Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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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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
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