September 29, 2013 Retreat

Accepted minutes from the Sunday, September 29, 2013 GPCT Retreat at Killam’s Point Conference Center, Killam’s Point Road, Branford, CT 06405.

GPCT attendees by chapter: Fairfield: David Bedell, Cora Santaquida, Hector Lopez, Richard Z. Duffee and Rolf Maurer; Greater Hartford: S. Michael DeRosa, GPCT co-chairperson, Christopher Reilly, GPCT treasurer, Barbara Barry, GPCT secretary, Martha Kelly. Also: Frank and Paula Panzarell of New Haven, Jeffry Larson of Hamden, Allan Brison of Hamden, GPCT co-chairperson; Linda Thompson of Norwich, GPCT co-chairperson; John Lancz of Norwich; Jean deSmet of Willimantic; Melissa Schlag of Haddam. Lou-ann Heller and Stan Heller of West Haven, Non-GPCT attendees: Carmen Caldera of Hartford, Steve Kass of CT; David Kiel from MA.

Retreat Agenda:

9:30AM: arrival of attendees; sign in sheet for attendees. CR took the donations. Each donor was urged to complete a donation form. Set up tables of literature and merchandise: T-shirts. Literature to be provided by: AB about the Green Party’s 10 Key Values; BAB: emailed summary of the GPUS 2012 campaign; SMD: Syria; NSA and Fracking. Other literature about concerned issues and solutions were presented.

Facilitator was David Bedell from 10am to 1pm:

10am to 11am: introduction of attendees to all the other attendees.

11am to noon: each co-chairperson spoke for 7 minutes: AB: his personal experience and the GP 10 Key Values he presented as an alderman to the New Haven City Council for one term; LT: GPCT organizing; and SMD: history of the GPCT. Then attendees utilized 39 minutes for questions and answers to these co-chairpersons.

Noon to 1pm: had potluck lunch food and beverages to share. Had access to kitchen appliances and eating utensils.

Facilitator from 1PM to 2:30PM: Linda Thompson.

1pm to 2:30pm: all attendees were divided up into five (5) groups. Each group discussed goals for the GPCT. At the end of an hour discussion, each group presented to all attendees what each group recommended. The group leaders presented the following for GPCT goals for the next two years:

Group I: Jean deSmet: increase diversity; join other organizations; fill town office vacancies; Jill Stein’s Shadow Government is a good idea as it reaches out to people about GP concerns and solutions; urge IRV voting; increase presence in communities and about issues. Goal: double the number of GPCT chapters in two years.

Group II: Frank Panzarella: focus on: membership; need more GPCT candidates; yearly fundraising goal amount: $20 x the number of each registered GPCT voter; develop an on-line phone banking committee so on-line banking for the GPCT can be resumed; increase use of social media especially tweeter and Facebook for outreach to students. Goal: need to balance: 21st century behavior with focus on a selected but limited number of GPCT issues and/or protests and balance political activity and political party building. Need to regain ballot line access: have lost the ballot lines for the 3rd, 4th and 5th congressional CT districts. Have ballot line access for CT: Secretary of the State, Attorney General and Comptroller. Need 1% of the votes for each office in the past four years to maintain each ballot line access. Reach out to non-participating GPCT members or non-filiated voters. They may have unresolved grievances. Establish relationships. And know your opponent.

Group III: Christopher Reilly: Post more of our solutions to issues on our GPCT website e.g. oppose nuclear power by closing the Millstone nuclear power plants in Waterford, CT. Seek well-informed GPCT candidates who pass the GPCT vetting process. Seek qualified candidate for governor. This may help recruit other well-informed GPCT candidates. It is noted: new 2013 CT regulation: cross-endorsements are not allowed per statements from several CT State Elections Enforcement Committee (SEEC) attorneys to GPCT co-chairperson.

Group IV: Cora Santaquida: Use social media for outreach; have movie nights. Goal: have one GPCT person interaction with each of the 169 town governments. Outreach to each ethnic group. Bilingual use will improve communication and outreach. To increase membership: need: catch phrases; business cards for GPCT members; round tables with parents; seminars for voter registration especially with young voters; table at colleges; hand out literature at clinics especially about our positions about: health care, feminism and gender equality, non-violence, respect for diversity, social justice and equal opportunity. Run for governor. Sell GPCT T-shirts with thought provoking slogans.

Group V: Melissa Schlag: Attend events including tag sales and get back to people. Consider having two levels of GPCT membership: one level: wants to vote in primaries vs. has interest in the GPCT. Continue to do campaign finance reform of the CT 2005 Campaign Finance Law and our GPCT lawsuit against the state of CT about this 2005 law. Print media does not cover us. Nor do many of the campaign debate sponsors who host events and have panel discussions about concerns and discussions about documentaries and movies. If GPCT develops on-line banking, urge donors to pledge a monthly amount e.g. $20 or 2% of monthly income.

Facilitator from 2:30PM until closing: John Lancz.

