Citizens Increasingly Concerned About Justice and Freedom
Green Party Growing in Size and Importance
Below are excerpts from two recent news items on the increasing influence of the Green Party.
from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, by Daniel Zoll:
Many people thought San Francisco supervisor-elect Matt Gonzalez was crazy when he dumped the Democrats and registered Green just a few weeks before the November election. Then the newly minted Green posted a resounding electoral victory.
Not only did Gonzalez win, but he seems to have inspired a trend: San Francisco Board of Education member-elect Mark Sanchez announced this week that he has also gone Green. He said he was emboldened by Gonzalez's decision.
The state Green Party's education platform calls for, among other things, increased school spending and greater respect and pay for teachers. It also rejects vouchers and the privatization of education.
California Green Party spokesperson Ross Mirkarimi said Sanchez's move is part of a strong statewide trend, adding that Greens hold a few dozen local offices in California. "Mark, like Matt, is a wonderful manifestation of the Green Party's growth in many towns and cities across California and the nation," he said.
* * *
from the New York Times, by Michael Janofsky
Amid the vineyards and apple orchards of Northern California, as well as in dozens of other pockets around the country, the Greens have become, at the municipal level at least, messengers of change and elected alternatives to Democrats and Republicans.
Ralph Nader won over 2.7 million votes nationally, and 32 of 240 Green candidates won elections in a dozen states, giving the party a total of 79 elected officials in 21 states, gains that make the Greens the biggest political presence of any third party.
By comparison, members of the Reform Party, the Ross Perot creation that bombed in the presidential election this year with the candidacy of Patrick J. Buchanan, now hold about half as many elected positions as Greens in fewer than 10 states a level not much greater than they held before the elections.
Reflecting a strategy to build power from the local level, the Greens in office all serve in municipal government, from mayor in five California towns, to the drain commissioner of Charlevoix County, Mich. Nowhere do their recent gains promise a greater impact than in Sebastopol, a quiet town of 8,000 in western Sonoma County, about 50 miles north of San Francisco Bay.
By winning the two City Council seats contested this year in Sebastopol, Greens now hold three of the five elected positions of leadership. That concentration of Green power is unmatched anywhere in the country, and it almost makes Mayor Larry Robinson, the third Green elected official, laugh.
"Now we have to reassure people that we aren't going to do anything really terrifying to them," Mr. Robinson said. "Our job is to demonstrate, not through rhetoric but through actions, that we're not bogymen, that our focus will be on day-to- day issues that affect people's lives, like maintaining safe streets and filling potholes."
Solving traffic problems, high on Mr. Robinson's priority list, may provide the town its first major glimpse of Green Party ideas.
What's your opinion on the growth of the Green, Reform and Libertarian parties? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?