September 23, 2012

GPUS SC Conference Call Minutes, September 23, 2012

a. Facilitator – David Doonan
b. Roll Call – Budd Dickinson, Steve Welzer, Susan Chunco, AJ Segneri, Jeff Turner, Charles Ostdiek
Absent – Unable to attend: Darryl Moch, Karen Young; Absent: Farheen Hakeem
Observer – Jody Grage
c. Agenda revisions – Karen’s items may be postponed; Darryl asked for face-to- face meeting item to be postponed.

a. Office Manager – Brian Bittner – no report received. (Tamar had received one and she sent it after the meeting.)
b. Fundraiser – David Sacks – report received September 9.

a. Cash report to date – received; mailing presumably out and returns should start coming in; $7k in bank; first installment for web rebuilding contract will be completed next week; SunTrust account being closed next week; 2008 state sharing checks not cashed in reserve account – $156.

b. 2013 Budget discussion
Jeff provided 2013 draft budget with comment column on excel file.
Estimated income on line 21 totals $300k, probably will be lowered by FunCom.
No raises; David Sacks expects to double mailing list in 2013 with all
Stein campaign list to double mail piece count.

Expenses – Electoral – BAC $50,000 ask with 15k on line now.
CCC $15k ask, but will raise $10k with registration fees, so only asking net of $5k.
Green Pages – 2 issues as in 2012.
Governance: SC same as last year when we went over budget w/o covering meals.
Intnl representation: less than half of ask.
$100/mo increase for web manager + balance of website development; rent up $50 in May; Brian requests two computer and multiple function printer – $1k; Starlene’s utilities are included in the Media line.
$16k expenses over income.
$230k income for 2012 is expected to go up; 2011 income was $260k.
Debts – may get some state sharing forgiveness.
Tight budget which may need expenditures reduced as projected income is lowered.

c. Update on the website redevelopment. Jeff has said that he and David D were working on a contract. David: page proofs sent to SC – homepage and internal pages with input from Karen; almost ready to have home page go live; mid-October mostly with everything done by March; need *new* slogan for website; suggest 4 – 5 slogans to rotate slowly; caucuses and committees will have webpage and be able to change them. Perhaps forums could be available there.
(After the call, Karen and Darryl objected, saying that the home page is not almost ready and needs work.)

IV. VOTING QUEUE – 5 minutes
In the queue:
RESOLUTION OF ENDORSEMENT AND PROMOTION OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL from Wisconsin GP. Voting thru 9/23. – Saturday had quorum and was passing handily.

Received for the queue: None

V. International Committee proposal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership – see below. For SC endorsement. Decision item. Approved by consensus.

Charles – reviewed old Outreach Committee emails, will follow up; BRPP doesn’t seem to be viable since last several proposals have failed; EcoAction needs campaign language about climate disruption; needs to get on IC list.

Steve – on BAC and PCSC lists now; Media Committee encouraging all state reps to be active with social media.

Jeff – ANMC still working on 2012 financial report.

Darryl (written report) – the next CCC+ meeting for the webinar on Get Out The Vote is scheduled for 10/3.

Brainstorm about committees: how we might help recruit for and strengthen them – Karen – postponed.

VII. STRATEGIC PLANNING – Karen – postponed.

VIII. PERSONNEL MANUAL – Jeff: meeting last week and this week, trimming to make workable for smaller organization, about one third reviewed.


Next meeting – 7 October 8 pm Eastern; add SC budget meeting on October 14 if necessary.

The International Committee has passed a proposal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It requests that the NC joins a common statement of the Green Parties of New Zealand, Australia and Canada. We request an expedited decision on this proposal–if possible by the SC–because of the urgency of this matter (TPP negotations are happening now) and that it requests an endorsement of a statement consistent with GPUS policies.

Justine McCabe
Co-Chair, International Committee, GPUS


CONTACT: IC co-chairpersons, Justine McCabe,, Julia Willebrand

TITLE: GPUS joins common statement of the Green Parties of New Zealand, Australia and Canada about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

SPONSOR: International Committee, Green Party of the United States


REQUESTED PROPOSAL DECISION-MAKING TIMELINE: Expedited decision, if possible by the GPUS Steering Committee (SC)because of the urgency of the situation (TPP negotiations are happening now) and because the proposal calls for an endorsement of a statement that complies with GPUS policies

BACKGROUND: The Green Parties of New Zealand, Australia and Canada approved the following statement about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) This proposal would put the GPUS on record as sharing the concerns of those Green Parties and being in general opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as it currently stands, and would encourage Green candidates to include this in their campaigns.

