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.

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New Mexico’s Greens play for keeps
by Rick Lass, Tammy Davis, and Cris Moore

On May 13th, New Mexico Green Carol Miller received 17% in a special election for the US House of Representatives. This was a record for a US Green in a federal race (surpassing Hawai’i Green Party US Senate candidate Linda Martin’s 14% in 1992) and contributed to favored Democrat Eric Serna (40%) losing the election to conservative Republican Bill Redmond (42%).

According to Tammy Davis, co-chair of the New Mexico Green Party (NMGP), “by determining the outcome of the race in this manner, our campaign served notice that the Greens are an independent force that will not go away and cannot be ignored. We are more than a swing vote – we have an increasing impact at all levels of government because of the strength of our vote. We are ignored only at the peril of the old parties.”

A 30-year community health care advocate who began her activism in the 60’s as a paid organizer for the Berkeley (CA) Tenant’s Union, Miller has long been involved in rural health care in Northern New Mexico. She represented the Frontier Constituency Group on the Board of the National Rural Health Association, is immediate Past President of the New Mexico Public Health Association, and is a three term Governing Councilor to the American Public Health Association. On the federal level, Miller has had experience with legislation (and the bureaucracy) in Washington, D.C., including service as a single-payer advocate on the 1993 Presidential Health Care Reform Task Force.

This record of commitment and service gave the Miller campaign enormous credibility. Combined with the strength of the New Mexico Green Party, (one of the best organized and most successful Green parties in the country) and pointing out the weakness of both the Democrat and Republican, Miller ran one of the strongest races a US Green has yet run, arguably the strongest above the county level thus far.

Miller actually came in second in Taos and Santa Fe counties, ahead of Redmond and close to Serna, in what are traditionally highly-Democratic districts. Both Democrats and Republicans spent large amount of money on absentee votes. Subtract those and Miller won Santa Fe County outright. In the City of Santa Fe, Miller won most of the precincts in two of four city council districts, receiving over 50% in most of them. Among those were many traditional, Hispanic Democratic neighborhoods.

In Taos Miller won nine precincts outright. She also won in Corrales, considered by many to be a conservative town. Across the district, Miller carried twenty-two precincts – including the Taos and Tesuque Indian Pueblos – and ran second in an additional fifty-five. Miller also did better in Santa Fe County overall than 1994 Green gubernatorial candidate Roberto Mondragon (34% compared to 21%).

The Democrats’ post-election reaction was significant and included new talk of cooperation with the Greens, including offers being floated by Democratic leadership of changes in the NM election law to allow Democrat/Green fusion candidates. (Fusion is a law, widespread 100 years ago, where a candidate can be endorsed by two parties, and can collect votes on the ballot lines of both). This offering was remarkable given that only recently in January, the New Mexico Democratic Party blocked an effort by the Greens, Libertarians, and Reform Party to make fusion legal.

Back in 1994, the NMGP had attempted to place Representative Max Coll, perhaps the second most powerful member of the NM House of Representatives, as Chair of the Legislative Finance Committee on the ballot as a Democrat/Green. This was stopped by Democratic Party leadership who pressured Coll to withdraw his Green nomination. The NMGP had been working with a team of attorneys to take this to the Supreme Court, but when Coll withdrew, the attorneys were forced to take another test case from Minnesota to the Court, recently losing their fusion challenge.

But Miller and most New Mexico Greens have rejected fusion in favor of proportional representation. Fusion became seen as a way of coopting the Greens by taking their candidates out of the race. “It could turn us into junior Democrats. We have a lot more potential than that,” said Miller. Electoral reforms like proportional representation (including preference voting and instant run-off) are seen by the Greens as giving them a chance to assume their rightful place at the table, “something”, according to Davis, “Miller’s remarkable 17% (in a winner-take-all system) suggests we deserve”. In mid-October, the Greens are hosting a forum on proportional representation with 1980 independent presidential candidate John Anderson and Steve Hill, a San Francisco Green and West Coast Director of the Center for Voting and Democracy.

According to many New Mexico Greens, Miller’s race served to prove that voting Green is a powerful strategy for political change. Not only did it identify the Greens as a clear alternative, but it puts enormous pressure on the Democrats to support proportional representation, lest the Greens knock them out again.

As Santa Fe Green Party City Councilor Cris Moore said in the August edition of The Progressive, “building a progressive third-party movement right now is a lot more important than sending one more Democrat to Congress. Even people who want to move the Democratic Party to the left ought to recognize that it’s just not going to happen inside their party. It’s like Frederick Douglas said: ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ No one is going to change the system until Democrats lose some elections because they’ve moved too far to the right. That’s the lesson from here: Until they lost a race that they actually cared about, they didn’t pay attention.”

The decision to run – how the Miller campaign came about
Almost immediately after the November election (in which incumbent Bill
Richardson beat Redmond 67%-30%), rumors began spreading that Richardson would be vacating his seat to become Ambassador to the UN. As early as December, Greens were discussing the Special Election to come.

The NMGP had a decent, but not exceptional November ’96 election. It maintained major party status (running Peggy Helgeson against Serna for State Corporation Commissioner, receiving 11%). But the party’s efforts at a coordinated statewide campaign were only limitedly successful, particularly after a contested primary left considerable internal division in the party. Energy was low and splintered as a result.

