January 16, 2003

SC teleconference Minutes – January 16, 2003 (Draft)

Participants: Dean Myerson (minutes), Jack Uhrich, Barb Payne (timekeeper), Ben Manski, Jason Ravin, Jo Chamberlain (facilitator), Jane Hunter, Jake Schneider

Abbreviations used:
BRPP = Bylaws, Rules, Policies and Procedures Committee
BC = Black Caucus
CC = Coordinating Committee
COO list = Coordinating Committee listserve
DC = Diversity Committee
DX list = Discussion listserve for CC
FOE = Friends of the Earth organization
FPPC = Fair Political Practices Commission; regulates political fundraising in California
FPVA = Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas
GP = Green Party
IMF = International Monetary Fund
LA = Louisiana
MC = Media Committee
SC = Steering Committee
WB = World Bank
[Brackets denote editor’s suggested corrections. Some punctuation corrections done with no content change. -ed.]

Report on Finance Comm formation
Jake > Talked to Tom Sevigny/BRPP and sent notes and comments during and after voting, including Calif memo. They are going to look at them and incorporate into the proposal. The new proposal may have to go back to CC if many changes.

Treasurer’s Report
Jake > Will post treasurer’s report every Tuesday morning. Only addition to last one was a $6500 deposit. I have a question about the reserve account. Should I transfer $ from reg acct to reserve account if so, how much.
Jo > Do you want to resolve that now?
Jake > Reserve should be $30K plus $4K for Jan should be $34K in Sovereign Bank acct. Currently has $21K, my suggestion is to xfer $14K tomorrow.
Jo > Questions or concerns? None approved.

Fundraising Report
Jack > Forgive my report lateness. I’ve been sick, so minutes need to be combined form two people. Did anybody not receive it?
Anita > I haven’t checked email since then.
Jack > It’s short should I summarize/read it out?
Anita > Please summarize.
Jack > Grossed over $55K so far in mailing, w/$10K contribution. I’ve solicited about $20K in the last month. Last one donor to Minn issue. Spent most time to help Letitia; had successful meeting with potential celeb donors in Calif. Leader of group has contacted me and is interested. Following up with John Strawn, who will also follow up. Their concern about 2004 is that we run a candidate who is qualified to be Pres, and that we have an exit strategy that involves Green grassroots. John will try to get these folks involves in GP meetings. Also discussing meetings in SoCal and perhaps on East Coast. Maybe Jane could participate, and Dean, and Tom S. Have confirmed that Nader’s list is available. I should find out if we can get 30K names for Feb mailing.
Anita > Stmt/concern about emphasis we are placing on potential celeb donors. When we expanded the amount people could donate, Greens expressed concern that it could put deep pockets in control. I’m concerned that these deep pockets want to tell us what to do in 2004. I think it is disconcerting that these people can have an influence. Also concerned about bicoastal thing for these meetings. We need to rethink this strategy to some extent.
Jo > Would like to respond to these valid concerns. These folks are not donating now and are not not wealthy nor planning to make huge donations.
Ben > Concerned about call time. We need to stick to time.
Jo > Anita, could we follow up on this later. Not going to do the rest of the stack on this.

