novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

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EPILOGUE

     This project was inspired by the curiosity of one Sterling District voter with regard to the background and political philosophy of a declared candidate for the district seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors — a candidate very new to Sterling itself and one who gave only minimal information about his background on his campaign website.  No further information was forthcoming in the local media, on the blogs, or in campaign literature from either political party.  It did appear to the author that the voters of Sterling District were being asked to vote rather much “in the blind.”

     As more and more information was collected and since the candidate did not seem to be ready to provide more detail on his own website, it was decided to share this research with other voters in the form of an “unauthorized biography” of Mr. Nevarez.  By definition an “unauthorized biography” is one in which the subject of the biography has no informational or editorial input.  To allow the subject to have such input causes the biography to lose its “unauthorized” status and to lay it open to claims of influence by the subject. Therefore, the reader can be assured that Mr. Nevarez had no personal input into this biographical work, other than the fact that a goodly part of it consists of his own words published elsewhere on the internet.  This is an internet project.  The information presented is, with the exception of comments made by the author and so noted, all in the public sector and available to anyone with the time, desire, and research skills to find it.

     The author has concluded that Mr. Nevarez is a dedicated and motivated “progressive” with a strong determination to pursue his personal goals in the political arena.  Nothing found during this research was truly surprising, except for one thing.  On 17 May 2010, Daily Kos published a diary entitled “The AZ Ethnic Studies Ban:HB2281.”  A young Arizona college student named Clay Gibson wrote this well-documented advocacy article which took Arizona state authorities to task for trying to end the “Mexican-American/Raza Studies Program” at Tucson High School.  Mr. Nevarez liked the article and asked Mr. Gibson to repost it at Daily Kos.  A blog technicality kept Mr. Gibson from doing so.  Mr. Nevarez did the reposting himself.

     At the very end of the article, between the final paragraph and the bibliography, is a third-person quotation.  I do not know how this quotation was added or included.  I am hoping that Mr. Gibson did the deed and that Mr. Nevarez overlooked it in his haste to repost.  The quote brought to mind a video which surfaced in an Obama campaign office in Texas in 2008 and then disappeared quickly after eyebrows were suddenly raised.  The quote is as follows:

                 “Education is the property of no one, it belongs to the people as a whole.  And if education is not given  to the people, they will have to take it.”   CHE GUEVARA

     I find it rather disturbing that a candidate for high office in Loudoun County might be involved with the public posting of a quotation from an individual who is sometimes known under the sobriquet of “The Butcher of La Cabana.”  A personal thing for the author?  Perhaps.  But I spent many years fighting against the spirtual heirs of this man, who held him up as a “revolutionary” icon and then did horrible things to innocent people in the pursuit of their political causes.  I hope this quote in the diary was just an oversight.

AL ON ECONOMICS

The following is a random taste of Al’s views on economic issues:

DAILY KOS, 18 JUNE 2008, “BETTER IDEAS FOR OUR ECONOMY”  This is one of Al’s principal statements on his economic views.  We will first present a list of his stated economic priorities and then follow that with a few quotes.

Al’s List

1.   Achieving energy independence from big oil.
2.   Taxing corporations on windfall profits.
3.   Letting the tax cuts expire and increasing taxes on the wealthiest 5%.
4.   Closing shelters and loopholes.
5.   Slashing the defense budget, the homeland security budget, and end the prohibition on drugs.
6.   Implement a system of fair trade so that American manufacturing can recover and expand to include production of alt-energy generators (i.e. solar panels, vehicles).
7.   Invest in science/technology at all levels.
8.   Remove the roadblock to union organizing by passing the Employee Free Choice Act and reviving the middle class.
9.   Pass an amendment to require 2/3 of the House and 60% of the Senate to pass any unbalanced budget.
10. Reset our currency, diversifying the Standard to take the load off the Reserve.

       “Most workers are reliant upon federal government spending for their middle class existence….Decrease spending without increasing taxes would be a burden far too heavy to bear.”

       “Of course, the big doozie comes from endorsing ANWR and offshore drilling.  Worst.  Idea.  Ever.  To think that the average American would ever receive any benefit whatsoever from this is laughable. We should be moving away from oil and marginalizing the power of big oil companies.  Our efforts should zero in on implementing alternative fuel infrastructure.  Cities should begin installing outlets on curbs and parking lots for more all-electric vehicle use.  Natural gas stations should be replacing petroleum stations. Our economy can begin healing once we achieve a modicum of energy independence.”

       “If we cut defense spending in half, we wouldn’t need to cut elsewhere.”

DAILY KOS, 23 MARCH 2009, “PAUL KRUGMAN IS NOT GOD.”   This diary was a discussion of national fiscal matters.  A quote from Al:

       “As for me, I’d just like it if everyone took a break from the mudslinging and wrote a letter to their Congress folks, newspapers, friends and/or family telling them, calmly, that many, if not a majority, of the most intelligent economic minds in our country believe nationalization of our banking system is the most credible solution to our economic crisis.”

