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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Saint Paul Issues and Forums/ hypocrisy and defending the status quo" Continued

Folks, I continued this topic here, the previous topic on this subject had over 100 comments and is getting hard to follow. I am told Rick Mons ended all discussions of this topic at SPIF. Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.

29 Comments:

Anonymous Radio Free Nation said...

PART 1 - A couple things to clear up.

eDemocracy is a noble idea, but it is currently plagued by shortsighted micro-management. Its relevance has diminished to the point where there are just 25 or so regular posters on SPIF.

I'm not a liberal democrat as Bob incorrectly labeled me. I've never belonged to the DFL or GOP party. I am a guy interested in truth and fairness regardless of ideology.

I fought for the reinstatement of self-indentified conservatives like Mitch Berg, John Krenik, Tom Swift and others on SPIF because, regardless of what Mr Clift (eDemocracy's Executive Director) claims there was a systematic attempt to purge the site of any opposing ideology or dissent.

I fought equally hard when they tried to do the same to free speech advocates like Jan Carr, Dann Dobson and others.

Here is a rundown of what really happened.

For the past four years a few of us have raised concerns about the heavy handed enforcement of the civility and off-topic rules. This all culminated recently with the following:

Stay tuned for Part 2

Marty Owings
612.599.3030

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Radio Free Nation said...

Part 2 -

1. Mr Clift (eDemocracy's Exec Director) refused a relatively small information request that would have helped answer the question about how effective their civility and off-topic rules enforcement was. He stated it would create too much burden for himself and his volunteers.

2. Mr Clift refused to reinstate the SPIF Board which was dissolved about 2 years ago. The board would have given much needed oversight to Moderation and provided an avenue for membership appeals.

3. Mr Clift refused a transparent rules review process, saying that he and a group of others would decide what suggested rules changes had merit and which didn't.

4. In every single case Mr Clift refused to reinstate SPIF members who had been suspended even if those suspensions were challenged or a result of conflicts with the Moderator. I don't know of a single case where the member's appeal was upheld.

5. Mr Clift refused to provide demographic data on the membership which might have shed light on the lack of diversity on SPIF.

6. Mr Clift refused to meet with SPIF members in a timely manner (he said he'd meet, but would never agree to a specific time) who had raised concerns about the lack of accountability, transparency and due process.

7. Mr Clift refused to follow the letter or spirit of the organizations own charter, which he helped develop. When confronted on this Mr Clift says that he's trying to protect and grow eDemocracy.

8. Finally Mr Clift unilaterally shut down the Feedback Forum, the only place where members could voice disagreement with the rules or processes on SPIF or eDemocracy.

That last move was a clear message that Mr Clift intends to silence the critics once and for all.

As my conscious dictated I protested Mr Clift's actions and called on others to do the same.

Some have argued that I shouldn't even bother with eDemocracy, that they're technology platform is obsolete and that they have no real relevance any more.

It was never about those things for me. It was about fundamental fairness, free speech, due-process and treating its members like adults rather than children on Mr Clift's personal playground.

I'm proud to be acquainted and friendly with a good number of you on this forum. Your political ideologies matter little to me when compared to the people you are.

We need a vigorous debate. We need our differences because it makes us all better in the end.

I hope you'll join me in speaking out where ever you see those ideas and principles being extinguished. Without the light of debate we all live in a darker world.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Radio Free Nation said...

Part 3

Some have argued that I shouldn't even bother with eDemocracy, that they're technology platform is obsolete and that they have no real relevance any more.

It was never about those things for me. It was about fundamental fairness, free speech, due-process and treating its members like adults rather than children on Mr Clift's personal playground.

I'm proud to be acquainted and friendly with a good number of you on this forum. Your political ideologies matter little to me when compared to the people you are.

We need a vigorous debate. We need our differences because it makes us all better in the end.

I hope you'll join me in speaking out where ever you see those ideas and principles being extinguished. Without the light of debate we all live in a darker world.

Marty Owings
612.599.3030

2:09 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

Lot's of people claim to be "centerist", but most are just leftists lacking the testicular fortitude to lay claim their ideology.

I can verify that Marty is, possibly, the only real "middle of the road" guy existing in nature...he's certainly the only one I know of.

If there are any more out there, they're lucky to have Marty to count as one of their own.

In fact, I'd gladly join his caucus if I wasn't already 100% sure that conservativism has 90% of the correct answers.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

I've no intention of beating this dead horse, but I can't help but share this example of the leftist thought process...such as it is.

