Disappointing Democracies: How the US and other democratic nations have been disappointing me lately

Standard

It hurts more when someone you look up to disappoints.  Democracy is an expression of the will of the people.  We as humans have accomplished so much and so much more is ahead of us… maybe. I have faith in humanity, but it has been weakened by disappointing democracies.

Winston Churchill said in 1947

Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

This is what we got, relying on each other as citizens, as voters. When democracies make mistakes the responsibility rests on the people. We are the power. With our votes and other participation we are the foundation, the basis of our democratic government. As a US citizen I share responsibility for my country’s mistakes.

And lately we have been setting a terrible example for the democratic world to follow.

United States of America:  Some stories that have stuck in my head

Sweden:

  • Homeschooling: Domenic Johansson.  Reading through the case file, I’m still disappointed in Sweden, but it certainly is more gray that it seemed in the initial context when the story went viral online.  This is a country that much of the democratic world looks up to as a success story, so anything wrong is extra noteworthy.  It seems that Domenic was taken with the best of intentions, and Sweden really thinks what they are doing is right and good.  It is a small thing maybe compared to the horrible stories in the US, but it is a problem woven into the fabric of a pedestaled democracy.  It is not obvious, and not easy to fix.  The best I can think of is simply allowing families who want to homeschool, or for other reasons in conflict with Swedish society, to more easily emigrate.

Canada:

UK:

Egypt:

Japan:

Russia:

So I hold these and many other stories in my head as I consider our voting based system.  And I think while democracy is flawed, it can function well enough, but only so long as its citizens are educated and participate more than not.  A healthy majority must have basic civic sanity, or we make the flaws bleed and the people’s government fail.

Let’s stop water-boarding and assassinating.  Let’s stop imprisoning and executing.  Let’s stop invading everyone’s privacy.  Simply, let’s try being civilized.  Let’s restore justice.  Let’s set an example that won’t disappoint.

-Jorden

The fluoride issue is an opportunity to be an effective group and catalyst for Portland Greens

Standard

The Green Party is a shell. A hollow brand. It has value at times as a stamp of approval for establishment types and at other times as an outlet for activist types. It does not in the US in Oregon in Portland have critical mass. Nor is it ever likely to. However I am hopeful that the unlikely will occur. So I continue.

With a punch signatures were gathered and fluoride is on the ballot to be voted on directly by the people rather then decided by our city council. It is wonderful to see the push back against the establishment peer pressure. This public energy is being supported and examined by Greens, but not in a well organized manner.

Without me volunteering my time we haven’t been having meetings, regular or otherwise. Moving forward I see value in the Portland Green Party if we can get a small group of volunteers to share the burden of organizing meetings. And we must recognize what the word “meeting” has come to mean to people. A boring waste of time at work and even more so with infight-ridden progressive groups like the Greens.

Short productive meetings with elements of fun and a sense of community is the only thing that makes sense to me. I hope that fluoride is an issue we can find each other with, and that within this sense of productivity, of solidarity and achievement we can breath some fresh air into the Green shell.

–Jorden

May Update

Standard

Rock The Ballot event July 21st-22nd hosted by Green Party chapter, the primary is behind us let’s party Green for the general.  Portland Green Party endorsement meeting for General Election is tentatively scheduled for September’s monthly meeting on the 26th.  See our chapter’s calendar.

Greetings I’m Jorden Leonard.

The primary election saw Green Party member and first time candidate Patricia Burkett, Multnomah County #3, getting 24% of the vote, this was an awesome result but not enough to make it to the general election.  In fact only one of our endorsed local candidates has made it to the general election.  Incumbent Amanda Fritz, our 2nd choice for city council #1, edged out her well funded opponent Mary Nolan and they will face off again in the General.  Their results were so close that a Green Party endorsement could easily tip the general election one way or the other.  Let’s prepare well for an endorsement meeting for the General Election and see if we can get 50+ Greens voting in person.  To help prepare contact me.

