The event was kicked off by a high energy taiko drumming routine. The dancers got our blood flowing.


Matt Gonzalez began by congratulating Ross Mirkarimi on winning his seat on the Board of Supervisors. Half jokingly, he pointed out that he hadn't been termed out, so if Ross doesn't to a good job over the next four years Matt would be glad to take his seat back. Then he talked about the Gulf War, pointing out that it has already cost San Francisco $540 Million, and the State of California $19 Billion. He asked us to think just a little bit about all of the health care and education that could be gotten for that much money. This has forced San Francisco into a situation where they have to scramble to find money in so many ways. Matt then said "we need real standup representatives to see that these kinds of spending priorities happen, not the ones that collapse at the first whimper from Corporate America." He finished by pointing out that as long as we keep voting for the "least worst of the two candidates" we will keep getting two very similar choices from the Corporate Party.

Ross Mirkarimi talked about how it felt to be vilified in the press by the Grocers Association for proposing to tax plastic bags. He said they were claiming the tax would hurt poor people. He said it just wasn't true. The city had done a study of ways to reduce waste, and places like Ireland had success with the strategy. Then he talked a bit about his philosophy of change, saying "real change comes from the streets."


A series of grass roots activists talked about their upcoming events.


Peter Camejo gave a speech next. Unfortunately, I forgot what he had to say before I had a chance to write it down. I spent my first couple of sittings typing in the other notes on this page. Sorry about that.


Ralph Nader got a good hand when he took the stage. He said that yes our situation is bleak, with authoritarianism looming from the Bush Administration, but it is not hopeless. For one thing, 58% of the American People are disturbed by the way the Iraq war is going. This is a huge lack of support for the war compared to what previous wars had enjoyed. Also, there are significant organizations that have stepped forward to facilitate opposition. He mentioned Military Families Speak Out ( ), Veterans For Peace ( www. ), and a couple of others that I missed. Then Nader brandished a copy of War Is A Racket by Smedley Butler. He explained that the guys family had reissued it through Feral Press in L. A. Nader is hoping we can "get a copy of this book in the hands of every active duty Marine." He thinks that would change things. Nader is worried that if we don't get a MAJOR sea change working in American Politics this year the Administration will get its fangs so deep in the system that speaking out against the status quo will become a crime.

After Nader had made a number of other interesting points he explained that he had finished his campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debts. It wasn't the advertising, or the outreach, or the travel expenses, or any of the things he had expected to spend money on. What had caused him to run up the debts were all the suits the Democratic Party had brought against him in 23 States to keep him off those ballots. Yes many of them were frivolous, but he had needed to fight every one. It had been expensive. He then introduced his friend, the Oregon Lawyer in the gray coat, who asked us to empty our pockets to help the campaign.

Tian Harter

_________ Special thanks to Emmie for taking all the pictures on this page! _________