At the same time discussion of the special election was taking place, the 60-day legislative session was about to begin. With a strong local in the capital city of Santa Fe, the NMGP prepared an aggressive legislative agenda. This was basically ignored by the ’97 NM Legislature which, according to NMGP state co-chair Rick Lass, was preoccupied by Indian gaming compacts and prison privatization.

Most of Green lobbying went into the fusion bill, which was not even introduced, despite Green calls for consideration and debate. This negative experience was echoed by the legislature’s lack of action on other Green priorities, from failure years before to pass a returnable bottle law to the current lack of support for meaningful Property Tax relief for low-income families. Cumulatively, this became a part of the legislature’s ‘report card’, which was put on the table at the NMGP state convention, and led in part to the NMGP’s decision to run Miller.

When the Governor made the call for the special election, the Greens called their own state nomination convention (including new elections of delegates at the county level). This contrasted greatly with the Democrats and Republicans, who chose their candidates at closed door sessions of central committee meetings.

The Green convention came after the Democrats and Republican had made their nominations. The extra time turned out to be fateful. At first, it was not clear the party would nominate Miller. The Bernalillo County (Albuquerque area) Green local had invited the Democratic and Republican nominees to speak at their county convention. In Santa Fe, several Greens advocated ‘None of the Above’, arguing the energy required to run a candidate in the entire northern third of NM would be better spent on internal organizing and local projects. They also warned of the marginalizing effect on the party of getting only 3-5%, which people were worried about because of the NMGP’s poor showing in the just-concluded US Senate race. Since Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties would comprise 70% of the state convention, not running a candidate was certainly a possibility.

But once the Democrats and Republicans chose their candidates, it was clear neither represented a positive choice. Redmond was extremely conservative and would be touting his NRA endorsement. Serna had a past riddled with charges of corruption, from misuse of his office to taking contributions from corporations he was supposed to regulate. When he was nominated nevertheless by a closed convention, many progressive Democrats who felt ‘locked out’ began looking for another candidate.

Miller in comparison, would be endorsed as the best candidate by both of Albuquerque major dailies. She offered the party a chance to expand by tapping into Miller’s existing circle of contacts and health service networks. In so doing, she committed to run a strictly Green platform-based campaign, and to focus on party building as a central core of her strategy. After a couple of hours of discussion, the vote was Miller 55, None of the Above 7, and Richard Haley 1.

The Campaign
Within days after the convention, most key positions in Carol’s campaign
staff had been filled. A local printing press had offered to print 30,000 trifold, tricolor brochures at no cost, with additional copies very inexpensive. All but one of the ‘None of the Above’ supporters came on board, hard at work, suggesting the party’s internal process was healthy (Roberto Mondragon returned to the Democrats).

Between the nomination convention and the election, the campaign was only eight weeks long. While seeing their opposition first gave the Greens an edge, it also gave the opposition several weeks headstart to campaign.

One of Miller’s first events was a call for a voluntary spending cap of $100,000. Not surprisingly, neither other major party candidate agreed. In the end, Miller spent $35,000, Redmond $500,000, and Serna close to a million. Much of the Republican and Democratic money came from national PACs. The national party organizations put a lot into this race as little else was happening around the country at the time.

The Greens publicized a New Mexico state legislature resolution calling for an end to negative campaigning. This was ignored by Serna and Redmond. Miller stayed on message throughout the campaign. Along with campaign finance reform, she focused on universal health care, eliminating corporate welfare, and promoting education and womens’ rights.

On the controversial questions around sustainable use of public lands, Miller pledged protection plans developed in consultation with local communities. She opposes old growth logging, but at the same time believes there is a responsibility to help local villages find a way to be economically and ecologically sustainable. Miller also supported a weatherization program to reduce the need for firewood and a Claims Commission to deal with Land Grant issues.

The campaign moved quickly, with Miller and her constant companion Sheila Sullivan traveling around the district. The Rio Grande Valley is the area of strongest Green concentration, but Miller also got a strong reception in the more remote areas where the party was not yet organized. She did radio and newspaper spots in most of the small towns and had great public support in many of them.

In Santa Fe and Taos, house parties were held to raise money and enlist
volunteers. The numbers of new faces grew rapidly, as was the crossover support from Democrats and Republicans. At the same time, there was a strong base from the successful prior campaigns electing Cris Moore and Fran Gallegos.

Soon after the Green convention, six members of Democratic Party central committees from Los Alamos and Santa Fe endorsed Miller. The Democrats forced most of them to resign, except Marilyn Rohn of Los Alamos, who boasted that if forced to resign she would take half the Central Committee members with her. In Taos, a group called ‘Republicans and Democrats for Carol Miller’ campaigned actively.

The campaign used traditional outreach methods – distributing literature door to door, phone calls, radio ads and even a couple of TV spots. As Miller was severely outspent by the other major party candidates, she was probably less visible in the mass media by 20 to 1.

The last week of the campaign, the Greens put a large “Carol Miller” signs operation at major intersections. This got the word out and energized everyone who helped with last minute phone calls and literature drops.

Miller is the first US Green candidate in the country to be endorsed by both major dailies of a major city (Albuquerque). She was also endorsed by the Santa Fe Reporter and the Taos News, which wrote “how can anyone vote, not for what he or she really believes in, but rather for what he or she thinks is going to happen, anyway? It makes a mockery of the entire political process…A vote for Miller is not a wasted vote. It’s a vote for all of the things that matter to northern New Mexicans. It’s a vote for changes towards universal health care. It’s a vote for the environment. It’s a vote for people, not politicians; for change, not the status quo. A vote for Miller is a vote for your conscience and your convictions.”

