When we got there we found out there
wouldn't be any food until evening. The entire carpool (Carol, Tom, and
I) was hungry, so
we headed for this Thai food place that Carol knew, just a few blocks
When we got back from lunch, Jimi
Castillo was in the middle of doing the opening invocation. That
slap-stick he was wielding was clicking out a nicely tuneful beat
that went along with is spiritual skat singing. Kind of a "Hu! wa-wa!
Huh! Wah-wah! hu wa wa..." that went on for a few minutes and centered
us in the moment.
Jimi Castillo said he is running for
Governor because he had decided the
time had come to "take a few shots for the Green Party." He explained
that he is well known in the Labor, Veterans, and Native American
Deacon Alexander said he is running for
Governor as a leftist candidate. He gave out copies of his flier. Click here to see mine.
Erica said she had joined the Green
Party as Matt Gonzalez's press spokesperson. The San Francisco Green
Party is still quite busy.
Christina Tobin said she is running for
Secretary of State as a Libertarian, partly because she was asked by
Richard Winger. She had been in charge of coordinating ballot access
for Naders campaign in 2008. She is going to run an aggressive
and hopes to win.
Somewhere in there Carol Brouillet said she wants to make a Green Party
bill, featuring websites and ideas central to Green politics. She
invited everybody to send her their ideas for such a bill.
The woman from Arizona said "If you look back down the road, and you
see nothing but pain; then you look up the road and see nothing but
pain ahead, then it's time to step off that road and take a different
path." Then she explained that to get Green Party candidates on the
ballot they need to do a huge amount of signature collecting. If you
can get yourself to their state they will feed you and give you a place
to sleep while you work on the signature drive. They need the help and
would be grateful for it.
Dave Heller said he is running for Congress in the 9th District.
Bill Elk Whistle Neal said
he is going to be helping Jimi Castillo with his campaign for Lt. Gov.
Later I heard him tell stories about how much he likes wide open
spaces. All I could think was "I'm such an urban dweller compared to
him." In my world it's rare to not hear human voices. Sounds like it's
not like that for him.
Sandy asked us to come from a place of
ignorance and bring people into the Green Party by meeting them where
Marne Glickman said she will be working
on Dan Hamburg's campaign and GreenChange.org.
Laura Wells said she is running for
Somewhere in there I took a turn to tell people something like "I'm
working on putting the change in change."
They broke into a "press conference",
just to show the rest of us how it's done. Cres said such thing as "If
this was a real press conference, you would have scheduled it before
noon so that the press would have plenty of time to organize their
material and submit it before the deadline" and "have speakers prepared
with no more than three or four minutes of material you want them to
focus on." He cautioned that if you make it a press conference about
everything it will become a press conference about nothing. What the
press wants is a story they can grip the audience/readers/listeners
with. Give them that and you will be covered. Be quick, be clear, and
then let them go do their thing.
Dan Hamburg said that he had been a
Marin County Supervisor when he ran for Congress in 1992. Once he
became a Congressman he found that the constant fund raising grind was
something he just didn't like. He took some time out after helping
Nader get to know the Green Party. Now he is running for Supervisor in
Marin County. He wants our support.
Erica lost me. Her comments were like a basic primer on how to
orchestrate a press conference.
I became one of the
people on the fringe that wasn't listening. I showed the activist
formerly known and Joe Louis Hoffman the "GREAT LAW OF PEACE" on the
new Sacajawea dollar and he pulled this button out of his pocket. He's
still quick, whatever his name is now.
internet, I couldn't find any pictures of Deacon Alexander. I got this
one as he was going out about then.
I should have added Barbara Eniti to
that list. I
remember Kent Smith's funeral.
Brain cancer got Eleanor Lewellyn.
and her husband John Lewllyn were the first gender balanced Gov.
campaign team to be beaten by NOTA. Ira Rohter was Hawaii's Mike
Feinstein, or so it seemed to me. Marla Ruzicka died in Iraq
documenting civilian casualties because the Pentagon said "we don't do
body counts", or something like that. I remember Bill Patterson saying
he was going to win a City Council seat. I know he ran, but I think he
suddenly died of a heart attack or something before he had a chance to
build on the first try. Where's Nancy Broyles? I haven't seen her for
years... So many others
have come and gone. Are they really all still alive? That's hard to
Larry Bragman was talking about how
critical it is to beat PG&E's ballot initiative with the warm fuzzy
name [misnomer?] that will kill utility reform.
