Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Brief note

In the past week we have learned that the dog my wife has been training to do search-and-rescue work has severe hip displaysia, which means she can't do search-and-rescue work. Nancy was quite upset by this news, as you might imagine. Tomorrow she goes to a specialist to decide what, if anything, can be done to make it possible for Cyra to continue doing some sort of rescue work, perhaps doing water searches for drowning victims.

I also was in a wreck yesterday which I expect will have totaled my vehicle. I was run off the road on the Interstate and hit a guard rail. One tire was ruptured, the entire passenger side of the mini-van was pushed in, and the engine compartment looks like it got shoved around a bit too.

I also found out this morning that my mother died this past summer. You might guess from the fact that I haven't known for six months that my mother was dead that our family is not particularly close. You would be right.

So, the bottom line is that I have a lot to think about, including this blog. Having hundreds of people drive by you when you *obviously* were just in an accident has made me begin to wonder frankly if all this is worth it. If people are so cold that they won't stop to help someone who *clearly* needed it, well, there's a lot to do on building a decent human spirit, and I question what my role is in creating that culture.

All in all I expect that I will not be as active on this blog, or other activist stuff, for the foreseeable future. I have the potential in my business to prosper, if I focus on the business. Focus has never been a strong suit of mine. Over the next few days/weeks, I plan to think about and create a plan for my future. At 47 years of age I think the time has come to begin to look at all my options, and choose the options that give me the best shot at accomplishing the things I want to accomplish.

Anyway, I'm not running away, and I'm not quitting. I'm just thinking out loud and trying to see what I should do, how and when.

Of course, I'll let my readers know as soon as I have a plan. Until then, expect less frequent posts, and please consider getting your daily blog fix via one of these other sources too:

Green Commons!
Green Bloggers Webring!
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Last words

Do you ever wonder what your last words should be? "Don't mourn. Organize!" said Joe Hill. What did the great W.E.B. du Bois say?

Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life.
-W. E. B. Du Bois, last message to the world, 1957

No need to "Read more!" because there isn't any more...and I am off to work to try to earn a bit of a living. Peace all!

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Rose Nader, passes at 100 years of age

mesoandy did an excellent job of telling a bit about Rose Nader, mother of Ralph Nader, at Green Commons Go check it out. She was a woman of real determination and principle. My thoughts are with Ralph and his family today. 100 years is a long time. Ralph's 70. That's a great age to become an orphan if you ask me.

God bless you Rose Nader...and may His face shine on you and be gracious unto you, and give you peace.
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A call for help

Sometimes when people try to do the right thing and defend themselves, their neighbors, and their community, they wind up charged with a crime. This seems to be the case here, and in a letter forwarded to me by Ted Glick, the Reverend Edward Pickney asks for our help. To learn how to help him and others get justice, click on the "Read more!" link... Here's what Ted sent out on behalf of Rev. Pickney. I hope each of us, and that will be about forty people, will take a few moments to help these folks in MI.

Help Defend the People's Voice in Benton Harbor, Michigan!.

In Benton Harbor, Michigan, residents last year won a recall vote of a corrupt
city commissioner through a successful campaign led by BANCO (Black
Autonomy Network Community Organization). Then, in an attempt to
circumvent the will of the people, the vote was overturned by a local
judge. In a further outrage, community leader Rev. Edward Pinkney of
BANCO was arrested on trumped-up charges of alleged vote fraud. He faces
a possible sentence of twenty years. His trial is set for March 15,
2006. BANCO won't back down and we need your help. We can't let
authorities disenfranchise voters and squash dissent in Benton Harbor,
or anywhere


1) Support the right of Benton Harbor citizens to take a stand against a
corrupt political and judicial system

2) Defend the right of Benton Harbor residents to speak out against
injustice without intimidation and reprisals (two key witnesses for the
defense were recently arrested and imprisoned)

3) Stop the disenfranchisement of Benton Harbor voters (a valid recall
election was overturned)

4) Support BANCO's fight against brutality and sexual harassment by police

5) Help balance the odds for activists in a community with 90%
unemployment and under-employment (material aid is needed)

6) Defend our friend and colleague Rev. Pinkney from an unjust trial on
trumped-up charges (several witnesses have been paid to falsely testify
against him)

7) Challenge economic and racial apartheid in the U.S. today

8) Make a positive difference for the cost of a movie or a couple coffees

9) With a donation of $20 or more, request a free BANCO T-shirt

10) Join with others worldwide calling for justice in Benton Harbor.
Together we can make a difference!

*** ACTION ***

To start, we are looking for 100 good people to donate $10 each to
BANCO's legal defense fund. This is phase one of raising the support
needed and is your chance to make a big difference in the fight for a
fair and just outcome of the trial and the recall vote. Supporters are
also asked to come to Benton Harbor for a rally on March 11th and to be
court observers once the trial begins. For more background and details,
see the Web site below.

Go to http://bhbanco.blogspot.com and click on the "Make a Donation"
button for easy online donations.
Make checks payable to "BANCO" and mail to:
BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Contributions are tax-deductible. BANCO is a registered 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization.

Contact Rev. Pinkney any time at:
Telephone: 269-925-0001
Email: banco9342@sbcglobal.net

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Rural Greens getting serious

I was sent an email this AM by Linda McCree. She is involved in the creation of a Rural Caucus. To learn more about her plans and how you can help establish the Rural Greens, hit the "Read more!" link below...Here's what Linda sent out:

A new, moderated RG business listserv has been set up so that those wishing to work hard on getting a Rural Caucus accredited in the GPUS can focus on doing so. Some of you put that suggestion forward before, and time has proven you right. The general RG listserv is a good forum for ideas, but it's now obvious that it's not going to do the job of moving us toward official recognition within the Green Party.

Signing up for the business listserv is important, as it will give you a voice in policy decisions and put you in a position to help in the effort to gain ccreditation for the Rural Caucus. Unlike the free-wheeling, high-volume general Rural Green listserv, THIS NEW LISTSERV WILL BE LOW-VOLUME, LIMITED TO GREEN PARTY MEMBERS ONLY, AND VERY FOCUSED ON POLICY AND ACCREDITATION WORK. While the general discussion listserv will continue, and Wes has set up a blog for us to post articles, policy
decisions, etc. at, we hope this business listserv will be the working arm of the Rural Greens.

To sign up for the new Rural Green business listserv, simply send a blank e-mail to:


Or go to


and signup there.

We hope you'll continue in the effort to bring a greater rural voice into the GPUS.

Linda Cree, bio-regionalist
Michigan's U.P.
Michigan Green Party
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dang...forgot again!

Kristen Olson of MN responded to an earlier post, and since I want everyone to know what she had to say, I post it in it's entirety behind the "Read more!" link...

Hi Gregg and all reading,
Thanks for the call and the nice report on the GPMN meeting. There is something really satisfying about a Green Gathering. I remember feeling in Tulsa how wonderful it was to run into Greens wherever I went for four straight days.

The GPMN meeting left everyone charged and ready to go forward in the state with enthusiasm and a remarkable feeling that we are more than a movement, more than a party, we are a family. And despite ups and downs, together we can do it.

I promised comments on the SC nomination and decided the best thing to do would be to repost my letter to the NC. (with a couple of snips here and there -- but the basics are covered)

I will look for questions on this forum if any are posted and try to answer if I can.

I want to say that I take full responsibility for my decision. While there has been factional pressure from all sides, I considered carefully my own position and that of my state party.

I do have a clear affiliation with and affinity for the principles of Greens for Democracy and Independence: see web page link.
Within GDI there was both pressure to run and pressure not to run in this fourth election for various reasons.

In the end, we have what I have outlined below in my letter to the NC, as my personal choice, and a hope that the GPUS NC will find a way to come to consensus, or that the SC will help to facilitate a reasonably democratic outcome.

