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March 13, 2005

Dallas County Dems Get Redesigned Website

By Vince Leibowitz

I hate to be a bloghog, but I guess I've just had several interesting posts to make today, not the least of which is that the Dallas County Democratic Party has a newly redesigned website.

According to my sources, the DCDP's previous webmaster resigned from assisting the party with any functions that aren't fee-paied, though he will continue to host the site.

Not sure exactly what caused the change over, but I understand it had something to do with the party's "Weekly Update" e-mail newsletter.

All of this follows the controversy of a couple of weeks ago which both Byron and I posted on extensively. Perhaps Byron can shed some light on this new development.

Posted by Vince Leibowitz at March 13, 2005 10:27 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Did the County get a license to play the Beatle's Revolution?

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 13, 2005 10:39 PM

Did did the designers get a license from SONY to play Beatle's Revolution at the beginning of the site?

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 13, 2005 10:42 PM

Yes, they did.

Posted by: David Allen at March 13, 2005 10:51 PM

Hit post too soon. The funds for it were donated.

Posted by: David Allen at March 13, 2005 10:54 PM

I tried signing up for the email list several weeks ago. I just tried again, so hopefully I'll be added.

Posted by: Byron L at March 13, 2005 11:40 PM

The new site is hideous, even worse looking than the old one. Bad colors based on a lame, outdated FrontPage template. It seems to me no effort was made to recruit a volunteer with some aesthetic taste and web design skills from the activist community.

Of course, that's probably because the County Party has systematically destroyed its relationship with its member clubs and activists over the past six months.

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 04:05 AM

Kirk--

Sorry you don't like the new website's design. I realize that you are a professional webpage designer, but, unfortunately, we were unaware of any offer from you to help us design the site for free. In fact, your emails yesterday don't make that offer after the fact, either.

I do hope that our local Precinct Chairs and activists (of whom I am one, as well as a "club official") find the information on the site useful.

Heck, I even hope you do.

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 14, 2005 08:19 AM

Kirk,

I left out our gratitude for the constructive criticism that you gave us in those emails over the weekend, some of which we have already incorporated into design improvements. If you feel like giving any more free advice, please continue to do so.

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 14, 2005 08:22 AM

For my two cents, I like the site and think it is a vast improvement over the last one. The expanded calendar, precinct-by-precinct information, etc. makes it user friendly with lots of information.

My only initial concern was the licensing issue with the Beatle's song (which is a cool effect, at least for the baby boomer & younger generations - and I susect the older ones do not use computers as much) but I understand that was done properly.

Let's hope the site accomplishes its goal and boosts grass roots activisim in the "click & drag" model of the Dean campaign.

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 14, 2005 08:32 AM

I'm actually a print designer, though I have and can do static web pages. Which is no use to you, since portions of your site use ASP.

Why do all Democratic Party websites suck? The DNC site is pretty, but very empty in terms of content, especially when compared with the GOP site. The same is true for the Texas Democrats site. Why are the Republicans so much better than us at presenting themselves digitally?

At least Kerry had a really attractive and functional website. Perhaps the DCDP should look into copying that look. Or at the very least get rid of the white-text-on-blue-background and put a logo image that, first, doesn't look like a web ad banner, and second actually uses the colors found on the page.

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 10:21 AM

Since we are on the subject of website design, does anyone have an opinion on the Texas Young Democrats site (www.texasyds.org) because I'm always open for opinions to make our site look better.

Posted by: Mike at March 14, 2005 01:15 PM

Mike,

Generally, having an intro page should be avoided, it just creates more work for your viewers. The main page isn't bad, though the top graphic looks stretched horizontally. I'd get rid of the thick blue bars between the three columns, and the background image on the right, and probably redo the entire layout in CSS (and not in FrontPage). There are too many different font sizes being used, I'd make all the text in the two sidebars one size. The central text area looks fine.

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 02:48 PM

On the convention page, you need to make sure that the central design of the pages, in this case that table, is the same width everywhere, and that fonts are the same size everywhere. The convention page table is much wider than the homepage table, and the fonts in the sidebar are bigger than the homepage, where the font in the main area is smaller than the homepage.

The other pages all look just fine, though the graphics at the top look like they've been stretched about 10% horizontally. In fact, I think your internal pages, like the documents page, etc, are nice and clean (clean being very much the "in" thing right now). I might adjust them a bit, but that's more personal taste than anything else (I have a thing against Times).

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 02:49 PM

And, I suppose, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm the guy behind the Dallas County Young Democrats site: http://www.dallasyoungdemocrats.org/

So you all can nitpick my stuff now. :-)

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 02:51 PM

Thanks for that. I rarely have someone look at stuff and need some give some advise on it when I have time to sit down and do it. So thatnks for that.

BTW I do like the DCYDs website. Seen it a couple of times and like it. I was going to ask David H. who did it but now I know

Mike

(I like my intro page regardless of the work that our users have go through it)

Posted by: Mike at March 14, 2005 03:27 PM

Thanks. Putting together the DCYD website was pretty involved, to make sure that all the officers were on board with it. Several suggested changes, all of which ended up making the site better, I believe. Well, all of the ones I adopted anyway. ;-)

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 03:35 PM

hmmm... is the website redesign a way of preventing lists of precinct chairs from getting out? the old website listed all of the precinct chairs and the new one doesn't.... is this another undemocratic ploy for the chair, susan hays to undermine the grassroots??

Posted by: Dallas observer at March 14, 2005 05:25 PM

Who knows. But I'd bet dollars to donuts that one of the reasons that the County Party can't find anyone to help them with their site is that no one wants to do anything that will help keep our county "leader" in office.

