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Dear Darcy Burner

Recently, I posted on another blog about my disappointment of the path Darcy Burner, a former candidate for Congress from the Eastside,  has taken after loosing her campaign against Dave Reichert.  Darcy took offense.  My response explains some of the reasons I believe The-Ave is important. .. not as a vehicle for my writing but as a  gathering place for the intellectual, scientific, political, and social community around the UW.

I end up by talking about some of our contributors and inviting Darcy to join us.

Darcy,

“Your statement that you’re unimpressed is profoundly uninformed” is true.   Sorry, but I can only respond to what I see.

I was very unhappy that you lost your campaign vs. Reichert but, perhaps selfishly, was also  disappointed that you left Seattle.

It seemed to me that we .. the local progressive/liberal community had lost a great opportunity.  I took your departure especially hard as an academic who believes in the potential of Seattle’s intellectual community.

May I comment on your first campaign?  I do not see Dave Reichert a a bete noir,  I have met him and he seems like a guy who has fallen into a nice and rather non demanding nitch. Even more than the issues of right vs left, it seems to me that Reichert represents a lost opportunity for the impressive academic, business and technology community of the eighth to be represented in DC!

Obviously I am rooting for Suzan DelBene.

I was  extremely excited by your campaign.  I saw a new chance for democracy, built around a net based community.  I admire Goldstein a lot and saw (and still see) a chance for HorsesAss to grow into an effective political club like those I grew up with in Boston.

So, .. back at what you see as “my other issues” .. I remain a disappointed follower. Back to Darcy Burner, I had hopes that after the campaign you would emerge as the sort of local leader we badly need.  I also hoped that HA might grow alongside of your leadership.

Sadly, I felt that you lost the opportunity between the two campaigns to build a local following. Obviously the Seattle Times did not help but, with all due (and quite real) respect, your effort in the second campaign to be seen as a national thinker in re Iraq might have been more effective if folks in the eighth saw you as one of their own.

I see this lack of understanding of local politics as endemic on the progressive side.  I attended a Move On council meeting and was terribly disappointed.  Only one of the attendees, Craig Salins of Washington Public Campaigns, seemed to have any understanding of or connections to local politics.   When I suggested working with people I know from the AA community, my suggestion elicited some amazingly antique ideas about Seattle’s AA community.

The sad thing about this story is that it is all too typical of the progressive/liberal/democratic scene in the Northwest.  We have NO organizations or individuals who provide leadership outside of specific, issue oriented foci.  The only exception I see is Senator Murry and the faltering efforts of David Goldstein.

So, what can I do?

My effort is focused on the UW.  The lack of political activity on our campus makes us ineffective either as a center for political ideas or even as a target for politicians directing their campaigns at the third largest political community in the State.  There are NO PACs, not even a political forums based at the UW!

One reason for this almost Chinese/Iranian/Corporate-like self censorship is that the UW suppresses free speech.  Even mass emails to the faculty are not allowed without permission of the Provost.  Moreover, State law, we are told, prohibits use of campus facilities for political purposes.

To deal with this I have founded, with about a dozen other people, a new blog, the-ave.us.  Our motto is “of campus but off campus.”

If you do look at the site, most of what you read will still be by me.  That should change as the fall comes.  I want to create a community of intellectuals .. built around the campus but not limited to faculty, as if “the-Ave” were the kind of place I knew as a student in Cambridge.

Some of our contributors include:

Ana Mari Cauce, Dean Arts and Sciences
Robert Jeffrey, Minister New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
David Dale, former Dean School of Medicine
“Roger Rabbit” (anonymous) former attorney for the State of Washington with deep knowledge of state law.
Chris Mitchell, Microsoft Engineer, with strong commitment to the schools.
Jake Faleschini, President of Graduate Student Senate, young lawyer
Richard Zerbe, Dan Evans Professor of Economics.
Darryl Keckley, software engineer, very bright conservative African American
Ed Clark, immunologist .. grew up in missionary family, interested in academic freedom, Tibet, Buddhism as a science.
Halstead Harrison … atmospheric scientist, skeptic about many claims to quantitative analysis as seen in the press, global warming, national defense

So, please take a look and, if “we” interest you, I am sure the other editors will agree that we should invite you to be a contributor.


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