Greens taking office this past election
By Dave McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware
Fred Smith is a former basketball player, who was on the Harlem Globetrotters and set the world record for the vertical slamdunk of 11 feet 11 inches in 1997. After retiring from athletics, he moved back to his hometown of Crawfordsville, AR and founded a tutoring program for children. Meanwhile he was elected to the state legislature as a Democrat.
In 2012 Smith was convicted of theft for cashing a duplicate payment issued to his program and the Democratic Party removed him from the ballot. Even though a higher court vacated the conviction, he was not allowed on the Democratic Party ballot. He approached the Green Party of Arkansas, which approved him to run on its ballot line. Meanwhile, the chosen Democrat pleaded guilty to election fraud in a scheme to buy and destroy absentee ballots. A judge ruled his votes could not be counted, with Smith receiving 100 percent of the allowed votes.
Smith said about the Green Party, “I like their values of recycling, clean water, clean air. Who doesn’t want that?”
Bruce Delgado has been involved in Marina politics since 2000, when he served a four-year term on the City Council, which consists of four councilors and the mayor. After his term, he unsuccessfully ran for the two-year term for Mayor, but lost. Four years later in 2008 he finally won the Mayor’s office and was re-elected in 2010. In 2012 he faced a challenge from a Republican, who was hoping to swing the narrow progressive majority to a conservative one. Delgado received 62 percent of the vote, easily defeating his opponent. At the same time, one of the two conservatives on the council was defeated, enabling Delgado to successfully enact his Green vision.
Delgado envisions development coming to Marina with the revitalization of the former Fort Ord and the downtown area getting modernized. He would like the town to be viewed as more of a college town. These trends would encourage private funds for rapid transit related development in the area.
For residents, Delgado wants a more understandable budget and encourages citizen participation council meetings. He wants to explore the possibilities of rent stabilization for mobile homes and annexation of the local college campus into the city limits.
In 2005 David Marshall was a 27-year-old Portland artist who became involved in protesting city ordinances that restricted street artists. The successful campaign created an exemption for street artists to sell art in public. The next year, when city council appeared to be ignoring local citizens, it angered Marshall enough to run for city council.
Kevin Donoghue, then 28, an affordable housing consultant, chair of the Portland Green Independent Party and Marshall’s friend who had been living at his house, moved to another district to run. He had been attending planning board meetings for years and had fresh ideas about making areas of Portland less car-dependent. He had designed new bus routes to better serve the public.
Both Marshall and Donoghue were strong backers of sustainable development and both were elected by a grassroots campaign of getting out, knocking on doors and meeting the voters. This past November they each won their third three-year term on city council.
While both councilmen deal with many of the issues facing public officials in other cities, including unsafe street intersections, disputes over the placement of sculptures, and the best way to disperse bar patrons who congregate on streets after the bars close, both also have “greener” issues that they emphasize.
After six years Donoghue has become chair of the transportation committee, working to expand mobility for pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit users. He has worked to bring car sharing to his district. Kevin is also the senior member of the housing committee, encouraging affordable housing and working to protect rental housing in his district. As a graduate of the Muskie School of Public Service, he encourages public participation in the planning process and works to bring re-investment to the lowest-income areas of his district.
Marshall started 2012 by running in the 15-person run-off for mayor of Portland. The election used instant run-off voting to decide the winner. While Marshall finished in fourth place, he had the distinction of being the top-tier candidate who spent the lowest per vote. John Eder, a Green who had been a member of the Maine House of Representatives, was another candidate in the mayoral election.
In spring of 2012 Marshall sponsored a resolution in city council asking the Maine federal delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing corporate personhood.
By fall Marshall had held a forum, sponsored by the Portland Independent Green Party, on the feasibility of bringing light rail, in the form of trolleys, back to the city. He also introduced a legislation calling for a task force to study the issue. Demonstrating that Greens don’t march in lock step on issues, Monoghue opposed the idea until a better agenda of what the task force would do.
Along with the presence of Greens on the local school board and the heightened awareness of citizens in Portland of environmental and quality of life issues, the Green Party is assured of being an important factor in the politics of Portland, Maine.