Wednesday, May 25, 2005

decline to state

Former Green Audie Bock
Former Green Audie Bock

Santa Monica City Councilman Kevin McKeown has left the Green Party. According to an e-mail he sent to a Green Party listserv today, McKeown re-registered "decline to state", effectively resigning from the party, the Green Party of California's Coordinating Committee, and the Green Party of Los Angeles' county council.

McKeown has been feuding with Michael Feinstein, a Green and former City Council colleague for several years over issues including a $10,000 check made out to the Los Angeles Green Party that Feinstein accepted. Feinstein says he directed the money into rent for a party office in Santa Monica, but McKeown and several others have called the transaction into question.

McKeown says he finally decided to leave the party after the state meeting this past weekend, in which the assembly dropped discussion of the contested donation from the agenda.

Here is the letter:

I want you to hear this directly from me, personally. If you wish to
forward this, please forward it in its entirety.

As the only elected governmental official on the Green Party of California state Coordinating Committee, I have for some time been uncomfortable with the GPCA's ongoing inability to file legally required political donation and expenditure records for a number of checks intended by donors for the Green Party, but apparently diverted through a privately controlled account. After four years, the matter finally was put before the California Green Party's highest decision-making body, the General Assembly, this past weekend.

Delegates from around the state were presented with written documentation, including a letter from the GPCA Finance Committee that explained the seriousness of the situation. That letter, part of each delegate¹s information packet, concluded,

> It is fair to describe the public outcry over the mismanagement of the funds
> in the account in question as the worst public scandal in our party's history.
> That scandal is now part of our history -- an indelible part. The only
> question remaining is whether you, the representatives of the Green Party of
> California, wish the party to continue our efforts to bring this problem to a
> conclusion based upon legal compliance and a political resolution based upon
> our own principles and values.

Instead of seeking responsible resolution, a minority wishing to avoid the issue refused to ratify the previously-circulated agenda, and succeeded in delaying the meeting by almost five hours. Eventually, the 80-odd frustrated delegates voted to remove only one item from the day's general assembly agenda -- the matter of the legally-required financial filings.

Greens, who advocate for political transparency and clean campaign financing, have now actively chosen to ignore compliance with California's primary political finance disclosure law, 1974's Political Reform Act.

As an elected official trying to represent Green integrity in local governance to a Santa Monica constituency unfortunately very familiar through hometown headlines with ³the worst public scandal in our party¹s history,² I find myself in an intolerable conflict.

I've done my best, but I still have unresolved concerns with California Green Party leadership that considers itself above the law on financial transparency and electoral integrity.

I have this morning re-registered as ³decline to state.² I shall continue to work with you on implementing the Ten Key Values in Santa Monica, California, the nation and the world.


Kevin McKeown
Santa Monica City Council

My take in an upcoming post.


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