Why is it then that so many Counties in California are facing an election in which there are no candidates, not even write in candidate, running for County Council?
Mike Feinstein has documented the extent to which County Council's are attracting candidates, or not. I would note the following, based on casual observation...not polling:
- County Councils seem to be most active where there is a larger pool of people from which to draw candidates.
- County Councils are also very active where there are local issues that involved Green Party activists and keep them deeply involved between election cycles.
- County Councils seem to fail when the members are too heavily involved in other roles in the party. For example, a county council member who might also be a member of the Coordinating Committee or a leader (CoCordinator) of one of the Standing Committees or Working Groups. The fact is that all roles demand a lot of time just to do the job and that doing more than one job means compromises have to be made.
A county councilmember must wear many different hats. At times you will be the chief fundraiser for your organization. You will have to recruit good, strong candidates. You will have to help mobilize and energize the party activists within your community. You will run regular meetings of your council and of the local. You will likely serve as one of the party's spokespeople. Quite often, you will also be a "cheerleader" and occasionally, a referee. And you must always act in a way that will do you and your county organization the most good.If the basis of GPCA grassroots organization is the County Council, then it would seem that the organization is failing. It would also seem that there is one primary function for the GrassRoots Organizing Workgroup (GROW). That function should be County Council support.
It also seems to me that we have a similar problem with the role of the Regional Rep. The job description for the Regional Rep says that they are deeply involved in County Council operations.
2. Solicit the organization of inactive counties, and provide pro-active guidance and assistance to counties seeking active status.
3. Provide pro-active guidance and assistance to counties whose county organization is in need of support, restructuring or is malfunctioning.
6. Insure the flow of information between the GPCA and counties.
7. Help maintain GPCA databases regarding both active and inactive counties, e.g. county contacts, bylaws, county councils, etc.
Maybe there is an issue of accountability here. I would like to Coordinating Council to ask Regional Reps for a regular report on each of their counties. In some cases, that is realtaively easy, in other, such as for the Central Region, I have found regional reps who didn't even know what counties were in their region. In that case, how is it possible to do what needs to be done to ensure that County Councils are fulfilling their role?
If there is one thing that the GPCA must do in the next six months, it is to rebuild the county council structures in as many counties as we can. Maybe, having state wide candidates can help. I would like to see all of the State Wide Candidates make themselves avaialble to visit any county that wants to have a presence.
I surely don't have all of the answers, but maybe this is the start of a discussion that is meaningful.