GPCA 2014 statewide candidate questionnaire - David Curtis, Secretary of State

1. Which position are you seeking Green Party of California (GPCA) endorsement for and why are you running for this position as a Green?

I’m David Curtis and I am pursuing the office of CA Secretary of State.
My skill set as a principal designer translates directly to an executive function. I have experience seeking statewide office. We need Green candidates at all levels to resist the influence of corporate money on our government. The party is in danger of losing its ballot status, to preserve it the party must register more Greens and also run credible statewide candidates. We can challenge the top 2 primary and be more complete as an organization. Statewide candidates increase the depth and visibility of the party.
We deserve elections where all candidates are given a fair chance. Currently the market limits which candidates get access to corporate media. Debates have become private events that exclude most candidates. The top 2 primary system has scrubbed most candidates off the general election. The rules for elections need to be modified so that there are more than two choices on the ballot and each candidate has a real chance of success. I found the Greens when Ralph Nader ran for President in 2000. The Greens have better positions on many issues when compared to the duopoly candidates. I’m running as a Green because they remain one of the only alternatives to the duopoly party structure. I am attempting to get coalition support from the smaller parties and the decline-to-state voters and others who are rejecting the duopoly government.
2. What are your key platform issues? What are the most important issues facing California? What solutions do you offer?
I support public financing of elections to reduce the corporate money influence in our government. Debates must be public and include all the balloted candidates. I would use the business licensing aspect of the office to better protect California from destructive activities. I believe the office can be more proactive and not just an accretion of legislative mandates. California has not recovered from the 2008 recession and its after effects. California lacks sufficient living wage jobs and the cost of housing is too high. Our economy has become a two class structure. CA needs to respond to the growing effects of climate change. CA is still horribly dependent on automobiles.
CA needs to transition the economy to more local/regional delivery. Global just-in-time delivery has been environmentally destructive and has harmed workers by failing to provide sustainable wages. I would encourage CA food production to transition to more organic, it would employ more people locally and improve the quality of our food supply. It is everyone’s job to respond to climate change, I would use the office to facilitate workable responses to climate change. The SOS has a team of 500 people and I would work with that team to develop solutions to its scope of services.
3. How will your campaign build the Green Party of California? What are your campaign goals?
A political party is more than any one campaign. It is an accreted result of the actions of many people. Having candidates causes people to take a more active interest in working with the party. Without candidates the party finds some level of interest but struggles to grow from that level. People gravitate to parties when they have strong candidates to support.
A goal is to attempt to break through the top two primary system. As it stands today, our party is in danger of losing ballot access, we need to do more voter registration to protect our status and also run campaigns that make strategic sense. In this race the Dems are running multiple candidates and will likely split their votes. This gives an alternate candidate an opportunity to try for the second place spot in the primary and use that as leverage going in to the general election. I am running as a coalition candidate, I am trying to emphasize issues that have cross-over appeal. This campaign is a measure of how much alternative support can be assembled and built upon despite numerous systemic obstacles.
4. What parts of the GPCA platform do you feel most closely aligned with? What parts do you disagree with, if any? Are there parts you would improve upon and how?
I consider myself a moderate when compared to the “voice” of the platform. My Green-ness derives from issue-based work and my dealings with other Greens over the years.
Some portions of the 10 key values that stand out for me personally are:
“...Respect for self-regulating natural systems...promoting dignity...simplicity...constructive use of nonviolent methods...locating power on the smallest scale...employee ownership...”
Some portions of the platform with which I feel most aligned:
The ban on ocean transport of nuclear and toxic wastes. Establish nuclear-free zones.
Stop the mining of uranium, rapidly phase out nuclear power.
Ensuring workers are paid a living wage.
Develop local markets. We need to transition away from global just-in-time delivery.
End biocide and herbicide use. Ban GMOs, label all GM food.
End factory farming. End animal experimentation.
Optimize Recycling. There are opportunities locally to process material rather than ship it globally for processing.
I strongly support the separation of church and state.
CA should Abolish the death penalty and stop the expansion of the prison industry.
No taxation without representation. Our representatives cover districts that are too large.
No apartheid. CA’s economy has become two class.
The public must reclaim ownership of the airwaves. Equal access.
Single payer universal health care. All people deserve access to healthcare.
Use vacant housing to shelter the homeless. Repeal laws that criminalize homelessness.
Public financing of elections. Proportional Representation.
Reduce the influence of corporations on our political process.
Ownership and control spread as widely as possible among Californians.
Fairer distribution of property tax burden.
