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July 21, 2005


I saw the young women who were working for Teresa Gafford placing the copies on the delegates tables of Robert Levine's AFM Obsverver post about Florence Nelson. This was very early one morning before most of us arrived in the hall. I was disgusted when I saw what they were putting there. It was clear they were mostly helping Tom Lee's campaign by putting his stuff out on each day too. I voted for Florence just because of that.

People use your writings in ways you didn't intend? Not a new story but that doesn't make it any better. In the end, I'm still happy to see something like this site up because it increases dialog which, hopefully, results in better outcomes.

"You'll never stop bad people from doing bad things but you can reduce the temptation of good people to make bad decisions." - me.

Robert wrote: "Nonetheless, something about this doesn’t feel at all right to me, and I’m still trying to figure out if that something is anything I did. Reason tells me that it isn’t, but reason isn’t the only way of coming to correct conclusions."

This was a decision by a majority of the delegates, including myself. We all share responsibility for this outcome.

Your commentary on Florence's job performance as Secretary-Treasurer was a reasoned criticism and example of healthy discourse. Even still, Florence would have maintained my support. My loyalty slipped away when she signed on to Ed's slate; all of whom never convinced me of sufficient reasons to remove Tom.

I appreciate your feelings of personal responsibility, but this eleventh-hour bomb may have had the opposite affect. I was ready to again support Florence after I returned from a break to find your commentary on the tables, and would not be at all surprised if many delegates had the same reaction. This may have backfired to some degree in Florence's favor as many delegates must have shared my initial reaction: Who did this?

By the start of the elections it became apparent to me that the unauthorized distribution of your commentary was not from Sam's campaign. The anonymous anti-Florence folks who are so prevalent at two of four discussion blogs seem the more likely source.

In conclusion, I honestly don't believe this mean-spirited strategy had much affect on the outcome. The only certainty is the 2005 Convention will be remembered for some good work that was accomplished -- it will also be remembered for personal vendettas.

In Solidarity,
Pete Vriesenga

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