News ClipsBoard President Gonzalez enters SF mayoral race - Greens 'out' for Pride - 'Engage!' your talents - The issue is democracy, not the 'terminator' - Tribal leader appointed to Desert Advisory Council - SAC mobilizes to fight corporate agriculture
Collected by the staff
Gonzalez runs for SF Mayor
San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez has entered the Mayor's race. Gonzalez briefly commented that candidates Tom Ammiano and Angela Alioto "are close allies whom I respect. Yet there has been a growing sense that their campaigns are not coming together," essentially conceding the Mayor's office to front-runner Gavin Newsom, a Democrat on the Board of Supervisors.
Many (but not all) local Greens agree that Matt Gonzalez is the only candidate with a realistic chance of defeating Newsom in the November 2003 city election.
Gonzalez has shown strong leadership as Board President, building coalitions and bridging ideological differences between right and left. Supervisor Chris Daly said, "As Budget Chair, I saw Matt's leadership during this year's very difficult budget process. He can deliver. That's why I'm excited to see Matt enter the race at this time when everyone is looking for an alternative."
Gonzalez worked hard to achieve a winning vote in March 2002 to bring Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) to San Francisco. Implementation of IRV is being stalled by the Elections Commission, citing "too much difficulty to make it happen this year." The voting systems vendor, ES&S, has stated that it would have its machinery ready to use prior to the November elections, and a lawsuit has been filed demanding that San Francisco must adhere to the will of the voters.
Reported by Pat Villano, San Francisco
Greens Come Out For Pride
Greens from throughout the Bay Area and Northern California turned out in force for the 2003 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Freedom Day Parade on June 29th.
Numbering 45 marchers at its height, the contingent shattered previous records for Green participation in the Parade, and marked the debut of the San Francisco chapter of the Lavender Greens, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) caucus of the Green Party.
Underlining the party's strong support for LGBTIQ people and issues was the presence of a number of elected officials and party leaders in the contingent, including Peter Camejo, candidate for Governor; Matt Gonzalez, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Mark Sanchez, San Francisco School Board member; Lisa Feldstein, San Francisco Planning Commission member; Dona Spring, Berkeley City Councilor; Howard Chong, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board member; Jo Chamberlain, Co-Chair of the National Steering Committee; and Pat Gray, candidate for Congress in the 12th District. A photograph of Gonzalez holding a sign endorsing AB 205, the domestic partnership bill now before the California Legislature, is featured on the national Green Party website.
The contingent certainly had style. Forgoing the big, motorized floats popular with many marchers, Greens opted instead for a balloon-and-flower-bedecked, bike-powered surrey. Four pedalers, including Lavender Greens national delegate Starlene Rankin, proudly demonstrated that you don't need an internal combustion engine to get from one end of Market Street to the other. Pat Gray, dressed in a stunning full-length Easter dress, complete with straw hat and hand basket, won over the crowd by handing out roses, daisies and sprigs of lavender. Master rollerblader ?D', known to many for his performances in Golden Gate Park, exhorted the crowd, "Are you ready to party? I'm talking about the Green Party." His rollerblading assistants wheeled a portable sound system blasting classic disco and R&B. They got cheers all the way down the parade route.
The contingent had substance as well. Marchers carried signs promoting a wide range of issues, including Sup. Gonzalez's initiative to increase the San Francisco minimum wage. Other signs proclaimed, "End Racial Profiling," "Public Power," "Mend Your Fuelish Ways," and "Corporate-Contribution Free Since 1984." Marchers worked the crowd, handing out flyers announcing the formation of the San Francisco Lavender Greens, and touting the Green Party's opposition to the war in Iraq and continued work for peace.
San Francisco Pride 2003 may be remembered as one event among many that empowered people to take back their country and bring forth a new era of peace, justice and ecological sanity.
Reported by Michael Alterman, San Francisco
Engage! your talents
California-The GrassRoots Organizing Working Group (GROW) has developed a prototype website called Engage! to be launched at the San Diego plenary. Green Party members can create individual Action Profiles and nominate candidates for our entertainers, speakers, and advisors bureau. The Action Profile lists skills and resources you want to make available for the party, and tracks specific interest areas where you want to get involved with party or community projects. Profile data will be used to assist committee and county organizing activities, and will be stored in a secure database accessible only to authorized users.
Locals and plenary attendees will be invited to evaluate the site. For more information, please contact Fred Hosea, (510) 339-6781 or email@example.com.
Reported by Fred Hosea, Alameda County
Big issue in recall is democracy, not the Terminator
California-Greens declare the California recall election proves just how urgently Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is needed for democratic elections. Green candidate Peter Camejo has made IRV a major campaign theme.
"With 135 candidates, there's little chance the next governor?will be elected by a democratic majority," said Joannes Pool. "The California Constitution allows a majority of voters to remove a sitting governor. Shouldn't California require a majority to elect a new one?" IRV allows voters to rank their choices, ensuring that the winner has the support of the majority while freeing voters to support their preferred candidate without fear of helping a candidate they might oppose.
