10

Fairvote reports on instant runoff voting elections in 6 cities

Rob Richie and Dorothy Scheeline of Fairvote have written some interesting analysis of last week’s elections that used instant runoff voting, aka ranked choice voting. Instant runoff voting was used in San Francisco, CA, St. Paul, MN, and Portland, ME; in all three cities, Greens both helped enact IRV and ran in last Tuesday’s elections. For the mayoral elections in Portland and San Francisco, Fairvote has graphs that show the breakdown of votes round by round until someone takes a majority (in Portland, Greens David Marshall and John Eder finished 4th and 12th of 15; in SF, Green Terry Baum finished 11th of 16). In a Huffington Post article, Richie and Scheeline focus on the story of IRV’s success in Portland:

Repeatedly, we are seeing RCV winners being the candidates who do a particularly effective job at reaching out to voters, often with direct contact involving community debates, local events, and door-knocking. One Portland candidate, David Marshall, said he knocked on 20,000 doors. He didn’t win, but it was ballots from his supporters that provided a particularly strong boost to the new mayor’s win total.

3

Campaign news and more endorsements for Green Party candidates running in the Nov. 8, 2011 general election

From the Green Party of the United States:

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party candidates have continued to receive endorsements in local races across the US.

59 Greens will be on ballots in the November 8, 2011 general election. Ten Greens have been elected to public office in elections held earlier this year, out of 34 candidates who competed.

Green candidates in St. Paul, Minnesota, received several endorsements. For the first time, St. Paul will use Ranked Choice Voting (also called Instant Runofff Voting) in City Council elections, which will increase the chances of a Green election victory.

TakeAction Minnesota, a progressive grassroots coalition, has endorsed Jim Ivey for Ward 2 (http://iveyforsaintpaul.org) and Bee Kevin Xiong (http://xiongforsaintpaul.org) for Ward 6 in City Council races.
http://www.takeactionminnesota.org/_assets/document/St._Paul_City_Council_Endorsements.pdf
http://iveyforsaintpaul.org/news/jim-ivey-endorsed-takeaction-mn

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 has also endorsed Mr. Ivey and Mr. Xiong.
http://www.ufcw789.org/newsletter/vol2issue5.pdf
http://iveyforsaintpaul.org/news/united-food-and-commercial-workers-endorse-jim Continue Reading

1

Huffington Post interviews Terry Baum, Green for San Francisco Mayor

The Huffington Post recently interviewed Terry Baum, California Green Party candidate for San Francisco Mayor:

Why should we vote for you?

You should vote for me because I’m a Green, and I represent a vision that this city — and our whole country — desperately needs. In this time of reactionary ranters and passive progressives, the politics of the U.S. are being pulled rapidly to the right. The Democratic Party has been incapable of confronting the idiocies of the Tea Party and the frightening rhetoric of the religious right. We need a stronger voice on the left, and the Green Party is that voice for sanity, for significant reform, and for standing up to the corporations and the wealthy, who have been dominating political dialog.

Read the full interview at the Huffington Post.

2

KALW News interview with Terry Baum, Green for San Francisco Mayor

KALW News has published an interview with Terry Baum, Green Party candidate for Mayor of San Francisco, at SFGate.com:

This year’s SF mayoral election is ranked choice, meaning San Franciscans can all vote for more than one candidate. If the frontrunner doesn’t get a majority of first place votes, the second place votes kick in. And that process is going to make for a lot of contenders – 16 of them, in fact. And one is Terry Baum.

Baum worked on the congressional campaign of famed feminist Bella Abzug back in 1970. She then moved to the Bay Area and started working with a lesbian theater company. In 2004 she ran as a Green candidate against Representative Nancy Pelosi for her seat in the House. And now, Baum is taking her thoughts back to the people of San Francisco by running for mayor.

Read the interview at SFGate.com.

