Friday, March 31, 2006

Foreign oil and diesel fuel(s) of all kinds.

Lisa has provided me with some good information about bio-diesel. The interesting thing is that she included some good links with it.

Los Angeles area’s first biodiesel fuel station (many la resources are at the end of this article)

Love Craft Biodiesel Silverlake Station

Run your car on french fries:

The timing was good. I also today received this notice today from the Apollo Alliance about S.B. 1675, new legislation concerning a Renewable Diesel Standard for California. The timing to do something on this is now.

On Tuesday April 4th, the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee will vote on California’s Renewable Diesel Standard, SB 1675. The Apollo Alliance supports SB 1675 because it will provide significant benefits to the state’s energy security, economy, public health, and environment.

Please take a moment to contact the State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing by Monday, April 3rd and urge their support for the California Renewable Diesel Standard, SB 1675.

This forward thinking bill is championed by Senator Christine Kehoe and is supported by a diverse group including alternative fuel advocates, conservation groups, and the U.S. Department of the Navy. A Renewable Diesel Standard fits right within California Apollo’s efforts to promote a diversified and clean fuel portfolio for the state.

Time is short. On Tuesday, April 4th, the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing will vote on SB 1675. Please contact members of the Committee by Monday, April 3rd and urge them to support California’s Renewable Diesel Standard, SB 1675.

Thank you very much for your help.

Carla Din
Western States Director, Apollo Alliance

Besides adding to the pressure on the State Senate, maybe it is time to activate a Green Interest Group regarding BioFuels. Lisa copied several interested biodiesel drivers on her email. I know also the Chris Kovach in Stockton drive a mix of fuels, regular diesel to start and the switching to biodiesel. Post a comment here to see if there is enough interest and we will try to organize something.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

a tipping point, maybe.

I feel that the GPCA is at a tipping point right now and that the decisions we make in the next several months, especially at the next General Assembly and in the selection of our leadeship, either county council or candidates, will have a significant determining factor on how successful this part is in the next decade.

When groups have a bit of success it is tempting to use that as a model for continued action. Sometimes this is OK but at other times it blinds you to the fact that the world has changed. In a real way, the world has change all around us and we have not paid enough attention to it.

The biggest change is that there are more Hispanic's in this state than ever before. We saw athat in the immigration rally in Los Angeles where half a million turned up. Perhaps the single most important Green Party event that I can point to is that Nativo Lopez is running uncontensted for the LA County Council. His presence on the County Council will give the Hispanic community a voice in the direction of this party that they have not previously had. It is up to the rest of us to make use of that if we are to be successful.

According to an OpEd piece by Dick Morris published today in The Hill, the Hispanic vote was the "swing vote in the 2004 election. Having voted for Al Gore by 30 points in 2000, they sufficiently trusted Bush to back Sen. John Kerry by only an eight-point margin."

The future of California Politics will be determined by how well any party is able to relate to the views of the Hispanic Community and thereby attract them into the party. The association of the Hispanic Vote with the Democratic Party peaked after Pete Wilson and Proposition 187. The Republicans are running the author of Proposition 187, Mountjoy, for the Senate this year and that will keep this issue on the table.

If the Green Party wants to grow quickly, then the best way to do so is to be associated with the needs and the issue of the Hispanic Community.

There are some who are not happy with the current factional infighting of the Green Party in California. They would break up the party and work strictly on a local level until such time as the locals collectively become strong enough to asset themselves as a formal party again. I never head something so wrongheaded. If there was ever a time for coordinated action, this is the time. If you are worried about factional infighting, then the infusion of Hispanic Leaders into the party will change that dynamic to the point where we will some time wonder what all the fuss was about.

We need the unified action of Greens in those communities where the problems of social justice and environmental action are the most worst. That, readers, is in the Central Valley and that is where we should focus our energies. Unions would never have spread throughout industry as they did without active organizing. The Green Party will not grow to a position of strength without active organizing.

Similarly, I saw a post today on anopther GPCA email list, that said that the future should be to become a Green Socialist Party, and they cite candidacy of Socialist Todd Chretien as the leadership to follow. Again, I think that this is wrong headed. There is nothing in the 10 KV that is deterministic of a Socialist agenda. In fact, there are some elements that are antithetic to a fully socialist program.

What we need rather is to be involved in the issues of those who are without social justice, stand by their side. We need to realize is that we have to work within these communities on their issues and not just ask them to come join is on our issues. Unless we do that, we will be doomed, as Dick Morris says may be the fate of the Republican Party based on how they handle the immigration issue.

This time just may be the tipping point for a revitalization of the Green Party. We dare not fail.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The path to peace and understanding

Senate Candidate Tian Harter posted the following on a Santa Clara County GP Discussion list. I think that it deserves a wider audience.

Fernando Suarez de Solar spent most of March marching from Tijuana, Mexico to San Francisco, California. I joined them for three days, and took lots of pictures while they were in Santa Clara County. You can see those at:

I came away from the experience with a strong feeling that there are people out there doing incredible things in the struggle for peace.
Tian is not putting out a bunch of press releases, but maybe everyone should know where he did the walking, rather than the talking.


GPCA put out a press release on the immigration law debate this week. It is important for Greens to be actively involved in this issue. It comes at a time when some Latinos are becomming disaffected with the Democratic Party and they certainly are not going to become Republicans given the current stance of most of the leadership of that party.

While the Green Party has an ongoing relationship with the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) it should be clear that we all need to be working more strongly with all Hispanic or Latino organizaitons. Change is happening and I generally fear that Greens are going to be left behind. Just see how much we have done to attract Latinos into the party. Check how many Hispanic surnames are in any list of party officials. After Camejo_______?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration Story

Here is one Immigration Story.

The immigration march in Stockton on Saturday was led by a Republican. You know he had that position because he had been talking with parade organizers.

Where did Green candidates march?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Immigration Stories

This weekend, there are protests against H.R. 4437 all over the state. I would like to collect stories and reports from people who were there, who marched, who stood up for basic human rights and a rational immigration policy. If you were there, please add your story as a comment.

I was not there, but I will pass on a tale that I heard from Stockton California. The organizer of the rally, Angel Picon, President of the Stockton Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) had told to police that he expected up to 300 in the march. The number was estimated as nearly 10 times that, stretching out about a mile. The weather had been very rainy. As the time to march approached, the clouds parted and the sun came out. It stayed that way until after the march was over and the last speech given and then the sky opened up again.

One of the things remarkable is that Republican Pete McCloskey marched at the head of the rally. At the conclusion, I am told that Picon told the assembled Latino's that they should re-register as DTS and support McCloskey. If that is true, it is clear that years of taking the Latino vote for granted is finally coming to back home for the Democrats. Nativo Lopez reregistered Green. Picon is asking his chapter of LULAC to leave the Democratic Party, at least for now.

I hope that Greens are in every march, as Kalmran Alavi (one that I know of) was part of this one in Stockton. If you have pictures of the march, email them to me and I will get them posted. I prefer jpegs, but can deal with just about any format other than RAW from a digial camera.

Media matters

I had started to pulish the press releases from the GPCA on this blog, because they were not getting published in a timely fashion on the GPCA web site. That problem has been fixed and I want to return to a more normal practice of just publishing my own comments and those of others who request it If any of you want me to continue posting press releases, leave a comment to tell me so.

I read a very pointed rejoinder to the Molly Ivins comments on H. Clinton and the Democratic party (Enough of the DC Dems). I have asked the author for permission to publish here.

I have also added a new link to the right side list of links. This is High Country News. When you go to the site, most of the content is limited to subscribers only. However, this is essential reading for all who are concerned about the questions of growth, land use, water, agriculture and the environment of our great western states. I tried a trial subscription just to have access to one article that I needed, and then purchased a subscription. The current issue has the best summary of the current status of legislation on the Endangered Species Act, as well as a piece that separates fact from fiction in all of the pro - anti esa propaganda we are force fed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

McCloskey expands his support

The Green Party has always been the target of Democrats who urge us to re-register and help them elect the lesser of two evils candidate. The pressure was on to do this from the Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich campaigns.

Now, the target is going the other way, and the call come from within the Democratic Party, where the San Ramon Democratic Club is inviting Republican Pete McCloskey to speak at their meeting on April 27. The announcement went out this afternoon.

I have friends in the McCloskey campaign and I know that this is not something that he engineered. But it is something that he will take adavantage of in his campaign to oust Richard Pombo. I have known that this was a possibility for a while, but I did not want to comment in case that it did not come off. Now, that an announcement has gone out, I will post that here as well.

There are a number of Greens who are working very hard to oust Pombo. I know of some who are active in the campaigns of Democrat Jerry McNerney. Frankly, a McNerney - McCloskey general election is enough of a win - win situation that I just might shut down PomobWatch blog.

Since there is only one contested primary in the Green Party that that can be voted on in the
11th Congressional District, there may be some rationale for Greens in the district to register DTS and do the same thing, vote for McCloskey. I was asked if I would recommend this and I say that I would not. I happen to think that the choice for Senate is an important indicator of the future of this party. I also think that such actions hurt a small party more than a large one like the Democrats. Still, I do mention it as an option that Green may want to consider. I am sure that Wayne Johnson, Pombo's campaign manager will be making a very big deal out of this, but there is no way that they can change the ground rules before the primary.

I have one more annecdote that I heard, but can not verify. Still, it is worth passing on. There was a big meeting at the University of the Pacific with San Francisco Chronicle publisher, Phil Bronstein as the speaker. The aduience was mainly from the press in the Central Valley, with the editors of the Stockton Record and others were at this public meeting. Among other things Bronstein talked about the manner in which bloggers, like me, and politicians use the internet to foster their own skewed vision of the world and that it was the newspapers who had the ability to tell the truth. He was quoted as saying something to the effect that all politicians are crooked and that even when they tell the truth, they spin it their own way. Then he stopped and said that his statement wasn't fair, that there was one truly honest politician left in America and he pointed to McCloskey who was sitting in the front row.

Here is the text of the announcement. Most of you will not know the name Margee Ensign. She is Dean of the School of International Relations at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and at one time had formed an exploratory committee to run for the seat herself.

This is from Peggy Rubin, president of the SRV Dem Club, today:

In the 11th Congressional District, common sense tells the majority of voters that in order for Richard Pombo to be ousted from the House of Representatives, Moderate Republicans, Democrats, Independents, “Decline to Staters”, Environmentalists, et al, are going to have to forget the things that divide us and unite at the voting booths this year. One of the most exciting, and important voices preaching the gospel of “Hands across the aisle” is that of Pete McCloskey. Former congressman, attorney, and moderate Republican, Pete said at the Peace Rally in Walnut Creek last Saturday, “I came out of retirement to get Pombo out of office.”

I was inspired by that, and comments from my friend Margee Ensign, who is also a friend of McCloskey, inspired to invite the Honorable Pete McCloskey to be our speaker at the April 27th meeting of the SRVDC. McCloskey is enthusiastic about this effort to “reach across the aisle,” and join forces to take Pombo off the November ballot.

I’m writing to you now to get you, I hope, to invite your uncommitted friends, and the moderate Republicans you know, to set aside the date of April 27th for a historic event in this valley – a Republican candidate for office addressing a Democratic meeting. I was telling a friend who lives outside the 11th CD about this last night and they’ve made their reservations already. Margee Ensign will come from Stockton and will urge others to join us. Do what you can to remind everyone that when we Americans face a challenge that affects us all, or our beloved land, we can and do set aside partisan differences to work together.

We have to find a larger venue than Mudd’s for this event for we think a lot of people will want to hear Pete McCloskey talk about Richard Pombo. We’d like a hall somewhere in San Ramon or Dublin, somewhere where people from as far away as Tracey and Morgan Hill can come to this meeting. If you can help us locate such a hall, please let me know.

Obviously, it’s too soon to tell you what the charge for the hall and caterers will be, or give you the address, but it’s not too soon to begin to spread the word that a refreshing approach to politics is being manifested her in the San Ramon Valley at this critical juncture.. Peggy Rubin

Green Candidates in the News

While most Greens, and even those of other parties, have a hard time breaking through the news clutter and becoming "newsworthy", it seem that this is not a problem in Pasadena. Green Party candidates Bill Paparian, Philip Koebel and Ricardo Costa have made it into the local press and and even the editorial page.

It takes a lot of work to develop a good relationship with the press. It does not happen just because you are a candidate. But, even as a non-candidate, I find that it is possible to build a raport with local media that gives you a voice. The key is to remember that the relationship has to be two way. Give them something that is important, that is worth their spending time on and they will give you that time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I wanted to get this out for Greens in yet another way. There are a number of different protests that will be taking place around the State this weekend.

Todd Chretien sent out a press release from his campaign about a protest in San Francisco.

Jo Chamberlain sent around an announcement of a protest by the LA Labor Federation, MAPA, SEIU and the Catholic Church in Los Angeles. Noticia.

I heard from another SEIU leader that there will be a protest in Stockton that will feature Pete McCloskey marching with them. I am still trying to confirm this time and date.

It seems to me that it is time for Greens to make themselves heard on this issue all over the state. We had Greens that protested against the Minutemen and were written up in the December issue of Green Focus.

Here is the MAOA announcement about the LA protest in English.

The Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) join the United Farm Workers, the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, other labor unions, and the Catholic Church in demanding JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS and opposition to the Sensenbrenner Immigration Legislation – H.R.4437 with a mass rally, march and religious mass at the Catholic Cathedral in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 26, 2006 at 1:00 p.m.
The rally and march will begin at the Federal Building, 300 N. Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles at 1:00 p.m. and proceed to the Catholic Cathedral (555 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles) to observe a mass in honor of Cesar Chavez and to encourage all communities to join the fight to defeat repressive immigration legislation being considered in the U.S. Congress.
“This is the broadest coalition of social forces in favor of immigrants that we have witnessed in many years with a demonstrated willingness to take to the streets with fair demands,” stated Nativo V. Lopez, National President of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and of MAPA.
“We are encouraged by this broad alliance and committed to continue working throughout this year in the halls of congress, the streets, in neighborhoods, work-places, schools, and churches for our families,” he concluded.
The sponsoring organizations for this event are as follows: CARECEN, Cesar Chavez Foundation, CHIRLA, Coalition for Immigration Reform, Comite Pro- Uno, Hermandad Mexicana, NAKASEC, National Farm Worker Ministry, Justice and Peace Commission, SEIU Local 660, SEIU Western Region, Union de Vecinos, UNITE-HERE Local 11, United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation, Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Mexican American Political Association.

Senate Candidates

There are three candidates for the Green Party nomination for the Senate. I have heard some condescending remarks on a Green Forum about Tian Harter. Well, I am not sure what it means, maybe Tian got all of his relatives to sign his petition, but he turned in a petition with more signatures that the other two candidates. So, someone must think he can do the job.

As for Todd, I have to admit that I was wrong about his being a one issue candidate. I had never seen or heard anything from Todd since the beginning of the race other than a "Million Vote for Peace." Today he sent out a press release taking on Feinstein on the Immigration issue, as well all three of the candidate should. The problem is that Feinstein is a great comromiser and here she just may be in a position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to compromise away some basic rights just as she compromised away the last of the Old Growth Redwoods that Charles Hurwitz is cutting.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A New Dictatorship

Just when you thought that things could not be getting worse, someone comes around to remind you that they are. This time, that someone is Sandra Day O'Connor. On March 10, she gave a speech in Georgetown in which she expressed a fear that then United States was falling into a Dictatorship. The very idea of an independent judiciary was under attack by her own Republican Party.

Most of the media did not pick this up or do anything with it. Nina Totenberg did run a story on NPR on March 10. After that, almost nothing in the US Press.

There is a close California Connection to this story. In Marchl, 2004, two California Congressmen introduced the Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004 H.R. 3920. The two Congressmen were John Doolittle (R. CD-4) and Richard Pombo (R. CD-11). The text of this act states:
The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court --
      (1) if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and
      (2) to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.
On 6/27/2005 the same bill was re-introduced for the 109th Congress, this time sponsored by Wally Herger, (R. CD-2).

At the time he announced his candidacy for the 11th Congressional Seat held by Pombo, Pete McCloskey tried to make this a major issue. The press chose rather to focus on the Endangered Species Act that McCloskey co-wrote and that Pombo wants to emasculate. Once they defined this as "the story" for this primary campaign, it is very hard to change their perception.

This issue has to become public and Pombo, Doolittle and Herger need to feel the heat of every PO'd citizen of this state who still believe that there is a great danger from the tyranny of the majority, especially one that is led by Tom Delay, John Dootlittle and Richard Pombo.

There are a lot of comments about whether Greens should hlep Democrats or not. In this case, I would ask that Greens help McCloskey try to take out Pombo in the Republican Primary. There is no Green Candidate in this race and McCloskey is a man we can trust.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mainstream Media Rocks

I guess that 60 Minutes is about as mainstream as you can get. The viewership is definitely not the so carefully courted 18 to 34 age group. I just wonder what most viewers though of Leslie Stahl's report on the Science of Sexual Orientation. I wonder if Pat Robertson watched this. It might have been educational for him. I know that there is still come capacity in my head to learn a few things. Maybe there still is in his.

How about this for start?

The single factor that best predicts whether a boy will be gay or not is his number of older brothers. But, that only is true if the boy is right handed and there are no such correlations for women. So, please, Pat Robertson, tell me how that is all the responsiblity of some weakness of character?

There are many things that I am proud of about the Green Party, and one of them is the fact that it has always stood against any form of discrimination on the basis of your sexual orientation. So is my wife.
Psychologists used to believe homosexuality was caused by nurture — namely overbearing mothers and distant fathers — but that theory has been disproved. Today, scientists are looking at genes, environment, brain structure and hormones. There is one area of consensus: that homosexuality involves more than just sexual behavior; it’s physiological.
So, if it is physiological, where does that originate? Is it strictly genetic. Stahl conversed with identical twins, one gay, the other straight. Then, she discussed that fact with Northwestern Universtiy's Dr. Michael Bailey.
"But that's environment," Stahl said.

"That's environment. But that's not the only environment. There's also the environment that happens to us while we’re in the womb. And scientists are realizing that environment is much more important than we ever thought it was," Bailey explained.
Acceptance of that as fact, maybe supported by additional research, will cause major change in how we think about homosexuality. If it is really determined by what happens in the womb, then there is no blame for being ones self. Some are even researching that it may be tied to the manner in which the mother's immune system regulate hormone expression in the fetus. That is even more physiological, and not at all to do with the child.

Before the political left starts to use this as the lynchpin for further expansion of gay rights, might they want to stop and think that if whatever happens in the womb is that important, there exists a stronger moral arguement against abortion. Before the political right decides to use this as a further rational for "right to life" laws, do they understand that they have to accept homosexuality along with it. I am not sure politics can deal with all that.

Doomsday politics

I really wonder just how much good Doomsday Politics does for anyone. James Howard Kunstler is surely the loudest proponent of it right now. His "Clusterfuck Nation" blog is only about that. George Lakoff must be wondering what happened to his new framing of the issues. When Kunstler gets through with Lakoff's "strict father" analogy, we are left with Jay Leno without the humor.
Because Daddy is failing so badly, and the family anxiety level is so high, the children allied with Mommy have fantasized a dark Daddy alter-ego that they transfer their fears to. That's Vice-president Dick Cheney. Daddy's activities may be mysterious, but his alter-ego's duties are clear: to keep those corporate systems running things in the background happy and productive by any means necessary. Nobody doubts the alter-ego's power and influence in these matters. He is considered as adept as Daddy is inept. If you cross him, he might even blow your head off, so watch out.

Is it too much to think that a political blogger might have a fresh idea about how to fix something? Is it too much to hope that just maybe there are voters who are willing to think? that there are positive things we should be doing if we only had the will to do so? Kunstler seems to think that we are in terminal suburban flight.
What these pimps and geniuses don't get is that America's future is all about discontinuity. Virtually everything you see out there will not keep going. We will discontinue granting interest only, adjustable rate mortgage loans for half-million-dollar McHouses to schlemiels one paycheck away from bankruptcy -- because the practice will prove to be reckless and ruinous not only for the schlemiels, but for the financial system as a whole. Americans will stop moving to the Sunbelt when they discover what life is really like in Phoenix and Houston without cheap air conditioning. After the suburbs implode financially from a pandemic of defaulted mortgages, we will see how well they operate on $5-a-gallon gasoline (or higher), and how carefree it is to heat a 4000-square-foot McHouse in a permanent natural gas crisis. We'll also discover that telecommuting over the Internet is not so "cool" in brownout nation.

Just what should our Green Candidates be talking about that will really make a difference? I don't think that Kunstler's doomsday scenario is going to do it, even though he may be right.

I will offer space on this blog to any Green Candidate who has an idea that is specific to California and who want's to get it out to a wider audience. Just send a document with the text or an email to me at wrolley at If you have published it elsewhere, just send me the link.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Eminent Domain

It would appear that big city newspapers like the L.A. Times will always do what is best for the newpaper, whether or not that is best for the community in which they live. Sometimes, their editorial policies seem to be guided by their own connection to the project.

Last Saturday (March 11) the L.A. Times ran an editorial with the heading LA Gothic. In this, the seem to be suggesting that the City screwed it up, which they did, but that the ultimate solution is to return the land to the original owner, from whom it was siezed in 1980. Since then, the City's project fell apart and they have allowed it to be used for Community Gardens. Now, the Times is suggesting to give it back.

This lead the LA County Green Party to send the L.A. Times the following:

Subject: The L.A. Times and "eminent domain"

Re: "Los Angeles Gothic," March 11,

The L.A. Times's opposition to the use of eminent domain to protect the South Central Farm is ironic in light of the L.A. Times's own status as a "founding partner" of the Staples Center. Surely the L.A. Times is aware that dozens of small businesses up and down Figueroa were forced out, under eminent domain, to make room for the construction of the sports arena which the L.A. Times itself co-founded, and with which it infamously shared profits on the scandalous Sunday Times issue dedicated to the Staples Center opening. So, apparently, the L.A. Times is okay with eminent domain when it's used to benefit the L.A.Times itself, but not when it's used to benefit economically disadvantaged workers who've committed the unforgivable act of growing food.

The L.A. Times should be ashamed of itself. But, better yet, the L.A. Times should join the Los Angeles Greens, the California Green Party,and many others in calling for City Hall to protect this unique 14 acre urban jewel. We have enough warehouses, but there's only one South Central Farm.

Patrick Meighan Los Angeles Greens Media Coordinator

The LA County Green Party has supported this for a long time. Gubernatorial Candidate Peter Camejo appeared at the South Central Farm last week. The party even put out a state-wide press release on the issue.

Note, I have been very careful to refer to the L.A. Times so as not to confuse it with the New York Times, which has displayed an even more egregious example of biased journalism as regards several uses of eminent domain in New York City, specifically by the same builder that is erecting a new headquarters for the New York Times itself. This is all very well documented in the Times Ratner Report by Norman Oder, a journalist from Brooklyn.

Oder has adminrably documented the multiple conflicts of interest that have led not only to stupidly worded editorials, but stories that are filled with error. It is not surprising that these errors always seeming to support Bruce Ratner's mega-project, a huge redevelopment effort designed by Frank Gehry, tearing out multiple use buildings in the heart of Brooklyn to install a new sports complex (another similarity..Ratner owns the New Jersey Nets). I don't have the time that Oder spent on his effort or I might dig up LA the same way he is digging NYC, but even to read it a little confirms ones worst fears about the state of mainstream media.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

News Advisory

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sara Amir, 310.270-7106
Pat Driscoll 916.320-6430
Susan King 415.823-5524

Green Party of California backs measure to reform ‘3 Strikes' law, calls current law ‘unfair and cruel' to families of those wrongly incarcerated

SACRAMENTO – The Green Party of California today voiced its support for major reform of the so-called "Three Strikes" law, calling the current code "unfair and cruel" to not only people victimized by it, but also their families.

The Greens' statement comes on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the law, and a demonstration this week at the State Capitol, hosted by Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (FACTS).

Mothers, grandmothers and other family members cited at the demonstration how the controversial law is unfairly targeting people of color, and giving people, in effect, death sentences for committing non-serious or non-violent felonies.

"People are being sent to prison for life for tearing off a tag from a dress, or stealing an inexpensive radio. Others, who are facing personal addictions, are receiving 25 years to life rather than the help that could make them a productive part of society again," said Pat Driscoll, a Green Party spokesperson.

"The governor, fellow Republicans and even Democrats have failed to amend this law, which is unfair and cruel to the families of the those wrongly incarcerated for 25 years to life for non-violent violations of the law," added Driscoll.

The Green Party supports, as a stop-gap measure, SB 1642, authored by Sen. Gloria Romero. The proposed legislation would restrict the use of "Three Strikes" for some, but not all, potential "three-strikers" by having it apply only to "serious or violent" felonies.

The measure would make exceptions for certain drug or sex crimes. It's due for a final vote this Spring. If passed, it would send the question to the voters for approval.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

News Advisory

News Advisory

Thursday, March 9, 2006
Contact(s): Sara Amir, 310.270-7106
Pat Driscoll 916.320-6430
Susan King 415.823-5524

Green Party says it will stand in solidarity with South Central community farmers against urban farm eviction and ‘environmental racism'.

