I carpooled down to the GPCA meeting
with Andrea and Drew in a small white rented car. We parked it at the
Hostel California, where we roomed for the plenary. It was about as
good a place to stay as could be asked for. The walk from there to the
church where the Statewide meeting was held (In the same hall that
hosts a local Peace & Justice Center) was maybe five minutes. A
significant portion of that time was spent waiting for a hole in the
traffic on Lincoln Blvd. to cross the street in.
When I got there they were already
butting heads over the LA Problem. The context was where to put it on
the agenda. The factions each had their own solution as a proposal,
and each one wanted to use more time then we had to give them.
Glen just had some sort of housekeeping
announcement, urging us to take home stuff from the freebie table.
Things like bottles of sunflower oil, literature, and low power light
bulbs. They even had world market bags to put your haul in.
One of the more memorable lines came
from Jack Lindblad, who said something like "our failed state, the
Pakistan." I thought at the time he was talking about LA, but later he
explained that was referring to the general lack of focus on dealing
with important problems that the LA discussion is part of.
They droned on and on. I wandered
around looking at stuff on the tables.
The later part of the morning was taken
up with breakout sessions. I went to the finance committee, just to see
what happens there. They talked about keeping the books and
fund raising. Jean Rosenmeier said that every time they send out a
fund raising mailing they get back some thoughtful letters with the
checks. I suggested they bring those to the next statewide meeting and
set them out for us to browse.
Will Yeager introduced Los Angeles City
Council member Bill Rosendahl, whom the LA Greens had helped elect. The
guy spoke for a few minutes, saying that being a talk show host for
many years had been a great way to get to know about the city (and get
known by the city) before jumping into politics. He also thanked us for
our service and confessed to being a closet green and a religious
Then he acknowledged
Warner Bloomberg, our outgoing Campaigns & Candidates
cofacilitator, and Larry Mullen, our outgoing Coordinating Committee
cofacilitator. He was also going to give Glen an award, but because of
the two strokes the guy had recently had, he had already left.
These were the people
at the meeting that talked about running for office with me. Laura
Wells told me that she is planning to run for State Controller again.
Lisa Green has her eyes on the 53rd Assembly District seat representing
Los Angeles. Ross Frankel is talking about the board of equalization.
Mike Chalmness wasn't specific, but since the last time I saw him at a
GPCA statewide meeting (back in the '90s) he has run for Congress in
Colorado as a Green
Party candidate there. He might do something.
reported that fund raising and expenditures were down from what they
used to be. Sanda wanted more money for travel for the national
delegates. Sitting there I got to thinking about how un-green it is to
travel. I didn't say anything though.
During the afternoon
we spent an hour or so on platform. There were four planks to discuss:
water, violence in society, public education, and political reform. It
was the one part of the day where the feel of the meeting was more like
an orchestra making music together.
Linda explained that
desalination uses a lot of energy and creates a very toxic plume of
very salty water, both good reasons that greens should oppose it. Jack
Lindblad said we should be opposed to bottled water. I asked that
we present canteens (reusable metal bottles that can be refilled many
times) as an alternative.
Then we spent a lot
of time talking about Los Angeles.
Later Jack Linblad emailed me that he is
planning to run for State Assembly in the 39th District again next
year. Last time he got 8.1%, making him one of our better candidates.
Jim explained that
one of the LA problems was that when electing coordinating council
representatives for LA
they were holding three separate elections, and the same 11 votes were
electing all three seat holders. He suggested that they hold all three
elections at the same time, and then maybe IRV could be used so that
the minority faction could get at least one seat.
Somewhere in there
the woman across the table from muttered something about not enjoying
this. Richard advised her "Don't say that to people when you go home.
Say it was 'interesting'. If you don't it will be difficult to find
people to represent your county here later." Since hearing that I've
thought back on a San Francisco Green Party meeting I went to where the
guy in charge called the Statewide meeting "a circle jerk" and "a
complete waste of time". What a coincidence! San Francisco has a much
smaller delegation then they used to have. That was further proof that
words matter for me...
Actually, a lot of
the speakers had thought through their comments, and were speaking from
notes. It gave the proceedings a deliberate and thoughtful quality.
The various factions
on the LA Issue finally agreed to set up a committee to bring back a
better answer next year or sometime like that. There just weren't
enough votes in the room for any of the proposals to pass.
The lady from the
church wanted our support battling a city initiative to create OPDs to
keep the homeless from sleeping in their cars. She wanted us to sign
copies of this letter. To find out more click her picture.
I'd missed the part
of the meeting at the very beginning where they had seated the Contra
Costa Greens, so Eve wanted me to take a group shot of them. Also, as
the meeting broke up Warner's brother dropped in to give him a ride to
San Diego. They also wanted to be in pixels.
As I walked out the
these kids were doing cool moves on the skateboarding ramps behind the
Driving back on I-5, we passed a few oil wells. I think they look like
giant mosquitoes, sucking the blood out of mother earth.