DAILY KOS, 1 OCTOBER 2008, “FINANCIAL MARKETS BILL PASSES IN THE SENATE.” This diary by Al is interesting in that it portrays some skepticism over the bailout/rescue 74-25 bill for which Senator Obama voted in the affirmative.

       “I personally don’t know whether this will turn out being a good thing or a bad thing.  I’m happy to [see] the Senate include some long overdue tax relief for middle class families and those in the alternative energy industries. On the other hand, the idea of raising our debt another 3/4 trillion is nauseating, regardless of whether it works, and even more so if it fails.”

       [AUTHOR COMMENT;  A four trillion dollar increase in the national debt since January 2009.  I have Tums Extra Strength for Al if needed.]

DAILY KOS, 9 MARCH 2010, “COME JOIN US FOR LUNCH – AND GET ARRESTED”  This is Al on health care reform.  This diary was written in conjunction with a D.C. street demonstration against America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) that same day.

       “Some of us may not need a good reason to break the law, but here’s a few good reasons anyhow.  No matter which side of the DK [Daily Kos] bakery you enjoy hurling your pies from, we need all of you here in D.C. to put down your pastry for a day to tell AHIP to back the f**k off!

       See, America’s Health Insurance Plans, otherwise known as AHIP, are having a meeting today to try and find new and creative ways to screw patients and muddle in our democracy.  They will be plotting to not only kill this bill, but to ensure that health care legislation of any kind will never get this far in Washington again.

       That’s why Health Care for America Now, aka HCAN, is teaming up with the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions to demonstrate the power of the people; to show these rich pricks that we won’t back down from the fight for health care reform.  Not now.  Not ever.”

       “Everyday we are bombarded with the media narrative that portrays astroturfing teabaggers as mouth pieces for the people.  We need to get out there and show them that the people want health care for all.  The people want health insurance companies to be better regulated, and held accountable when they engage in unethical practices that put profits before health.  The people want a democracy free from the influence of insurance companies with deep pockets and their well paid Washington lobbyists.  We need to show strength and determination against this beast known as AHIP.  This is the moment where we rise up.”

DAILY KOS, 23 FEBRUARY 2011, “OHIO: THE NEXT WISCONSIN!”  In this diary, Al discusses the protest campaign against Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ohio Senate Bill 5.  Al is involved in coordinating two of the street protests. and puts out a call for more participants.

       “This fight is not about public employees.  This fight is not even about unions.  It is about Americans standing up to defend the American Dream from soulless multi-national corporations and their political goons.”

       “Executives of the financial industry, and the politicians that work on their behalf, have worked hard to make America a source of cheap labor that could “compete” with China and other countries that don’t value their workforce.  They have decided that “winning” this race to the bottom was more important than preserving the things that made America great in the 20th Century.”

       ” Being a Republican and a former Wall St. executive, Kasich has the perfect resume to take this assault on the middle class to the next level… First he managed to get the state of Ohio to invest the pension in Lehman Brothers’ mortgage backed securities.  Then he capitalized on economic fears to get himself elected governor. Once elected, he used the very crisis he created to try and eliminate a critical piece of Ohio’s union membership.”

       “There’s no empirical link between Kasich and the Koch brothers that I am aware of, but I do know that Kasich benefitted heavily from independent expenditures from the types of groups that the Koch brothers have been known to fund.  Since these groups are not obligated to disclose who is funding them, we don’t know who specifically got Kasich elected, but there’s little doubt in my mind that the money behind those groups came from parties interested in destroying the middle class.”

Part VIII to follow:  Epilogue.

AL ON POLITICS AND POLITICIANS

      In this section, we will offer a random taste of Al’s writings on politics and political figures.  Since we cannot print entire articles verbatim, we have appended the source for each so that the reader himself can examine them for additional context and content. Our own comments will be largely limited to an explanation of context, with only a brief opinion here and there.

      DAILY KOS, 10 DECEMBER 2009, “KOSSACKS: PARTISANS, ACTIVISTS OR JUST AGITATORS?”  In this diary, Al addresses the readers of Daily Kos on how to find a balance between partisanship and political activism and agitation.  We present here two excerpts, the first on recommended tactics for use against Republicans and a second concerning recalcitrant Democrats.