About then Richard Winger, who is
mainly a Libertarian Ballot Access guru, had to go. I grabbed him for a
second on the way out to get his picture. I've not talked to him since
maybe '95 or '96 in DC. He taught me (us?) many things about how to
frame stories, just by
explaining how ballot access fits into the picture. I am very grateful
for the impact of his insights.
The next order of business was a brief
flute recital by Bill Elk Whistle Neal. He would bring out a flute,
tell us a story
about it, maybe what somebody said to him the first time he played it,
or why it had a bear shaped bird. Then he would explain how it makes
him feel and play a song that proved it. The tunes were great
background music for quiet reflection.
Beth showed me some snapshots she had.
This one was taken maybe a decade ago.
Barbara Blong was the first California
Green to win a contested U. S. Senate Primary. She beat Kent Smith. At
the time I knew him but I didn't know her. It was eye opening to me
that somebody whose name was utterly new to me could crush the most
incredible activist in the Central Valley without even debating.
There was a break, so I just took
pictures for a while. Did some mingling to.
Linda did a comedy skit based on The
Wizard of Oz, poking fun at some of the more entertaining things about
our politics. She imitated Meg Whitman as the wicked which, Laura as
Dorothy, and Arnold with his cigar. Then she did impressions of the
Green Party. She did Peter Camejo with his Avocado Declaration and
charts showing taxing the rich is a good idea. She reminded us of the
time when Mike Feinstein was "the highest elected Green Party member in
the USA." She held a virtual joint to her mouth and toked on it to
illustrate the guy had been highest in more ways than one at least once
Then we had a history panel. Mike
explained that the first time they tried to do it, in 1986, they had
failed miserably. I think they came about 76,000 signatures short of
the number required for ballot access. They had sent in another request
in '88, but another group had beat them to the Secretary of State's
desk. That group didn't succeed in getting a Green Party on the ballot
either. In 1990, in this very room, another group had come together,
this time vowing to succeed. That day had lead to this.
Ross spoke first about those days. He
had to because he had a young kid and wife at home that needed his
Beth started by listing the different names she has used in the past
twenty years. They all started with "Beth", but ended differently. She
and Kent Smith were the backbone of the Nevada County Green Party
during the ballot access drive. Later she was our press spokesperson
for many years.
Wildman (tan clothes) said working on
that ballot drive is still the most incredible thing he has ever done.
It's just not that often a drive succeeds, and even rarer is it done by
people without significant financial backing. We did use some money,
but the volunteer component was what drove it. His first big project
was a manual for organizing Velcro County. Then they got together the
Green Focus Newspaper, with contributions from all over the state so
people could see that the Party they were joining was more than just an
idea in minds of radicals foaming at the mouth. After that he just
worked hard, doing everything he could to keep teams on the streets
registering voters. His parting thought was "If we were still following
that Velcro County template, we would have about 650,000 members in
California." He thinks the low hanging fruit of people that agree with
us and are willing to register Green is about 650,000 Californians.
Right now there are maybe 100,000 Californians registered Green.
He also talked about None Of The Above (NOTA). In the beginning they
petitioned the Judge for rights to control their primaries, being a new
Party on the ballot and all that. The judge had disallowed much of it,
but had given us NOTA instead. After the 1992 season he decided to run
NOTA for Governor next time. Then he talked about being campaign
manager for "Nobody for Governor" in 1994. He recruited a slate of
candidates to run for Governor, including one whose ballot statement
boiled down to a ringing endorsement of voting for None Of The Above
(NOTA). He also fund raised to all of the people that supported Big
Green and a few other things, raising several hundred thousand for the
mailings that asked people to "vote for nobody!" The candidate vote was
split three ways, so he won with something less than half the
Right after the election I saw him quoted in the paper saying "I wish I
could vote for Nobody in November." Unfortunately they
(the status quo) took NOTA away from us because we were having too much
fun with it at their expense. It hasn't been on the ballot since 1994.