"The California recall race is an unassailable argument for IRV," said Tom Bolema. "IRV, not Arnold Schwarzenegger, is what everyone should be talking about."
For more information, see www.gp.org or call (202) 296-7755, (866) 41-GREEN; What is Instant Runoff Voting? http://www.fairvote.org/irv/whatis2.htm, Center for Voting and Democracy web page
Tribal leader Appointed by BLM
Quechan tribal member Preston Arrow-weed of El Centro was appointed to the Desert Advisory Council of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
According to an article in the Imperial Valley Press by Laura Mitchell on July 5, 2003, Arrow-weed said he is interested in stopping destruction of plants, animals and resources in the desert. If he sounds like an environmentalist, he says that's exactly what he is. "I see my role as a protector. This is a chance to help the federal government become better stewards of the land," he told the Press.
Preston Arrow-weed joined the Green Party about two years ago, after working with Greens to stop a gold mine near Quechan sacred sites. Arrow-weed, 62, is a semi-retired, ex-marine who has been an actor, writer, and traditional tribal singer. He is a well-respected elder and tribal leader.
Reported by Helena Quintana, member of the state Coordinating Committee
Sacramento mobilizes to fight global corporate ag
It was marketed as a means to reduce global hunger by promoting biotechnology, but many activist groups said it was nothing more than big business trying to gain financial control of the world's food supply while causing extreme damage to the earth.
The International Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology was held June 23-25 in Sacramento. Ministers from more than 180 nations were invited to attend the event, which was sponsored by USAID, the Department of Agriculture and the State Department.
According to the USAID web site, the expo was designed to promote "agricultural productivity in developing countries, to increase food security and reduce poverty in an environmentally sustainable way."
Not everyone agreed that biotechnology could solve the world's hunger problems. Under the leadership of SacMobilization, more than 10,000 international and local activists, food policy experts, family farmers, environmentalists, and concerned citizens gathered for a five-day festival of resistance to genetically engineered food, bioimperialism, and policies set forth by the Bush Administration. The days were marked with non-violent direct action, marches, rallies, teach-ins, and an alternative ag expo.
"The events in Sacramento represent a clash of the needs of people and the wants of corporations," said Tracy Lerman, Senior Organizer for the California office of Public Citizen, one of several activist groups sponsoring the SacMobilization event. "People don't need industrialized agriculture. They don't need genetic engineering or irradiation or pesticides or nanotechnology to feed themselves - those are the wants of corporations like SureBeam, Dow, and Monsanto. We need sustainable food systems, food sovereignty, protections for our health and the environment, and these needs are brought into sharp focus by the protests that took place in Sacramento and that are taking place in Montreal, Cancun, Miami and all over the world."
Reported by Gwen Johnson
Green Party will run for President, reach out to African Americans
Washington DC-During the July national meeting, Greens affirmed the party's intention to run candidates for President and Vice President in 2004 and passed a proposal to expand outreach efforts among African Americans. Presidential nomination hopefuls David Cobb, Lorna Salzman, and Carol Miller spoke at a reception while statements from Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Paul Glover were read.
"The support Ralph Nader gained from some well-known African-American figures was vital to his campaign? and to the Green Party in general," said George Martin, Wisconsin Green Party spokesperson and co-chair of the national party's Black Caucus. "They helped us gain new membership and participation not just among African-Americans but all Americans who respect their leadership." The African-American Outreach proposal authorizes the party to hire part-time staff for a campaign that includes enlisting prominent African-American figures to speak out on matters of importance to both Greens and African-Americans.
State delegates also elected new Steering Committee members: Ben Manski (reelected, WI), Marnie Glickman (OR), Jo Chamberlain (reelected, CA), and Greg Gerritt (RI). Badili Jones (GA), Anita Rios (OH), and Jake Schneider (WI) continue their terms.
Reported by Europa Babbini, Los Angeles, from a GPUS press release
Impeach and bring troops "Home by the Holidays"
Washington DC-Green Party of the United States delegates to the July national convention endorsed a call to Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings and resolved to take political leadership in the growing movement for impeachment. The resolution cites Bush and Cheney's "pattern of making false statements to Congress, the American people, and the world to win support for actions by the American government and military forces" as well as the "squandering the resources of the American people to serve the interests of transnational corporations."
Second, Greens endorsed a "Home by the Holidays" campaign calling for the withdrawal of forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, and the Philippines. The resolution cited the rising number of soldier injuries and fatalities as well as the damage to health and the environment from the deployment of weapons. In addition, invading other countries "is hostile to the democratic traditions of the American Revolution, and must be actively resisted by all patriotic Americans."
Reported by Europa Babbini, Los Angeles, from a GPUS press release
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