aleqm5gduf3dbispbbyvf4t4vkqo7cekewArne Næss is dead, 96 years old. The Green party wishes to thank its honorary member since 1997 for everything he has contributed in the 20 years of the party’s existence. Næss has been a source of inspiration not only to us, but to the entire international movement of green parties. As the father of ecosophy and a real pioneer of holistic ecological thinking, he has created the basis on which much green thinking rests. In many ways he was far ahead of his time. – his humility, sense of wonder and playful attitude towards all that surrounds us, are values we now need more than ever.

Arne Næss was not only a man of big thoughts, but also a man of action. Many remember his participation in nonviolent direct action at Mardøla in 1970 and at Alta ten years later. Arne Næss was environmentalism in practice.

Arne Næss was indeed a great man. We are very grateful for what he gave us, for always saying yes to our invitations and for being anchorman on our lists in Oslo at local and national elections since 1987. He was our political and ideological guarantee. This year for the first time somebody else will have to play that part. It will be a big challenge.

At this time our thoughts go to Arne’s family and friends. We shall do what we can to take his thinking into the twentyfirst century. Thank you, Arne!

 

 

Arne Næss er død, 96 år gammel. Miljøpartiet De Grønne takker sitt æresmedlem fra 1997 for alt han har bidratt med i de 20 årene partiet har eksistert. Næss har vært en stor inspirasjonskilde ikke bare for oss, men for hele den internasjonale grønne partibevegelsen. Som økosofiens far og en virkelig pioner innen helhetlig økologisk tenkning har han skapt fundamentet mye grønn ideologi hviler på. På mange måter var han langt forut for sin tid – hans ydmykhet, undring og lekenhet overfor alt som omgir oss er verdier vi trenger nå mer enn noensinne.

Arne Næss var ikke bare en mann av store tanker, men også av handling. Mange husker hans engasjement i forbindelse med blant annet Mardøla-aksjonen og kampen om Alta-vassdraget på 70-tallet og hans deltakelse i sivil ulydighet for saken. Arne Næss var miljøvern i praksis.

Arne Næss var en virkelig stor mann. Vi er dypt takknemlige for det han har gitt oss, for at han alltid stilte opp og for at han innehadde æresplassen på vår valgliste i Oslo til kommunevalg og stortingsvalg i alle år siden partiets grunnleggelse i 1987. Han var vår politiske og ideologiske garantist. I år blir noen andre for første gang nødt til å fylle den rollen. Det blir et stort tomrom å fylle.

Samtidig går våre tanker til Arnes familie og venner. Vi vil gjøre alt vi kan for at hans tanker bringes videre inn i det 21. århundret. Takk for alt, Arne!

 

http://www.mdg.no/2009/01/13/hedrer-arne-naess

by Joe Lombardo

The national conference of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) took place in Chicago over the December 12 – 14 weekend. The conference was attended by around 220 people, including Trudy Quaif, Tim Herr, and me (Joe Lombardo) as representatives of Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace. BNP also brought along its literature table, which did a brisk business.

At the conference, we discussed a number of documents prepared by the UFPJ steering committee and elected a new steering committee to serve until the next conference. The UFPJ steering committee documents included a unity proposal, a structure proposal, and a proposal for action. Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace joined with 18 other UFPJ groups in proposing two amendments to the documents.

The first amendment was on Afghanistan. In the UFPJ documents, the war in Afghanistan seems to be downplayed. While the UFPJ documents still called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, they did not do so for Afghanistan. Our amendment basically said that Afghanistan is not the “good war,” as some contend, and that UFPJ should call for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ashley Smith from Vermont presented the motivations for passing this amendment, which appeared to have strong support. After some discussion, the UFPJ leadership decided to accept the amendment as “friendly,” which means that it got adopted.

The second amendment was on unified spring actions around the anniversary of the war in Iraq. Specifically, the amendment called for UFPJ’s support for a March 21 demonstration at the Pentagon, which is being supported by a broad array of peace groups, including ANSWER, the National Assembly, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and others. Although IVAW did not formally attend the conference, a flyer was circulated from their National Board of Directors calling for UFPJ to support the March 21 action. The UFPJ document that we sought to amend called for a number of actions on various issues leading up to a rally on Wall Street on April 4th around the issues of “re-ordering of economic priorities.” The supporters of our amendment were not opposed to any of the actions that the UFPJ leadership proposed, so we asked that we not counter- pose the resolutions and simply include one more action in the UFPJ proposal, March 21. The UFPJ leadership said that it would be too much to work on their actions plus March 21, so they wanted the two proposals to be counter-posed. That means that the delegates had to vote for one or the other, but not both.

Motivations for our amendment were given by Marilyn Levin from Boston. There were three speakers for the amendment and three against. There were three Iraqis at the conference; all of them supported our March 21 amendment. The three speakers for our amendment included two of the Iraqis and me. There was then a motion to have open discussion for a half-hour. That motion was defeated, and so the discussion ended. The vote was 49 for March 21 and 111 against.

There was also a discussion around the structure of the steering committee. The UFPJ leadership proposed having 40 members, 20 voted by the conference and 20 permanent positions from certain national groups that support UFPJ. The discussion was mainly opposed to this structure, so the proposal was dropped. I was nominated for the UFPJ steering committee but was not elected.

All of the above was placed in the context of the recent elections. The UFPJ leadership felt that we are now in a new political period brought on by Obama’s election and by the movement that his campaign engendered. They believe that there are now massive numbers of young people and African Americans who became politically active around the campaign and that this requires a new orientation for UFPJ. Although this was never said explicitly, I interpreted this to mean that they did not want to put forward positions that might be construed as opposing Obama. I believe this is why the Afghanistan war was downplayed, why they moved away from the anti-war issue as being central to their orientation in the coming year, and why they did not want to have a demonstration in Washington.

Immediately after the conference, the call for the March 21 Pentagon march was solidified. I’m sure that many of you saw the e- mail that came from the ANSWER coalition. Below is the call from the National Assembly. An ad hoc coalition is being set up to build the action, and a web site is being created.

I strongly believe that as long as we have troops occupying two countries, we must keep a strong anti-war movement that is visible and out in the streets. As the Iraqis who spoke for the March 21 resolution told the UFPJ conference, the Iraqi and Afghan people need to see a strong movement against the war in the US. The present condition of the economy and the people coming into political motion around the Obama campaign simply mean that we have a greater opportunity today to build the anti-war movement and relate the war to the fiscal crisis, jobs, and other issues that have become pressing during this period.

Although I will encourage the anti-war movement to build the March 21 action, I think that organizations, especially those close to New York City, should also participate in any Wall Street action that develops out of the UFPJ call. Although we did not achieve formal unity this spring, those of us who support unity should practice it by supporting the Wall Street action. Perhaps we can build an anti-war contingent with a slogan like, “Money for jobs, not for war.”

If you would like to discuss any of these developments with me, please contact me at jlombard@nycap.rr.com or 518-439-1968

Peace,
Joe Lombardo

Joe Lombardo is a long-time peace activist from Albany, NY and a member of the Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace and the Albany Greens

Below is a running tally of Green Party victories from the November 2008 elections:

Arkansas
Richard Carroll
was elected to Arkansas State Legislature, District 34.  

California
Bruce Delgado
was elected to Mayor of Marina City, Monterey County, CA (pop. 25,000)
Ross Mirkarimi
was re-elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 5 (the old Harvey Milk seat), CA.
John Selawsky was elected to Berkeley School Board, Alameda County, CA.
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap was re-elected to Humboldt Water Board District 1, CA.
Jesse Townley
was elected to Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, Alameda County, CA.
Colorado Art Goodtimes was re-elected to San Miguel County Commissioner District 3, CO.

District of Columbia
Philip Blair, Jr
was elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 5A10, DC.
Dave Bosserman
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1D05, DC.
Nancy Shia
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1C06, DC.
Carolyn Steptoe
was elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 5A07, DC.
Rick Tingling-Clemmons
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 7D05, DC.
Bryan Weaver
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1C03, DC.
Chris Otten
was elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1C02, DC.

Florida
Cara Jennings
was her re-elected to Lake Worth Commissioner, Palm Beach, Fl.