New Business Server
Jane > Is anyone unaware of the situation with our payment server? [no] There are a whole range of issues. First piece is that pay server goes away in 27 days. Quick and dirty solution is to buy the software, get a Verisign key, and set it up on a shared server that is currently being used. Software is in a Microsoft-only environment. One-time cost for this is $1600 or so plus $45/month hosting fee. That’s a short-term solution for several reasons. One, it’s an env [environment] that requires us to be dependent on Microsoft. Doesn’t resolve some other issues like allowing us to do integrated hosting for us and other Greens. Longer term, not where we want to be. Verisign has sophisticated backend. Sent list with process.
Cameron gave some recommendations with server companies. Several Greens have said they would like to host this, but it is not compiled. Frankly, us tech folks think that secure servers should be in the hands of pros. Includes Cameron who thinks it doesn’t make sense for us to try and do this. Need industrial strength operation. We could lease a dedicated server and put on it whatever we want. Will need better system for 2004 with presumably more donors then. Possibility that we could do without an online capability. Kendra might be able to reverse engineer current capability. Not a good idea not to have online donations capability; don’t want to lose that capability. Recommend the quick and dirty and not give up on other options.
Nathalie > So suggestion is for $1600 option now. Didn’t understand long term solution. That would be to get our own machine. Please try not to use jargon.
Jane > We are concerned with the payment management stuff. The front end is running in Microsoft ASP environment on Interhost and is using Verisign SSL certificates.
Nathalie > So we should get our own machine and write our own software?
Jo > The committee that is looking into this is recommending the $1600 solution.
Ben > I hope that simplifies things. We can’t stay where we are now, we have to move. Proposal is to buy software, put it on a server.
Jack > Clarify that Verisign doesn’t have a good recurring system, unless they just started. That saves us money as well. When we switch over, can we add the $10 category?
Dean > We should always in the future negotiate a contract that gives us more than 30 days.
Jo > Proposal is for $1600 solution now. Concerns?
Jake > Don’t have enough information to decide and vote.
Jo > Jane, can you write this up for us? Concern? None.

[Morgen D’Arc joins]
[Jason Ravin joins]

Black Outreach Proposal
Jason > Hope all of you have seen it. Assuming all have seen it, what is next? Jo > I sent you some questions today which we can talk about another time. Since the Black Caucus doesn’t yet exist, we have to decide where this project would reside. Would it be under the SC, or some other place.
Ben > Two things. Diversity Comm is not meeting regularly yet, but is going to start again. Until Black Caucus is through accreditation (which could take months), this should be under Diversity Comm. They should be asked about this.
Anita > This issue will be on our Saturday conf call. I spoke to Jason today, and I told him some of my concerns. It’s my hope that we come back with another proposal in a couple of weeks. I’d like to know if Jason thinks that’s possible.
Jo > So you’re recommending that we ask the DC to adopt this.
Anita > No, I’m not recommending anything to the DC. Just note that the DC will discuss it, and if Jason is comfortable with this, I suggest that the proposal be reintroduced at a later date.
Jo > Suggestion is agreeing with request for DC to look at the proposal and take a couple of weeks to get comments and come back to the SC. Is that better? Anita > Not quite, but would ask Jason for more input.
Jason > I’m not clear of the relationship with the Diversity Comm.
Anita > We’re not asking them to look at it because they already are, just noting that it’s already on their table. Just suggesting that the DC consider this, under consideration of the Black Caucus, and bring it back to us.
Jason > I don’t mind that, but I would like for the BC to facilitate this. The BC is 15 members away it is from having the number of members it needs to apply for accreditation.
Jo > Fundraising and Finance Committees also need to look at this. Maybe you should forward this to other committees.
Ben > 3 issues with BC. It might take longer to get accredited because the AC has to submit another proposal regarding caucus accrediting process, then it needs to be applied. Second, caucuses could be controversial. Third, the role of caucuses has not been resolved.
Jo > We have a plan of action and thanks for doing this.