Greens On Ballot Threatened!!! Register Online, no need to waste paper. Do it by July.

Last meeting (minutes) we reviewed how the primary election went, talked about the Rock The Ballot event (google group for planning), Seth Woolley updated us on his campaigns including his run for Secretary Of State (SOS) and suing SOS Kate Brown for trying to kick the Green Party off the ballot.  The work meeting started with Gina Ronning introducing an outline for our Restorative Justice campaign and then ended with an impromptu board meeting.

Also note Pacific Green Party state convention is coming up June 2nd in Salem.  Contact Seth Woolley or me if you need a ride.

At People’s Coop’s 7-9pm we are now regularly meeting every 4th Weds instead of every last Weds. See the proposed agenda.

The Portland Green Party is established to work for sustainability and conservation, peace, social justice, and grassroots democracy through the electoral system.

You can donate here and use your fully refundable political tax credit (up to $50 or $100 for a couple). Or get something on our wishlist.

follow us on twitter, join our group, read our blog, and like our page

April Newsletter

Standard

Primary Election time now.  Please vote.  Your voice matters, especially to us.

Greetings I’m Jorden Leonard, volunteer Executive Director of the Portland Green PartyOpen recruitment for the ED position in about a week and I will step down in a couple of months.  Anyone interested in the ED position feel free to contact me or one of our board members for more information.

Got a lot to talk about.  First the election and our endorsed candidates, then some updates from issue campaigns and the last member meeting, and finally some things coming up.

There has been a call to have a meeting within the next week to consider an endorsement revote before the primary is done May 15th.  We recognize that the ballots are already out and many have already turned them in.  But we are a grassroots party beholden to our participating members.  Our decision making process demands accountability from ourselves and what or who we support.  It is the source of our strength.  We don’t have a time or place set yet, but if you are interested in attending to decide if we will revote our endorsements contact me or a board member ASAP and we will tell you as soon as we know.

Ralph Nader had a nice lunch with many of our endorsed candidates.  Great picture, Eileen Brady was present but had to go before picture.

Going down our endorsement list for who’s up this election:

Patricia Burkett, Multnomah County #3: She has reciprocated our support by joining the Green Party, hyping us up and volunteering whenever she gets a chance.  The need to get more involved with county issues and not focus overly on city issues has been identified in dicussions.

Cameron Whitten, 1st choice for Mayor: We have set up an online ad campaign for Cameron and his Portland Progressive Plan is now live.  Direct from Cameron:

Dear Green Party Members,

We are nearing the fated countdown to the May Primary. We have made
history in this race, challenging all candidates to take strong positions
on city issues and not to dance around politics. During my campaign, I
have advocated for increasing our investment in urban food gardens,
protecting West Hayden Island as a wildlife reserve, demanding for the
immediate clean-up of Mile 11 in the Harbor Superfund Site, and adopting
Nature’s Trust into my platform.

Now that the ballot is in your mailbox, I ask you to use your voice and
side with me. We have the chance to make history, and demonstrate that
status quo answers to concerns about the environment, such as coal trains
passing through our City from the Port of Morrow, are no longer accepted.
Together, we will inspire the world, and send a reminder that no matter
your age, race, creed, gender, background, or anything else, you are
entitled to stand up and represent this society.

I ask you to make these next four years in Portland spectacular. I have
dedicated myself to always being open minded, and accessible to the
People. All I ask you for, is your vote.

Solidarity, Unity, and Equality,

Cameron Whitten

Eileen Brady, 2nd choice for Mayor: The claim her campaign wishes to make and which prompts members to test and consider.  We are concerned with the big checks she is getting:

Eileen Brady has a lifelong commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.  And she has the most detailed plan to promote clean energy and protect the environment of any candidate in the race.  She unequivocally supports expanding a feed in tariff solar program, and she has a plan for rapidly expanding electric cars in Portland.