Miller was also endorsed by Ralph Nader, who campaigned in New Mexico for her; Sierra Club president David Brower, Arthur Silvers, president of the Santa Fe NAACP, as well as several prominent gay and lesbian activists. The Picuris Pueblo endorsed Miller, the NMGP’s first endorsement from a Pueblo or tribe. In her visit to the Navajo Nation, Miller met people who have offered to translate the NM Green Platform into Navajo!

On the other hand, several organizations endorsed Serna over Miller based upon ‘winnability’. They included the Sierra Club, Conservation Voters Alliance, and AFSCME.

The Future
After only moderately successful statewide campaigns (by NMGP standards) in ‘96, Miller’s strong showing vitalized the party statewide. It also provided great strategic information, demonstrated by precinct returns, showing where the party is strongest. According to Cris Moore “this may influence where future candidacies will come. In fact, several state legislative and County Commission seats in Santa Fe and Taos County are now very winnable targets for us.”

The positive results and contacts of the campaign also inspired the party to do intensive outreach into new communities. The newly reformed Organizing Committee is leading road trips out of the Rio Grande Valley, holding local organizing meetings and organizer training workshops. Turnout has been good thus far. So far 40 Greens have attended workshops on organizing skills like ‘Choosing an Issue’, ‘Talking About the Greens’, and ‘Meeting Facilitation’.

As to whether Miller will/should run again, right now Miller is saying ‘yes’. With a longer lead time (compared to the eight weeks of the special election), Miller feels she can double her 17% and be competitive in a three-way election. She plans to outreach to those who don’t register (or vote) because they don’t believe their vote matters, independents (approximately 30% of registered voters) and the many ‘pragmatic’ voters who need stronger indications that their vote won’t be wasted before stepping outside the two-party system.

There are many NMGP members who support a Miller candidacy in ‘98. Others prefer to know who the Democrat will be before deciding whether to contest the race. But unlike with the special election, in ‘98 all parties will choose their candidates the same day of the primary election. The Greens will not be able to wait to see if a progressive Democrat will win the nomination. Indeed, they must file for the race a couple of months beforehand.

One thing is sure, the threat of a Miller candidacy will loom large going into New Mexico’s ‘98 elections. How will the Democrats respond? What will Miller and the NMGP decide to do? The final result will be interesting. “But perhaps even more significant” muses co-chair Lass, “is that after only a few short years, the Greens are actually in a position where these kind of alternatives are real ones. The New Mexico Green Party and its candidates are ‘for real’.”

Showing how it’s done at the 2008 Nominating Convention and Annual Meeting

By Ruth Weill, Annual National Meeting Committee Coordinator

The convention and annual meeting promise to be a great time being held in the exciting downtown theater district of Chicago, Illinois from July 10-13. In addition to Green Party presidential nominations, there are many inspiring activities and it is also a great opportunity for Greens to come together to share ideas and plans.

A main part of the convention will be the nomination on Saturday of one of these fine presidential candidates:  Jessie Johnson (jessie08.org), Cynthia McKinney (www.runcynthiarun.org), Kent Mesplay (www.mesplay.org) and Kat Swift (www.voteswift.org). 

But the weekend has much more to offer with amazing speakers such as Malik Rahim, former Black Panther and Green Party candidate who has been a long-time community activist on various social justice issues. Rahim also co-founded Common Ground Relief (commongroundrelief.org), an organization that provides short-term relief to victims of hurricane disasters in the Gulf region. Also speaking at the convention is our own Steering Committee member Cliff Thornton Jr., an activist who has won awards for his efforts on drug policy reform (www.efficacy-online.org). 

Another speaker is Kathy Kelly, a familiar name to many Greens. In 1996 Kelly co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, an organization trying to end sanctions on Iraq. Having visited Iraq and much of the Middle East many times, she has transformed the organization into Voices for Creative Non-Violence (www.vcnv.org). 

Attendees at the convention will have many opportunities for learning, as the workshop selection will be top notch, with expert activists from across the country discussing an array of issues. Workshop topics will include foreign policy related to the Middle East and Iran, immigrant and LGBTQ rights, and campaigning on a shoestring budget.  

Don’t forget Green nightlife.  A wonderful international reception is planned for Thursday evening to welcome fellow Greens from across the seven continents.  In 2004 there were over 40 international guests representing at least 15 countries. Friday evening plans include hearing from our candidates, and Saturday evening will be more of a social party. The city of Chicago has a lot to offer as well, from live music, theater, and outdoor gardens to walks along Lake Michigan.  

The main location of the convention is the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, a beautiful historic landmark built in 1871 (www.hiltonfamilychicago.com). The hotel is right around the corner from the location of the nominating convention, the Chicago Symphony Center (www.cso.org), which is  another historic landmark built in 1904.   

The meeting committee along with the Illinois Green Party is excited to host a world-class event, and The Green Party of the United States Presidential Nominating Convention and Annual Meeting promises to be an unforgettable event. We hope to see you in Chicago this July.  

Please visit http://www.greenparty2008.org to register and for all information regarding the convention.

Thinking of running for office but not sure how to start? Your Green Party support is right here!

For information on how to run a campaign visit: www.GP.org or contact the Green Party of the United States at 866-41GREEN.

