Thursday, January 15, 2004

Roundhouse Round-up: Punks For Dean

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 8, 2004

Just about every presidential campaign has subgroups for various ethnicities and special interests -- blacks for Kerry, Hispanics for Clark, Women for Edwards. Who knows, maybe there's even a "Carnivores for Kucinich."

But perhaps this season's most-interesting campaign adjunct is Punx for Dean.

That's right, "punx," as in punk rock. It's a real organization. And they're coming to Santa Fe to campaign for Howard Dean.

A contingent of self-proclaimed punks will be part of a group of 60 to 100 Dean volunteers coming to the state from California as part of Dean's "Southwest Victory Express" to help out with the campaign before the Feb. 3 caucus.

So who are these punks?

Apparently it's the brainchild of a 28-year-old California punk rocker named Kimmy Cash, who, according to an article in L.A. City Beat, met Dean when she crashed the V.I.P. section of a campaign function.

The group's Web site explains, "As a member of the punk (goth, etc.) scene and as a citizen of the United States it is our duty to be the voice of reason and reality here in the U.S. ... Together we can show the world that punks know the true meaning of Democracy."

One punk for Dean is an old music buddy of mine, Gregg Turner, founding member of the Los Angeles band The Angry Samoans, currently employed as a math professor at New Mexico Highlands University..

Turner said Wednesday he is trying to find a venue for a Punx for Dean concert next weekend when the organization descends upon Santa Fe.

Besides rocking and rolling, the Punx for Dean intend to do some serious work, helping the state Dean effort with canvassing and other mundane campaign work.

And the nonpunks in the Dean campaign love them.

"The success of (Dean's) Internet campaign has brought all sorts of people into the fold," said state Dean spokeswoman Mona Blaber. "It helps to bring in people who've never been involved in the political process."

We're all for equal time here. If there are "Goths for Gephardt" or "Lawrence Welk Fans for Lieberman" out there, let me know.

Solicit This! As it turns out, the state Legislature didn't really have to pass laws to create a state no-call list to ward off unwanted telemarketing calls. All you need is to have Gov. Bill Richardson's crime adviser and former Albuquerque District Attorney Bob Schwartz record the greeting for your voice mail or answering machine.

The message on his home number has Schwartz telling solicitors to hang up. "If you are a solicitor and you ever call back, I will not only report you to the Federal Trade Commission, I will hunt you down and personally administer a cavity search that John Ashcroft would be proud of."


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