      “There is an important place for partisanship in this.  It is not necessarily a bad thing to appear to have a double standard where you cut a Democrat some slack on something that was a point of criticism under a Republican.  This system is way to f**ked up to believe that playing by the rules will effect change.  Frequently, we have to fight fire with fire.  It may appear to be inconsistent to, on the one hand, criticize Bush for hoarding executive power while excusing Obama for the same.  But, in my opinion, if Republican Presidents consistently force their world view on us, while Democratic Presidents constantly defer to a recalcitrant Congress, what we wind up with is an implementation of Republican policy.  Ironically, I have seen some whose work lately seems dedicated to criticizing Obama, charge him with failing to lead, aka flex executive power, AND for hoarding executive power.  I’m on the side that believes he doesn’t flex it nearly enough.  The idea that this sets some sort of precedent is irrelevant IMO because Republicans don’t care about precedence, they abuse power to whatever extent the law will allow, and then some.”

      “Similarly, an activist also needs to know when to agitate.  Going along with whatever prescription Obama and the Democrats provide us with is not leading, it’s following.  It may require taking action that causes Democrats pain.  This is o.k., so long as it is working. If we have the power to replace a Democrat with someone better, relatively soon, we should definitely let them know that, and follow through in the event that they fail to heed the warnings.  On the other hand, if we are confronted with people who we can’t replace with someone better, or who aren’t seeking reelection anytime soon, and who are completely unresponsive to screaming and yelling and shouting and threatening, we need to revise our strategy.  Pressure can come from a variety of angles.  Perhaps the best way to pressure a Democrat who is working against change is to go after their alternate sources of income, or to write letters to the boards of their corporate sponsors, or to their church, or to investigate them for corruption or scandal.”

DAILY KOS, 30 JUNE 2008, “WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?”

       “We are the fortunate 5% of society that is absolutely informed on the issues.  In fact, the level at which we are informed pushes the top 1%.  We bear a greater burden than the average citizen.”

DAILY KOS, 21 DECEMBER 2009, “TEABAGGER ALLIANCE, DAY ONE – THEY BIT ME!” This is a satire by a Kossack named “MarkWarner’sGod” about an imaginary attempt at an alliance with the Tea Party — an alliance which did not quite go according to plan. Al appended some comments:

       “If an allegiance between the populist left and the populist right ever topples the plutocracy, there will be an ideological battle to determine who will govern,  My guess is that the people with the guns will win.”

       “An enemy can come in many different forms.  The enemy is not always rich and powerful.  That a group is my enemy only because they have been tricked or uneducated does not make them any less the enemy.”

DAILY KOS, 2 OCTOBER 2008, “BIDEN SHOULD ATTACK McCAIN – NOT PALIN”   This diary was written before a Biden-Palin debate.  It shows Al’s feelings with regard to Obama’s opponent.  Al also announced the opening of a new personal blog called: johnmclies@wordpress.com.

       ” McCain is a liar.  Let Palin regurgitate the lies.  Smile and nod.  Blast John McCain for creating the fabrications, distributing them on TV and radio, and asking his surrogates to repeat them. McCain hates the working class.
Blast McCain for screwing the working class again and again. McCain doesn’t care about veterans.
McCain is in the tank for the oil companies.
Point to John McCain’s anger, lack of composure, and gimmicking in the face of adversity…for failing, utterly and completely, to put country first.”

DAILY KOS, 8 OCTOBER 2008, “JOHN McCAIN’S DEFEAT.”    This was written about McCain after a debate with Obama.

       “He looked defeated.  He looked liked a loser.  It was as if, for the first time in his life, someone had held a mirror for him, so he could see with his own eyes what a blithering idiot he is.”

DAILY KOS, 26 MAY 2009, “SONIA SOTOMAYOR IS NOT SMART ENOUGH”   This diary was written by another contributor who was critical of Sotomayor’s qualifications for the SCOTUS based on his assessment of her intelligence. It obviously hit a nerve with Al, who stepped in directly as a “Rescue Ranger” and responded as follows:

        “Certainly, to have more credibility, the ‘intelligence critic’ should be able to brandish some sort of credentials, and those credentials should be comparable to (if not clearly exceed) the credentials of the person who they are criticizing.  Did the diarist attend an Ivy League school or comparable?  Did the diarist graduate in the top 5% of their undergraduate class?  Was the diarist editor of the Yale Law Review or comparable?….I am not endorsing the selection for JOTSC.  But I am admantly opposed to the horseshit argument that Judge Sotomayor is not intelligent enough to serve on the SCOTUS.  UPDATE:  The diary in question is no longer on the rec list [recommendation list].  I refuse to link to it, but I do apologize to those who are confused by the lack of content.”

     [AUTHOR COMMENT:  One has to wonder why these strict rules on credentials did not apply to the case of the "blithering idiot."]

DAILY KOS, 10 JUNE 2008   This diary by Al addressed various comments and opinions in the progressive community on the possibility of impeaching George W. Bush, even at that late date.  A part of the diary was pure “snark,” but Al did add a serious comment.