Also campaign resources can be downloaded for free at: www.gp.org/committees/campaign/resources.shtml

By Ron Hardy, Wisconsin Green Party

Wisconsin Greens were on the ballot in elections for County Board of Supervisors across the state April 1—ten incumbents and four challengers. Ten of the 14 were elected. Wisconsin now has 17 Greens holding elected office. 

Among the ten Wisconsin Green victories were two first-time candidates: Wyndham Manning, who won a landslide victory with 66 percent of the vote to take the Dane County Board of Supervisors seat vacated by retiring Green Party member Ashok Kumar, and Kathy Kienholz, who ran unopposed for a seat on the Polk County (Northwestern Wis consin) Board of Supervisors. 

Manning’s victory came in District 5, Madison’s “Student District” and a hotbed of political activity with an engaged electorate. Greens have traditionally done well there—Echaton Vedder first won the seat in 1998. A University of Wisconsin senior majoring in Environmental Studies and Communication Arts, Manning opposed College Democrat Conor O’Hagan, a freshmen Engineering student involved with student government. Manning campaigned on an overall environmental program, including specific focus on solutions to keep the many lakes surrounding Madison clean. 

“The process of making our lakes and watersheds safer has begun by banning phosphorus and coal tar sealant. I will take the lead in the next step by exploring a system of anaerobic manure digesters that co-generate exhausted methane for heat and electricity, as well as evaluating the impact of other negligent runoffs such as pesticides,” said Manning. 

Manning also championed the underrepresented in Madison, including support for Domestic Partner benefits, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, and working with local area groups to expand the availability of homeless shelters. 

Kathy Klienholz, Polk County Board of Supervisors

Kathy Klienholz, Polk County Board of Supervisors

Far north of Madison, Kienholz won her first seat and thereby kept at least one Green on the Polk County Board. An active member of the St. Croix Valley Green Party since 2003, Kienholz was first introduced to the Greens by one of her sons. 

Kienholz believes she was unopposed because of the credibility that her environ mental platform gave her, combined with her financial background as a CPA and as Treasurer of the local Lake Association and the local Friends of the Library group.  “My goals are local,” said Kienholz, “Our county board has struggled in the past six to eight years, as anti-tax folks were elected to seats. Their agenda could be summed up in one word—No. No spending, no programs, no building, no nothing.” 

Kienholz intends to continue the work that fellow Green and outgoing Polk County Supervisor Jeff Peterson began by making sustainability a focus for Polk County. “I want to continue his efforts to keep that goal in the forefront. As a CPA I asked for and was elected to a seat on the Finance Committee, where I hope to be an influence for Green goals. My other committee assignment was to the Land and Water Committee, which is right up my street.”

 

Incumbents Re-elected at 80 Percent Rate

Eight incumbent Green County Board of Supervisors won re-election on April 1, including six unopposed—Robert Browne and David Conley (Douglas County), Greg David (Jefferson County), John Hardin (Barron County) and two from Dane County—Kyle Richmond and Barbara Vedder, the mother of Echnaton Vedder. 

Conley has been serving on the Doug las County Board of Supervisors in North west Wisconsin since 1986 and is the longest serving Green in office nationwide at 22 years and counting. His tenure in office predates the Wisconsin Green Party, which will be celebrating 20 years as a Party this October. Conley’s colleague on the Douglas County Board, Robert Browne, has been on the board since 1992, 16 years and counting. 

David in Jefferson County (East Central Wisconsin) has been actively promoting the Natural Step for Communities, a movement that has been sweeping across Wisconsin. He spoke at the Wisconsin Green Party’s Summer Gathering in August 2007 at which the Party officially endorsed the Natural Step and the Eco-Municipality movement throughout Wisconsin.  

 

 

Wyndham Manning, Dane County Board of Supervisors

Wyndham Manning, Dane County Board of Supervisors

In Dane County, Greens have had between two and four members on the 39-member County Board of Supervisor since 1998. Joining first-time candidate Manning this time were Richmond and Vedder, along with John Hendrick, who successfully fought off his challenger with 83 percent of the vote.

 

A member of the County Board for 14 years and a near east neighborhood community activist for even longer, Hendrick is considered an expert on local land use, planning and zoning issues and is someone other Board members turn to for advice. In recent years he has also championed drinking water quality and bringing living wage standards from Madison to a broader section of Dane County. His opponent Mark Schmitt, a print and mail coordinator for Bethel Lutheran Church, took a more conservative position than Hendrick on transportation, regulations, prisons and police, that clearly did not resonate well with the voters.

Richmond has served on the County Board since 2002, and Vedder since 2006, following six years (1995-2001) on the Madison Common Council. In 2007 the two of them, together with Richmond and Kumar, led a successful effort for the Board to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney, becoming the second county in the nation at the time to pass such a resolution. Richmond also had a role in the July 10, 2003 Dane County Board boycott of Tyson Foods in support of striking workers in neighboring Jefferson County. Vedder, in her past role on the Madison Common Council, was instrumental in passing Madison’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, a policy tool that relies on zoning laws to encourage or require developers to provide affordable units in their new housing developments.

Also re-elected in a competitive race was incumbent John Rendall, a member of the Portage County Board of Supervisors for 12 years, and before that a member of the Almond School Board for five years. Rendall supports substance abuse treatment and alternative sentencing as opposed to expanding prison populations. His opponent’s issues were primarily ‘saving the taxpayers’ money’ and opposing a proposed new Justice Center in the county. Rendall won re-election with 62 percent of the vote. 