Michigan
Korine Bachleda
won her re-election to Newberg Township Clerk, Cass County, MI.

Oregon
Michael Beilstein
was re-elected to Corvallis City Council, Ward 5, OR.

James Nicita was elected to Oregon City Commissioner Position 3, Clackamas County, OR.

South Carolina
Eugene Platt
was re-elected to James Island Public Service District, Charleston County, SC.

By Mike Feinstein, Green Party of California

If it is true that modest but consistent growth foreshadows greater success, then 1998 was a very promising year for the Green Party. Following a pattern that started in earlier years, Greens are running more candidates and winning more races with each passing electoral cycle.

A record 125 Greens ran for office in 1998, including 112 in the November election. Eighteen candidates won their races, a single-year record. Among them were 12 city council members and three county board of supervisors. With each step forward, Greens are gaining more experience, attracting more attention and becoming a more established part of the American political landscape.

Local races: Currently, there are 62 Greens holding elected office in 15 states (up from 42 in 12 states after the 1996 general election). Included in those numbers are 16 city councilmembers in California alone (three of whom are also mayors of their cities). What unites Green candidates is a focus on sustainability, a commitment to social and economic justice, and a vision for a democratic, inclusive society.

Voters not only are electing more Greens in more cities, but they also are returning Green incumbents to office. This suggests that voters believe Greens have substantive ideas and that they can govern. Since 1993, 16 of 19 Green incumbents for city council and board of supervisors have been re-elected. The three who lost were defeated by a hairsbreadth – 50 votes all together.

In 1998, all four city council incumbents were re-elected: Alan Drusys, Yucaipa, CA; Cris Moore, Santa Fe, NM; and Steve Schmidt, Menlo Park, CA, all to their second terms. In Berkeley, CA, Dona Spring was elected to her US Green record fourth term. (Spring’s first three terms were for two-years each. Berkeley since has changed its laws to provide for four-year terms.)

In Santa Monica, CA, Greens picked up their second city council seat with the election of Kevin McKeown. His victory followed on the heels of the city’s first Green win in 1996 by Mike Feinstein. In Point Arena, CA Debra Keipp held onto the Greens’ second seat in that city, replacing outgoing Green Raven Earlygrow.

On the Big Island of Hawai’i, Julie Jacobson won a partisan seat in District 6 on the nine-member Hawai’i County Council. She is the second Hawai’i Green to win a partisan election Keiko Bonk was elected to the county council in 1992 and 1994.

Another measure of the Greens’ success are the coalitions the party is building: Green-Labor alliances helped elect McKeown, Moore and Tim Fitzmaurice (Santa Cruz, CA) to city council seats.

And then there is the amount of opposition to Green candidates in the United States. For the first time, several Green candidates were targeted by well-financed, negative ‘green-bashing’ direct mail pieces. Winning city council candidates Drusys and McKeown were hit the hardest, as well as Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Bill Belitskus (who received 15%).

State and Federal races: Greens ran for governor in seven states: Alaska, California, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Texas. Maine’s Pat LaMarche ended up with the highest percentage of the vote at 6.9%, re-qualifying the Maine Green Party for ballot status. California’s Dan Hamburg received the most votes overall, with 104,179.

In Alaska, Maine, Minnesota and Oregon, Green gubernatorial candidates appeared in at least one televised debate for the first time. In California however, winning candidate and now Governor Gray Davis went to great lengths to exclude Hamburg (a member of Congress from 1992-4) from a series of televised debates, fearing Hamburg’s appeal to voters.

In two state house districts, Greens finished second, behind the Democrat but ahead of the Republican (Ben Meiklejohn, Portland, Maine, with 24.7% and Stan Kahn, Oregon, with 19.0%)

In four other races – two Congressional, one state legislative and one county supervisorial, Green candidates received more votes than the margin by which the Democratic candidates were defeated, suggesting a growing leverage by Green voters. The highest percentage received in these races was the 15% garnered by Bob Anderson in a special congressional election in the Albuquerque, NM district.

In 10 other races, mostly state legislative and congressional, Greens were the only opposition to the incumbent party’s candidate, in races that would have otherwise been unopposed.

When competing with candidates from other third parties, Greens generally finished first, including for both Governor and Lt. Governor in California.

Sara Amir’s 3% was the highest third party total for California Lt. Governor in 60 years. The 247,897 votes she collected also made her the second highest vote-getter for any office ever sought by A US Green candidate.

Nationwide, the states in which the most Green candidates ran were California (41), New Mexico (15), New York (10) and Oregon (8).

The numbers of Green candidates running for specific offices were: Governor (7), Lt. Governor (6), Attorney General (1), State Comptroller (1) Secretary of State (2), State Treasurer (2), State Auditor (2), other statewide offices (8), US Senate (3), US House of Representatives (18), State Senate (4), State House/Assembly (17), County Council/Supervisor/Board of Supervisors (16), City/Town Council (30), Rent Stabilization Board (1), School Board (5), Planning Boards (2), Sheriff (1) and District of Columbia representative (1).

by Dean Myerson, ASGP Secretary

The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) was formed in late 1996, to help strengthen and create independent Green parties in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and to prepare for the creation of a national Green Party in the US. The inaugural ASGP meeting was held in Virginia in November, 1996. Subsequent meetings have occured in Portland, OR (April 1997), Topsham, ME (October, 1997) and Santa Fe, NM (April, 1998). The next meeting is scheduled for Connecticut in June, 1999.

The ASGP currently has affiliates in 24 states, the three newest being California, Georgia, and Minnesota. Each state has two delegates on the Coordinating Committee (CC). In addition, there is a five member Steering Committee with three co-chairs, a secretary and a treasurer. There are also a number of standing committees, including Accreditation, Communications, International, Platform and Presidential Exploratory.

The ASGP is a charter member of the recently formed Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas and also works closely with the Partido Verde Ecologista in México. The 30 member-nation European Federation of Green Parties has chosen the ASGP as its United States partner, and the two worked together to craft a Common Ground statement for presentation at the EFGP’s February, 1999 Congress in Paris. The ASGP also sent an observer to the first African/European Greens meeting, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in December, 1998.

At the Santa Fe ASGP meeting, a series of interim position statements were approved that serve as the ASGP’s basic platform, until a full platform is approved. The Platform Committee is currently working on a draft ‘Platform 2000’. The draft and interim statements are available at the ASGP’s web site (see below). In Santa Fe, a report was also presented by the Transition Committee, on plans for future state representation in the ASGP and at a potential presidential nomination convention in 2000. Delegates also dealt with a variety of bylaw and rules changes relating to accreditation of new member states, and a policy for dealing with the Federal Election Commission.

The current ASGP Steering Committee was elected in Santa Fe by preference voting, a proportional representation system. The three co-chairs are Nancy Allen (ME), Tom Sevigny (CT) and Anne Goeke (PA). Dean Myerson (CO) is Secretary while Tony Affigne (RI) is Treasurer. Since Santa Fe, the Steering Committee has been overseeing press relations. A strong showing in a special election in New Mexico led to extensive coverage in both the mainstream and progressive press, including the New York Times, the Nation, and In These Times .

In December, 1998, the ASGP constituted a Presidential Exploratory Committee. Their task is to contact potential presidential candidates to determine if they are interested in running for President in 2000 on the Green Party ticket, and if so, how they would run their campaign. The committee will not be making any recommendations regarding candidates, but rather will pass on the information it gathers to all Greens.

The next ASGP meeting will be held June 4th-6th, at Sunrise Resorts near Moodus, CT. For more information, contact the state party nearest you or the ASGP.

Pennsylvania Greens seek to ease ballot access

The Voters’ Choice Act was introduced into the Pennsylvania State House in February, 1999. Drafted by the Green Party of Pennsylvania, it would reduce the number of signatures necessary to qualify a candidate for a statewide race ballot from the current 30,000 to 4,500. It would also provide a realistic way for new parties to qualify for ballot status. The current law, passed in 1976 requires a party to register a number equal to approximately 15% of all registered voters, or about one million voters. The Voters’ Choice Act would change that to requiring a party to get 1% of the vote in any statewide race.