PROPOSAL: That the NC approve the following resolution:

– The GPUS shares the deep concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as expressed by this joint statement of the Green Parties of New Zealand, Australian and Canada and signs on in support of it; and the GPUS seeks to work with Green Parties in countries involved in this issue.

– The GPUS unconditionally opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership as expressed in the June 2012 leaked draft published by Public Citizen

– The GPUS stands for fair trade that prioritizes the needs of people and the environment over the demands of capital. Fair trade agreements are designed to primarily benefit workers, consumers, local economies and the environment — not corporate profits based upon exploiting people and planet.

– The GPUS encourages Green candidates, especially those for Congress and the US Senate, to include opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership in their campaigns.

Joint Statement of the Green Parties of New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

As the Green parliamentary political parties of three nations whose governments are currently in the process of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), we are issuing this joint statement to express our serious concern at the fundamentally undemocratic and non-transparent nature of this agreement. Following the leaking of the draft investment chapter of the TPPA the Greens are extremely concerned that the agreement has the potential to undermine the ability of our governments to perform effectively. More than just another trade agreement, the TPPA provisions could hinder access to safe, affordable medicines, weaken local content rules for media, stifle high-tech innovation, and even restrict the ability of future governments to legislate for the good of public health and the environment.

We believe that the process should be transparent. This agreement has been negotiated behind closed doors with a level of secrecy that is completely unacceptable in a democratic society.

The Right to Set Our Own Laws>

The governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand traditionally have the right to set down their own laws for the good of public health, consumers, workers and the environment.

Leaked details of the TPPA reveal that, foreign investors and firms could sue Canada or New Zealand in a private international tribunal if their parliaments or local councils pass laws that reduce their profits or adversely affect their businesses. This could include laws such as:

. a requirement for large graphic warnings or plain packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products (such as in Canada and Australia, and forthcoming in NZ);

. laws requiring labeling of genetically-modified food and drink (NZ); and

. retention of agricultural regulations such as Canada’s supply management system for dairy, which aims to preserve farmers’ livelihoods.>

The Australian government has indicated it will not agree to these clauses intended to protect multinational businesses from the impact of policy decisions, but New Zealand and Canada’s leaders refuse to do the same (even after Canada was on the receiving end of costly lawsuits under NAFTA).

The End of a Free Internet

We believe the TPPA is being used to sneak in measures to bind its member countries to extensive and harsh laws on Internet use that wouldn’t be acceptable at the domestic level – including harsher criminal penalties for minor, non-commercial copyright infringements, a ‘take-down and ask questions later’ approach to pages and content alleged to breach copyright, and the possibility of Internet providers having to disclose personal information to authorities without safeguards for privacy. The European Parliament voted 478-39 against the international ACTA treaty, which was trying to create similar standards. Now, the same type of regulation is being attempted under the TPPA.

More IP Rights for the Big Players>

The Intellectual Property Rights chapter of the TPPA was leaked in draft form in February 2011. We anticipate that unless a more moderate and balanced version is adopted, NZ, Canada and Australia’s shoppers, schools and libraries would end up paying more for their books and DVD’s because it would let copyright holders veto parallel importing. Small and medium-sized software and IT businesses would have their innovative visions stifled by constraining patent laws. Finally, large pharmaceutical companies could use the legislation to deny state drug-buying agencies like those in Australia and NZ access to reliable, low cost medicines.

Behind Closed Doors

Almost everything we have learnt about the TPPA’s contents comes from leaked documents that the negotiators didn’t want the public to see. No agreement this important should be finalised without the informed input of the ordinary people it will affect.

Yet while representatives of AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, major pharmaceutical companies and the Motion Picture Association of America have access to the text, democratically elected members of parliament, advocacy organisations for healthcare and the environment and ordinary citizens are being left out in the cold.

Governments, including the US, have opened up to the public in the past by releasing the draft text of agreements. In 2001, all nine chapters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement were released. At the time, this was called an ‘important step’ that would make the trade negotiation process ‘more transparent and accessible’. If this was the standard for public accountability in 2001, it is disconcerting that similar standards are not in play in 2012.

Together, we Green Parties are declaring that we will only support a fair, genuinely progressive trade agreement that promotes sustainable development and the creation of new jobs alongside the protection of the environment and human rights (including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining). We call on our current governments to remove the veil of secrecy surrounding this agreement and to open these negotiations to public input and comment.

Johan Hamels
International Liaison
Green Party of Canada


Public Citizen’s analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership