January 25, 2011

Approved minutes of the 7pm 1-25-11 SCC meeting of the Green Party of CT at: Portland Senior Center, 7 Waverly Avenue, Portland, CT  06480

Attendees by chapter: Fairfield: co-chairpersons: Jane Weston  and Richard Duffee;  Hartford: Jeff Russell and co-chairperson: S. Michael DeRosa.  No observers.   Quorum was met.  Facilitator:  S. Michael DeRosa.

 

A.     Preliminaries:

1.      Introductions of voting/non-voting attendees; chapters; quorum was met because 50% of the current chapters: Fairfield, Greater Hartford, New Haven, New London, were present.

2.      Approval of tonight’s proposed agenda.  Deletions: A3 and A 5 due to lack of representatives and B due to lack of proposals; C 2 due to lack of updates from 12-28-10 SCC review; no additions.

3.     Review of the 12-28-10 SCC meeting minutes.

4.     Consensus: acceptance of the minutes from the 1-17-11EC meeting; abstaining: Jerry Martin and Ken Krayeske.

5.      Report from treasurer: Christopher Reilly.

 

B.     Any proposals or referendums from chapters or committees:

 

C.     Reports

1.     Discussion about CTGP candidates for the 2-22-11 special elections: replacements for State Senate:  Rolf Maurer as write-in candidate for the 27th District (parts of Stamford and Darien) for Andrew McDonald.  Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office advise the following to this candidate and chapter during the morning of final date to fill petitions for this position:  SOS received request to petition for this position about 8 days ago.  Since the SOS was just then reviewing this paperwork and the deadline to have in petitions was by the close of business that day, there was not enough time to acquire and hand in petitions. So the SOS advised Rolf that he had the option to run as a write-in candidate for this position.   Other positions:  6th District ( parts of New Britain, Berlin and Farmington) for Donald DeFonzo; 13th District (parts of Meriden, Middlefield, Cheshire and Middletown) for Thomas Gaffey;  20th District (part of West Hartford) for David McCluskey; 25th District (part of New Britain) for John Geragosian; 36th District (Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam) for James Spallone; 99th District (part of East Haven) for Michael Lawlor; 101st District (part of Madison and Guilford) for Deborah Heinbrich; 126th District (part of Bridgeport) for Christopher Caruso.

2.     Review of the results of the 11-2-10 election and the Green Party Candidates: 1st Congressional District:  Ken Krayeske;  2nd Congressional District: G. Scott Deshefy;  3rd Congressional District: Charles Pillsbury.  State-wide candidates:  Stephen Fournier for Attorney General of CT; S. Michael DeRosa for Secretary of State; David Bue for Treasurer of CT; Colin Benet for Comptroller;  Jeff Russell: write-in candidate for U.S. Senate.  State offices: Nicholas Payne: State Representative for District 67 (New Milford);  Megan Cassano, Stamford Board of Education; Ben Wojan for State Representative for District 84 (Meriden);   Martha Kelly for 1st CT  Senate District.

3. GPUS reports from a) CT representatives to the GPUS: Tim McKee and Charlie Pillsbury;  b) CT representatives to the GPUS Committee  Members;   c) updates about resignation of 3 GPUS co-chairpersons per SMD.

 

4.     Consensus: CTGP items and concerns for the 2011 CT legislative agenda:  campaign and ballot access reform; renewable energy bill; living wage; Infrastructure bill; jobs program; revision of the entertainment tax breaks; requirements for seat belts in every motor vehicle which transports school children (from pre-school to undergraduate levels).

 

5.      Consensus: Reaffirmed that the CTGP state platform will be voted on during 4-30-11 CTGP Annual Meeting.

 

6.      Consensus:  will have mailing for next CTGP annual meeting on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Potential candidates are urged to put forth their names by close of SCC meeting on Tuesday, 2-23-11.  