Revision 11 revolutionizes Florida ballot access law

In November, 1998 Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Revision 11, with 64.7% of the vote. It amends the Florida State Constitution to provide that ballot access procedures for minor party and independent candidates can be no more difficult than procedures by which the Democrats and Republicans get on the ballot. According to Richard Winger, Revision 11 is the biggest victory for the ballot access reform movement in the US since 1968.

The old Florida procedures for minor parties and independent candidates were the most draconian in the U.S. For non-presidential statewide office, candidates had to submit 242,000 valid signatures, as well as pay a huge filing fee. If they did get on the ballot, no matter how many votes they polled, they had to repeat the same petition process all over again in the next election. To qualify a party for ballot status, the party had to have at least 5% of all the state’s registered voters (no party, other than the Democrats or Republicans, have had 5% in any state since the 1910s).

Revision 11 is a product of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), which only meets every 20 years to consider changes to the Florida Constitution. The Green Party of Florida, together with a coalition of other minor parties, the ACLU of Florida and Common Cause, spent two years lobbying the CRC to recommend these changes.

When the Florida legislature convenes in March, it will discuss the implementing legislation for Revision 11. Specifically, it will deal with the number of petition signatures due in lieu of filing fees, and amount of the filing fee itself. Based on how the Secretary of State handled four special legislative elections that occurred since the November election, it is expected that the legislature will lower the number of petition signatures to 1% of the number of registered voters in the district, and lower the filing fees to some as of yet not specified amount.

Florida has no filing fee for candidates for president. Major parties place candidates on their own presidential primary ballots simply by telling the state which names to print (the decision is in the hands of the state chair of the party, and the party’s two leading state legislators). Therefore, if the legislature doesn’t amend ballot access procedures for presidential primaries, minor party presidential candidates could be placed on the ballot in the same way. However, it seems likely the legislature will amend the presidential primary ballot access laws to avoid this outcome.

DC Greens seek qualification for presidency

The Green Party of the District of Columbia qualified for the ballot by receiving enough votes in the November, 1998 election – except, that DC law provides makes this ballot status for every office except president. DC Greens are lobbying the DC City Council to change this.

Arizona Greens test landmark ballot access law in court

In 1996, because they did not have ballot status, Arizona Greens tried to get Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot as a ‘Green’ independent candidate. But they found that an Arizona law, enacted in 1993, forbade them from getting petition signatures from anyone who is already a registered member of any ballot qualified party in the state (currently the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians). This law substantially shrinks the universe of eligible voters from which to gather signatures, and greatly increases the amount of work just to find voters that can sign such a petition.

Two and a half years later, Arizona Green Party members have received word that they will finally have their day in court. Green Party members Sloane Haywood and Carolyn Campbell filed suit in Federal Court following the June, 1996 deadline for turning in signatures to place Nader’s name on the ’96 ballot.

Since filing their case pro se, Christopher Clarke, a Washington D.C. lawyer, volunteered to take on the case pro bono. The Greens’ attorney will argue a Motion for Summary Judgment on March 16 in the US District Court for the District of Arizona.

Richard Winger, Ballot Access News publisher calls this case one of the 2 most important ballot access cases in the country (the other is the case of the Maine Greens): “If this case is lost, we can expect to see other state legislatures also passing Arizona-type laws. Already, there is a similar bill pending in the Massachusetts legislature. If we can beat the Arizona law in federal court, that will nip these other attempts in the bud.

Greens and the Federal Election Commission

On January 29, 1999, the Federal Election Commission issued an Advisory Opinion granting the Hawaii Green Party status as a State Committee of a State Political Party of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). The Hawai’i Greens join the Maine Green Independent Party and the New Mexico Green Party as declared state committees of their respective state parties as affiliates of the ASGP. Others in the application process are the Green Parties of Rhode Island and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon. Each is seeking the same recognition, as a state party committee affiliated with the ASGP

Green Ballot Status as of 1998

In what speaks loudly about the results from the 1998 – and what bodes well for the future of the party in the United States – Greens gained ballot status for the first time in Colorado, the District of Columbia and New York. The party regained ballot status in Maine, and retained it in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawai’i, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. By not running a candidate in either, the Greens lost ballot status in Nevada and Vermont.

Where can I register Green?

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, there are 26 states in which one can register “Green”: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, WV, and WY. However, in some of these states, the governments won’t tally them, until the party qualifies for the ballot.

Green voter registration totals as of 1998

Alaska 3,303; Arizona 1,744; California 98,443; Colorado 1,226; Connecticut 194; Delaware 14; Florida 965; Louisiana 89; Massachusetts 311; Nevada 713; New Mexico 8,549; Oregon 2,986. Arizona data is incomplete. (note – Maine had 2,600 Green registrants until they were knocked off the ballot by a ruling of the Maine Sec. of State. They are now back on the ballot and are beginning a new registration drive)

Desa Jacobsson, Alaska

The Green campaign for governor was a nail-biter, wrought with uncertainty and surprise. In the end, Desa Jacobsson received 3.01% and 6,608 votes, 12 more than she needed to retain ballot status for the Green Party of Alaska until 2002..

Jacobsson, a 52-year-old Yup’ik and Gwich’in subsistence activist with roots in villages and towns across the Alaska, campaigned on a platform of increasing in-state hiring, furthering the state’s recognition of tribal governments, and improving rural sanitation, and running water and sewer systems into villages.

Her overarching issue was ‘subsistence’, a recurring theme in Alaska’s elections, from downtown Anchorage to remote Eskimo villages. Jacobsson herself was raised in tiny Hooper Bay on the Bering Sea, where subsistence hunting and fishing are primary sources of protein for the people who live there, and which Jacobsen believes should be guaranteed as a primary right. “Subsistence is about more than food,” she said. “It provides the foundation for family relationships. It is about our survival as a people.”

Combining her message with a frank style and quick wit, Jacobsson fared well in candidate forums before the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, the Alaska Federation of Natives and on C-SPAN. Jacobsson criticized the state’s elected officials for ignoring the wisdom of the elders. She argued – as the elders do – that declining oil prices should be no great worry for most Alaskans, because a can of Tlingit-styled smoked sockeye is worth more than one barrel of oil’.

Jacobsson came to the Green Party through unusual circumstances. In 1989, she was part of a group protesting a one-net subsistence fishing policy and was briefly jailed for violating state subsistence fishing rules on the Kenai Peninsula. The one-net policy in many cases limited several hundred people to the fish caught with just one net.

While many individuals came to her aid, the only political party to take a stand was the Greens, approving a resolution that named her a political prisoner. Her supporters included a Juneau Green named Robert Willard Jr. – a man Jacobsson never forgot. The charges against her were eventually dropped, and after her release, Jacbosen visited Willard to thank him. In a remarkable twist of fate, the two eventually married, Jacobsson registered Green and then became the Green gubernatorial candidate seven years later.

On election night, Jacobsson had 2.9% of the vote, just short of the 3 percent needed to keep the Green Party on the ballot. But her fortunes (and those of the party) improved after votes from the last rural villages were counted, along with the absentee and provisional ballots. Together, they put Jacobsson over the 3 percent threshold, by the slimmest of margins.

Had she failed to receive 3 percent of the vote, the party would have lost its ballot status and could not have regained it until 2002. That is, unless a voter registration drive raised the party’s total from its current 3,300 to 6,596 (3 percent of the voters who cast ballots for governor).

The narrow survival at 3.01% was a reprieve for the party, which ran a low key campaign with fewer activists than it has in previous elections. In 1990, the Green Party of Alaska became the first US state Green Party ever to receive ballot status, when Sykes received 3.3 percent for governor. In 1994 he ran again, receiving 4.4 percent. Other strong candidacies for the party have included:
- Kelly Weaverling, elected as mayor of Cordova, 1991-3 (non-partisan race)
- Mary Jordan, US Senate (8.3%), 1992
- Joni Whitmore, US House (10.5%), 1994
- Jed Whittaker, US Senate (12.5%), 1996, finishing second ahead of the Democrat).

Pat LaMarche and Maine Greens hang tough, perseveres

Across the United States, Maine Greens have been among the first Greens anywhere to organize, with their roots going back to 1984. By 1992, they began to run candidates. By 1994, they qualified for ballot status, with the party’s gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Carter receiving 6.5%, easily surpassing the 5% needed threshold.

