by Jana Cutlip
On Presidentís Day 2000, consummate consumer advocate,
Ralph Nader, announced his intention to run for the Green Party nomination
for President of the United States. After 35 years as an activist in the
service of citizen causes, Mr. Nader remains committed to grass-roots
reform. Defying incredible odds, he has had his successes in challenging
the insidious powers thwarting the average American and he could realize
success on several levels in his presidential bid with their aid.
Challenging the entire national political establishment, Democrats,
Republicans, and their corporate masters, he stated in his announcement
speech, "I have a personal disdain for the trappings of modern politics
but I can no longer stomach the systemic political decay that has weakened
our democracy. I can no longer watch people dedicate their lives to
improving their country while their government leaders turn their backs,
or worse, actively block fair treatment for citizens. It is necessary to
launch a sustained effort to wrest control of our democracy from the
corporate government and restore it to the political government under the
control of citizens."
On March 1, Nader began to fulfill his
pledge to visit every state in the union. He will be the only candidate to
accomplish this feat. Perhaps this is because heís the only candidate
whoís attempting to run a grassroots campaign, to inspire the public to
become actively involved and participate in our democracy, to build the
progressive movement and a viable, national
Green Party. In order
to accomplish this Herculean task, Mr. Nader, 66, is maintaining a
schedule that would exhaust most people. By May 5, Nader had made campaign
visits to 32 states. Among the point that he wants to drive home to the
public in his bid for the White House are these: "The Democrats and
Republicans are basically one corporate party with two heads, wearing
different makeup. Corporations, bent on molding government to their own
benefit, have come to so dominate the U.S. political process as to put it
almost beyond the reach of the average citizen." There are far too many
things in this country that he says, "a strong democracy wouldnít
tolerate." Among them: "This massive poverty in a time of prosperity;
strip mining, that blows the tops off mountains; and out-of-control
pollution and restrictive labor laws that result in historically-low union
membership." As for the booming economy, he wants the public to understand
that "itís very good for the top 10 percent." With the growing disparity
in wealth, "the top 1 percent of the population have wealth equal to the
bottom 95 percent. "The corporate government is taking over the political
government and turning it against the people." Nader also has frankly
addressed questions about his campaign for president as a candidate of the
Green Party. He was the partyís nominee in 1996, too, but this time he
means it. "In Ď96, all I did was put my name in. I said then, ĎI'm not
going to campaign. Iím not going to raise money.í" He vows that this year
will be different. "This is the first time Iíve campaigned." And he has a
full-time staff working on the election. Aside from the possibilities of
winning, one of the essential goals of his campaign is to make the small
Green Party a greater player in national politics. Though we now have but
a few elected officials across the country, and not much of a unified
national organization, Nader believes that his campaign can spur on the
building of "a progressive political party that gets bigger every two
years," he says. With 5 percent of the vote in a national election, the
party would win federal funding for many of its activities. As for fears
that Naderís campaign could take just enough votes from Al Gore in a few
key states that he may end up helping elect Republican George W. Bush, Mr.
Naderís answer goes straight to the reality we now face in this nation:
"There's no difference." Green Party sympathizers among Democrats also
understand this important feature of Ralph Naderís campaign for the
presidency; the greater his success, the louder the Democratic Party
leadership will hear the message to shape up or ship out. "The problem
with the Democrats is that they define themselves by the Republicans," he
says. "When they win elections, Democrats say theyíve seized Republican
issues. And when they lose, they say they werenít enough like the
Republicans. Thatís the wrong direction."
On March 23, Mr. Nader
spoke before an appreciative audience at Wilson Hall Auditorium at the
University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There he issued a call for one
million people to come forward and contribute one hundred hours and raise
one hundred dollars over the next few months in order to radically
transform American society into the participatory democracy envisioned by
our forbears. "There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship."
That morning in Richmond, at a statewide press conference at the
Capital, Nader blasted Gov. Jim Gilmore for running an "accounts
receivable department for the garbage Industry." Virginia is the second
largest garbage importer in the country.
A petition drive is
ongoing to place Ralph Nader on the ballot in all fifty states. He is
currently on the ballot in New York, California, Hawaii,
New Mexico, Maine, Delaware, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon,
Louisiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Connecticut, and Florida. In Virginia,
10,000 valid signatures of registered voters must be collected on official
petition forms before mid-August. Petitioners are needed in all areas NOW.