        “BTW, I am pro-impeachment, even at this juncture.  I think the arguments made against impeachment, including the marginalized premises above, are extremely valid.  I’m sure the overwhelming majority of us would be pro-impeachment if not for these legitimate concerns.  I happen to think that we should still impeach because I believe a thorough investigation spotlighted by a media frenzy would actually benefit Democrats politically, thus helping the many causes which are prioritized differently within our community.”

DAILY KOS, 16 JUNE 2009, “JEFF SESSIONS IS CONCERNED ABOUT SOTOMAYOR’S ABILITY TO LIVE ON A JUDGE’S SALARY.” In this diary, Al takes umbrage at a confirmation session exchange between Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor.  As a Latino, Al believes that Sessions was engaging in racist badgering.

      “Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was born into wealth.  His father was a wealthy businessman, and Mr. Session’s life has been one of privilege…So who the f**k is he to lecture Judge Sotomayor about salary?”

      [Al addresses Sessions directly.]  “Your voting record also shows, quite conclusively, that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the people who earn a fraction of your salary.  That you would use the very people you’ve spent your career trampling on to add flair to your rhetoric is pure salt, especially when put in the context of lecturing a woman, a Latina, who had to work especially hard to overcome the barriers that people like you have dedicated your lives to erecting…You, yes, YOU, Beauregard, are a petty, petty man.”

      At this point another Kossack informs Al that Jeff Sessions was born into the middle class, that Sessions’ father was a dealer selling farm equipment.  This gives Al only momentary pause:  “Not that it changes my feelings much.  The guy’s still a prick, has been wealthy most of his life, and shits on working class people every chance he gets…Oh, and he’s a disgusting bigot.  Can’t forget that one.”

DAILY KOS, 2 SEPTEMBER 2009, “AMBINDER AND ENDS VS. MEANS”  In this diary Al addresses the issue of torture.

        “What Ambinder fails to appreciate in his piece on torture is that, in this particular circumstance, even if someone believes that the ends do in fact justify the means, the acts committed by the Bush Administration, whether through malicious intent or unprecedented incompetence, must be considered unethical since they resulted in disastrous consequences, from the unnecessary deaths of Iraqi civilians and American soldiers, to the squandering of federal resources entrusted to them, to the (presumably) unintended promotion of terrorist activity and the complete deterioration of America’s image abroad.  There is no “A for effort” in consequentialism.  It is outcomes that matter, not intent.
         And this particular circumstance is all that should matter right now to opponents of torture.  We don’t need to convince the American people that torture is wrong.  We just need to show them that the Bush Administration is wrong, and that they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Ultimately, if we follow the ethical course of action here and prosecute Administration officials, we can achieve the desired ends, which is to deter future Administrations from considering these abominable means.”

DAILY KOS, 5 NOVEMBER 2008, “U.N.I.T.Y.”  This diary was written in the flush of the Obama electoral victory.

       “The wall between red states and blue states has begun to crumble, but there are many more divides that prevent us from coming together as Americans to create the kind of change we want and need.  We can either find ways to sharpen those divides through hubris and justify it with the mandate of righteousness, or we can keep working, just as we have for the past several months/years to communicate, educate, and understand each other.”

       Al noted the number of different voters who had come together to elect Obama.  He indicated that he was all for implementing the progressive agenda but that conservative viewpoints were “critical to viable policy implementation.”  He added that “constant use of brute parliamentary tactics makes for a temporary majority.”

       [AUTHOR COMMENT:  No one seems to have listened to Al --- until November 2010, when it was too late.]

Part VII to follow gives another random taste of Al on economics.

A LADY NAMED JEANE

      In January 2004, Alfonso R. Nevarez Jr. was married to a lady named Jeane.  She is a Seattle girl, daughter of a Caucasian father and a Latina mother.  She is also an artist.  Jeane once remarked on a blog that she felt like she had grown up with a pencil constantly in her hand.  She began her formal art studies at Ricks College, then a small, two-year school in Rexburg, Idaho, under the administration of the LDS.  It is now a four-year institution called Brigham Young University-Idaho.  She then moved to California, where she finished her studies at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Jeane struggled at first as an aspiring artist.  In a comment on the Ed Maskevich Blog in January 2007, she described her early post-student days of living in many, small, dark, cheap basement apartments in San Francisco.  After marrying Al in 2004, she continued to follow her artistic pursuits, although recent blog comments indicate that she is now much preoccupied with mothering her two little girls.

     Jeane is a good sketch artist who appears to specialize in drawing animals.  Her self-portraits are also very good.  As one who has dabbled in the arts and actually taught sketching and perspective in a foreign country far, far away, the author posits that Jeane’s talent is really on display in a particular area: This lady can draw a moving horse!  If you have ever tried to draw one of those beasts in motion and get the body proportions right, especially the shape and correct angles of the legs, you will know what the author means. You can view some of Jeane’s work on the internet at Art by Jeane Nevarez — which she calls her “sketch blog.”