 

7.     CTGP fundraising events: RD: Fairfield is still planning a dinner fundraiser for February 2011.

 

8.     Reaffirmed current CTGP websites:  www.ctgreenparty.orgwww.ctgreenparty.com; wwwgreenpartyct.org;

www.greenpartyct.com.

 

9.      ACLU lawsuit:  Green Party of CT et a.. against the State of CT’s 2005 Campaign Finance Laws. The State of CT appealed our successful lawsuit against the State of Connecticut regarding the 2005 Campaign Finance Reform laws. Their appeal was heard, 1-13-10, at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. This Appeals Court agreed to the State of CT on count I:  (petitioning requirements).  The initial decision was handed down by U.S. Judge Underhill on 8-28-09. Judge Underhill found that the 2005 CT Campaign Finance laws were unconstitutional i.e.  the laws violated third party (and other groups)   constitutional rights under the 1st Amendment (free speech) and 14th Amendment (equal protection under the law). The National Chapter of the ACLU received authorization from  U.S. Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bayer Ginsberg to present papers to this Court by December 2, 2010.   The ACLU has done so.  The State of CT has requested a continuance until mid February 2011 from the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

10.   Chapter reports: Fairfield: see above; SMD: Greater Hartford: agrees with CTGP past and current actions.

 

11.  Next SCC meeting: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at the Portland Senior Center.  Next EC meeting: to be determined.

 

   Green Party Key Values:  non-violence, respect for diversity, grassroots democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, decentralization, community-based economics and economic justice, future focus and sustainability, personal and global responsibility, feminism and gender justice.

 

Addendum:  Green Party of Connecticut Platform 2010.This platform was created by the members of the Green Party to provide the voter with clear knowledge of the principles and legislative goals of the Party.  It is intended to show how the concepts of the national Green Party platform can be applied in Connecticut to improve the well being of the people of the state.  Our candidates universally support the positions outline in this document and pledge to work to convince their constituents of the need to enact its points into law.  (So that voters can know what they are getting, our candidates are obligated to support this platform as a whole and to explain the nature of any exceptions may they take to it.)

 

DEMOCRACY: “The Green Party proposes a comprehensive political reform agenda calling for real reform, accountability, and responsiveness in government through the powers and abilities of citizens as created by the Constitution of the United States of America.”    Platform: Green Party of the United States:

    Voter Choice: We believe in a multiparty system facilitated by fair and easy ballot access. Voter registration should also be made easily available to all citizens through programs such as Election Day Registration. 

    Campaign Finance: Full public financing of elections to remove undue influence in political campaigns.  A basic stipend should be available to all candidates who achieve ballot status as defined under current law and who agree to contribution limits and a ban on PAC contributions.  Additional funds should be made available to candidates as they meet reasonable fund raising goals. (“Basic” and “reasonable’ have huge fudge factors. In the present climate, the first would gain acceptance by the major parties and the second would be interpreted in a way that would make it unacceptable to us.)

    Voter Access: We support instant Runoff Voting to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that the voters are not relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils. (Range voting is better.)

 

   CIVIL RIGHTS: “The foundation of any democratic society is the guarantee that each member of society has equal rights.  Respect of our constitutionally protected rights is our best defense against discrimination and the abuse of power.”   Platform: Green Party of the United States:

    Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:     The Green Party affirms the rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, or sexual orientation and support equal rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or [and] transgender [persons] in all areas of life provided to all other citizens, including marriage.    

    Racial Discrimination: We support efforts to overcome the effects of over 200 years of racial discrimination including the work of the State Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. We condemn the practice of racial profiling and the enforcement of federal immigration law by profiling by law enforcement agencies.

We oppose discriminatory English-only legislation. 

    Women’s Rights: Reestablish the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.  The people of the state can only develop remedies to address gender inequalities if it has knowledge of those abuses.  The Commission would gather information and suggest solutions for the public to support. We endorse women’s right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion.  We further believe that it should be illegal to deny the provision of these services or insurance coverage for them. [I think the thing to do is to subsidize contraception, provide abortions on a sliding scale, and to deny federal and state funds to medical institutions that refuse to perform abortions or to provide contraception.]

