MAJORITY REPORT of the ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE
concerning the 2002 EXPANSION DELEGATION
of the GREEN PARTY of CALIFORNIA
to the COORDINATING COMMITTEEApril 2, 2002
attachements in text format)
- Tony Affigne, Green Party of Rhode Island
- Al Brooks, Green Party of Arkansas
- Tom Fusco, Maine Independent Green Party
- Sharane Palley, Green Party of California
- Ron Stanchfield, Green Party of New York State
- Art Goodtimes, Green Party of Colorado
- David Pollard, Green Party of Texas
- Thomas McGuire, Idaho Greens
“… we have come to the conclusion, in a 5 – 3 vote, to recommend that the nine person expanded delegation submitted by the delegates from California should not be seated.”
Dear Members of the Coordinating Committee,
Our effort has been to help minimize the process for the expanded delegations of the larger states through a relatively simple process. In doing so we have routinely had to ask each state for additional information.
California could not provide us with satisfactory validation that the process they followed for the election of nine delegates was in accordance with its own procedures, procedures which had been announced to us on three separate occasions and procedures which had been the hallmark of California since its entry into the national Green Party. California, in disregard or the apparent absence of racial justice within our largest state’s delegation also presented to us an all-white delegation demonstrating the appallingly weak commitment to diversity, a key value to which California Greens have pledged their entire political party. While this was not a blocking factor, it is a real concern, so much so it MUST be mentioned. Therefore, with democracy and equality as our foundation we have come to the conclusion, in a 5 – 3 vote, to recommend that the nine person expanded delegation submitted by the delegates from California should not be seated.
Of the procedures it said it would follow, and historically has followed, that of electing national delegates at the state’s plenary, proper democratic process did not occur. An alternate process was offered instead and while there were other issues considered, the blocking concern, ultimately, was the lack of democratic process followed. And while at least one member had dissatisfaction with the procedures which the USGP CC imposed on the Accreditation Committee for expansion delegates, giving us the responsibility to, in essence, “rubber stamp” a state’s submission without the authority to investigate, the minutes of the Santa Cruz meeting made it clear that the intention was to select “interim” nominees, without a scintilla of democratic procedure, and therefore since we were also not given the job of approving “interim” delegates even that was beyond the scope of the democratic process sought. California failed on multiple levels.
To start, let us use the Accreditation Committee’s Chair Art Goodtimes’ words to frame the discussion.
In his first substantial internal decision on process he said of Pennsylvania: “Outside of gross manipulation of the delegate selection process… I think I’d support allowing sizeable flexibility to the state parties.”
This was our guiding principle.
1. The delegate selection process for California was defined BY CALIFORNIA in the communications we received on 31 Dec 2001: “We will be having a state meeting January 18 & 19 in Los Angeles where additional delegates will be affirmed.”
2. A few weeks later we received further confirmation on how the already described delegates would be chosen. While California could not complete the process in January, the representatives of the almost 150,000 California Greens were told that the plenary will decide who the remaining delegates shall be: “We are now encouraging applications for the remaining 9 positions, to be selected in an election at our next state meeting on May 4/5.”
3. They reported that this would be the process and also sent a second email on the same day further describing the CALIFORNIA PROCESS: “We’ll conduct some form of choice voting at the plenary.” 4. A month later, with no explanation of any change to their stated process, California’s Peggy Lewis announced to the USGP’s CC that they had a full delegation! They also published a totally different process from what we were told in the THREE separate and previous communications: “The GPCA Coordinating Committee then appointed delegates…”
5. They voted on the USGP’s CC list as a full delegation; cast that vote having not signed our need for a certification that they have followed the rules for allocating delegates; cast that vote without our recommendation; and, cast that vote without being seated by the Steering Committee.
6. They cast the vote having not only misrepresented to the Accreditation Committee what their process was to be; they cast the vote having misrepresented to even their own prospective delegation, for at least one member was under the impression that they were selected as “nominees” to become delegates at the May plenary.