I value autonomy, as an obvious extension of decentralized decision making.
In terms of improvements, the platform can read as a little “preachy” and sometimes proposes higher levels of government involvement and spending than I personally see as sustainable. The platform is lengthy. It should perhaps be shortened to be more accessible to more people.
5. What in your background qualifies you to be a credible candidate? What assets would you bring to your campaign, in addition to those already existing within the Green Party?
My background is in architecture, I am a principal designer with over two decades of experience in problem solving. I’ve been a registered Green since 2000. I’ve actively worked with Greens since 2006, I assisted Craig Bergland when he ran for Governor of NV. I secured a debate appearance for him that the American Institute of Architecture sponsored. They had excluded him from the mailer announcing the event, so I pressed them to get Craig included as the Green Party candidate. I ran for Governor of Nevada in 2010 when no one else would step up at that time to run for any office in Nevada as a Green, so I have experience running for office at state level with modest resources that are typical of Green campaigns. I have experience gathering signatures to get candidates on ballots. I am becoming increasingly better at getting media coverage. The LA Times included me this week in an article about the viable/active candidates for this office. This year I developed a group of people who are willing to help with the campaign in addition to the network of County Green organizers who might help. My assets are that I am willing to try difficult things with modest resources, I have the time to be a candidate, I’ve given a year of my time to initiate the campaign and have begun to get traction in the media. I consistently generate content for the web to gather interest in the campaign. I have the support of my partner who is a veteran fund-raiser and political organizer.
I have local and bay-area Greens and also out-of-state Greens helping with the campaign. I have supporters from the art and architecture communities.
6. What are some of the key organizations and/or constituencies that you plan to outreach to and what is your relationship (if any) to them?
I will identify and pursue the 3rd party voters, the independents, the decline-to-states and anyone who is unhappy with the CA state government, anyone who wants an alternative to the duopoly candidates. I will appeal to the long term under-employed who form an unfortunately large portion of the stalled CA economy.
I have reached out to the other minor parties, I am attempting to get coalition support, I am also targeting active bloggers, and the art and architecture communities, organic food producers and alternative energy producers. I will reach out to younger voters and students by visiting campus communities. I’ve reached out to the groups protesting solitary confinement practices in Oakland.
I have spoken at anti-Monsanto rallies in Sacramento. I am trying to attend and get speaking opportunities at larger groups to be efficient.
I think consistently posting content through multiple bloggers is one way to cover such a large state with modest resources. I have been doing voter registration at events for two years now.
7. Have you filed as a campaign committee with the California Fair Political Practices Commission and if so, what is your campaign ID#. Do you have campaign bank account and treasurer? A campaign website?
I have filed my campaign committee form 410 with the Secretary of State and am waiting for their response. I have a campaign bank account and am acting as my own treasurer. My campaign website is:
8. Do you believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen?
We are successful at the local level, we have many elected Greens already at local level. There are some rule changes that can happen at the state level that can give us a better chance of success. The top two primary is preventing us from participating in the general elections. It needs to be modified so that we are able to participate. I would define success as we establish a viable 3rd option to duopoly. This would likely require proportional representation so that we can begin to have seats in the legislatures equal to our support. We need to greatly increase the number of registered Greens so we have a more powerful voting block.
The message of the party needs to be more accessible and less “fringe”.
9. The Green Party of California intends to run a unified and coordinated slate of Green candidates for California's statewide constitutional offices. How will you collaborate with other Greens running for other statewide office, including on issues, messaging and organizing?
 I have been attending events with the other candidates when we can mutually do so. I also share my resources in terms of content creation and data sharing. I am based in the SF Bay Area so it is easier (in theory) for me to collaborate with Northern CA candidates in general. I have been attending County party meetings to help build support for the campaign, and to get people to agree to gather signatures to get our candidates on the ballot. I think the signature gathering period will be one measure of if there is sufficient support for statewide campaigns at this time.
10. Why are you a Green?
I found the Greens because of Ralph Nader. I persist as a Green because I cannot in good conscience participate in the duopoly parties, and if we are not yet the 3rd option then we need to figure out how to become it.
I value the people who have given their time to this political act of defiance and I want to see what we can make of it. I think nearly everyone is sick of partisan arguments and people just want solutions to problems. There is no shortage of problems. Greens acknowledge that climate change is real and we must develop responses to it. Greens are not on the take for corporate money, so they have a high degree of autonomy to act in ways that benefit potentially everyone not just the highest corporate bidders.

Received September 22, 2013