In the meantime I remain doing my best in service to the Green Party and Greens on all levels,

Dear James and NC delegates,

I want to thank James for the nomination to co-chair, and for being very kind, helpful, and approachable. Hmm, and I also thank the distinguished
delegates Peter Camejo, Owen Broadhurst, and Marc Sanson, for nominations in the other three elections to fill this seat on the SC.

It is with a mixed bag of feelings that I relay to you my decision to decline the nomination. It is also with a mixed bag of reasons. And some sorrow to have disappointed those that were counting on me to do everything possible, including running in this election, to serve the Greens on the Steering Committee. A lot of thought went in to this decision and I hope you will try to understand. You know that I love and respect all of you.

One main reason I am declining is that it is the wish of my state committee that no GPMN delegate accept a nomination to serve on the GPUS Steering Committee. The GPMN CC is very concerned with the state of affairs concerning the
operations of the SC and NC regarding transparency, accountability, and adherence to the pillars of the party. Because of this, the state CC has also
discussed revisiting our affiliation agreement with GPUS and does not feel that
I will be able to aptly represent the interests of the state should the GPMN pursue alteration or termination of our affiliation with GPUS. This was all discussed at a CC meeting on Saturday, part of which I was unable to attend.


I personally believe that
withdrawing does less in terms of
promoting change than does working actively to promote change, however, I understand the committee's conscientious objector viewpoint as well. I guess it is a boundary difference. At any rate, the GPMN CC's position weighs on my

The other weight is the fact that the contested nature of this election has not been resolved. The proposal to resolve the question is being withheld
from the NC and I cannot run in the election because in my opinion the original election needs to be resolved first.

I disagree with the SC's decision that the proposal sponsored by the states of Florida, California, New York, and Pennsylvania should be amended to address all of the SC members' concerns, which really rest outside of the scope of
the proposal and the presenter's intent, and I disagree that the proposal needs to be amended to their specific proposed language, before it is even allowed to be presented to the NC for discussion.


Four state parties have found it clear enough to approve it for
sponsorship at this level. I find it awfully presumptive for a few members of the Steering Committee to block a proposal [that has been]democratically approved by four state parties.

I am concerned that this is unacceptably poor facilitation, and unfair treatment.


A facilitator may not like or agree with everything a presenter or delegate is saying, but a facilitator's job definitely includes the necessity to actively listen without discrimination.


I support the right of the NC to vote to settle the election controversy before being forced to participate in an election, I support the four state parties in their work to resolve the question and endorse their proposal, and I
respect the opinion of my state committee. All this is a long way of saying that I decline, but thanks for listening. No hard feelings I hope. Certainly I harbor none for anyone personally, and look forward to serving the Green Party US as the NC and my state membership abides.

Kristen Olson
GPMN delegate

5:07 AM
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Quote o' the day

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
-Montesquieu, 1742

I need a source of quotes from non-europeans. Any ideas gang?

Off to work.
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In the News

Those silly Greens, going off to distant lands to try to learn from poor people. How silly is that, eh?

Well, according to a Green Party Press Release, that's exactly what's happened. Not only that, but Greens in Wisconsin wrote a Letter to the Editor of Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. Wanna know a bit more? Hit the "Read more!" link...In the first case, at least five members of the US GP are in Caracas, Venezuela attending the World Social Forum. Peter Camejo, who was born in Venezuela, attended as did Ben Manski. George Martin, James M. Leas and Patrick Barrett rounded out the list of Greens known to be in attendance.

In the second case, Wisconsin Greens wrote to the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle to explain the Green Party position on divestment from companies doing business in Israel.

Personally I believe it's a very principled position, and one I understand and agree with. Regardless of the faith of the person we are talking with, the Green position is one I can comfortably defend. I won't deny that it makes it harder to communicate with some folks, and win them over to our side, but if that were all we were after, we would promise the moon and deliver hell on earth...just like Democrats and Republicans.
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From Ted Glick

I know a lot of you get Ted's columns in your "inbox", and others read him elsewhere, but if you don't read Ted, today's the perfect day to start, right?

Just click the "Read more!" link to read Ted's piece entitled "Easy to be Hard"...

Easy To Be Hard
By Ted Glick

“How can people be so heartless,
How can people be so cruel. . .
Especially people who care about strangers,
Who care about evil and social injustice?
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend, I need a friend.”

-Three Dog Night

Earlier this month I received an email from someone who said that while he has sometimes disagreed strongly with my writings, he was contacting me to let me know that he really liked something I had sent out right before Christmas. He went on to say, “a problem is that progressives simply do not do enough to support each other” and that we need “a movement of applauding publicly each others’ best ideas and postings.”

This really struck a chord with me since I made—and I think so far have kept—one new year’s resolution: to try very hard to express any strong feelings or disagreements I may have with fellow progressives in as respectful and non-antagonistic a way as possible.

This is not a new idea for me. I’ve written in the past in these columns about how the personal is political, that the way in which we treat other people individually is related to how successful we will be at bringing about fundamental social change.

But it’s much easier to write in the abstract, in a column, than when someone harshly attacks you—or it feels like you’re being harshly attacked. I will be the first one to admit that, when that has happened, I have sometimes responded in a way which is more heat than light. I have responded with the intention of trying to put down or silence the other person. I don’t think it happens too often, but I know it happens.

I have done this even though I have believed for a very long time that it is essential, that it is a strategic necessity, that we build a new culture, a new way of living and working that can help us keep the faith and attract others to our movement by that example.

In my book, Future Hope, A Winning Strategy for a Just Society, I put it like this:

“A new movement must learn from the best of the women’s movement and reject the competitive, hierarchical and self-centered styles of leadership that far too many men and some, mainly white middle- and upper-class, women often display. We need to learn how to work in a collective and cooperative way, a way which is distinctly different than the aggressive, me-first culture that is dominant in U.S. society today. We need to show by example, by the way the movement functions, that we have grown and learned beyond the old, destructive patterns of personal interaction. When one of us has a serious personal problem, an injury, an illness, a death in the family, or emotional distress, others must be there to provide support and assistance. We must be known not just for our good ideas about how to re-make society and our work on issues but by the way we interact with each other and with other people on personal levels.”

This doesn’t mean that we should avoid discussion of sharp differences, or allow sloppy organizational practices or work styles to go on without addressing them. I have learned enough in my 55 years to know that sweeping these kinds of things under the rug always eventually makes things worse. But we need to make every effort to be both honest and sensitive, personally respectful of those with whom we have disagreements or serious problems. We must heed the words of great spiritual teachers like Chief Yellow Hawk who asked for “strength not to be greater than my brother or sister but to fight my greatest enemy, myself.”

There is an Ojibway prayer that I carry around in my wallet which, every time I read it, helps me to remember what this work is ultimately all about. As importantly, it has the effect of reminding me about the way that, intellectually, I know I should be interacting with others:

Look at our brokenness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.
We know that we are the ones
Who are divided
And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk the Sacred Way.
Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion and honor
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.


Ted Glick is active with the Climate Crisis Coalition (www.climatecrisis.us) and the Independent Progressive Politics Network (www.ippn.org). He can be reached at indpol@igc.org or P.O. Box 1132, Bloomfield, N.J. 07003.
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Apparently, I'm going to live

I went to the cardiologist this AM and he said that everything looks pretty good. He scheduled me for a stress test and gave me paperwork to get my cholesterol checked. I've lost about 15 lbs in the last year, so I am hopeful that my health will only improve.

I see that blogspot will be shut down at 4:00 PM PST. Not sure how long, but if I'm not here, come back later and maybe I'll be back. *Grin*

I posted a bunch yesterday, and need to get my fanny on the road today, so not much today. No "Read more!" link for this piece.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006


A friend used to close her email with a quote from Nina Hartley. I can't remember it exactly, but in general it said something like "Communism seems pretty good to me, but I could accept socialism." or something such as that.

