Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Black History - January 6, 2001

History is written by the winners.

On the last day of African-American History Month, here is a scene from Black history you’ll never see on the glossy pages of your favorite commercial mainstream magazine.

Washington, DC, January 6, 2001.

Congress meets in joint session to certify the 2000 election. Congressional Black Caucus members object to the Florida election. The objection must be in writing and signed by one member of the House and Senate. Vice-President Albert S. Gore presiding

. . .

GORE: For what purpose does the gentlewoman from California, Miss Waters, arise?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Vice President, I rise to object to the fraudulent 25 Florida electoral votes.

GORE: Is the objection in writing and signed by a member of the House and a senator?

WATERS: The objection is in writing and I don't care that it is not -- it is not signed by a member of the Senate.

GORE: The chair will advise that the rules do care, and the signature of the senator will...


They laughed at “those people” who cast 92% of their votes for Gore-Lieberman in Florida.

The U.S. Senate on that day included Ted Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts; John Edwards of North Carolina; Russell Feingold of Wisconsin; Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California; Joe Lieberman and Chris Dodd of Connecticut; and Charles Schumer and the newly elected Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Enough said.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Why I Joined the Green Party

Los Angeles, California -- How can a fifty-something man summarize a lifetime of political education in less than many thousands of words? In earlier drafts of this post I went on for about seven thousand words and even that was not enough. My word processor says this essay is exactly 2,137 words long. No editor of a journal would accept this for publication but one nice thing about having your own blog is setting up the rules. And so, 2,137 words it shall be.

Between the two of us, my dear wife, Cathy Deppe, and I have lived and worked in Alabama, California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Some of these places were run by politicians who called themselves “conservatives.” Some were run by politicians who called themselves “liberals” or "progressives." They all have problems, but “liberal” places are consistently better (it’s not for nothing that “conservative” Condolezza Rice from “conservative” Alabama settled in “liberal” California). Cathy and I have both been involved in the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women’s movement, the labor movement, and the environmental movement.

Some politicians are very good at making speeches, but God (and the devil) is in the details. High-minded speeches and deliberately vague legislation aside, on issue after issue, that matters to me, Republicans and Democrats are, indeed, the “One Corporate Party with Two Names.”

Alex Walker

I was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia.

During the Civil War, Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, but Hampton was occupied by Union troops based at old Fort Monroe. In 1861 three slaves, Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory had been contracted by their owners to build defense batteries for the Confederate Army. They escaped at night and rowed a skiff across Hampton Roads seeking asylum at Fort Monroe. General Benjamin Butler declared the three men were “contraband of war” and refused to return them. And so throughout the war thousands of Blacks, including my great, great grandparents, fled behind the Union lines to freedom in Hampton.

Mary S. Peake, a free black woman, had been running schools for blacks even before the war when it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write. She used to conduct classes under a large spreading oak tree. When Lincoln issued the Emacipation Proclaimation it was read to the freedmen gathered under this tree. The Hampton Agricultural and Normal Institute (now Hampton University), one of the nation’s oldest historically black colleges, was founded on this site in 1868 and “Emancipation Oak” is in the national registry of historical sites.

Both my parents graduated from Hampton Institute in the 1940s. I went to 100% all-black segregated public schools in Hampton through the 9th grade. In college I studied engineering and political science. I graduated from Hampton University in 1972.

I lived and worked in Virginia until I was thirty. In 1979, I started working as a full time computer programmer at Michie-Bobbs Merrill Law Publishers in Charlottesville, Virginia. By the late 1970s Old Virginia had almost completely “flipped” from one-party segregationist Democrat to one-party “conservative” Republican.

Cathy Deppe

My wife grew up in Glen Ellyn, a village in one-party Republican DuPage County, Illinois just west of one-party Democratic Chicago. As of the 2000 census, the village was 26,999. When Cathy was growing up it was sleepy, leafy, little village. Today, it is part of the (ahem) “Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. “ Most of Cathy’s family still lives around Chicago. Some live in the City of Chicago where the crooks run around saying: “Vote Democratic or else those suburban rednecks who hate us will take over!” Others live in DuPage County where the crooks run around saying: “Vote Republican or else those inner-city mau mau savages in Chicago who hate us will take over!” The codependency of the “One Party With 2 Names” is so clear that it takes an expensive education at someplace like the University of Chicago not to see it.

The Chicago area has a curious tradition of gross political corruption dating back almost a century. Last Fall The Chicago Sun-Times reported that in the last three decades, at least 79 local elected officials have been convicted of a crime, including 3 governors, one mayor, and 27 aldermen. Whenever some pain-in-the-ass honest person arises out of the muck of Illinois politics, like Adlai Stevenson, Jesse Jackson, or Barack Obama, the clever solution of the Chicago gangsters is to send ‘em to Washington where their “do-gooder” notions won’t interfere with “business as usual” at home.

Cathy graduated from the University of Illinois. She was a student there when she volunteered to spend the summer of 1965 helping to register voters in Greene County, Alabama and what she saw down there changed her life.

Cathy taught school on a small island in the West Indies for two years. She has been an employment counselor, a “job coach” at a sheltered workshop, and a public school teacher. I have been a software engineer in Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts before settling in California. While living and working in the Hudson Valley of New York served as vice-president of the Northern Dutchess NAACP and co-chair of the Dutchess County Committee Against Racism in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The late, great Molly Ivins once wrote this about growing up in Texas:

If you grew up white before the civil rights movement anywhere in the South, all grown-ups lied. They'd tell you stuff like, ‘Don't drink out of the colored fountain, dear, it's dirty.’ In the white part of town, the white fountain was always covered with chewing gum and the marks of grubby kids' paws, and the colored fountain was always clean. Children can be horribly logical. I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point -- race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.

And so it was, by different paths, Cathy and I started early in our lives “to question everything.”

Some good people seem genuinely surprised by just how bad the Bushies have been. Serious historians say President George W. Bush may be the worst president of the United State -- ever.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I am not surprised. Especially for those of us who have worked in the civil rights movement and the peace movement, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Ashcroft, and Gonzalez in every respect are the flowers of post-civil rights “white backlash” and post-Vietnam War “Chickenhawk” mediocrity.

