CT Green Party State Central Committee Meeting 29 January 2002
Attending (voting representatives listed by chapter):
Amy vas Nunes (NE),
Tom Sevigny (NW),
John Battista (Western),
Justine McCabe (Western),
Vincent Maruffi (Central),
Peter Magistri (Hartford),
Mike de Rosa (Hartford),
Mary , Jim Wellington (Fairfield),
Chris Nelson (SE),
Brian Love (NFA), C
hris Reilly, Karin Lee Norton (Tolland),
Penny Teal (Stonington),
Vic Lancia (CC),
Ken Humphrey, Charlie Pillsbury, Ron Pandolfo, Jason Turner (Hartford), Ana Lachelier and Buddy (Hartford),
Sasha , Ian Williams, Michael Burns (Tolland),
Treasurer Chris Nelson reported that the CTGP has over $5600 in its treasury at present. We took in $532 in January ($300 from individual donations and the rest from sustainers), and spent $450 on rent and utilities for the Hartford office.
New chapter divisions
The erstwhile Southeast Chapter is now split into two chapters: Stonington, which was approved as an official chapter at the Nov. meeting, and New London. There may be further bifurcations as time goes on, including a Norwich chapter. Vinnie mused that there may be pitfalls to forming too many chapters; Penny said Stonington had arisen organically, as it were, when the SE chapter decided to devote its resources exclusively to the New London city council race last fall.
There is an incipient chapter being organized by Peter Magistri, in the Windsor/Windsor Locks area.
I. Fundraising (reported by Mike de Rosa)
Danny Glover is being recruited for a joint CTGP/GPUS fundraiser in April or May. The fundraising committee is working on informing the media, and on making the event political as opposed to commercial. Charlie suggested May Day as a good time to hold it.
One person is making phone solicitations, with about 25 pledges and 3 or 4 contributions received to date. A second person may soon be helping. A variety of events (speakers, awards dinners, etc.) are being considered.
Brian said he has been in contact with the comedian David Lippman about performing for a fundraiser, and would pass the information along to Mike. The question of getting phone numbers of celebrities was again raised; Amy said she has tried, but that it’s very difficult.
II. Media committee (reported by Mike de Rosa)
The next media committee meeting is on 25 Feb., at the Hartford office; contact Mike for more info.
The Green Times is not yet out. Mike is awaiting more articles, and especially the exact number of votes received by all GP candidates, before sending the Green Times on to the publisher. Penny pointed out that deferring the deadline too often or too long provides a disincentive to write an article that is timely. Mike said he can’t publish without articles. He could set a cutoff and run a paper with more ads than text, if we could get more ads. Amy asked about the rate sheet for prospective advertisers, and Mike said it would be out soon.
The media committee is asking that each chapter take responsibility for its local newspaper, both in monitoring content and in contributing (through letters to the editor and op/ed pieces, e.g.). They ask that Greens post to the listserver anything they submit to a paper, and that we keep an archive of all such materials.
Jim offered to be producer/director of a Green cable TV show, first assembling the staff he’ll need for technical support and reporting. He can make shows at a studio in Bridgeport for free (well, $10 for the videotape). There are 22 cable outlets in the state; to submit a show to each, we need one resident of the town from which each is broadcast.
Amy mentioned the existing shows of which we could be taking advantage. Karin named the CRC and Dave Falvey as already producing shows. She asked that Mike push people to get their Green Times articles in to him.
Many Greens have been requesting CTGP pamphlets to distribute to new members and for tabling, etc. Justine, Ian, Amy and Jim will work on producing a new one.
III. Goals for 2002
Tom did a roll call of chapters, asking each for the list of goals they had formulated for the CTGP, for the upcoming year. He reported for the NW chapter, whose goals are to increase outreach to minority communities, and to increase the number of CT voters registered as Green from about 1000 to more like 2500.
Fairfield reported planning to host an Earth Day celebration, for which they are seeking cosponsors, on the Norwalk Green. Hartford mentioned the Danny Glover fundraiser as a concern, stated they want to get more minorities to come to chapter meetings, and that they think the 10KV description should be rewritten. NE is trying to close downtown Willimantic to traffic one day a month, to revive the area. They are protesting the newly approved storage of Yankee plant nuclear waste in residential Haddam, in alliance with CAN (the Citizens’ Action Network). They’ll be hosting a forum on 21 March, on the Patriot Act, and will have one in the future on homelessness.