In 1996, the party was thrown off the ballot, after its presidential candidate Ralph Nader received only 2.5%. Maine Greens contested this ruling by the Maine Secretary of State. Since Maine law says “gubernatorial or presidential” in its wording, they claim the 5% requirement law should only apply every four years to the gubernatorial elections, not to the presidential elections in the intervening two years, which would require the party’s presidential nominee also to receive 5%.

Maine Greens argued they should not be penalized within their state, for the status of the Green party on the national level. This case is now under constitutional appeal at the Federal District Court of Appeals in Boston. The Greens contend that Maine Green Party member’s rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution guarantee the Greens the right to form and maintain a political party and that the laws of the state of Maine violate these rights. The state contends that running candidates as “Independents” is sufficient and thus no rights are abrogated. A ruling is expected by the end of March, 1999.

Regardless of that ruling however, for at least the next two years, the Maine Greens are back on the ballot, thanks to Pat LaMarche and her impressive 6.8% in a five-way race for Governor.

LaMarche, 37, has brought strong family, community, and ecological values to her work, from being Director of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Children’s MiracleNetwork, to serving as the Forest Ecology Network’s spokesperson and outreach educational director for its recent campaign to end massive clearcutting,

A strong campaigner, LaMarche spoke at community centers, factories, and on the streets. She brought many new people into the party, gained a lot of attention for the party from the media, and participated in all of the candidate debates (including the six televised ones).

Long-time Maine Green organizer John Rensenbrink observed, “Pat came across as a person of insight, integrity, and intelligence, standing out among the other four candidates, all men, and winning the hearts and minds of many, including a lot of ‘fence-sitters’.

Many of LaMarche’s big issues — universal health care, child care for welfare moms, higher salaries for teachers, more progressive taxation and corporation paying their fair share — were aimed at helping Maine’s women and poorer people. She also supported small business, while standing at the same time for workers rights.

LaMarche received the endorsement of the Maine chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW), the first time a NOW state chapter has endorsed a Green candidate for statewide office.

JoAnne Dauphinee, a member of the Maine NOW board of directors, said “while creating a new view of what a leader can and should look like, Pat is making the connections that economic justice, child care, education, affordable and accessible health care and environmental concerns are not just our issues or women’s issues – they are the issues that all Mainers care about”.

The Green Party also fielded two candidates for the state legislature in 1998 and both did very well. Betsy Marsano ran in a two way race in Portland’s District 30, receiving 28%. A long time community activist, she canvassed the district’s famed Munjoy Hill neighborhood, an diverse urban area of different ethnicities, recent immigrants, yuppies, and poor people. To everyone who opened their door, she presented her platform of education, health care, living wages and community-based economic development within a healthy environment. Former president of the student body at the University of Maine in Orono, Ben Meiklejohn ran in District 31, the west promenade area of Portland. With a solid door-to-door campaign, he received 25% in a three-way race, finishing second, beating the Republican.

After the election, newspaper editorials in the Bangor Daily News, Kennebec Journal, the Times Record, and the Maine Times lauded the Green Party’s persistence and durability. They criticized the 5% presidential requirement as unfair and ludicrous. Afterwards, LaMarche and Democrat and President of the State Senate Mark Lawrence met to discuss the political situation in Maine.

Recognizing that the Greens are in a position to continue getting significant votes for Governor (and possibly preventing the Democrats from winning back the governor’s seat), Lawrence has submitted a bill that would grant a party ballot status, if it registered as members, one half of one per cent of the residents of Maine (about 6,000). This would focus acquiring ballot status on a party efforts to register voters, rather than forcing the party to run for governor as its only option.

Whether this bill survives the Legislature, or is changed so the threshold becomes too high, is not yet clear. But if it passes, it would lessen the burden of staying on the ballot for the Greens significantly.

A simultaneous initiative is underway to persuade the major parties to consider strongly a change in the laws that would permit Instant Run-off Voting (IRV). Vermont is heading in that direction. A Ballot Access Coalition has formed in Maine among six small parties (Green, Libertarian, Reform, Taxpayers, Natural Law, and Labor), the Green Party being one of the chief initiators for the coalition. Greens hope that with IRV, the problem of the so-called spoiler-effect would lessen, voters would be liberated to vote their conscience, and the whole system might inch closer to proportional representation, which is the Greens more long-term goal.

At the party’s post-election state convention, delegates also made a major party goal for the year 2000, to run 50 candidates for the state legislature. LaMarche will chair the committee. It is charged with developing and implementing a plan to accomplish this.

As for now, a twist of fate has led the Greens to officially be know now as the ‘Maine Green Independent Party’.

A new law passed by the State legislature two years ago requires any Independent candidate running for governor who intends to bequeath his or her votes (provided they are more then 5%) to a political party for the purposes of establishing official ballot status for that party, to put on their ballot line (up to three words) the name they wish to run on, and then, that name is the one the party must adopt.

LaMarche ran as an Independent because the Greens had been denied their ballot status. She put ‘Green Independent’ on her ballot petition. Now that is the party’s new name.

Ken Pentel & Susan Jasper, Minnesota

After a strong showing in 1996, when first-ever Green candidate for state legislative Cam Gordon received 26% and finished second (beating the Republican), Minnesota Greens in 1998 ran their first-ever statewide candidacy for any office.

Ken Pentel was the party’s candidate for Governor and Susan Jasper for Lt. Governor. They received 6,983 votes – 0.3% in a tight race in which Reform Party candidate and winner Jesse Ventura took a lot of youth and independent votes that normally might have gone to the Greens. (During one of the candidate debates, when each was asked ‘if you couldn’t vote for yourself, who would you vote for’, Reform candidate Ventura said he would vote for Pentel.)

Despite the low vote total, the campaign was a success, giving the Greens unprecedented statewide visibility, and the momentum to form three new Green locals in the northern part of the state, as well as a quadrupling of the party’s state membership overall.

Pentel brought an 11-year background as a canvasser and field organizer for GreenPeace to the campaign, as well as having spent many hours at the state Capitol as a lobbyist for environmental issues. Along the campaign trail, from downtown Minneapolis to Iron Range towns in northern Minnesota, he communicated a sustainable vision for the state, in which wealth is redefined to include clean water and air, soil, habitats, peaceful communities, and a healthy, well-educated population.

In particular, safe renewable energy production was a key issue for Pentel. Minnesota spends $8-9 billion a year on energy and imports 98% of it (coal, oil, gas, and uranium).

Pentel advocated an efficient locally-based renewable, energy system using solar, wind and biomass (crops grown for distillation into fuels). Pentel also advocated accelerating the development of mass transit systems, to “move people, not cars.”

Faced with the canard of ‘jobs vs. environment’, while campaigning in northern Minnesota, Pentel received high marks with his ‘sustainable forestry alternative’ involving decentralizing the lumber mills, getting the highest possible value for forest products by developing local wood product industries, and promoting ecologically-friendly recreation & tourism. Pentel was able to appear in several of the early debates during the summer, but he was excluded later on when the race got tighter in the fall.

Pentel’s running mate Susan Jasper joined the Green Party during the Nader/LaDuke campaign in 1996. A dancer, chef, mother and grandmother, Jasper has been active in women’s and Native American issues all her life, and brought a commitment to the campaign to end institutional prejudice and protect the dignity and rights of women, children and families, to such basic needs as food, housing, medical care and education.

In terms of electoral reform, both Pentel and Jasper advocated public financing of campaigns, spending limits and a switch from the winner-take-all electoral system to proportional representation.

Blair Bobier, Oregon

A co-founder of the Pacific Party (Oregon’s Green Party) in 1991, Blair Bobier became its first-ever gubernatorial candidate in 1998. With the state’s rich forests and streams at risk from unsustainable logging practices, Bobier made the connection between economic security and a healthy environment a major focus of his campaign.

“If we cut the forests we are destroying one of the cheapest water filtration systems in the world,” said Bobier. Logging on public lands threatens the pure, clean water from healthy forests that is a staple for a important industries in Oregon, including billion dollar salmon fisheries, high-tech companies, tourism-related businesses and recreation facilities.