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: “Our criminal Justice System is inhumane, ineffective, and prohibitively expensive.  The breaking of the bonds of community and the economic and social root causes of crime must be addressed.” Platform: Green Party of the United States:

    Drug Reform: The state should support the efforts on the federal lever to legalize, decriminalize, and medicalize drugs in this country in order to eliminate the illegal drug trade worldwide

    Alternate Sentencing: The incarceration of non-violent criminals is not cost-efficient and generally not effective.  Alternatives to incarceration should be [greatly] expanded and improved [in order to bring US incarceration levels down to the levels of the civilized world.]  

    Abolish the Death Penalty.

    Prisoner Rehabilitation: As free state higher education and advanced skills training becomes available, the prison system should utilized those resources to make its inmates ready to re-enter society.

    Prisoner Reintegration: The few small programs that are now available to support ex-offenders after their release should be expanded so that every person will have the maximum chance for a successful reintegration into the community.

 

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY: “Our actions and policies should be motivated by long term goals.  We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safe disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival.  We must counterbalance the drive for short term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.” 

Platform: Green Party of the United States:Globalization has and will continue to have a great impact on the people of Connecticut. Real wages have not risen in 20 years for the median income family.  The combined federal, state and local tax burden is higher than ever while at the same time the risk of job loss, ruinous medical costs, and pension cuts have reduced the financial security of all but the wealthiest residents of our state.  We know that both major parties have squandered the sacrifices we made in the early 90’s to balance the federal budget with their costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bad trade policies, and corporate bailouts.  The amount of our national debt will make the cost of capital very high in the foreseeable future so economic expansion and job growth will remain low for years to come.  The result in trade dependent states like Connecticut will mean more good jobs will go overseas and few will be created.  These problems can only be addressed on the federal level but there are something that can be do to help the situation here in Connecticut through our budget priorities.

 

[I believe the most important item in this section is legislation to reduce the difference between the rich and the poor. Please read “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. I’ll give you a copy on the 31st or sooner if we can arrange it—or you can get it in a bookstore or library if you prefer. It’s a report on 30 years of statistical research by British epidemiologists. It proves that the effect of the extreme inequality of US society include the highest levels of 1) violent crime in developed countries, 2) incarceration, 3) mental illness, 4) drug addiction, 5) teenage pregnancy, 7) obesity, 8) mistrust, and the lowest levels of 1) education and literacy, 2) life expectancy, and 3) social mobility.  

Connecticut has the fourth greatest difference between the rich and the poor in the country. Because it also has the highest per capita income in the country, it has the greatest unused capacity to improve the lot of the poor.

I think it would be irresponsible of us not to respond to this explicitly in our platform and to recommend some remedial actions, among them legislation to prevent any CEO from increasing his own income without raising the income of the least-paid employee in the firm to a certain percentage of his own. Sam Pizzagati recommends a 1:10 ratio. I’m for a smaller one, 1:4. We should also recommend more progressive taxes on individuals and corporations and preventing corporations from off-loading their costs onto society.]   

Full employmentThe Green Party supports maintain the highest level of employment by refusing to lay off state employees and by maintaining funding levels for state-contracted social services in bad economic times.

Economic JusticeWe believe that not only should the minimum wage be adjusted to keep pace with inflation but that the state should support efforts to create a living wage system for its people.  State employee pensions should be fully funded and health care benefits should be maintained.

Pay equityIn those industries that are regulated by the state, executive salaries should be held to a reasonable ratio with the pay of their workforce.[Please see note above; I think we should define this.]