For those who don't know, Nina Hartley is a prominent feminist porn star, with credentials in the non-porn field that include testimony before the California legislature, lobbying at the state and national level on first amendment issues, and teaching a course over many years in the San Francisco area. She lives in Los Angles today, and is, in my opinion, an clear and positive voice for progressive values. She's a nurse to boot!

Her website is where I first began blogging, and I found the forum titled ""Off Topic" to be a treasure trove of ideas and interesting opinions. I don't agree with all that I've found there, but often the discussions are very well thought out.

One of the current threads is "Why is there no mass based Left party in the United States.", and there are 16 replies to the first post. To read the thread you can click the link, but be forewarned, if forewarning is called for. Some of the avitars used by the people who post there are a smidge risque. I can't imagine anyone being offended, but if you are the sort who does get offended by sexual expression, don't go there. *smile* You have to register to reply, and if you do register to reply, please be sure to read this first It's just basic "Don't be a jackass on our forum" statement, and very fair minded if you ask me.

The thread is right here
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Quote of the Day

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
-Will Rogers

Have a good day all. Love one another, and we will win. I believe it. Human history is a history of forward and back, but more forward than back. We are the edge of society, the edge that will slip between what people believe and what they are told they believe.

Think about it. "Should a 12 year old girl be able to get an abortion" gets one response. "If your 12 year old daughter were pregnant, should the government demand that she deliver that child?" may well get another response. One may be what someone has been told to believe, while the other may be what he actually believes.

Anyway, have a great day, and I'll try again tomorrow to do my best. You too, OK?

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National Committee to be Very Busy Soon!

The national party website lists several issues before the National Committee In addition to the "housekeeping" issues that relate to the Delegate Apportionment Committee and the co-chair election I mentioned earlier, they are considering endorsing a letter from Cold Mountain River Watch Your personal signature can be offered by clicking the "Mountain Top Removal Petition" link at the very top of the page. To learn about the rest of the actions at the NC, click the "Read more!" link...An amendment to the bylaws is proposed. The amendment is about recalling members of the Steering Committee Steve Kramer is the Floor Manager.

There is also a proposal to approve "Forum Managers". These "Forum Managers" are called for in Proposal 186, which deals with
A high volume of posts, as well as the frequent personal attacks, gratuitous vulgarity and inflammatory nature of many posts on the Natlcomvotes and Natlcomaffairs list serves have contributed to alienation of and resignation by GPUS NC members. NC Delegates from many states have requested that usage guidelines be established.

Finally, a decision is apparently ready to be made about where to host the 2006 national convention. Am I the only person who wonders if we aren't putting too many resources in annual meetings? Is there a magic number I'm missing? Why not every 18 months, or every two years with regional meetings in the in-between years?

But, that's just my opinion.
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Water Planning in the Southwest

Mato Ska, aka Martin Zehr, sent me a message about the topic, which is behind the "Read more" link. There is so much for we Greens to do. We need more quality candidates to build public awareness of our existence. Running candidates gives us the chance to create our own message and image. Anyway, the full piece follows...

Making Bio-Regional Water Planning a Reality
-Mato Ska, aka Martin Zehr

In the Middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico water planning is taking on a significant character that is open and inclusive. The 50 year plan worked on for over 9 years by the Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly was approved by the Interstate Stream Commission. We worked with the regional Water Resources Board of the Middle Region Council of Governments (MR COG) and maintained the direction and intent of the plan. It has been approved by the 15 municipalities of the region, the regional water utility authority, the irrigators' conservancy district and the flood control authorities of the two counties in the region, some with particular caveats included in their memoranda of agreement. Hundreds of individuals from environmental groups,
advocacy groups, real estate interests, water managers of utilities,planners, administrators and specialists in hydrology and geo-hydrology have participated and actively engaged the communities in the region for input on recommendations and preferred scenarios.

The result is a plan over 400 pages long with 43 recommendations, and a preferred scenario. http://www.waterassembly.org In the implementation of the plan, Water Assembly officers are working on stakeholder advisory committees such as the Ad Hoc Committee of the Interstate Stream Committee, the Water Resources Advisory Committee of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, the Albuquerque Reach Watershed Advisory Group and the Water Resources Board of the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments.

State law authorizing the development of a state water plan alludes to the active role of the 16 regional plans that have been developed or are in the process of being developed.

Proposals dealing with issues ranging from water quality to conjunctive management of surface and ground waters, and from establishing funding sources for water programs to increasing water supply and decreasing water demand have all been incorporated into the recommendations. Conservation ofurban individual and large-scale users' withdrawals, improving irrigation efficiency of agricultural users, and development of growth management in urban areas to integrate land use and transportation planning with water management are addressed by the plan and provide it with a holistic approach. Water planning will never be the same in the US. In the process, a new model has emerged for Greens to actively engage in that combines ecological activism with political advocacy, structural reform and electoralcoalition building.

In his review of the planning process in the middle Rio Grande, John R. Brown wrote: "The open negotiating arena suggested here offers the likelihood of improvement over the ad hoc response to water resource issues..For those who are ready to work on solutions, the Water Assembly's work to date provides an essential foundation of shared knowledge about the action situation- the fundamental issues that underlie the specific problem situations all the user interests face- and a range of alternative
actions and policy proposals whose potential impacts have already received some
analysis...it offers the possibility that operational level agreements that may be made between parties within the broad framework of a regional plan can be supplemented and enhanced by being embedded in a context that allows for or encourages institutional innovation..They are in a position to advocate and facilitate changes in the collective choice and constitutional arenas of action that can advance cooperation and promote governance arrangements that are scaled appropriately to the problems at hand." ("Whiskey's fer Drinkin'; Water's fer Fightin'! Is It? Resolving a Collective Action Dilemma in New Mexico". NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL,; Winter 2003,Vol 43, No. 1. p.221. UNM SCHOOL OF LAW, Albuquerque, NM.)

Swimming Upstream in Water Law

The issue of water in the Southwestern United States is bound up in a multitude of jurisdictions. There are defined state constitutional rights, Rio Grande Compact Federal obligations to guarantee delivery to downstream states, protections accorded by the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo that includes acequias, Federal guarantees for Native American pueblos and nations, protections provided by the Endangered Species Act, and local agreements with irrigators. Strictly speaking there is no one body of
water law that reigns supreme outside of Federal law and treaties, but even these
are subjected to ongoing litigation.

Into this array of statutes and treaties is the role of priority administration of water based on senior water rights for all takings. The failure to adjudicate (legally establish- first in time, first in right)senior water rights in the Middle Rio Grande has forestalled efforts in the past at making quantitative evaluations on allocations and diversions. Failure to meter private wells and the repeated issuing of well permits further limit the ability to quantify the water resource in a manner
needed for effective water management and evaluate the impact of new wells on the
rights and access of prior users to the water resource. Failure to guarantee priority administration to protect senior water rights' holders leaves the local municipality of Albuquerque with little to restrain its patterns of growth and development despite its status as a junior right holder.

The Great Urban User vs. Economic Development Conflict:
Or is it all just about Urban vs. Rural?

Three additional constituency groups were formed within the Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly in 2001, four years after the formation of the Assembly. These groups reformed the structure of the Assembly. They were added to the already existing groups of specialists, managers and reconfigured a broader group for those impacted by water management. (Brown, pp. 201, 202) These groups were defined as: Agricultural, Cultural and Historical Users, Environmental Advocates, and Urban Users and Economic Development Advocates (UUEDA).

These constituency groups provided self-defined structures that were represented in the Action Committee, the governing body of the Assembly. All constituency groups were given 5 representatives on the Action Committee. This provided for advocates of the various stakeholder interests to provide input into the writing of the plan, to review the recommendations being proposed and to provide representation of the various stakeholders in the decision-making process of the Water Assembly.

