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Green Party CA Contested Gubernatorial Race

Green Party Governor’s Race

It looks like the Green Party of California will have something that the Democrats don’t this year: a contested race for Governor. Both Laura Wells (NoCal) and Deacon Alexander (SoCal) have taken the initial steps to challenge for this post and both seem to be headed for a formal announcement in early January.

I had to take a couple of days to think about this one. It is not usual for the GPCA to have contested races. But, I think that we should welcome this one as it gives a chance to let everyone know just what the Green Party is all about.

Laura Wells has run for Controller before, polling over 600,000 votes in 2002. That is the most of any Green in California Electoral History. She is a strong advocate for economic justice.

Deacon Alexander is just a strong advocate for social justice, especially when that is being denied on any of fraudulent basis that our society manages to come up with.

I need to admit here that I have agreed to assist Laura in her campaign, but either of these two candidates will be a refreshing change from the two major parties where Jerry Brown’s fund raising has chased everyone else from the Democratic contest and Meg E-Bay Whitman is trying to buy the Republican nomination outright.

Greens take no corporate donations and neither candidate is a wealthy as the millionaire list that the Republicans are running (Whitmen, Poizner, Fiorina for Senator). Rather Greens will win their votes the hard way. They will earn them listening to people rather than talking at them, on their feet rather than on the airways (may I never hear another Whitman ad again… they are as jarring when listening to KDFC as are the Coit rug cleaning commercials.)

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GP Canada’s Elizabeth May debates Climate Change

Be it resolved climate change is mankind’s defining crisis and deserves a commensurate policy response.

That was the proposition debated last night in Toronto. The participants were:

  • George Monbiot: author of the best selling books Heat: how to stop the planet burning;
  • Bjørn Lomborg: adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He is the organizer of the Copenhagen Consensus Center
  • Lord Nigel Lawson: was Chancellor of the Exchequer between June 1983 and October 1989
  • Elizabeth May: Leader of the Green Party of Canada and is an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer active in the environmental movement since 1970.

A running blog comment stream came from:

* Dave Roberts (Grist.com staff writer),
* David Boyd (co-author, with David Suzuki, David Suzuki’s Green Guide),
* Jim Harris (former leader, Green Party of Canada),
* Nic Rivers (co-author, with Jeffrey Simpson and Marc Jaccard, Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge),
* Peter Tertzakian (Chief Energy Economist of ARC Financial Corporation, Author, A Thousand Barrels a Second),
* Krystyn Tully (Vice President, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper)

Read the following comments about Elizabeth May’s performance. Who in all of the Green Party US has the stature to be invited to debate and the capability to actually deliver?

David Roberts:
Crucial point from May: climate science based on multiple overlapping strands of evidence from multiple scientific disciplines. Not some fragile edifice based on one “hockey stick.”

David Roberts:
May is kicking Lomborg’s ass. Asks, pertinently, why is it only spending on climate change that he objects to? What about corporate bailouts? Fossil fuel subsidies? Military spending? He’s curiously quiet on those.

[Comment From Doug Brown: ]
I agree with Elizabeth on this point — I’ve lived and worked in Africa for many years and that is the same observation I would make on this point — climate change is negatively impacting the very things related to poverty and underdevelopment that we are concerned about

DavidRBoyd:

MAy is getting close to the heart of Lomborg’s duplicity. Why is the choice limited to spending money on foreign aid OR climate change? Added together, the amount of money needed to address the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and climate change is a substantial yet affordable sum. We can and should do both!

David Roberts:
Good point from May: why aren’t we talking about benefits? Efficiency is an oil well we could never exhaust, and provides energy cheaper than any other alternative. Why not tap it?

Krystyn Tully:
When May says we waste energy, she isn’t kidding. Generating electricity on the Great Lakes consumes more energy than any other sector. Our current approach to energy creation is incredibly inefficient (p. 248) : http://www.epa.gov/solec/sogl2007/SOGL2007.pdf

Cross posted from California Greening. – Wes Rolley

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REAPING RICHES IN A WRETCHED REGION: SUBSIDIZED INDUSTRIAL FARMING AND ITS LINK TO PERPETUAL POVERTY

Lloyd G. Carter is a Fresno County (CA) Green with a long resume in both journalism and law.  He was recently published in the Environmental Law Review, Golden Gate University, same title as this post.   You may have heard about Sean Hannity and the use of Fox News to propagandize the water situation in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  They would have you believe it is about farmers vs. a little minnow. Lloyd has another story.

