Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why I'm running

I've been a member of the Green Party since I first registered to vote, and a volunteer for the party since before then. Except for when I studied abroad, and a year when I lived in DC and had a journalism internship for the Hill newspaper, I have been involved with the Greens that whole time, in Santa Monica, Berkeley, and Los Angeles.

I was a delegate from California at the nominating convention in 2000 in Denver, when it looked for a moment like Ralph Nader would crack five percent and really put the party on the map. But then Florida happened, with the butterfly ballots and the hanging chad, and everything went pear shaped. The President turned out to be worse than anyone could have imagined, and Nader and the Greens were vilified.

The last six years have been tough for the Green Party, but the mood is changing, with a growing independent streak in the electorate and Democrats less likely to blame the Green Party and more likely to question their party's leadership. Greens who have been registering voters in Southern California this year say it has been easier to get people to register with the party than any time since the 2000 election.

Unfortunately, the Green Party of Los Angeles County has not been able to capitalize on this mood, let alone provide leadership. The party leadership at the county, state and national level have become unfocused and factional. Fortunately, the June election provides an opportunity to bring new energy to the GPLAC with an expansion to 40+ seats elected by state Senate district. Already, 23 Greens, including myself, have taken out nomination papers to run for the GPLAC County Council. If we get even 16-20 councilors, the expanded council will mean more people to bring fresh ideas and share the workload. The smaller districts can mean greater connection to grassroots Greens and community groups.

What I want to bring to the County Council is a progressive vision for growing beyond internal and past disputes, so that we can be a visible and attractive alternative for people unsatisfied with the two "major" parties. Specifically, I want the GPLAC to improve communication with Greens in the county, form a greater connection to likeminded groups in Los Angeles, and become a prominent leader on local issues and candidates.


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