The composition of the UUEDA group was to prove problematic from the beginning. Once engaged in the water planning process, developers, real estate attorneys, and commercial realtors took an active interest in seeking to dominate UUEDA's representation on the Action Committee. This brought them into conflict at a very basic level with urban users, such as myself,who represented Greens in the region as stakeholders, and others who were urban residents in Albuquerque. The viability of such a representation of urban Greens was based on the various electoral results in elections ranging from City Council to Congress and the Presidency.

For two consecutive years, the developers were able to sustain a monopoly of
representatives by sending people to the Annual Assembly where elections were held. In 2003, they were defeated in a similar effort and two non-development advocates, one from the National Council of Churches and one from 1000 Friends of New Mexico, were elected to the Action Committee. UUEDA was a stable and functional entity throughout this time, although some urban users left while others came forth. Policy discussions and reviews of projected usage created many heated discussions. Sustained advocacy by urban users, agricultural, environmental, specialists and managers in developed a working alignment that effectively negated plans tailored to promote real estate interests within the Action Committee. That occurred because these groups accepted values that included the preservation of agriculture in the region. Public opinion on this matter was demonstrated by a public opinion poll sponsored by UNM, which showed agricultural use as the 2nd in priority of most in the region. This
represents a distinct model for Greens running for public office and proposes a new alignment of political support for the future.

Going with the Flow Instead of Against It

Now that this process is merging with the efforts of local municipalities in the implementation and monitoring of the plan, developers have moved in search of other, more hospitable venues. They left making a statement declaring that they see no water "crisis" facing the region. They have moved on to happier hunting grounds where they will have more influence through lobbying and contact with public officials. Unfortunately for them, they left little behind in the plan itself. Their inability to make significant inroads in the plan's development should be a flashing light to
discouraged activists who are so accustomed to defeat by such interests within existing governmental entities. It also begins to introduce new structures for
bio-regional political representation based on stakeholder representations.

Growth management was integrated into the recommendations of the plan's language approved by the Water Assembly. These recommendations (Sec. 10.2.2; R2-12 Land Use Management and Planning) included:

· Increase urban building densities and in-fill development through adoption
of local government land use policies, incentives, and regulations. Higher-density development would reduce the relative footage of landscaping and associated water use.
· Prepare and adopt water budgets which provide specific annual targets/limits for new development based on known available water resources. Water budgets should be reviewed annually and revised as necessary.
· Adopt policies to integrate land use and transportation planning and water resource management in all government jurisdictions in the Middle Rio Grande water planning region; and take water supply availability into account when making land use development decisions. Adopt policies that coordinate water impact considerations with all land development and other uses of water.
· Develop a sustainable and coordinated growth management plan for
adoption and implementation by local governments in the middle Rio Grande region
in order to: 1) reduce water consumption; 2) minimize impact on water resources; 3) encourage conservation-oriented economic development and 4)ensure adequate water supplies for any proposed development. Local governments and/or the state Legislature should establish a review process so that each new industrial, commercial, residential and municipal development be reviewed to ensure ongoing availability of
adequate water supplies, including recognition of cumulative impacts on water.
· Establish, assess and collect development impact fees that include the marginal full cost of extending the water service area and the marginal full cost to purchase and transfer associated water rights.

All things considered it was a very productive exercise and stands on its own as a process that effectively promoted green values and integrated them with bio-regional planning. Green efforts need to be prioritized to gain the most in the shortest amount of time. We need to work in processes that will provide regional engagement on green issues. Greens could have worked for years to elect the entire state legislature and we would not have produced a more effective array of policy proposals that are integrated with local and state governments. What remains to be addressed is the existing over-appropriation of 70,000-110,000 acre feet/year of the water
resource and the continued effort by public officials to disregard this deficit.

This is not a panacea. It is not intended to represent some grand strategy that greens should implement in place of electoral work. It is simply a process that has produced results that are consistent with green values. A process and product that can readily be supported by progressives and even Republican farmers. Our ability to work with a variety of stakeholders is dependent on listening to them and defining our own priorities within the process. We were all able to stand firm against efforts by the Regional Council of Governments to delete Goal K of the Water Assembly: "Balance growth with renewable supply". We were able to maintain the goals
described above regarding Growth Management in spite of the Water Resources Board
of MRCOG opposing those listed after the first bullet.

It is necessarily a long process that not everyone will be able to sustain. It is important that such planning be authorized at the state level to empower it upon completion. It is a learning experience that helps people identify actively engaged people of the region, as well as learning local movers and shakers that often work behind the scenes for the developers. It helps provide a self-education in hydrology and forces people to become more informed on the resource.

It is also democracy at work at the most fundamental level and in the most
fundamental area of policy determination impacting on water management. The
challenge ahead in implementation of the regional water plan for the Middle
Rio Grande once again demonstrates the urgency of an ecologically-based agenda for the Green Party in its campaigns and presents a distinct model for electoral activity. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are prepared to defy the interests of the high-tech industries, defense labs and the developers and home construction industry. We can begin to learn from this process and we can begin to define a new green agenda while the window of opportunity is open. For greens, it's like floating downstream in a mountain stream.

Mato Ska
Aka Martin Zehr
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Arcata Greens Opposing Campaign Reform???

The Arcata California Greens have announced that they oppose a proposition by the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights. I'm not sure what all it means, but the article is in the Eureka Reporter. By the way, don't bother hitting the "Read more" link. Just visit the above link to get the "rest of the story".
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Info From the Inside

A while back, three years I think, a group of us worked successfully to block a gas fired merchant power plant from being built. Greens are involved in similar David V Goliath battles with energy hustlers, and it's only going to get worse.

One of the things I learned doing battle with Calpine was that industry newsletters are created not to promote the industry, but to generate profits for their publishers. They need subscribers, and they don't care if you are pro or anti industry.

To find out how to use industry newsletters to fight industry, hit the "Read more!" link...Basically, all industries have one or more "Bibles" of their business. I distribute fasteners. In my field it's the Distributor's Link. In paint it's The Coatings Journal. In Hotels it's Hotels Today By the way, I made up the last two.

In energy, one of these "Bibles" is Energy Central

In two articles, industry "insiders" write about The Future Development of Small-scale Power Generation and also discuss China's Three Gorges dam developer switches to coal

Both of these are articles Greens could benefit from reading, especially if they are under assault from a power plant or transmission lines.

But other "Industry Journals" will give you similar information. Plans to build a self-storage unit right on the water? Read the industry newsletters to find out what's going on in that industry if you want to win.

Which begs the question...do we want to win. Sometimes I wonder if all the in-fighting isn't a form of mass self-destructiveness.
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News from New York Gathering

Minnesota was not the only state to hold a gathering this weekend. New York Greens also gathered. They met in Binghamton, and the Press and Sun Bulletin covered the event. I heard directly from Kim Wilder, who attended the gathering. She reports that Sander Hicks and Jeff Peress have announced that they want the Green nomination to run for Governor. A "Draft Alice Green" effort is underway too, and the deadline for others to enter the fray has not yet passed. More may enter the race. About a hundred in attendence, including many of the state's elected Greens. No need to hit the "Read more!" link...there isn't any more. ~Grin~
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Is This a Green Philosophy?

Promise Yourself-
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

I'm a member. Might suit you too. Optimist International
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Report From Minnesota

I was able to reach Kristen Olson on the phone, and she shared some information with me about the state gathering this past weekend at the Harriet Alexander Nature Center in Roseville. The one day event was well attended, with something like a hundred people there. Twelve workshops, offered in three groups of four so that an attendee could attend as many as three during the gathering, covered topics from US foreign Policy and 9/11 to Election Reform to Running for Office as a Green. The full report, including information about Kristen's points about the co-chair race, are behind the "Read more!" link...The first and most critical point to be made is that the hundred folks who walked away from the gathering walked away feeling happy and positive about the direction the state party is headed in. Eleven people ran for three seats on the CC, the state equivalent of the National Committee. Using a modified form of Instant Runoff Voting, the three winners were selected. Apparently there was no controversy over the outcome. The representative of Fair Vote assisted Kristen in the counting of the votes.