     Jeane has also gone into another, quite different art form.  The paintings are based on dream images, and the painters are known as “dream artists.”  It is an intriguing surrealism on the order of Salvador Dali.  Jeane, who works in pastels, calls these her “surreal fantasy paintings from the Subconscious Collection.”  You can see Jeane’s work at Artwanted.com or at Original Art Online.  You can even purchase a painting if you wish.  Jeane has stated that art “gives extra dimension” to her life.

     Jeane’s talents are not limited just to art and mothering.  She is also a knowledgeable gardener who has her own gardening blog and an avid reader with a critic’s blog to match.  About the only thing that Jeane, by her own admission, seems not to have mastered is making tortillas from scratch.  She related on a cooking blog that she had tried to imitate the Latinas with whom she lived but just could not handle the measuring by ear and by eye.  The author’s spouse can relate to that.  She once had a great-aunt who was an excellent cook and baker.   Whenever you asked the aunt how much of this or that ingredient went into a recipe, she would reply:  “Well, just a glug of this and two glugs of that.”  A “glug” was the sound an ingredient made when it came out of the bottle.

     Now comes a moment when the author can give Alfonso a fun little poke in the ribs.  There is one other thing about Jeane, and the author still cannot believe that Al would admit this on a blog.  Hopefully he was just joking.  In a posted comment to his Daily Kos diary of 17 October 2008, Al confessed:  “My wife handles the money.  I am thoroughly unqualified to balance a check book. lol!”

Part VI to follow:  Al on Politics.

PARTISAN, ACTIVIST, OR AGITATOR?

     Alfonso Nevarez appears to have gotten an early start in the business of advocating for progressive goals and policies.  In a comment to a Daily Kos diary of 20 April 2011, he noted that the teaching techniques used in his high school civics class “almost certainly sparked” his interest in politics. In a Daily Kos diary of 25 October 2010, Al presented a very heartfelt eulogy for a family friend who had passed away a few days before.  This gentleman was Mauricio Vela, a well known community organizer in San Francisco who had for fifteen years managed the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.  In fact, the very first political campaign in which Al participated was that of Mr. Vela in a run for the San Francisco school board.  In his tribute to Mr.Vela, Al wrote:

“After many years, he finally taught me the simplest and most direct way to help struggling families was to fight those battles in the very communities that need them, where the members of said community could easily see how their lives would be impacted if the number of slots for local public child care was being reduced, or if important programs at the community center were being cut…I was a young idealist…I became an older pragmatist.”

     Al has stated that, during those years when he was trying to find a career, he was not as active in progressive causes as he would have liked to have been.  It appears, however, that he did join MoveOn.org and that he was associated with MoveOnSonoma while living in Rohnert Park and/or Petaluma.  MoveOnSonoma is the MoveOn.org chapter in Sonoma County, California. While in Petaluma, Al was active in protests against the Iraq War:  “I know and am involved with many latino organizations that are doing much more than protesting the war in Iraq once a year.  They are working every day to bring this injustice to an end.” [Yahoo!Groups; "Sonoma-organized March for Rights; 28 March 2006].

    Al was also active on immigration issues.  On Yahoo!Groups on 25 April 2006, he posted a message back to Petaluma which said:  “I’m in LA right now. I’ll be here until next Monday.  It’s a business/pleasure deal.  Meeting with some immigration organizers today and Monday…” In the March 2006 post on Yahoo!Groups, Al vented against a bill in Congress dealing with the illegal immigration issue:

“This bill will make it a felony for people to come to our country and work to provide for their families.  A lot more people may find it easier, more lucrative, and less risky to participate in drug trafficking and other more corrosive activities to do what needs to be done….The bill would also make it a criminal act to assist immigrants.  The hypocrisy in this knows no bounds.  The most criminal congress in our country’s history will make criminals out of innocent people – people who give themselves to help the less fortunate.  Charities and churches will face criminal prosecution for assisting our most marginalized population.  My great-grandmother, nearly one hundred years old, has been renting out rooms in her buildings for over 50 years to immigrants, for under market value, in order to make it easier for some to feed their hungry families. Soon, my great-grandmother will probably be a criminal.”

      As noted in an earlier section, Al, acting on a recommendation from MoveOn.org, attended the first two-week intensive training session of the New Organizing Institute (NOI) in February/March 2006.   In a later survey of alumni, he gave a strong vote of approval to the program.

      What is NOI?  It is a birth child of MoveOn.org.  Its creation was announced in November 2005 by Eli Pariser, then the Executive Director of MoveOn and now a Senior Fellow at The Roosevelt Institute, as well as the founder of Avaaz.org, a global MoveOn-style group with a claimed membership of three million.  The task of organizing NOI was given to MoveOn Organizing Director Zack Exley, now the Chief Community Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation. Exley had been a union organizer and a computer programmer.  He directed the MoveOn campaign against the Iraq War, was Director for Online Communications for the 2004 Kerry campaign, and, in 2005, Director of Internet Operations for the Labour Party in Britain.  He was joined in the NOI effort by Judith Freeman of the AFL-CIO and several other progressive activists.

