Peace calendar: A personal note
From: Charles Underwood (
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 20:38:49 -0800 (PST)
Some of you may have been wondering what has become of the peace calendar.
A lot has been brewing in the rest of my life, which has left me with less
time for the peace calendar. I¹m writing to clue in on my new direction.
At the end of my year-round school year in July, I will be retiring from
teaching.  There¹s no going back; the paperwork has been filed.
I was pretty discouraged with politics after Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer failed to
get the DFL nomination for US Senate.  I do not expect to ever find a better
candidate for national office than Jack, so his loss left me feeling quite
Eventually I became convinced that the best possibility for change was at
the completely local level. By late June, I felt I wanted to run for
Minneapolis city council (ward 12, which includes Longfellow,
Standish-Ericsson and Nokomis East neighborhoods).
This decision opened up a brand new world for me, one that focused on local
sustainability.  I suddenly found myself spending hours researching biomass
digesters, public transportation, community gardens and permaculture,
bicycle commuting, local and urban agriculture, population density patterns,
local business needs and so on.
For a while, my amazing wife Mary Ann Crolley was less than enthusiastic.
She suggested that I research the actual job of city council member before I
make such a major decision.
Well, I have been busy doing my research: shadowing a council member for two
full days, going to every single committee meeting I could, attending every
single community meeting I could, talking to former council members, former
candidates, union leaders, various community leaders.  I feel certain that
the job is worth doing.  I am encouraged about the possibility of winning.
More than anything, I became convinced that it would be possible to create a
more sustainable city with few economic resources.  (This is an important
thing, since our leaders have already spent all our money, while leading us
into a worldwide economic decline.)
The Democratic party endorsement process begins with the precinct caucuses
in early March, and continues to a convention in later March.  There may or
may not be a primary in September, depending on a lawsuit challenging
instant runoff voting in Minneapolis.  The election is in November.  The job
would start in January 2010 and the term would last for four years.
Unfortunately, running a campaign and later working as city council member
will require more time. It simply is not possible for me to continue doing
the peace calendar.  I have a friend who is considering taking over the task
for me. I will do one more peace calendar, probably on New Years Day, and
than pass the task to another.  I will let you know the details as soon as I
As for the campaign, I now have a campaign manager, a campaign treasurer, a
campaign bank account and a post office box.  This past week I started the
process of calling friends and family to ask for contributions for a
campaign that, in this ward, typically costs about $40,000. That is also why
I am writing to you: to ask if you would consider participating with me in
this next adventure.
If you can contribute to the campaign, the individual maximum for the
off-year of 2008 is $100, but the check needs to be sent before New Year¹s
Day.  If a couple donates the maximum from a joint checking account, then
both apparently need to sign the same check or send two checks. January 1st,
the clock resets.  The maximum during the election year of 2009 goes up to
$300 per person. 
Any amount that you can spare will be deeply appreciated and will help get
me to City Hall. 
 Checks should be made out to:
         "Neighbors for Charley Underwood" and sent to
           P.O. Box 6584, Minneapolis, MN 55406.
Asking for money is hard for me, so I am really hoping that this whole thing
doesn't appear too tacky. If you decide to donate to the campaign, I would
appreciate your letting me know so I can thank you profusely. If you decide
not to (or can't), I certainly understand that as well.  Needs are great,
resources are limited, and we all must make decisions about priorities.
Hope all is well with you this week of endings and beginnings.
Peace, Charley Underwood

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