At nearly 1000 square miles, the Westlands is still dominated by a few pioneer dynastic families although congressional backers of the San Luis Unit half a century ago promised that 6100 small family farms would be created if Northern California river water was brought to the desert on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley (Valley).6 The promise was never kept, and the larger landowners are still in control. While Westlands, considered one of the nation‘s most politically powerful irrigation districts, has produced an undisputable bounty of cotton and field crops over the decades in western Fresno and Kings counties, irrigation of this mineral-laden desert has also created huge environmental problems, and the wealth generated has not trickled down to farmworkers or the surrounding poverty-stricken communities.

This story, in one fashion or another is playing out in every every state. We need more leaders like Carter who can deliver.

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Ross Mirkarimi selected for California Coastal Commission

San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is the highest level Green Party office holder in California.  He was recently selected for a term as  the North Central Coast representative on the California Coastal Commission.  His term runs from March, 2009 to May, 2011.

As a Supervisor, Mirkarimi has developed a reputation for his expertise in land use planning.  On the Coastal Commission, he will have ample opportunity to use that expertise as almost everything the Commission does involves land use in one way or another.

The twelve members of Coastal Commission are appointed to their office.  The Governor, the California State Senate Rules Committee and the Speaker of the State Assembly each can appoint four members: two from the public at large and two from among elected officials in designated coastal districts.  Mirkarimi was appointed by the Senate Rules Committee controlled by Democrats.

There are some who have cynically commented that this is a move by the Democrats to convince Ross to change his registration.  Other hope that this shows everyone that Greens can work within the body politic and succeed in spite of belonging to a very minority party.

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California Budget Deal Costs 3rd Parties

The search for one Republican vote necessary to approve a new budget for the State of California ended at 6:15 this morning. State Senator Abel Maldonado crossed party lines to vote with the Democrats in a deal that combines cuts in services, increases in taxation and borrowing to close a $40 billion deficit. The deal could also save Maldonado’s political career at the cost of eliminating 3rd party participation in general elections.

As part of the deal, Maldonado extracted an agreement to put two measures on the ballot for the voters of California in 2010. One is reasonable and the other is not. Salaries for members of the State Legislature are set by in independent commission. This year, even with the large deficit, they gave the legislators a salary increase. One of the two measures that Maldonado wanted would prevent legislators from getting a raise when the State budget has a deficit.

The other is much more of a personal gift disguised as a measure to open up elections. It would change the primary system in California to one that would select the top two candidates for office regardless of party. In the conservative Central Valley of California, this would generally deliver a general election between two Republicans. In San Franicisco, it is more likely to deliver one between two Democrats. It will, however, almost certainly ensure that no third party candidate will ever reach the general election. That single fact will deter the most qualified candidates from seeking to run as a Green or a Libertarian or anything other than as a representative of the duopoly.

Maldonado is a relatively moderate Republican, representing a carefully constructed district that stretches from the edge of Sililcon Valley all the way to the agricultural community of Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County. He has ambitionns to run for statewide office after his current term as State Senator is over in 2012. At that time, he would have served his limit of two terms in the State Senate.

After this vote, there is no way that Maldonado could be elected in a very partisan Republican primary. He would surely be opposed by the very right wing California Republican Assembly, which resembles the John Birch Society on policy. This deal provides the only way that Maldonado can achieve a statewide office where his being willing to compromise on the budget would appeal to independent voters.

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Dear Governor Greenwash,

I would really like to claim the creation of the innovative title for our governor. Calling him “Ahnuld” makes him sound harmless like the neighbor next door that we enjoy talking to. However, I picked up that turn of phrase from NASA climatologist, Dr. James Hansen, who has used it effectively and publicly.

Our own Governor Greenwash is doing the public dance, wrapping green words around a policy of growth and exploitation, slamming environmentalists as being nay-says, contributing to our problems rather than to their solutions.

We currently have no narrative that allows us to explain the complexities of the water situation in California that has the simplicity of the Governor’s. His “we don’t have enough water so build more dams” is easy to explain and fits with a public mis-conception as to how nature works. Unfortunately, we are playing in nature’s ball park and nature bats last. (sorry for the sports analogy). Continue Reading