GPCA Strategic Plan FY2012-2014

Sponsor: Coordinating Committee

Presenter: Mike Feinstein

Subject: GPCA Strategic Plan

Background and Purpose: GPCA Bylaws 7-1.13  Strategic Plan state:  "The CC shall establish a two-year strategic plan annually, using input from a brainstorming plenary session and draft work plans from the standing committees and working groups. The proposed plan shall be presented and affirmed at the subsequent General Assembly. The two-year strategic plan shall be reviewed and refocused by the CC and presented to the General Assembly annually. As part of the strategic plan, the CC shall develop a two-year schedule, including potential agenda items, for the General Assemblies and Gatherings, with input from each standing committee and working group work plan. The two-year schedule shall be revised annually, with General Assembly agenda and scheduling remaining flexible."

Owing to delays in the processing and transmission of work plans from standing committees and working groups, they have not been available for the Coordinating Committee to utlize them in production of the Strategic Plan. The Coordinating Committee is expected to take up the matter in April and include the two-year schedule in whatever document it submits to the General Assembly.
At its January 28-29, 2012 retreat, the Coordinating Committee did agree to propose funding for two separate GPCA Gatherings in the late summer of 2012, one in Northern and one in Southern California and hence this can be expected to be included in the two year schedule.
Proposal: That the draft two-year schedule be considered and approved by the General Assembly. 
Spring General Assembly - Approval of the Annual Budget and Annual Strategic Plan
Spring: Delegates to the Standing Green Assembly shall be appointed by active County Organizations and shall serve for one year terms, with no term limits. Terms shall run concurrent with the GPCA's Fiscal Year.   
May/June - Coordinating Committee at-large elections (7 two year seats, 2 one year seats) via SGA vote
June - County Council elections, conducted by state of California
July - GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention
July/August - Summer gatherings, Northern California and Southern California
Fall -  Endorsement of or opposition to statewide ballot measures via SGA vote (up to eight measures expected for November 2012 ballot); optional discussion teleconference to be scheduled during discussion period 
Post-election General Assembly 
January - Work plans submitted from committees and working groups 
March -  Candidates for the Coordinating  Committee and the GPUS Delegation must submit an application by the first Monday of March to be eligible. 
May - Coordinating Committee at-large and GPUS Delegation elections. Discussion period shall begin on the first Monday of May and  run for six weeks, followed by a one week SGA vote.
May - Confirmation of the Treasurer and of the Liaison to the Secretary of State. Discussion period shall begin on the first Monday of May and  run for six weeks, followed by a one week SGA vote.
Spring General Assembly - Approval of the Annual Budget and Annual Strategic Plan
Spring: Delegates to the Standing Green Assembly shall be appointed by active County Organizations and shall serve for one year terms, with no term limits. Terms shall run concurrent with the GPCA's Fiscal Year.   
Summer - approve General Assembly minutes via SGA vote.
Fall General Assembly - Develop alternate plans for conducting council council elections in 2014, assuming state eliminates them for as long as Proposition 14 is in place
Fall  - approve General Assembly minutes via SGA vote.
Fall - Seek input on GPCA party ballot statement for June 2014 primary
January - Work plans submitted from committees and working groups 
February - GPCA party ballot statement for June primary due, approval by Coordinating Committee under current practice
Winter/Spring - Endorsement of or opposition to statewide ballot measures via SGA vote
March -  Candidates for the Coordinating  Committee and the GPUS Delegation must submit an application by the first Monday of March to be eligible. 
May - Coordinating Committee at-large and GPUS Delegation elections. Discussion period shall begin on the first Monday of May and  run for six weeks, followed by a one week vote.
Spring General Assembly - Approval of the Annual Budget and Annual Strategic Plan
Spring: Delegates to the Standing Green Assembly shall be appointed by active County Organizations and shall serve for one year terms, with no term limits. Terms shall run concurrent with the GPCA's Fiscal Year.   
Fall -  Endorsement/opposition of statewide ballot measures via SGA vote;
Committee Decision: Approved by Consensus, March 5, 2012; Approved by Consensus, May 7, 2012
Timeline, Resources:  The attached text by Warner Bloomberg below has been added by Coordinating Committee for discussion and context for future planning.
           The Green Party of California continues to face numerous challenges to its twenty years of being an alternative to “politics as usual”.  In addition to all of the practical issues related to our small scope of operations, all alternative political parties in the State of California face the impacts of Proposition 14.  Nonetheless, we remain committed to acting as a political party to collectively express our Ten Key Values, our Platform and policy positions, and our connections with the greater progressive social movements in our local communities, the State of California and the United States of America.
           The following is presented to the General Assembly of Delegates by the GPCA Coordinating Committee as a general statement of plans and objectives for the GPCA for 2012-2013.  We all understand that putting words on paper does not create accomplishments.  We use a state party structure because that is how the Green Party is recognized in our system as a political party.  Because of our commitments to Grassroots Democracy and Decentralization, we affirm that that the state party structure is symbiotic with County Green Parties, and that a large part of the state party organization must be oriented to supporting and developing those county organizations.  Likewise, there needs to be an understanding that the County Green Parties and activists in them must contribute and participate at the state party level to maintain workable organizations at both levels throughout California.
1.      Focus on Increasing Party Registration.  The GPCA maintains its status as a ballot recognized California political party by maintaining statewide registration of party members at a level equal to one percent of the votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election or by having at least one GPCA statewide candidate receive at least two percent of the total number of votes cast in that election.  The GPCA has generally maintained its voter registration at the one percent level.  It has occasionally fielded a candidate who has received more than two percent.  However, because of Proposition 14, it is highly questionable that the GPCA will be able to have a statewide candidate in a General Election so long as that ballot measure’s provisions remain in effect.  Accordingly, the continuing qualification of the GPCA, and the ballot access that allows for national party presidential candidates, is expected to depend on maintaining the minimum number of GPCA registered voters.
           But voter registration is not merely a mechanical numbers game.  It is probably our most important tool for outreach and recruiting new members into our local County GPs.  While many individuals who register Green will do nothing more in terms of activity in the party – and many (as in all parties) do not vote even in major elections – a small number of new party members can become activists themselves.  Since voter registration is done at the local level, tabling, events and other recruitment activities are important for recruiting activists and identifying potential donors.  For all of these reasons, and others, voter registration needs to remain a high priority for the GPCA.
           The Grassroots Organizing Working Group is the state party group that undertakes to help County Green Parties with voter registration programs as well as start-up or reactivation assistance.  GROW has proposed an ambitious goal of 100,000 new GP registered voters.  In February 2012, it sponsored a voter registration clinic, which is available by video for use as a local GP program or resource.  In order for GROW to maximize its proposal to approximately double the number of GPCA registered voters during the next year, it needs at least one person from each local GP to participate in GROW.  Those individuals have the role of keeping their local GP informed about state party activities and resources and to share information about what is being done in their county for the benefit of others from around the state.
2.      2012 Presidential Campaign.  The Green Party of the United States presidential nominating convention will be held the weekend of July 14, 2012.  Promotion of the presidential and vice presidential nominees needs to be incorporated as part of the above-described voter registration drive to emphasize how the GPCA, and its candidates, are different from the two dominant political parties and their candidates.  The state party can assist this effort by participating in volunteers recruitment and events planning for the GPUS candidates, but the large amount of efforts are necessarily local.  Any local candidates remaining on the ballot for the November 2012 Geneeral Election need to be promoted in their local area concurrently with any efforts to support the national candidates.  Promotion of our candidates needs to be incorporated as part of our new voters registration efforts.
3.     Late Summer Gatherings.  The Coordinating Committee proposes that the GPCA hold two regional Gatherings (one “north”/one “south” on different weekends) in August and/or September 2012.  Gatherings are state meetings without a formalized business agenda (compared to General Assemblies of Delegates – aka Plenaries – which are business meetings).  Although standing committees and working groups may meet and/or present speakers and workshops, gatherings provide the opportunity for Greens to meet about shared interests and to exchange perspectives.  The reduction of state party meetings over recent years has required a focus on the “business”; and the Coordinating Committee is collectively aware of requests that Gatherings be re-established in the GPCA’s scheduling of state meetings.  Two regional Gatherings are proposed to create greater interaction between participants in a smaller event, to reduce travel time and expenses for attendees, and to allow the opportunity for those who want to attend both events if they choose to do so.
4.      Standing General Assembly.  For a number of years GPCA activists have discussed various models for a “Standing General Assembly” of delegates from the County Green Parties who would participate in an electronic (email/wiki/etc.) discussion and voting group who would be authorized to make state party decisions without the need for in-person state business meetings.  Each County GP would have the number of votes it would be allocated for General Assemblies.  A proposal will be presented at the May 2012 Plenary in San Francisco to implement a version of a SGA.  Part of the rationale for an electronically facilitated state party decision making group is that decision making in such a fashion between Plenaries will open up time for discussions and activities beyond party operations  decisions that recently have dominated Plenary agendas.  Confirmation of a workable electronic system for discussion and voting is expected.  A testing of the system and model is presented by the need for the GPCA to take positions on a number of ballot measures that will voted on as part of the November 2012 General Election.  In order to create an SGA, County GPs will need to designate their representatives by the end of July in order for a six week discussion process on ballot measures to begin by early August.  What matters might also be appropriate for resolution by an electronic decision making group, and what kinds of issues require presentation at personally attended state party meetings, needs consideration.
5.      Candidates Development.  Candidates recruitment has been a long term quandary for the GPCA.  At all levels, candidates mostly have been self-selected, although there have been occasional recruitment successes.  Candidate recruitment for nonpartisan offices and legislative positions is mostly a local activity.  In 2012, the GPCA (and smaller political parties, in general) fielded the smallest number of legislative candidates in recent years – likely at least in part due to the increased petition signatures and filing fees requirements caused by implementation of the Proposition 14 “top two” primary system.  With the 2011 redistricting completed and term limits creating some predictability in office turnover, there is a basis for discussing where the GPCA might look to recruit candidates for the 2014 partisan elections.  At the state party level, the Campaigns and Candidates Working Group has attempted to identify and contact GPCA candidates and publicize their efforts through the GPCA Media Committee (GPCA web pages and press releases).  The GPCA needs candidates at all levels of office to promote its views, encourage registrations and donations, and even elect its candidates.  Because election success is most likely at the local level, candidates for nonpartisan positions needs to be encouraged.  But because other levels of candidacy present unique opportunities for outreach and recruitment in each election cycle, the GPCA needs to continue to search for candidates at all levels of office.  In particular, the CCWG has identified State Assembly Districts as a priority for candidates. In order for the CCWG to be effective in its work, it needs at least one participant from each County Green Party.  The proposed 2012 Gatherings should be used to begin planning for the 2014 elections.
6.      Internal Organization Issues.  A number of state party leadership activities involve work in the committees of the General Assembly and Coordinating Committee.  These administrative tasks are part of what maintains the state party and its relationships with County Green Parties.  The following items are identified for review and development during the next year.
A.     Ongoing Coordinating Committee Membership Experiment.  The General Assembly authorized a restructuring of the Coordinating Committee from 16 regional representatives  and 4 at large members to 12 regional representatives and 8 at large members.  This experiment has been used for about one year.  The restructuring experiment was intended to be evaluated after two years of use.   That evaluation needs to be scheduled for the Spring 2013 Plenary.  In the meantime, the GPCA Bylaws need to be updated to expressly state the parameters of the restructuring experiment.
B.    Formalization of an Internet Technologies Committee.  An Internet Technology Committee previously was contemplated as a part of a Communications Committee, including the Media Committee.  However, Bylaws were not added, and both groups have operated separately.  There are no Bylaws for an ITC, and the long-term primary activists in that group resigned effective March 2012 over issues related to the recent revamping of the GPCA web pages.  A proposal is being made for addition of ITC Bylaws at the May 2012 Plenary.  An approach for recruiting competent volunteers to maintain GPCA IT operations and provide IT support for County GPs needs to be developed.  A reconstituted ITC needs to include at least one Coordinating Committee member, but the new ITC should primarily consist of nonCC members (because CC members already have a significant volunteer workload from other administrative assignments).
C.    Revitalization of the Finance Committee.  The Finance Committee has the primary
responsibility for GPCA fund raising and donar relations.  The Finance Committee has been assisted by an independent part-time staff position whose main activities have been preparing and processing solicitation letters and other donor communications.  In 2011, the long-term Finance Committee assistant, Cres Velluci, resigned over provisions of the omnibus responsibilities of the “General Director” contract adopted in early June 2011 by the Coordinating Committee (on a 6 to 3 vote).
This left staff support in the hands of the new “General Director”, Marnie Glickman.  It now appears that fund raising has been no better, and possibly worse, in the fiscal year ending April 30, 2012. The Finance Committee has suffered from a lack of participation.  From May to August 2011, it consisted of only one person plus the GPCA Treasurer as an ex-officio member under GPCA Bylaws.  One new member was appointed in August 2011, and two additional members have been appointed since.  No fund raising letters were mailed during the Summer of 2011.  One was mailed in October 2011.  Of the current five Finance Committee members, four of them are Coordinating Committee members.  As of April 2012, the Finance Committee failed to create a formal work plan, which has created serious difficulties in creating a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.  The Finance Committee needs to be made up more of individuals who do not also have CC responsibilities and who can focus on fund raising as their commitment to the GPCA.  A revitalized Finance Committee needs to be able to recruit volunteers in addition to appointed FC members and supervise paid independent contractor support staff using a clear plan for recovering recent fund raising shortfalls.
D.    Recruitment to GA Committees and CC Subcommittees.  State party committee positions have significant vacancies.  Coordinating Committee members have too many volunteer workload responsibilities by serving in multiple Standing Committees and administrative subcommittees.   This is unfair to those individuals and is contrary to our Key Values of Grassroots Democracy and Decentralization.  Volunteers who are not CC members are currently needed for positions on the Finance Committee, Personnel Committee, to-be-formed Internet Technologies Committee, and Goals and Strategies Committee.