Two other incumbent County Board Supervisors were not so fortunate. Both Bob Ryan (Door County) and Jeff Peter son (Polk County) were defeated this year. Ironically, Peterson, elected just two years ago, had also been recently appointed vice chair of the Polk County Board and was being asked to consider chairing the new, post-election County Board before he was challenged three days before the election with a well organized, “under the radar” write-in campaign that caught him totally by surprise. 

Peterson’s last minute challenger officially filed as a “write-in” candidate the Friday before the Tuesday election by a man who moved to the area in 2006. He and his supporters were ready to roll first thing Saturday morning with an efficiently coordinated literature drop throughout the district. In the literature, his opponent claimed that the county government was fleecing the tax payers, and that he would cap all taxes and slash county spending. He attacked Peterson for voting for the county budget (which raised property taxes by 13 percent) and for supporting the construction of a new environmentally conscious Highway Shop to replace the 75-year-old facility Polk County currently uses. Peterson, who didn’t have time to adequately respond to his challenger’s charges, lost 192 to 159, with 45 percent of the vote. 

Ryan, who was first elected to the Door County Board of Supervisors in 2002, has been actively involved with Sustain Door, a group of citizens and public officials looking for ways to help make Door County a more sustainable community. He is also involved with the Door County Histor ical Society and is the co-facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Program, a domestic violence prevention group. “Our county’s future, and the tax burden that its residents are asked to carry, are the two main reasons I’m running,” said Ryan during the campaign. “Two key issues are taxes and maintaining our rural environment.” 

His opponent, a self-employed farmer who was elected to the Clay Banks Town Board in 2007, accused Ryan of being “pressured by special interest groups.” He challenged Ryan in 2006 and lost by a mere handful of votes. This time he defeated Ryan by 56 votes, holding Ryan to 41 percent of the vote. 

Two other first-time Green candidates had impressive results, despite not winning their races: Michael Slattery for the Manitowoc County Board, and Bobby Gifford for the Portage County Board. Both ran strong, issue-based campaigns against well funded opponents. 

Slattery, who farms 370 acres in the predominantly rural Manitowoc County south of Green Bay, ran against the nephew of the incumbent, who outspent him ten to one. Although the district is rural, only 14 farms remain (including Slattery’s), while 25 percent of the population lives in $300,000-$400,000 homes and commute to jobs in Green Bay. 

Against an opponent who didn’t appear at candidate forums and whose primary message was that he would lower taxes, Slattery focused on the nation’s ‘big picture’, promoting non-violence, and opposition to the Iraq war. “I listed issues that we need to deal with: rising energy and commodity prices accompanying a pending recession,” said Slattery. De spite this, Michael Slattery took 37 percent of the vote. 

Gifford, who moved to Stevens Point from Milwaukee several years ago, ran against a long-tenured and well known incumbent. He ran with little money and little organized assistance, but ran on the issues important to him and important to Wisconsin. He ran on issues of the Natural Step, promoting the Eco-Municipality movement in Stevens Point, community supported agriculture and preparing for a post-Peak Oil society. “My opponent actually adopted my own expression ‘make the eco-municipality effort county-wide’ on his campaign literature, although the caveat was ‘if it didn’t impact the tax base.’” said Gifford. “I don’t feel beaten, I feel like the Board is now on notice from the citizens:  get with the program or step down.”  Gifford lost with 28 percent of the vote. 

The Wisconsin Green Party is continuing a history of running and winning in local races that goes back 22 years. Already the party is making plans for 2009 local common council races where seven incumbents will be up for re-election in Madison, Oshkosh, and Stevens Point. 

“We have our greatest impact at the local level where we can apply Green values to local issues.” said Cindy Stimmler, co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Party. “Several dozen communities in Wisconsin are actively working toward becoming ‘eco-municipalities’ through the Natural Step process and elected Wisconsin Greens are taking the lead in their local communities.” 

By David Doonan, Mayor of the Village of Greenwich, New York

Being a public elected official was never a recurring dream that haunted my sleep. While interested in politics and current affairs, in recent years the interest was more an intellectual exercise than an active pursuit. That began to change after listening to a talk in Glens Falls, New York by Ralph Nader in May 2007.

David Doonan with Ralph Nader

David Doonan with Ralph Nader

I sat in the audience as. Nader spoke at length about the need for citizen involvement at the local level. He talked about the example his parents set and told us to attend local government meetings to ensure our elected officials were acting responsibly. But when he said, “I’m going to tell you a Chinese proverb that you’ll never forget,” I rolled my eyes and silently said, “yeah, right.” Instead that proverb: “Those who know, and don’t do, don’t know,” struck home and continued to haunt me for weeks, until I finally decided to accept the challenge and run for office. 

The Village of Greenwich in Washington County is where I’ve lived for the past 17 years. Located about 50 miles north of the state capital Albany, it has a population of 1,900 and is located within the boundaries of two different towns; the more developed portion lies within the Town of Greenwich (population 5,000) and the less developed lies within the Town of Easton (population 2260) on the other side of the Battenkill River. Washington County has no four-lane roads, no enclosed shopping malls, no big box stores, no movie theatres and no television or radio stations, or even a daily newspaper. It wasn’t until the 1980 census that the human population surpassed the bovine population. In other words, the Village of Green wich, NY has nothing in common with Greenwich Village in New York City.