The Green Question

Almost every argument about the Green Party gets hung up on Bush vs. Gore vs. Nader and goings-on in Washington. Today, almost all sharp political commentators are obsessed with Mr. Bush’s war in Iraq. This is perfectly understandable and we can talk about the sins of Bush and Cheney all day.

Nevertheless, I am here to say, dear friends, all that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Our critics invoke "practical politics." Very well. Let's talk practical politics. Where would the Democratic Party be without organized labor or progressive women or "minority" voters throwing away 80% of their ballots for Democrats? It would be extinct! Yet, for some weird reason, while Democratic leaders disagree with Republican conservatives, they despise progressive Democrats.

Every single time some ethically-challenged Democratic Party Hack politician gets in hot water, they come crying to people like your and me (see William Jefferson Clinton, 1998-1999). In the inner-city neighborhoods the crooks come 'round to Black churches two sundays before the election crying: “Vote Democratic or else those suburban ‘rednecks’ will take over!” (Okay, they don't actually say that, but it's implied). We are told it's our duty to give money, make phone calls, walk precincts, and welcome hacks into our houses of worship, community centers, and union halls.

What happens the day after the election?

The day after the election begins the next cycle of contempt, sell-outs, wheeling ‘n dealing.

First comes the return of the usual contempt for suckers like me. This is the familiar pseudo-sophisticated cynicism about “political correctness“ and “peaceniks” and those feminist “bitches.” Men like me are denounced as “faggots” on account of our insufficient enthusiasm for the presumed superior values of cold-blooded violent macho men. Always, always comes the cynicism about those little “ingrates” out there "whining" about discrimination who don’t know enough to shut up let “real American” businessmen run the world.

Finally, it’s back to business-as-usual: awarding government contracts and patronage jobs to cronies; low-interest loans for mayors-for-life; stealing money from school kids; selling out to Wal-Mart and Arnold Schwarzenegger; and implementing “reforms” like $170,000 salaries for Los Angeles School Board members.

Everywhere the Democratic Party “leadership” is clubby, short-sighted, gutless, and corrupt.

Everywhere the "liberal" intellectuals are clubby, short-sighted, gutless, and corrupt.

No matter what happens in the coming years, "liberal" institutions like The Nation and The New Yorker will offer up the same tiresome fraternity of know-it-all Ivy-League intellectuals to tell us "progressives" what to think.

We are living in a country under the hegemony of Republican conservative ideology and these "progressives" do next to nothing to challenge this hegemony of very bad ideas.

My view of The Green Question is a bit unusual because I am an active California Green who is also African-American.

Civil rights is still my number one issue. In our time the Republican Party has become the “White Man’s Party” in the United States. Indeed, this monstrous "ism" they call "conservatism" is, chapter and verse, nothing more than the Old Southern White ideology: Southern Baptist fundamentalist religion, reckless militarism, swaggering machismo, anti-intellectualism, a union-busting economic philosophy that hasn’t changed much since slavery times, and aboce all, a sick preoccupation with “race.”

After Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and the knee-jerk reaction of all the "conservative" intellectuals was to defend their Dear Great Leader by launching vicious attacks against those pleading on their rooftops for rescue, New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, described the political dynamic that has dominated U.S. politics for thirty years very succinctly:

Race, after all, was central to the emergence of a Republican majority: essentially, the South switched sides after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Today, states that had slavery in 1860 are much more likely to vote Republican than states that didn't.

And who can honestly deny that race is a major reason America treats its poor more harshly than any other advanced country? To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, "There but for the grace of God go I." A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, "Why should I be taxed to support those people?"

Above all, race-based hostility to the idea of helping the poor created an environment in which a political movement hostile to government aid in general could flourish.

-- “Tragedy in Black and White,” by Paul Krugman, NYT, September 19, 2005

Everything the Republican conservative clique says about African-Americans is based on prejudice and stereotypes. And everything they’ve recently done brings back bad memories of why I originally came to detest their so-called “conservatism.”

Today, so-called conservative “chicken hawks” say “we” have to send “our” sons and daughters (but not their privileged sons and daughters) and spend $3,000 a second (but not their tax dollars) in Iraq even while those same demagogues rant and foam about being taxed “to support those people” at home.

On immigration, the rhetoric of California college-educated, pseudo-sophisticated "conservatives" about “illegal aliens” is as ugly and crude as anything I heard by southern segregationist "rednecks" in Old Virginia. They piously preach little sermons about a crusade for “freedom” in the Middle East, but under stress, they’ll launch into a tirade on Arab “sand n*****s” and “ragheads.” Indeed, the new Washington consensus on the Iraq war is that those bad brown Iraqis are the ones who have failed The Great White Empire.

Hence, my dilemma. I have a hundred grievances against the Democrats, but for a lot of self-respecting people of color like me, supporting Republicans is simply not an option. Telling me we don’t need third parties because I can “choose” between Republicans and Democrats is telling me I have no choice at all. And telling me that if I want "education reform" or "campaign reform" or "environmental reform" then I have to "join Arnold" and those sicko Republicans is telling me that you don't really want reform at all and all your bitchin' about "reform" is just another way of saying "Why should I be taxed to support those people?"

Green and No Going Back

I have traveled a long road since I grew up in a 100% segregated community in Hampton, Virginia. We call ourselves African-American, but my people are not Africans. For better or for worse (and a lot of times it's for the worse), my people are as American as apple pie. When I left the East Coast in 1998 I drove across this vast nation all the way to San Francisco. I drove across Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. I took plenty of time to observe what was going on, reading local papers, and talking to all kinds of folks. I am deeply troubled that America -- the country my ancestors built and fought for -- has too much inequality, ugliness, pollution, and violence.

All my life I have been told that African-Americans like me should stop thinking so much about racism. Over and over we are told to forget slavery; forget segregation; forget lynchings and pogroms; forget those who died in my lifetime just to secure the right to vote. Pompous hypocrites who hated Martin Luther King self-righteously throw his noble words in our faces:

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Very well.

