Reliving 2003 - One Email Attachment At A time
Back in 2003 I was one of two co-chairs for the GPUS's Accreditation Committee. The role of the committee was to receive applications from state Green Parties that wanted to join the GPUS. Not all of the state Green Party's actually are members of the Green Party of the United States, and it's been somewhat of a long an grueling process. In early 2003, the committee was asked by a steering committee member to come up with the proposal for the process for the 2004 Presidential Nominating Convention. Rather than recreate the wheel, the committee relied heavily and almost (Like 99%) exclusively on the same language that was used at the 2000 Presidential Nominating Convention, and to use a similar delegate formula.
There are 5 key parts to the GPUS organizational structure:
0) The individual Greens who participate in the process as individuals. They don't have much say - because the GPUS is meant to be a representation of state parties.
1) Working Groups and Standing Committees: Made up of individual greens who are there because their state party wants them there.
2) State Parties: They are represented by members of the Coordinating Committee. State representation is based on green participation per congressional districts.
3) Coordinating Committee: This is the state parties' representation. They propose and vote on proposals
4) Steering Committee: A certain number of coordinating committee members are elected to the Steering Committee. Their main purpose is to schedule votes, and handle "little things" that come up between in-person meetings. (they are essentially the face of GPUS) I've seriously simplified what SC members do.
Getting back to the Accreditation's role in developing the 2004 Presidential Nominating Convention delegate rules... We used the 2000 process language for two reasons: As volunteers our time is limited and if language for the process already existed, and was used successfully previously - why not present that as a proposal to the GPUS's Coordinating Committee? 1) Language existed 2) Previously used successfully
We also wanted to get it done and over with early so that we could get delegates focused on the process, and not focused on candidates.
The idea was that we would propose it early because we didn't seriously think it would pass the first time - but we thought that we would actually get feedback on how to improve the process. I don't know if it was because people were excited to see language, or that we were moving forward on the nominating convention - but the proposal passed the first time out the gate. Even with a few, relatively minor changes, I was shocked it passed November 2003.
A few months had passed, state parties had started to turn in their documentation to increase or decrease the number of delegates that would be allotted to them. As the season when on, I stepped back from anything having to do with assigning delegates to the convention. I didn't want to get caught up in any mess, appearance of conflict, or even worse - the subject of an email flame war.
(An aside: no group of people can send flaming emails better than Greens. I admit that I've send a few hot ones before, but I've seen some very nasty stuff said via email - but not dare spoken in person)
I became active in the Cobb for President Campaign because I was excited there was a Green running. I was so excited a Green was running - I looked beyond the rumblings about some "safe" thing. As the months wore on, work started to get busier and busier.
Because times where tight, I knew that I was not going to be able to go to the convention. I knew there was money from the state party to go, but you can't ask the state party to not only pay your air fare, hotel stay AND your car payment, rent, and my huge budget for coffee. Staying behind was the right choice to make. By that time of year, the California delegation of Presidential Nominating Convention delegates was really starting to fill out, and that was all that mattered to me - that CA make a good showing at the nominating convention - regardless of their candidate selection.
But, before GPCA could get to Milwaukee (Yes - that's where the convention was held) - they would need to get out of their own state - presidential nominating convention. And, looking back - I'm glad that I was too poor to go to this either. Maybe I had been blind - not seeing the wave of whatever about to come my way - and impacting the candidate that I had spent so much of my precious free time speaking in support of.
At the GPCA convention in Sacramento (Equally as fab as Milwaukee) there was concerns about the process that the GPUS was going to be using to nominate delegates. I didn't hear about this until I read the meeting minutes. Even though the entire CA delegation had voted in support of the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention delegate process and formula, all the sudden there was show-stopping language in it. Blind-sided wasn't the word - dumbstruck is probably more proper.
I started to get requests from GPUS-CC delegates for copies of the original proposal (Still available on the web) and the delegate formula. During this time, I was also moving across town with Alex - and internet access was spotty. My turnaround time on email went from 15 minutes to 1 day and people freaked out!
Because of the new turn around time, emails started to surface saying that I was hiding the information. I started to see emails that I had developed this flawed system on purpose for the candidate that I was supporting. Then, I started to see emails that Greens were paying the way for other Greens to attend the GPUS convention. Then, emails of Democrats paying the way for Greens to attend the GPUS convention. I still wonder if anyone made the connection that I wasn't a delegate at the convention (either GPCA or GPUS) because I was too poor to go? And - if there were Greens, Democrats, rich people out there willing to pay my way because I was a sure bet Cobb supporter...wouldn't they have called me? I never got a call, Although the GPCA treasurer did tell me there was still money available for my airfare, hotel and meals.
Then, I started to see my name associated with some rumor that had gotten totally out of control. There are folks who are responsible for spreading that rumor, and they seem to relish in the fact they never apologized for, what can only be defined as - lies.
Why do I bring this up? There are two issues in the GPCA that can be defined as show stoppers - they have nothing to do with Bush or the Governator. They have to do with 2004 and the unwillingness of one person to take responsibility for his own actions.
Bad things happened in 2004 - voter fraud in Ohio, the Bush reelection, thousands of people needlessly died, homelessness rates are skyrocketing, more children today are without heath care than ever....
Yet, I still get email demands for the spreadsheet of the delegate formula from a proposal approve overwhelmingly in 2003.
I'm not on the Accreditation Committee anymore. I'm not on any GPCA or GPUS committee. I manage many Green Party listserves, and I often serve as a bunching bag for those who still think I somehow "threw" the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention of 2004. I wish they wouldn't believe half the lies, misinterpretations, gossip they've been told. I wish they wouldn't send me flame email. I wish they could see, that even though the come forward with this anger, frustration - based on what isn't the truth, there are real, honest, truthful things to be upset with.
(The Proposal) http://green.gpus.org/vote/displayproposal.php?proposalId=55
(The Shot Across the Bow) http://www.sf-frontlines.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=727&POSTNUKESID=87438b63946c50b4b5266ec3b48ff0d0
And, before things got nasty:
(Who paid $300 for the only Camejo/Warren yard signs in Southern California? We can save that for another posting)