There were four positions I could have run for, Town Supervisor, Town Coun cilor, Village Mayor or Village Trustee. Ultimately my decision was made for me when the Village Mayor was quoted as saying that decisions are easier to make when the public isn’t present.

Village elections in Greenwich have been officially non-partisan for the past 20 years. But in New York State Village elections, non-partisan can be a misleading term. In essence, it means that one has the choice of running for office under the party to which you’re registered or one can run under the name of a non-existing party, pretending that the actual state recognized party system doesn’t exist. For instance, in the nearby town of White Creek, a local Democrat has been twice elected to office on the Woodpecker Party. When choosing a non-partisan party name, candidates must be careful that they don’t pick the same name as their opponents. That happened in this election when three candidates choose to run on the Greenwich Party; the public saw them as a slate, which they weren’t. Finally, to make matters even more confusing, if a candidate chooses to run non-partisan but does not write a party name on the petitions, then by State law, the village clerk has to assign a party name. 

I could have run as a Green. But instead I decided to run a non-partisan campaign. Most residents were upset at how the local government has been run and I knew they were looking for someone who would provide answers and a direction. For most voters, partisan politics was purely a secondary concern at best. My original intention was to run on a slate with one Demo crat and one Republican, but I ended up with two Democrats. Why did I choose to run on a slate? Quite simply, I was hoping to influence who would end up serving on the board with me. 

chose the name “Open Government” for our slate. However I did not hide my affiliation with the Green Party. At the initial volunteers meeting I made it very clear how committed to the Green Party I was (and still am). Every time I went door-to-door, my Green Party button was worn prominently and the local press repeatedly mentioned my membership in both the Green Party and the Industrial Work ers of the World. Many lifelong Re publicans who had probably never voted for a Democrat, told me that they were not only going to be voting for me, but that their entire families would be as well.

This was a very winnable race—one neighbor described the general attitude as “throw the bums out.” However, I decided not to run against the then current administration, but to put forward a positive message and attempt to provide realistic solutions for improving the community. 

Real estate was among the issues facing the community. Six years ago the Village Board secretly voted to purchase the largest piece of commercial property in the Village, the site of a former IGA food store. Today it still sits empty. Also our Village Hall is on the National Register of His toric Places by the United States Department of the Interior, but has been allowed to deteriorate since its purchase 40 years ago. The building lacks handicapped access and bricks are literally falling out of the buildings exterior walls. The Fire Depart ment is housed in the Village Hall, and is only allowed to operate because of very sympathetic inspectors.

James “Kim” Gannon, who wrote the words to the 1943 American classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” left a bequest together with his wife of $750,000 to be used for the youth of the Village. A commission of community members spent countless hours conducting surveys and interviews to determine the best way to go forward. A report was submitted to the Village Board, which said ‘thank you’ and promptly put it in a drawer. It was only during this past March 2008 that the community finally saw something tangible happen, half a decade since the Village received the bequest.

The costs for a new firehouse, rehabilitating Village Hall, and repairing or replacing the Village Water Tower, are expensive propositions, which is why none of the previous administrations dealt with them. Before beginning to actively campaign, I met with a local administrator of the Rural Communities Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get a handle on what types of grants and low interest loans might be available. I also attended a monthly meeting of the fire department, not just to put myself forward, but also to listen to them. 

In the 17 years we’ve lived in Greenwich, there have only been two contested elections for Trustee positions; the Mayor was never challenged. This year there were two of us running for Mayor and six candidates running for two open Trustee positions. 

While two weeklies and a bi-weekly serve our community, the daily papers in nearby Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls ignored the election. Because of the lack of daily coverage and the absence of a League of Women Voters willing to organize a de  bate, I decided to get the ball rolling on a candidate’s forum. I proposed a format to the high school principal and the rest of the candidates, which they all agreed to.

In essence, meeting with the USDA, an aide to our local congresswoman, the fire department and organizing a candidate’s forum, I was acting as if I were already in office.

For my campaign I held an open house to kick off the ballot petitioning and three supporters hosted “meet the candidate’ events. Greenwich requires 50 signatures to be listed on the ballot for village elections. The final weekend was spent going door-to-door. Money was donated by the state and national Green Party, as well as by the Greenwich Democrat Committee (my wife is vice president of the committee) and used to purchase advertisements in the local weeklies, lawn signs and palm & post cards. I also created a campaign web site from which I linked videos of the campaign forum.

Throughout the course of the month-long campaign, I tried to focus on three main issues: 1) Resolving the IGA property, determining the site of a new Fire House and repair of the Village Hall. 2) Seeking additional revenue streams to finance the above without burdening the taxpayers. 3) Opening up the government, allowing citizens a voice in shaping our community’s future.

On Election Day, March 18th, it was pretty strange walking into the voting booth and seeing my name on the ballot. When the votes were counted, our slate swept the results, with myself receiving 74 percent of the votes for Mayor.

To their credit, the outgoing administration received offers from two real estate brokers in January interested in purchasing the former IGA property, but decided to put off the matter until after the election. Unlike the secret decision to purchase the property six years ago, at the first Board Meeting I presided over, both brokers made presentations in public session. Rather than acting upon either offer, the Board decided to seek an independent appraisal of the property at my urging before proceeding. 