If you are a registered voter you can collect signatures from your
friends, relatives, co-workers, classmates, fellow club members and even
complete strangers. People in Northern Virginia have been successful in
collecting signatures at libraries, shopping center parking lots, sporting
events, and public meetings. In Charlottesville, involved citizens are
collecting signatures at the downtown mall at Fridays after Five. Anywhere
people are gathered is a good place to ask people to sign the petition to
Nader on the ballot in Virginia, to give Virginians the
opportunity to vote for a candidate that has dedicated his life to
improving the lives of everyone in this country. His work as a consumer
advocate first came to the attention of the American public in 1965, when
as a 31-year-old lawyer, his book, Unsafe at Any Speed, took on General
Motors over safety. The popular yet highly unstable, little, rear-engine
Corvair was the bookís main example of unsafe autos on the market. GM
halted production four years later. More books and a career of reforms
ranging from consumer product safety to fighting discrimination against
women followed. From auto safety to the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean
Water Act, OSHA, Mine Safety legislation, and much more, Ralph Nader has
been there for us. Now itís time for us to be there for him. Heís
dedicated the whole of his adult life to fighting battles of basic justice
for average people. If everyone who believes that Ralph would be the best
choice to lead the world into a new paradigm for the new millennium will
actively work to get him on the ballot, Ralph can be the next President of
the United States. With your help, Ralph can win. And if Ralph wins, we
all win. Visit the web site at www.votenader.org and volunteer to help.
Together we can create the Future.
( Jana Cutlip is the
Virginia State Coordinator for the Nader Presidential Campaign. You may
contact her at (540) 456-8555.
by John Doe #561523
Power is the ability to move, or not
move, our world. And it doesnít come from governments óit comes from us. I
did not help organize any of A16 or A17, but my thanks go out to everyone
who did. Their hard work helped show me what democracy looks like, and it
helped show me what Hope looks like.
I was arrested Monday afternoon, along with several hundred
other non-violent resisters, for crossing a line in my street that my
government drew to protect a fundamentally undemocratic and unjust system
of control. The World Bank and the IMF are just two of the tools that
finance capitalism uses to impoverish our world, and enforce that poverty.
On April 16 and 17 we drew our own line: where institutions put profits over
people --we said, NO.
We occupied Pennsylvania Avenue at 20th Street and
set-up camp. Those risking arrest locked arms, sitting peacefully in the
intersection. We sang, "this is what democracy looks like, we are what
democracy looks like." The police surrounded us with barricades, took off
their badges, and took up their billy clubs. We sat peacefully and sang,
"weíre non-violent, what about you?" The National Guard joined the police
in full riot gear. They put on their gas masks. We sat peacefully and
sang, "weíre the people, donít gas the people."
The tension was strong, but so was the joy. And I did find joy
in that moment. Not because of the building confrontation, I had no desire
to be clubbed and gassed, nor to see my friends clubbed and gassed. I
found joy because in that moment I knew, in some small way, what it felt
like to march in Soweto. I knew, in some small way, what it felt like to
stand in Tiananmen Square. I knew how the abolitionists, suffragettes,
union organizers, and Freedom Riders felt. I wasnít just singing it,
in that moment I learned what democracy feels like.
Risking arrest shouldnít be a casual thing or it loses its
meaning, and it seems silly at times to voluntarily submit to the
indignity of arrest. I wrestle with this --with my commitment to social
justice, and to pacifism. So I sat there and thought, itís easy to risk
arrest under the highly controlled circumstances of most protest, knowing
that my personal cost in the arrest is low. Itís something else entirely
to face hundreds of police and national guardsmen in full riot gear, billy
clubs, pepper spray and tear gas at hand. Pacifism isnít passive, and it
isnít easy. As long as we do not have peace, we must not let it be easy.
It is, and always has been, by definition, a radical philosophy that
challenges every element of worldly power and violence.
I sat in the rain with thousands of others, and faced down the
expression of that power through our police. I thought about all the
people around the world who, facing much greater hardships and risks,
struggle for their basic daily needs. I thought about all the governments
my government has undermined because they sought to provide for those
needs at the expense of Global Capital; my government often going so far
as to assassinate democratically elected leaders such as Patrice Lumumba
of Congo, and Salvador Allende of Chile, and install tyrants like Mobutu
and Pinochet in their place. I thought about the financial institutions
that supported, and support today, the rule of tyrants, lending monies
used to enrich despotism rather than democracy. I thought about the
"development projects" those monies go to, destroying ecosystems,
displacing indigenous peoples, and poisoning the land. I thought about the
odious debt built up over generations of terror loans. I thought about the
austerity measures finance capitalism insists on to keep the money flowing
from the Global South into the institutions of the North and West; denying
people healthcare, social security, labor rights, and environmental
security. UNICEF puts the annual world wide death toll due to this
forcible impoverishment at over 500,000 children a year.