Steve Clift to Bob Johnson:

"While I do agree that our forums can in aggregate reflect the leanings of the political majority of the area served, they remain politically diverse."

That, of course is 100% unpasturized bullshit..but don't take my word for it; be amazed at Mr. Clift's proof (emphasis mine)...

As of late we have more complaints from the left than the right."

The reason for which is not least that there is no one left on e-dem from the right.

I wish you joy of the wide open spaces, and the peace and quiet of your forum Steve.

'Nuff said~

4:51 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

"While I do agree that our forums can in aggregate reflect the leanings of the political majority of the area served, they remain politically diverse."

My response;
My suspension was malicious. I was ousted for speaking the truth! It really is that simple!

SPIF by nature is politically charged. I was embarrassing a DFL lead city and DFL connected members of SPIF with issues over housing.

After all these years 3 federal judges have vindicated my suspicions and allegations I made against the city at SPIF. Many of the people I have represented in a public venue get their day in court. The city will make their final appeal to the supreme court to stop us and they will fail.

Swiftees real problems with SPIF was similar to mine. The only difference it was a school board issue he exposed.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good summary Marty.

Thank you

Sandy

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: Sheldon Gitis Date: Jan 10 18:55 UTC

The so-called "legal threat," as I understand it, is based on an alleged phone
conversation that Rick Mons had with Dann Dobson. Judging from his long and
active participation in this forum, I do not think Dann Dobson would be dumb
enough to try to sue Rick Mons/e-democracy.org. What is Dann “threatening” to
do? Sue Rick Mons to prove that he did not threaten to sue him?

So what really happened? Dann indicated his willingness to replace Rick as the
forum manager. In response, Rick concocted a wild story about a "legal threat"
and got Dann suspended, thereby preventing him from posting a response.

It looks to me like Rick is playing games - yanking on Dann's chain.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two guys that volunteered to serve as forum hosts that actually live in St. Paul, Dobson and Krenik were both suspended by SPIF for calling Rick Mons to task.

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still complaining about how Steve runs his own business that is not in violation of any law or codes? Martin and Krenik complaining that Steve would not let them run a part of his business.

The hypocrisy is so think here it hurts. The irony is you all can't see it.

E-Democracy has over 30 forums. If St Paul fails, there is still the ones in other states and Europe and Australia that are doing quite well. The community projects are also doing well and continue to be funded.

Your sense of satisfaction will not be found with this one.


Eric

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, if you don't have any argument, just don't say anything.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

Anyone who takes a threat of legal action from Dann Dobson seriously is a bigger dim-wit than Dobson.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

"Martin and Krenik complaining that Steve would not let them run a part of his business."

Maybe they should form a union...that would give them the legal right to run his business for him. Hell it gives them the right to run it right into the ground!

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Clift has the right to run his business as he see fit, as long as its within the law.

What part of the law forces Clift to give the keys over to Krenik or Owings? Find it for me and I'm on a plane to New York to get a real piece of the pie.

This is nothing but- 'wah, wah, wah Stevie won't let us play in his yard. He let's Ricky in there and Ricky is so mean. wah, wah, wah'!

Go get your own forum for whatever you want to talk about.


Eric

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Dann said...

I would contend that the members of SPIF own SPIF, not Steve Clift and not the Board of E-democracy.

Without the members of SPIF, or any e-democracy group, there would be no e-democracy.

Dann Dobson'

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would contend that the members of SPIF own SPIF, not Steve Clift and not the Board of E-democracy.
Without the members of SPIF, or any e-democracy group, there would be no e-democracy.
Dann Dobson'


That goes for CitiBank, Wall Street Journal, SuperValu, Target, KSTP, and the Boy Scouts. Without people utilizing their service, they would be nothing. However, do not go thinking that your patronage equals ownership.

You will only win the emotional argument and find yourself alinged with the likes of Krenik and Swiftee. Yes, your new found buddies are the same ones who just kicking your ass around on this blog not too long ago. As a matter of fact, Swiftee posted a video of you and Cavlan on here acting drunk and stupid.

Owings is confusing issues which has been my experience with him in the past. He means well but goes off on a tear and clings to whatever falls in his lap. He will realize that he can't force people to invite him to their party.

Krenik is Krenik. A creepy ex- part time teacher looking for the next ass to plant his lips on.

You however have acted like an unstable spoiled brat through this whole thing. And, I have no doubt that you threatened a suit. You took a disagreement and decided to make a federal case out of it.

How does it feel to find yourself in lockstep with those who have never had any respect for you? What the fuck were you thinking demanding to run the forum with John Krenik? You established yourself as a non-factor when you did that.

