpayers that you represent. And plan on not being re-elected if you don’t do the right thing.

Do the right thing, stand by the working people of the United States.

Hopefully,

Thomas A. Blomster

1820 Race Street

Denver, CO 80206-1116

303-322-1764

Blomster@ecentral.com

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Sign your band or ensemble as supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act

May 14th, 2009 No comments

Amy Brenneman and Esai Morales are among 47 popular performing artists speaking out on behalf of the Employee Free Choice Act in a dynamic new video.  Please take a moment to state your support on behalf of your business, band or ensemble by filling out a declaration form and returning a copy to the Denver Musicians Association.

Mail support forms to:
Denver Musicians Association
1165 Delaware St.
Denver, CO 80204
or FAX to 303-573-1945

The performers sum it up this way: “The best way for working men and women to get ahead is by uniting with our co-workers and forming a union. The Employee Free Choice Act does exactly what it says: It gives workers a choice of how to unionize.

People associate actors with fame and glory. The truth is for a long time my union contract was the reason I could support my family. That’s why I support the Employee Free Choice Act, because each worker, regardless of their field, deserves the freedom to bargain for a contract, for a better life.”
–Actress Amy Brenneman

As the performers say, this is not a red state issue. This is not a blue state issue. It’s a workers’ issue.

It’s time for Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s time the economy worked for everyone.

“I’ve belonged to three unions in my life, and every one gave me the freedom to bargain with my co-workers for decent hours, benefits and safe conditions. If all workers don’t have the freedom to form unions, I don’t see how we can fix our economy.”
–Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller

Source: The Stars Align for Employee Free Choice Act.

A special thanks to all the actors, editors, writers and crew members who made this video possible, including members of the following unions:

* Actors’ Equity Association
* American Federation of Musicians
* American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
* Directors Guild of America (DGA)
* International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving
Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United
States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE)
* Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
* Writers Guild of America, East
* Writers Guild of America, West

Click here for a full list of performers and their bios.

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An Open Letter to Senator Mark Udall

May 1st, 2009 1 comment

May 1, 2009

Colorado Senator Mark Udall
999 Eighteenth Street
Suite N1525
Denver, CO 80202

Dear Senator Udall,

I strongly encourage you to immediately endorse the Employee Free Choice Act. I fail to understand why you are not taking a firm public stand on the EFCA when you previously have co-sponsored the bill.

Senator Udall, this is unacceptable! The EFCA is not a political issue; it is a small “d” democratic issue that goes to the heart of freedoms guaranteed to all Americans by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. I find it shameful that you use the EFCA as a political tool, and that you are waiting to see who will give you the most money for your upcoming campaign in 2010.

Recently I heard a talk at a Democratic fundraiser by progressive talk show host and author David Sirota. Mr. Sirota challenged us to ask this basic question about any politician, Democrat or Republican: Are you on our side (the American working people) or are you on the side of big business and money. The answer in your case is really neither. I suspect you are waiting to see where your largest campaign contributions are coming from, in which case you are only on your side, and will do whatever you have to do to be re-elected.

Please prove me wrong by immediately endorsing the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s a new era in America, and we are in need of transparent and honest politicians. Step up to the plate and join us, the working people of America.

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Blomster

Denver, CO

303-322-1764

An Open Letter To Senator Michael Bennet

May 1st, 2009 2 comments

May 1, 2009

An Open Letter To Senator Michael Bennet

Dear Senator Bennet,

I strongly encourage you to immediately endorse the Employee Free Choice Act. Two weeks ago I attended the town hall meeting held at the IBEW Local 68 offices. Unfortunately, I had to leave for another appointment before your anticipated arrival. I was hoping that by the end of the day there would be news that you had endorsed the EFCA. But upon a careful scan of the Internet, I found no such news, and read a great deal about how you are waffling on this issue.

Senator Bennet, this is unacceptable! The EFCA is not a political issue; it is a small “d” democratic issue that goes to the heart of freedoms guaranteed to all Americans by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. I find it shameful that you use the EFCA as a political tool, and that you are waiting to see who will give you the most money for your upcoming campaign in 2010.

Recently I heard a talk at a Democratic fundraiser by progressive talk show host and author David Sirota. Mr. Sirota challenged us to ask this basic question about any politician, Democrat or Republican: Are you on our side (the American working people) or are you on the side of big business and money. The answer in your case is really neither. You are only on your side, and will do whatever you have to do to be elected (not re-elected, because you were appointed to this position).

Please prove me wrong by immediately endorsing the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s a new era in America, and we are in need of transparent and honest politicians. Step up to the plate and join us, the working people of America.

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Blomster

Denver,
303-322-1764