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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Gregg, thanks for posting this.

Kristen's statement is a disturbing one, and addresses a number of different issues.

This is the first I've heard of any Minnesota Green suggesting that the state was re-visiting its affiliation agreement. I intend to look into this with more scrutiny.

As a member of the Steering Committee - heck, as a committed Maryland Green - I'll come out and say a few things which may not make me popular. First, Kristen Olson is well-qualified to be a member of the SC, and I would be proud to work with her. She shows intelligence and a true committment to Green ideals, plus a capacity to take action. It was my hope that she'd stand for election, and while I do not agree, I respect her decision to do otherwise.

Second, I feel that it is wrong that the other members of the SC have kept this proposal from the floor. There are some procedural problems with it, but not enough to warrant this kind of intransigence. I have advocated, and will continue to advocate, that the proposal be sent to the floor of the NC immediately with a two-thirds threshold for passage. One side demands it be sent to the floor at a simple majority; the other is refusing to send it to the floor at all. My compromise position is not being considered by either side - and that is, I believe, the true cause of our problems.

Third, there is another factor at work which Kristen is not identifying: GDI.

Kristen, as GDI's Webmistress, was part of a GDI slate for SC at Tulsa. The GDI delegates caucused when filling out ballots; they turned them in all at once, filled out almost entirely identically. In some cases, some in the GDI bloc didn't even vote for themselves first, prefering to tow the GDI line. GDI members were dispatched to the vote-counting room afterwards to loudly challenge non-GDI ballots, particularly that of the Black Caucus, well before there was even an indication that Kristen was close to being elected. The scene was reminiscent of the re-counting of ballots in Florida in 2000, and is a matter of record, having been captured on videotape.

(Incidentally, these same members now refer to the SC as a "clique". I'll leave you to work out the irony.)

When Kristen was not elected to the last seat, albeit by only a few votes, it was GDI member Roger Snyder who crunched the numbers and worked out an alternative method under which she could be elected - after the fact. GDI members then sowed confusion about the voting method used in Tulsa and in Green meetings before - despite not having a problem with it before they voted, and despite the fact that the software used was developed by a GDI member in California. Snyder's method has not been used before, and was not and is not in use anywhere else in the Green Party, but following an ill-thought-out proposal granting Tom Sevigny half a vote for apparently winning the election and Kristen Olson half a vote for not doing so, GDI delegates then introduced a resolution claiming, baldly, that Kristen, and no other, was elected to the last seat in Tulsa.

In short, Kristen, though qualified and a good candidate, was not elected in Tulsa. She was championed by a small organization (at last count 137 members out of no less than 300,000 registered Greens) disproportionately centered in the leadership of the Party, which has attempted a number of tactics, ethical and otherwise, to get their person elected.

It's my understanding that Kristen may be written in as a candidate in the upcoming SC election. That should be the tactic used. While I feel the proposal should not be kept from the floor, I see no reason, given the above, for any delegate to vote in favor of it. An election is the proper way of determining our leadership; an election is what it should be.
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