LOS ANGELES – Members here of the Green Party of California today pledged to "stand in solidarity" against "environmental racism" and with South Central farmers who have been served with an eviction notice to vacate the nation's largest urban farm, a 14-acre parcel in the center of the city that has sustained 350 mostly low-wage workers for 13 years.

The farmers will be evicted next week by big developer Ralph Horowitz, who was given a secret, "sweetheart deal" by the city of Los Angeles. He was allowed to buy the property for only $5.1 million, when it was appraised a decade ago for three times that. Horowitz is demanding the farmers pay him $16 million or he'll kick them off the land and build a warehouse.

"We support the farmers' resistance to eviction, to relocation, to environmental racism," said Linda Piera-Avila, secretary of the Los Angeles Greens.

"In the shadow of downtown's skyscrapers, in an economically disadvantaged area, their farm stands as a testament to the power of multi-racial community building, local food production, the environmental value of green open space and social justice in the face of corporate greed and lack of civic accountability," she added.

Farmers say they are preparing to stay on urban farm even if they lose in court. They are prepared to risk arrest, but Piera-Avila said Los Angeles area Greens "stand in solidarity with the South Central Farmers who have taken personal responsibility for nurturing this 14 acre urban jewel of life.

"This is the kind of global responsibility the Green Party advocates. With peak oil's effects looming, the South Central Farmers can teach us how to live more sustainably. Their skills should be lauded by the City of L.A. as a valuable resource to be emulated, far more worthwhile to our future and to the planet than any warehouse could ever be," she said.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Immigration Action

There are a lot of causes. We could post another cause every day. But Feinstein is up for re-election this year and now is the time to push her button on the immigration issue. The following alert is from the UFW. Do we need Camejo leading a march before we get involved? I don't think so.

E-mail Sen. Feinstein As Judiciary
Committee Debates Immigration!
Send your e-mail today!

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will start the debate on the immigration reform proposal that will be presented on the Senate floor later this month. Please e-mail Senator Feinstein today and tell her farm workers desperately need AgJobs. Our nation can do better than punitive provisions that would criminalize undocumented immigrants and compromise basic civil liberties. Tell her that as the senior Senator from the largest immigrant and agricultural state in the nation--whose economy relies heavily on immigrant labor--you are concerned about the previous positions she has taken on this issue.

Just last year she was one of the only Democrats not to vote for the UFW-sponsored AgJOBS bill, when the majority of Senators--including 15 Republicans--voted in support of this historic bipartisan compromise.

In addition, while Senator Feinstein co-sponsored the DREAM Act in 2003--in committee she unexpectedly pushed for last minute harmful changes including the elimination of eligibility for federal student aid grants.

Given Senator Feinstein’s recent history, it remains to be seen how she will vote on the bill that the judiciary committee is reviewing. This bill, proposed by Senator Specter and known as the "Chairman's Mark”--includes the following punitive provisions:

  • Expanding the definition of "alien smuggling" to something as innocent as taking someone to the hospital or driving your child’s friend home after school.

  • Impeding an immigrant's ability to get a full and fair trial, which means innocent people can be deported without any hearing even if they are in the U.S. legally.

Please send your e-mail to Senator Feinstein today. Urge her to support realistic and humane immigration reform that offers the opportunity for hardworking undocumented immigrants to earn a path to citizenship, such as the UFW-sponsored AgJOBS bill (S. 359).


215 Water Street, Petaluma, CA

The Green Party of California Campaigns and Candidates Working Group, Media Committee and Sonoma County Greens present a series of discussions about being a candidate for elected office.

This program is intended to benefit persons who are thinking about being a candidate for local office or helping in an election campaign but who have not had previous experience. The focus will be “campaign basics”.

Presentations will be led by Green Party activists, including present or former elected officials.

A noontime news conference for current Green Party candidates also is planned. Advance RSVP is strongly encouraged as space is limited. For more information about the program, contact:

For information about the news conference, contact:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Peak Oil

Ok, I am going to let the delta rest a bit tonight. I have too much reading to do. After all, Volume 4 of the California Water Plan is over 1600 pages. Is there any wonder most people don't even try to get it.

What I do want to do is to call your attention to a different take on the subject of Peak Oil. This was written by Art Myatt, a Michigan Green, one time candidate for Supervisor in his county and full time solar technology engineer. This was written in response to a question from a European Green posted on the ruralgreen email list. The article referenced and linked is from the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine.

The very idea that we are in / approaching / will be affected by peak oil has ramifications for policies at every level from small city councils to our national Congress. In an election year, Greens should be the ones making sense on this issue.

The article for which you are asking some expert to check the numbers is, like many others, focused on some technically interesting questions. When will world oil production peak? How much oil do we think is in the ground, and where? Are there significant undiscovered deposits? How much of the oil is now legitimately listed as recoverable, and how much will be economically recoverable in some future of as-yet undeveloped techniques for recovery and some as-yet unknown set of demand and supply curves that will determine the price of oil and thus the economics of using various methods.