2:30pm to 3:30PM: attendees participated in one of the three small following workshops. Each workshop lasted one hour. Then workshop leaders provided the following information to all attendees at about 4:45PM:

a) Campaign School for current or potential GPCT candidates about GPCT candidates without cross-endorsements presented by leader: Allan Brison. Other presenters were: Jean deSmet and independent candidate: Melissa Schlag. Summary: have and urge actual and potential GPCT candidates to participate in campaign schools presented by the GPCT and/or the GPUS. b) Social Media with leader: Cora Santaquida. David Bedell also was a presenter. Summary: attendees were educated about what actions can be done with: Facebook, Tweeter vs. email. Attendees were advised of the advantages and disadvantages to joining various social media sites. Urged to use our GPCT listservs. Privacy concerns were discussed. c) Ballot Access, fundraising and petitioning with presenter: S. Michael DeRosa and Federal Campaign Regulations with presenter: Christopher Reilly. Leader was John Lancz. Summary: GPCT and other minority political parties are hindered by the CT 2005 Campaign Finance Law which was amended in 2006. The GPCT and S. Michael DeRosa were plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the State of CT about this law. Judge Underhill found in August 2009 that this law violated, among other violations, the 1th amendment (free speech) and 14th amendment (equal protection under the law) to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. 2nd Court of Appeals (in Manhattan for the states of CT, NY and VT) overturned Judge Underhill’s decisions. The 2nd Court of Appeals did not address many of the details of Judge Underhill’s findings. Our legal representatives, the ACLU, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which agreed to consider the case. Then this court sent the case back to the 2nd Court of Appeals (the Appellate Court). Also discussed fundraising by: having meals in restaurants; giving items when donations are given; use raffles to raise money; urge voluntary dues but do not demand it. (NOTE: CT law forbids political parties from requiring monetary contributions as a condition of party membership.) Consider having one specific GPCT fundraising person. This person would be compensated for his/her work. Need 7500 VALID petition signatures to get the GPUS presidential candidate on the CT ballot. The GPCT was unable to achieve these goals in 2008 or 2012. Need to work: with other political parties about revising the 2005 CT Campaign Finance Law.

 

3:30PM to 3:45PM: break; and consensus of attendees: decline purchasing pizza. Still have food to share.

 

3:45PM to 4:45PM: attendees participated in one of the three small workshops and selected a workshop leader. 4:45PM to 5:15PM: leaders fromeach of the six small workshops provided summaries of their discussions to all attendees. Suggestions from the three workshops held from 3:45PM to 4:45PM were:

a) Financial Inequality Now and Through the Ages with leader: Richard Duffee. Summary: there is more financial inequality today then perhaps in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. The law of diminishing returns is about growth of national products (as measured in U.S. dollars) vs. the value of that dollar in different countries. The U.S. dollar is overvalued in rich (typically developed countries) and undervalued in poor (underdeveloped) countries. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) currency exchange really takes money from the poor countries and gives it back to the rich countries.

b) Conflict resolutions with John Lancz. Leader: Barbara Barry. Summary: when discussing differences of opinion, do not make it personal. If a person assumes they KNOW the way things are….let them talk. This may allow you to find out information about things and enhance your understanding of why they have their opinions. This also allows for more openness to a personal connection which helps to decrease “right” and “wrong” viewpoints. Comments such as “I feel….” are personal jabs. It would be less personal to response by saying: “ when I hear that, it makes me angry.” Try to find common ground to agree on and try to expand areas of commonality. Marshall communication skills e.g. non-violent communication is less than 90 decibels; “what I hear you saying is XYZ. Is this correct?” The recipient is the listener and provides feedback about what they are hearing or believe to be hearing. The speaker than has a chance to correct what the listener did not hear/understand. Do respectfully listening. Some people may “run on emotions” vs. analyzing details. Respond to the people who run on emotions by listening and requesting from them what it that they want is. Then repeat as needed.

c) Civil Resistance with Ms. Carmen Caldera and the Environmental Justice Network with Martha Kelly. Leader: David Bedell. Summary consists of three proposals to the GPCT: 1) direct actions. E.g. targeting CT administration official, Daniel Esty who has stated in multiple public events, his support for nuclear and coal energy sources. 2) Challenge the electoral process itself because in some ways it excludes a wide range of voiced opinions on issues and recommended solutions. And 3) the goals and actions of the Environmental Justice Network is to have an impact on health concerns e.g. Millstone nuclear power plant (in Waterford, CT) on cancer; power plant and auto emissions effects on asthma; and the processing and waste.

 

5:15PM to sundown (about 7PM): Potluck supper; socialized, live acoustical guitar music and singing by Frank Panzarella. Clean-up will be done by the Clean-up Committee (and volunteers)under the supervision of AB in efforts to get full refund of $200 clean-up deposit.

 

Submitted by Barbara Barry, Green Party of Connecticut secretary

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