The Arizona Green Party is in the Alice-in-Won≠der≠land position of both having and seeking ballot status. It is still technically a ballot status party, which has a pay-off in that folks can check on their state tax returns to have money given to the party, and AGP can still get information from the state/counties, on an equal basis with the other political parties. But the ballot status will expire later this year, on the day when registrations are tallied. So we have begun gathering signatures again, for the 2010 elections and already have nearly 4000 statewide. Weíll offer a free place to stay for anyone who wants to plan now for a “See Sunny Ari≠zona,” signature gathering trip next winter. Contact Claudia Ellquist by leaving a message at 520-798-6169.
New London Greens are taking the lead in promoting the idea of Land Value Tax, a shift to land over buildings for local property taxation. New London Greens have been working to ob≠tain unanimous City Council passage of a resolution to draft a bill for the LVT option in an effort to create a more equitable economy in communities. With a state≠wide coalition of environmentalists, un≠ions, and municipalities, endorsement expectations are high.
Connecticut, like most states, has a highly regressive property tax, which has depressed local economies by taxing building im≠provements, leading to empty buildings and lots, and speculation. Land Value Tax offers a number of benefits well documented by communities around the world. Land is key to conditions of economic justice or in≠justice. LVT works to improve com≠mon wealth, and thus a communityís economic well being.
The state legislature is developing a pilot program, most likely for New London, where the issue first arose. For more information visit: www.re-newlondoncouncil.org and www.urbantools.org.
Jayne King, Bill Milner, and Bon≠nie Redding are winding up their first year as co-chairs and secretary of the Green Party of Florida (GPF). They have brought to their positions, years of experience in community organizing, working with large governmental and corporate entities, small business ownership, and interaction with the international Green parties.
Florida is a very large state with 67 counties. In order to carry out a statewide outreach campaign, the state was divided into four regions, with a coordinator for each region. Greens have experienced a new wave of interest following the 2008 elections, with two new locals being established and several others in the process of reactivation. Florida Greens across the state have been participating in community festivals, marches, public and private events, and campaigns where Green Values have been promoted.
Gains have been made in public acceptance of the Evergladesí Restoration Project and in medical marijuana benefits. The Green Party has joined with others in promoting the rights of workers and immigrants. As a member of the recently formed Florida Peace Congress, there is an op≠portunity for the FGP to be more influential in the promotion of peace. Workshops in solar power, raw foods, and community gardens have been conducted. Greens have been appointed to county task forces and advisory boards, assisting with public policy development, and utilizing radio and newspaper publicity effectively.
Cara Jennings is now serving her second term on the Lake Worth City Commission, where she and two strong supporters of Green values constitute a majority on the dais. Jennings is providing leadership in this urban, South Florida coastal community, im≠plementing significant Green initiatives and policies in Lake Worth, and providing an example for elected officials and citizens in other cities around the state.
Michael Canney, a past co-chair of the GPF, recently campaigned for Alachua City Com≠mis≠sion, garnering 36 percent of the vote against a long-time in≠cumbent (see article in Elections section).
One present focus of the GPF is to promote a “carbon-free and nuclear-free” energy policy based on investment in renewable en≠ergy technologies. The GPF has joined the Nuclear Resource and Information Service in a petition to intervene in the licensing of two new reactors at Progress Energyís Levy Nuclear Power Plant.
The Indiana Green Party delegates and officers have been meeting monthly via telephone conference calls. Co-chairs are Mary Meyer of Oldenburg and Jim Coplen of LaPorte. National Committee delegates are Sarah Dillon of Terre Haute and Jay Parks of Indiana≠polis.
On April 24 and 25, members of the Duneland Greens local took part in a participatory dem≠ocracy discussion sponsored by Indiana University Northwest at the IU Northwest Gary campus. At least two members of INGP attended a weeklong Democracy for America Campaign Academy at Lafayette, Indiana, in May.