Since the reality of this, that or the other very specific scenario for the future of the oil business cannot be determined any better than the question about the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin, the debate is interminable and never conclusive. When will oil peak? It's like a court case in which each side has its expert witnesses. Some will argue for sooner and some for later. They are all expert, and so far as we can tell, all have some legitimate points in their favor.

"When will oil peak?" is an interesting question, but it is hardly the only question and, in the context of a political policy discussion, it is not the right question. Let's compare it to similar questions about a preganancy.

A pregnant woman will be very interested to know the probable due date for the delivery. Her doctor will probably give her a definite date, with the usual caution that that an error of plus or minus ten days is to be expected, and that the baby may come two or three months earlier, although that would be a premature delivery and a medical emergency. A pregnant woman will also be interested to know if the baby is male or female, or twins or triplets or more. She may be very concerned about the delivery method to be preferred: natural, with some type of anesthetic, cesarian.

These are all very interesting questions. Sometimes the answers we believe we have in the middle of the second trimester prove to be correct. Sometimes they are proved wrong by intervening circumstances. Sometimes we get all the way to the birth without having had certainty about any of the above questions.

However, the main questions about pregnancy, the really significant ones, are more along the lines of: Are you prepared to raise a child? These are the long term issues that really have to be dealt with. Whether it is a boy or a girl, whether the delivery is early or late, the child or children will need food, shelter, clothing and more.

Well, as a society, we are pregnant, so to speak, with peak oil. Whether the peak will come in 2020 or was around last Thanksgiving, the peak means the end of cheap and abundant oil. When the peak is definitely established, the amount of oil available for installed demand is always less from year to year, and the price is always being bid up. While there are a variety of fuels that can, one way or another, be substituted for oil, the price of energy generallly is being bid up and up.

Are we prepared to deal with it? The Hirsch Report, [Department of Energy] looking at this question from an entirely conventional economic point of view, says in great detail that we are not.

Now, I don't think that keeping this global/corporate economy functioning is the goal we should have, so I don't think the conventional economic point of view is the one to have. However,because the Hirsch Report at least asks the right question and then tries to answer it, I would recommend it as a good starting point. Even with conventional economics, he comes to the conclusion that we need a crash program of conservation and development of alternative fuels implemented for at least the next 20 years. Given that we are not doing that, the conclusion that the global/corporate economy is doomed - in its own terms of success, not ours - is not a great leap.

Will the economic implosion that goes with the peak come next month or ten or twenty years down the road? I don't know. Hirsch doesn't know. No 'expert' does. Hirsch does give a table of the dates picked by various experts, either in this or another article of his. Are we pregnant, even if we can't pin down the due date? Oh, yes, we are pregnant. We had better prepare to take care of this baby.

Art Myatt

Monday, March 06, 2006

Climate Change

That is right, I said "climate change." Frank Luntz said that we should not use "global warming" any more. In fact, most new outlets are now using the term climate change so maybe this is how I get to be Main Stream Media.

Luntz advises that, “’Climate change’ is less frightening than ’global warming.’ ... While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge” Source: Environmental Working Group.

However, some will still call it Global Warming. One of those who did was California Department of Resources Secretary, Mike Chrismann. In testimony before the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Committee on Resources last October, Chrismann said that the biggest danger to the Delta Levee system came from Global Warming.

This month, we have already had two very important stories on climate change. The first if from the BBC. It deals with the causese of Global Warming, sorry, climate change (no caps, not so emotional).

Consensus grows on climate change
By Roger Harrabin
Environment Correspondent, BBC News

The global scientific body on climate change will report soon that only greenhouse gas emissions can explain freak weather patterns. (Emphasis is mine.).

Simultaneous changes in sea ice, glaciers, droughts, floods, ecosystems, ocean acidification and wildlife migration are taking place.

The second story has been carried all over, but let me cite the Weekend Australian section of Science and Nature, March 04, 2006. Afterall, the Aussies are our partners.

Sea level change revised upwards as satellites show Antarctic melt
Mark Henderson
March 04, 2006

THE Antarctic ice sheet, which holds 70per cent of the world's fresh water, has shrunk significantly in the past four years, the first observations from a pair of satellites show.

The frozen continent is shedding about 152cukm of ice every year, enough to supply the city of Los Angeles with water for 36 years, according to research that suggests global sea levels could rise more rapidly than predicted.

Scientists had expected that over the coming century global warming would increase the size of the Antarctic ice sheet, as higher temperatures brought increased snowfall, but the new data suggest it is losing mass.

The findings, from the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) launched in 2002, suggest the ice sheet would increase sea levels by up to 45m if it were all released.

The West Antarctic ice sheet, where most melting is taking place, alone holds water that would raise the sea level by more than 6m.

My question is this: How high are you going to make the levees, Mr. Schwarzenegger?

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I am going to continue to hammer this Delta issue some more. One of the reasons that I feel I need to do it is that fact that Schwarzenegger, Feinstein and Pombo are making a lot of noice about the need for fixing the levees in the delta. The news here in the Bay Area is carrying the fact that a levee broke along the Wheeler tract in this last set of storms, flooding some farm land. This is not the first time this levee has been breached. It was also breached in the New Years Day storm and again last year.