Speaking truth to power, the energy in our assembly became
something amazing. The songs helped: from funny, "weíre here, weíre
wetóletís cancel the Debt;" to funky, "there ainít no power like the power
of the people, cause the power of the people donít stop;" serious,
"1-2-3-4, break the Bank and feed the poor;" and empowering, "whoís
streets? Our Streets! whoís world? Our World!" But it was more than that,
more than songs --more than not knowing when or how (or how violently) our
peaceable protest would be ended by our police. It was the incredible
congregation of students, workers, and longtime activists all committed to
ending the injustices of Global Capital and forging a just world. It was
our assembly itself that was amazing.
When the police began clubbing people, we did not fight back.
When they began spraying down the front lines with pepper spray, and
pushing their barricades forward, we did not fight back. People screamed
in pain, medical support rushing to them to flush their eyes and skin with
water, but we did not return violence for violence. We did not riot. We
took their blows. Our lines moved back from the police, but we remained
seated and did not leave. And magically, wonderfully, their assault
stopped. They stopped attacking us, and agreed to talk to us instead.
For the next hour or so, things remained tense. We could have
been attacked again at any time. But, slowly, we talked them down. We
convinced the police to put away their riot gear, and put their badges
back on. They agreed to move aside the barricades, and, in small groups,
to let us try and finish our walk. We marched on and were arrested by the
hundreds for crossing a line in our street that our government drew and we
refused to recognize.
Our hands were cuffed, painfully tight, behind our backs. We
were searched, and some of our property dumped unceremoniously into the
street. After the search and confiscation, I was escorted, by the cuffs,
to wait by a bus. I stood by that bus, shivering, in the cold and rain for
over an hour. During that time I asked an officer about my cuffs, and also
one of our legal aide staff. The officer grabbed my hands, which had
become almost totally numb, and told me I was alright. I didnít feel
alright. He said that my numbness might have been because of the cold,
rather than the cuffs, so he wasnít obliged to do anything about it. When
I asked what difference it made, he couldnít find an answer. I spent the
time quietly singing "We Shall overcome" to myself. Itís corny, but it did
help with the cold and pain.
We were searched again, and after a 20-minute ride arrived to
our processing center at the Police Training Academy. We petitioned as a
group for four of our members, who were in extreme pain, to be given
looser cuffs. After some discussion, this request was granted. It was
moving to see the looks on the officerís faces when they cut away our
cuffs and saw the deep red, purple and black welts that the cuffs had cut
into our wrists. The police I met were, by and large, good and decent
people who were obliged to commit acts of brutality in defending an unjust
system. The officers I spoke with before and after my arrest honestly
believed that they were there for our own protection as much as for
anything else. Confronting them, emotionally, with the effects of that
"protection," pepper sprayed and tear gassed faces, and broken or bruised
bodies, is a moral and political imperative.
We were recuffed, less tightly, and forced to remain, cold,
wet, and bound, on the bus for four or five more hours. Finally entering
the makeshift processing center, we were searched again, and any remaining
property we had was bagged. We then had to sit on the floor and wait. We
were given blankets if we asked, which was a blessing, but, still, it is
very painful to sit flat on the floor with your hands cuffed behind your
back. Half an hour later I was taken upstairs to be fingerprinted. We had
all agreed before being arrested that we would stay in solidarity with one another and
demand that we all be charged alike, given the same, joint, trial date,
and released together. As part of our jail solidarity, we refused to give
our names, and I became John Doe #561523. This number was written on my
forearm with a dark blue marker. I asked the officer if he could please
find some other way, perhaps with a bracelet, to identify me, but I was ignored.
Having that number written on my arm, in blue ink no less, was the most
humiliating, disturbing, and dehumanizing part of this entire experience.
I was recuffed, hand to ankle, and dumped on the floor for
another hour or so, before having my hands again cuffed behind my back for
transport to a jail for the night. The bench and walls in the transport
car were stainless steel, and sloped to prevent us from sitting fully
upright. The first two jails we went to refused to take us, and we were in
that car for close to an hour and half before finding a jail that would
accept us. I was put in a cell with nine other men. It had a metal table
in the center, and a toilet and small sink in the corner. We were not
given food, a baloney sandwich, until 4 a.m., and we were not given
blankets at all. Wet and cold, we tried to sleep on that dirty floor. I
canít ever remember spending a more miserable night.