I have judged Republicans and Democrats by the content of their character.

I reject them both.

Action Alert - Support AB 541

We often get action alert to go protest something. Impeach Bush. Save the Redwoods. Last year I asked people to fight the "Monsanto bill." While these are all good goals, it is still all about stopping something. We do not as often get a chance to support something, though AB 840 last year was an exception.

This week, we have a chance to support the California Food and Farm Protection Act (AB 541). The details are below.


— SUPPORT AB 541 —

Assemblymember Jared Huffman (6th AD) has introduced AB 541, The Food and Farm Protection Act. The bill would establish California’s only state laws related to genetic engineering (GE) in agriculture and protect California farmers, consumers, and the food supply. AB 541 already has the support of many agricultural, environmental, health, faith and business organizations.

Please register your support for this bill by mailing or faxing a letter to the Assembly Agriculture Committee. A sample letter is provided below.


The State of California has no policies regulating GE crops, and the federal government is failing in its oversight role. Given this regulatory void, eight counties attempted to pass local restrictions on GE crops, four of which now have county bans or moratoria on GE crop production in place. In the 2005/06 legislative session, biotechnology and agribusiness interests sponsored a bill that would have pre-empted local authority over GE, but failed due to a groundswell of opposition from public interest organizations, citizens, and elected officials around the state. AB 541 will put in place a coherent policy that addresses the risk of GE contamination, without banning any GE crop.

AB 541 protects California farmers and the food supply in four ways:
  1. Establishes the right of farmers and landowners to compensation for economic losses due to genetic contamination of their crops
  2. Protects farmers from being sued by a GE manufacturer if their crop is contaminated by that company’s GE product.
  3. Establishes a county-level GE crop notification process so that farmers can trace contamination to the GE manufacturer
  4. Protects the food supply by prohibiting the open-field cultivation of genetically engineered food crops used to produce drugs and biologics such as hormones and antibiotics.

To read a longer summary of the issue, please refer to the Position Paper posted on the web site of the Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance (www.gepolicyalliance.org). The full text of the bill can be found at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html.


Register your support for AB 541 by sending a letter to the Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, the Honorable Nicole Parra. A sample letter is included below, though it is best to include your own statements and perspectives if possible.

Letters can be sent by fax to: (916) 319 – 2184
or by regular mail to the address in the letter below.

It is very important that we also receive a copy of your letter. Please send a copy for our records to the Genetic Engineering Policy Project (info@gepolicyproject.org or fax 707-874-1558).



The Honorable Nicole Parra
Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee
1020 N Street, Room 362
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: AB 541 (Huffman) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblywoman Parra and Members of the Committee:

I am writing in support of AB 541, The Food and Farm Protection Act. [Describe your organization, company, or farm here if applicable].

California has no current laws in place to address the issue of genetic engineering, yet citizens across the state have expressed concerns about the risks the technology presents for farmers, consumers, the economy, and the environment. This bill represents a reasonable, responsible and moderate way forward, without banning the technology or restricting choice.

AB 541 importantly establishes the right of farmers and other landowners to recover damages if their property is contaminated by GE crops, and it places the responsibility for the economic harms that arise where it belongs – with the manufacturer, the owner of the GE seed or plant. The bill also protects farmers from liability if they unknowingly become contaminated and use the contaminated crop. Farmers who are victimized by genetic contamination should not have to fear legal reprisals.

AB 541 also establishes a GE crop notification process where farmers and researchers growing GE crops report the growing of their crops to their county Agriculture Commissioners. As with other useful agricultural statistics and notification requirements, this would provide Agriculture Commissioners with the knowledge of the presence of GE crops within their jurisdiction and enable the state to keep track of how many acres of which GE crops are produced in each county.

Finally, AB 541 protects the food supply by implementing a ban on the open-air production of food crops genetically engineered to produce drugs. No one wants experimental hormones, vaccines or antibiotics in the food they serve their family. The drugs being researched are all currently produced using safe, controlled laboratory methods, and there is no need to risk the contamination of our food.

I urge you and the Assembly Agriculture Committee to consider this issue carefully, and vote to support AB 541. It will be a vote in favor of farmers, consumers and the environment.


[name, title, organization or business]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Doubters and deniers

There are some who seem to continue doubting the science behind the experience of climate change. If some of you can wait a bit, a number of questions will probably be answered in the research that starts next week, the 200 experiments / studies that make up the task list for the International Polar Year.

While the US media is consumed with the Oscars tonight, and even those who consider themselves green might be rooting for Al Gore, BBC has published a story on the International Polar Year that actually focuses on science rather than the bears.
Projects to be undertaken over the next two years have six major aims:

  • determine the current environmental status of the polar regions
  • quantify past and present environmental and social changes, and improve future projections
  • understand links between the poles and the rest of the planet
  • investigate the frontiers of science in the regions
  • use the polar areas to develop and enhance observation of the Earth's interior and of space
  • explore the cultural, historical and social aspects of circumpolar human communities
If they can do what they are setting out to do, then many of the questions about global warming, the rate of sea level rise, etc. will be answered. I have little personal doubt as to what will be determined.

While they are doing these studies, I hope that everyone spends a little time thinking about Jared Diamond's premise in Collapse. It is not the event itself the determines civilization's fate, but rather how we respond to it.

Practical solutions for global warming

I have been emphasizing local actions regarding global warming, specifically in the building sector. It is not a new idea. David Cobb has a column in the current issue of the Eureka Times-Standard regarding Local ways to act on global warming. He defines the crux of the problem as ourselves.
Mark Twain once quipped, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.” That's what many of us felt about the looming crisis that global climate change represents.
Cobb goes on to recommend that people adopt the Personal Global Warming Action Plan from the Redwood Alliance's Climate Actions Project. That is probably a good start.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Welcome to the future.

I have been hammering away at the idea of addressing global warming by making changes to our local community development regulations, especially building codes. The way to do that is through local planning commissions, one place where local individuals have a chance to make a difference and where a political party with little or no power (not having many elected officials) can leverage their limited power through public advocacy to make change happen.