Instead of paying loggers to take trees out of the forests, Bobier suggested Oregon should support reforestation programs that would create jobs. He supported a ban on clear cutting and supported legislation that would phase out logging in all national forests and provide retraining assistance to displaced workers.

Among his other campaign issues, Bobier advocated:
- shifting public spending from prison construction to education.
- taxing companies based on the amount of pollution they generate.
- investing in public transit and bicycle paths.
- creating a universal health care plan for all Oregonians.

Bobier’s campaign soared from the start, as he took journalists on two aerial tours to witness the deforestation in Oregon’s National Forests and private timberlands. The tours helped set a credible and professional tone for the campaign and resulted in extensive stories on television, radio and in several newspapers.

Bobier also made democratizing the electoral process and getting fair and equal treatment for all candidates a major component of his campaign. Because he ‘rattled a lot cages and sabers’, Bobier was invited to participate in one televised (and radio broadcast) live debate. This resulted in the most exposure the Pacific Party has ever had, and most of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

However, despite his strong performance in the first televised debate, Bobier (and all other ‘third party candidates) were excluded from the remaining three. Bobier fought back, filing a lawsuit to participate in the second debate, which attracted statewide media exposure, including the major television networks.

For the third debate, Bobier took on the League of Women Voters and asked the IRS to investigate whether the group qualifies to retain its non-profit, tax-exempt status, if it engages in partisan activities by only promoting the Democrats and Republicans. An IRS review is pending. For the fourth debate, Bobier appeared outside and provided the perfect visuals for TV news – a huge American Flag and gagged protesters.

On the campaign trail, Bobier and supporters handed out 30,000 copies of his literature, distributing at several college campuses, concerts and on the streets. He ended up with 1.4%, finishing fourth out of seven candidates and helping retain ballot status for the Pacific Party by gaining over 1%. With the Natural Law, Reform and Socialist parties not receiving 1% and thus falling off the ballot, the Pacific Party is now the only progressive party remaining.

Susan Lee Solar, Texas

Of the seven Green gubernatorial candidates nationwide in 1998, Susan Lee Solar trekked perhaps the most arduous path – she ran as a write-in candidate in a state with ballot access laws that are prohibitive to ‘third parties’, and before the Greens were organized on a statewide basis.

Hoping to help build the Green Party throughout Texas, Solar focused her platform on healthy local economic development, mass transit, energy conservation and renewable energy, environmental restoration and affordable housing. She opposed the death penalty and promised to stand up against what she called a century-old patronage system in the governor’s office that has used the power of appointments to benefit corporate interests. If elected, Solar promised that her appointees would be chosen on the basis of social justice and diversity, and could come to office with records of curbing corporate abuses of workers and natural resources.

Perhaps the most galvanizing issue for Solar’s campaign was her opposition to the proposed Sierra Blanca nuclear waste dump. Waste would be transported from states like Maine and Vermont to just outside of Sierra Blanca, a primarily Latino, and poor west Texas town. The proposed dump would be located only sixteen miles from the Rio Grande, on an aquifer, in an earthquake zone.

Solar believes that her stance against the dump helped push the Democratic candidate into opposing Sierra Blanca, which in turn turned up the heat on Republican Governor George W. Bush Jr. Solar challenged Bush directly on the issue, during a two-minute interview on the evening news in Lubbock, her only time on network news during the campaign. Bush ultimately reversed his position and supported the rejection of the license.

Beyond coverage she received in Lubbock and Austin, Solar found it difficult as a write-in candidate to attract media attention, although she did use public access television to her advantage. Fundraising was another challenge, yet even with her self-imposed contribution limit of $100 (modeled after the new Austin campaign finance reform law, which was initiated by the Austin Greens), she raised more than $5,000. She used these funds to print and distribute literature, to create a web site, and to position 30 second spots on late-night and early morning cable television. Solar ended up with nearly 1,000 write-in supporters, and her candidacy helped energize Greens statewide, particularly in rejuvenating the local in Austin.

Colorado Greens reach new heights

With over 1,000 Green registrants, the Green Party of Colorado became a ballot status, minor political party during 1998. During June, they held their first nominating convention as a ballot status party, in the historic Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder.

Two candidates were nominated for partisan office: Dean Myerson for University of Colorado Regent at large, a statewide office, and Nancy York for Larimer County Commissioner. Myerson is a member of the Boulder Green Alliance and York, a member of the Poudre Valley Greens living in Forty Collins.

Myerson finished with 3.6%, the highest of any third party candidate for state office in Colorado. York finished with 15%, among the highest for third party candidates for any office in Colorado in a three-way race.

Myerson vowed to focus on the secrecy and backroom dealings of the Regents. Endorsing his candidacy, the Boulder Weekly wrote ‘Dean Myerson, the Green Party candidate going after (incumbent) Martin’s regent seat, confronts these issues directly in his crusade against “crony democracy” at work on the board. Myerson is a capable candidate from an exciting third party. He and other Greens, unlike the CU Regents, do not evade ethics in their approach to policy; they embrace it.’

York was endorsed by the main paper in her county, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, which wrote ‘York would bring a good balance and fresh perspective to the county commission… As a native of Larimer County who has lived here much of her life, York knows the people, the history and the needs of the county. And, as evidenced by her candidacy on the Green Party ticket, she has a deep passion for the environment.

The Coloradoan editorial board continued, ‘She speaks eloquently of the need for sustainability and says she would use the commissioner’s chair as a bully pulpit to talk about sustainable plans and ideas. York has a long history of service on local boards and commissions, experience that would serve her well as a county commissioner. We believe that, as a commissioner, she would be an advocate for alternative, innovative solutions.’

Myerson also received endorsements from local alternative newspapers around the state, including the Colorado Daily, a sort-of student newspaper that is actually independent of the university and students, but is distributed daily all over Boulder. The Boulder Daily Camera, Boulder’s daily newspaper, endorsed the incumbent Republican but mentioned Myerson’s campaign issue of the secrecy of the Board of Regents as a needed issue.

Myerson raised about $1,500, all from individual donors. He was accepted into all of the statewide debates, as the new, more liberal third party laws focused more attention on the Greens and the other alternative parties, and made it easier for them to be included. York raised $5,000, which was more than the Democrat who finished ahead of her. Since the election, three new locals have started in Colorado and some Greens are looking at the possibility of county commissioner and state house acts in 2000.

DC Greens get ballot status on first try

In the nation’s capital, the Green Party took a major step forward in 1998. They set three goals for the fall election: (1) introduce the Greens as a local political force and highlight their issues; (2) get ballot status; and (3) win the election.

Green candidates did inject their issues into the political discourse, advocating small-scale, locally owned, environmentally sound neighborhood development; attacking big business projects such as the new convention center being built at Mount Vernon Square; and supporting statehood and the medical marijuana initiative.

Neither Green candidate – Scott McClarty (City Council, Ward One) or Mike Livingston (shadow representative to US Congress) actually won their race. But each gained 8% of the vote and Livingston received 9,191 votes, easily surpassing the 7,500 necessary to achieve ballot status for the Greens in DC. The Sierra Club endorsed Mike Livingston, and the DC Statehood Party endorsed McLarty. Each endorsement lent important credibility to their campaigns.

The Green Party now becomes the District’s fifth “major party,” along with the Democratic, Republican, D.C. Statehood and Umoja parties. In 2000, DC Greens will now be able to participate in the primary elections, and won’t have to collect thousands of signatures to get Green candidates on the ballot. They will also be on voter registration cards for the first time.

“We feel that we had a victory because we did get ballot status,” said Steven Donkin, a member of the DC Green steering committee that leads the local Green Party. “It was particularly impressive that we accomplished this the first time out” added McClarty.

New Jersey Greens are growing up fast

In only their second year of running candidates, New Jersey Greens gained momentum and stature in 1998. Their candidates averaged 1% of the vote, up from .5% in 1997. They blanketed central New Jersey and Atlantic County with their distinctive lawn signs, gained a lot of new members and appeared in the press more prominently than ever before.

