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News Clips

In this issue:

Matt Gonzalez Elected President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War in Iraq: The Council on Foreign Relations
Greens explore running anti-war candidates: Panel examines incumbents' records
It's time to vote Green
Editorial: Greens look at the presidency; no easy answers
Traditional ladder to electoral success is questioned
Unlikely Candidate, pt. II
Nader: Roots of a green champion
Excellent health care, coming soon to California
The Land is Our Mother: Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement
Letters to the Editor
News Clips
Top 10 Party Priorities Adopted - Green Officeholders Conference - Campus Greens help re-democratize - Rocky Neptun wins in San Diego - World Social Forum - Green Party of the US calls for candidates

Collected by the staff

Top 10 Party Priorities Adopted

At the January 2003 State Plenary in Palo Alto, the Coordinating Committee (CC) of the Green Party of California presented a “Top 10 List” of priorities for the year. In this non-election year, the goals follow on the successes of 2002, including running the first ever full slate of statewide candidates. The goals, which number more than 10 due to several tie votes, focus on building the Green Party into a strong second party for the 2004 elections.

  • Become THE partisan voice to oppose war-mongering.
  • Double the number of registered Greens in California (to 300,000).
  • Form a permanent Goals & Strategies Committee.
  • Double our annual fundraising to $300,000 by 2004 and increase to $500,000 by 2005.
  • Set up a physical office with 1-2 full-time staffers.
  • Statewide adoption of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).
  • Get 200 Greens elected to non-partisan local offices.
  • Regular state-to-local training sessions to improve our party skillbase.
  • Run 2-5 strong, strategic Assembly races.
  • Have a Campus Greens club on every California campus.
  • Establish a state Green lobbying group.
  • Increase our minority (ethnic, religious, gender/gender preference and age-group) participation by 100%.

The Coordinating Committee welcomed everyone’s ideas for building the Green Party, and looked forward to local chapters establishing their local priorities as well.

Reported by Sharon Peterson, state Coordinating Committee member

Green Officeholders Conference

Santa Monica, CA—The Green Officeholders Conference drew fifty elected Greens and other party leaders to Santa Monica the weekend of February 21-23, 2003. Green elected officials—members of city councils, school boards, and local commissions (water, transit, soils, parks)—came together from nine states to discuss campaigning and governing, and to form the first-ever Green Officeholders Network.

Prior to this historic conference, Green officeholders have met informally at meetings of the National or California League of Cities, and California’s Local Government Commission, and have communicated via listserve, phone calls and teleconference. For the future, ongoing regional and national Green Officeholder Conferences are planned and a website has been created: (www.greenofficeholders.us) to help them coordinate their common actions—from anti-war resolutions to organizing for meetings of the League of Cities.

All officeholders shared the challenges of implementing Green ideals into the entrenched status quo. The six hour policy discussion provided just enough time to review the issues that elected Greens are focusing on: funding and siting affordable housing, land use planning for pedestrians and transit, holding citizens’ budget workshops to help create city budgets, “greening” municipal policies to reduce water and energy consumption, cutting down on pesticide use, using gray water for lawns, instituting a livable wage, solar mortgages, helping local businesses survive in the face of anonymous chain stores, and brainstorming a model Green education program.

Ironically, some of this discussion took place at a beachfront restaurant not far from the RAND Corporation think tank that planned the Vietnam War.

All Green officeholders agreed that even one Green on a board or a council changes the flavor of the board. In speaking of his success in pushing for Instant Runoff Voting in San Francisco, Matt Gonzales explained: “When we are around to introduce legislation like IRV to our colleagues, they will do the right thing. If they don't vote for it, they'll have to explain why to their constituents.”

If you are interested in running for local office in California, contact Magali Offerman (magali@sdgreens.org) in southern California, and Susan King (funking@mindspring.com) in northern California.

Reported by Jim Barton.

Campus Greens help re-democratize

Davis and San Diego—With campus Greens putting in a lot of effort, the Associated Students government of UC San Diego voted overwhelmingly at their meeting on March 12 to adopt instant runoff voting (IRV). Under the IRV voting system, voters rank the candidates in order of preference.

