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Free Kevin Bromwell #

January 30, 2020 Leave a comment

For a little more than a year I have been working to help free Kevin Bromwell. Kevin has served 32 years for a crime I do not believe he committed. Below is the content of a letter I wrote to Missouri Governor Mike Parson. The letter explains my long history with the Bromwell family and why I believe Kevin should have his sentence commuted. At the bottom of this post I will include the Governor’s office contact information. Kevin’s request for clemency has gone unresponded for over five years. My repeated communications with the Governor’s office have been ignored. We will need a groundswell of support to give Kevin’s clemency request a fair hearing. I will also include Kevin’s address in case anyone cares to write him. He is bored shitless and could use more outside contact. If you could share this information widely in any format I would appreciate it. I know Kevin would as well.

December 2, 2019

Dear Governor Parson or his designee,

I am writing in support of a clemency request for a commutation of sentence for Mr. Kevin Bromwell #181047. Mr. Bromwell’s brother Reese is a constituent of mine who requested my assistance in advocating for his brother’s release. Kevin has served 32 years of 3 consecutive 30-year sentences for second degree homicide, burglary and arson. Irregularities in the case, the number of years already served and the pressing need of his family for his speedy release compel me to make this urgent request.

I have known Reese Bromwell for many years. I spent a 10-year career with Phoenix Programs, Columbia’s premier substance use disorder treatment center as a counselor, manager and ultimately executive director. Reese is a person in long term recovery from alcohol and because of my position shared details of his growing up with child abuse and neglect in an unstable family in inner-city St. Louis. Reese and most of his siblings had abused drugs and alcohol and had ongoing legal trouble. Reese got into recovery at Phoenix and had a desire to return and tell his story.

I further learned about Reese’s family and his character when Reese’s sister Tina was released from prison. Tina’s home plan brought her to live with Reese and he was a great support to Tina as she had adjustment issues from long term incarceration and trauma recovery. She found employment and worked for several years with stability until becoming disabled.

My relationship with the Bromwell’s deepened when another brother Donnie broke his neck in an accident could not care for himself and was trapped in a nursing home. I worked with the family to secure disabled housing so the three adult siblings could live together and support one another. I helped Donnie come to terms with becoming a quadriplegic and the family provided his home care. I came to admire this family who had come through so much adversity with a fierce desire to take care of each other and be successful.

After Donnie passed away of natural causes Reese told me about his brother Kevin and requested my assistance. I agreed to look into the situation and see if there was anything I could do. I spoke to Kevin by phone and made a trip to Licking Missouri to visit Kevin in the South Central Correctional Center.

I heard Kevin’s story and it had the ring of truth. I am a Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional through the Missouri Credentialing Board and have long experience with criminal justice involved individuals. I administered Phoenix Programs primary re-entry programming for many years and have worked with countless offenders and ex-offenders. Kevin struck me as sincere and his story plausible. I do not believe that Kevin poses a threat to society.

I have reviewed affidavits and records that are part of the clemency petition. I have been corresponding with Kevin and speaking with him regularly on the phone. I have come to know another sibling Pastor Larry Booth. Pastor Booth is also convinced of his brother’s innocence and has confirmed the facts of the matter as told to me by Kevin. A brief summary of the facts are as follows:

On May 16th, 1988 a terrible crime occurred. A woman was murdered, and her apartment set ablaze during a burglary. Later that night Kevin Bromwell was arrested on an unrelated charge. Kevin had been heavily drinking in the company of numerous witnesses. Three participants in the crime were arrested and they identified Kevin as the murderer, two of them testifying in his trial. All received minimal sentences and served less than five years.

Kevin has maintained his innocence for the 32 years he has served after being convicted and sentenced for 30 years to be served consecutively for Second-Degree Murder, First-Degree Burglary and First-Degree Arson. Kevin Bromwell (#181047) who is now 60 will not be eligible for parole for another 62 years.

Kevin’s attorney refused to call exculpatory witnesses and conceded his presence at the crime scene against Kevin’s expressed wishes. She did not challenge the serious issues with evidence tampering and police brutality. Kevin lost his appeal regarding ineffective assistance of trial counsel when his attorney at the time presented no evidence. Kevin has been filing habeas corpus petitions pro se which have all been dismissed without prejudice.

We are requesting a close examination of Kevin Bromwell’s clemency petition to the governor. He filed an Amended Application for Executive Clemency on 2/25/2018. He has a brother and a sister who are in poor health who requested assistance so that they might spend some time with their brother outside of prison. Kevin has made the best use of his time possible and has completed self-improvement classes and works hard on the prison garden.

There are six key facts that demonstrate there is not reasonable confidence in Kevin Bromwell’s conviction:

  1. A new witness proves Kevin Bromwell is innocent. The enclosed affidavit of Lewis Watkins, who as a boy witnessed the crime, swears that Kevin was not there. This affidavit is new evidence.
  2. Kevin’s clothing was taken by police back to the crime scene. When initially arrested, no blood of any consequence was noted on his clothing except a small amount on his right shoe from a fight earlier in the day. Subsequently the clothing was taken back to the crime scene by the police and then later when trial counsel examined the clothing it was covered in blood.
  3. Kevin had no stolen items on his person when arrested. As substantiated by police reports, there were no stolen items on Kevin’s person on the first police report when he was arrested. However, subsequent police reports mention stolen items that were on his person when arrested. The items mysteriously appear as part of the State’s case.
  4. Kevin was in no shape to commit the crime. Kevin had received an SSI check that day and had no need to commit burglary. As many witnesses will testify, Kevin was so intoxicated that night that he was staggering drunk and could barely walk much less commit a crime.
  5. The victim’s door was not kicked in as testified by witnesses against Kevin. Two of the individuals involved in the crime knew the victim and Kevin did not. The Fire Marshall’s report stated the door was in the unlocked position and not kicked in.
  6. Kevin had an alibi which trial counsel refused to use. Trial counsel’s strategy was to admit guilt and go for a conviction on a lesser charge then first-degree murder. Kevin wanted to maintain his innocence and go for a not guilty verdict at his trial. Trial counsel refused to do so.

Kevin has been filing appeals and habeas corpus petitions pro se. He has exhausted his appeals and his habeas corpus petitions have thus far been rejected without prejudice. There is no evidence they have been given serious consideration.

A commutation of sentence would be most appropriate because it would allow a quick unification of the family. Both Reese and Tina Bromwell have COPD. Reese has been off work for weeks and Tina is disabled. The siblings would serve as both recovery supports for Kevin and could use his assistance. I would pledge my own efforts to support Kevin Bromwell’s transition to the community. I would provide case management support to link him with needed services and assist him in finding full time employment.

With all of the time that has passed since this crime has been committed we may never know definitively what happened that night and who was involved. We do know that Kevin Bromwell has served 32 years for the crime while the other participants were given probation. By running the three-year sentences concurrently an acknowledgement of the trial irregularities can be acknowledged without a risk to public safety. Kevin has strong family and community supports. Please consider this modest request to help a family that has survived much hardship by pulling together and taking care of each other.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Trapp, MA, CCDP

Second Ward City Council Member, City of Columbia

Principal, AAAAChange, LLC (4-A-Change)

Here is a link to the Governor’s office for respectful requests for Kevin’s clemency petition to be granted, or at least considered thoughtfully with an examination of the evidence. https://governor.mo.gov/contact-us

His contact info is:

Office of Governor Michael L. Parson

P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Phone: (573) 751-3222
Fax: (573) 751-1495

To write Kevin:

Kevin Bromwell #181047

3D-266

South Central Correctional Center

255 West Highway 32

Licking, MO 65542

 

 

Categories: politics, Prison

Well I Won

April 4, 2012 3 comments

Boy, they’ll let anyone be on city council here in Columbia. Its 2:12 on a weeknight and I ought to be sleeping. I took Fido for a walk after I got home. I went to Steak and Shake as I had been making the rounds and didn’t get to eat dinner. I drank a beer but tried not to hold it all the time. Might look at my press. I’m pretty tired. “Hollowed out with a bit of an echo” I said in an email. Feels good to have the wind blowing through you though. Wrote a snatch of verse:

I don’t go to church

I am a church

Worshiping with anyone who believes in anything

And everyone who believes in everything

Right now the dog and the grass

Categories: dogs, poetry, politics

Election Day

Well at long last it is finally here.  I woke up early like I needed to for the plan. I was groggy, sleep has been hard to come by and last night was no exception. Up late doing stuff, mind turning, fitful sleep. I made coffee and grabbed my stainless steel water bottle out of the car pleased with my forethought for remembering where it was in the car and remembering to grab it, not going to have time to drink it at home got to get rolling to glad hand after at the polling place after voting. It wasn’t until the bottle heated up and I dropped it spilling hot coffee all over my hand that I remembered I don’t drink coffee in the stainless steel water bottle but in the stainless steel coffee cup. No harm no fowl. Good coffee though, a light roast Rwandan I roasted yesterday, quite yummy. Almost a nutty flavor.

I got my shower, shave and dressed as fancy I get, pretty much, my nice shirt, my first silk tie I bought new, perhaps all the way back in the 80s. It was late 80s so not totally narrow but narrow on the top and flared out at the bottom, not like they make ties now but passable.

I’d gotten vetoed on taking Fido to campaign with me. Last year, regular readers may recall I took Fido to the polls. It was the day after Dad had died and we were coming back from the dog park. We’d opened up our hearts to some sweet old ladies (sisters I recall) and we had all talked about losing our Dads. At the polling place I saw Henry from across the street (he’s working another polling place this year) and he offered his condolences and me and all the poll workers all talked about losing our dads. I never felt more part of a community then to walk out of my house and find solace in the comfort of my neighbors.

I’m very emotional today, crying as I write this. The campaign has been a wonderful distraction as the one year anniversary approaches but I am melting down today, just a bit. Its normal politically astute folks have told me. Excuse me while I go find a tissue.

That’s better. Breathe in Breathe out. So I walked down to the polls, sans Fido. A neighbor I had spoken to at length yesterday (for the third time, I had won her vote, Bill Pauls came by and stole it, I spoke at length to her husband trying to get a yard sign placement when he told me about Bill, but won her back yesterday on the final pass). She pushed the edge of talking about the campaign in the sacred neutrality of the polling place. I told her I called it a “personal project” when I talked about the campaign at work.

I did the same thing at City Council meeting when I spoke up for some neighbors who wanted a zoning change delayed to gather more neighbors. I publicly commented in favor of the tabling at one of their all’s request and talked about how I had canvassed the neighborhood for a “personal project”. As I was leaving I was set upon by some J-school students for an interview and none of them knew I was a candidate and had a fair shot at being on the Council next meeting. It was funny. (tabling passed 5-1, only dissenter was our current rep who I think is bent because I’ve been campaigning against his comment that the Ward was “apathetic”. He also isn’t trying to develop a cordial working relationship with me as the rest of the council appears to be. I also obliquely referenced that in my comments which probably didn’t help.)

The woman I worked so hard to capture her vote voted absentee yesterday (that’s at least 3 of those plus my own so I’m getting at least 4 votes). Another neighbor was there, I had gone by her house a couple of times but she never answered the door. She’s super-religious and felt she was voting for Pauls, I would have if I was her in spite of a personal connection which she made an oblique reference to herself, so perhaps I did win her vote. I’ve done a good turn or two for the community and there will be some folks who don’t normally vote showing up today.

Seeing yourself on the ballot is pretty cool. These things are close so I chose myself. I got my sticker and put my ballot in the ballot machine.

I went outside and stepped past the “no electioneering past this point” sign and should have slipped on my “Michael Trapp for Ward 2 City Council” badge and started thanking people for coming out but just couldn’t do it. As I told my advisers in an email “I’m not really a friendly and outgoing person. I just learned to act like one and I can’t do it this morning”. The church is my neighbor and they have a sign saying “no trespassing except for church business”. I respect that. The counter-argument is that by providing access to the polls that extends to electioneering on site but it was all to ambiguous, it was early, I felt weird and I am tired, not just tired but weary to the bone.

So I walked home took off my tie and dress shirt and wrote this blog. I am going to make a second pot of coffee and put some time in the garden, perhaps nap if my racing mind allows, and probably take the dog for a walk. I’ve earned a little R&R. Hell I’m going to put shorts on. I closed my email with “If I lose by 3 votes I will feel silly and self-indulgent”. True dat. If I get a chance to do this again I will take a friend with me to buck me up.

 

short post long weekend

Its the weekend before the election. I got my second wind or something like it. Instead of sleeping poorly and being tired I am sleeping poorly and hyper-alert. We had our canvass pick ups so I got up early and cleaned house. Waking bolt up came in handy but after a long day of door knocking on a hot and sunny day I got home a little before 8:00 fighting off a headache, bone tired, and mind racing. Its pushing 2:00 am and not much has changed. I took a tramadol which knocked it back for a bit but left me feeling a little funny. I may try a couple more after this post.

It was a good day on the doors. Had a rough one early on. A guy who was going to vote for me didn’t like the quote in the Trib where I said “white people are responsible for ending racism”. He said he was tired of whites trying to appease blacks and went on in that vein for a while, he was in the army and worked in a prison. I talked about the difference between prejudice which is a two way street and racism which takes power. I thanked him for being straight up and talking about how he feels. It was kind of sad, kind of weird. A block or two later I run across a strident anti-EEZ guy going over there talking points, long on hyperbole, short on facts. It was starting to look like having public positions on the issues wasn’t as fun as being a political unknown on a listening tour.

After that though things settled down to positive interactions and some enthusiastic support. A little to much sun though. Had dinner with Julie and Sarah. Sarah came into town to canvass. We are going out together tomorrow. Should be fun.

Categories: friends, politics

Return to Valleyview

If I am posting it must be insomnia. They’re go the 2:00 am Baptist bells, two minutes late, like clockwork. It seems somehow unBabtist to be two minutes late, two minutes early maybe. But these aren’t your parents Baptists, judgmental and strident, but bland with projection screen throwing up bland hymns. Yawn. A little of that and I could sleep. Instead I have Organic NightyNight tea, still to hot to drink. And blogging my thoughts. See if I get them out of my head to make room for sleep to come in.

I didn’t end up calling in sick the day after I was up posting in the middle of the night. I did sleep in and take some time to wake up. Got my mumps vaccine. 43 years old without getting it, not to bad. The vaccine used to only last 7 years so I never got it when it became available. Now with a booster it lasts your whole life so it makes sense. I didn’t want to kick that can down the road when I would be even older when my immunity failed.

Today started early. I had to get going early and take Fido to a dog park friend’s house to spend the day with Ru the Standard Poodle who likes to hump. I think all poodles do. Fido likes him though, he’s pretty tolerant of such things. He’s easy going to a fault. I had to get there early so Cindy could get to her exercise class but she skipped it to have coffee with me anyway. I brought her some of the dark roast Sumatran I had made. It was good. Best of the lot at its peak this morning. She had broken out the French press for the occasion. I was a little sorry to have given it all away. I roasted a light roast Rwandan tonight so I’ve got something to look forward to. Cindy was dog sitting for a spastic little dog. He humped Fido too.

Tea’s still to hot to drink, had a sip anyways. I came home and dealt with returning some of the phone calls I needed to make. I started to write most but some is more accurate. I still owe my friend Amy and brother Bob a call. Still have an email to family to write as well. I called and did an interview on crime in the second ward with the Trib political paper. He had a 12:00 deadline but it wasn’t in the paper tonight. Maybe tomorrow. That Friday night to Saturday morning is a compressed news cycle. Saturday would be better anyway. It helps door knocking to have been on the paper that day, though you pretty much need to be on the front page and/or have a big picture if you want to get into people’s consciousness. My doors tonight I’d sent them 2 pieces of mail, been in the paper twice a week for a month, and had already knocked on their doors before and no one knew who I was.

Made an appearance at work, mostly just checking email and messages and off to Uprise to meet with the Fire Department Association president. He was meeting with the incumbent from another ward but I got to update Scott, an early supporter who owns an ice cream shop downtown and touch base about not having an event at his place. To much to do not enough time. Its hard to beat doors for voter candidate as far as efficient use of time.

I met with the Fireman, didn’t get endorsed but got a donation and the promise not to be organized against. Still a victory. They don’t want their endorsement to be meaningless and their candidate got beat last time. Drove down to Jefferson City for a meeting of the Missouri Cadre for Co-Occurring Excellence. Been a minute since I’d seen those peeps. I was late because of the fireman thing. We’re planning a peer review process in conjunction with the state. Promising. I picked up a committee assignment again and bragged up my campaign. They’re very proud and miss me on facebook. Nine days and I’m back.

Tea’s yummy. I put in my Michigan honey, the honey of my youth. Sleepy now, but not enough. I drove back to town and caught a couple hours in the office. Not real productive, tired and mind racing. Picked up Fido, he’d had fun and sacked out early and didn’t even get out of bed when I got up to blog so he had a good day. I’ll do it again next week.

Did doors with Ann. Drank the last of the Sumatran dark roast. It threatened rain and had a whole street of no one at home. I wondered if there was a tornado warning and everyone was huddled in their basement. Got a couple signs on the next street. “Bitchin'” a young woman said after I gave her my spiel. The listening tour is over, I’ve been to all 13 precincts and asked what was their concerns. Now I’m pitching myself. Starting back where I started so long ago was interesting. I am a different person. I have a comprehensive knowledge of the neighborhood and its issues, a confidence and a huge array of talking points.

Getting back my old walk sheets for my turf tomorrow. Will be nice to have my notes when I follow up with people for a second time. Even just to know if I talked with them before or not. Stopped by Jeff’s when it started raining. Did a couple houses in the rain but then my sheets got damp and its no fun any more. Got a better tour of his awesome house. Built in 1906 by a biologist who testified in the Scopes trial. Its a 3 story built of concrete forms 1′ x 1′ x 2′ with rock facing on one side. He has a pond with frogs and his fruit trees are in bloom. Very lovely.

Gave me the night of, and I do what my advisers tell me. That was a good strategy. We’ve had remarkably smooth sailing.Allowed me to do dishes and clean my kitchen. I’d had ants, so it needed to be done. No more stacking up dishes for days. Flow has a scrubber that holds dish soap and will start washing them as I go. Ants are God’s way of telling you you are a slob.

Made some fried rice. Was going to do salmon patties but had leftover rice to eat from Fido’s party. Waste not want not, Grandma Trapp always said. Watched a little news and went to bed. Now its time to try that again. A little sleepy and some Spiderman ought to do the trick. I’m down to the Annuals so soon there will be no more. I also finished The Order of Things, only took me 7 years. Have to pick  a new book out. Maybe finish that book on the origins of intelligence I borrowed from John in the Spring. I could return it on my cross country odyssey.

Hope to mow, do a load of laundry, straighten the house, do an interview with a Missourian editoraiist. He writes on issues of religious liberty (the freedom from not freedom to do perspective [hope he’s going to slam my stridently Catholic opponent who criticized Catholic politicians who don’t act like Catholics claiming they’re following the will of their constituents] all before 10 when Vicki comes over. I have a public radio interview at 10:30, oh and I’ll need a shower. Seems ridiculous when I write it all down but you never know. Oh, and I saw a rainbow.

i only post when i can’t sleep

Another sleepless night. Made me a cup of Organic Nighty Night. Its been a while and if I have to I will call in sick tomorrow. There’s nothing that pressing on my schedule. It was a pretty exciting day on the campaign trail and that has my mind buzzing and sleep elusive. Less then 2 weeks to go to the election, pretty exciting.

Today I did a training for work on integrating primary health care into the substance abuse treatment that we do. I had my “A” game today and actually had some time at work to prepare the training. I gave a little background and context in regards to health care reform and why it makes since that we tackle the issue, as substance abuse counselors we are the motivational enhancement experts and we need to tackle chronic disease management or our clients are going to die. In Missouri if you have a mental illness you die on average 25 years younger then average. That’s why we don’t have many elderly clients, they’re all dead.

I opened with Health Literacy. I wrote a Health Literate handout on the subject after looking exhaustively for a health literate version of a handout for a preventable chronic disease and striking out. Health Literacy is exactly opposite of what it sounds. Its dumbing everything down to a 5th grade level, short words in short sentences in short paragraphs with lots of pictures. If you read this blog you know that is not my style. I am bookish and like to write for others who are the same. But we have to convey information in a way people can understand. I goofed on the topic though and talked about how much it hurt me and encouraged us to work on literacy as well. I said someday it will all be pictograms and health literacy will be talking about the elitism of words.

The biggest correlation to health is literacy level, greater then race or economic status. Knowledge is power.

I then moved into how to make a doctor’s appt. at the local free clinic and wrote down step by step instructions from navigating through their voicemail to what to say and not say. It kills me that I am the only one who knows how to do it when you just have to try it, learn from your mistakes, and make a note of the process. Then I talked about Health Coaching. Which is basically do they have doctors instructions, if not get them, do they know what they are and help them do them. I did it in a little flow chart and kept it light and funny.

I closed with my Dad’s respiratory tech who came out and said she couldn’t ask him to quit smoking because she was a smoker and called that out for the bullshit that it is. It wasn’t about her. He needed to hear that if he didn’t quit smoking he was going to die, not some day but next month, which is what happened. I brought it back to the beginning that we were the experts on motivation and with all her education and training she sucked at it and killed my dad and this is why we need to do this stuff.

I left early from work to have my interview with Hank Waters, he’s the publisher of the Tribune and semi-retired but still writes the editorials. Pretty spry and we had a lively conversation. I feel my chances are strong for an endorsement. He picked up a couple words I used to describe myself and called me a “passionate realist”. I believe that’s pretty apt. I at least got a chance to tell him I love newspapers and the Trib. I forgot to mention the arts section is a little hoity toity.

Then it was on to door knocking. I had missed a day for the Keep Columbia Safe Forum yesterday (went well, in a panned shot on TV as they covered the event but not anything we said except for the incumbent in another ward). Doors went well. Had people who knew who I was. Had my best door ever with a developer and active Chamber of Commerce member who had a sign up for my opponent. He apologized and gave me $100 for the campaign. They’re is some regret in those circles as I am a passionate articulate campaigner and they like that.

Had a driver which helps a lot and Jesse is good, lays out my turf and scouts ahead. Really makes it easy. I also door knocked the street of the current rep which was fun. I said I couldn’t promise they would have the same access as they have now as I wouldn’t be able to buy the house next door but pointed out my phone #. It was fun.

Stopped and saw Jeff and he showed the attack ad by a candidate in another ward. Hateful, fabricated innuendo and lies. Hope I’m never in a campaign like that. We poke each other a bit when we get the chance but in a good spirited way. It is a contest after all and we have to create some discrepancy. Our answers can run pretty similar with these municipal issues. Bill Pauls came out swinging at the last forum. I enjoyed his passion and he layed out a community response to crime that sounded a lot like what I’ve been saying. In fact it was noticed, not just by me, that all the candidates, well not the candy maker dude, were talking my talking points. That’s fine by me, as long as they govern that way.

That was originally what I thought I could get out of this. Shape the debate a bit. I’ve done that, for both wards that are in play and I may just win this thing. After seeing Jeff took Jesse out for some Mexican food and then home. Went to bed early but only slept an hour and have been up. Almost a thousand words and a cup of sleepy tea and I’m still not sleepy.

Well maybe a little. Maybe some Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider Man will help. I’m up to 1985 now. They’re better, starting to mature a bit. I’ve enjoyed reading 7 years of it straight and seeing it grow and develop. The early 80s were tough times. Can’t say I miss them much. Its been rainy. Basement flooded. The rain barrels need some adjustment but I’m in dress clothes all the time and its wet out so I haven’t wanted to mess with it. This weekend I have to mow. Front yard on Saturday and back on Sunday. That’s gonna be hard with the push reel and then walking all day. My sketchers make my toes on my right foot hurt. I need insoles for my hand me down from Dave shoes I wore today.

There’s probably more of note I forgot. Every day is an adventure now, which is cool. But I’m going to try and go back to bed. The baptists ring the church bells all night. they’re also two minutes slow.

Categories: community, health, politics, work

Fido’s birthday

Good morning faithful reader. Its about 4:30 am and I have been up for an hour or so. Went to sleep pretty early but woke up and really felt there was no going back down so decided to get an early start on the day. I can’t even remember the last time I blogged, aside from my last post on NA step 2, which hardly counts. Life has really become a blur with constant frenetic activity from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. There is only a little more then two weeks before the election though so the end is in sight. And none to soon. I am deep down bone weary tired. I have been campaigning so hard and so long I can no longer remember when I wasn’t and other folks seem like they are moving in slow motion.

Its going well though. Money is coming in, enough to do what we want to do as far as get the word out. Three mailings, two are out, one will go out just prior. The rack cards are looking good. The last one shows some of the problems in the ward, potholes, lack of sidewalks, a police car & the fire station with a picture of Fido and me. I have my glasses off and we are both looking off into the distance like we are pondering how to solve the problems in the Second Ward. Well at least one of us is.

Speaking of Fido I think he very much enjoyed his birthday celebration. He is two now, or fourteen in dog years, a little teenager now. I expect him to start staying out late and smoking cigarettes. Wanting to borrow the car and going on dates. Well perhaps not. He has really enjoyed having Flow here, our new housemate. He wanted to sleep in the hall between our rooms. I started to let him but then he was wanting to get up and growl at the people walking down the street so I made him come and sleep in my room. He gets up and lays outside Flow’s room waiting for her to get up now.

I am going to take him for a walk when it gets a little later. Its probably been 4 days. Just no time. We have this unnaturally warm spell though and have been able to leave the door open so he can go in and out, plus Flow hangs outside with him and took her with him to visit some chihuahuas yesterday. Only Freddy and LuLu came to the party as far as dogs. They all hung out though and enjoyed some dessicated liver while we humans had Chinese and cupcakes Lisa made.

I got him a tiger that roars and some rawhide chews for his chew toy that makes them last. Found it in my bed when I went to lay down. He got a rawhide, and a new neon pink collar (he’s a little girly) but it was to big. I’ll probably have to poison him its been so warm. Maybe after his walk this morning. Its warm enough he may go for a swim, especially if he sees Ru at the park. I was going to invite Ru’s mom to the party but didn’t really do any invites except people I ran across or was talking to anyway. Still had a nice turn out. My embedded reporter and photographer came. That should be pretty much over now and profiles should be out next week, I am excited to see mine. I only gave a slightly expurgated version of my way to interesting for politics life so we’ll see what they do with it. It was fun telling my story.

Also did video interviews for the Missourian website, those should be out soon if you’ve ever wanted to hear me talk you soon can. Later this morning I am shooting a web video for my web add on KOMU website. Got a good deal on it and we have the extra money because fundraising has gone well.

Its the last day of Brain Awareness week at work. Its been fun with dressing the same color and I did a cool education group on Neurogenesis and Neuroplasticity called “This is Your Brain on Recovery”. Also had the most important candidate forum, the League of Women Voters, though it got little coverage, a footnote to the School Board race. I thought I was again the clear winner sounding thoughtful and at times eloquent. Picked up some donations.

Its been hard to find time to do doors and follow up calls with all the events. We had dinner after the forum so lost an evening there and gave one up for Fido. Tonight I think I am going to cancel my date and try to get doors and calls in. Its weird now that its hot, not quite as fun. Its hard not to make it rote, I’ve done so many now. I really like people though and am genuinely curious and intrigued to figure them out. People pick up on that. Been doing around the house trying to pick up some signs around Parkade school. Got 5 out of the project but it was weird being my third pass at these folks.

People are starting to know who I am. The signs really help. I’m glad to be back on fresh turf tonight. Have drivers for the weekend so I should easily get in 300 + doors. There’s some rain coming but I will push through it. I’m getting tired now, may try to go back to bed rather then have that second cup of coffee. The dog may have to wait.

Categories: community, dogs, politics

insomnia

Its 2:30 in the morning and I have been up for an hour. I lay in bed and tried to sleep but without avail. Last night I took a sleeping pill and slept pretty soundly. I started to wake up in the middle of the night but couldn’t fully emerge out of sleep or really wrap my head around the thoughts that were trying to buzz through my head. I slept late and was tired most of the day. I struggled with creative tasks and decided perhaps Trazodone isn’t for me.

Trazodone if you don’t know is a tricyclic anti-depressant, a fairly crappy one but it has this side effect of making people sleep all night. It builds up a level in your system so less problem with tolerance. Its the only sleeper I approve of clinically. Been around forever, well tolerated, few reports of side effects except for grogginess in the am on rare occasions. I took half a 50 mg. Maybe I’ll try 1/4 next time.

If I am groggy I don’t see how it is really helping me. I am pretty focused on what I am doing, hence the sleeplessness and being tired in the day time is the thing that bugs me about sleeplessness. Why should I have that and not the extra hours in the day? So no sleeping pill. When my insomnia was at its worst I quit trying to make myself lay in bed and allow myself to sleep and got up and blogged for an hour and got tired, got some good sleep after, and that was the end of that little cycle. So trying it again.

Where to begin, the campaign goes well. Last week had several meetings including the Professional Firefighter’s Association. That went well my listening skills paid off as well as my knowledge of where the public is at from all this door knocking. I hit 1,300 or 1,400 total yesterday, I can’t remember. My numbers keep going up although I am no longer looking forward to the time change. That extra hour of canvassing not only means more doors it means one less hour to manage my life tasks. Soon door knocking will fade right into follow up calls. Alas.

If it were easy, everyone would do it. It is at least fun and exciting and I like pushing my limits and working hard. I like being outside everyday and watching the sunset. Got some talkers at the doors tonight. Fun older folks. Listened to their concerns, validated what I could and discussed some solutions a bit, mostly they wanted some company. Probably swung a couple of votes from the candy maker. They had signed his petition, hadn’t seen him since. I can’t imagine trying to do this even half way seriously being the parent of small kids. Bigger ones you can put to work. I guess you could strap em in a papoose and bring one along.

I’ve been thinking about some of the parents I met. One guy didn’t come to the door a few days back because he was holding a toddler. I’ve seen lots of don’t ring the bell, baby sleeping signs. I’m not sure its healthy for kids to be the center of the family universe. Your mom ought to love you but you should be kind of on the outskirts looking for your place not having everything revolve around you. You get an unhealthy sense of your own importance I think. My family certainly didn’t revolve around me, especially being 6 of us, 5 after Dennis died.

I am getting more awake, not less. This might be the beginning of my day. This week have a lot going on, next week it gets worse, and so on… Only four though and then the election, and then vacation, and then increasingly likely 3 years of service. A 65 hour week will look like child’s play. I haven’t totaled the hours yet but pushing well past 90 probably over a 100 now. Not uncommon to go from 6 and never get done before 10:30 anymore. All fun stuff though and you have to do one thing after another all day any day anyway. I don’t feel pressured, I feel present in each moment, I just miss the time to process. I think that is what generates the sleeplessness. I’ve never not had it. Never not been able to read the newspaper cover to cover. Today I looked at the headlines on the front and back page. Got to know what’s on people’s minds and follow the local news at least.

City Council was short tonight so stayed for the end so I could see what the whole thing entails. I am curious about the order of voting. I am nervous about my early votes. I will have time to study the agenda and read the materials then that I don’t now. I sat by one of the people who was nice to me at the Chamber of Commerce forum. She talked to me like I was going to win. I think that has become the common wisdom. My opponent who goes to these faithfully and has been as I’ve said getting ready to govern rather then campaigning looked pissed tonight. I heard him venting to the conservative candidate from another ward who I have been friendly with, I think about me. “Going all over town… even went to Jenku’s [longtime former council person from the ward and treasurer of his campaign]”.

Someone helping me experienced in these things said you end up hating your opponent by the end. I don’t. I feel a little sorry for him. Thinking its inevitable, spinning his wheels and realizing he is getting out worked, out spent, and out organized by some guy he’d never heard of who he didn’t think had a chance. He looked pissed tonight and didn’t stop by and pat me on the back and say “hi” as has been his pattern. Everyone is not going to like you and I am going to have to learn to deal with that.

Tomorrow is the EEZ informational meeting. Will be interesting to hear from the state’s perspective. May help me make up my mind on it. Strong reasons to be for it and against it but you can only vote once. Hate to miss an evening on the doors but seems essential. Will at least be back in time for follow up calls. Got a big pile of them now. Wednesday is my campaign event, that should be fun. Yard signs are in, that’ll be cool. Jeff was excited to show them off. I went from work, to doors, to council meeting; rushing to still be late to all 3 and couldn’t get over to get some and check them out.

Tomorrow is another day. I guess. Sometimes I describe my current life as one big day. Its a blur, for sure. We’ll see how I function today on 2 hours sleep. I suspect a site better then I did on 8 today. That way madness lays. But you only get to vote once and I can’t do what I want to do on Trazodone. My work suffered. I couldn’t write creatively for my latest concept paper. I need to do that today or call in sick if I can’t do my work.

Thursday the Home Builders have a Happy Hour. Not only am I walking into what could be a hostile camp but they will all be liquored up too. Fun, fun, fun. Actually I think I will be warmly received. I met a builder, Chamber member, and conservative guy on P&Z last week who was ardent in his support and he knew my positions well as he was at the Chamber forum and we were in a visioning session together and I spoke a lot. I also door knocked the extremely Right wing guy who was there and he also is voting for me and hosting a yard sign. Lives on a busy road too. Sidewalks and common sense no no party.

I had proposed jobs and we all want to live in a good community as our areas of shared interest to build a 3-5 minute speech on. Vicki suggested telling them how they can help me enact my neighbor to neighbor vision for Columbia. It was a great idea and its a beautiful speech. Would like to have it virtually memorized and give it with rhetorical flourish. It’ll be hard to hold a room in a sports bar so I want to boom it and make a clear difference with the other fellows.