In the 12th Congressional District, Madelyn Hoffman received 0.8 percent of the vote, almost twice as much as either the Reform or Natural Law Party candidates. Among all third party candidates, she came in second to the Libertarians. In the 6th Congressional District, Carl Mayer became the first New Jersey Green to finish first among third party candidates, finishing with 0.9 percent of the total. In the 4th Congressional District, Nick Mellis was close behind the Conservative and Libertarian Party candidates, receiving 0.7 percent.

Fred Disque and Paul Williams became the first New Jersey Green candidates to get more than 1% of the vote. Running for Freeholder in Burlington County, Disque was endorsed by the NJ National Organization for Women and NJ Environmental Federation and received 1.5% of the total. Williams, running for the at-large Freeholder seat in Atlantic County, received 1.1%.

As the strongest progressive ‘third party’, the Greens were seen by the Democrats as their most serious threat, particularly in Hoffman’s and Mayer’s races. This helped them generate more press than the other third party candidates.

A former ‘Nader’s Raider’, Mayer came to the Greens after attempts to win the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Congress failed in 1996 and 1998. He had started his political career running for Congress and State Assembly as an Independent. He had been a Consultant to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Investigations, then was elected to the Princeton Township Committee in 1995 as an Independent.

Thinking he would be able to win a Congressional seat running as a Democrat, Mayer tried twice, then concluded that party bosses would always stand in the way of someone they felt to be too reform-minded and “ultra-progressive.” In Mayer’s past campaigns for Congress and the state assembly, he had been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the New Jersey Environmental Federation, the National Organization for Women, and the Mercer County Women’s Political Caucus, as well as the Mercer County Greens.

After receiving 37% of the vote in the spring, 1998 Democratic primary in the 12th District, Mayer accepted the Greens’ invitation to become their candidate in the 6th District. At that point the Democrats joined a motion filed by the Attorney General to invalidate Mayer’s petition on the basis that he should not be allowed to run in the 6th after having lost a primary in the 12th. That motion was ultimately denied.

Having high visibility as a “formerly serious Democratic contender”, Mayer was included in most candidate forums and debates. He focused on financial security and quality health care for seniors, and on toughening the Superfund program and cracking down on corporate polluter. The district’s most important daily newspaper, The Home News Tribune, said Mayer’s positions and performance in the forums were “the best” — but in the next sentence told readers not to vote for him because ‘his motives for running were suspect’.

All three Green congressional candidacies ran in adjacent districts, covering approximately the same media market. This resulted in quite a bit of synergy between the three campaigns. They fundraised together, spending about $10,000 in total, and ordered uniform lawn signs, with only the name different from one district to the next. This meant the distinctive Green Party signs “seemed to be all over the place” in central New Jersey.

According to long-time organizer Steven Welzer, after only two years of running candidates, the New Jersey Greens have become the third most significant alternative party in the state. Although still trailing the older, more established Conservatives and Libertarian parties, they beat the Natural Law Party, Reform Party, and Socialist Workers candidates consistently.

After the election, several progressive and environmental organizations made a point of asking the Greens to discuss future campaign strategies. Internally, the Greens also experienced a significant jump in new membership applications, renewals by old members, and requests for information during the campaign.

Grassroots Organization Wins a Ballot Line for New York Greens
by Howie Hawkins

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News. New York state has 90% of the ballot access lawsuits in the US. The only way to qualify there for a full party ballot line, is to win 50,000 votes for governor/lieutenant governor.

Over the last eight years, New York Green have had to circulate nominating petitions that require many more times the number of signatures than the candidates of ballot-qualified parties. At the same time, even these signatures are routinely challenged by Democratic Party ‘hacks’, trying to drive Green candidates off the ballot (and sometimes being successful). To survive such challenges, one often has to have double the number of signatures required.

But in the next election, the hacks will be disappointed. The Green ticket of “Grandpa” Al Lewis for Governor and Alice Green for Lieutenant Governor received 52,533 votes in November, enough to give the Green Party of New York State a ballot line for the next four years.

The Greens faced a number of obstacles on the road to 50,000 votes. The most formidable was the competition from eight other independent parties appealing to progressive voters, all seeking the same prize. Two of these parties were organized by Greens formerly active with the Green Party of New York – the Green Choice Party (which failed to get enough signatures to make the ballot) and the Marijuana Reform Party. Others which drew progressive votes were the Unity Party (initiated by the Independent Progressive Politics Network); the Working Families Party (established to replace the Liberal Party as the second ballot line for Democrats under New York’s peculiar tradition of fusion politics); the Liberal Party (a party shell that has mostly degenerated into a crass patronage machine); the Independence Party (conservative on economic class issues, liberal on social issues and good government), as well as the Libertarians and Socialist Workers.

The Greens relied on 240 volunteers to collect 33,010 signatures, which they turned in a week early, the first day of the week-long filing period. The Greens hoped to surprise the Democrats and catch them unprepared to challenge Green petitions within the alloted two weeks, which could cost them up to $1 million to do.

Once on the ballot, the main competition for progressive votes came fromthe Working Families Party. Working Families went $100,000 into debt, spending $500,000 (not counting the over $10 million spent on their own by the Democratic candidates they endorsed), and received a little over 50,000 votes. Unity spend $10,000 for fewer than 10,000 votes. The Greens spent $15,000 (and had $1,000 left over), receiving slightly more votes than Working Families.

The vote totals for the new parties that were seeking a ballot line:

Green Working Families Marijuana Reform Unity
New York City 12,488 (0.9%) 30,324 9,099 5,428
Upstate 40,045 (1.1%) 20,836 15,655 4,234
Statewide Total 52,533 (1.1%) 51,160 24,754 9,482

Green Slate of Ten Candidates: As the beloved “Grandpa Munster” of TV sitcom fame, Green gubernatorial candidate Al Lewis had the name recognition to get people’s attention. Then people found out he was an 88-year old lifelong radical, who cut his political teeth on the campaigns to save Sacco and Vanzetti and the Scottsboro Boys in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Lewis had been a union organizer with textile workers and sharecroppers in the South, and with the maritime union as a merchant marine during World War II. He also had worked with the Black Panthers and today is still active with his own political talk radio show on the Pacifica affiliate in New York City.

Lewis’ running mate was Alice Green, a well-known African American activist in Albany, who organizes against police brutality and racism in the criminal justice system.

The rest of the state Green ticket included Joel Kovel for US Senate, a Bard College professor of social theory and author-activist on anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and eco-socialist themes; Johann Moore for Attorney General, a gay activist veteran of ACT-UP and the NY Marijuana Buyers Club; and me, Howie Hawkins for Comptroller, a co-op business developer who campaigned for progressive and ecological tax, budget, purchasing, and investment policies.

No debates were held in the races for governor, though the Green candidates consistently called for them. Two debates for US Senate were sponsored by the League of Women Voters, but only for Democrats and Republicans. In protest, Kovel staged his own debates outside against ‘Schumato’, a two faced, double-talking puppet with an Al D’Amato face on one side of his head and a Charles Schumer face on the other.

Lower on the statewide ticket, Greens outpolled all the other smaller parties except Marijuana Reform, whose candidates for comptroller and US senator did better than did their gubenatorial candidate. It seems that 20,000 people voted Green for governor to qualify the Greens for ballot status, then voted for Marijuana Reform further down the ticket to make a statement against New York’s corrupt war on drugs.

Media Politics: Working Families had the editorial backing of the two largest liberal weeklies in the state, The Nation and the Village Voice, both New York City based and pro-Democrat. Both attacked the Greens and backed Working Families.

Upstate, progressive weeklies in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester gave the Greens good coverage. The Rochester Independent and Albany Metroland endorsed Lewis/Green. The Syracuse New Times, even though they didn’t make official endorsements, put Lewis on its last cover right before the election, along with a favorable article. Metroland endorsed Hawkins for Comptroller.

It was more difficult to get coverage in the mainstream media. But Lewis’ personality drew a considerable amount nevertheless. He was the first Green candidate to be covered in The National Enquirer and other supermarket tabloids (ironically, these stories were more issue-focused than most in the “objective” media). He also got a lot of coverage out of his failed court challenge to get him listed as “Grandpa” Al Lewis on the ballot.

Having got peoples’ attention, Greens then focused the media on their issues. They denounced both major parties for allowing one in four New York children to live in poverty, while the richest 20% made 20 times more than the poorest 20%, making New York the most unequal US state.

