CT Green Party State Central Committee Meeting 26 February 2002
Attending (voting representatives listed by chapter):
Amy Vas Nunes (NE), Tom Sevigny (NW),
John Battista (facilitator),
Justine McCabe (Western), Vincent Maruffi (Central),
Peter Magistri (Hartford),
Mike de Rosa (Hartford),
Jim Wellington (Fairfield),
Chris Nelson (SE),
Chris Reilly, Karin Lee Norton (Tolland),
Penny Teal (Stonington),
Vic Lancia (Central),
Ken Humphrey (Central),
Ana Lachelier and Buddy (Hartford),
Michael Burns (Tolland), John Holder, Dmitri d'Alessandro, Albert Marceau, Susan Ye (NE),
Gerry Martin, Katherine Golub, Ken Cornet (Western),
Sharon Bride, Dian O'Neal, Tom Ethier (NW),
The CTGP has $5635.90 in its treasury at present. A breakdown of chapter funds was circulated. The treasurer's report was accepted by consensus.
John asked that in the future the minutes be read at the start of meetings, and formally accepted (or not).
Katherine Golub, who recently returned from Colombia, spoke about US complicity in crimes being committed in Colombia, particularly about economic crimes against independent farmers who may or may not grow coca alongside their subsistence food crops. She made the case that fumigation (with RoundUp Ultra, many components of which are known to be toxic or to produce toxic compounds upon degradation) is used systematically to kill food crops (the more resistant coca plants being nearly impervious to the spraying), in order to drive farmers off their land. Money supposedly allocated for "alternative development pacts" is misused; if given livestock, it is usually unsound, and subsidized crops are usually plantation crops for export, not locally consumable foods. The spraying patterns are highly coincident with areas known to be rich in oil or other exploitable resources. Crop destruction compels farmers increasingly to rely on income from coca crops, and it is common for those whose soil has been degraded by the herbicide to move into the rainforest, using slash-and-burn techniques to create more (temporarily) arable land.
Golub predicted a change from "War on Drugs" to "War on Terrorism" rhetoric from our government, to rationalize the massive aid package to Colombia ($1.3 billion last year, 80% of it military). She pointed out that there is collusion between the government and FARC (the left-wing guerrilla unit), and that fighting is escalating at a time when that could bring more aid to Colombia from the US.
There will be a forum, probably at Middlesex College (exact location to be announced), on 6 April from 2-4 p.m., cosponsored by the Central CT Greens.
Dmitri asked if US money wasn't primarily used for Blackhawk helicopters; Katherine replied that it is, but those assist in fumigation campaigns. She finished with an appeal for us to be vocal about this issue, because as US taxpayers we help finance the atrocities in Colombia.
It was mentioned that Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian presidential candidate loosely affiliated with the Green Party was kidnapped a few days ago; FARC has been blamed, but the region to which Betancourt was traveling had been reclaimed by the government prior to her disappearance.
There will be a tag sale on 11 May, in the Hartford office. Dmitri offered to help find goods to sell, and Michael will open his garage for use as a storage site.
Two people, Ana Lachelier and Marie of Middletown are now making phone calls to help raise money, and have brought in about $300 so far. Thank you, Ana and Marie!
Phil Donahue may speak on our behalf at a June or July fund-raiser. Previously sought, Danny Glover will not be available until Sept. Jim Hightower is touring now, and may make a CT stop.
Noam Chomsky will be speaking in Framingham, MA on 10 April, at 7 p.m. He will be approached by CT Greens for a fund-raiser, but apparently is booked 2 years in advance.
Amy commented that there was no allowance for chapter reports on the agenda, but the comment was called out of order.
II. Media committee
Next meeting: same as fundraising committee (25 March, contact Mike).
The Green Times should be printed in 2 weeks; ads and brief articles can still be submitted to Mike. Ads will be more urgent for the next issue, for which the state has not yet allocated funding. Karin expressed a desire to see coverage of the Betancourt kidnapping; and the Colombia forum and an upcoming peace conference were also recommended for inclusion.
Jim reported that nothing had yet happened toward producing a CTGP TV show. Ken C. offered his assistance; he urged that we use all 24 CT cable outlets. A sign-up sheet was passed around to get volunteers for various outlets, and an appeal for more is to be placed in the Green Times. Dmitri said he and others are now producing "Radio Free CT" on WPKN.