Eder/Maine Staffing request revisit
Morgen > It was incredible to see John Eder in the legislature and with an office. But he needs staff. We have been doing fundraising and doing well. He got some staff hours from the state. There was some controversy in the state party about funding this. Our state party fundraiser told us he put in a request to use the USGP list, and that that SC conf call shot that down but approved using the COO list to ask for more funds. He spent a lot of time writing a letter and I wrote an intro. That letter was ready, but was recalled by Ben Manski and Anita Rios who said it was a no go. I hope we can go ahead with this because the pressure is really intense. I thought that winning the election would be the toughest part, but it is only the start. Eder is being stonewalled by the other legislators.
Jo > We have a proposal to reconsider.
Ben > I remember denying the request last time, but am willing to reconsider. I am concerned with the precedent, but you folks feel strongly and am willing to support the letter going out.
Barb > I remember the initial conf call and dropped off with a migraine. I read all the notes, would to see them get help. I support options to get them some cash.
Anita > Couple of question: how much money do you need, and when do you need it by. I don’t want a solicitation to the COO list people have gotten upset. I would feel better with us allocating some money instead.
Jack > My memory is that the appeal would go to the CC discussion list, not the COO list. Also, I would send it to my own personal list. I never heard back.
Nathalie > Likewise, not support it for COO list, but okay for the discussion list. Opposed to setting precedents for the COO list.
Jack > SC said no the original request for $1,000Ben Thanks for reminder about Discussion list that helps. Can’t support allocating funds. I want to help but we have 170 elected officials. A lot of them are in much larger districts. We need a policy.
Jo > My memory is the same as Jacks. This came to FC originally and was passed to SC. Seems that it is okay to go to the Discussion list. Is that okay?
Anita > I have concerns about this process. Maybe we should make a loan.
Morgen > Amount asked for is $1000 need it as soon as possible position has to be tied down.
Ben > Is Maine prepared to take a loan for this?
Morgen > Can’t say we didn’t discuss this. Request now is for fundraising help, not a grant.
Jo > If we lend $1000, where would the money come from?
Anita > I propose it come from the Reserve Fund.
Jo > Concerns, questions? Nathalie > I would like to see the money come back well before next year.
Ben > Morgen said she is not authorized to accept a loan. I’m concerned about whether they are prepared to repay it. If we are talking about a grant, not the current proposal, I’m really opposed.
Anita > Morgen, is it good enough that they put it out to the discussion list, that’s okay with me.
Dean > What about the state of Maine making a proposal directly to the CC for the money?
Jo > Do you want to go back to Maine to ask about a loan or a proposal, or just pursue the email request on the discussion list.
Morgen > we don’t have enough time to go through the proposal process. How many are on the DX list?
Jo > About 100.
Morgen > I think the Discussion list would be the best option.
Nathalie > I think Dean’s proposal was inappropriate.

[Cut merchandise proposal to save the 10 minutes]

[Jack is leaving the call]

Communications Comm
Nathalie > Just got back.
Personnel Comm
Anita > Having a conf call in a couple of weeks. Hope to get the committee going better. We did do Letitia’s review. I believe we approved a 10% raise for Letitia. She brought to my attention that she would be reviewed at 6 months, so that would make the raise retroactive to December.
Jo > Can’t do this until the budget passes. Retroactive is okay with me.
Dean > 6 month anniversary would be Dec 10. And in the future I think we should try to get budget issues done prior to reviews so we can pay raises when approved.

Peace Committee
Anita > Thanks to Ben for agreeing to help with back-to-back conf calls the first call was immediately prior to this one. The group is really energized. Does Ben want to add anything?
Ben > A couple thing came out of it. Talked about protests in DC and San Fran this weekend. Iowa is talking of a gas-free day. A lot of suggestions that involve the website. Nathalie, I’m going to have to get in touch with Kevin about updating the web page on this. Going to set up a listserve for the comm., 10 people on the call. Most people were nondelegates, not well plugged in. Discussion of NY protest coming up.

Barb > Second conf call tomorrow night. Haven’t had one for 4 weeks. Somebody will post what we are doing.
Anita > Had previously requested to be on the listserve, but am not on it.
Barb > Will do that.
Anita > Also want to be on the call tomorrow. What time?
Barb > Same time as this call.

Ben > Went to IPPN mtg in NY as well. Badili went as liaison, was great. Very positive meeting, 30 people there. 5 political parties. General acknowledgement (half of the people were Greens) that the GP was the electoral party. There is also some tension about that. IPPN is going to focus on Democracy 2004. Gist is to draw attention to the manner in which our electoral system is stacked and not democratic. This could help us to have a broad coalition doing action doing litigation and action over election reform. Good meeting.