So, why do I not think that the Schwarzenegger bond issue is a great thing? That is because it hides the fact that CalFed, Diane Feinsteing grand compromise on water in California, is a failure by no one talks about that. It is off the table in conversation. Dr. Jeffrey Mount of UC Davis, says that "we have not had that conversation since we decided as a state to shut up about alternatives to the delta and sign on to the CalFed record of decision in 2000 and is the ultimated limiter of free speech about the delta."

This is another of Diane Feinstein's publically negotiated compromises, like the logging issues with the Pacific Lumber Company and the Headwaters Forest. If compromise is her way to get things done, what happens when we compromise away our rights to have an open conversation about the future of this state, all in the name of a bureaucracy that is beholden to everyone except the citizens.

If you want to understand just where this battle for water is going, I suggest that you read two more items. The first is an LA Times story, date lined Calexico, CA, February 24, 2006. This tells the tale of the Metropolitan Water District and its efforts to secure the waters of the New and Alamo Rivers for the Citizens of Los Angeles and San Diego. The Times writer describes the New River thusly.
Technically, it is not a river but a ditch carrying drainage water the color of pea soup that brims with sewage, animal carcasses and industrial waste from Mexicali. This toxic stew contains bacteria and viruses known to cause tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis and typhoid.

Drug smugglers and illegal immigrants use the smelly, sudsy river as an illicit entryway to the United States, confident that U.S. Border Patrol agents will not pursue them into the murky water.

The other is a story from High Country News concerning the same area. Writing of a Las Vegas, NV sponsored groundwater project "that won't be finished until 2018 at the earliest."
In the meantime, Las Vegas will pay the federal government $80 million to build a new reservoir along the California-Mexico border. The reservoir will catch overflow that farmers in the region currently can't use; in return for funding the project, Las Vegas can taken an equivalent amount of water out of Lake Mead until the groundwater project is in place.

Of course, we need more Venitian Canals in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Hub of California's Future

Here is a bit of background as to what has happened in the past. It is a Perspecitve by Matt Kondoll broadcast on KQED on October 19, 2005. The adio is archived. I urge you to listen. It tells the story of the California Reclamation Board and why the entire board was fired in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. If you want to read the text, you can do so.

Have you got that? Now what I would like you to do how is to think about the manner in which Governor Schwarzenegger has now proclaimed a state of emergency over the delta levees.

With Mardi Gras on everyone's minds, we still hear people putting the knock on FEMA and it's previous head, the departed Mr. Brown. Still, let me cite a joint FEMA / American Planning Association report entitled Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas. Chapter 2 focus on Protecting the Natural Functions of the Floodplan. These are Flood Storage and Conveyance, Waterquality Maintenance, Groundwater Recharge, and cultural benefits. They warn that it is follow to ingore these natural functions in designing subdivisions. This would be especially true in the Delta where many of them are planned for land that is below sea level.

UC Berkley has announced a symposium entitled ReEnvisioning the Delta: the hub of California's future. It will be held in Berkley on March 16/17, 2005. It is time that we looked to the future.
Delta Fish Population Crashes

I have not posted for a few days. The main reason is that I was spending a lot of time on the subject above — why are the populations of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and juvenile striped bass are rapidly declining. This was the subject of a Congressional Hearing in Stockton on Monday, Feb. 27. The referenced Warren Lutz story from the Stockton Record is excellent.

The key issue here is whether or not there is the political will to implement any solution. With three different constituencies seeking to have a say in managing the water the prospect for a solution is bleak. California Agribusiness wants the water for irrigation. Southern California urban areas, with political power equal to their population, seek to grab as much water as they can to fuel additional growth. Anglers, tourism dependent Chambers of Commerce and environmentalists are an unusual pairing of stakeholders with an interest in maintaining a proper flow of Sacramento and San Joaquin River waters through the system.

The outcome of that hearing was a demonstration that the system is just too complex to have a single cause and it will not have a single solution. The three causes suspected are:
  • an exotic species of clam that eats the food required by some fish species,
  • the fact that too much water is being pumped from the delta too quickly, taking very young fish and fish eggs with it,
  • the increasing level of pesticieds and fertilizer residues that flow into the delta waters.
All three of these would be mitigated by reducing the pumping and providing an increased flow of water through the delta.

Here is my suggestion. Green residents of the Los Angeles basin should be telling the Metropolitan Water District that it is time to stop raiding the rest of the state for water. We have seen what it has done in other areas. If you drive North on US Route 395, you pass Owens Lake. Do it in the summer and watch the dust devils blow across. At one time, steamships plied Owens Lake, carrying silver from the mines on the East Side to the railways on the West. Do we want the California Delta to become another Owens Lake? It is up to Southern California to determine that.

If the water continues to go South at an increasing rate, then there is no future, not only for the fish, but for a lot of humans as well. The time has arrived when the this Ponzi Scheme called growth funded City Services has reached the point where it has become the only competition that counts. You can not move water from the Central Valley to Southern California urban populations without taking it away from Central California Cities.

  1. Tracy, CA, on the edge of the delta, residents and farmers to be a little drier in 2006. while California State government plans to send more water South.
  2. Santa Clara Valley Water District is beginning to pay people to take out lawns and replace them with other types of landscaping.
People talk about peak oil. That crises will not be as bad as peak water.