Ana said the Green show, which should be shown at least bi-weekly, could easily be a tape from another group (barring any copyright restrictions, of course), with an intro and exit provided by us. It could be as political as we like, as long as it isn't a campaign speech or candidate endorsement.
=> NE will be sponsoring a forum, Liberty vs. National Security, on 21 March at 7 p.m., at Windham Middle School.
III. Living Wage campaign
Michael delivered living wage materials to Elizabeth Horton Sheff's Community Council. Michael and Tom Sevigny will be attending the next Community Council meeting to discuss the material with them in greater detail. Hopefully, this will start a living wage campaign to establish a "living wage zone" in the resort section of Hartford, Adrian's Landing.
IV. GPUS report
The national group is creating a Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC), with at most one person from each state (only 9 or so of whom will be active committee members). Paul Rene and Penny Teal both wish to represent CT on the CCC, so the applications of each (meant to go to the CCC chair) were reviewed by the SCC to choose our rep. The secretary was not present for the discussion. The vote outcome was in her favor, despite the fact that her application was too long)
The national fundraising committee has established a goal of raising $1000 each from 1000 donors.
The national office is now open; the phone number is (866) 414-7336 (41GREEN).
Field organizers will be providing consulting services for the states, on an as-needed basis.
V. Voting procedures committee
No meeting had been held this month, as the committee was waiting for feedback from the chapters on the sample ballot, suggesting a month in which to hold the annual meeting, use of computerized ballot-counting, and establishment of a permanent Counting Committee. Most chapters had not yet reached decisions on these matters, so discussion was postponed till next month.
VI. Bylaws committee
The BC members have received a draft of new bylaws, crafted from the NM, CA and other states' bylaws and from discussions with members (in particular, the voting procedures committee). There has been controversy within the BC over how it was meant to proceed: all initially (according to email record) thought we were instructed to begin with Tom's draft, but some felt that would be an abrogation of grassroots process, and that we should write a draft independent of Tom's draft. Amy stated that proposals must go through the chapters, and that she will ask the chapters what they want to look at (Tom's draft, all states' bylaws?)
Justine said the SCC had made a clear resolution last month, that Tom's draft was to be considered, and that the BC would write bylaws with Tom's draft as a kernel. Amy said that we have current bylaws, and thus have no need to look at Tom's draft. Justine, addressing Amy, said that she was deeply offended by the process Amy had used, which was to disregard the SCC mandate. Amy said she had written a proposal to overturn that mandate, to which Justine asked rhetorically-as well as procedurally-- how one can offer another resolution, when we were still bound by the one from the previous meeting? Justine repeated that resolution as she remembered it-charging the by-laws committee to take Tom's draft as a start and use it however they wished to rewrite the by-laws and to report back to the SCC in two months, at which time we would begin the democratic process of accepting it, modifying it, and including chapter input as part of that process.
John stated that his proposal last month, meant to support Amy, had been that the BC review Tom's bylaws and then write whatever it wanted, and that this had been misrepresented in the minutes. He said that then the chapters were intended to make whatever changes or counterproposals they wished. Penny said that she had not meant to imply that we must use Tom's draft, but that it had been clear that Tom's draft was supposed to be read and at least given consideration; her objection to the BC's process was that Amy had said we should not even consider Tom's version.
John again claimed that the minutes were misleading.
Mike noted that the BC would be meeting on March 10, at 6 p.m., at the Hartford office, and urged people to attend. Amy reasserted that the process was unclear, especially as to how chapters were to be involved. John explained that the BC's draft was to be given to all chapters for review. Mike reminded us that we have bigger fish to fry than new bylaws, and that we could more productively spend our time and energy on the upcoming elections. He acknowledged the importance of process, but balanced it with time considerations. Dmitri concurred that we shouldn't overcomplicate things.
Peter asked if the BC had assumed the entire set of bylaws should be ready in 2 months. Amy said there were many other models, some with more members of the Steering Committee, referendum procedures and other things that weren't covered in our bylaws. She thought all CTGP members should be instructed to review other states' bylaws.
John countered that the BC should be able to make reasonable recommendations; the task shouldn't be inflated. Amy wanted to insure a bottoms-up viewpoint. John again asked for a report from the BC. Amy interjected that John was not being an unbiased mediator; John called for us to return to the issue at hand. Tom said the BC exists to propose bylaws changes, and that none would ever be written if they had to go through all the chapters for a first draft. Ken suggested that a request go out on the listserver for input into the bylaws.