At 6:30 a.m. the next morning, we were taken to the Courthouse
holding facility, run by U.S. Marshals. Our group was searched again,
split up, and then further split up and shuffled around into different
cells, on the same cellblock, throughout the morning. I spent two hours in
a 6 ft. X 10 ft. cell with six other men, and six hours in a 10 ft. X 10
ft. cell with as many as 15 other non-violent demonstrators at times.
The cell across from ours was fairly large, with 20 men in it.
10 had already been arraigned, and the other 10 were still waiting, along
with the rest of us, to see a judge. At one point they were all taken out,
told that they would be "treated human if they acted human," and then
chained by the ankles and wrists to be sent to the D.C. Jail. The Marshals
realized that half the cell wasnít ready to be moved yet, and brought
those 10 back, but left them in their cell in chains for the next couple
of hours. When another Marshal noticed they were still chained and
questioned this, he was told they were to remain that way. Still another
guard, apparently upset by our smell, emptied an entire spray can of Lysol
in the hall of the cellblock and into each cell.
We were not ever allowed to make a phone call during any of the
time we were in custody, nor were we given access to counsel. The Marshals
told us repeatedly that we did not have a right to either a phone call or
counsel, and that almost all of the activists they were processing had
elected to give up the solidarity. We were also told that if we did not
give our names during arraignment, we would be held indefinitely, perhaps until July,
at the D.C. Jail in general population. At one point, two prisoners who
had failed drug tests in a rehab-release program and were being returned
to D.C. jail were put in our cell with us. They immediately told us that
if we went to the jail we would be raped by the other inmates, and pointed
to a couple of the younger guys in our cell and told them that they in
particular would likely be raped.
While waiting in the holding cells outside the courtroom, we
were finally allowed to speak to a woman who identified herself as being
with the D.C. Public Defenderís Office. She confirmed what the Marshals
had told us: that almost all of the activists were giving up on solidarity
and giving their names to the court so they could be conditionally
released. When we insisted on speaking to our own lawyers, we were told
they hadnít even bothered to show up at the courtroom. When we asked to be
allowed, as a group, to make one phone call to confirm all of this, we
were told that we couldnít.
Finally, at 3 p.m., a lawyer associated with our group was
permitted to speak to us. She told us that they had been trying to contact
us all day, and that 75% of the people arrested the day before were
sticking with the solidarity. So the Marshals had essentially been lying
to us all day long.
I did not stay with the solidarity. I choose to give my name
and leave after 28 hours in custody. But there are some 500 non-violent
activists still behind bars. They need our support. It was very hard, on
Monday, to face a line of police officers and National Guardsmen in full
riot gear, knowing that we could be gassed and beaten at any time. It was
very hard, in police custody, to be painfully cuffed with our hands behind
our backs for almost 8 hours, to sleep in wet clothes on a cold and filthy
floor, to be branded in blue ink, even if it was washable, and to be
confined and lied to. And for all of that, many of my fellow resisters
were treated much worse. Many people were much more seriously brutalized.
The most troubling part of all of it is not that the officers hated us --I
could have taken their hate, tried to understand it and forgiven it. The
most troubling thing was that they did not hate us. They brutalized and
violated us, and seemed indifferent to it. It was simply their job.
It was, and is, hard to recognize what ultimate good comes of
this witness. But Iíll tell you something: Iím angry. Iím angry at the
fires raging here at home, and all over our battered world; fires that our
government is all too often actively helping to start, and to keep
burning. Iím angry with finance capitalism running roughshod over our
world, and Iím angry at the Military-Industrial Complex, and Prison-Industrial Complex, that our
government has built to protect a system of Global Capital that is
fundamentally unjust and anti-life.
I am right to be angry. It is a righteous anger. And it is a
hopeful anger. It tells me that we can change our world, and make good and
gentle all the ways of Man. My hope makes me angry, and it gives me
courage. It tells me that I can face all the pain we create, because I am
not defined by that pain. None of us are. In the end, we are all of us the
sons and daughters of Love and the Hope of Love. We are what Democracy
looks like. We are what Justice looks like. We are what Peace looks like.
We are what Love looks like. And ainít that a wonder.
Portsmouth Council Candidate Issues Invitation City Council to Hold A
School Fund Raiser
PORTSMOUTH, Va. Ė
Portsmouth City Council candidate Mark Geduldig-Yatrofsky recently went
before City Council to speak at a public hearing on the budget. "The City
Council must fill the $1.8 million gap between the city's and school
division's proposed budgets," he said. "They must look for alternative
ways to raise money for the cash- strapped schools."
"The city should hold a fund-raiser, like public radio," he
said. "If just one-third of Portsmouth residents donated $60, the $1.8
million gap would be gone." With that he reached into his blazer and
pulled out a check made out to the Portsmouth City Schools for $500.