One child attended. Kristen and I agreed wholeheartedly that we must offer child care at all our events if we intend to continue to try to empower youth and the poor. We can't expect people to put their children behind their politics.

All twelve of the workshops offered were well attended, with Elizabeth Dickinson's workshop on "Running for Office as a Green" the most enthusiastically received. Other sessions were filled to overflowing too.

There were more volunteers this winter than in the past, so if you're looking for evidence of a dying Green Party, don't look for it in Minnesota. They are too busy planning to overgrow the government.

O forgot, so if you read this before I adjusted it, sorry. *smile*

Kristen and I talked about two other things. One was Dean Zimmerman's situation. Like all of us, the MN Greens have high expectations of elected Greens. I don't want to put words in Kristen's mouth, so I'll let her comment further if she cares to, but suffice it to say that I continue to hear nothing but positive reports on Dean as a human being and a public servant, and continue to hear reasons to doubt the FBI story. I will publicize Dean's defense fund as soon as I get information about it.

As to the question of whether Kristen declined the nomination to run for the co-chair's seat of if something else is going on, Kristen knows how the system at the website works, and said that she will post her observations here later. I want to be very clear here. Kristen, like most everyone I talk about here, is very busy. She is under no obligation to do or say anything. I will be grateful to her if she does find the time to respond, but again, it's her time, not ours, and we really can't demand something of her, only ask and hops she thinks it worth her time. I think she will, but when the time is best for her.
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Words to Live By

Someone left a comment which took me to task for either being an unwitting tool of one side or another, or their co-conspirator so to speak.

Cameron Spitzer of California has a policy for the Green work he and other Green webmanagers seem to follow, which can be loosely translated as "I'll do my best. You do your best." That should be good enough for anyone.

If you think I am giving less than a full accounting, I am sure you're right. I often times won't know the people involved personally, which I assume others do. I have never attended a national gathering. I belong only to party organizations. Other than the Green Bloggers network, I don't belong to, nor give to, any pressure groups within the party. In other words, I am not involved with GDI, the Green Institute, Green Alliance or any other "official" or "semi-official" grouping. I am here to promote the Green Party. I don't care which "side" anyone's on. If they are doing Green work, it will be promoted here. Anyone is free to offer observations and ask questions here. You can even question my motives.

All I can do is my best. As I have said before, I have no way to force anyone to respond, and don't really even have a right to expect it. If folks participate, it's voluntary. Don't bother hitting the "Read more!" link, because there is no more to read.
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Sunday, January 22, 2006

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A Bit More on the Co-Chair Race

First off, this will be the first audio-post that matches the written post in most ways. Hopefully it will point out how I can best use these features.

Four people have been nominated for the last co-chair seat. One, Kristen Olsen of Minnesota, was nominated by James DeBoer of Rhode Island. She declined the nomination. A second, Jason Nabewaniec of New York, was nominated by Greg Gerritt, also of Rhode Island. He has not accepted nor declined, and has until January 29 at 5 PM Pacific Time to accept.

Two others, Matt Abel of Michigan and Budd Dickinson of California, have accepted the nomination. Abel was nominated by Pat LaMarche of Maine, and Dickinson was nominated by Dee Barry of Missouri.

By hitting the "Read more!" link below you will find statements from/about all three. I won't read those statements into the audio. You will also find a link to a page which lists your state's delegates. These are the people who will vote on who gets to run our party. Write or call your delegate. Tell them who you think should be co-chair. Tell them who you want them to vote for, and demand that they vote. Any delegate to the National Committee who doesn't vote in this election doesn't deserve a seat on that body.

Anyway, click "Read more" to get the rest of the story.If I knew how to do so I would rotate these candidate's pages, or put internal links so you could click on a name and go directly to their bio, but I don't know how. This is important though, so read what they have to say, then have your say Click here to find out who your state's delegates are, and how to contact them.

Now, direct from the National Committee webpage the information about the three candidates in the running. I put their details in the reverse of the way they are posted at the party wesbite...just for fun. *G*

Budd Dickinson, CA
I was a founder of the US Green Party and the CA GP. I was a delegate to the first 5 annual national Greens conferences, 1987-92. I have been an active member of the GPUS Platform Committee for 6 years and was Co-chair for 2 years. I am also a member of the GPUS Personnel Committee.

I was a full-time volunteer for Mark Satin's New World Alliance in 1980. (Mark later wrote the 10 Key Values.) I was the founder of the San Francisco Greens in 1985; helped to organize the Greening of the West Conference in 1988, and was one of the founders of the California Green Party in 1991. I was an elected member of the Alameda County GP County Council, 1992-94, 1996-2003. I was the coordinator of the CA GP Platform Committee from 1997 to 2001; a member of the CA GP Coordinating Committee, 2001-3; and treasurer of the Hamburg/Amir Campaign for Governor and Lt. Governor of CA in 1998.

I have extensive election campaign experience. I was the coordinator for Newark, New Jersey, for the 1972 McGovern for President Campaign. I worked in several Berkeley City Council and mayoral campaigns; and was a candidate for Berkeley City Council in 1998, receiving almost 40% of the vote.

I was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's and am a Life Member of the NAACP. I helped elect the first black mayor of a major eastern city, Newark, NJ, in 1970. In 1972, I got a Master of Public Administration from New York University. In 1974, I moved to CA; got an MA in Psychology (Humanistic) at Sonoma State University; and interned with Assemblymember John Vasconcellos' Self Determination Network. My master's thesis was on Humanistic Politics. I was involved in the Anti-Nuclear Movement and the Pro-feminist Men's Movement in the 1980s. I identify as bisexual.

I work as an Energy Conservation Engineer and have 25 years of work experience in government or semi-public agencies. I was on the Berkeley Energy Commission for 10 years. I live in Eureka, CA, now amongst the beautiful giant redwoods. They are teaching me about endurance.

I am the only candidate in this election from west of the Mississippi River. Jody Haug is currently the only SC Co-chair from those 22 states. Also, I should say that Jody and I have been spending time together for the last several months. Relationships develop slowly when you are in your 60’s. I am 63 and Jody just turned 70. I have witnessed Jody’s hard work first hand and despite the pain I have seen her experience, I am still willing to be on the SC.

I am very disturbed by the conflict over this election. I am looking for a style of politics, based on love instead of anger. Understanding and compassion; not angry confrontation. I am not opposed to confrontation, but I am opposed to angry confrontation. I am not opposed to anger either, but when anger comes from love it creates constructive confrontation. When someone shouts at me in anger and does not pause to let me respond, I can hear only the anger and not the content of what they are saying. I cannot respond constructively, only react with flight or fight.

Concerning GDI, I signed a statement that appeared on the GDI website. It began, “The Greens for Democracy and Independence (GDI) proposals are not about the 2004 election or the presidential candidacies of David Cobb or Ralph Nader.” I am hoping that is true and most of us have gotten past 2004. But I would like to emphasize the 4th paragraph, “And together, we continue to stand for more democratic representation within our party and the right and duty of our party to act as an independent political force in ways that may threaten the two corporate parties.” And the closing sentence, “What we have in common as people of principle, and members of a political party which promotes those principles, is far more important than what we disagreed about in 2004.”

Matt Abel, MI
Partial Biography of Matthew R. Abel

Matthew Abel, a lawyer since 1986, champions those accused of violating
various federal, state, and local laws, rules, regulations and
ordinances, and continues to argue that many of them are
unconstitutional. He also dabbles in public interest and election law.

In the Representative Assembly, Abel introduced resolutions creating a
State Bar of Michigan policy supporting public financing of Judicial
elections, and mandating that the bar hold a public forum for Michigan
Supreme Court candidates each campaign season.

A recidivist member of the Representative Assembly, Mr. Abel
unsuccessfully advanced a proposal to remove the assignment of counsel
authority from Judges., but he’s still trying.

Abel is a member of the Green Party of Michigan State Central
Committee. and also serves on the Green National Committee.

He is active in the Lawyer’s Guild, ACLU, Drug Policy Forum of
Michigan, and the NORML Legal Committee.

J.D. , WSU

Master in Public Administration, CMU

Bachelor in Philosophy, CMU

Associate in Criminal Justice, Castleton State College

Author of June 1996 Michigan Bar Journal article titled "The Michigan
Information Network, Will West™ Go South?"

Past President of Livonia Bar Association.

Eagle Scout.


My political history is available at

Abel, Matthew R. — of Livonia, Wayne County, Mich.; West Bloomfield,
Oakland County, Mich. Democratic candidate for Michigan state house of
representatives, 1986, 1996 (primary); candidate for justice of
Michigan state supreme court, 1998; Green candidate for U.S. Senator
from Michigan, 2000. Still living as of 2000.


I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1958 (I'm 47) Lived there 7 years.

Eugene, Oregon for 5 years.

Fair Haven then Castleton, Vermont 5 years.

Mount Pleasant, then Detroit area.

Moved to Detroit to take a job as Community Development Specialist with
U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). One year.

Attended Wayne State University Law School, Detroit

General practice of law for 10 years, now primary litigation is as
criminal defense attorney. 20th year of practice.

My goal is election to the U.S. House (the Senate would be good, too)!

Now, is there still any reason not to vote for Budd?

Matt Abel
counselor at large

Jason Nabewaniec, NY
Jason Nabewaniec, 28, lives with his wife Misty and their turtle Cassidy in
Brighton, NY, a suburb of Rochester. Jason hopes to focus on three areas in
2006: Caucus Empowerment, Committee Transparency, and Improved
Communications. Jason has voted for every Green Party candidate appearing on
his ballot since first registering to vote in 1996.

You can contact Jason with any questions:
1372 Monroe Ave #20
Rochester, NY 14618
J_Nabs at hotmail.com


1. Caucus Empowerment
I would like to work with the caucuses to improve the advocacy of every
caucus. I feel that each caucus should put out a statement on every
proposal on how that proposal affects the issues and the people of their
caucus. The caucuses are designed to improve the voice of those individuals
with in the structure of our National Committee, I don’t think one vote
really does that, I don’t think SC and NC members are getting enough
feedback from the caucuses.

-Each proposal could have a link to the caucuses’ opinions on the proposal.
-The votes page could be rearranged so that the caucuses votes all appear
before the states.

2. Committee Transparency
Recognizing that most of the progress made but the NC is through the efforts
of the committees, I would like to encourage committees to regular update
the GNC on the projects they are working on. I think it would be the most
convenient if updates could be post to a web page so delegates could review
the updates as needed.

I would also like to see updates on committee contacts to improve the
ability of Greens to volunteer or submit ideas to these committees.
Information regarding committee elections, bylaws, meetings, and structure
should also be posted.

As an SC member I would like to help committees improve there communication
with the NC, and help to ensure all committees are holding regular

3. Improved Communications
As an SC member I would like to encourage more NC members to participate in
open respectful communications with each other. I applaud the recent
efforts of fellow NC members in instituting a GNC chat room. I am
encouraged by the number of phone calls I have received in the last 2 weeks
by fellow GNC members. It is amazing how much farther we can bring are
understanding of each other through personal communication.

I am similarly encouraged by the draft proposal that the BRPP committee has
been constructing for the past year to incorporate consensus voting into the
GNC’s structure. I hope that consensus building and consensuses voting can
be the focal point of 2006 on the GNC.

I hope to be able to use the SC position as a position of symbolic
leadership in being a steward of respectful communication with our
colleagues on the GNC.

I would also like to encourage SC members to continue to add a brief comment
on why they voted as they did in SC meetings. I have found this insight to
be very helpful in understanding the issues and discussions at hand. I have
found the weekly updates from the SC very informative and I hope they can
continue in a clear manner illuminating all opinions.



Green Party of the United States
December 2004 - Present
Green National Delegate from New York, representing Region 6 – Western New
• Merchandise Committee.
• Bylaws, Rules, Policies and Procedures Committee.

Green Party of Monroe County
November 2000 - Present
• July 2004 – January 2006.
• Conduct monthly public meetings.
• Conduct monthly steering committee meetings.
• Balanced action and outreach with electoral efforts.
• Opening speaker for David Cobb on a Presidential campaign speech.
• Opening speaker for Ralph Nader on a Presidential campaign speech.
• 2006 Labor Day Parade Marshal.

• January 2004 - July 2004, January 2006 – Present.
• Rome Celli became the first publicly elected Green in Monroe County.

Steering Committee Member
• November 2002 – Present.
• Focused on coalition building, and improving public imagine.
• Key issues: poverty, education, racism, youth violence, smart growth,
antiwar, labor rights,
community policing, same-sex marriages, electoral reform, support for
the arts.

Committee to Elect Chris Hilderbant
Green Party - Monroe County Legislature
Political Advisor
November 2004 – November 2005
• Candidate earned 15% of the vote in his first election, in a three way
• Candidate earned unprecedented support in volunteers donors and

Committee to Elect David Atias
Green Party - Commissioner of Schools, City of Rochester
Campaign Advisor
November 2002 – November 2004
• Only candidate in race to offer a full platform.
• Increased public pressure on the Rochester City School District to
reorganize the budget.
• Increased awareness of alternative education options and the hard of
standardized testing.

Committee to Elect Jason Crane
Green Party - Rochester City Council
Campaign Staff
June 2003 – November 2003
• Candidate earned 19% of the vote in his first election, running against 19
year incumbent.
• Candidate raised issues of poverty and economic disparity.

Rochester Votes
Political Advisor – Steering Committee Member, Founding Member
January 2004 – November 2004
• Door to door non-partisan voter registration in 54 of Rochester’s most
disenfranchised neighborhoods.
• Registered over 1000 voters.

Rochester Voters Alliance
Political Advisor – Steering Committee Member
January 2004 – Present
• Non-partisan coalition of 30 community organizations dedicated to
electoral empowerment of traditionally disenfranchised people.
• Registered 4000 voters, 3500 first time voters.
• Hosted four candidate forums in impoverished neighborhoods.
• Lobbied County Legislature on the needs of the poor.

Every Votes Counts / Monroe
Steering Committee Member
October 2005 - Present
• Citizen task force formed to advise Board of Elections on the selection of
new voting machines to meet HAVA guidelines for 2006.


Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY September 2004 - Present
Masters of Science, Environmental Health and Safety Management
• GPA 3.46 - 52 Credits.

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY Graduated May 2001
Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering Technology
• ASCE student chapter member, 2000-2001.
• Concrete Canoe Design Team, 2000-2001, 2001 Co-Captain.
• Varsity Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field teams, 1999-2001.
• Varsity Lacrosse Team, 1998-1999.


• Engineer in Training
• AWWA Grade D Operators’ license upon employment in the water industry
• 40- Hour HazWOper Certification
• American Water Works Association


City of Rochester, Department of Environmental Services June 2004 – October
Pavement Assessor

• Inspected, and assessed pavement conditions of approximately 70% of the
City of Rochester's roadways.
• Inspected all current and former crossings of railroad track with City of
Rochester roadways.

