Tuesday, March 28, 2006

De Lear, Paparian, Thottam endorsed by LA County Green Party

Green Party congressional candidate Bill Paparian with the Dalai LamaWith the filing deadlines passed, three Green candidates made their pitch for endorsements at the Green Party of Los Angeles County (GPLAC) meeting this weekend. All three were endorsed. I've written about Byron De Lear (U.S. Congress, 28th district) and Peter Thottam (CA Assembly, 53rd district) before.

The meeting was my first chance to hear Bill Paparian (above), a former mayor of Pasadena whose slogan in his race for Congress (29th district) is "Vote your conscience. For a change, vote Green." When speaking to Greens it is "Finally, a Green who can win". I was very impressed by Paparian's manner and words. As a councilman and mayor in Pasadena, he has proven that he is electable. As an attorney defending a wrongfully accused man, he has proven he can win. He is also, like De Lear, a peace candidate running against a pro-war incumbent Democrat. From Paparian's website:
It is time to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home.
It is time to stand up to the President’s warrantless wiretapping of American emails and phone calls. It’s time to act. That’s why I’m running.
I am running because our congressman needs to stand up to this rogue administration and say "Enough! What you are doing is wrong and my constituents and I have had enough."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

News from the De Lear campaign

Byron De Lear (for Congress!)The people at the LA County Registrar of Voters are nice and helpful, as far as I could tell in my brief contact with them, but the system is not set up to be helpful. There is only one place in the county to turn in petitions and signatures in lieu of a signing fee, and it is in Norwalk. You have to go to Norwalk to get the paperwork, then back to Norwalk to turn it in, and back again if something goes wrong with your paperwork or you want to contest signatures designated invalid. The kicker? The office is only open five days a week from 9-5. Got a job? You're out of luck.

Then there are stories like this, from Green Party Congressional candidate Byron De Lear (above):

We are attempting to address a mistake made by the County Registrar by working with the Sec State and the County Clerk.

There has been a error committed on the part of the Registrar in regard to "losing our paperwork", and then rediscovering it as of yesterday.

On February 23rd after much hard work I turned in 162 signatures from Greens in the 28th after registering 111 new folks, was sworn in and confirmed to be on the ballot through November as the GP candidate in CAL's 28th CD.

I was awaiting a confirmation in regard to how many signatures they would verify, and looking forward to the opportunity to provide any supplemental signatures needed in case their rejection superceded 12 signatures (thereby pulling me below the req. 150* from 162 delivered).

We never heard from the County Registrar since Feb 23rd until yesterday, March 20th.

This was obviously way past the deadline of March 10th, removing our opportunity to supply any needed supplemental signatures.

To me this is a very important conceptual issue based on a key aspect of Green politics, that being the Green Key Value of Grassroots Democracy.

Because I am running as a Green and per election code presented with a method to reach out to the community and do a combination registration and petition drive, in addition to informing my fellow existing Greens in the 28th CD about my candidacy and requesting they sign my petition in effort to forego the filing fee, I feel mandated to pursue this option with all due dilligence. Which we did.

I filed a report of the petition drive entitled, "A Migration Has Begun by Byron De Lear" which has been published on several Green lists including the National List Serve, California Forum in addition to several web sites including my candidate website, Seeing the Forest and Green Commons.

I got a call yesterday saying we are profusely sorry we lost your paperwork - it's our fault and we have rejected 36 of the signatures.

This put us down to 114 confirmed signtures but without any grace period or opportunity per election code to replace the rejected signatures to meet the
in-lieu of required amount.

They requested the filing fee of $360 -- pro-rated from $1621.

Today, we have been with the Registrar all day and in contact with the Sec of State and they are assisting us to ameliorate the situation.

Instead of just paying the $300 or so filing fee as a matter of principle we are asking for the opportunity to replace the rejected signatures as we would have if the paper work wasn't misplaced - probably about a week or so.

So this is the sordid tale from the front lines - and rest assured worst case scenario we will pay the pro-rated fee and be running through November.

*Byron needed the 150 sigs to forego the fee; only 40 signatures were required to get on the ballot.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Now for something different

The DoughI found this video on Google's video site. It is a rap interpretation of the Green Party's 10 Key Values. Check it out: 10 Green Commandments

Here is the description on Google: Adaptation of the 10 Key Green Values of the Green Party of the United States. Written and performed by The Dough, edited and produced by DJ JonnieBlue, and mocked and derided by tha Izza.