The Western chapter wants to see better coordinated media outreach, better coordinated community forums, and wants to get a Green elected to the state legislature. They are trying locally to get Greens appointed to commissions; are still planning more forums; and are addressing local concerns about a cement factory in New York, whose effluent will impact western CT. Tolland chapter is working on outreach through forums and tabling, and hopes to host a United for a Fair Economy forum imminently. NFA is primarily local, and is doing research on wetlands restoration. New Haven is interested in reaching minority voters, wants the GPUS to come out in favor of reparations for slavery, and wants the GP to be part of a march in Wash. DC in August, supporting reparations.
The steering committee, at their last meeting, discussed having each cochair take onone or two of the state’s adopted goals for the year, so that each would specialize rather than all 3 cochairs pursuing everything, in the hopes of increasing efficiency.
IV. Elections in 2002 (drum roll, please!) [Any non-Greens reading the following are advised to remember that it is presented tongue-in-cheek...because the system is such a joke anyway.]
Peter Magistri is running for State Representative in the 60th district, against a centrist Democrat who rates fairly well among progressive organizations. His district (Windsor Locks and part of Windsor) has more unaffiliated voters than any other in the state, and he feels it is time to actively pursue change by getting Greens into office. Tragically, because of redistricting he is about 30 feet away from living in Mary Eberle’s district; her loathesome proclivities as a rep would have been prime bait for a progressive challenger.
Mike de Rosa is running for State Senate in the 1st district, same as in 2000, against an odious fiend (John Funfare?)
Charlie Pillsbury reported that New Haven is looking for someone to run hard against John Martinez (state rep), who has consistently voted against cleaning up the Filthy Five, among other sins. The district is mostly Latino, with many African Americans, and would provide an excellent opportunity for working with a community of color.
Charlie himself may be running against Rosa de Lauro in the 3rd Congressional District [hopefully after changing his voting registration from Dem to Green], largely because he was disgusted by her craven support of the war. The NH chapter will be meeting on Wed., 20 March, to decide whether or not to endorse his campaign. Charlie encourages all Greens from Middletown, Middlefield and Stratford to attend this meeting, those towns being in the 3rd CD but not within the NH chapter boundaries. He will need a 2/3 majority to approve his campaign (nothing is in the NH bylaws about this, but there is heavy contention within the chapter as to the practicality of running a largely symbolic, geographically broad and therefore costly campaign. Charlie has promised to spend half his campaigning time within areas in which other Greens are running, if endorsed, in hopes of synergistically advancing two candidates at once.)
By way of introduction, Charlie described himself as a “recovering lawyer” who now does mediation; he was a CO during Vietnam; has sued Honeywell and other defense contractors, as well as public utilities, to obtain records relating to their weapons production; and has lived in NH since 1974. He said he likes Rosa de Lauro as a person and pledged to avoid personal attacks during his campaign. His minimum goal is to obtain as many votes in the district as Nader earned in 2000; his dream is to beat the Republican challenger. He said he will not and would not be a spoiler, to which Mike de Rosa intoned (not in suggesting that we shouldn’t run against her, though) that even de Lauro is vulnerable.
Ken asked if the Maromas power plant, which would take 2-4 million gallons per year of water away from downstream, might not be a good issue. Unfortunately, the CT River flows to the east of NH.
In the NW, Tom Ethier will again be running for State Representative. Tom Sevigny will probably be running for State Senate; he will decide very soon. Brendan Sullivan will be running for State Rep in the Simsbury area.
Amy asked about women and minorities running. Vinnie remarked that an independent may run against Joe Serap (?), and may be endorsed or helped by the CC chapter; his district would overlap some with the 2nd CD. Mike suggested having a candidates’ night, to draw in people interested in running (and then undermined the suggestion by telling us that’s how Richard Nixon was found!)
I. Living wage campaign (reported by Tom Sevigny)
The CTGP will undertake a campaign to promote living wage awareness in the state, and is going to push for living wage legislation in the Adrian’s Landing area in Hartford (which is to be developed as a resort area, replete with hotels and restaurants, the state having contributed $7 million and waived property taxes for several years for incoming businesses.) The legislation will probably be modelled on Santa Monica’s, where the Green mayor, Mike Feinstein, got a living wage of $10.50 with- or $12+ without health benefits (adjustable annually) passed. Tom gave out literature from ACORN, which has led this movement, and is in contact with several people to help initiate the process. The measure, if applied only to Adrian’s Landing, could be approved by the Hartford City Council.
II. Voting procedures committee report (reported by Penny Teal)
Amy wanted candidates to be advised of any changes in their biographies; Penny said the committee had agreed to specify a word maximum, so there would be no need to edit bio’s.
Penny will send each chapter its mailing list (from the state version) in the form preferred for elections.
Tom has been writing up a new set of bylaws (as he said he would in Nov.) to be sent to the SCC and to chapters for consideration. After review, we could choose whether to adopt these or to rewrite our own, which many feel are inadequate and obsolete, line-by-line. Amy was very upset that Tom had taken it upon himself to do this, rather than giving the task to the bylaws committee. She said it would be okay for a member to submit these, but not for Tom, as cochair, to do so. Vinnie agreed that he thought process had been violated. Penny argued that the crucial part of the process was review by the entire membership, and approval by the same, and that writing is really a one-person job, which Tom (as a member of the CTGP) was qualified to do.
John Battista suggested that we should formally agree to let the bylaws committee, and then the membership at large, review Tom’s bylaws. Charlie supported this, saying that as long as the bylaws came through the committee, process was not violated, regardless of who had done the actual writing. Karin charged that the bylaws committee hadn’t done anything. Justine asked, in the interest of depersonalizing the argument, that Tom make a brief statement as to what he has done so far. She agreed that writing is a solitary task.
Tom said that he had begun gathering other states’ bylaws some time ago, had told the SCC he would be writing new ones, and has written up approximately half of a set of bylaws based primarily on those obtained from CA and NM.
John moved to let the bylaws committee have one month to review Tom’s bylaws, which was amended under protest from Amy to 2 months. After that time, John continued, the general membership should have a month for review; Mike offered a friendly amendment to give 2 months to the membership, which was accepted.
Penny asked that we put out a new call for bylaws committee members, since the current group has not met in over a year. This was agreed to. John suggested choosing a committee chair.
IV. Sooty Six campaign (presented by Tom Sevigny)
The Toxics Action Center is again trying to get legislation passed to clean up the Sooty Six power plants. This year’s would be similar to that vetoed last year by Gov. Rowland. TAC wants people to meet with their state representatives and senators to find out where they stand on the issue (rating them from 1-5, 1 being most likely to support the measure), reporting back to TAC. New London and Waterford, especially, are lacking coverage. The sulfur dioxide standards are likely to pass (as they did last year), but the tougher standards for mercury remediation may be harder to get through the legislature. The bill should be out of committee by early March, so meetings should be scheduled before then.
V. Love Makes a Family (presented by Tom Sevigny)
LMF wants us to rejoin their coalition, of which we were members last year. They are working this year on civil union legislation, for recognition of same-sex couples. Rejoining was approved by consensus.
VI. Welfare reform (presented by Amy vas Nunes)
Amy reported that welfare recipients are beginning to suffer the ramifications of the Welfare “Reform” act; many more homeless and hungry people are coming to shelters now that their 5 years of welfare eligibility are ended. Many of the victims of welfare reform will remain uncounted, because they take low-wage, parttime jobs, which aren’t adequate to support themselves or families. Amy’s opinion is that welfare reform should be the number one issue of the CTGP, it being the reason she became a Green.
Karin added that under Rowland, the Section 8 housing program is being administered by a business in Waterbury, making it difficult for people to get on the rolls for low-income housing in the first place; then the people in charge of the program don’t know the state well enough to make reasonable assignments geographically, forcing people to choose between losing jobs (or leaving family) and finding housing. In Willimantic 25 people were given unusable vouchers due to bureaucratic ineptitude (in the private sector: imagine that!)
Peter Magistri mentioned the forums being presented by One CT, a coalition addressing poverty issues, as being well worth attending. Amy added that this issue can pull in women and people of color.
Justine asked what we could do beyond sitting in a meeting discussing the problem, and asked Amy if she would take the lead in moving on the issue. Amy consented. Penny adjured that we focus on the big picture of wages, income inequity and other social issues, rather than exclusively on welfare, for two reasons: one, that many people dismiss welfare concerns because of the stigma associated with welfare, which will reduce our effectiveness; and two, that we want more than just to keep people barely alive with a last-resort handout.