The electronic activist (Mitra or
something like that) talked about how that registration drive was the
first large scale political thing to be organized using email and
spreadsheets. It made our costs a tiny fraction of what others would
have had to invest to do the same things.
Hank talked about how it was pulling
teeth to get voters to register Green until they got articles about why
it was a good idea
in the press. This cover story in the Guardian for which he and Regina
had posed with a clipboard and pen had changed the tide. After that it
was a matter of keeping up with the demand for registration forms. Hank
has been going through his archives lately. One thing he found out was
that a lot of people that had come to our statewide meetings had later
run for office as Greens. We've had 208 candidates so far.
The woman in green had words so light I
felt like I was watching that feather drift around at the
beginning of the movie about the guy who shook hands with President
Kennedy. She just shared a couple of impressions, moments she had found
meaning in. Wish I could remember them.
She was followed by the first guy that
lost to NOTA. He talked about how they had worked hard to put out the
mailing that got the voters to do it. Later he heard stories about
people that got the mailing three days after the election. His team was
grateful (or was it lucky?) enough of them had gone to the polls and
voted him off the ballot. I remember him being the only candidate in
batch of us that got any press right after the election. (Typical
headline: NOBODY BEATS CANDIDATE!) It was a great
"only in California" story. I enjoyed reading it to.
Danny Moses called in and spoke for a
few minutes. His ideas strengthened my feeling that green politics on
all levels, from movement (from using less toilet paper to voting our
dollars in the marketplace) to electoral activism (from symbolic to
incumbency) at the local, State and national level, are all part of
moving forward together. Charlene Spretnek said a few words to. She
talked about her work as campaign press spokesperson, laying out her
evening's FAX blast on the bed, and then
sending them out one by one after the phone rates went down in the
evening. They talked about how exciting it was when the Guardian
endorsed Danny Moses for Lt. Gov. After that, the rest of the campaign
was a real whirlwind.
Now I'm wondering why I wasn't on that
panel. I was as much a part of that year's campaign as anybody else. I
went to Kent Smith's campaign meetings when Barbara Blong was beating
us. But then I'd said a few words about my story earlier. Maybe I just
felt shy when Feinstein asked everybody to step forward and sit down. Anyhow, I was there
I think Heller mentioned gathering
signatures back then.
About then Ross had to leave. He showed
us his son's picture on the way out. I told him my new line, "now that
there's PEACE in the change, you to can have peace in your change for a
buck." He liked it.
Daniel talked about gathering
signatures during the ballot access drive. He said "that was when I
learned how to manage six clipboards at the same time." I gather he did
a lot of it. What I remember him for was organizing that Statewide
Green Party meeting in Marin. The one where Caroline Casey put mooti on
the chairs (including mine) before her speech. I looked at it when she
explained its magical powers. Looked like a pinch of an underwhelming
Daniel said that after Audie Bock got elected to the State Assembly
they had put together a Green Focus issue featuring her on the front
page. The plan was to send it out to the fund raising list, and then
pay the office expenses including staff off of that. The only problem
was that right about the time the mail went out Audie Bock scandalized
the Alameda County Greens by taking money from big oil and bid tobacco.
When she heard from them about it she quit the
Green Party and joined the Democratic Party. People didn't give us
money because of that mailing. Instead we had to pay the printer and
post office with money we needed to use for rent and salaries. His
conclusion: "We weren't ready for
I remember somebody asking me about the
first guy that got beat by NOTA. I explained his campaign had asked
voters to vote for NOTA because they didn't have the resources to be
competitive in the fall. "He withdrew from the race" was my friends
look on that face said "what a concept."
After that there was a lot of mugging
for the camera. I would have liked to have S. Deacon Alexander in these
pictures, but he had left.
I think the guy in that picture is
Evan. I think I forgot to get an individual picture of Emery.
Dana won her race last fall. I was glad to get another picture of a
I like the world of ideas radiating
between Carol and Cameron.