Another US torture chamber

Gulag: the movieThe New York Times has a report today about Camp Nama, "the secret headquarters of a shadowy military unit known as Task Force 6-26. Located at Baghdad International Airport, the camp was the first stop for many insurgents on their way to the Abu Ghraib prison a few miles away."
Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said.
It is difficult to compare the conditions at the camp with those at Abu Ghraib because so little is known about the secret compound, which was off limits even to the Red Cross. The abuses appeared to have been unsanctioned, but some of them seemed to have been well known throughout the camp.
Despite the task force's access to a wide range of intelligence, its raids were often dry holes, yielding little if any intelligence and alienating ordinary Iraqis, Defense Department personnel said. Prisoners deemed no threat to American troops were often driven deep into the Iraqi desert at night and released, sometimes given $100 or more in American money for their trouble.

Poster found on UKQuad.com.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Peace march

THE REVOLUTION IS JUST AROUND THE CORNERThe Greens had a very good showing at the anti-war march today in Hollywood. The march and rally commemorates the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq three (!) years ago. Sarah Knopp, Green Party candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction in California and part of the Million Votes for Peace slate, joined Greens from Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Long Beach and elsewhere in the march.

I took the photo above at the end of the march. See more photos of the march at flickr.

Monday, March 13, 2006

On the ballot, more or less

Michael Rochmes, Jason Neville, and Nativo LopezThanks to everyone who signed my petition! I will be on the ballot in June to run for the Green Party County Council. Actually, since there are more seats than candidates in my district, I don't think my name will be on the ballot. I just automatically win. Yay! That's me on the left in the picture above, with Jason Neville and Nativo Lopez, two other Greens who were turning in their nomination petitions at the same time.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Eminent Domain

Hollywood & VineI am not against eminent domain in all cases. Sometimes it is necessary for a government to force a property owner to sell so the government can build a worthwile public project. But I was alarmed by the Supreme Court decision last year to allow governments to take property for private commercial use. Already, Los Angeles is using the Supreme Court precedent to take local businesses and give the land to a hotel developer. The LA Times has a good editorial today on the plan:
The corner of Hollywood and Vine hasn't always been as glamorous as it is famous. But for six decades, the Bernard Luggage store has been at or near the legendary intersection, through years when the star-studded sidewalks were dirty, businesses struggling and the prospect of revitalization remote.

Now things have picked up. Streams of free-spending club-hoppers pour out of the Metro, and red carpets are regularly unrolled on the boulevard for concerts and TV tapings. Bernard Luggage is again at the hottest intersection in town. So after everything has been spiffed up, along comes the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency to declare the area "blighted" and evict property owners such as Robert Blue, whose family has owned Bernard Luggage for 60 years. To build a luxury hotel.

It's a heavy-handed government grab for private property — to make way for a private project. There may be some rare instances in which such grabs are appropriate. This isn't one of them.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that government can take private property from one person and give it to another. The prospect is chilling, and over-reaching redevelopment is now a greater danger, especially by elected officials who often rely on contributions from the same types of folks who build big projects. Unlike the development at issue in the Supreme Court case, the Hollywood and Vine project is not taking anyone's home, just commercial property — in which Blue, his family, his employees, his tenants and his neighbors have invested their lives.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Greens stand with South Central Farmers

The Green Party of California (GPCA) on Thursday put out a press release in support of the urban farmers who are being threatened with eviction from the South Central Farm:
"We support the farmers' resistance to eviction, to relocation, to environmental racism," said Linda Piera-Avila, secretary of the Los Angeles Greens.

"In the shadow of downtown's skyscrapers, in an economically disadvantaged area, their farm stands as a testament to the power of multi-racial community building, local food production, the environmental value of green open space and social justice in the face of corporate greed and lack of civic accountability," she added.
Meanwhile, USC-TV interviewed Greens Nativo Lopez, Peter Camejo and Jason Neville at the farm.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fair Trade LA

Fair Trade
Erin and I represented the Green Party at the kick-off event for Fair Trade LA on Sunday at USC, and we both signed up to join the steering committee. It was great to see a few big "G" Greens there, as well as greenlagirl, who snapped our picture. Among the organizers of the event were Transfair, Oxfam and Catholic Relief Services.

It is not clear exactly what Fair Trade LA will do, other than promote the use of fair trade products, including coffee, tea, chocolate, rice and sugar. But one idea that the Green Party could take hold of would be to try to pass a fair trade ordinance like they have in San Francisco. From TransfairUSA:
The SF Resolution is the strongest Fair Trade Resolution in the country, as it not only declares support for Fair Trade, but also assigns the Department of the Environment with the task of investigating purchasing practices and options and issuing recommendations by December, 2005 that identify how the city can maximize purchase of Fair Trade Certified products. The Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition will be working closely with city officials in the coming months to help ensure they follow through with the recommendations.

The next Fair Trade LA event is a visit from the founder and director of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative, a Ugandan coffee cooperative comprised of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim farmers. March 14, at 7 pm event at CARECEN, Central American Resource Center, Romero Hall, 2nd floor, 2845 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, 90005 Islamic Center of Southern California, 434 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90020 (Thanks to Siel for alerting me to the change).