The Green Party of Virginia
William Byrd Community House
Audrey Clement (Acting Co-Chair), Arlington
Kirit Mookerjee (Treasurer) : Arlington
Tom Yager (Co-Chair) : Arlington
Tamar Yager : Arlington
Jim Lowenstern : NoVA
Rain Burroughs : Richmond
Charlie Jordan : Blue Ridge
Chris Fink : Fredericksburg [Arrived later]
Rick Johnson (At Large)
Nick Johnson (At Large)
Introductions & Welcome
Selected Facilitator (Tom Yager)
Selected Note-Taker (Audrey Clement)
Selected Timekeeper (Rick Johnson)
Upon approval of the agenda as modified, local reports were heard.
Kirit Mookerjee reporting for the Arlington local, announced that Josh Ruebner, an organizer for UFPJ and coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, had obtained ballot status and the Arlington local's endorsement to run for Arlington County Board in the 2006 general election. Don Rouse has been obtaining signatures on a petition on behalf of affordable housing to present to the Arlington County Board. Audrey Clement reported that the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation (ACST) of which both Don Rouse and herself are members, is deliberating with Arlington County Board on a possible legal strategy to block VDOT's plans to widen I-66, which is predicted to increase pollution and do little to alleviate congestion in the long run.
Jim Lowenstern, reporting for NoVa Greens, said the local had met recently with Josh Ruebner to discuss ways to support his election campaign. He also said that NoVa is interested in promoting heightened awareness of corporate control of the political process by networking with POCLAD, which advocates elimination of corporate personhood, a legalism that gives corporations inordinate power. He announced the addition of a new member to the local, Tom McGuigan.
Rain Burroughs of the Richmond local announced that Silver Persinger is running as a socialist for Richmond City Council in the 2006 general election against the former activist incumbent Martin Jewell.
Newport News / Hampton
Rick Johnson (of the as-yet-unaffiliated-but-developing Newport News/Hampton local) reported that the major issue in Newport News/Hampton is the $100 million spent by city fathers on the I-64 interchange at Mercury Blvd.. The cloverleaf intersection has taken seven years to construct (so far) and is not yet complete. He reported that there is an ongoing investigation to determine why it was so expensive. Rick Johnson also reported that the Newport News Mayor Joe Frank is pushing for construction of the Mattaponi Reservoir despite the fact that it's not needed. He stated that the current philosophy of government in Newport News is to cover an area with concrete and move on. Nick Johnson reported that the last operating farm within Newport News city limits was recently converted to a shopping mall at a cost to the taxpayers of $10 million for fifteen acres.
In response to a question from Kirit Mookerjee about the Virginia Beach local, Rick Johnson indicated he has had little contact from anyone (in his neighboring local) on the south side of the (Chesapeake) bay since the 2004 elections and that to his knowledge there are currently no Greens active in that area.
Review and Reconstitute Central Committee
Jim Lowenstern explained that to obtain party designation on the ballot, the state election code requires that each candidate for state office be certified by a Central Committee comprised of party members who are eligible voters from each of Virginia's eleven congressional districts, plus a chairman and secretary. The list of Central Committee members, which was last updated in 2004, needs to be brought up to date. Kirit Mookerjee agreed to forward the list to Audrey Clement and Tom Yager to review, update and, if necessary solicit additional members to replace those who may no longer be willing or able to serve.
Jim Lowenstern indicated that the state election code also requires GPVA to submit a party plan to SBE. He plans to update the existing plan by incorporating the Green Party's 10 Key Values into a mission statement and forward it to Lorraine Thompson of SBE.
New GPVA Database
Rick Johnson reported that the new web based search engine he has developed for maintaining the GPVA mailing list is located on a secure server, is password protected, is functional, and is ready for alpha testing. He asked for recommendations on whom to grant access to the new system. Jim Lowenstern recommended local party chairs and state party officers be granted access. Kirit Mookerjee also recommended local contacts to the state party.
In response to a question from Tom Yager whether there were any more concerns about the web interface, Audrey Clement mentioned that Chris Fink, who had not yet arrived at the meeting, had recently proposed that the bylaws be amended to create the position of web master, designating this person to maintain the GPVA web page and listservs. Jim Lowenstern proposed postponing consideration of the matter to a subsequent business meeting to provide members an opportunity to test the system. Tamar Yager and Rain Burroughs reported that they had experienced problems using the GPVA listserv subscription form accessible from the GPVA web page. Rick Johnson promised to investigate the matter and issue a report within a week.
Action on Proposed Amendment Banning Gay Marriage
Jim Lowenstern reported that the Interim Committee had already approved GPVA's participation in the Commonwealth Coalition's campaign to oppose the proposed Marshall/Newman constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Audrey Clement offered to relay this information to the coalition and have the GPVA listed as an opponent of the amendment, which will be on the ballot in November. Charlie Jordan mentioned that the coalition shares its name with a Massachusetts based organization and recommended that this organization be asked whether it has any concerns about the use of its name before GPVA joins the Virginia based coalition. Rain Burroughs offered to contact the Massachusetts organization.
Bylaw Amendment: Allow Interim Committee To Reduce Number of Quarterly Meetings
Charlie Jordan advocated allowing the Interim Committee to reduce the number of business meetings each year, because he thinks it's counterproductive to schedule meetings where nothing gets done. He indicated that due to the increase in the price of gas, the cost of attending such meetings could be prohibitive for some members. Rain Burroughs expressed concern that reducing the number of meetings would further discourage participation of the membership in party affairs. Charlie replied that holding meetings for anything other than party business is a bad habit that makes GPVA focus on itself rather than its mission.