LABOR: “The right to organize in unions, bargain freely and strike when necessary is being destroyed by employers and their representatives in government.  Today, nearly one out of ten workers involved in union organizing drives is illegally fired by employers who wage a campaign of fear, threats, and sick propaganda to keep workers from exercising a genuinely free choice.”   Platform: Green Party of the United States:

    Right to Organize: Realizing how important the right to collective bargaining is to maintaining a free market and provide for the economic security of every member of society, the Green Party supports the efforts of workers to organize.

    Privatization: We also believe that public employers, i.e. state and local government, should never privatize their workforce in order to cut costs because those saving can only be realized through the impoverishment of their employees. [We should also address privatization of whole sectors of the government and commonwealth, such as prisons, the military and police, the state and national forests, the water supply, etc.]

 

ENVIRONMENT: “We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet.  We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that the future generations will benefit and not suffer from to practices of our generation.”    Platform: Green Party of the U. S.:In the age of Global Warming we are all aware of the need to promote sustainable living but we realize that the citizens of Connecticut will  need help to make the transition.  They need to know how to spend their limited funds to make their homes energy efficient.  They need transportation alternatives that will enable them to get to work without a car.  They need a way to purchase high quality, low cost food produced locally.  The Green Party believes that the state government should play a major role in meeting these needs. [We should recommend a government loan program for re-insulating buildings and converting to renewable energy sources. Special provisions must be made for rental buildings where the tenant pays the utility bills. See my changes to “incentives” below.]

    Planning: With its network of colleges, research organizations, and manufacturers, Connecticut is in the perfect location to become a clearinghouse for green information.

Incentives:  With small grants, [loans], and tax incentives, the state government could encourage homeowners to improve the efficiency of their homes, [landlords to improve the efficiency of their rental units,] businesses to produce new products, and workers to train for new technology jobs.  The private sector is best at creating jobs but government leadership can stimulate the private sector to create jobs more efficiently.

TRANSPORTATION: “The Green Party supports a transportation policy that emphasizes the use of mass transit and alternatives to the automobile and truck for transport.  We call for major public investment in mass transportation, so that such systems are cheap or free to the public and are safe, accessible, and easily understandable to first time users.”     Platform: Green Party of the United States:

    Roads: The Green Party calls for a ban on all new highway construction in the state.  Only repairs to existing roads will be funded and those repairs must include provisions for the safe use of those roads by people using alternative forms of transportation.

    Rail: The rail network in the state should be expanded [and light rail should be created.]  Current plans to complete the rail line between New Haven and Springfield should be expedited.  Data should be gathered to determine what the amount of sensitization that will be needed to make the rail lines an economically viable alternative to the automobile commuter.

    Infrastructure [& Flexible Alternate Transportation]: The Infrastructure to accommodate alternate fueled vehicles should be planned.  Where seed money from the state would be beneficial, the state should consider not only the size of the potential market but the jobs that would be created by the suppliers of the new technology.[The current bus system is wasteful and inconvenient. A mini-bus system should be created for lines with few passengers, new lines should be created, and the lines should run more frequently.] More low-tech infrastructure should also be developed such as parking lots for shared vehicles like Zip-cars [and Zip cars should be available for trips and errands for which mass transportation is not appropriate.] Racks for securing bicycles and motorized scooters should be installed and should include recharging capability.  “Bike Boxes” at all urban traffic intersection.

EMPLOYMENT: “There is plenty of work to do that does not jeopardize our future, does not widen the gap between the richest and the poorest in our society, and that can enrich our communities.  We must encourage the creation of these opportunities.”     Platform: Green Party of the United States

    Job Retention: In difficult economic times like these the State of Connecticut should continue to fund essential services like health care and education.  If the state reduces its employment it will offset the federal efforts to create jobs and eliminate the services that are needed even more during bad times

    Job creation: Job creation is an area that underscores the Green Party belief that most issues require a coordinated effort by all levels of government to be successful.  The federal government has the major tool to create jobs and maintain the highest possible employment levels. The monetary and fiscal policy of the U.S. government, combined with its financial oversight, controls the flow of capital available for job creation, but the States still have a role to play.  The state is in the best position to determine which industries will be growing in the future and to plan for that the infrastructure and human capital to support that industry.  The State can also use its tax laws and its treasury to help reduce some of the risks that are a part of job creation.  State taxpayer resources should only be used to promote the long-term financial well-being of the people of the State. Corporate Welfare will never be supported by the Green Party.  