Lewis fought to “Save NY’s Kids”, with demands for raising welfare benefits above the poverty line, creating jobs for all at living wages with the government as employer of last resort, establishing universal health care, and instituting progressive tax reform to fund quality public schools.

At two well-covered news conferences – one on the environment in the Legislative Office Building of the State Capitol in Albany, and another outside Kodak headquarters in Rochester (as they announced their high third quarter profits) – Green candidates called for revoking corporate charters of repeat offenders of labor and environmental laws. They also called for the municipalization of the New York Yankees, as an alternative to letting its owner blackmail the city for a new stadium, with threats to move the team to New Jersey.

Lewis and Green got the most coverage on criminal justice reform, establishing the Greens as a strong opposition voice to the growing prison-industrial complex in New York, where $650 million in the state budget has been shifted from higher education to state prisons over the last ten years.

Lewis and Green spoke against the death penalty, against a new racially-biased law to eliminate parole and rehabilitative programs for violent felons, and against the war of drugs (which has become a war on black people that is filling New York’s prisons faster than they can be built.

One of the high moments of the campaign was when Lewis was scheduled to be interviewed at a Buffalo TV station whose workers went on strike. Lewis talked to managment, they ‘hatched’ a plan and Lewis went to do the interview. Five minutes from the end, he turned to the interviewer, said now he had a question, pulled out a strike support sign, and demanded to know why the station wouldn’t settle with the workers. The live interview was cut off by the station at that point, but it was too late. The labor movement in Buffalo loved it.

Local Green Groups Were Campaign’s Strength: The key to the entire state campaign, was the more than 30 Green locals that were organized by the end of the campaign. This enabled the Greens to overcome the obstacles of competing against so many other alternative parties, having very little money, being excluded from debates, and limited media coverage. The locals provided the volunteer base to successfully petition for the ballot line, to distribute tens of thousands of leaflets, and then turn out supporters on election day from a base built over the last decade.

With such a narrow margin making ballot status (2,533 votes out of over four million cast), every vote, phone call, leaflet, and conversation to persuade a voter made a difference. If this shows anything, it put the lie to the notion that you can’t make a difference.

Belitskus Makes First Green Run for Congress in PA

Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District, in northern and central Pennsylvania,is rural, conservative but also independent-minded. It includes all or part of 17 counties.

Enter Bill Belitskus, the first-ever Green Congressional candidate in Pennsylvania. In a two-way race against first-term incumbent Republican Charles Peterson, A 49-year old Vietnam veteran and special education teacher, Belitskus received 15% of the vote, and his impact went well beyond the numbers.

By the end of the campaign, Belitskus was treated as a serious candidate. He received the endorsement of the second-largest newspaper in the district (Penn State University’s student-run Daily Collegian). Perhaps even more significantly, the largest newspaper in the district, the State College-based Centre Daily Times, declined to endorse either candidate. After mentioning that Belitskus was “a bit too liberal,” the paper attacked Peterson on many of Belitskus’ issues, from being too anti-environment to not protecting Social Security.

Belitskus also became the first US Green Congressional candidate to be endorsed by the national Sierra Club, in the Club’s 18 history of supporting candidates. Belitskus was one of only 19 other Congressional hopefuls challenging incumbents on the Sierra Club’s selective 1998 endorsement list. The Sierra Club highlighted Belitskus’ past work to end commercial logging on national forests, protect water quality, and prevent siting of a new nuclear waste dump in his district.

“Business-as-usual development threatens the future of our communities”, said Belitskus. “Instead of an economy based on the clear-cutting of state and national forests for short-term gain, we must develop an economy based on sustainable forestry, recreation and tourism.”

Peterson said he would debate Belitskus, but then never accepted any invitations. Peterson did however, send out a campaign mailer, stating that the Greens position on natural resource use was ‘unAmerican’.

Belitskus did back-to-back candidates’ statements with Peterson on AM radio and public TV. Belitskus’ points on education, Social Security, and the environment were reasonably well known in the larger towns by Election Day. In State College, the town where Penn State is located, Belitskus won 43% of the vote. He won 26% in Centre County, arguably the district’s most progressive area. He seemed to do best among young people and the elderly. The 15% Belitskus won was very similar to the 14-17% received by Virginia Greens, including Sherry Stanley, who ran in two-way state legislative races in 1997

Green ticket strong in Rhode Island

For the second time in four years, Jeff Johnson represented the Green Party of Rhode Island as its Lt. Governor candidate. A high-school science teacher who also volunteers at a group home for troubled adolescents, Johnson campaigned on ‘putting a watchdog — not a lap dog — in the State House’.

Johnson won the endorsement of the weekly Providence Phoenix for the second time (also in 1994). It praised him as an issues-oriented candidate “willing to tackle politically unpopular issues.” His constant pressure forced major party candidates to address vital issues such as lead poisoning in the inner cities. His strong stance on this health emergency questioned the Republicrats commitment to poor and minority communities and resulted in the issue becoming a primary debate issue.

But apparently, this record wasn’t deemed good enough to be included in the candidate debates. Early on, both Green and the Reform Party candidate rallied outside the Providence Chamber of Commerce, to protest unbalanced debates which only included Democrat and Republican candidates. In several public statements, Johnson railed against Channel 12 and Channel 36 (RI’s only “public” television station) for routinely barring third party candidates from debates. The result was an invitation from local TV journalist Jack White for Johnson to appear on a “Newsmakers” forum on channels 12 and 64 to discuss whether the media was fair to third parties.

Newspaper coverage was slightly better. In its election edition, the Providence Journal called Johnson “a legitimate and knowledgable candidate”. They printed his press releases advocating universal healthcare, reducing the sales tax and touting views on the development of a local port. Johnson even called for a plan that the state offer free public transportation to all Rhode Islanders, as a way of reducing both traffic and pollution.

After receiving 6% in 1994, Johnson now received 3% of the statewide vote, possibly splitting last year’s 6% with fellow third party candidate John Carlevale.

However, in areas where he focused his campaign such as Providence and South Kingstown Peterson won over 10% of the vote while spending less than $300, in a race where the mainstream candidates each spent around half a million dollars.

In the state legislative race, more than half of all candiates for the General Assembly ran unopposed. Three Green candidates for the assembly ran as the sole opposition to incumbent candidates, and all three garnered significant votes. Bill Martin, running for state senate in Cumberland (Dist. 33) won 15% of the vote. Josh Mandelbaum, running for State Senate in Providence (Dist. 2), used a voter registration drive and a grassroots, door-to-door campaign against an incumbent, winning 23% of the vote. Karen Johnson, running on a pro-environment and public safety platform for general assembly in Narragansett and South Kingstown (Dist. 48), received 30% of the vote. In the 11-way race for 5 seats on the North Kingstown town council, D.J. Hayes received over 1,000 votes.

Looking back at these results, Green Party of Rhode Island co-chair Erbin Crowell summed it up this way: ‘Greens should be very proud of these returns. All of these races were run with integrity, with a minimum of finances (all under $400), no corporate backing or influence, and without an “old boy” political network to fall back on. Our candidates have shown that everyday people can run strong campaigns and make a difference in Rhode Island politics without lots of money or political connections.’

Historic election for Wisconsin Greens

For the first time ever in 1998, Wisconsin Greens had their our own column on the ballot, thanks to Green candidates Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke, who met the 1% threshold (1.3%) in their 1996 bid for president and vice president.

Retaining that ballot status for the next four years, then became an important goal for the party. Under Wisconsin law, a political party must receive at least 1% of the total vote cast for at least one statewide office every four years in order to maintain ballot status.

Green co-spokesperson Jeff Peterson gained the Greens’ endorsement to run for Congress. But when no other Green came forward to run for a statewide race that would preserve the party’s ballot line, Peterson decided to run instead for state treasurer. In July, thanks to the help of many volunteers, he submitted 2,235 valid signatures to the State Elections Board, securing his place on the ballot.