Re-read that link you sent counselor. There is nothing that says anything about members owning the forum. It does emphasize civility and local issue focus with examples.

You played yourself out Dobson and that lies with you. Now maybe you and your new found friends can start your own competing forum and be satisfied.


Eric

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I am a guy interested in truth and fairness regardless of ideology."

Interesting statement.........so where ya been in the 4 years this blog has been exposing the corruption in the city inspections department? Just another elitest trying to attach himself to some drama so he can give lip service to make him look like something he's not.

Interested in truth and fairness is about the furthest thing from the truth there could be!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing..Krenik is no conservative. He's an ass kisser that'll play whatever side of the fence he thinks he looks good on.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

Hey, hold it Eric, you douche.

I have never shown anything but a mocking contempt for Dobson....I'm perfectly and completely consistent in my treatment of dim-wits, Democrats, dinks, dykes, dickheads, douche bags, reprobates, rogues, reptiles, tossers, tin-foil terrorists, piss-pants, progressives, pussies, wankers, wombats and wanna-be's.

You can find Dobson mentioned multiple times in there, so get it right.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Dann Dobson said...

Marty Owings told me about this blog, so I thought I would check it out, but unfortunately, (other than Marty), it looks like a bunch children throwing sand at each other.

It seems like a bunch of people who do not know me, are making all kinds of assumptions about me and what I might do. If people were to actually stay on topic and examine what happened at SPIF, Steve Clift essentially seized control of an E-Democracy group, in spite of what the Charter, Rules, By_Laws and Constiution says and turned control over to Rick Mons.

That is the issue. Not me, not lawsuits. In a group called E-democracy there is no democracy.

One question thou to Eric Mitchell. I can figure out where everyone else is coming from, but why are you being such a sycophant for Steve Clift and so stringently defending him. You were a member of the old SPIF Board. Why are you not upset that he and Mons have seized control of the group?

Dann Dobson

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hold on Swiftee, you knuckle-dragging pinhead.

You left out moonbat and included wankers and dykes.
Wank in private and its no business of yours- hell you're probably the biggest wanker out there.
Next, who hates dykes?
A chick you can drink beer with, scope out other chicks with, watch the game, listen to AC/DC with, fight with, and ride your chopper with? That's your perfect women!


Eric

11:33 AM  
Blogger Radio Free Nation said...

Eric says we, "Krenik and Owings" want, "the keys" to eDemocracy, but that's yet another mischaracterization.

What I want, what I asked for, what we all pleaded for was greater transparency, diversity, due-process and an adherence to the principles and the rules spelled out in the organizations own charter. We don't want the keys, we just want to put the bus back on the freeway to democracy.

I can't speak for the others involved here except to say that we all seemed to share a common interest in seeing SPIF grow and become more diverse (in many ways). We didn't always agree, but I never once heard anyone say they wanted to destroy or ruin SPIF.

Eric, I'll admit that I like your willingness to speak up on the things you're passionate about and even your combative style when it's channelled in a positive direction, but sometimes I question if you see the larger picture or just argue for arguments sake.

Now on to a statement by an Anonymous Commenter:

The person rightly asked, "so where ya been in the 4 years this blog has been exposing the corruption in the city inspections department?

I've posted from time to time during those years. I've talked to others (in and out of government) about the issue and tried pursue a story when there was one. If I'm not mistaken, I even invited Bob on my radio program to talk about this, but he declined the invitation.

In addition I've been covering and reporting on the legislature, governors race, general election, going to school full time, raising two kids, working on the issues at SPIF and generally being a thorn in the side of the status-quo.

You called me an elitist. Anyone that knows me will tell you I am definitely not an, "elitist". I don't even think I know an elitist, unless they are in public office or run a online community forum. I'm a lot of things but I'm definitely not an elitist. Even Eric Mitchell can verify that much.

As far as drama and lip service. Well drama maybe, but lip service no so much. I really take the issues that effect people seriously that's why I try to get those stories out to more people.

If your really serious about your sense of who I am, I invite you to talk with me directly or meet for coffee sometime and I promise I'll listen to your concerns.

Marty Owings
612.599.3030

11:42 AM  
Blogger Radio Free Nation said...

Eric I know you like a good argument and sometimes if that's not available a bad one, but for the sake of this issue, can we agree to stick with what's actually happened and not invent or spin things just to get a reaction?

For instance you say that eDemocracy is Clift's private business, that he can kick people out at will, make decisions in a vacuum like a privately help corporation and yet in the very charter governing the organization it outlines the forum as a public space, NOT a private one.

