Thursday, November 09, 2006

Some questions about the election

To begin, we can all celebrate the election of Gayle McLaughlin in Richmond. This is a city with many problems, but with a core of people who are willing to work for change. When Richmond makes the news, it is most generally for yet another gang related killing. Even when the citizens of Richmond set up a tent village and camped out at nights in a dangerous area, they ended up being less than a football field's length from yet another killing. Gayle has more than a normal mayor's job to do and deserves all the support that she can get, from everyone, all over the state.

Then, when looking at the statewide returns, we have the fact that most down ticket candidates had better success than those at the top of the Ticket, Peter Camejo and Todd Chretien. One possible explanation for this is to declare it pesonal dislike of the candidates. Another is that it is a repudiation of their positioning of the Green Party at the far left of the political spectrum. Camejo is at his best when he talks about specific solutions to specific problems. There, it is his intelligence that comes through. We did not see that often enough in this campaign.

The top vote getter, Insurance Commissioner candidate Larry Cafiero, may be been the beneficiary of the fact that the Democratic candidat, Cruz Bustamante, was very flawed. Having failed to succeed Gray Davis in the recall election, and then again for the office of Insurance Commissioner, Bustamante may need to find a real job, perhaps as a lobbyist.

My biggest disappointment was in the lack of support for Forrest Hill. I still think that his proposals for electoral reform were practical and need to be part of the Green Party goals as we go forward.

The time to start planning for 2008 was yesterday. I know that the supporters of Jerry McNerney have begun to put a grassroots organization in place to help maintain his newly gained CA 11 seat (Bye Bye Dick Pombo.) We need to find the bright spots in what we managed to do and to build on them.


Anonymous said...

Forrest Hill was an awesome candidate--I heard him speak and I donated to him--but he suffered from facing off against a genuinely progressive Democratic Candidate (Debra Bowen) who stands for many of the same electoral reforms and voter protection issues for which Forrest stands. It made it tough for Forrest to differentiate his agenda, to my mode of thinking.

The answer to the question of what's next for the California Greens will depend greatly upon where in California said Greens happen to be. Seems like the Greens up in NorCal are getting great traction. Down here in Los Angeles I find myself genuinely envious of y'all. It's tough hoeing here, and even the "starter" offices in the city of Los Angeles require you to win out in a district of a quarter-million voters or more. That's an uphill battle, especially against a pretty well entrenched political machine and the labor unions that power it.

I believe, down here in L.A., we L.A. Greens gotta broaden our base by getting even more active in issues that are local, immediate, specific, controversial and realizable. Our involvement in the South Central Farm fight was a step in the right direction. Ditto our involvement in the hotel workers' fight for a living wage. And, in my opinion, we need more of that--much much more--to build the L.A. Greens' political base to make our local candidates actually viable. And if our concentration on those immediate local issues comes at the expense of our involvement in ANSWER marches or our promotion of statewide and/or federal candidates for the immediate future, well, then so be it.

That's my opinion, anyway. But I could be wrong. I frequently am.

Patrick Meighan
LA Greens

Wes said...

I don't think that you are very far wrong.

Yes, the size of even the small local districts in LA is overwhelming. That is one reason, among several, that I want to see Greens spend more time in the Central Valley. Some might not think that it is a fertile field, but that makes it more intresting. The fact that the Dems take the Hispanic vote for granted is an opportunity that we can not afford to pass up.

In the recent CA 11 race, an environmental group called the Clean Water Action Project spent a lot of money to register new voters. They registered over 10,000 of which nearly 6,000 were Hispanic and the overwhelming majoriity of those Hispanic voters registered Decline to State.

I would love to get Dolores Huerta to help with a continued effort.


Anonymous said...

Statewide runs are nice but should really only take up 15-20% of our resources at the most (and that's all 8 put together). Our resources must be focused on spoiling Democrats in regional contests for Assembly, State Senate and Congress (I'd say 35-40%) with the rest reserved for local races we can win.

Wes said...

Again I would have to disagree with spoiling Democratic races as an objective. The objective has to be to elect somone who has Green Values. If spoiling Democrats ends up positioning the Greens to the left of the Democrats on a continuous political spectrum, then it also ends up conceding the middle to the Democrats and giving them a permanent lock on power. They would love that.

Anonymous said...

Real Greens hold positions both to the 'left' and the 'right' of both Democrats and Republicans, although I dispute that these terms have much meaning, our world is not one-dimensional. The system is spoilt, 'spoiling' Democrats does us all a great service in the long run. This system is killing us under both evil parties, time to cut loose or cut out.