Max Harrington, a freshman majoring in Urban Studies, was the chair of the task force. “After thoroughly debating the ten different voting systems…the Voting Task Force decided that IRV was the best option available. …I’m proud to say that UCSD has now joined in a growing movement which is seeking to re-democratize our country.”

A ballot initiative to implement IRV at UC Davis was passed with 67% of students voting in support in mid-February. Similar electoral systems are already used at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Cal Tech, as well as many other universities across the country.

Growing interest in voting reform has been seen among cities, counties, and states as well; San Francisco became the largest city in the US to adopt IRV, and California is one of twenty states currently considering bills to either implement IRV at the state-wide level or allow local general-law municipalities to adopt an alternative voting system on their own.

Reported by UC San Diego Voting Task Force.

Rocky Neptun wins in San Diego

San Diego—Independent journalist Rocky Neptun won a seat on the City Heights neighborhood Planning Committee in San Diego on Monday, March 3. Planning Committees advise the City Council on development issues in their areas.

An urbanized, ethnically diverse area with large elderly and gay populations, City Heights has faced significant gentrification pressures in recent years. National chain stores have replaced local retailers and long-time residents have been driven out of town by skyrocketing real estate prices.

Neptune ran as a Green on a “smart growth” platform, promoting affordable urban infill projects, and joining other affordable housing advocates to run against the developer-backed slate.

Because of the money available to his opponents, Neptun’s campaign was by design “under the radar”, and did not begin openly until the weekend before the election. Despite this late start, volunteers passing out Neptun’s leaflets found his message resonated well in the community.

Also aiding Neptun was that by law, all City Heights residents are eligible to vote in Planning Committee elections—citizens and non-citizen immigrants alike. Particularly crucial to Neptun and the slate’s victory were the votes of the local Somali population.

A member of the Green Party’s Lavender caucus, Neptun is one of six Greens elected to Planning Committees in San Diego County and one of ten Greens statewide.

Reported by Christopher Dwyer

World Social Forum

Porto Alegre, Brazil—U.S. Greens joined nearly 140,000 registered participants in January 2003 at the Third Annual World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The Forum serves as an antidote to the World Economic Forum, which took place simultaneously at the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos. The Porto Alegre forum featured more than 1,700 seminars and workshops on the poverty, environmental damage, and erosion of human rights and democracy caused by corporate globalization and the establishment of unelected, secretive international authorities such as the WTO, NAFTA, IMF, and World Bank.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in his speech before the Forum noted that themes like poverty, health care and distribution of wealth would not be on the agenda at Davos if it weren’t for the Forum’s growing importance. Da Silva, a former steelworker, noted that his overwhelming victory was achieved with the support of a politically conscious population and without the traditional backing of major media and financial interests.

Alan Kobrin, International Committee member and Florida Green, said, “The importance of what is happening in Brazil cannot be underestimated. This process is a model for re-evaluation of the corporate globalization process, a showcase of aspirations of much of the world’s population left behind in the race to control resources by a few. While uncertainty is in the air at home in the U.S., here there is a sense of optimism and hope.”

Reported by Annie Goeke, Nancy Allen, and Scott McLarty.

Green Party of the US calls for candidates

After the March 2003 elections, 177 Greens hold office in 24 states. They are hard at work. creating public policy on important issues including civil rights, a living wage, affordable housing, alternative voting systems, and peace. They are opposing urban sprawl and expansion of corporate power. These Greens reached out to voters of diverse backgrounds and brought together coalitions of community organizations and individuals to reclaim local governments.

All across the country hundreds of Green Party candidates will be challenging the two establishment parties, and the Green Party of the United States has issued the following call.

Please consider becoming a candidate for elective office . The year 2003 is a great time for candidates to learn the art of running for office, and a smart, energetic candidate can win. We especially encourage: women, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities, young people, and other people who are under-represented in elective office. If you or someone you know is considering running, please contact your state Green Party, or local chapter. Links to state party and local chapter websites can be found at www.cp.org. We are also looking for people to work with candidates: campaign coordinators, managers and other campaign volunteers. Support Greens getting into office, and reclaiming democracy.

From a GPUS statement.

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