Jefferson Smith, 3rd choice for mayor: Your voters pamphlet may say Pacific Green Party, that’s us.  It just needed to be shortened for space.  We are the local chapter of the state party the Pacific Green Party.  Jefferson responded very strongly to environmental questions that we’ve reviewed.  Like with Brady we are concerned with the big checks he is receiving.

The trouble with Charlie Hales: Our Secretary of State candidate Seth Woolley has been making the strong case that Hales is ineligible to be a mayoral candidate and owes perhaps a hundred thousand dollars in back taxes, plus penalties.  Additionally noting that now Hales has lied about his school credentials. Review the details here.

Tre Arrow mentions his run in 2000 with the Pacific Green Party in the voters pamphlet.  To be clear we had our endorsement meeting before he declared his candidacy so he was not considered and is not endorsed.

Teressa Raiford, 1st choice for city council #1: Teressa has a lot of potential, but her campaign has struggled.  I wish we could have provided more of the support she needed and we hope she gets it moving forward.  Our chapter is a platform, use us.

Amanda Fritz, 2nd choice for city council #1: Also known as the only major city official to always respond personally to every email.  Try it.  I think she genuinely represents us and not wealthy special interests.  Limiting campaign contributions to $50 per person, and not taking any money from corporations or special interests put her ahead of the Occupy curve.  Hard-working, principled, and independent is a fair assessment.

Mary Nolan claims to be progressive and environmentalist, but after reviewing and discussing she is in the same category as Steve Novick.  They are not progressives or environmentalists, and they are not in opposition to the status quo corporate candidates.  So like with Hales they did not get our endorsement.

1st and 2nd choice for city council #4: We desperately want Novick to be pushed to the general election so he can be properly challenged by us and our endorse candidates Mark and Jeri.  Between him, Hales, and Nolan we have everything we don’t want in City Hall.

Mark White, 1st choice for city council #4: Mark White=Awesome and says to you all:

I’m running for Randy Leonard’s seat, but I’m NOT endorsed by Randy Leonard.  I’m running to effect true government reform through a fully supported Charter Commission.  I’m focused on job creation with emphasis on those typically marginalized with regard to employment.

I’ll add that he’s in general placed emphasis on empowerment and protection, especially for neglected, marginalized, and vulnerable populations.

Jeri Williams, 2nd choice for city council #4: Jeri has some strong words on a local environmental issue to share:

The biggest issue I currently have is that I am committed to cleaning up the Willamette as much as we possibly can. Our opponent (Steve Novick) is out supporting the cheapest price ticket telling people it doesn’t matter- I guess it depends on on who you are , as a Native American grandma my vision is looking out for the next 7 generations ~ it’s not a quick fix ~ it is a legacy of stewardship.

And that’s it for the candidates for this primary election.

And don’t forget for the general election, Greens On Ballot Threatened!!! Register Online, no need to waste paper.  Do it by July deadline.

Earth Day was a great success.  We had a lot of fun giving out seeds and registering people throughout the day.  Several of our endorsed candidates volunteered in the booth and several more stopped by to chat, promote themselves, and attempt to address concerns.

Last meeting was pretty packed (minutes).  Towards the end there was a break down in our process in trying to work through concerns of a proposal.  Consensus takes work, but is worth the effort.  A good participating member follows the spirit of consensus.  To increase attendance at our monthly member meetings we have to be positive, or at least respectful, and time efficient.

A great event coming this summer tentatively called Roccupy The Ballot will jump start a new chapter within the Portland area.  The 19th of June Pacific Green Chapter has city shaking potential and I’m excited to help them make some noise.  We will be taking over a city block in addition to the best salsa club in the city.  This gets the community involved and will be a lot of fun.  Contact me and I’ll tell you more.

Devon Pack represented us with the Single Payer Healthcare coalition of which we are a part.  He reports the following:

The Health Care for All Oregonians is 501(c) organization that was formed with 75 groups, including the Green Party, Jobs With Justice, Working Families Party, and AFSCME. It will organize efforts for a campaign to pursue a Vermont-style single payer health care system for all Oregonians. It will begin efforts with an attempt to get a legislative referral for an amendment to the Oregon constitution declaring that access to affordable health care is a right of all Oregonians. The core idea is the begin with the broad principal, and then let the legislature work out how to implement the mandate. The goal is to get a legislative referral for 2016 ballot. Right now, HCAO is focused upon fundraising and outreach.
It is a part of the Green Party’s tenets of social justice that health care is a universal human right. This campaign will be an important aspect of our party’s demonstration of those tenets in Oregon. It is hoped that we can assist both in fundraising and manpower mobilization efforts.

Stephen Quirke represented us with Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy recently as well.  Contact him.

Also note Pacific Green Party state convention will be coming up, and the national Green Party convention mid May.

Protesters demand full disclosure of Portland law firm’s involvement in the state Attorney General’s race.

At People’s Coop’s we are now regularly meeting every 4th Weds instead of every last Weds.  See the proposed agenda.

The Portland Green Party is established to work for sustainability and conservation, peace, social justice, and grassroots democracy through the electoral system.

You can donate here and use your fully refundable political tax credit (up to $50 or $100 for a couple). Or get something on our wishlist.

follow us on twitter, join our group and like our page

March Newsletter

Standard

It’s a Green Spring.  Let’s plant some seeds and grow some food.  Let’s notice the trash on our sidewalks, pick it up, and think about how we can use less, waste less.  Earth Day is coming.  We Occupy the Earth.  Let’s clean up our mess.

Greetings I’m Jorden Leonard, volunteer Executive Director of the Portland Green Party.

Vital–Greens On Ballot Threatened!!!

Before the end of July we need 1,380 more Oregonians registered with the Pacific Green Party or because of Kate Brown’s ruling we will no longer be on the ballot. Register Online, no need to waste paper.

We are a grassroots party.  You can still be independent and be a Green.

The Democratic and Republican Parties are corporate pets.  Leaving them and registering Green challenges the establishment that is failing us.

We are running out of time.  Without your help now, this fall Green will be gone.

Ralph Nader is coming to town.  We are tentatively hosting a meeting between him and our endorsed candidates on April 9th.

Earth Day is approaching.  This year we will be again have a booth at City Repair’s event. It has moved to PCC Cascade Campus, 705 N. Killingsworth ST. Sunday, April 22nd 11 AM – 6 PM.  We will be doing a seed exchange so please bring your seeds.  We are inviting our candidates to be present and have suggested that they make themselves available to be assigned to work in your gardens from then through the May and November elections.  You get free labor, they get a photo opportunity and a chance to get their hands dirty.

Last meeting we mostly talked about the need to get more registered voters to maintain ballot access (minutes).

At People’s Coop’s we are now regularly meeting every 4th Weds instead of every last Weds.  See the proposed agenda.

The Portland Green Party is established to work for sustainability and conservation, peace, social justice, and grassroots democracy through the electoral system.

You can donate here and use your fully refundable political tax credit (up to $50 or $100 for a couple). Or get something on our wishlist.

follow us on twitter, join our group and like our page

February Newsletter

Standard

Primary elections are in the air.  Follow our IRV style endorsements as a candidate voter’s guide for local elections.  Tomorrow is a day of unity.  Defining ourselves as people, and defining corporations as not. 

Greetings I’m Jorden Leonard, Executive Director of the Portland Green Party.

We have Portland Green Party endorsements (<–check out this link for details). For US Congress we are endorsing Woody Broadnax for the 3rd District over Earl Blumenauer, and Steve Reynolds for the 1st District.  For Multnomah county Patricia Burkett for the 3rd Seat.  For Mayor, first choice Cameron Whitten, 2nd choice Eileen Brady, 3rd choice Jefferson Smith.  For City Council 1st Seat, first choice Teressa Raiford, second choice Amanda Fritz.  For City Council 4th Seat, first choice Mark White, second choice Jeri Williams.

We will be meeting with all the above candidates/campaign to see how we can help.  Please feel free to help them directly through donations/volunteerism.  All have our approval and full support.  In honor of IRV for those races with multiple endorsements we have simply ranked them in order of preference.  Question, investigate and hold us accountable for our votes.  Participate and then cooperate within our process.

Tomorrow is F29–the international day of action against ALEC (“a politically conservative nonprofit policy organization, consisting of both state legislators and members of the private sector, mostly representing corporations“).  Find out what is going on.  Portland is leading the nation in this protest and we the Greens are a part of the 99% Movement rebelling.

We had our members endorsement meeting for local races this last Tuesday the 21st (minutes).  This was a culmination of our interviews of candidates via phone, email, forums, and in person interviews, as well as in depth research.  It was fun, and in the end the members present decided who we will support for this year’s election.

At People’s Coop’s we are now regularly meeting every 4th Weds instead of every last Weds.  See the proposed agenda.

The Portland Green Party is established to work for sustainability and conservation, peace, social justice, and grassroots democracy through the electoral system.

You can donate here and use your fully refundable political tax credit (up to $50 or $100 for a couple).

follow us on twitter, join our group and like our page

January Newsletter

Standard

We struggle with motivation when it comes to donations and volunteerism.  We know it’s a good thing, but it is hard because only when enough of us act, reaching a critical mass, will it matter and change for the better will happen.

We are the local aspect of the Green Party.  We have participated in Occupy as it became a movement.  Now I think the tide of the movement is enveloping us all whether we want to be associated with Occupy or not.  At the same time I don’t think Occupy can hold claim to the movement.  It has grown beyond the General Assembly or rather the bits that existed before have drawn strength and new life.  Certainly this is true for the Green Party and the other “minor” parties, the progressive ones at least.

There are tensions.  There is desire to keep the movement bound to Occupy, but it is balanced by a desire to keep Occupy unbound.  I think there are a number of positive paths ahead.  I think the massive amount of participation encouraged by Occupy has allowed a great deal of optimism to flourish.  Dieing causes have been replenished and corporatism as a whole is being pushed back.  As we live forward let us do so with motivation and acceptance of the multiple positive paths ahead.  Respect for each other binds us and makes critical mass.

Greetings I’m Jorden Leonard, Executive Director of the Portland Green Party.

A lot has happened.  We had a meeting on the 28th of December (minutes) and the 25th of January (minutes)

We now have a full house on our board.  Seth Woolley (Treasurer), Rickie Woolley, and Chris Extine, are joined by Occupy PDX organizers Alex Pio, Imre Ilyes, Devon Pack, and Gina Ronning.

At People’s Coop’s request we are now regularly meeting every 4th Weds instead of every last Weds, however in Feb we are meeting on the 4th Tues the 21st.  See the proposed agenda.  We will meet a little early for last minute meet and greet with local candidates and then around 7:50 pm we will begin the endorsement process.  So members, come one come all, let’s have a full house.  Please review the local candidate forum that we hosted with the Progressive Party and Occupy participants (first two hours, additional seven minutes), and here is an article about it in the Portland Occupier.

Gina Ronning, one of our new board members, is leading our newest campaign for Restorative Justice.  If you’d like to learn more and/or help out please contact her.

The Ranked Choice Instant Runoff Voting campaign is shifting in response to the Charter Review Commission disbanding under pressure from city hall.  At the commission’s request we will prepare a packet/presentation on IRV (what we have develped so far working with the IRV Commission subcommittee) for their final meeting at the end of this month so that the next commission will have IRV as its first item.  We hope that we will be able to keep the pressure on so that the commission reforms within a year or two.  We may also have a say in one or two of the commissioners being appointed if anyone is interested.  In the mean time we will pursue IRV with Multnomah County as there was some interest a decade ago.