7. The delegation included the name of Nanette Pratini, from Riverside, California. Unbeknownst to the Accreditation Committee a Green in Riverside, Chuck Ruetter, and for his own reasons, asked Nanette what process was followed. On March 6th she wrote back: “Here’s how it happened… Last week Jo called to say I had been selected as an alternate… So, I am nominated to be an alternate delegate, representing all of California, to the national Green Party… Feel free to pass this on to whoever may be interested.”
8. “Nominated to be an alternate delegate” is how Nanette Pratini sees herself and used these very same words to describe it.
9. The Agenda of the California Green Party’s CC’s Retreat was sent to the Accreditation Committee’s Co-Chair by a California Green. The key Agenda items were: “What will the national reps do? What’s the best selection process? What are the operating guidelines? What endorsements can GPCA make? What’s the implementation plan?”
10. The Minutes of the CC’s Retreat were sent to the Accreditation Committee. The key Minutes were, “Meeting in Houston made eligible to vote online”, and “Should we leave this meeting with 13 people to start voting, interim, until 5/4.” Nowhere did they discuss or address the fact that they had described to the AC on more than one occasion a very precise process and how it would work. They left the meeting appointing “interim Delegates” having not followed any stated or known process.
EQUALITY, JUSTICE, DIVERSITY
In what universe of values can justice, equality and diversity be less important than “autonomy”? More than one person has remarked to the Accreditation Committee that an all-white delegation from California, the nation’s most diverse state in 2002, is comparable to the all-white Democratic party delegation from Mississippi in the 1960s.
One member of the Accreditation Committee, in speaking with a number of indigenous Californians about the issue, learned that the Green Party of California’s CC disregarded this majority.
And when all we in the Accreditation Committee wanted was to slow down our slide on what we knew was a very slippery slope, instead we were rushed. With time we believed and still believe all of these questions could have been resolved amicably and successfully, with nothing more than advice from the Accreditation Committee. The ideal outcome would have been for California to elect a diverse delegation, using a legitimate, open, and democratic process.
There has been gross manipulation of the delegate selection process in California. As such it cannot and should not pass muster with the Coordinating Committee.
California has misrepresented to the Accreditation Committee what it said it was doing, telling us that they were planning to do one thing and then doing something very different. The delegate selection process for California was defined to us on three separate occasions as being a function of the vast statewide plenary and then when instituted, defined as a completely different process to our CC as being an appointive process by thirteen people, not the representative vote of one hundred and fifty thousand California Greens. It went from a clearly stated inclusive voting process to an exclusive group of thirteen people finding a potential loophole and appointing whoever they wanted without warning even the “delegates” themselves, all to get an email vote. They rushed over their own process by which every other Green in California was operating. There was one process for the California Greens and there was one process for thirteen people, the CC.
During the accumulated years on the Accreditation Committee, over twenty between the eight members, we have always argued for maximum legitimate state party autonomy. But this has never been construed as a blank check for state party leaders to do whatever they pleased, without regard for precedent or policy, ignoring our state Green party’s agreements to abide by certain fundamental values.
As far back as California’s very first delegates, in November 1998, and in every case,involving John Strawn, Sharane Palley, Jo Chamberlain, Beth Moore Haines, and Michael Wyman, they have been elected by the plenary,representing all the California party’s locals. Direct appointment of voting delegates by the GPCA Coordinating Committee circumvented existing California policy. We know this to be true because the Accreditation Committee received and reviewed the 1998 application, including delegate selection. We have been informed, by many reliable sources within California, that no such a dramatic transfer of powers has never been authorized.
This has been a difficult decision for this committee. The impact on the USGP, the impact on the AC and the impact on each of us has been a weight we have all had to carry..All we ever wanted was a clear explanation of what California did and how it was “legal” under its “laws”. We do not feel we have received this explanation. The integrity of the accreditation process is more important than California’s ego.