Friday is the Mule Skinners Forum. It should be interesting being in a forum with my natural support. Its been a while since the last forum. I am a different person. Well think I will try laying down again rather then turn on the light to find the power cord. To sleep, perhaps to dream…or really, to dream, perchance to sleep. Goodnight faithful reader. Be on the lookout for a change of gears and the second step of Narcotics Anonymous in simple concrete English with all hearing references removed. Man does not live on politics alone.

another full day

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Continue to suck the marrow out of life. It is full, it is exciting, it is good. Got up early and made my coffee to go. I’m into the medium roasts now and had a Rwandan I roasted yesterday, pretty good. Fido and I walked down to the park, and his buddy the standard poodle Ru was there. Fido was as happy to see Ru’s mom who has a treat for him when she sees him. She says the park is really talking about the election and encouraged me to do more outreach. She is going on vacation but offered to have Fido over for the day when she gets back. She had a thing to do so we walked the long way home. She was teasing me for Fido needing a bath and a brush out and for thinking I could clip his hair myself.

At lunch a prospective roommate came over, Flow. She seems nice and actually I knew her from River Relief and some of Heidi’s parties. She thinks about 2 weeks and she will move in. She liked Fido and wants to take him for walks. She is also into cooking and it will be nice to get to eat twice as often as I eat. I think she will get along well with Brenda as well.

After work I hit doors with Terry Frueh who was visiting from Oregon. I did my opponents neighborhood. Found all the signs rather intimidating. I stopped at most of them anyway and one person was outside with her little dog and I chatted her up and without asking she put her vote back in play. I talked to another of his supporters who seemed liberal, judging by the big Buddha on her mantle. She asked about my involvement with the neighborhood association and thought hers was active because they have one meeting a year.

I also knocked on the door of a woman from the Chamber of Commerce who seemed supportive. She was impressed with my door knocking which she had seen mentioned on some blogs. Got in 35 doors, best weekday yet. Add in a beautiful sunset and it was a nice day. Went to Bangkok with Terry and it was nice to get caught up and get some Columbia history. Some good Thai food was nice as well.

Then home for calls and emails wind down and tomorrow I do it again. 60 and sunny is enough to make me forget its February. Got our hotspot ordered, first mailing at the mail house, and the political wheels keep turning.

Categories: coffee, dogs, politics

adventures from the campaign trail

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Just watched the sun come up and it looks like a beautiful day. I’ve been truly blessed on the weather end for door knocking, the staple of a low budget high energy municipal candidate. I’ll hit 900 doors today and likely cross the thousand mark this weekend. I won’t be able to put in a full day today as there is the MU/Kansas game and it would be bad form to interrupt. Plus I have an invitation to watch the game at Jeff’s house and it will be nice to hang out and talk about something else besides the campaign. I see how politicians can get self absorbed and morally bent. There is something warping in this constant self promotion and angle working that is intrinsic to a competitive race.

Overall I feel like things are going well. I was endorsed by Labor and received a check and also got another sizable donation from a relative of my most active volunteer. The ethics reports are out and one opponent is behind in the fundraising race and the other hasn’t even formed a committee, which means he hasn’t raised or spent any money or he’s criminally negligent.

I continue to try to navigate my way through local controversy and stick to message. So far things seem to be breaking in my favor. My rack cards (those slick looking soundbite vehicles that come in the mail) are back from the printer and at the mailing house. Soon when I hit doors they will have at least seen a piece of mail. I hope to win more commitments and especially yard sign placements.

That really seems to go with my mood. When I am feeling it I can get commitments across the political spectrum more often then not. Sometimes though I am just getting them out. Friendly to everyone and open to a genuine connection for people who want to make that happen (a small minority) but mostly saying my spiel getting a commitment to take a look at my stuff and pleased I stopped by. Not bad but those days when almost every door is magic is pretty fun. I at least seem to open to being shifted into hyper-engaging mode with a cool connection at a door and am largely immune to the very occasional superfastblowoff, the worst I’ve run into thus far.

Had a cool experience yesterday. 92 year old dude who said I was the first candidate who had ever come to his door and won his vote just for showing up. Down the street met a lady who is concerned about the same things I am, saw I am a counselor at Phoenix Programs and hit me up for some doorway social work for her depressed son who had aged out of her insurance plan. Wrote out instructions to navigate the system for a free doctor and validated her struggle. Took a bit of time but found a home for another yard sign.

Made it out for a drink last night after doors and still got caught up on my follow up calls. Tonight is iffy, tomorrow is out of the question (Walking Dead, double deader since we missed last week). All in all things continue to go well. Busy, frightfully so but engaging and fun. Getting a lot of feedback of good feedback on Fido’s picture on the rack card. You can check it out at michaeltrapp.net on the bio page. If you get a chance follow the link to the Columbia Tribune poll and give me a vote, I’ve fallen behind. One of my opponents must be organizing around it a bit, I don’t think he’s that popular.

Well, I wouldn’t mind walking the dog again. He slept with me last night so I know he’s understimulated and lonely, its been a while since he cuddled up all night. There’s also a paper to be read and a little housekeeping wouldn’t hurt with having a date tonight. Nice problem to have.

Categories: dogs, politics