In the upcoming Presidential election if Ron Paul runs as an Independent and people think he spoils the Republican vote, then like in 2000 there will be a resurgent interest in Ranked Choice Instant Runoff Voting, the only feasible democratic solution to our flawed election process.

Also check out this Vid with Woody Broadnax, our likely candidate for OR Congressional District #3.  He’s also trying to get a local Green chapter started specifically to try and connect with the African American community.  Contact him if you want to help get this started.  Also in the video is Steve Reynolds the Progressive Party candidate for District #1 who is interested in our nomination as a state party and our endorsement as a local chapter.

The Portland Green Party is established to work for sustainability and conservation, peace, social justice, and grassroots democracy through the electoral system.

You can donate here and use your fully refundable political tax credit (up to $50 or $100 for a couple).

follow us on twitter, join our group and like our page

December Newsletter

Standard

Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions.  I challenge the negative associations with the word.  I’m proud to promote and be a part of politics because I know that for a democracy to be successful we must have good conversations.

We are partisan.  We are a political party, but we are not slaves to “partisan politics”.  I am loyal to the Green Party only so long as it is the party with the people and supporting the issues that I identify with.  We are willing to work with other parties.  And though we may be fervent about our candidates and issues, we remain a party that engages in politics with reason and respect.

Be welcome.

Greetings I’m Jorden Leonard, Executive Director of the Portland Green Party.

This last 30th we had our November member’s meeting and open meet and greet.  See minutes here.

We meet the last Wednesday of every month at People’s Coop, enjoy the farmer’s market then come upstairs to the community room for our members meeting and meet and greet.  3029 SE 21st Avenue, 7-8 members meeting/8-9 work meeting.  Proposed agenda is here.  Anyone who is a member of the Coop and is thinking they can make it please let me know so we can get a discount.

We will host a local area candidate forum January 27th at 6 pm at People’s Coop, tentatively cohosting with the Oregon Progressive Party and Occupy Portland.  There is limited seating so email me if you’d like to attend and/or email me a question you’d liked asked.  We may also join the Working Families Party and Occupy Portland at a possible townhall style Portland candidate forum on the 28th, but the details of that is still being worked out.  The Portland Greens will use the forum on the 27th to help us decided who we will endorse for mayor, city council, and county commissioner.  Our forum is intended to be more of an informal interview with the candidates, following the values of participation, accountability, and cooperation.

Oregon City lost to big money.  Local Green Jim Nicita lost to a recall effort.  This is a call to arms and a clear warning that without structure, organization, and support we will loose what ground we gain not just as Greens but as a movement against money in politics.

The Triple Bottom line. We have a proposal for Occupy.  Check it out.  Let us know what you think, and if you’d like to help get it passed and/or be a part of a workgroup that tackles this.

Portland Greens Board candidates. Three Portland Greens have accepted nominations to join our board.  They are Alex Pio, Devon Pack, and Imre Ilyes.  All three have also been active with Occupy Portland as organizers and I hope their expertise will strengthen our chapter.  We will have a board election at our January meeting.

Bill Bold has agreed to be our liaison with the Oregon Progressive Party.  Thank you Bill for stepping up.

A long time Green and donor has offered to pay for an ad in the Portland Alliance, a quarter page, that shows the Greens support for Occupy and/or ending corporate personhood.  Anyone willing to help with ad please contact me.

January will be a very exciting month for the Portland Greens.  Please come to our monthly meeting the last Wednesday and our candidate forum the Friday after.  January is the month our chapter steps up and begins the new year with a seat at the table of power, locally at least.

The Portland Green Party is established to work for sustainability and conservation, peace, social justice, and grassroots democracy through the electoral system.

You can donate here and use your fully refundable political tax credit (up to $50 or $100 for a couple).

follow us on twitter, join our group and like our page