Pat Driscoll is the current Green Party Candidate for Sacramento's Congressional Seat. He had a table in the lobby where they were distributing DRISCOLL FOR CONGRESS paraphernalia. The flier is a wonderful thing to read to a friend. Jeanie Keltner is the entreprenurial spirit behind Because People Matter, Sacramento's most progressive free newspaper. It got started back in 1994. She is also one of the people that we tried to get to run for Congress as a Green back in 1992, when the Party was getting started. BPM is much more of an ongoing force for change than most political campaigns amount to, so I guess she was right to decide her talents were better used off the campaign trail.
Jim (the guy with the DRISCOLL FOR CONGRESS button) has been a Green since he lived in Germany, long before the GPCA gained ballot status. He is still one of our activists. The woman he is standing with did all the graphics for the debate and its promotional activities.
Ken was Sacramentos Green Party Candidate before Pat. Donna and Peter need no introduction.
Michael "The Bor" Borenstein is the outgoing male CoCo of the Green Party of California (Gerry Gras of Santa Clara County is the new guy). Linda Howard is one of the other El Dorado County organizers. Like Jim, she has been a Green for many years. My favorite thing these two have done is the green tie dyed Green Party T shirts, which are very popular with activists throughout California.
Paul Kamm and Eleanor MacDonald kicked off the event with a four song set that centered all of us in the moment.
Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died right after I took this picture of Peter, so I didn't get a good one of Norman or Carolyn Crane, the moderator.
Another sight I wish I could share with you was the Crest Theater itself, which is a truly beautiful cavernous hall. The art deco light fixtures on the walls give the place a "dawn of the media age" feeling that is in a unique class. The audience filled most of the lower gallery, probably something like five hundred people.
Peter stated the position is in his Avocado Declaration. Norman's boiled down to "We cost Gore the White House in 2000, and we can't afford another four years of Bush." He felt that we need to get behind the Democrats this year to keep things from getting worse. About the time he explained that again for the third time, a geezer in the audience got up and started screaming about how that was exactly what the apologists for the status quo were saying in 1964. He was ranting about how we need to learn from our mistakes when they dragged him out for disrupting the proceedings.
There was a point in the program where they asked for questions from the audience. I was first in line. I asked "One of my favorite sound bites that I hear often on the radio is these two guys talking. One says 'hey man, have you checked out the back of the dollar bill? There's lots of weird stuff going on there?' The other guy goes 'Yeah, man, and it's green to!' (I did my best to imitate Cheech and Chong for the voices.) The greenback is the official currency in 50 states, but according to Ballot Access News, the Green Party is only organized in 20 of them. How are we going to organize in the rest without a Presidential Candidate?" Solomon answered they should run candidates like Matt Gonzalez instead. Peter replied that Matt had told him he wouldn't have joined the Green Party if he hadn't seen us doing good work. During the days immediately following the show, three people told me they heard my voice on the radio.
I'm still convinced that the best of all possible worlds is a contested Green Party Primary for President. I haven't decided weather to vote for Peter Camejo or David Cobb, but both of them are good choices, based on what I've seen so far. Solomon failed to change my mind on that.
--- Special thanks to KVMR, who did a wonderful service by hosting the event. ---