The state party is presently contacting state legislators to urge the easing of ballot access requirements. One Republican state senator has announced the possibility of such discussion by the Sum≠mer Study Committee, and two Democratic representatives have stated their support for such a measure.
The INGP web site will undergo changes after being moved to another server. Meanwhile a blog site, ingreen≠action.blogspot.com, is operational.
The Maryland GP had its annual as≠sembly in May in Annapolis. Greens from across the state gathered to strategize electoral campaigns for 2010 and discussed responses to regional water and pollution issues. Rosa Clemente, former Green Party vice-presidential candidate, delivered the keynote address.
The MGP also plans to celebrate Michael Cornellís re-election to the Columbia Council and support George Gluckís run for Montgomery County Council (georgegluck.com).
Over the winter, the MGP worked to introduce two bills into the 2009 Maryland General Assembly. SB947 and HB1562 would decrease the signature re≠quirement all minor parties must meet to become ballot-qualified. Both bills found bipartisan sponsorship and made it through an initial hearing. The MGP plans to continue working to improve ballot access through its own legislation and through the efforts of the new Maryland Ballot Access Coalition. Maryland Greens also worked to support new restrictions on the use of Marylandís death penalty, re-regulation of public utilities, and new limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Metro-area (St. Paul and Min≠ne≠a≠polis) Green Par≠ties had a kickoff party for a new watchdog project for local government. A free, home-cooked Indian dinner was served on April 25 at the Dunning Field Recreation Cen≠ter. Cam Gordon, Minnea≠polis City Councilmember, and Annie Young, Minneapolis Parks Board member, spoke about their experiences in local government and enumerated ways residents can build momentum for greener policies at the local level. Shrink≠ing media coverage of local issues may not change soon, but the Green Parties of the 4th and 5th congressional districts (St. Paul and Minneapolis) are launching a new online vehicle to build their own change. The projectís goal is to mobilize a constituency to take action when important local decisions arise. “By building a watchdog website and e-mail/phone campaign for a broad spectrum of local issues, we can push local government toward more innovative, greener, fairer, and more humane policies,” stated Jesse Mortenson, 4th Congressional District co-chair.
The plan is to: 1) establish a website that is a tool for citizens to take action on local issues; 2) hire a savvy activist to keep tabs on local government agendas; 3) connect with advocacy groups; and 4) bring it all to residents through the website. Mortenson said, “The website will feature cutting-edge digital advocacy tools, bringing the techniques and accessibility of sites like moveon.org to matters of local government, for the first time in the Metro.” “Interested citizens can volunteer for the initial editorial board, vote for their choice of names for the new website, or sign up to write about local issues once it is launched,” said Troy Trooien, 4th Congressional District co-chair.
Candidate campaigns are also in the works in Minnesota. So far, Dave Bicking, candidate for Minneapolis city council, is the only one who has launched an organized campaign, but others are expected to follow. The endorsing convention for Min≠ne≠apolis was May 9. This will be the first election where Instant Runoff Voting is the law of the land.
Other activities in which the state party has been involved were the May Day Parade, for which an ad was purchased in the May Day Parade tabloid, and participation in parades for Juneteenth and GLBT Pride.
The Green Party of Rhode Island held a state meeting on April 18, 2009. Lincoln Chafee, former Republican U.S. Senator from Rhode Island addressed the meeting, announcing his intention to run for the office of Gov≠ernor as an Independent, and seeking GPRI support for his candidacy. He focused on his record while in the U.S. Senate, mentioning his anti-war stance and his pro-environment record in support of the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts. Prev≠ious to this meeting, Chafee met with Eric Siegel, co-chair of the GPRI Coordinating Committee and Greg Gerritt. GPRI members present at the meeting generally viewed Chafeeís candidacy in a positive light.