     The initial purpose of the NOI, a non-profit, was to assign graduates to 2006 Democratic Party campaigns in key roles.  After that, NOI would help participants to find another job in the world of Democratic Party politics or in progressive organizations. The principal tactical role of NOI was to take young progressives and sharpen their skills in politics and organization, with special emphasis on their online skills.  The current NOI website carries this as their declared goals:

“We develop the practice of engagement organizing and leaders who are great at it…We want to build an organizing culture and set of practices that not only wins campaigns and improves people’s lives in the short-term but builds stronger communities, people, and democracy in the longer term…Engagement organizing is a way of working that is consistent with deep American and progressive values.  It is also the best way to kick ass [sic] — to win and to keep winning change that improves people’s lives.” To this is added:  “NOI trains, convenes, and gives voice to a special breed of social change champions.”

      Briefly stated, NOI has a number of key programs: CANDIDATE PROJECT
– a progressive, non-partisan effort to empower activists and new leaders to create change one neighborhood at a time through local elections; NEW ORGANIZING UNIVERSITY — an online extension course to teach organizing skills; NOI YOUTH PROJECT — organizing and equipping youth to solve their societal problems; NEW MEDIA BOOTCAMP — to create a media advocacy capability (such as that used to help the anti-Walker protests in Wisconsin); ISSUE CAMPAIGN BOOTCAMP: teaching leadership for organizations working on issue-based campaigns and turning issue-based passion into electoral power; and CIVIC ENGAGEMENT RESEARCH — providing voter registration data, voting pattern studies, and similar information to selected progressive political candidates.

      Once Al had finished his NOI bootcamp and, with the help of Judith Freeman, had secured AFL-CIO employment in May 2006, he appeared to embark upon a greatly enhanced blogging avocation.  In fact, Al began blogging so much and on so many varied sites that he literally wore out the author in a chase through the internet.  One site, Niner Cap Hell, congratulated Al in 2010 for reaching 2000 posts on their site alone.  Al seemed to be all over the map on this.  If he wasn’t slamming George W. Bush or praising Obama, he was discussing the 49ers or the SF Giants or food or movies or music — on and on until the author’s eyes began to swim.

      On 23 June 2006, Al joined the Daily Kos, one of the most “progressive” blogs in the blogosphere.  He became a “Rescue Ranger,” one of those “Kossacks” who not only publish frequently but also monitor and guide others who wish to post.  Between June 2006 and February 2011, Al published 45 articles or “diaries.”  Between June 2006 and August 2011, he also posted 2,393 comments.  Al likes to write, and he is rather good at it.

       On 14 July 2006, Al also announced via Yahoo!Groups that he had joined the organization ColorofChange in an effort to join the fight against Southern politicians who might want to amend the Voting Rights Act.  He called ColorofChange “a powerful political force to protect voting rights” and asked others to join him. ColorofChange is an African-American group which advocates for Black causes and which, unfortunately in the author’s opinion, also surfaces from time to time the view that Republicans and conservatives have racist motives.  It is also in alliance with politicians such as Mayor Bloomberg of New York who seek significant changes in the gun laws.  ColorofChange was formed shortly after Hurricane Katrina.  One of its founders and now a former leader was Van Jones —- a name which should be familiar.

      In a Daily Kos diary dated 9 March 2010 and entitled “Come Join Us for Lunch — And Get Arrested,” Al revealed his involvement in a street rally at Dupont Circle and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to support the Obama health care reform bill and to protest a meeting of members of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), whom Al referred to as “rich pricks.”  Arrests were expected, much to the dismay of another Kossack who stated that he didn’t need that kind of stuff so close to his own apartment.  Al assured him that not everyone would be arrested.  Al’s post-protest assessment was that it had gone very well.

      Finally, Al has also been active on the labor agitation front.  In a Daily Kos diary dated 23 February 2011 and entitled “OHIO: The Next Wisconsin,” he revealed that he was responsible for coordinating street protests in Elyria and Lorain, Ohio, against Governor John Kasich and Ohio Senate Bill 5.  Al also encouraged readers to sign up for MoveOn.org statehouse rallies all across the country on 26 February 2011.  So, it does look to the author like Al’s job at the AFL-CIO may not be limited entirely to data analysis and formatting.

      As late as January 2008, Al was blogging out of Baltimore, Maryland, where he then lived.  Soon thereafter, he moved to Sterling Park, where he bought his home and has subsequently rented office space in his effort to “reclaim” Sterling.  In the Daily Kos diary of 23 February 2011, Al said:  “I have a plan to get Democrats to the polls that includes building relationships with community leaders from our diverse district, getting local MoveOn and OFA [Obama For America] activists engaged, and a LOT of data driven field work.”