The problem is very well defined on the web site of Architecture 2030, a project sponsored by the non-profit organization New Energy Economy.
Two profound, life changing events are converging to create the most significant crisis of modern time— the warming of the earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, and the rapid depletion of global petroleum and natural gas reserves. As these events intensify over the coming years, they will dramatically change how we live and how we relate to the natural world.- Architecture 2030.
While the media gives us talking head focusing on the transportation sector, New Energy Technologies is talking about policies that promote high performance buildings. If you had followed the link for Architecture 2030 above, you would have seen that the building sector requires 76% of our electrical energy consumption just for building operations... not including industrial production. If we are going to address the problem of global warming in any reasonable time frame, it must focus on the building sector. New Energy Economy made that point.

The American Institute of Architects, a 74,000-member organization, recently declared that to meet our responsibility in keeping global warming under 2°C we must adopt the following goals:

  • All new buildings, developments and major renovation projects should be designed to use half the fossil fuel energy they would typically consume by 2010.
  • By 2030 buldings should be carbon neutral, meaning they will use no fossil fuel energy to operate.
Architects will only design to the requirements of their clients. Developers will only develop what they can make a profit on. We must give both the incentives to follow the AIA guidance. That means making fundamental changes to building codes, not in a prescriptive manner, but as a performance requirement. If we do not, then we will always hear that "Green Buildings are too expensive." Tell architects to innovate and they will do it.

The Eco-Action Commmittee of the Green Party US, lost a vocal activist over the failure of the party to take on the question of carbon taxes in an active, aggressive manner. The rest of us need to stay the course and work at the level where we can accomplish something, our own home towns. We dare not allow the developer community to steamroll this effort.

I am scheduling time with my local planning commission on March 13, 2007. I will present a formal request that the planning commission adopt the AIA guidelines as requirements for all projects. Acting now, we can be ready to implement by 2010. Delay this to 2010 and we may not like the consequences.

Welcome to the future. We are building it now.

Friday, February 23, 2007

How long can you tread water?

The Green Party of Canada is taking a strong stand regards global warming, a stand that the GP US has, to date, not made much of. On February 16, the Green Party of Canada hosted a forum on the Moral Obligations of Climate Change.

According to Canadian Green leader, Elaine May, you can absorb it all in one minute. While Canada signed the Kyoto Accord and the US did not, this is not a legal issue. rather, I agree with May that it is a moral imperative to do something. Referring to the Kyoto accords May gets it right.
WHY we should meet them (Other than being legally bound?): Because the necessary reductions in atmospheric carbon to avoid catastrophic local and global impacts will be at least 30% below 1990 by 2020, 50% by 2030, 80% by 2050. Missing our Kyoto targets places us in an even more difficult situation in the next phase. Further delay, denial, and procrastination is not an option.

Then, I turn around and quote our own Vice President, Dick Cheney.
I think there's an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we're in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that's part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it's caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.
Not even George W. pushes this bull anymore. After all, he has been going to ethanol plants for photo-ops.

We saw in New Orleans that our failures to act did not affect the rich and poor alike. Those who suffered the most were, for the most part, black and poor.

It will be the same if we fail to act again. It will be 20 million in Bangladesh displaced by rising water. It will be the poor of Mozambique who have just taken the force of a Cat 3 Typhoon after flooding left 120,000 displaced. And, if that is not bad enough, the next typhoon in that area looks to be developing to a Category 4. The Image below shows Typhoon Gamede in the center and the remains of Flavio over Mozambique on the left. A full discussion of this image is at Chris Mooney's blog, Intersection.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What the Democrats mean about Reform

I have a couple of things to comment on tonight. Not the least of which is that I found a good description of what the Democrats mean by reform at Daily Kos. There are a number of us who understand that to mention you are a Green at dailykos.com and you will bring down the wrath of the horde. However, there are more than a few who tell the story straight there also. I always included dengre in that list.

I might now have to include the Devilstower. This is a better example of real journalism than most of the stuff there.

After the Democrats pushed the corruption issue, taking special glee in the downfall of Tom DeLay, they have to now take a look at themselves. According to Devilstower...
It was former Majority Leader Tom Delay's golf trip to Scotland — courtesy of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff — that inspired many recent reforms.

Still, that hasn't stopped Congressman Hoyer from planning his own lobbyist-financed, springtime getaway. He's headed to the Rio Mar Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Puerto Rico.

Hoyer would be quick to tell you that, unlike Delay's outing to Scotland, this golfing trip is strictly legal. And he's right. Because it's not really Hoyer that's doing this retreat. It's Hoyer's PAC.

Pete McCloskey was fond of saying that politicians were like diapers... they need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons.

Once more, the Feds evade responsibility

The history of water in California is a history of promises broken and solutions dissolved. As with anything political, anything that appears to be frozen into law will melt when enough heat is applied.

This time the Bureau of Reclamation has come up with a cockamamie plan to transfer one of it's biggest liabilities to those who benefit from their lack of planning. While that might seem to be a good idea, it is, in fact telling the foxes that they are not the guards of the hen house.

I have obtained a copy of the Bureau of Reclamation's Powerpoint Congressional Breifing. As one environmental water advocate said...
"The message is even clearer. If i grow subsidized crops with water subsidized by the Feds, and create a toxic waste stream from my farming, BuRec will seek ever more creative ways to make me richer."
This one is getting close to home. My local water district gets part of it's water from the same San Luis Reservoir. We are paying extra now to alleviate problems with water condition when the reservoir reaches low water points in the summer. Now, I am learning that the farmers of the Westlands Irrigation District are creating more problems for everyone and, in effect ruining that land that they are farming.

It appears to me that the political party structures in this state, no matter which party we talk about, are ineffective in dealing with independent districts, such as Westlands. The application of political power, the deals that take place outside of public view, all serve those special interests that no politician will admit they listen to.

I do not yet have any solutions to this. I do know that it is necessary to do everything we can to make sure that all of this happens in the public view.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Water water everywhere

nor any drop to drink.

That line from William Cooper's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner has almost become an advertising slogan for environmental organizations and reverse osmosis marketers. Today, Assemblywoman Lois Wolk (Dem. - Davis), chaired a hearing of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on the subject of Climate Change and Water Resources. The conclusion was that we will get less snow and more rain. That means we are not going to be storing as much water as snow in the mountains and will need more storage capacity just to maintain our current populations and lifestyles.

I have been collecting an increasing amount of information about water resources in California. Now, I find that there is an organization that concerns itself specifically with the subject of Wolk's hearing. The California Water Impact Network

C-WIN has published a set of Principles for a Sustainable Water Future in California They look reasonable and a number of environmental organizations have signed on to them.

In an email exchange with the Secretary of Cal-WIN, Dorothy Green, I was told that...
We would welcome having the Green Party endorse these principles, and helping to get the word out about how badly we are managed now, and not in the public interest. I would love to have an opportunity to speak to the group, or provide you with more information as you wish

It seems that there is enough here now for me to start on the task I promised Shane Que Hee that I would do... revise the water plank of the Platform. However, for those of you in the LA area who can easily contact Dorothy, it seems to me that she would be a good resource.

Chose the target, make a plan, then act.

The following is a slight expansion of a post that I sent to the national Eco-Action Committee today. I have expanded it to give a bit more information, added some additional links for better navigation, etc. I would like to suggest that the plan I mention here is very much applicable to California and the GPCA. I am sure that it is quite in line with what OneSoCalGreen says.

I have just finished watching a teach-in hosted by the NY Academy of Scientces and sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, the Green Buildings Council and the Home Depot Foundation and a large group of other traditional funders, Rockefeller Foundation, etc.

The presenters were:
Dr. James Hansen, NASA Climatologist renowned for being muzzles by the Bush Administration.
Edward Mazria, American Institute of Architects and the Architecture 2030 project.
Chris Luebkeman. Director and leader of Arup’s global Foresight and Innovation initiative. Arup is a Consulting Engineering firm specializing in sustainable design.

You can find a list of the people from California who participated in the teach in here. If you want to read the presentations / materials, you can do so from this page:

I came away from this with the following observations.

1. Putting the primary focus of our global warming / climate change efforts on transportation is missing the biggest target. While transportation accounts for 27% of our energy usage, with corresponding CO2 emissions, the building sector accounts for 40% from building operations and another 8% from embedded energy load. Maybe we are picking the wrong target and should focus instead on sustainable buildings / sustainable cities.

2. Per Dr. Hansen, 25% of our ghg emissions will still be in the atmosphere for 500 years, no matter what we do now. From this, he had a chart that shows we can not afford to wait 20 years before we start taking actions.

3. Edward Mazria presented some very concrete things that the architectural design industry should be doing in order to bring the CO2 footprint of our buildings below 1990 levels by 2030. That is possible when you consider that 75% of the world-wide sq ft space will either be constructed or remodeled between now and then. That is called the 2030 Challenge. The goal is....
That all new buildings, developments and major renovations be designed to meet a fossil
fuel, greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 50%
of the regional (or country) average for that building type.
4. Dr. Hansen made the case that acting now is a moral imperative... that we are responsible for the world in which our children and grand-children will live. Part of this is to stretch the oil and gas reserves that we have to make them last as long as we can. We are on a track to use them up even faster.

5. While some of the suggested solution tasks are particular to the design industry (develop new tools that provide for instant analysis of the energy impact of design alternatives) there are a number which involve local approaches and regulations. What would the world be like if the performance standard quoted above were to be required before any local building permit was issued? If so, we would go a long way toward meeting the goal of pre-1990 levels of fossil fuel use.

Since I have joined this group, I have been a bit frustrated that what we do is in many ways totally disconnected from the things that really matter. The Green Party exists in order to be able to take political action. There are a number of scientists and intellectuals who can churn the numbers on carbon emissions and forecast what various levels of carbon taxes might achieve in reducing those emissions. When I ask myself what we can do that they can not, the list is very short, but points the way toward increased effectiveness as a political party.

I am asking that everyone on the Eco-Action Committee review the charts from Dr. Hansen and Edward Mazria. Following that, I would like to see the Eco-Action Committee confirm the goals of the 2030 Challenge.

If we can agree on that, then I want to see the Green Party take the following steps.

- Act to place a Green Party Member on the Planning Commission of every city and town where we have an organization. While many locals, county councils, etc. are focusing their energy on impeaching Bush, getting of Iraq and Immigration, acting on the local level begins with understanding our place in the environment and, more specifically how to create sustainable communities (click About Cities & Urbanism).

- Provide the materials and support that will guide that member in getting the 2030 Challenge Goals inserted into local building codes. This already exists. It should be a no - brainer for those communities that have signed on to the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

When our CoCo, Mike Ewall, was looking for success stories from Green Office Holders, we had a nearly resounding silence. As part of what we do regarding the 2030 Challenge, we must...

- Provide a clearinghouse of what is working and what is not working for Greens across America. This is intended to augment what I linked from the Green Institute above and should focus on environmental concerns.

At a minimum, I want to put this on the agenda for our next telecon. Between now and then, I also want to turn this into a proposal, to accept or reject. I would also ask that this belongs in the Green Issues WG 2 year plan.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Getting Ready for the future

One of the heroes of the environmental movement has been NASA's James Hansen. Now, Hansen is involved with the 2010 Imperative, an effort by the American Institute of Architects and the NY Academy of Sciences to educate the public about global warming. This is a web cast "teach in" that takes place tomorrow. It should be worth viewing.

The very way that the ask their primary question "Are you being trained for the world you will inherit?" would indicate that they answer is "no' and that they have an alternative.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Is it mainstream to be green?

I was a bit surprised by the prevalence of environmental material that I have received in the last 24 hours. Some of it came from the internet, where Sen. Boxer's newsletter to her public was headlined "Improving Fuel Economy to Reduce Greenhouse Gases". It is what you would expect from the Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

But, I also live in the small "edge city" of Morgan Hill. We have a local newpaper (Morgan Hill Times) that published only twice a week: Tuesday and Friday. This week, it had the following environmental stories:
  • a guest column by the Environmental Programs Administrator, City of Morgan Hill.
  • editorial regarding the cleanup of a spill into Uvas Creek.
  • announcement that the local Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for it 2nd annual Sustainable Quality Award.
  • a story on the fact that the City of San Jose will address climate change in its draft EIR for a major expansion into Coyote Valley.
I mention all of this because, if we are beginning to let our guard down, to focus on other issues just now, we are creating an opening for those who would distort environmental concerns for their own advantage. As it becomes politically necessary for a candidate to establish their "green" credentials, these distortions become easy to enact into policy. For example:
  • two presidential candidates, McCain and Obama, make an issue of alternative fuels, meaning ethanol from corn. Ethanol from corn is neither cost effective nor is it moving us toward a long term solution to our oil dependencies.
  • California's central valley congressional delegation is lining up behind a "deal" to transfer responsibility for the operation of a major irrigation project from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Westlands Water District. (other links to this story: Fresno Bee, LA Times, Sacramento Bee, Contra Costa Times. ) I know the work of a number of the authors of these stories (Martin, Doyle, Whitney, Taugher) and they are good journalists with an environmental conscience.
  • Westlands Irrigation District has a history of exploiting resources and avoiding responsibility. Their current plans for circumventing regulation include the purchase of a private fishing club on Shasta Lake to clear the way for raising the level of Shasta and providing more water for irrigation.
Getting to real solutions to problems such as I just outlined require us to continue to pay attention to what is happening to our environment and to not allow organizations like Westlands to corrupt the process through their ability to control the election of candidates to Congress, or even to elect a president. These battles are have not been won and turning away will only mean that we allow the likes of Westlands or Archer-Daniels-Midland to control the political process.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Going to Sonoma...

There are a number of us who will not be in Sonoma next weekend. Many of us would like to feel that we have some input into the process that will take place there. Whether we do or not will be a test of how much the GPCA believes in Grassroots Democracy. So far, I have seen grassroots reaching down as far as a County Council, but that is still the leadership. Some County Councils are very much in touch with their members. Others may not be.

One SoCal Green who, like me, will not be there, has offered his input. Not to steal Roger's words, since his are better than mine would have been, I can say that I agree with his three major points.
  1. Speak to America in plan American-speak -- not political-cant nor activist rant.
  2. Politely educate on the 10KV
  3. Go Local
Orval Osborne had previously posted here about "Why the Green Party and our Priorities." I would consider that this too, should be an input to the Sonoma session.

I have posted previously about the difference between trying to be the political embodiment of the progressive movement and being Green. As Roger pointed out, they are not the same.

To all of this I would only add that, if we want people to vote Green, then we must live Green.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Greens 4 Democracy

I tried to visit the GDI web site this week and found that it requires a password to look at it. That makes me wonder about the status of this group. At one time, Greens for Democracy and Independence made a lot of noise about the future of the Green Party. Now, it seems to be silent, either no longer having a web site to maintain or having gone underground.

My curiosity was aroused because one of the features of the Strategic Retreat being held in Sonoma Feb. 24-25 is a speech by Cynthia McKinney. This would once have set off a firestorm of protest about "fusion" efforts in the GPCA.

What is going on with GDI as an organization? The originally stated goals were attractive but now I wonder if anyone cares. I wonder to what extent the members of the "Million Votes of Peace" slate will participate in the retreat and, if they do, whether it will be constructive or confrontational.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Budget time

I listened to Ted Kennedy talk to Charlie Rose today. I had not done the math before, but Kennedy is the 3rd longest serving Senator in history. (longest was Strom Thurmond). But I digress.

Kennedy made the comment to Rose that the Government's budget was a moral document. It defined our priorities. I wonder if you could consider the budget of a political party to be a moral document as well. Does it not defined what is important enough to spend our scant resources trying to accomplish?

With Committee and Working Group budgets due now, how well do we live up to our own moral code?

Re-envisioning the Delta again.

I always come back to the issues surrounding water in California and the problems of the Sacramento / San Joaquin Delta. There are two reasons to bring this up again.

One is the publication of a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California entitled "Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta"

The second is a related editorial in the Sacramento Bee yesterday, February 11, 2007. The conclude...
Several government reviews of the Delta are under way. A bill to build
the Peripheral Canal is before the California Legislature, but even proponents are waiting for more facts and studies before any big push begins. The environmental community, in general, is holding fire. Contra Costa County and Delta farming interests reject the premise that today's system can't be fixed in a way to protect their interests. If only the Earth were flat, or not warming.

Beware of anything feeling like a timid tinkering with a troubled system. The Delta's problems demand state leaders to go way beyond the comfort zone. At this point, everything uncomfortable should be on the table. PPIC and UC Davis, to their great credit, may have just shaken the water world to its senses.
I just hope to hell that some of you are paying attention to this. If there is any political organization that should be standing up and helping to define the objectives here, it is the Green Party. The Republicans of the Central Valley are totally beholden to the interests of big agriculture and big developers. The Democrats are themselves so concerned about development (after all a developer named Tsakopoulos funds a lot of them) that you should question everything that comes out of the mouths of their leaders, like Perata, though his latest moves have the appearances of being positive.
Perata, D-Oakland, has been reorganizing Senate committees and announcing new committee leaders in recent days. Earlier this week, he caused a stir among water experts when he tapped Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, to head the newly formed Natural Resources and Water Committee.

Perata's move strips water legislation from (State Sen. Michael - Linden) Machado's old agriculture committee and places it under the purview of a panel with more environmentalists than farmers. The two groups often bicker about how best to allocate California's scarce water supply.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Green Party Rising?

There are several recent developments that indicate the Green Party is getting the increased stature that we all would like to see.

The Federal Elections Commission has recognized that Green Senate Campaign Committee. Comments by commoner1.

Chlorophyll discussion of the 2008 Presidential Race.

The Huffington Post political blog site has a Green Party section on it.