1

Terry Baum Running for SF Mayor

The Bay Area Reporter has a feature piece on Terry Baum, an out lesbian and Green who is challenging the Democratic Party status quo in San Francisco Politics by running for Mayor.

“There are a lot of problems in San Francisco and Democrats have been governing a long time. They have to take responsibility for those problems,” said Baum, 64, in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter. “We have a one-party city. It is not healthy for North Korea being a one-party state and it is not healthy for San Francisco.”

City Hall is awash in cronyism, contends Baum, who argues electing her mayor would bring that to an end.

“The best way to break that up and bring some fresh air in would be to elect a Green mayor,” she said. “People feel disconnected from politics because there aren’t enough voices.”

Due to ranked-choice voting, Baum argued she can’t be tarred and feathered as a spoiler candidate, as Green candidates have been blamed in the past.

“There is no issue of throwing away your vote,” said Baum. “People are free to vote for me as their number one and put the person they think has a better chance of winning as their number two.”

Read the entire article here.

0

Former Green Party Matt Gonzalez bid for Mayor of San Francisco in 2003(a history lesson)

(Taken from wikipedia)

In 2003, Gonzalez ran for Mayor of San Francisco, in a bid to replace outgoing two-term mayor Willie Brown. On a ballot with nine candidates’ names, Gonzalez finished second in the initial mayoral election on November 4 behind Gavin Newsom, a Democrat and fellow member of the Board of Supervisors who had been endorsed by Brown. Gonzalez received 19.6 percent of the total vote to Newsom’s 41.9 percent. Because none of the candidates received a majority a run-off election was held on December 9, gaining national and international media coverage.

Gonzalez faced a difficult run-off election; only three percent of voters in San Francisco were registered to his Green Party, and the Democratic Party, dominant in San Francisco, was opposing his candidacy. If elected, Gonzalez would have been the first Green Party mayor of any large American city. Although Gonzalez was endorsed by several key local Democrats, including five among the Board of Supervisors, national Democratic figures, concerned about Ralph Nader’s role in the 2000 presidential election, became involved on Newsom’s behalf. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi all campaigned for Newsom. In the left-leaning political newsletter CounterPunch, Bruce Anderson wrote, “If Matt Gonzalez, a member of the Green Party, is elected mayor of San Francisco, it will be a dagger straight into the rotted heart of the Democratic Party… He wants to represent the many against the fortunate few the present mayor has faithfully represented for years now.”

The candidate, however, saw the election in similar terms. “They’re scared, not of a Green being elected mayor”, he said, “but of an honest person being elected mayor.” Many volunteers worked on Gonzalez’s campaign in the run-off. “He’s the indie-rock Kennedy”, one supporter said of Gonzalez. Said Rich DeLeon, professor of political science at San Francisco State University, “The Gonzalez campaign was truly a mobilizing campaign. It really attracted young people who had not been involved — who were perhaps cynical and apathetic — into the active electorate.”

Progressives championed Gonzalez as an alternative to a more centrist Democratic mainstream:

“ Gonzalez was the first Mexican-American, non-Democratic Party candidate in the City’s history to actually campaign, unabashedly, as a leftist and anti-corporate politician. He turned San Francisco’s sordid and sold-out political history upside down, invoking an inspired and conscious resistance from the City’s previous generations’ experiences of exclusion, exploitation, disenfranchisement and dot.com displacement. ”

In an interview in January 2005 on his last day in office as a Supervisor, Gonzalez said of his campaign, “After getting in the runoff, literally the day after, as I heard Mayor Brown and others start attacking me for being a communist and racist, well, I started thinking I was going to lose in the very landslide I had foreseen for other candidates. Naturally, I worked hard to represent progressive ideas and win the race. By the end, we started thinking, hey, maybe it’s possible.”

Newsom outspent Gonzales $4.4–4.9 million to $800,000–900,000. Gonzalez sought to tighten spending caps and expand public financing, and accused Newsom of campaign improprieties and spending limit violations. Newsom won the election by 133,546 to 119,329 votes.