Kirit Mookerjee said that the matter should not be decided by the Interim Committee and that a bylaws amendment is not needed to reduce the number of meetings in any event. But Tom Yager cited Section 15(f) of the bylaws, which specifies four meetings per year. Rick Johnson moved to strike the word "four" from that section, but Jim Lowenstern moved to table the matter for further consideration at the next meeting.
Bylaw Amendment: Create Committee to Schedule Meetings
Jim Lowenstern said he doesn't see the need to create a committee to schedule meetings, as the co-chairs have performed the job well in the past. Charlie Jordan countered with agreement from Rick Johnson that a committee is needed to handle the details of scheduling meetings. Tamar Yager responded that designating a group to schedule meetings shouldn't require a bylaws change and proposed an ad hoc committee instead. Charlie Jordan moved to direct his proposal to the Structural Reform Committee with recommendations. Chris Fink suggested that one member in each local be polled on proposed meetings, but Charlie Jordan disagreed. He said that committee members ought to reach consensus rather than merely ratifying or rejecting the officer's decision. Jim Lowenstern recommended that the matter be turned over to the Structural Reform Committee for its consideration.
There followed a proposal by Tom Yager to schedule the next business meeting for September 16 in Roanoke. Charlie Jordan objected to that meeting date because it was too soon, acknowledging however that a later date would interfere with the Jewish holidays. He mentioned that he has not budgeted the money to rent the proposed venue, Grandin Gardens. Tom Yager indicated that the party could cover the cost of the rental.
Charlie Jordan requested that officer elections should not be conducted simultaneously, since the vote for one officer might affect the vote for another. This was agreed to. Concerned that the GPVA election process is not recruiting potential candidates in advance, resulting in the election of whomever happens to be at the meeting, Rick Johnson moved that the Structural Reform Committee consider the matter, produce its recommendation by the next business meeting and that a new procedure be adopted by the meeting after that.
Election of Female Co-chair
Audrey Clement agreed to serve as female co-chair if nominated, and there being no other nomination, was elected female co-chair by consensus.
Election of Male Co-chair
Tom Yager was elected male co-chair in an IRV ranked choice election.
Election of Press Secretary
Rick Johnson accepted his nomination as press secretary, but advised that his ability to serve is contingent upon his health, which is not good. He was elected press secretary by consensus. Rain Burroughs offered to serve as Rick's assistant.
Election of Treasurer
Kirit Mookerjee accepted the nomination of treasurer and was elected by consensus with Charlie Jordan standing aside.
Election of GPUS Representatives
Chris Fink and Audrey Clement were elected in separate ranked choice IRV elections as male and female GPUS representatives, respectively. Charlie Jordan and Tamar Yager were elected by consensus as alternates. It was agreed by consensus that all newly elected officers assume their positions on August 1.
Candidate Exploration Committee
To provide a basis for soliciting candidates and volunteers, Tom Yager produced listings of GPVA members by district as follows:
Soil and water districts GPVA members:
Big Walker 1
Blue Ridge 9
Clinch Valley 2
Eastern Shore 10
Holston River 5
James River 22
John Marshall 10
Lake County 1
Lonesome Pine 6
Lord Fairfax 23
Mountain Castles 7
Natural Bridge 106
New River 3
Northern Neck 5
Peaks of Otter 8
Prince William 35
Robert E. Lee 17
Shenandoah Valley 41
Thomas Jefferson 35
Three Rivers 2
Virginia Dare 89
Cities without elected SWCD:
Alexandria (Fairfax) 78
Arlington (Fairfax) 58
Charlottesville (Thomas Jefferson) 68
Danville (Pittsylvania) 7
Fairfax (Fairfax) 34
Falls Church (Fairfax) 21
Hampton (Colonial) 7
Manassas (Prince William) 15
Newport News (Colonial) 16
Norfolk (Peanut and Virginia Dare) 31
Poquoson (Colonial) 1
Portsmouth (Peanut and Virginia Dare) 2
Radford (Skyline) 3
Richmond (Chesterfield and Henricopolis) 86
Roanoke (Blue Ridge) 34
Counties GPVA members:
Isle of Wight 3
King William 1
New Kent 2
Prince Edward 1
Prince George 1
Prince William 35
Buena Vista 12
Colonial Heights 3
Falls Church 21
Newport News 16
Local Organizing Committee Report
Tom Yager said he wants to get volunteers to cover precincts for Soil and Water Board candidates in 2007 or to provide volunteers for targeted precincts in those districts. Charlie Jordan indicated that the priority should be recruiting candidates for county and General Assembly elections in 2007.
Kirit Mookerjee said that the balance in the GPVA account is $1324. Tamar Yager suggested that a fundraising appeal be undertaken in the form of an ad with an envelope inserted in the newsletter so it would be easy for people to send money. Kirit advised that money raised for candidates must be kept separate from the GPVA account, but that a link to a candidate's fundraising page could be added to the GPVA web page.
GPUS Representatives Report
Kirit Mookerjee reported on the formation of two new GPUS committees, the Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, the purpose of which is to raise money for GPUS congressional candidates.
Audrey Clement reported that dissension is rife within GPUS, and that as a result of it GPUS debated the results of the contested Steering Committee (SC) election of 2005 for six months, culminating in an impeachment trial for four SC members, who were subsequently acquitted. She also advised that according to the GPUS treasurer, the party is in financial straits, although revenue has increased from last year.
Addendum to Local Reports
Chris Fink of Fredericksburg mentioned that his local had teamed up with the Virginia Organizing Project (VOP) to help with the campaign for a living wage. As editor of the GPVA newsletter, he also indicated that the deadline for submitting articles for the next issue of GPVA newsletter is the second Friday in August. Tamar Yager proposed publishing an abbreviated set of minutes of the July 23 meeting in bulleted format in the newsletter.
The Green Party of Virginia
Latest Update: June 22, 2010