I note that Cynthia McKinney has been announced as a speaker for the Green Party California Strategic Retreat, February 23-25. I know that she has been approached before, but has consistently ended up by staying in the Democratic Party. I would think that she would have to be totally convinced that she has no future as a Democrat before she would make this jump. Still this meeting is being sponsored by the GPCA Campaign and Candidates Working Group, so that might mean something. California has the largest Green Party registration and has a large influence on the ultimate choice.

There is also the perennial discussion as to whether or not Nader will run yet again. Nothing said or not but a Nader 2008 tee shirts and coffee mugs are all over the internet.

The Green Party of the United State will hold it's national meeting in Reading, PA this coming July. The big question will be the one of what to do about a Presidential Campaign in 2008.

With Pete Camejo undergoing treatment for cancer and David Cobb having said that he is not running again this time the field is wide open for someone if the Party chooses to have a candidate. I might support a Cynthia McKinney or a Dennis Kucinich, but only if they were to renounce the Democratic Party and register as a Green in their home state.

Report from Monterey County

One of the more active voter registration leaders within the GPCA, Tim Smith, has posted a Report from Monterey County on several of the GP email lists (full text below).

I see two things here. The first is that this voter registration happened along with a signature gathering effort for a very contentious local issue. I believe that a major reason for it's success stems from that fact.

That begs the question as to why the registration was skewed so solidly to the Green Party. There are two factors at work here. The first is the fact that those who signed the Initiative were probably more inclined to think about government in a manner similar to what the Green Party is all about. The second is the fact that there is a profound dis-satisfaction with both major parties in the nation and specifically in California. Schwarzenegger, presumably the standard bearer for the Republican Party, seeks to distance himself from its more ideological positions and is as frequently criticized by his own party members as he is by the opposition Democrats.

The dissatisfaction of the electorate has been well documented by the Public Policy Institute of California. p. 5
Political party membership has also declined over the past 16 years. The percentage of California adults registered as major party voters has dropped from 54 percent to 43 percent. There were 12 million voters registered as Democrats and Republicans in 1990; there are 12 million today. Almost all the growth in registration rolls has been in “decline to state”—independent voters who choose not to declare membership in one of the two major parties. For the first time in modern California history, the majority of adults do not belong to one of the major parties.

It is our challenge as to what we will do about it. Tim has suggest one course of action.

A Report From Monterey

Last month, January '07, the Land Watch organization in Salinas, filed a referendum on the pro-developer, Monterey County General Plan passed by the Board of Supes, 4 - 1, at its Jan 3rd Meeting... This General Plan approves major development throughout the Salinas Valley, which will create, (critics charge) a southern extension of Silicon Valley and San Jose, which is about an hour north... Obviously, billions of dollars are at stake in the developement of this plan...

To contest the vision of such an environmental nightmare, (where water is scarce, where roads and schools are lacking, where prime farm land, in the heart of "America's Salad Bowl", is being swallowed up by urban sprawl) Land Watch and it's allies hired a crew of about 15 signature gatherers, who collected 15,000 sigs in about 11 days, or 6,000 more than the required 9,000... and my crew, including 8 Greens, were significant contributors to this effort...

I bring this up because, in the process of collecting signatures for this issue, we were also able to talk to Monterey county voters about broader political issues, and at times register them into the GPCA... We also collected the names and contact information of about 15 new Greens who are interested in being involved, in one way or the other, with GP discussions, meetings and/or potential action -- and hopefully to revitalize Monterey's GP local...

From my personal experience, i found voters still fed up with both the Democrats and the Republicans, and either willing to give a 3rd party a try, or wanting to register in some form, independently of the current 2-party duopoly. The following are the registration figures from my personal efforts, and i find they continue to speak eloquently about the true political aspirations and values of average voters and citizens statewide...:

Total Registered52 
Greens 24 (46.2%)
Democrats 13 (25.0%)
Decline to State 9 (17.3%)
Republicans 4 ( 7.7%)
Other 2 ( 3.8%)
Overall, we registered about 40 Greens, and Monterey's Green Registrations jumped from 1,323 to 1,355, for a net gain of 32 Greens, in the time between the county's 12/19/06 registration report to the 1/23/07 report...

Imagine if we could sustain a spirited registration drive statewide!

"I am well aware that there is no revolutionary action without revolutionary theory, but I am essentially a man of action. Since my student days I have always been in the front line of the struggle, and this has taught me a lot" -- Salvador Allende

Friday, February 09, 2007

What are they trying to do with the Delta?

Periodically, I come back to the question of the Delta and try to hammer home the fact that what happens in the Delta does not stay in the Delta. It affects all of us in California in ways that most don't even realize. So, we the people continue to ignore the situation, just as those in New Orleans ignored the status of their levees, until a catastrophe happened. And, just like in New Orleans, when it happens, and it will, we will all ask why didn't "they" do anything.

To paraphrase Walt Kelly's Pogo, "We have met the "they" and they is us."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Loss of faith in our political leadership

This is a busy morning, three posts and I may not be done. Let me give a top of the morning hat tip to Lisa Taylor for alerting me to the latest Steven Hill OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hill tries to answer the question "Why have Californians lost so much faith in their political leadership?" He does a pretty good job of marshalling the statistics to support the fact of such a loss. His references to the Public Policy Institute of California surveys. From them, he extracts the following facts:
There is a widening breach between most of the 35 million people residing in California and the fewer than 9 million who actually vote. Today, the California adult population is approximately 46 percent white, 32 percent Latino, 12 percent Asian and 6 percent black. Yet, 7 in 10 likely voters are white while only 1 in 6 is Latino. A third of California adults are foreign-born, but 9 in 10 who frequently vote are native born.
It is not much of a stretch to say that Hill is not wrong to ascribe a cause - effect relationship to this.

I do not have any such statistics, but rather just a gut feel, that there profile of the likely voter is nearly exactly the profile of the Green Party and that just maybe this is a reason why the Green Party is not benefiting from the disillusionment with the Rumpocracy.