Newsom won the run-off race, capturing 53 percent of the vote to Gonzalez’s 47 percent, and winning by about 11,000 votes. Newsom ran as a business friendly centrist Democrat and a moderate in San Francisco politics; some of his opponents called him conservative.  Newsom claimed he was a centrist in the Dianne Feinstein mold.  He ran on the slogan “great cities, great ideas” and presented over 21 policy papers. Newsom pledged to continue working on San Francisco’s homelessness issue. Newsom was sworn in as Mayor on January 3, 2004. He called for unity among the city’s political factions and promised to address the issues of potholes, public schools, and affordable housing. Newsom said he was “a different kind of leader who “isn’t afraid to solve even the toughest problems.”

8

Green mayoral candidate and Nader’s VP candidate Matt Gonzalez named chief attorney of San Francisco’s Public Defender

Posted by Ross Levin at IPR:

For some time, Matt Gonzalez represented the Green Party as well as his constituency on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He also ran what was perhaps the most competitive Green campaign for mayor of a major city in US history, losing by about six percentage points to Gavin Newsom. He later left the Green Party and became Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2008. Now he is back in power in San Francisco, having been appointed to be the chief attorney of the city’s Public Defender’s office. From The Bay Citizen:
Continue Reading

0

San Francisco Green Party endorses the campaign to repeal Prop 8 this year

From the San Francisco LGBT issues Examiner:

The Green Party of San Francisco has officially endorsed Restore Equality 2010 (RE 2010), the campaign to repeal Proposition 8. On February 24th, the SF Green Party held their monthly meeting at the San Francisco LGBT Center where they were joined by three of the Regional Representatives for RE 2010. Together, they discussed the signature gathering effort to get marriage equality back on the ballot in November.

“The Green Party is proud to distinguish itself as the Party which has always and unequivocally supported full equality for the LGBT community,” said Paul Platt, SF Green Party County Council member. “In keeping with this tradition, we enthusiastically endorse, and commit to working on the campaign to repeal Prop 8 and restore equality this November.” Continue Reading

5

Wall St Journal Expose on San Francisco Greens

The Wall Street Journal has shined a flashlight at the San Francisco Green Party in this article, stating: “Declines in Membership, Donations Mirror National Organization’s Struggles; Headquarters Close but Meetings Remain”.

I highly recommend reading this article, it offers so many different angles to Green Party growth, stagnation, decline, purpose, mission, etc.

Matt Gonzalez:

Mr. Gonzalez, meanwhile, says he left the Green Party because he wanted to run for vice president as an independent, and hasn’t rejoined the local Greens in part because of their lack of organization. He says Greens have hurt themselves by placing ideology ahead of practicality, such as by imposing rules that limit how much in contributions a Green candidate could take. “Sometimes you can apply principles of political purity that aren’t very functional and you run into problems,” he says. “It’s part of the charm, but it’s also a liability if it’s taken too far.”

Ross Mirkarimi:

San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, the only Green politician currently in elected city office, says the party didn’t adequately retain Green voters excited by Mr. Nader’s 2000 presidential bid, Mr. Gonzalez’s 2003 mayoral bid and Mr. Mirkarimi’s 2004 supervisor bid. “We didn’t harness in a way where we could rebuild our profile locally,” he says.

The supervisor says the Green Party, locally and nationally, can rebuild itself by focusing on winning elections and sharpening its message, which he says is too vague, to appeal to more voters. Building coalitions with Democrats can also help, he says.

Brent McMillan:

Brent McMillan, executive director of the Green Party of the U.S., estimates that the recession sent donations plummeting about 10% from a couple of years earlier. He adds that many Greens left the party to vote for Democratic President Barack Obama. “There was a tough time,” Mr. McMillan says.

Erika McDonald:

“It’s been an uphill battle,” says Green Party spokeswoman Erika McDonald. “It’s never been easy building an alternative.”

Read the article, please comment here!