Monroe County Water Authority, Engineering Department June 2001 - September
Project Engineer

• Designed, independently, all aspects of water distribution projects,
including: Water main replacement, cleaning and cement mortar lining, meter
vault replacement and tank overflow drainage.
• Led surveying and stakeout projects, employing a total station and
M-scope, in preparation for site work.
• Developed Hydraulic Calculations spreadsheet, reducing calculation
dependent lead-time by 67%.
• Prepared budget estimates for projects ranging from $20,000 to $2 million.
• Awarded responsibility for obtaining permits and easements necessary for
project completion.
• Utilized Auto CAD 2002 for design projects and survey layout.
• Appointed lead inspector on cement mortar lining project.

Monroe County Water Authority, Engineering Department May 2000 – November
Water Treatment Project Engineer

• Completed independent redesign, construction, operation, sampling and
testing of a pilot water treatment plant.
• Conducted continuous renovation of the pilot system to fit current testing
needs. Studies were done on media depth, pre-oxidants, and coagulants with
water quality data collected throughout the pilot plant.
• The pilot plant project was part of the renovations initiative conducted
at the Shoremont Water Treatment Plant, a direct filtration, 150 MGD surface
water treatment facility located on Lake Ontario in Rochester, NY.
• Completed Auto CAD draft assignments for different projects within the
distribution system.
• Attained field inspector position for a water main replacement project.
• Collected filter media samples at the Shoremont Water Treatment Plant.
• Created flow distribution spreadsheets, using Microsoft Excel,
contributing to emergency disaster plan preparation.
• Assisted design engineer on a residential water main replacement project
from design up to the construction phase.
• Compiled historical data using Microsoft Excel for future analysis.
• Conducted surveying for water main replacement and connection projects.
• Prepared preliminary design and cost estimates.

A final note: Thank You to all three, and to Kristen Olsen and Tom Svigney (sp?) and all the current and former active members of the Steering Committee. I have not always supported all of these people, and some I believe did the party great harm, but no matter what the outcome I know that serving on a committee is hard and unappreciated. I appreciate it, and so do a lot of others.
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First "Pod Cast"

I am learning how to do this, so please be patient with me. Hopefully soon I will be typing my posts and also reading them into a telephone so those of you who want to get the inflection and tone of a post will be able to do so. If it's possible and reasonable enough $$ wise I may go to a video clip too. Something short, like 2.5 minutes a day of Green Party happenings. But for now written blogs as well as audio blogs looks very do-able.

Hopefully soon I will have set this up so that you, my readers/listeners can call and leave audio comments too. How cool would that be?

Don't bother hitting the "Read more!" link, but do hit the "Play this audio post" logo to hear the velvety sound of my sterling voice. OK, so I sound like a middle aged white dude...that's what I am. What were you expecting? Fabio? *Grin*
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Feminism Ruined My Life!

As many of you know, I got into writing about the Green Party and my opinions in large part because YC Magazine allowed the York County Greens to submit articles for publication. My latest piece was to have had the rather provocative headline above, but instead ran under last month's title, "Why Care?", which was about why Greens care, and how spirituality plays a role in why Greens care.

This piece is intended to explain why Feminism is one of the Green Party's Ten Key Values. I hope that you will offer comments as you are moved. The article is behind the "Read more!" link...

Feminism Ruined My Life.

Her hurt was evident from the first sentence. Everything promised by society was turning out to be a lie. No Prince Charming out there. She wasn't finding work fulfilling. She was expected to do more for herself. She was expected to be June Clever for her man, but couldn't expect her man to be Ward Clever. She felt that feminism had stolen away all the best in men and left only the immature boy inside. The men who sold her an idea of what her future was going to be like lied to her, and she blamed feminists instead of the men who control media and the message they sell.

Most Greens come to the Green Party because we are disgusted by the corruption in government, corporations, and political parties. We are sickened at the way politicians accept thousands in campaign contributions from corporations. We are disgusted that politicians think we are so stupid that we can't recognize a bribe when we see one.

What, are you crazy?

Why would a political party take a word like feminism and put it at the very center of it's values system? Feminism is at best a loaded word. Were we crazy to make feminism a key value, or were we crazy like a fox? Well, actually, neither. The Green Party is very committed to the things we believe in. Setting aside something we believe in just to win votes or supporters is not what the Green Party is all about. If that's the sort of politics you're looking for there are two other parties better suited to that purpose.

So, what is feminism? To Greens feminism is about empowering women and girls to take control. Iraq can't be blamed on women, nor can torture and rape as a weapon of war. Politicians caught stealing are almost never women. Corporate big-wigs bribing their way to influence and profits around the globe are almost always men. Women should be in a position to make many more of these sorts of decisions. We believe women would not make some of the choices men have. That’s feminism, and we all benefit.

Of course, being female is no guarantee of feminism, nor even humanity. Margaret Thatcher was happy to send troops across the ocean in the 1980s to attack Argentina for mis-behaving, a decidedly paternalistic thing to do. Indira Ghandi was pretty much always open to corruption and influence peddling if memory serves me right, and she was certainly not the advocate for peace and reconciliation her name might lead you to expect.

Feminism is about empowering women, not weakening men. Feminism is a different way of seeing the world. It’s a way of seeing a better world. It's an effort to change the way we think, act and react. We believe that an objective look at where we are right now will convince many people that we must change direction, and soon. The planet is under assault, and the men who are assaulting it must be stopped. Replacing one set of men with another set of men is not enough. We must have more fundamental change, the sort of change feminism represents.
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You may have noticed

that there's a new "special feature" on the site. Way down at the bottom...only because I don't know how to put it elsewhere...is a form you can use to get a list of legislators and media outlets from your area. Put it to good use! Write somebody a nasty note...and sign it George Bush. (Evil laugh)

No need to click "Read more!"...you done read it all.
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The Hidden Dr. King

This is a presentation my friend Jack Uhrich made to his Unitarian Universalist Church in Aiken South Carolina. I believe it's worth the time to read it, and hope that you will. Click "Read more!" to well, to read more...

Jack Uhrich

First of all, I want to note that, so far as I know, this is the only national holiday that our people had to march and petition for. Representative John Conyers first called for a national holiday a week after Dr. King was assassinated in April, 1968, but it took tens of thousands of people marching and petitioning throughout the seventies and into the eighties, led by Mrs. King and many others, to finally convince Congress and President Reagan to set aside Dr. King’s birthday, to not only commemorate his work, but the work of the tens of thousands of people in the movement for peace and social justice that he lead up until his death.

Second, I want to quickly address some of the concerns raised since his death that he was not a perfect man. It is alleged that he had sex out of his marriage, and he apparently plagiarized parts of his doctoral thesis. There are those who would defend him by pointing out the tremendous stress he was under, the long periods he was separated from Mrs. King. And, in the case of the charge of plagiarism, some have cited the differences between European culture, where private property is sacrosanct, and African culture, where a person’s individual contributions are seen as contributions to a collective community, to be used as part of that community, regardless of the individual source of the contribution. It is true that, at that time, our Black and White communities were so segregated that Dr. King grew up in a much more isolated culture than the Black community is today. In fact, having lived in Black communities around the country over the last forty years, as a White person, I can still sit with a group of Black friends who are “talking Black”, and not know what they are saying, their “Black English” is so different from standard English. So, even though most of our basic values are the same, there also clearly were then, and are still today, some important cultural differences between our two races. However, not having done any research in that area, I don’t feel that I really know enough to comment intelligently on all that.
But if Dr. King was imperfect, why are we surprised? Have any of our heroes throughout history been perfect? Our UU Association district here in the south is called the Jefferson District, named after one of our greatest presidents, a man who was both a slave-owner as well as the author of one of the greatest documents of freedom in human history. Shall we dismiss the message of the Declaration of Independence because its author was imperfect? I think not, and further believe that, while recognizing these major but human imperfections, our duty is recognize the tremendous positive contributions of these two men and build on that legacy that points towards creating a better world.