Ben > Delay with LA application. Not a consensus on it. Some are saying that LA has made commitments, others say they want to see it in writing. I think it will be resolved in the next couple of weeks. I will be getting back to them about need for rules to the CC and taking up Lav Greens. Have been informed that Indiana has completed their application. I got a quick peak at it. One thing it says is that there are no GPUSA affiliates in IN.
Anita > Appreciate it that the AC asked for input from DC on caucus procedures. I liked the tone of the co-chairs.

Campus Greens
Barb > Last Saturday I had a 3 hours call with Tyler. Crafted a script for him to solicit large donors. It was a fundraising training how to act, what to say. The script he had was so down and depressing. I’m glad I was able to talk to him. They are in the office, are taking applications for national director. Found two new SC members. Are losing another SC member. Everything is progressing, they are moving along fine, have a plan. Have 3 people contacting me about the joint committee. May be up and rolling as soon as next week.
Dean > You might let them know that their web page still lists Carolyn Dankaert as the national director.
Jo > Status of the lawsuit?
Barb > Former employee’s lawyer hasn’t done much. Campus Greens Steering Comm got what they were going for (the office), so they aren’t pursuing it.
Jo > Please call Jack and give an update regarding fundraising. We have had calls from major donors who were concerned.
Ben > Kevin wanted to know about the website (what Dean mentioned) and they said they knew about it and were working on it.

Budget vote
Jo > Budget vote was extended until 20th (next Mon). 38 yes, 14 no, 2 abstentions so far.

Sign-on to FOE letter
Ben > on global finance. Looks innocuous critique of IMF, WB, etc. Should SC simply sign on to this, or should we put to the CC, or should we ignore it. I am inclined to the first.
Anita > How did you get this letter? Will we get any leverage?
Ben > Not directed to the Green Party, but also not directed to just any listserve. Probably sent to hundreds of groups is my guess.
Ben > Proposal is for SC to just sign on.
Nathalie > I’m going to be focusing this year, and I think that this kind of thing is a distraction. If people want to go for it, okay. But I think we need to show leadership and pare down and pass on it.
Anita > I think we should pass if its not related to something we have done, unless it is a direct request to Ben as a co-chair in which we get some traction from it.
Ben > I agree it isn’t worth much time, but we could just sign on to it and not take much time. The CC recently commented on something else as to why we weren’t listed as a supporter, and we have been active on these globalization issues.
Jo > I haven’t read this. Would you like us to read this and we respond to us in the next few days. Concerns? None

Other proposals?
Ben > Item from Peace Comm tonight for Feb 15. I don’t know how soon it will be drafted. It needs to be soon. I ask for authorization to put it out for a vote as soon as it is ready. I don’t know whether we want to go for another 48 hour approval or not.
Jo > Does Ben have approval for this? [yes]

2003/2004 bid
Barb > Gotten responses to my CC email asking for details. Only pertinent question here is one inquiring about Minneapolis, delegates apparently working on something.
Ben > Want to clarify that Minn was the 2004 convention.
Dean > do you want me to clarify this? [yes]
Barb > Sure, I’m emailing them.
Dean > Please forward me the message you got.
Ben > With 2004, maybe we should schedule a vote on the Minn and Chicago proposals.
Jo > I think we should. I don’t have them. Can somebody forward them to me?
Anita > You just managed the budget, somebody else should do it.
Barb > I’ll do it.
Jo > What should be the timing of the vote for the 2004 convention proposal.
Ben > Maybe we should put them on the website, they are big.
Dean > Minneapolis proposal is 1 MB. Should I put it on the web?
Jo > Sounds like a web thing.
Anita > We might need a more palatable version and ask Minn to put it in a more reasonable form.
Ben > We should put the long version on the website and get a shorter one to email around.
Barb > Will schedule for Jan 27.
Jo > Need to clarify 2003 proposal.
Barb > Dean, please send me the Minn proposal.
Anita > I will call Dean about sending the Minn proposal.
Jo > Still hoping to get numbers from Jason. I talked to him today. Have not been able to find a union hotel, the one they had isn’t a union hotel. I am concerned. If we don’t get the needed info by next call, we should talk about it.

SC Spring meeting locations and dates
Ben > Meet in DC again.
Jo > Looking at March. What weekends do not work for people.
Ben > first, third and fourth don’t work.
Barb > Agree with Ben.
Jo > 15th and 16th going once, twice? Approved.
Nathalie > One reason for doing it in DC, so we could meet people in the area. For example, Marianne Wright Edelman is in DC.
Ben > One, do we agree to a similar schedule as last time Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Two, do the meeting someplace other than the office; that was a bad environment. Should be a quiet place with comfortable chairs and light. Asking Dean to find the place if others agree. Need to do a better job on housing.
Jo > Any concern about Dean funding another meeting place.
Jake > Are others weekend unavailable.
Jo > Correct.
Jake > Agree with everything Ben just said.
Jo > Dean, could you look for the place as Ben had said.
Dean > I will work on it and let you know if there is a problem. It will be easier since it isn’t 3 days after an election.
Nathalie > Can we have a workshop about communications within the SC.
Jo > Might be better to have another facilitator.
Jake > Agree with another facilitator.
Jo > Anita, do you want to help find somebody for this.
Anita > I’m doubtful we will find somebody in our price range who will be acceptable. But I will participate anyway.

DC Office space
Jo > Issue of having a real estate lease agent start looking for another space.
Anita > I would like us to get out of Dupont Circle.
Barb > Whatever we do, I’d like to avoid spending $10K on furniture.
Dean > We should have a space that the SC wants to meet in when they come to town.
Anita > Ideally yes, but not critical.
Ben > Same thing. Priority is that it is a decent working environment, and where we could welcome people we are trying to impress. What I don’t want is something that is like a movement crash pad.
Dean > I believe the current budget is for $2500/month, but Anita suggested we are spending too much. Maybe the SC can send messages for what they do or do not want.
Nathalie > Agree with Ben, and maybe Annie Goeke can be involved in the search. Equipment for our staff is what we need to pay for.
Jake > We need a discussion with the landlord about what is required to get out of the lease. Second question is whether we share a new space with the DC Greens.
Jo > We have 3 questions to address, but we are low on time, so I am suggesting that we continue this to the next time since we have a lot of other items. Please send your suggestions about office space to Dean.

Green Response to State of the Union
Ben > I hope people looked at what I sent out. Response was overwhelming and unanimous. I assume it will come out of the reserve. Matt Gonzalez has declined to give the response, bad for local politics. Got suggestions from maybe 15 people, most were for elected officials. Peter Camejo, Medea Benjamin and Nader were suggested. DC organizers want an elected official, and I think we should stick with that to avoid getting stuck in the politics of the 2004 election. We want a good title, decent speaker, and a large working class city is better than a college town, and a long relationship with the party. I came up with a list of 7 people, and I suggest we start calling them tomorrow.
My list: Natalie Johnson Lee in Minneapolis, Chuck Turner in Boston, Don Richards in Milwaukee, Elizabeth Horton-Sheff in Hartford, Eder from Maine, Brenda Konkel, John Halle.
Anita > Good job.
Jake > Sounds good to me.
Jo > All approved? Yes.
Ben > Can Dean get on this?
Dean > Yes.
Anita > Will help with calls.

