Former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh shares observation about building a lasting organization to defeat the establishment.
Before we read too much into the recent primary results, let’s consider a few factors:
1) Although Senators Moore and Gomes were victorious on Line B the petitioning line, remember that they were the incumbents running with the maximum money from the Citizens Election Fund. The power of the incumbency along with the same amount of money to spend as their opponent gives the incumbents a significant leg up.
2) Rather than focusing on the senate race, the more common trend was that the incumbents, regardless of party endorsement or not, were all victorious. You can try to dismiss Coviello due to the lack of state funding or Maria due to the significant amount of outside spending by outside PACs but still the power of the incumbency cannot be ignored. Simply look at the results in Park City Magnet and Wilbur Cross where Marilyn Moore and Charlie Stallworth both won running on different lines. The voters were savvy enough to split their votes to reelect the incumbents.
3) I cannot speak to the other campaigns but much of the ground work in the senatorial campaigns was done by paid staffers. I am not knocking the process but pointing out it was not a grassroots campaign fueled by volunteers. To think these efforts can be easily translated to City Council races and future mayoral campaigns is foolish. Yes, significant momentum might be possible but there is no evidence this is an outright repudiation of the DTC or a movement of “out with the old, in with the new.”
4) Building a coalition is not an easy task especially when it is the desire to win that brings them together rather than the desire to govern our own BOE, a fine example. Personalities came together in an afford to win and once in office their personal agendas destroyed their unified agenda.
So if you want to build on some momentum you need to start today. You need to identify the citywide and district issues that can coalesce. You cannot build a citywide effort that will support lowering taxes in the Black Rock and significantly raising the city’s financial commitment to education and policing. You cannot build a citywide effort around OATs (open, accountable, transparent) simply because it takes too long to explain and it is not emotional to stir up the public.
>Try to replicate what Maria Pereira did in the 138th district. Have a community meeting or a series of community meetings around specific issues the public feel are important to them, be it crime, education or very specific district issues. It is important for the residents to tell you what their concerns are rather than you telling them what your concerns are.
It is not impossible but it will not be easy. It will take time and effort. And to do it citywide it will take a lot of MOM (money, organization, message).