It could have been done

To Los Angeles Delegates to the GPCA Plenary:

From the floor of the plenary I watch the wheels starting to spin faster. These wheels are picking up at an amazing rate. I will say 4 years of questioning, innuendoes, proposals, lawyer requests, $10,000 checks, unknown dollars of campaign contributions - could have ended today. But, by the show of your green cards during multiple straw votes, you made a conscious decision to keep up the battle.

Your straw votes to remove proposals from the Finance and Bylaws Standing Committees plainly was a decision to deny ending what has been a painful time for GPLAC and GPCA. Your straw votes prevented presentations, proposals, and the consensus-decision making process from taking place.

If you, as delegates, had spoken to delegates from other counties, you would have heard that the other counties are “tired”, “confused”, or “not interested in getting involved in another county’s internal politics”. Most likely, you would have also heard about the financial “ghosts in the closet” of other counties. Such as:
  • During the Nader 2000 a number of the county Green Parties in this state failed to track income from their tabling, income from Green Party events that brought in thousands of dollars at a time.
  • A Green who was using the locals credit card machine (which was used to collect contributions to the Green Local), as his own personal ATM machine.
  • Counties who raised thousands of dollars who didn’t start submitting their FPPC forms until they heard about Los Angeles County’s financial woes.
The plenary floor would have answered all of the questions the GPLAC Council battles every month. And, it would have been done. If the vote was up or down - at least the GA would have come to some kind of decision or consensus - taking the responsibility away from GPLAC.

:-( I am sad.

4 comments:

michael said...

On the contrary, I think the General Assembly--in its decision not to hear or vote on the divisive proposals about GPLAC and in its votes for at-large reps--sent a clear message that it is time to end the battle. The GPCA CC has the power to end the battle now. With luck, they heard the same message you heard from individual delegates: it is time to move on with the work of the party.
-Michael Rochmes, Los Angeles

Ginny-Marie said...

I can understand your point of view, but I feel that your statement is quite unsophisticated and shows what (I feel) is a lack of understanding of the GPCA's decision making process. The power to "end the battle" was not ever with the Coordinating Committee - this will need to be a decision of the General Assembly. The Coordinating Committee has no standing or reason to dictate policy to any county. However, the General Assembly - which is supposed to be the true decision making arm of GPCA - will most likely face bylaw questions again.

I think maybe some of the points of the proposals being brought forward were lost on most delegates. Let me explain:

1) Nearly 2/3rds of the General Assembly approved the agenda. Had the vote swung by one vote, the agenda would have moved forward. Not the clear and concrete "win" delegates could claim.

2) By not approving the initial agenda, the proposals will be returned to the respective working groups and standing committees. The Finance Committee will still need an answer, as will Bylaws.

Just things to take into consideration.

However, had the proposals come to the floor, the presentation s from both sides could have been heard by the delegates. Had the proposals come forward the General Assembly (not the Coordinating Committee) could have gone through the consensus-seeking decision process, and most likely would have gone to a vote of the General Assembly.

Up or down, the conversations and ultimate decisions on the plenary floor could have resolved both situations. Knowing the tone of the room, what most likely would have happened - obviously speculating....

The Finance Committee's proposal, most likely, would have failed. The proposal would have failed for the exact reason I stated in my original post...too many counties have similar situations to the financial history of Los Angeles County. There were far too many people in the room who are unable to realize that money wasn't stolen - a FPPC filing needs to be completed, and the decision of who needs to make the filing will need to be made one day.

The Bylaw Committee's proposal, most likely would failed as well. As a former member of the county council - we knew back in 2001 the GPLAC bylaws needed to be updated for the regional rep elections. There were meetings to discuss potential processes, but the 2002-2004 council (Between multiple campaigns, organizing activities, and facing financial disarray) ran out of time. I think at this point everyone know s the bylaws to elect Los Angeles' regional reps need to be updated.

As I said on KPFK last week - I think the Green Party is experiencing growing pains.

As the weekend has gone on, I'm feeling more and more conflicted about what happened on Saturday. From the POV of being a facilitator, I felt our facilitation team was disrepected at multiple turns. When the three of us turned to Magali, Michael, Gerry and Sharon, we were mocked and heckled. The facilitation team has no decision making responsibilities - we are forced to turn to the CC, who is charged through GPCA bylaws to handle the agenda. I was told to f-off 5 different times, people were grabbing microphones and speaking out of turn.

From the POV of a Green who has watched the GPCA/Coordinating Committee devolve into some unexplainable form, I was proud to see the General Assembly flex power. But, disappointed at the same time because no one in the room was respectful or responsible enough to calmly explain their desire to move forward.

michael said...

As I read the proposals, neither were binding, and therefore, the GA had no real power other than to send a message. Yes, the message would have been clearer with a vote on the finance committee's proposal, but the vote still would have been only advisory. The Finance Committee can move on without it.

I think the CC and the facilitators did a bad job, especially on the issue of whether the LA County delegation's accreditation would be put to a vote. What the GA got were mixed messages.

The view that no one in the room was respectful enough to explain their position calmly is a product of your perspective as facilitator. Plenty of people were being respectful, but a few were allowed to talk out of order and disrupt the process.

By the way, many of the people voting Saturday morning against the agenda were concerned over the issue of GDI--not Los Angeles.

Ginny-Marie said...

The Finance Committee most likely won't move forward without direction from the GA.

I agree that facilitation could have been tighter - I've facilitated the plenary floor with one other person multiple times, but this was the first time with 3. Too many cooks in the kitchen. I agree, particularly with the questions about the bylaws proposal, the message was mixed - but I would have to say the blame would need to be shared by Jo Chamberlain and Jim Staffuer not communcating effectively.

It was clear to 2/3 of the facilitation team it was the bylaws intention to not have their proposal be a decision item. Then, when the bylaws team caucuses, there was confusion. At the end of the day, the Bylaws proposal should have been pulled entirely from the agenda because of the confusion created by the Coordinating Committee the night before. (Which wasn't fully explained to the floor - or to the facilitation team)

The GDI proposal should never have been on this agenda - IMHO it didn't follow the same process the proposals are supposed to go through. Peter presented directly to the CC, and the CC just put it on the agenda. You and I would never have the same opportunity to bring forward a proposal in that manner - we would have been referred to Green Issues Working Group.

As the day has gone on, I'm feeling a little better about the plenary. I've been fielding questions, emails, phone calls from all over the country about what happened over the weekend. I don't have the same dire feelings as I on Sunday. Linda's bit helped a lot. Tremendously. I think the GA exerted good power and sent a strong message to the Coordinating Committee to get it together - but - I hope the counties and regions understand that message too!

Thanks for all your responses - I feel like this has been productive! I hope you feel the same.