January 27, 2009

Approved* minutes from the 7PM 1-27-09 SCC CTGP meeting without quorum at Portland Senior Center

Location: Portland Senior Center, 7 Waverly Avenue, Portland, CT 06480

Attendees by chapter:
Fairfield: Paul Bassler and Richard Duffee;
Greater Hartford: Co-chairpersons: Steve Fournier and Michael DeRosa, Secretary: Barbara Barry; Treasurer: Christopher Reilly;
Northeast: G. Scott Deshefy Facilitator: Steve Fournier

A. Preliminaries:

1. Introductions of voting/non-voting attendees; chapters; quorum no met; no timekeeper.

2. Approval of tonight’s proposed agenda, any deletions: review of the EC and SCC meetings due to lack of quorum; additions: a) Steve Fournier’s review of the 2008 elections, prior elections and the 2005 CT Campaign Finance Reform law and regulations and b) CTGP Internal Elections Committee.

3. DELETE: Review and approval of minutes of 12-30-09 SCC meeting.

4. DELETE: Review and acceptance of the minutes of the 1-19-09 EC meeting.

5. Treasurer’s report from treasurer: Christopher Reilly: balance to this date: $1505.83 which is different from the 12-31-08 printed report. CR: the typical expenditures for the annual CTGP internal elections is about $1600 for printing, postage and mailing of ballots to CTGP members. This also includes $100 to get rid of duplicates or wrong addresses. Consensus: a) we do not have the money ($300) to get the state-wide mailing list so we will continue to pool the lists from chapters and last year’s state-wide list. b) MD is to request the alpha list for each CT town from the Secretary of State’s office. It will be given to Steve Fournier who will extract the list of Greens in each town.

B. Any proposals/referendums by chapters, committee.

1. The ACLU has requested that the CTGP address as a political party how it perceives the 2005 CT Campaign Finance Reform Law has affected the CTGP and other third political parties. Steve Fournier, co-chairperson, has written an Election Autopsy for the SCC to review and vote on for receipt by the ACLU in March 2009. Below is the Election Autopsy by Steve Fournier:

Four our first meeting of 2009, having had a couple of months to reflect on the election of 2008, it seems a good time to assess our status and plan for the coming year and the 2010 election.

Vote-getting experience:

In the election of the U.S. House of Representative, Greens received less than 5% of the vote. Green candidates were excluded from most broadcast debates and largely ignored by the media. Green won ballot status in 3 districts and will be able to run candidates without petitioning in the next congressional election, but no Green candidate had a discernible effect on the outcome.

In state elections, four Green candidates in three-way races did poorly (under 10%), even though their districts were safe for the Democrat. In the one two-way contest, the Green candidate did better at 19%. Voters for our write-ins likely were not all counted, and there were fewer than 100 recorded altogether.

Under the campaign finance law, now under legal challenge, all but one of our ballot candidates got so few votes that successor candidates in these districts are legally disqualified from public financing in 2010. They are likely to face at least one major party candidate who does qualify, and the major party opponents will spend tens of dollars for every spent by Greens, further disabling potential Green voters and guaranteeing continuation of the Democratic/Republican dynasty.

Fundraising experience:

The Greens’ five congressional candidates were barely able to raise enough to gain name recognition, and this was in sprawling districts. It is extremely unlikely that any could have raised $5000 in a much smaller state legislative district. Greens running for state office raised negligible amounts.

Greens’ fundraising problems are compounded by the fact that progressives’ natural constituency consists of the working poor, the unemployed and underemployed, and students. Greens would have to abandon principle and alter the party’s message to appeal to high-income individuals. The required $5000 private funding threshold will present little impediment to Democrats and Republicans. In fact, it appears that private campaign funds, in helping candidates meet the threshold, will continue to wield influence, but for a much smaller investment. Public funding for Democrats and Republicans, far from empowering the poor, will make it ever more likely that the needs of people without resources will be ignored.

Planning for 2010 and beyond:

Greens’ best hope of winning a seat in the state House or Senate will be a long-term project involving the recruitment of one or more well-known, popular progressives to try to turn out 10% in the first election year (the best that can be hoped for without public funding) in order to qualify for funding two years later. By the 2014 election, Greens might be able to run one or more partially funded candidates and make themselves competitive. Greens might also reasonably predict that the Democrat or Republican will face no opponent in 2010 in many districts (a third of them faced no opponent in 2008), raising the slim change that a green might garner enough votes to qualify for funding in 2012.

Recruiting candidates was difficult before publicly-funded campaigns for major party opponents. With public funding, potential Green candidates now have to be willing to run hard with a certainty of defeat, and such people are rare on the current political landscape. Candidates will have to be willing to appeal to voters to cast their sufficient money to qualify for funding. A plan for recruiting such people could be our biggest challenge in the coming year. To adapt to the public funding law, the state party might be well advised to direct all contributors to candidate committees, even if it meant strangling the state treasury.

