Cheri Honkala spoke at San Jose De-Bug on Sunday October 21st, starting around 6 PM. I got there about that time to find a huge stack of pizzas on the food table. It was a delicious way to start the evening. There weren't many people there yet, just half a dozen regulars, the Green Party table, and a few members of the spiritual community.


Raj began the speaking part of the meeting. He explained that De-Bug was all about making a creative space where people could explore ideas and use equipment that was otherwise unavailable to them. Then he introduced Shamako, whom everybody who uses the place regularly knows well.


Shamako talked about marching with Cheri Honkala in the Poor Peoples March, many years ago. Then he quickly introduced a series of important people who each said a few words.


This guy (Carmelo?) was a founding member of the De-Bug team, but I missed his name. He was grateful that the place is getting used for important events like this one.

Jorge (sounds like Hor-hey) talked about how the system is playing fast and loose with our rights. He feels that De-Bug is a key part of working together to come up with an artistic antidote to mainstream blather.

Then Shamako turned the stage over to Sandy Perry, whose job was to introduce Cheri Honkala.


Sandy Perry said that we are at a historic crossroads. The coming election is an important event, and tragically the mainstream media are ignoring some of the choices on our ballots. Having known Cheri Honkala for years, he is proud to bring her voice into the public debate by giving her this opportunity to speak with us. He lead us in a round of applause as she took the stage.


Cheri began by telling us what a huge experience it had been to get selected by Jill Stein as her running mate. Then she talked about how her number one issue is housing for the poor. Cheri lives in the poorest neighborhood in Pennsylvania, and she sees the problems with our system on an ongoing basis. Substance abuse, unemployment, all sorts of problems. It was because of the system's failure to respond to these problems that she ran for Sheriff two years ago on a platform of "STOP HOME FORECLOSURES!" Housing the poor remains her number one issue.


Shamako began the question phase by asking a couple of things that everybody wanted the answer to. Then he opened it up to the rest of us, one by one.



Spencer asked what could be done about home foreclosures locally. She said "visit my Wikipedia page, where there are links to lots of resources on that." She also said "If you're foreclosed on don't just leave, wait for them to kick you out." I gather sometimes it takes them a while to get around to that.


This guys question was something like "how is the Green Party going to get beyond being a bunch of white environmentalists?"

She said "I'm going to get you to run for office as a Green Party member."

Somebody else asked her to give more details about getting arrested with Jill Stein trying to get into the Presidential Debate in Colorado. She said they were handcuffed to folding chairs for eight hours by order of the Secret Service. Then they were pushed out the door without a phone call or anything. Sounded like corporal punishment to me.


Somebody asked how the Green Party platform was going to affect things if she got elected. She talked about "turning the White House into a Green House." Then she said the defense budget would be cut drastically and much more resources would go into education and caring for our fellow Americans.


I think she asked something like "how are we going to give grass roots politics in the USA a more thoughtful quality?" Unfortunately I forget exactly what Sheri said about that, but I remember thinking that those gently rounded mountains of Pennsylvania were Greener than I thought.


Sandy asked the last question.


Everybody listened closely to what she said. The room was very quiet, in an attentive, active-listening way.

Cheri pointed out that California is a safe Democratic state, so we don't have to worry about voting Green. She assured us that we'd get good karma from voting for Cheri Honkala and Jill Stein.


The closing ceremony was a shared singing of a gospelish Christian song that I wasn't familiar with but they all knew.

That was followed by a short hip-hop performance that I forgot to get a picture of and considerable chatter.


On the way out June was giving everybody that wanted one a Jill Stein lawn sign. There were lots of takers.

A few days later:

Sandy Perry let me know that you could see a video of the event by clicking here.

Brian Good emailed me his transcription of the event. Click here to read that.

Shamako Noble published this longer and more thoughtful piece a week later. Click here to read it.