      In Part V we will present some background information on a very talented lady named Jeane.

CAREER

     Alfonso Nevarez has written very briefly about one of his experiences in high school, but I could find no mention of his having attended college.  Perhaps it was simply missed.   A correction would be nice to have in this regard.  In a Daily Kos diary dated 3 February 2011 and entitled “A Daily Kos Ranger vs TSA Agenda Guy,” Al launched an attack against his current political opponent and, in so doing, provided some insight into his own personal background.

    According to Al, he started working with computer databases in the late 1990′s, which would be shortly after high school.  In 2000, he got his certification in programming but does not say exactly where. For the next several years, he only “dabbled” in database development, getting a personal contract here and there.  Al felt that his efforts in this regard were handicapped by an unfortunate confluence with the “dot.com bust economy.”  As a consequence, he earned his living by driving a forklift and through odd jobs to supplement his income when no data development work was forthcoming.  He cleaned ballpark concessions, drove an airport shuttle, delivered parcels, and more. He stated in another diary in 2009 that he really suffered during this period.  He recounted sitting in a hiring hall hoping – praying – that his name would be called, haggling with unemployment case workers so he could keep a roof over the heads of his family, and standing in line at the city welfare office to collect a GA check.

    Eventually, Al found a full-time job using his computer skills, got married (2004), had his first child, and seemed to be on the road to financial stability at last.  Al was also on the move: across the Bay to Emeryville, near Oakland, and north to Rohnert Park and Petaluma in Sonoma County, California.

    At some point during this period, Al seems to have decided to become more involved in progressive causes and joined MoveOn.org.  He received an email from MoveOn which recommended attendance at their recently formed New Organizing Institute (NOI) in Washington, D.C.  Al was an attendee at the first NOI intensive “boot camp” in February/March 2006.  As Al later described it, this was “a great organization which was looking to train people like me to become online activists.”

    At the NOI boot camp, Al seems to have met Judith Freeman, one of the NOI co-founders who had been previously the senior political strategist at the AFL-CIO and a staff member of the 2004 Kerry campaign.  She was now the Executive Director at NOI.  Al has stated in the above-cited 2011 diary that it was Freeman who helped him to get a position at the AFL-CIO.

    By 2006-2007, Al had become a “Research Associate” in the Collective Bargaining Department at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. He continues to carry that job title.  On his campaign website, Al describes his job as follows: ” I spend my time working through budgets and negotiations and I have policy expertise to tackle land-use and budget problems and help plan our community’s future.”

    In the 2011 diary cited above, Al states: “…My main responsibility is researching economic trends and corporate policies that affect union members and the middle class in general.  This research helps organizers reach out to workers; it gives locals the tools to negotiate fair contracts; it supports analysts who evaluate policy; and it provides labor leaders with the information they need to make decisions.”  Al also believes that his work allows him to observe and learn from the leaders in his organization.

    In a Daily Kos diary dated 17 October 2008 and entitled “Government Data Sucks Exhibit A: Ohio,” Al added the following about his work: “My title is research associate, but, in reality, I am a data analyst. I have other duties but most of my time is spent processing and formatting data.  It is not that there isn’t a lot of different types of projects that could use my attention, it’s just that the data projects take priority — and are time consuming.”

    Another notation should be added to this. It comes from the Daily Kos diary cited in the first paragraph above.  I believe this notation carries some signficance, given the fact that Al is seeking a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, which is at the pinnacle of our local decision-making apparatus.  The author believes that, in all fairness to the voters, this should be known.  The comment, written in February 2011, is this:

“By no means am I a decision maker at the Federation….”

AL DEFINES HIMSELF

In the Daily Kos on 17 September 2009, Alfonso Nevarez published a diary entitled “I Am Politically Incorrect.”  That diary seems to have been inspired by a claim from former President Jimmy Carter that conservative opposition to President Obama was based on racism.  The Obama White House tried to deny the Carter premise, portraying it as harmful to future prospects for bipartisan cooperation.  In discussing this denial by the White House, Al had some things to say which appear to define his views on the issue of race.

The author has focused on this article because of things which he personally experienced in Sterling Park in the years before Al’s arrival. Many will recall the early- to mid-years of the last decade when Sterling Park and Sugarland saw a large influx of illegal and legal immigrants of Latino origin.  Whatever one’s politics may be, it cannot be denied that there followed a serious spike in overcrowded housing, crime, and zoning ordinance violations, something to which most residents were unaccustomed. There was a rapid and very visible deterioration in the overall quality of life, at least in the perceptions of long-term residents.  There was also an explosion of tempers on the part of some residents, culminating in a community meeting at Park View High School which at times became a near shouting match between citizens and county elected and appointed officials.  The Sheriff of this county actually had to leave the microphone under a barrage of criticism over law enforcement.

