In some ways the Venice Plenary was a non-event in that once again the Green Party of California spent more time on structure than on substance. The amount of time spent on the restructuring proposal(s) caused an opportunity cost by using the precious face to face time of California Greens in squabbling over internal matters that only resulted in wasted time and further damage to relations among Greens when it could have been used in: resurrecting the Green Issues Working Group, developing a voter registration campaign, in planning fund raising, in candidate support activities, or any number of productive functions. However there were delegate challenges for Contra Costa and Los Angeles Counties delegates whose motivations were over providing vote for the restructuring proposals, not over whether the delegates were properly elected and representative of their counties. For instance, the Los Angeles County Council currently has a 12-8 split after resignations and appointment, yet the plenary delegation was 16-3. There were agenda challenges over restructuring as well that wasted a great deal of time. The end result was that the restructing proposal was sent to committee, where it should have been all along. The constant bickering and maneuvering that went on did not make for much of a party. However, there was lots of great food and drink, much of it organic, so despite the in-fighting there was a certain good feeling due to eating well and the great ambiance of the Venice United Methodist Church.

Some Greens are not living up to the Ten Key Values or participating in Consensus Seeking Decision making with good faith. The bad faith domination efforts of a few is driving more and more Greens out of the party or into inactive status. No one wants to invite people to a fight, thus recruitment of new Greens and activation of existing Greens is down. The Green Party may go defunct if the current modus operandi continues. Those Greens that have been setting the house on fire have the unmitigated gall to complain about the house being on fire. In fighting over who gets the golden egg they are killing the goose that laid it. Sharing is caring and those that are not sharing are showing how little they care for the best interests of the Green Party of California.  

With the reduced number of delegates attending a Plenary it was hard to pay for the fixed costs of holding a Plenary; i.e. location rental, sound system and note takers. Forty Greens paid the full Plenary fees when at least fifty were expected to, leaving a shortfall and causing more of the food to be donated than was intended. Future Plenaries may wish to consider meeting in someone's house with the downsizing trend. There should have been fifty plenary participants from Los Angeles alone, but with vexatious participants being allowed to abuse the consensus seeking decision making process, only twenty one local Greens attended and many of these did so for one day only, part of a day, and/or requested/demanded fee waivers.

To directly answer a few of your questions; Tim Morgan took on the CCWG Co-Co position from Warner Bloomberg, which is a relief to find a responsible person willing to take on this important job. I am sure the website will be updated in a few days. Green Issues Working Groups did not meet nor was there an effort to reconstitute it with the power squabbling consuming so much time. A deus ex machina in-between plenaries solution will have to be used unless Greens wish to wait for the next plenary, whenever and wherever that will be. Setting the next Plenary host was one of the functions of a Plenary that has fallen by the wayside. I do not why the Water Platform Plank did not pass as host committee duties kept me from participating. Shane Que Hee or someone else will have to explain this item. 

To close on a pleasant note; the closing ceremony included; an inspirational poem, a circle that became a spiral dance with the passing of burning sage, the sharing of compact flourescent light bulbs, small sunflower oil bottles and sunflower seed packs to plant. There were many Greens that stayed to clean up the auditorium and kitchen with Jeanne Rosenmeir and Lisa Green deserving special mention for their hard work. The kitchen was left cleaner than we found it, which was a concern after the intensive use it had. Peggy Kennedy from Food not Bombs was apoplectic Saturday night upon seeing the kitchen's condition and could not believe how good it looked on Sunday night. Shane Que Hee and Linda Pierra-Avila washed a mountain of dishes. Bob Smith and Genevieve Marcus came though with bananas, helped in the cooking and provided a hot water urn when another one shorted out Saturday morning. Murphy's law was in full operation with three Greens that offered to help work the plenary breaking their legs (!) and not being able to attend at all. Dorothy Kemeny doubled as the Housing Coordinator, worked the Registration table each day besides helping set up and clean up. Glenn Hopkins, despite his second stroke, provided the Saturday night entertainment at his home as well as dishes and the opening/closing ceremony readings. Glenn also was the one that contacted Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl to address the Plenary, which was a smart political move. The Friday night CC meeting did have to be moved at the last minute due to Glenn's second stroke and there was some complaining by certain Los Angeles Greens about the local listserve not having the change notice posted on to it, mostly by the same ones that did not lift their little finger to help the plenary. The organic produce order was not available on Friday as requested, had to will called on Saturday morning and arrived as breakfast was being served. This caused Phil and myself to be driving to downtown Los Angeles when we should have been setting up and cooking in the kitchen, as well as changing the Saturday menu at the last minute, which Lisa Green dealt with admirably. The church care taker somehow was not told that we could set up on Friday night which caused also some difficulty. How do you serve breakfast at 8 AM when you gain access to the kitchen at 7 AM? Thankfully, there was lots of food that did not have to be cooked, many Greens helped at the last minute and everyone was patience. Lisa Green spent two long mornings cooking breakfast on the hot wolf range and managing the kitchen when I unexpectedly had to run downtown for the organic produce Saturday morning. I am deeply grateful for her tremendous efforts at the last minute, the plenary would not have gone as well as it did without her many contributions. Lisa Green is running for the 53 A.D. in 2010 and deserves wide support in that she works hard, can operate in changing circumstances, works with all Greens and epitomizes Green values. Lisa Green is one of the new Greens that can overgrow those old Greens (including myself) and help lead the Green Party neither left nor right but straight ahead.

Finally, my daughter Brigit and her boyfriend Phil helped prepare all four meals for the plenary, bring in and set up the equipment, clean the kitchen and auditorium and haul away the materials, recyling and compost. These two teenagers worked hard all weekend and could be our future. I can not express how happy I am with Brigit and Phil.


Will Yeager

GPCA Venice Plenary May 16-17, 2009 Report


Plenary Attendance                         53


Paid Plenary Fees                             46


Waived Plenary Fees                         7


Single Day/Partial Attendance          6          


Cash in Envelope                          $345


Checks in Envelope/Mail             $500


On line Payments                        $595       (subject to confirmation & CC discount)


Total Payments on hand         $1,440


Mail-in Payment in transit            $35


Receipts                                    $1475


Auditorium Rental                      $800


Sound System                              $150


Kitchen Rental                             $200


Note takers                                 $250


Housing                                        $50


Expenses                                     $1,550