David Doonan holding office as Greenwich Mayor

David Doonan holding office as Greenwich Mayor

Three other items of note also happened at our first meeting. The meeting was videotaped for the first time, as will be all future board meetings, in anticipation of being uploaded to a future Village web site. Second, I submitted a written Mayor’s report of my activities. The Mayor is a public servant. Since the heads of the police, fire and public works departments are required to issue written reports, then so should the Mayor. It was a simple and effective way of demonstrating my desire to be held accountable for my actions. Thirdly, when the Trustees were given their committee assignments, I assigned them a list of tasks to accomplish. I wanted it clear to everyone that the new administration was not going to be a one-person show; that everyone had a voice.

Since the election, the number of people who have stepped forward to volunteer their time or offer constructive suggestions has been remarkable. While I have ultimate responsibility for the Village, I see my primary role as being that of a facilitator, finding a way to harness the energy of our citizens to improve the community. 

What I am attempting to do in this little corner of the world is to build an environment in which grassroots democracy can take root and flourish.

An interview with friction.tv can be found at: www.daviddoonan.com

 Platform Committee

Alert to all Greens—Please review the platform draft at www.gp.org/platform.shtml

Every four years Green Party members are asked to review and update the Green Platform. Greens are invited to submit amendments to the Platform Committee (Platcom) whose job it is to integrate the amendments into the 2004 Platform and produce the draft of the 2008 Green Platform.

Amendments have been received from October 2006 to April 1, 2008. During that time, editors were asked to take on the job of compiling, replacing and re-ordering where necessary, to produce a smooth, coherent, consistent draft. The editors are engaged in that task now. The Platform has four Chapters: Democracy, Social Justice, Sustainable Ecology and Sustainable Economy. 

The draft is mostly a shortened version of the 2004 Platform. The principles and polices have not changed. Certain subjects have been expanded or revised, such as sections on Immigration, Pop ulation, Energy, Waste Management, Global Warming, Taxes and Corporations. 

Editors of the four Chapters of the Draft Platform are: 

I J. Ellingston (jellingston@greens.org) and Jane Zara (jjzara@aol.com)

II John Ely (johnbethany@earthlink.net) and Jack Ailey (jjailey@comcast.net) 

III Mike Ewall (catalyst@actionpa.org) and Wes Rolley (wrolley@charter.net)

IV Erik Douglas (politicaltao@taotetao.com) and Jon Olsen (joliyoka@gwi.net).

Once the draft is ready, Mike Ewall, PlatCom secretary puts it on a website for everyone to review and comment up until July 5. The hope and expectation is that any serious objections to the text will be presented and resolved before the meeting in Chicago, on July 11. To reach the Platcom go to: platform-work@lists.gp-us.

 

Massachusetts

The Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) in Massachusetts saw an 81% increase in turn-out in its February 5 presidential primary compared to 2004, and is currently assembling a delegation to the National Convention in Chicago. The percentage breakdown of the vote was, in descending order: Ralph Nader (39.9%), Cynthia McKinney (25.4%), unidentified write-ins (14.6%), no preference (10.4%), Kat Swift (3.2%), Jared Ball (2.3%), Kent Mesplay (2.1%), and Elaine Brown (2.0%). Jesse Johnson was not included on the Massa chu setts ballot.

It is at the local level, however, where Party members feel they can make the most difference. Last year, the Rainbow Coalition Caucus of the GRP helped form a coalition against the escalating foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts. Taking the lead on networking direct action and more sweeping legislative strategies, the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL) formalized its existence this March, filing three pieces of legislation during a well-received press conference.
The Green-Rainbow Party is also developing a local ballot initiative drive, readying various ballot questions for local members and chapters to take to their communities. One of the questions being discussed is an emergency adoption of a single-payer healthcare system to replace the already-troubled bipartisan healthcare reform that went into effect in 2007. 

Another ballot initiative question, called A Secure Green Future, would shift state subsidies of greenhouse gas emitting industries towards community-based green jobs programs in conservation, renewables, and sustainable agriculture. Other questions being considered include a just response to the foreclosure crisis, progressive taxation, and ranked-choice voting. 

The GRP has also formed a fossil fuels subcommittee to work out a program to address the developing crises of global warming, peak oil, food security, etc.

 

 Nebraska

Since January of 2008, District 1 Greens have been coordinating a new Coalition for the Environment and Earth Day (CEED) with local groups, organizations, agencies, and businesses. “Earth Day, Every Day” was held Sunday, April 20, at the City’s Antelope Park. More than 70 Exhibitors displayed educational, artistic, and interactive work. Children’s activities focused on the world of nature; local musicians performed, and under pressure from CEED, the Mayor’s remarks announced two new environmental initiatives for local government. 

CEED was spearheaded by Greens, but the diversity of groups involved demonstrates that public concern is far ahead of political action. No event had been planned by the City to celebrate the 38th anniversary of Earth Day. 

Omaha Greens were instrumental in planning the “Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space Annual Organizing Conference and Protest at StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth,” April 11-13, 2008. As the United States Strategic Com mand is located in Omaha, it would be command central for a nuclear war. Since 9/11, it’s expanded mission is the “War on Terror,” and U.S. domination of space. This “New StratCom” is responsible for overseeing Global “First Strikes,” the National Security Agency’s “warrantless wiretaps,” and Ballistic Missile Defense. Speakers and participants gathered in Omaha from around the world, but no mainstream media covered the international event. 

Regular Peace Vigils are held in all three congressional districts. Greater Nebraska Greens are resisting an expanded coal-fired plant in Hastings. Greens statewide are preparing for the 2008 Convention, June 7, in Omaha at the PS Collective. 