Some in these communities and elsewhere in the county cautioned not to let the anger evolve into an ethnic bias against the Latino newcomers and Latinos in general.  The counterargument was that citizens were angry about crime and the diminished quality of life.  This was not a bias against Latinos per se, but it ought to be recognized that certain elements within the demographic change were the root causes for the troubles.  A spade was a spade, so to speak.  Some called for government at all levels to do their jobs, enforce the law, and remove the illegal immigrants from our midst.  Others called simply for more effective policing and for enhanced and tougher enforcement of the zoning ordinances so that the new immigrants would understand that they HAD to abide by established community standards.

I think that, in examining the self-stated views of Mr. Nevarez on race, we should do so in the context that Al is a candidate for county supervisor representing these very same communities.  In the article, Al claimed to understand why the Obama White House rejected the Carter statement; and he did not blame President Obama.  But he followed up with this:

“…there are few things more politically incorrect in 2009 as calling out racism, even when it is obvious…The reaction to President Carter’s interview is Exhibit A.  Here we had a former President accurately identifying the motivation behind some of the most irrational displays of animosity towards a sitting President. In response, we see some self-identified liberals claim his statements are baseless, or even demand that he apologize.  Are some liberals really so afraid to be labeled ‘race baiters’ or accused of using the ‘race card’ that they would demand an apology from perhaps the most courageous living President for simply giving a truthful assessment of our current predicament?”

“There are some who believed that President Obama’s election would heal our racial divides, but it feels as though these divisions are becoming deeper than they have been in my lifetime, and this denial of racially motivated hostility is putting ethnic minorities in a position of weakness…What I don’t understand, however, is why self-identified liberals would not only look away from this ugly reality, but actually deny it.  This ‘post-racial’ denial, which has been going on for several years, but which is now a regular part of the discussion on race, has not only emboldened the fringe to propagate the hate, it has made it even more difficult for those of us who experience this hate to confront it, and it has even infected some of those with whom we work side by side to effect progressive change.”

Al then goes on to a very personal defining of himself based on his own ethnicity and personal experiences:

“I am a Chicano.  My father was born in Durango, Mexico.  He and his family came to the US when he was eight years old.  My mother is half Nicaraguan and half Caucasian.  My maternal grandmother, who was Caucasian, died when my mother was just 14, thus I never met her.  In fact, I’ve never met a single relative who was entirely of European descent.  As a result, my identity is intrinsically tied to the experience of being an American born Latino.”

“On the other hand, I look as white as Karl Rove.  I have blue eyes and mostly European features.  At various points in my life, I’ve been affectionately nicknamed Huero, Chele, and Mikio, all in reference to my whiteness.  I have little doubt that this has benefitted me in my life.  I can’t point to many specific examples, but I do know that I’ve had more success up to now developing a white collar career than most of my friends and relatives, and it’s not as though I’m more talented or educated or hard working.  At some point my appearance had to make a difference.  I might be more ambitious, but I feel as though the general receptiveness I get as someone who appears white has contributed to that.”

“The downside to not matching the stereotypical description of my ethnic identity is that people of other races that I interact with are sometimes more direct with their prejudice against Latinos. Some might argue that it’s advantageous to know how people really think, but it can be very stressful.  If I call out a racist remark, I become ‘that guy,’ the one who’s always stirring up racial conflict.  I’ve been ‘that guy’ before.  It stinks.  You’re subtly ostracized.  Eventually, your presence is not really wanted at all.”

“I try to make it clear to those I work or socialize with, but even people who know my background will sometimes say something negative about Latinos in my presence.  Perhaps they don’t perceive me as being one of ‘the other’ due to my appearance. Regardless of what it is, someone who knows me, someone with whom I must interact with on a daily basis, crossed that line yesterday.”

Al goes on to describe an incident in which a colleague made a reference to having to pull her own child out of school because, according to the colleague, the child’s math teacher spoke with such a heavy accent that communication was too difficult.  Another colleague chimed in with the observation that it was getting awful because more than half the students in the school were now Hispanic.  This remark greatly upset Al.
Al had a second confrontation over a similar observation in another context by this male colleague, whom Al concedes is a serious and active Democrat and “progressive” supporting and working toward the same goals as himself.  This led Al to conclude that his “progressive” colleague also carried an element of “ethnocentrism” in his personal makeup.  Al’s final conclusion came in two short sentences:

” My acqaintance is a bigot. He’s a real nice man.”

This Daily Kos diary appears to be one of Al’s better efforts to define himself.  In Part III we will examine Al’s career progression from high school to his current position with the AFL-CIO in Washington, again largely in his own words.