In a minute I will talk about the Hidden Dr. King, but let me first also say something about the Hijacked Dr. King. The Rev. James Lowry, who worked with Dr. King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has noted a poem that said, “Now that he is safely dead let us praise him, for dead men make such convenient heroes, they can not raise up to challenge the images we fashion for them. Besides, it is easier to build a monument than it is a Movement.”

And so today we are treated to the sight of people like President Bush, no friend of the poor, embracing and kissing Mrs. King.
Or Ronald Reagan calling King his great heroes, even though he had originally planned to veto the bill establishing this holiday, only to cave in when it was clear that Congress would override his veto overwhelmingly.

And we Dr. King’s youngest daughter using his legacy to attack gays and lesbians, and a woman’s right to choose, conveniently forgetting her father’s close relationship with Bayard Rustin, the openly gay Black activist and architect of the 1963 March on Washington; or that her father was one of the first recipients of Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award in 1966.

But I don’t want to dwell on those misrepresentations. I’ve come here today to talk instead about the hidden Dr. King, the Dr. King that was so dangerous to the status quo that they just don’t tell you about. For example, if you go to the popular teacher’s website, Education World, you will find a timeline on Dr. King’s life. The only trouble is their timeline stops at 1964, when he won the Nobel Peace Prize. For more information, they direct you to another website, where some students in Oregon have composed a timeline with 35 significant dates in the life of Dr. King. But that timeline also makes no mention of Dr. King’s Poor Peoples’ March in 1968, or his Beyond Vietnam speech in 1967, where he publicly came out against the Vietnam War. So our children are learning, not about Martin Luther King, Jr., the Prophet, but the “warm and fuzzy” Dr. King that everyone knows and loves.

In reality, at the time of his death, although almost everyone knew about Dr. King back then, he was not loved by everyone, or even by most people in this country. In reality, at the time of his death, Dr. King was a thorn in the side of America, and America was reacting in protest. After he publicly opposed the war, when he made his speech, called “Beyond Vietnam”. The Johnson Administration, who had supported him in the past, cut off Dr. King. And he was vilified by, among many others - Time magazine, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and by many traditionalists in the Civil Rights movement. The NAACP attacked him. Edward Brooke, the first Black Senator since Reconstruction, attacked him.

No, the road of a prophet is not an easy road, and, if he was nothing else, Dr. King was a prophet. After he retired as Anchor for the CBS News program, newsman Dan Rather said that Dr. King’s public stand against the war was the single most courageous act he had seen in all his years of reporting, because Dr. King knew he would probably be killed for taking that stand. And that is what a prophet does: he speaks the unpopular truths, no matter what the consequences.

So today I would like to share with you part of this hidden side of Dr. King, the prophecy, the legacy and the challenge he gave to us in his last years, a challenge we have yet to meet up to this day. Dr. King’s speech was delivered to a gathering of anti-war group, Clergy and Laity Concerned, which Dr. King had helped to found in 1965, in New York, on April 4, 1967, exactly one year to the day before he was assassinated, on April 4, 1968.

In his Beyond Vietnam speech, Dr. King was prophetic, not just about Vietnam, but about the direction of American foreign policy over the next 37 years, right up to this day, and including our policy in Iraq. Time does not permit me to read the whole speech, where he first outlined in detail the true history of Vietnam, a historical account that would be confirmed when the Pentagon Papers - the CIA’s own account of that history - were revealed in 1971. But I would like to read to you his challenge to us about Vietnam, and about the future Vietnams to come, and about what this challenge would ultimately meant for America and the world. Though there are some differences today, I think you will also see many parallels with our present situation, not just concerning Iraq, the Middle East and the War on Terrorism, but also as regards our policies of globalization in such places as South America, Mexico and around the world, and the way people in the developing world are responding to our policies, and finally in regard to the destructive environmental consequences that our policies of globalization and war are having on our Mother Earth.

After outlining the history of the Vietnam conflict, and calling on every person of conscience to non-violently oppose the war, Dr. king continued:

[But] There is something seductively tempting about stopping there
and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. [And didn’t many of us do just that over the past 37 years?] Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm [or, in the case of Iraq, the depleted uranium used in our bullets and bombs, and which independent scientists feel is the cause of the tenfold increase in Iraq’s cancer rate since 1991], of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism [or terrorism. Add the word “terrorism” wherever you see the word “communism” throughout his speech, and add “Iraq” wherever he mentions Vietnam, and see how truly prophetic his words were back then]. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons…These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness…We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must, with positive action, seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

“Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

In conclusion, me just point out some parallels to Dr. King’s speech that are readily apparent today. If you go to the website of the National Priorities Project, you will find a counter that constantly updates the cost of the Iraq War since the invasion of Iraq: more than $234 Billion dollars. Now, this doesn’t really tell us the whole cost of the war, the cost in lost lives and limbs and mental health, on both sides. And the war that was started in 1991 never really ended. It is estimated that since the ’91 war, more than half a million Iraqi men, women and children have died, both from the embargo we imposed, the destruction to their infrastructure from our bombing, and from the effects of depleted uranium, which many independent researchers believe is also the cause of the syndrome and the “malignant growths” that have been found in nearly 1/2 of all Gulf War Veterans. Such information causes Dr. King’s words about “sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged” echoes tragically in our minds. And a further irony is that we now know, as brutal as he was, that Saddam Hussein’s government was a secular one, that allowed religious freedom, more rights for women than almost any other country in the middle east, and a higher standard of living, education and health than almost any other country, before the destruction we imposed on them in the 1991 war. And we now know further, that, as a secularist, Saddam was opposed to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, supposedly our main enemies in the War on Terrorism.

But what of the present dollar cost of the war since the invasion of 2003? What could our nation have done with $234 billion had we not gone on our failed crusade to find Weapons of Mass Destruction? According to the National Priorities Project, $234 billion would have enabled us to:
Provide Head Start programs for 31 million children, or
Funded 4 million additional school teachers, or
Provide 11 million 4 year college scholarships, or
Build 2 million new housing units, or
Provide health insurance for 140 children, or
End world hunger, feeding every hungry and starving person in the world for the next 7 years, or
Fully fund worldwide AIDS programs for the next 23 years, or
Provide basic immunity shots to every child in the world for the next 77 years, practically wiping out the most common diseases that kill children today.
And what of the environment? What is the impact of our policies on our Mother Earth? I am sure Dr. King would have a lot to say about that.

The reality is that the so-called “freedom” our government is trying to export, is in fact a system of free markets, in other words, capitalism. But the world cannot continue to sustain human life if every country adopts our economic system. With five percent of the world’s population, our economic system and environmentally destructive lifestyle already consumes 30 % of the world’s resources. China, whose economy has been growing at 8% a year, and with 1.3 billion people to our 300 million, has already equaled our total consumption of the world’s resources, with the exception of oil. And by 2030, it is estimated, if they follow our lead, with our consumer throwaway gas-guzzling way of life, they will not only equal us in per capita consumption of the world’s resources, but will require more oil for its country alone than is presently being produced for all the countries of the world combined! And India, with 1.1 billion, and other rapidly developing consumer-oriented economies are right behind. Our Mother Earth cannot continue to sustain human life, at least as we know it, unless that revolution of values that Dr. King called for comes, and comes quickly.

What will it take to convince, not just our leaders, but also more importantly, our people that such changes need to be made? Another Katrina? Or many Katrinas? Or the submersion of our east coast cities under water due to the global warming that the present administration denies is happening? We can only speculate. But we do know that changes must come, and, if they are to come, it is up to each and every one of us to act to make them happen.

But for now, it is time for me to end. So let me end, as Dr. King ended his speech in 1967, with the words of James Russell Lowell:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.
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