As a pressure group or a progressive lobby, Greens are frustrated at every turn by the public financing scheme, which will always depress the Green vote. In the past, social movements have run doomed election campaigns for the purpose of widening debate and gradually attracting support. All signs indicate that, in state elections at least, support for Green issues will appear to be eroding and not growing. Public funding is likely to keep potential supporters from casting Green votes, simply because the outcome of almost every contest will be known far in advance. It won’t be possible to gauge true levels of support for social justice and environmental restoration when elections are, for all practical purposes, fixed. Debate won’t be broadened but narrowed under the new regime. Greens might also have to abandon the message that the party is running to win state contests and acknowledge that’s running to qualify for funds in a future election. To conserve the party’s sparse resources, members will have to consider, this year, whether it’s worthwhile to run candidates for state office at all, in view of these disabling laws, and whether the party might more profitably put its emphasis on local elections and national office.

C. Reports:

1. GPUS reports from: National Committee Members: a) Steve Fournier: I spoke with Mark Dove, Esquire at the ACLU. The ACLU will have a post-election hearing in March 2009. I have presented my Election Autopsy to Mark Lopez, Esquire at ACLU to be presented as my individual affidavit about the 2005 CT Campaign Finance Law. Individual affidavits for the ACLU need to be sent to Steve Fournier by February 3, 2009. CR: the more money that is raised the more likely someone is to win. RD: financially poor people are more likely to be mobile so these voters are more likely to be unclear about: if they are registered to vote; to be registered to vote for their current residence; more likely to have their petition signatures rejected; and it is harder to raise campaign money from the financially poor. Also: money is speech; a third party is unable to get 400,000 signatures.

Richard Duffee: reaffirmed his email. Michael DeRosa: The GPUS votes to accept the GPUS budget. MD voted against the budget due to lack of funding for ballot access and because the Green Times newspaper will be discontinued after the next edition. It was voted to keep the GPUS office open: information about salaries, benefits and contracts with the GPUS staff are not available. Some site privacy concerns. The majority of representatives wanted to keep the Green Times newspaper as a newspaper and not via the internet but a later vote supporting only one more edition was passed. NO reports due to their absence from: Cliff Thornton, National Co-chairperson of the GPUS; or CTGP representatives: Tim McKee and Charlie Pillsbury.

2. CTGP 1-21-09 meeting with CT State Legislative Government and Election Committee Co-chairpersons: Senator Gayle Slossberg (District 14) and Representative James Spallone. Attendees were: Representative Joe Aresimonwicz (District 30), Representative Thomas Drew (District 132) and Representative Auden Grogins (District 129), Richard Duffee, G. Scott Deshefy, S. Michael DeRosa, Steve Fournier, Mark Rule from the Libertarian Party all spoke about the 2005 CT Campaign Finance Reform Law. Representative Grogan wants to meet with the CTGP. SMD has contacted representatives from the offices of Senator Martin Looney and Speaker of the House, Christopher Donovan about meeting with CTGP members. Other CTGP members are urged to join in discussions. Steve Fournier and Scott Deshefy will join.

3. Update regarding CTGP lawsuit with the ACLU against the State of CT regarding the 2005 State of CT Campaign Finance Reform Laws. SF: ACLU post-election hearing will be sometime in 3-09.

4. CTGP concerns regarding the Elections Department of the CT. Secretary of State during the 11-08 election: a) votes not counted for write-in candidates for president; b) voting problems found by independent election auditors but not by the Secretary of State. Various members voiced concerns about these witnessed voter irregularities. MD will write back to the Secretary of State and request she meet with the CTGP.

5. CTGP literature: MD does not need $50 for CTGP literature. He will provide it.

6. Fundraising Dinner for CTGP: at 6pm on Tuesday, 2-17-09 at the French Social Circle, 373 Main Street, East Hartford. $15 for spaghetti dinner, cash bar, trivia games and door prizes.

7. CTGP potential goals for 2009: a) legislative goals for petitioning; b) electric rates; c) universal health care.

8. DELETED due to lack of quorum to vote on expenditure: Authorization of money to get the state-wide list of registered Green Party voters.

9. Chapter reports: Fairfield Chapter per RD: have started a discussion group which meets every other week to discuss various topics as presented by the authors of various books on each subject. Current topic: the current economic collapse.

10. CTGP Road Show at 7Pm on Wednesday, 1-28-09 at Wrench in the Works, 861 Main Street, Willimantic, CT. ******* will be rescheduled due to weather conditions per Scott Deshefy. ****

11. Date and place for the 2-24-09, Tuesday SCC meeting. Date, place and time of next EC meeting in 1-09: to be determined.

(*) the following members did not attend the 1-27-09 SCC meeting so abstained from voting: Jerry Martin, New Haven chapter and Ronna Stuller, New London chapter.

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