His campaign focused on six main planks:

- Promoting a Green presence across the state, and elaborating upon a broad Green approach to sustainability, social responsibility, and democracy.
- Establishing a “Wastewatchers’ Hotline” toll-free telephone number which could be used by government employees and citizens alike to report waste and inefficiency in state government.
- Giving public notice of future tax hikes disguised as fee increases; calling for public hearings before approval of any such increases.
- Challenging the governor’s use of the partial veto, especially in cases where vetoes to appropriations bills result in spending cuts or increases not specifically authorized by the legislature.
- Creating new standards of wealth and value so that quality of life issues are factored into any calculations of Wisconsin’s economic well-being.
- Speaking out for progressive taxation policies and socially and environmentally responsible investment policies for Wisconsin.

Several newspaper editors told Peterson off the record, that he had the most comprehensive, best thought out plan of any of the four candidates running for state treasurer. He did receive the endorsement of the Amery Free Press, a weekly paper with wide circulation in Polk County. The Wisconsin State Journal called the Wisconsin Green Party “feisty.” In the November issue of national magazine The Progressive, Madison, WI-based writer John Nichols wrote that Peterson had “…written an impressive plan for using the treasurer’s office to monitor state investments with an eye toward environmental and ethical concerns…”

In addition to issues directly related to the state treasurer’s job, Peterson also talked about the need to amend the state constitution to allow for some form of proportional representation, as well as citizen initiative and referendum. He also advocated that a “Common Property” or “Seventh Generation” amendment be added to the U.S. Constitution. This proposed amendment was crafted originally crafted by long-time northern Wisconsin Green organizer Walt Bresette, and also formed a key part of 1996 Green vice-presidential candidate Winona LaDuke’s platform. Its intent is to balance the private property protections already extant in the consitution with a parallel provision for the protection of common property. The complete text reads: “The right of citizens of the United State to use and enjoy air, water, sunlight, and other renewable resources determined by Congress to be common property shall not be impaired, nor shall such use impair their availability for the use of future generations.”

Peterson raised about $2000 from about 60 contributors. Even with these limited resources, 31,329 Wisconsin voters cast a Green ballot in 1998. Peterson came in third out of four candidates, beating the Libertarian by about 3,000 votes. Not only did this campaign succeed in garnering the requisite 1% of the vote to maintain our ballot status for the next election; the Greens also outpolled every other third party on the ballot. This means that, in the 2000 elections, the Wisconsin Green Party will be listed third, after the Republicans and Democrats. (It is interesting to note that, while the Reform Party elected a governor in neighboring Minnesota, they failed to get 1% of the vote in Wisconsin, and thus lost their ballot status.)

In a major step forward for Hawai’i Greens, Julie Jacobson won a partisan County Council seat on Hawaii’s Big Island, reclaiming a seat for the Greens held by Keiko Bonk between 1992 and 1996.

District 6 is 120 miles from one end to the other, and three times as large as the island of Oahu. Jacobson won there by 200 votes, her losing margin in 1996. Her victory in part was a result of a two-year Green registration drive, which led to 500 more votes overall for Jacobson.

Her incumbent opponent was Republican John Santangelo. The battle was over development. Jacboson campaigned for true cost, community-based development. Santangelo ‘talked the talk’, but voted a corporate line.

Jacobson’s campaign manager was Bonk. Bonk budgeted the campaign for $20,000 to win, and laid out a specific fund raising strategy. She was right on the money. In a district that by a large margin went Republican in the governors race, Jacobson ran explicitly as a Green, and showed that the Green concept of sustainability has a wide appeal.

Jacobson covered hundreds of square miles on foot going door to door, attending every community event, standing on the roads waving signs, running radio commercials and newspaper adds, and doing several mailings. Jacobson campaigned against building a large prison in Kau, against privatization of county services, and against the building of a nuclear food irradiator, an initiative which failed by less than 1% of the island-wide vote. This effort garnered a lot of support for Jacbosen among the newer Haole residents, but broke up part of the agriculture coalition Bonk had built.

Jacbosen did consistently well in all debates. The Sierra Club and the Conservation Voters of Hawaii endorsed her. She ultimately won with a rural coalition of Anglos (Haoles), Hawaiians and other ethnic groups, against an older pro-business status quo coalition that was also ethnically diverse, but more conservative.

Hawai’i Greens feel they have the best County Council now in many years, and that this gives Jacobson a chance to bring about real positive change. On the nine-person council, there is a Green, Green/Republican native Hawaiian, a Filipino Democrat, and a newly elected Anglo female Democrat, who all support community based economic development. Since Bonk’s first victory in 1992, local Greens have successfully changed the local political frame of reference.

For the long-term, Jacobson’s victory demonstrated that a Green other than Bonk can win. Combined with Bonk’s two previous wins and her near island wide victory for Mayor in 1996, the Greens are clearly a viable political force on the Big Island. In 2000 they hope to win one more seat and gain a Green/progressive majority on the council. Bonk will also make a second run at Mayor, with the possibility that the Greens will have the ability between the council and mayor’s office, to begin creating a model sustainable society.

Philip Hufford, Colorado

Colorado Greens mourns the loss of one of their founding members. Philip Hufford, who passed away from cancer on October 3rd, 1998 at age 50.

Hufford was the first Colorado Green candidate for governor, in 1994. He chaired the Denver Region Greens for years and focused on toxic waste
issues, particularly a U.S. Army chemical weapons site near Denver. His background with labor, and his experience as Rocky Mountain Regional Director of the Fair Trade Campaign in opposition to NAFTA a few years back, meant that he brought more organizing experience to the Greens than almost any other party member. His commitment to a broad conception of Green Politics was strong and is one of his legacies in Colorado Green politics.

The will to fight the good fight was deep in Hufford. Near the end, though almost wheelchair-bound, he came to the party’s June, 1998 nominating convention, and operated the tape recording of that event. Soon afterwards there was a reunion at Hufford’s place, which drew Greens whose family or work life had taken them out of active Green work. Despite knowing that Hufford’s time was short, the party was a genuine celebration, as well as a farewell. Hufford is survived by his wife, Linda Gore.

Greens in Colorado and throughout the US, will sorely miss Phil’s activism, experience and advice. But his inspiration will remain with us all.

Walt Bresette, Wisconsin

Long-time northwestern Wisconsin Green organizer Walt Bresette, an Anishinabe peace and justice advocate, died February 21 from a heart attack while visiting friends. A member of the Loon Clan, the 51-year-old Red Cliff Chippewa defended treaty rights and fought to prevent metallic sulfide mining, and to prevent acid from a mining operation being shipped across the state.

A US Army veteran, Bresette was a co-founder of the Witness for Nonviolence, Midwest Treaty Network, Anishinaabe Niijii, Lake Superior Greens, Wisconsin Greens, and was an inspiration to many others.

He was an elegant speaker and writer. Together with Rick Whaley, Bresette wrote “Walleye Warriors: An Effective Alliance Against Racism and for the Earth” The book tells the story about the interracial alliance that rose up in the 1980s at Wisconsin boat landings to protect Chippewa spearfishing, sovereignty, the land, and the water.

Walter and his wife Cass Joy ran a native crafts and art business called the Buffalo Bay Trading Company until a few years ago on the Red Cliff Chippewa Reservation. Their children are Claudia, Katie, and Robin.

At a meeting in Florida during the 1980s, Bresette received a special gift from an alert and agile old woman. It was the war club belonging to the Sauk leader Black Hawk, who more than a hundred and fifty years earlier fought the US Army trying to move him and his people from their homeland. Bresette carried the club to ceremonies, boat landings, mining protests, and schools and churches until his death.

“He was like the north star,” a friend says, ” He held up the sky over northern Wisconsin and the people followed him.”

Marc Sharon, California
A Russian émigré who founded the Westside Greens in the Santa Monica/Los Angeles area in 1988, Marc Sharon passed away in West Los Angeles in October, 1998. He admitted to being over 90. Fifty years earlier, he worked with Leon Trotsky in Norway.

Sharon’s lifetime that took him from Russia, around Europe (including fighting in the Spanish Civil War), New York and San Francisco, before settling finally in Venice, California.

Sharon hosted many Green meetings in the community room of his senior affordable housing building. He remained very sharp of mind until the end, always focusing on strategy. He was a voracious reader, and kept abreast of the Greens in Europe as well as the US. In 1990, he represented US Greens to the European Green Coordination meeting in Bonn, West Germany.

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