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 06:30 PM

I think the new site is cool--and I was pleased to see myself listed as precinct chair, even though I didn't get sworn in at the Feb. 28 Dem Debacle.

Posted by: LC at March 14, 2005 06:57 PM

Dallas observer:

The list of precinct chairs is public information, and if you'd like a copy of the information that was available on the old website (name and telephone number), I'd be more than happy to send it to you, updated to the most current available, since I attempt to maintain the list for the DCDP, and have forwarded it on to various parties, on both sides of the issue. While paranoids do in fact frequently make enemies, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

i'm @aol.com under my signature.

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 14, 2005 10:29 PM

Kirk McPike:

It is truly unfortunate that you, as an elected official of the Dallas County Young Democrats, are unable to support our elected Chair, but please discontinue asserting that "no one wants to do anything that will help keep our county 'leader' in office", as that is patently untrue. There are plenty of us still working to help grow the Democratic Party here in Dallas County. That party happens to be led by Susan Hays, who was elected in an uncontested event 2 years ago. The fact that, although many of your group's grievances arose in the 2002 cycle, you failed to even run anybody against her would seem to indicate that y'all don't have anybody to build up--only Susan to tear down.

True, there would be more without the current schism, but we'll continue working with or without you colocating your economic reserves and your nutritional input orifice.

If so many people are unhappy, why were you unable to raise a 50% quorum at the meeting? The fact is that you were unable to muster a majority of sworn precinct chairs to support your effort, and so are now reduced to sniping from the sidelines. It's time to stop whining and start winning--if y'all want to run somebody against Susan next year, feel free--I may support him or her, I may not, depending on the person who runs, but don't ask me to throw out an elected leader without revealing who would replace her. That uncertainty is why your efforts failed.

It is perfectly reasonable to dislike the aesthetics of a site that you did nothing to help design, however, it is not fair to impugn the motives of the volunteers who worked on the site, or of those who currently are working to make the party stronger. I do regret that you're not happy with the way things are, but I can assure you that you'll be happier once you focus on growth instead of destruction. That has always been the Democratic message.

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 14, 2005 10:47 PM

I'm sorry, make that "Susan Hays was elected in an uncontested event 12 months ago", not "2 years" (I'm already in the 2006 cycle).

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 14, 2005 10:49 PM

I asserted nothing. I merely posed a hypothetical.

And as I am not actively involved in the current crisis -- other than being an officer of an organization which has clearly taken a side on the matter, and having a general interest in not having a party "leader" who offers fulsome endorsements of Republican judicial nominees (regardless of letterhead, intended or not) -- I can't see how you lump me into any sort of group.

So please stop bloviating in my direction. The hot air is starting to chafe.

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 14, 2005 11:25 PM

You were not "posing a hypothetical", you were betting "dollars to doughnuts", as you say, which is a direct assertion. Please review your debate manual. Further, the use of the word "bloviation" here is inappropriate, except as it applies to your response:

To bloviate (pronounced BLOW-vee-ayt) is to speak or write overexpansively or with undue grandiosity. (from whatis.com)

As far as "lump(ing you) into a group" goes, I believe you have lumped yourself. I am not responsible for your severely localized swelling or the chafing you're experienced due to overhandling it.

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 15, 2005 11:25 AM

"I bet" makes the statement a hypothetical, though one in which I clearly have some confidence. An assertion would be a direct statement (here's an example of a direct statement: "Susan Hays betrayed every Dallas Democrat by publicly endorsing a Republican judicial nominee").

In any case, I'm done here. I have better things to do than cross swords with someone hiding behind a psuedonym.

Posted by: Kirk McPike at March 15, 2005 01:12 PM

Dear Paul Lyman (precinct 1233),

We are friends, so please don't take this personally. I know that you are frustrated that the County Party has turned on you, and the currently Party Leadership. It probably sucks listening to all the comments under peoples breath when you walk into a room. But, I assure you, Kirk has nothing to do with the current situation in the County Party. He is a dedicated Democrat that has helped build the Dallas Young Democrats into the premier Democratic club in the State. Let me be clear, the Dallas County Young Democrats supported Susan in her bid to become Chair, BUT, we also now support her resignation. As the largest Democratic Club in the County, we have asked her to answer questions about our grievances, but SHE has refused to hear our call. We are DEMOCRATS, which means we live in and support a DEMOCRACY. Susan acts more like a Dictator than she does a Democratically elected official and for that it is time to remove her from office. I am so sorry you and your small group of friends decided to continue to support her even when no one else in the County is, but you made that choice. So, PLEASE stop attacking one of my officers, who is one of the most dedicated Young Democrats in this State. The Young Democrats will continue to grow with or with out the help of the County Party. And we will continue work to get Democrats elected in 06 with or with out the County Party. But we should not allow ourselves to turn this into personal attacks, because at the end of the day, we are ALL still Democrats!

Kind Regards,
David Hardt
President - Dallas County Young Democrats
National Committeeman- Texas Young Democrats
Site Select Chair - Young Democrats of America

Posted by: PresidentHardt at March 16, 2005 09:33 AM

There is clearly a huge disconnect between Ms. Hays and her Executive Committee if she thinks that giving the DCDP website a facelift is going to solve the problem. Rather than talking to Gromer Jeffers, Ms. Hays ought to be talking to her Precinct Chairs - unfortunately it's probably too late at this point.

Posted by: Gary Fitzsimmons at March 16, 2005 10:14 AM
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