Officeholders meeting
Ben > Mike Feinstein has autonomously organized this meeting week of Feb 23. I’m on the list and am concerned about how an officeholder structure works. It looks like a big deal, with many officeholders going. I think they are going to have a critical mass. I talked to Mike last Saturday about what might come out of this, that any officeholder structure might be within the party [rather] than an independent structure. I plan to use some of my travel funds to go. Mike has been recruiting committee chairs to go. There have been some concerns about his fundraising for this. He told me that he will be funded by the people who are going. Juscha is going, paying her own way.
Dean > Info on the website at www.greenofficeholders.us. No registration cost. Being held in his office and people pay for their own meals.
Jo > Potential problems because Mike has done fundraising over the last few years or so and not reported it to the Fair Political Practices Commission or Federal Elections Commission. Mike Feinstein decided to form a 501c4 and report all monies he had collected in the name of the Green Party of California, Green Party of Los Angeles County, Green Party of the United States and Green Party. It is our understanding in California that his application for 501c4 status has been rejected. It is possible that he is using the FPVA to raise money, and we have heard that he used Barrios Unidos to raise money. It is our understanding that Barrios Unidos has not been in the Pico Blvd office for some months.
We have a letter from a donor asking about funds donated. This is now public knowledge and this meeting is in a situation that could potentially be damaging to office holders if the media picks up on the money problems associated with the rent on the Pico Blvd office.
Dean > This situation is one reason that we should go to the meeting and try to bring the officeholder meetings and structure under the party. Mike stepped into a void and we need to fill that.
Jake > I agree with Dean and Ben. Officeholders haven’t gotten a lot of help. With Dean and Ben involved as they describe, we could pull it away from Mike.
Anita > I’m wondering about Dean’s comment that they aren’t paying attention to this. I’m sure this controversy wouldn’t taint them directly, but it could look bad. Should be inform them.
Ben > Anita raises a good point. Nobody is suggested that Dean and I shouldn’t go. I think we have to go. We could have tried to get officeholders not to go, but that would be messy. I told Mike of staying away from the finances. He agreed that it was in his interest for others to take this on.
Anita > We could provide the support; we can’t walk away from this. If we aren’t there, it will be worse. Can we rent another space when the budget passes? Then have them meet in a more neutral space.
Jo > I would highly recommend supporting this and getting this away from the Pico office. The worst case is that the FPPC could show up with the media and it would be embarrassing for the officeholders. California will be sending a letter about this. This is not going to stay secret. We can leave it in Santa Monica and the same dates, but get another venue and avoid the Pico office.
Jake > When? Feb 21-23
Jake > I have a proposal. If the budget passes, we move the meeting to a location satisfactory to the SC.
Nathalie > How many people going, is there an agenda?
Ben > Yes, there is an agenda. 50-60 people. I don’t have a problem with moving the meeting. I wasn’t aware that it was at the office. We need to keep in mind how this happened. We can go to Mike and offer to provide another space. But he is the organizer and I don’t think we can change this. We could use [lose?} elected officials if this looks bad.
Nathalie > I suggest that we speak with Mike that this is the way that chips fall. We don’t want to spread the conflict further. Either Mike agrees with how we want to do this, or we send a letter to the officeholders.
Anita > I agree with Ben’s concerns. I think the harder we push Mike, the more he will resist. We need to compromise. We need to keep this low key. I don’t think the worse case is likely to happen.
Dean > Our options are limited at this late date, given the high cost of Santa Monica. Ben should call Mike and see what he can get. But we should keep the needs of the officeholders at the highest.
Nathalie > Not so big, we should try to find another site. Our Media Comm should prepare to respond if something bad happens.
Jo > Kevin or other Greens can find another space. John Strawn is the Calif media contact for this situation, and he can work with our MC.

SC Responsibilities for BRPP
Ben > I took Jo’s suggestions and sent them out yesterday. Are people in agreement with it?
Jo > I don’t understand the last part. If it makes sense to others, it’s ready to go.
Anita > I feel comfortable with Ben going ahead.

Minimally edited and HTML formatted by Charlie Green