EDUCATION: “Access to quality education for all Americans is the difference that will lead to a strong and diverse community.  Fundamental changes in our priorities are needed at the national and local level, within the public and private sectors, in the classroom, and at home to make education our first priority.”    Platform: Green Party of the United States

    Funding: The combined state and federal contribution to local education should equal 49% of the cost. [Please explain the reason for this. I favor abolishing property tax as a basis for education because it is too inequitable. I’d replace it with progressive income tax.] State payments in lieu of taxes should be equal to 100% of the revenue loss.

    Vouchers: We oppose the use of vouchers to non-public schools.

    Lifetime Learning: Higher education and skills training beyond the high school level should be available at state institutions to all state residents.

 

HEALTH CARE: “Health care is a human right, not a privilege.”       Platform: Green Party of the United States.

    Insurance: Sustinet, the Connecticut program designed to meet the requirements of the new federal health insurance will not meet the healthcare needs or the budgetary limits of many of the people of Connecticut.  In addition the new federal program, with its lack of cost controls, will put pressure on the state to cut existing healthcare programs like Medicaid.  The Green Party will work to maintain funding for current healthcare programs for the people of the state while fighting on the national level for a real, insurance based, single payer system to cover every American [Everyone in the Western Hemisphere is an American. I’d use “resident of the US” but we must here arguments for “US citizen.”]

 

HOUSING: “Housing is one of the basic necessities of life, yet too many people can no longer afford adequate shelter.  Government should play an activist role in the availability of housing.”       Platform: Green Party of the US.

    Home Ownership: State funding should continue to support the construction and maintenance of affordable and energy-efficient housing.  Programs that work with and supplement federal home ownership programs should also be continued.

    Homelessness: Programs to eliminate the causes of homelessness and to provide the homeless with shelter should be expanded to meet the current need. [Abandoned housing should be taken over and renovated for the use of the homeless.]

 

ENERGY: “Our energy use and abuse is at the core of many environmental and even social problems.  With less than 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. consumes more than 25% of the world’s oil, gas, and electricity.  Major damage to land, air, and water around the world has resulted from such industries as mining, drilling, transportation, pipelines, and generation of toxic and radioactive wastes.  Our oil and gas addition in particular has led to wars and human rights abuses in many countries.”                       Platform[b1] : Green Party of the United States.

    Nuclear: Nuclear energy is unsafe, [uninsurable except by the blanket exemptions of the Price-Anderson Act], and not cost-effective, and the processes that produce fuel for the industry pollute the environment at levels that equal carbon based fuels.  The Green Party calls for a halt to the construction of new nuclear plants and for the replacement of existing nuclear power plants as soon as the energy that they produce can be replaced by energy from cleaner sources.

    Deregulation: Deregulation of the electric industry in Connecticut has failed. Real competition has not developed in the state and the cost of electricity has risen dramatically.  Regulators do not seem to want to intervene to protect electric consumers from unfair rate increases. The Green Party supports the re-regulation of the industry.

    Solar: The funding that the State has made available to provide incentives for the installation of solar energy systems has been very small and limited mainly to businesses.  The Green Party calls for expanding these programs and making them available to individual homeowners.  Providing incentives now will not only help the environment but will also create jobs in the State.

    Wind: The Green Party believes that the State should support efforts to develop wind power in Long Island Sound as long as it can be done without harm to the environment.  Provisions should be made in the Connecticut tax code to provide incentives for investors to partner with the farmers to construct wind turbine generators and produce an electric crop as in other states.

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