Like Hill concludes concerning electoral reform...
The population of California is changing before our eyes, and so must our antiquated political institutions and practices. We should avoid timidity and act now. Our state can ill-afford any delay.
I would only substitue "party" for "state" above.

Where will new leaders come from?

As those in this party age, like myself, we have to ask where the new leadership will come from. I see two things happening that are positive. One is the practice advocated by Pasadena Green, Roger Gray.

Roger is developing his own political resume by serving on the various boards and commissions that help run the Pasadena City Government. He seems to have served on everything except the Rose Bowl. At the same time, as Roger moves from one commission to another (currently on the Environmental Advisory Commission), he has worked to ensure that there is another Green in position to take his place.

Another approach is to utilize interns in a meaningful manner. I don't see this happening very much at all. We are pretty good at taking volunteers and working them as hard as they are willing to work, but having some sort of official internships may be a way to continue attracting young people to the party and keeping them involved.

Democracy Unlimited Humboldt County
, headed by Green David Cobb, has advertised for interns to work with them in the summer and fall of 2007 and to develop new skills in community organizing.

It would seem to me that there are other areas where we could do something similar. For example, one might be to establish an internship to work with the Media Commitee. Our Press Secretary, Cres Vellucci, is very experienced as an editor and PR creator. So is Media Commitee member, Larry Cafiero.

Something to think about.

New ways of reaching out.

I love pottery, make some myself, a so I belong to two email lists related to clay. There were some surprising exchanges about Greens on one of them (ClayCraft) this week.

The owner of Claycraft is a Green from Mingeisota, now living and working in Mashiko, Japan. However, he was an active Green when living in Minneapolis and that shows in his posts to his own group.

Another potter posted the following to ClayCraft.
I've been wary of the Greens since Republican money was accepted by them back east. On the political compass I came out just below Gandhi. Economic Left/Right -5.00. Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -6.82. I'm still a Democrat. In my book, the Minnesota Democrats are real Democrats. The kind that inhabit DailyKos
The list owner replied by posting the 10 KV and elicited the following response.
Holy Cow! I'm a Green! Well, I actually knew that. My dad was a died in the wool Democrat, hobnobbed with the likes of Henry Jackson, Warren Magnusson, and Tom Foley. That's the kind of politics I grew up with.
Well, that discussion ranged far from clay. Yet that we do as people becomes part of what we do as artists, a fact that does not exempt politics.

I think that we do ourselves no good when we ignore the full range of all ten values and focus on just the hot button issue of the day. If that happens to be your hot button issue (Iraq, impeachment) then OK. But, to do so as a "progressive strategy" is only a way to try and change the Democratic Party, not to build the Green Party.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Day of Remembrance

I copied the following as the result of an event notification from the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles. It would seem to me that the subject of this session is of particular interest in that Greens do not trust this administration (who does?). While I will not be in Los Angeles to attend, perhaps some of you there might find it interesting. The rhetoric is much the same.

Day of Remembrance: "Military Necessity" to "National Security" ... The Use of Executive Power from WWII to Iraq


The Day of Remembrance is held each year to commemorate President Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. Roosevelt proclaimed "military necessity" and set into motion the removal and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans with little or no challenge from congress or the nation.

The program for Day of Remembrance 2007 examines the use of Executive Power from both a historical and present-day perspective and explores the ways in which challenges to this presidential authority have been enacted. This year's program will serve as a catalyst for all Americans to evaluate governmental authority and ensure that elected officials adopt policies that uphold the constitution. Panelists will discuss the role of other branches of the federal government and the importance of activism in safeguarding civil liberties for all.

Participants include: Helga Aguayo, wife of Agustin Aguayo, the first U.S. soldier stationed in Germany to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq; Laila Al Marayati, spokesperson for Muslim Women's League; Honorable Xavier Becerra, Congressman of the 31st District of California and Assistant to the Speaker of the House; Lane Hirabayashi, George and Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Internment, Redress, and Community, UCLA; Tadashi Nakamura, Filmmaker, Pilgrimage (2006); Cedrick Shimo, Private, 1800th Engineering Batallion (WWII).

For reservations, please call 213.625.0414.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Change in the Political Climate

There is no longer any doubt in the mainstream media about Global Warming, or Climate Change, or whatever one wants to call it. The subject was even the headline story on the Nightly News with Brian Williams (NBC) twice this week.

The first hit came from Rep. Waxman's hearings on the political control of science information in the current administration. The second time was with the report today from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I don't think that there is any real doubt about what is happening and why. The real question is one of what we are going to do about it. It is not just a matter of reducing the carbon footprint of our daily lives, as some viewers of Inconvenient Truth imply. It will affect everything we do. Areas now being farmed may become too arid to support agriculture. Coastal areas will inevitably become inundated. It is how we react to the crisis that will determine if we are really fit to be the survivors. It is time to reread Jared Diamond's "Collapse."

I have little faith in the current political process in the US being able to deal the extreme severity of the dislocations in society. The only political solutions will by necessity be Green.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The stench of sewage

When Carl Pope talked about the stench of sewage in S. California, he was not talking about the New River, though that is bad enough. This was about the connections between Republican politicians and business interests and where soon to be fired US Attorney Carol Lam was responsible for investigating and convicting "Duke" Cunningham.

Pope was particularly interested in the connections between Dick Cheney, Duncan Hunter and a project called Bajagua. This looks like another Dick Cheney no-bid contract waste of tax payer money. It would be more than interesting to know exactly how much money changed hands here.

It would also be a good thing to see the Green Party take a position in support of Carol Lam. Lam is just getting too close to too many Republican Politicians. After Cunningham, she has been investigating Jerry Lewis, once Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation and very much connected to the same people who were bribing Cunningham.

I ran in to the back story here while working against Richard Pombo last fall. When checking Pombo's actions in Congress connections appears to Jerrry Lewis, Duncan Hunter and John Doolittle (CA-4). All of us working on this campaign became familiar with those connections and shared our information as we found it. Then, downwithtyranny was very helpful to us as he continued his own fight against Cunningham's Republican successor, Brian Bilbray. He is now actively working to help continue Lam's work.