News from state parties – April 2012
Compiled by David McCorquodale, with thanks to Green Party Watch and various state party websites.
As a Party, Greens have been busy with a variety of efforts and activities across the county. In Santa Monica Mike Malinin of the Goo Goo Dolls and longtime activist, Marcy Winograd, hosted a concert March 22 to benefit the Green Party of California‘s grassroots efforts to increase voter registration. Late November Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom Parties, sued over the state’s new open primary system, stating the change will deny voters the right to support third-party candidates in general elections. GPCA recently launched an improved website at http://www.cagreens.org/.
In December the Illinois Green Party filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Elections over its interpretation of the “Established Party” statute. In 2006 when ILGP candidate Rich Whitney received over ten percent of the vote for governor, the Party achieved “Established Party” status, which required significantly less signatures for candidates to be on the ballot. In the ensuing years, Democratic judges have ruled against the Green Party keeping that status. Illinois Greens have been quick to point out that those judges maintain their position at the behest of the Democratic Party machine and are unlikely to rule against its wishes.
The Green Party of Maryland, along with the Libertarian Party of Maryland, finally got the appeal of its case against the state Board of Elections heard on March 2. Over a year ago, each party had its petition of over 15,000 signatures for ballot access rejected, mainly on the rejection of numerous signatures because signers did not used their middle initial or had written a nickname. The parties filed suit last March and a local judge ruled in their favor last June. The state Court of Appeals has now heard the BOE’s case. Meanwhile, in case of an unfavorable ruling GPMD is already preparing to collect over another 10,000 signatures on a new petition so it will be on the ballot this fall.
The Green Party of Michigan is calling on the state Board of Canvassers to quickly review a petition against the Emergency Manager Law. GPMI “strongly urges repeal of the emergency-manager law, which destroys local democratic control of governments wherever it is applied”. Certification of this petition will suspend the current law and reinstate the less intrusive Public Act 72 of 1990 until the November 6 general election. Under that law, an Emergency Financial Manager is not able to revoke labor contracts, has no power to suspend collective bargaining for up to five years, can’t become the sole trustee of the pension system, and can’t suspend the power and authority of city managers or local elected officials.
City Commissioner Jim Nicita, a member of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon, was recalled on December 6 by the voters of Oregon City by a 3 to 2 margin in a turnout of only 30 percent of the electorate. Nicita incurred the wrath of developers and the former mayor for his opposition to the building of a mall on the former site of a garbage dump. While those behind the recall effort framed Nicita as being opposed to jobs and development, Nicita argued his opposition was based on the large amount of urban renewal financing and how the money would be spent. Opponents of the recall, including the current mayor had argued that recall should not be used because of political differences, but rather only in instances of malfeasance.
Among other actions at its state convention in early March, The Green Party of Pennsylvania voted to join the PA for Clean Land, Air, and Water Coalition, which is calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) in Pennsylvania. GPPA previously issued statements calling for an outright ban on fracking and sees a moratorium as an important step toward the ultimate end of the dangerous gas extraction process. GPPA will also join with the Libertarian and Constitution parties of PA in a new lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of current election law, which greatly favors major parties candidates over minor party and independent candidates. The suit is being brought by the Center for Competitive Democracy on a pro bono basis.
On February 3, in the case of Green Party of Tennessee and Constitution Party of Tennessee versus Hargett, Tennessee’s new ballot access law for minor parties was ruled invalid. It struck down the early April petition deadline, the petition requirement of over 40,000 signatures, the forcing of minor parties to hold primaries and the placing of major parties in the best ballot positions. The decision also puts both parties on the 2012 ballot, based on evidence that both parties had each recently collected petitions of several thousand signatures for ballot access.
The Green Party of Texas has over 50 candidates for public office for the 2012 election. From Justice of the Peace and Constable to President of the United States, the list includes 16 for Texas representative seats, two for Texas Senate, two for Texas Supreme Court and six for U.S. House of Representatives.