Ian introduced himself as very mainstream, and proffered his opinion that to obtain a majority of voters’ support we should focus almost exclusively on environmental issues, which were what pulled him into the GP. He said even relatively uninformed people are aware now of the imminent perils of global warming, and that Greens can capitalize on that issue. Brian agreed wholeheartedly, and said he thinks environmental issues are being given short shrift.
Mike countered that polls show that CT residents are, in fact, very concerned about social issues: upwards of 60% support a moratorium on the death penalty, e.g. He favors across-the-board support for all Green issues. Ken described himself as an asthmatic with strong personal motives for being environmentally concerned, but still importuned the GP to remain diverse in focus.
Tom reiterated that Amy had agreed to take the lead on Welfare Reform and Social Justice issues. He reminded us that we’ve been all over the issues up until now, and have done a good job. Brooks argued (to Ian) that people will always be concerned about money before the environment, and that jobs are being lost, and people can’t make ends meet, and these are pressing concerns right now. Vic said he joined for a broad perspective, not for any one issue, and that social and environmental concerns are interrelated.
VII. CT Yankee nuclear waste storage (presented by Amy vas Nunes)
Haddam has agreed (courtesy of 2 of 3 town selectmen) to having waste from the CT Yankee plant stored in a residential area. Tom noted that Atty. Gen. Blumenthal is getting involved in this matter. Amy gave statistics on the plant. Justine pointed out, again, that talk is cheap but what we need is to do something about it. Karin interjected that whatever we do or say, we must be careful to make clear that we are not proposing shipping this waste off to Yucca Mountain or any other site. Amy said we should have a liaison to CAN. In response to Karin’s inquiry, Brian stated that storage facilities in the US are pathetically inadequate to their task.
VIII. National report (by Tom Sevigny)
The GP-US office in Washington, D.C. will open next month; an office manager will be hired and Dean Myerson will (continue to) work as political coordinator. There will be an 800 number for the GP-US. Signed copies of Nader’s latest book, “Crashing the Party,” can be purchased online through the greens.org website; 6% of proceeds go to the national GP. Other progressive writers are being approached about making similar arrangements.
The next national meeting will be in Philadelphia, tentatively on the 3rd weekend of July.
Amy asked about the German situation [the GP in Germany recently voted in favor of supporting the US in Afghanistan, in order to remain in the coalition government]. Tom said the move was very unfavorably received in Europe and even among many German Greens. It appears likely that die Grünen will not receive enough votes to remain in power after the next election, anyway, because of repeated cave-ins and retreats from their progressive origins.
The GP-US narrowly passed a resolution (submitted jointly by the MI and WI GP’s) calling for GP solidarity against the war. John felt that the resolution was too controversial within CT for him to vote in favor of it, even though personally he supported it (CT’s vote was thus split). It passed by 19-17-7, and John felt that a 2/3 majority should have been required, given the level of controversy. He mentioned the possibility that a policy committee would form, to write such statements in the future.
Karin reminded all that we can review the GP platform online, and should give input on it as chapters or individuals.
Amy wants another peace demonstration to be organized by the CTGP, and wondered why people hadn’t returned the questionnaire she put on the listserver, from Joanne Sheehan. Jim said a vigil might not raise hackles the way a demonstration would (no difference in action, just in the name). Vic and others were attending a demonstration outside a Rowland fundraiser on the 31st, Vic going as the Loan Ranger (good one, Vic!)
The Hartford 18 have mostly been released with minimum penalties; Vic’s charge was reduced to causing a disturbance, for which he paid a $75 fine. Some are still awaiting deals, and are hoping to get accelerated rehabilitation. Amy again asked the GP to organize a demonstration against the war.
Karin urged people to use the calendar page on the CTGP website.
Albert announced a Noam Chomsky film showing in Hartford (contact the Hartford office for info); also, there is a National Demonstration for Peace on 20 April, and Wesleyan is setting up a related workshop (tentative at this point).
Justine recommended that we all write letters to editors about Pres. Bush’s State of the Union address (being given contemporaneously with the meeting). Jim announced that CD’s of John Battista’s interviews on WPKN are being sold as a fundraising effort.
IX. The next meeting of the CTGP will be held on 26 February 2002, at 6:45 pm, at Wesleyan Univ. (Fisk Hall) in Middletown. Be there.
Penny Teal, sec.