Elections were held, and Tony Affigne and Richard Walton were re-affirmed as members of the International Committee. Lynn Schultz was elected as a new GPRI representative to the Interna≠tional Committee to replace Richard Lobban. Liz Marsis was elected to fill a vacancy on the Coordi≠nat≠ing Committee. Eric Siegel was re-elected as co-chair of the GPRI Coordinating Committee. Kathy Rourke, currently serving as secretary of the Coordinating Committee, was elected as the second co-chair. All these elections were unanimous. Rourke will also continue to perform the duties of secretary. Nick Schmader and Paula Moran were also re-elected as members of the GPRI Coord≠inating Committee. Tony Affigne and Nick Schmader were re-affirmed unanimously as GPRI delegates to the National Commit≠tee. Richard Walton was re-af≠firmed as an alternate delegate to the National Committee.
After the business meeting was adjourned, a dinner followed to honor the contributions made by Greg Gerritt to the Green Party of Maine, GPRI, and to GPUS. Richard Walton, Tony Affigne and David Segal, former Providence City Council member (elected as a Green) spoke, ac≠knowl≠edging Gerritt for his many contributions and accomplishments.
On March 30, Rep. Elliott Nai≠sh≠tat read HR680 into the record of the Texas State House of Representatives in recognition of the service the late Bill Holl≠oway, an active Green, gave to the people of Travis County, the state of Texas, his birth state of Oklahoma, and the nation.
Travis County Green Party distributed flyers and inserted questions into the agenda at candidate forums being held throughout Austin, prior to the May city council election. This was in partnership with the Gray Panthers and a local citizensí organization, Austinites Lobbying for Muni≠ci≠pal Accountability. Bill Holloway had initiated these partnerships and sent a letter of inquiry to the local District Attorney requesting an investigation into possible fraud and observed forgery of legal contracts on the part of certain city officials and local contractors in the management of low income home restoration funding. The Green Party is following his leadership by continuing his effort to get the attention of investigative reporters. Report≠ers, in turn, can ask the District Attor≠ney why there has not yet been an investigation.
At the state level, the Green Partyís lobbyist continues his work and is blogging at txgreens.org. In observance of the 10th anni≠versary of GPT, a statewide party is being planned for early fall.
Back in Novem≠ber, the Moab Local Green Party (MLGP) collected over 300 signatures to assist the Green Party of Utah (GPUT) in successfully putting Cynthia McKinney on the Utah ballot as an independent candidate for Pres≠ident of the United States. Besides the McKinney petition, the MLGP has been working primarily to address the impacts of energy development on water in the Grand County area including: 1) filing protests regarding the Bureau of Land Managementís December 2008 oil and gas lease parcel sale (resulting in the revocation of the sale by Interior Sec≠retary Ken Salazar); 2) joining other conservation organizations in appealing to the state Depart≠ment of Oil, Gas and Miningís issuance of a permit to the Dan≠ish Flats evaporation waste pit facility in the Cisco Desert (resulting in an agreement between conservationists and the facility that will protect water quality and migratory birds from contamination by the produced water stored there); 3) joining forces with other activists in Moab in temporarily stopping the construction of a luxury development in the area of the famous Slick Rock Bicycle trail in the Sand Flats area of Moab; 4) working with the Grand County council to develop a county watershed management plan; 5) petitioning the County Council to comment on a federal review of oil shale research and development in Utah and the effects oil shale development has on the Colo≠rado River and other water resources; and 6) petitioning the county and city of Moab to adopt a watershed protection ordinance focusing on oil and gas development.
GPUT helped to review and comment on the Water Resolu≠tion crafted by the GPUS Eco-Action Committee, calling for governmental agencies to recognize water as a human right, to stop the privatization of water, and to recognize tribal water rights and the impacts of energy development on water resources in the west. The resolution was ultimately adopted by the GPUS as Proposition 380. Utah Greens have endorsed and printed the Eco-Action Committeeís water brochure to be used to promote Green Party water protection events. Finally, the GPUT drafted and endorsed several letters to the Utah Congressional delegation on the impacts of oil and gas, nuclear power, and oil shale development on Utahís unique canyon countryís environment and archeological resources.