At this point, Justine registered her feeling that Amy was being obstructive--demonstrating this obstructive behavior right there during the meeting itself, in the same way she had been on the listserver. Justine pointed out, for example, that Amy-- who had unilaterally asserted in emails to the by-laws committee as well on both the CTGP News and Forum list that she wanted to dismiss the SCC's resolution-- was then playing the opposite, passive role essentially saying she had to wait for "permission" from us to search out other resources pertinent to by-laws like the by-laws of other states, etc. Justine said that in other words, Amy was obstructive in her process by a constant back-and forth where she opposes the group's authority when it has agreed on a resolution, and then passively resists when common sense tells her what to do and she obviously doesn't need someone's permission to look for whatever resources she wants (like bylaws from others states.)
John asked if the issue was clear now, to the BC members. Chris R. said there were many contradictions, and that it was hard to get down exactly what was expected. Mike asked, can the BC do whatever? John said they were supposed to review Tom's rules, and then do whatever. Mike urged that the BC be conservative, that they not change our extant bylaws too much because those have worked well for us, and that the BC chiefly just revise the old bylaws. Penny noted that the BC had not done that; thus Tom's decision to write a draft himself. Amy claimed the membership had not, and should have been informed of Tom's decision. [Penny later noted, in a discussion not included in the below portion of the minutes, that Tom had stated in Nov. at the Annual Meeting and in his bio for cochair that he was intending to rewrite the bylaws, and that he had been re-elected by the highest number of votes of 6 candidates.
Current CTGP Secretary
Health of the Green Party of Connecticut
Tom This problem should have been dealt with a long time ago, but it wasn't. I'm sorry about that Karen. I've received personal attack and harassing emails from Amy. I've called the police. The police agreed with me and the emails have stopped. Some of the emails said I should quit, that I've been a part of this organization too long. There have also been allegations that I fixed the election. We're supposed to take this? [he gives example of email text] There have been other emails from Amy too. Do we put up with this type of conduct from GP members? Can we have an election without this? This is childish, un-Green, and disgusting. It's a problem hurting the GP. Too much time has been invested in dealing with this. We can't make simple decisions. We're an elected body and we can make decisions. We need to start dealing with Amy. Her accusations are stated as fact. Me and my family should not be subject to this. We need action. We need strict rules for the listserve.
Drosa Can we throw someone off the list?
Karen We can but we haven't.
Drosa Then we should start to do it. I'm trying to come up with a solution. If someone violates the list, they should be off. If Karen feels it would create more problems, maybe you should give up that role, Karen.
Karen Mike, you're over-simplifying this thing. I'm happy to give up this role. I have never done anything to Amy. The communications committee met and we have some suggestions.
Penny I [was asked] to reply [from a personal perspective] to Amy. It's a big problem- and not just on the listserve. When it first started, Amy said Karen should not be a leader in the GP and charges resurface immediately after being refuted. Many things have been misrepresented and many lies have been put out there. It's not so much a listserve problem but an integrity problem. There have been other emails too besides those to Karen. She's said "we can kill each other on our own time." That's a clear violation of the 10KV. There was the idea by Amy that she had been blackballed in the election, with much blaming of Tom not matter how much I explain. Her reply is, "Can't you see it's all Tom's fault?' To me it's clear that she can't accept reason. We need to decide something. Another problem with her is that she didn't relay a resolution to her chapter regarding allegations that the state committee had violated process. This shows irresponsibility as a chapter rep. We need to deal with this. Chapter reps that misrepresent issues being dealt with at the state level are gross negligence. Also, verbal abuse has had too much of an impact on our lives. We should consider revoking chapter rep. status for Amy. I would like to see the listserve be more participatory. Don't want strict rules, but people don't chime in to refute things.
Jbap So to summarize. There have been a few proposed solutions. 1- ban from listserve. 2- revoke chapter status.
? I just want to say something. All groups need basic ground rules and boundaries now and for the future. [general agreement]
Jbap There are ground rules. There are also ground rules for removing someone from the party.
Justine Amy refuses to acknowledge the power or authority invested in our group. For example, as the agenda was posted, Amy defied any due process or procedure and just unilaterally assumed the authority to ask Charlie Pillsbury to mediate the state meeting. She appears to defy our process and crash though whatever rules already exist. I appreciate that Amy works hard, and cares about the social conditions in this world. However, we need to do something about her apparent unwillingness to either observe rules the group makes or to propose new rules in a way that reflects a consensual process.
Susan Amy says it's the history. It has been going on for a long time.
Karen Many of you know Amy has said many things about me. We haven't known each other as long as Amy claims. You would think there would be a basis for her accusations. I don't know what I've done to get her so mad, other than disagree with her about some things. I've had horrible experience with her. Sometimes here emails would just say, "Fuck You." There have been attacks on me a worker, as an organizer, and accusations of me being mentally ill. When I ran for re-election as state chair she sent me an email claiming that my karma will come back to haunt me. Amy once asked me to do something that I couldn't do and she accused me of not taking care of my cancer correctly. I stayed in the party because I refuse to let her win. We need to do something now b/c in the future it could be any of us facing this.
Susan I've heard many stories from Amy. I've never seen the emails. She says no one looks at the content of her messages. I agree with her on the fact the the GP doesn't have a grassroots process. This doesn't happen enough. An example is Tom writing up those by-laws. She's trying to express that, but it's turning into personal attacks.
Jbap That's right. Her process disagreement has been regularly raised. Sometimes it seems valid, sometimes not. So… there are several things I've heard that we could do: 1) Ban her from the list; 2) Suspend her as rep.; 3) Ban her from the GP; 4). Independent mediation with her and some others.
Vic If you look at the 10KV you see why good people gravitate toward the GP. What disappoints me is when people quite because of this. We can manage this. Don't quit.
Ken H I read all the internet stuff. Very bad stuff. Very shocking, uncalled for.
Penny We haven't had any violation of process like some people are implying. For example, Tom ran for office with the willingness to update the by-laws as part of this platform. Things claimed to be outside the process were not. Whether or not a kernal of truth exists, the ends don't justify the means. It would help if people addressed these problems on email.
Dmitri Amy's perception is that we create hierarchies too much. It will continue if we have a committee structure with reps. and so forth. Tom is an example of this. We shouldn't act on any of these suggestions tonight. We should say any personal slander should not be tolerated and anyone doing itwill be removed from the listserve if you do this--that's my solution.
Drosa I'm not happy about Amy's behavior. Resentment has built up over the years. NH chapter has discussed this. We tend to be arbitrary when we should be democratic. Amy has addressed some valid problems but has poisoned it with personal attacks. We need better ground rules. We need to create an atmosphere that is comfortable for each of us and guests. We're doing a lot of good--we have bigger fish to fry. We should have a process to deal with perceived violations of the by-laws.
Jbap We could have people present grievances.
Susan We can say stop on the listserve, but not individually. I think we should be having this conversation with a mediator. Nothing we vote on now is a fair process.
Tom Personal emails are about Party issues. It it's about the Party, the Party suffers.
Justne Clearly, there were posts from Amy on the listserve that shouldn't have been on it. We haven't acted on the rules we made for the listserv. But it's more than that. Even when Amy's is not breaking the listserver rules per se, her tone when she writes begins in a hostile voice, in a way that is attacking her correspondent. For example, Amy doesn't simply say "I disagree with you," she begins with a way that turns you off. I don't know how to change her approach. It would take someone sitting with her who began with the way she initially tends to compose messages and then help her to reorganize her initial response toward one that would invite someone into a conversation instead. I don't want to perseverate on this but her messages are turning many potential Greens off
Cnelsn Chris said that he wanted to offer a different view, an understanding that was not psychological. He suggested that what's happening is a deliberate political strategy by Amy. For example, there may be honest disagreements along the way to making group decisions. But once they're taken, we need to move forward as a group, including those people who might have dissented during the decision making process. But for example with Amy, once the election results were in, she disagreed with them and considered the election results illegitimate.
Jbap But what do we do? Review of what we've action we could take: 1) Mediation process; 2) Ban from listserv; 3) Remove her as chapter rep.; 4) Ban her from the GP; 5) "One more and your out of here."
Dmtri Communications committee is working on a 3rd listserve that would be moderated. It would just list events.
Jholdr I don't envy you. I have to agree with Sue and Amy. People see the Greens as too much of a top down organization. The large issues need to be addressed. Kids are looking to make decisions w/o structure.
Ken I don't think we can take Amy away from her post. She's been here since the beginning. The chapters have to create a more bottom up structure and elect reps to a larger body.
Susan Nobody is a rep. of our chapter. No one wants to be.
Penny We do our best at being a grassroots organization. We need some kind of standard for chapter reps b/c the have a big responsibility. We're trying hard to get the grassroots involved. We must address misrepresentation.
Dmitri I propose that there is a final warning and mediation (seconded).
Peter I'm against the idea of mediation. We have a process, if you break the rules, you're out.
Cnelsn Mediation plays into her hands I think. It creates Amy vs. the rest of the Green party. That doesn't make any sense. It elevates her on par with the whole group.
Vic I'm against mediation too.
Drosa We're setting a precedent that may go beyond what we do here. Certainly the attacks on these three people are not justifiable. The way this happened is our problem because we haven't dealt with it before.
Jbap There is a resolution to give Amy a final a warning on the listserve (accepted motion to call the question) and to be subject to mediation.
VOTE: Chapter reps 5 YES 9 NO 0 Abstain. All in Room: 10 YES 12 NO 1 Abstain
Justine I'd like to offer a different resolution that would test the limits of the group and might be a compromise. I'm obviously distressed by Amy's attitude in first choosing to unilaterally defy any formal group process by asking Charlie Pillsbury to facilitate this meeting, and then by choosing not to remain here to discuss this with us. Clearly, things have gone too far and we need to take action as Amy has violated the rules of the listserver and the current by-laws, at least as I understand them. But I also want to include something that would allow for some progress, some movement on the issue. So, I propose that we remove Amy from the listserve for 3 months and perhaps suspend her from her chapter rep. position for the same period. And, that during that time, the SCC would seek mediation with Amy with someone mutually acceptable in an effort to reinstate her involvement with us at the end of the 3 months.
Jiwell Proposed a friendly amendment to this in which we would remove Amy's name from Justine's resolution and make it generic (that is, anyone doing what we're accusing Amy of, would have the consequences of Justine's resolution.)
[At this point, the person taking the minutes changed as an increasingly very lively discussion ensued. In the course of this discussion about Jim Wellington's friendly amendment to Justine's resolution, due process issues clearly emerged. That is, it became clear to all, including Justine and Jim, that it would be unfair to follow this resolution/amendment as we would be making a rule in the abstract and after the fact, knowing well that it would be applied to complaints made about Amy without such penalties either being known before the fact or having resulted from due process. For example, Mike De Rosa said:]
Drosa This is a judicial action. The by-laws don't address these issues. We have to approach this very slowly and cautiously.
Dmitri CT Greens may not have clear listserve rules, but the webmaster (?) we use does.
[After much discussion, it became clear that the resolution and its amendment was beyond the limit of what the group felt was just. Thus, there was an emerging consensus against this particular action because: 1) would not be following due process for Amy since a) it was not clear that the listserv rules had been approved (even though they had been applied in warnings to Marion FritschMason in December) or even whether we could apply "Green Server (?)" rules given that no one really knew about them (as demonstrated by a show of hands at the meeting); and b) Amy would not have had a publicized, scheduled hearing where she could plan to be present and represented by a lawyer if she chose; and 2) in the likelihood that Amy would seek legal redress for any sanctions we imposed on her, the group felt it was very important to make every effort to protect the integrity of the CT Green Party itself and to respect our own commitment to due process-most especially when challenged from within the party itself. Therefore, given that we were all very tired from an intense, marathon meeting, we agreed that it was important not act hastily.
With that, Peter Magistri voiced an opinion that seemed to emerge organically from the group's collective unconscious:]
PetMag We could censure Amy [lots of immediate support in the air].
Jbap There is a proposal to censure Amy.
VOTE Chapter reps 13 YES 0 NO
Penny I propose that we add an amendment to the by-laws. As a by-laws committee we can work to add this [insert language]
Jbap There is a motion to instruct the by-laws committee to deal with an enforcement mechanism for suspending or removing a person violating the by-laws. (passes by consensus)
Drosa We need to be careful about how we address this issue. Our enemies would like to have a legal controversy in this case.
Justne I agree with Mike.
Drosa We need to state the rules before moving forward. We shouldn't do it backward.
Karin She's already broken the rules though.
All: We need more clear rules for the listserv and the by-laws..
Dmitri We'll take care of it in the Communications Committee (move to adjourn passes)
Submitted by Michael Burns, Albert Marceau and Justine McCabe
27 February 2002