Green Party candidates filing for 2008 elections in partisan races are Steve Larrick, U.S. Senate; and for Douglas County Board, District 1: Scott Hoffman; District 3: Tom Foster, and Derek Glaser; District 5: Susan Koneck. LaVerne Thraen filed for the Non-Partisan OPPD Board of Directors, and Doug Paterson is on the ballot for Omaha Public Service Commission.

 

 Utah

In March 2008 the Green Party of Utah Desert Greens approved the formation of the Local of Moab (MLGP) as well as by-laws and list of coordinators. The MLGP coordinators are Harold Shepherd, John Weisheit and Bob Lippman. To date, the MLGP has had several coordinator meetings and meetings with other entities. 

March 11, Harold Shep herd met with the Native American activists who are trying to bring attention to environmental issues through the cross country, “Longest Walk”. During this meeting Harold discussed with walk leaders plans by Transition Power Development, LLC to construct two nuclear power plants in Green River and other Utah uranium mining and milling issues.

MLGP Coordinators have met with other community activists to discuss development of a coalition that will address environmental and social issues related to energy development in south east Utah. This coalition will compile data on locations of existing oil and gas well parcel permits and leases, and lobby congress to extend funding limitation barring the federal government from issuing commercial leases on federal lands, before meaningful analysis of oil shale projects is completed. 

The MLGP is also working with Grand County to develop a Hazardous Waste Ordinance and with the City of Moab and Grand County on a municipal watershed protection ordinance, both of which will include language regarding oil and gas development. 

Finally, the MLGP is working with other conservationists: to protest water rights permits for the proposed nuclear power plants and a uranium mill in Green River; Grand County Water Board to develop legislation to protecting instream flows in rivers and streams rather than leasing water for energy production; and the Grand County Water Board and City of Moab on a proposal to limit federal funding for oil shale development in Utah and researching current legal issues related to conflicts between development and water availability in the Moab area.

 

 New York

New York Greens have more than a few reasons to be proud. On March 18 David Doonan, co-chair of the tri-county Greens (Southern Adirondacks  Region

4), was elected Mayor of the Village of Greenwich in a landslide victory with Doonan garnering 74% of the vote. In the Village of Schuylerville, Green Party member Roger Sherman ran unopposed to fill a vacated trustee position.

Many NY Greens participated in and organized peace marches and vigils all across the state denoting the passing of five years since “Shock and Awe” signaled the beginning of the illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Former Green mayor of New Paltz, Jason West, graced the front page of the state section of the New York Times. West is best known for marrying same sex couples in New Paltz. The article states: “He recently enjoyed some measure of vindication when a state appellate court ruled that same-sex marriages performed out of state must be recognized in New York State. “It’s a tremendous victory,” said Mr. West, who is heterosexual. ‘I think it’s only a matter of time before we have equal rights for same-sex couples.” 

The Green Party of New York State (GPNYS) offered condolences to the family of Sean Bell, when the police officers who killed him where exonerated. GPNYS also made a public statement rejecting the judge’s decision in the killing of Bell, an unarmed black man who was killed on the eve of his wedding.

fight for single payer health care is still being waged in New York State. Greens are working with health care activists (Physicians for a National Health Plan and Health Care Now) and unions to try and elevate voter awareness of single-payer bill at the national level (HR 676). As an incremental step, Greens are also working with state legislators to craft legislation broadening the availability of current state-run plans. 

GPNYS does not have ballot status and fell just short of regaining it in the 2006 interim elections. Thus the party reached out to enrolled Greens to give them a voice concerning the party’s presidential primary by sending a paper ballot to every enrolled Green. A successful fund drive was held to facilitate the mailing. 

 

 West Virginia

At its state convention on April 27, the Mountain Party again nominated Jesse Johnson as its candidate for governor in this fall’s election. Johnson ran four years ago and garnered 3% of the vote, one of the highest percentages of votes for a third-party candidate in the country.  Two candidates have filed for the WV House of Delegates, Robin Mills for the 51st and John Wel borne for the 30th districts. Also running are James “Andy” Waddell for the 11th Senate District and Klaus Heitmann for the Berkeley County Commission.

“We conducted a cordial and successful convention,” said MP Chair, Bob Henry Baber. “We are proud to offer both local and national alternatives to the broken two party system. We are also pleased to be the only party in West Virginia that opposes Moun tain top Removal, and that supports an impressive array of progressive stances on issues such as healthcare, worker’s rights, environmental issues, and human rights. If you’re fed up with the status quo, the Mountain/Green Party offers real alternatives for real people— people such as you!”

Officers elected for two-year terms were: Chair, Bob Henry Baber, Vice-Chair, Bill Price; Secretary, Karen Grubb; Treasurer, Frank Young; and Deputy Com misioners, Lesia Null, Greg Carroll, and Eric McLaughlin. Karen Grubb and Jesse Johnson, with Frank Young and Eric McLaughlin as alternates, were re-appointed as delegates to the National Committee. The Mountain Party approved the appointment of Jesse Johnson to the International Committee and Bill Price to the Diversity Committee.

 

 North Carolina

In 2005 the North Carolina Green Party joined the Libertarian Party in a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina challenging the state’s ballot access laws as unconstitutional. The case was heard in superior court in early May. After three days of convincing testimony including an appearance by Richard Winger as an expert witness, the judge found against the plaintiffs. The case will be appealed.