Furthermore it clearly states that its mission is to, "Harness the power of online tools to support participation in public life, strengthen communities, and build democracy."

Read that again Eric - it says, "PUBLIC". Oh and they through in, "DEMOCRACY" for good measure.

The whole charter as well as their strategic plan can be read here:
http://pages.e-democracy.org/Strategic_plan

I think that events of the past few weeks have illustrated a lack of support on the part of eDemocracy's Executive Director for participation when you completely shut down a forum.

It has weakened the community by silencing voices and it certainly does nothing to build democracy when the organization refuses transparency, eliminates due-process and acts unilaterally to crush dissent.

But hey if your willing to support that maybe your the one who is confusing the issues.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Marty sent me this. I encourage everyone to sign up.

Hello All,


The new forum is now online.


In order to set up the Administrator's/Managers of the site we need people to join the group.


Here is the basic plan, open to suggestions/modification;


1. Jan Carr and myself will be the initial system Administrators. (Subject to the addition of more members)


2. Seek volunteers and hold elections or appoint an oversight committee (board) once we reach a membership threshold of 25 people.


3. Adopt a very similar charter/constitution to that used on eDemocracy. (Open to debate/discussion)


4. Ask for suggestions on balancing civility with free speech and potentially take a membership vote on specifics.


5. We will be transparent. Data will be kept and available.


6. Members will be directly accountable for the content and promotion of civil discussion.


7. Cultural, racial, religious, ideological and other diversity will be encouraged.


8. There will be a pathway to due-process and an opportunity for a redress of grievances.


9. Differentiate the forum by welcoming divergent ideas, including elected officials and others who may contribute or learn from the information being discussed.


10. Focus on the issues with broad discretion regarding the effects/relationship on Saint Paul. (aka off-topic issues)


Here is the site - we need members so please sign up and spread the word.


Time to see if we can deliver on the things we fought so hard for.

LINK HERE


Let me know if you have questions and or ideas.


Marty Owings
612.599.3030

3:04 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

It's true Marty has invited me on his show. Honestly, I don't know why I haven't taken him up on the offer.

Marty, if more folks were like you the world would be a better place.

Dann, this town hall is a lot like a real neighborhood meeting. People show their emotions and I am OK with that. Others come here for entertainment and I am OK with that too. Thanks for joining us Dann, you are welcome anytime.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

A chick you can drink beer with

I don't drink.

scope out other chicks

Sounds like competition.

watch the game

I'm a doer, not a watcher.

listen to AC/DC with

You're kidding, right?

fight with

My wife doesn't need any help.

ride your chopper with

My wife doesn't share her seat.

After careful consideration, and keeping in mind that even if I wasn't married, a dyke fails to provide one of the best features women can offer, I think I'll leave 'em in my "OK to mock" list.

Besides, I don't like people wearing the same flannel shirt I wear.

Dann Dobson whined: "It seems like a bunch of people who do not know me, are making all kinds of assumptions about me and what I might do."

Dood. We know all we need to know about you.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dann,
Yes, I was a member of the SPIF board and Mons did not take over, we handed the reigns to him. It was not a forced decision.

I strongly support Steve because I have witnessed the hard work he put into taking this idea of regular citizens having civil discussions on local issues from Minneapolis to all the way around the world. Its his baby, its been his sweat equity and sacrifice he poured into it. He has the right run it as he see fit.

Martin, you are not an elitist. You cling a to a point sometimes after its been beaten to death and it has no more merit but, an elitist you are not.

It's good to see you've taken my advice and stopped complaining about SPIF and are now starting your own forum to run it as you see fit. Good Luck.

Eric

4:55 PM  
Blogger Radio Free Nation said...

Eric - old friend and nemesis you finally hit my achilles heel and OUCH.

You're right. I've been called persistent to a fault. Don't know when to let an issue go and it's cost me more than a little over the years, but it's a curse and a blessing if you know what I mean.

The new forum should be interesting and maybe we'll all learn something about what it's like to be in the shoes of a Moderator or Administrator when we have to do it ourselves.

I hope you will give it a try, if for no other reason than to mock our attempt to promote a, "different" sort of model than eDemocracy's.

Stipulating to the fact that eDemocracy has a fundamentally good model and an excellent charter, some of us just happen to think the citizens of Saint Paul can have an online conversation about politics and issues without being treated like kids.

Maybe in the end we'll be proven wrong, but I hope not.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Radio Free Nation said...

Thank you for the kind words Bob and posting about this issue. Hope your readers will check out the forum.

Cheers,

Marty

5:43 PM  

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