The sergeant-at-arms accepted the check and passed it to the
city attorney. A few council members stared, yet none had questions for
the speaker. Mayor James W. Holley III quickly thanked Geduldig-Yatrofsky.
The Council would consider his proposal.
"I don't think anyone's tried it," Geduldig-Yatrofsky said in
an interview the following day. "I want to make a difference."
The school division also expects a $3 million surplus this year.
Administrators say the extra money came from unexpected employee turnover
and a large number of positions left unfilled.
Benn said the city needs to work with the School Board to give the
sschools as much money as possible. To make up the gap, he proposes that
the chools look at using part of the surplus.
The School Board, he noted, has run a surplus for at least five years.
As long as the surplus is constant, the money should be allocated for
Benn, a former School Board chairman, said Geduldig-Yatrofsky's
proposal wouldn't work. He said it would be a tough sell to many
struggling Portsmouth residents.
Pitts said he advocates full funding for the city schools. But he said
the city has a difficult time balancing its budget with limited property
Pitts has been pursuing money from the federal government -- a payment
in lieu of taxes -- to make up for the property tax shortfall.
"I want to do everything that I can, given what we have,'' he said.
Vice Mayor Bernard D. Griffin said education remains a high priority. He
said he would consider all proposals before making a decision.
Jeffery Barba, a council candidate from Cradock, said at Tuesday
night's meeting that the city should lobby harder in Richmond for school
funds. Geduldig-Yatrofsky said his proposal was similar to a church asking
for money. He said he has made donations like this before, although
privately. In 1998, the year after the car tax rebate was passed, he and
his wife sent a check to the Portsmouth Schools equal to the amount of
their personal property tax rebate. Last year, they gave to a local social
Geduldig-Yatrofsky, 51, is a computer consultant who lives in Olde
Towne. He said he considered the donation a good investment.
He said he was not grandstanding. ``It was not a tossing of the
gauntlet at them. It was an invitation,'' said Geduldig-Yatrofsky, a
frequent speaker at City Council meetings.
Schools spokeswoman Karen Streeter said the check was given to Hawkins
at the meeting. The money will go into the school's general fund, she
The check leaves the city and school division $1,799,500
by Muriel Grim
Using choice (preference) voting the Greens of
Virginia (GOV) recently decided how the Virginia delegation to the
Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) presidential nominating
convention should apportion their votes. At the convention they will
practice another of the voting/legislative reforms most Greens support,
namely proportional representation.
On March 20, the voting began with an announcement to
registered Virginia Greens that an electronic ballot was available on the
GOV website. The following day mailing of paper ballots to members who are
not on the Internet began. The deadline for submitting a ballot was
midnight on April 12. This date was set so that the Rockbridge Greens
could hold a meeting at which they would cast their votes, and also, so
the votes could be counted before the statewide Greens meeting on
Saturday, April 15.
The Northern Virginia Greens suggested to the GOV that all
Virginia Greensí choices for presidential candidate could be determined
using an electronic ballot, with supplemental paper ballots mailed to
Greens who are not on the Internet. Because time was short for making a
decision on which candidate(s) the Virginia Green delegates should
support, the Nova Greens suggestion on what process would be used to poll
Virginia Greens about their candidate choices became the ad-hoc process. I
designed the ballot and then my husband, Paul, the GOV Web Master, created
the electronic ballot.
Several active Greens from around the state, who commented on
the process on the GOV list-serve, favored its use. There was a good deal
of concern about which candidates should have been on the ballot. The GOV
needs to create a procedure for determining what candidates will be on a
ballot. For this election, the four candidates who were listed on the
greens.org website were put on the Virginia ballot: Jello Biafra, Stephen
Gaskin, Joel Kovel, and Ralph Nader. Also on the ballot were
None-Of-The-Above (NOTA) and write-in Michael Moore.
Using choice voting, the voters were able to rank the
candidates, NOTA, and Write-ins, assigning the number 1 to the first
choice, 2 to the second choice, and so on. Though itís not necessary to
rank all of the candidates when using choice voting.
The ballots were counted using a method known as Instant Runoff
Voting. On the initial count of the ballots, Nader got 68 votes, Gaskin
11, Biafra 5, Kovel 5, NOTA 1, and write-ins John Hagelin and Michael
Moore each received 1 vote. At that time, only Nader had achieved more
than the threshold 14% of the vote required to get at least one delegate.
Since each of the write-ins and NOTA got the least votes, they were
eliminated from the tally and the ballots on which they were the number 1
choice were recounted, this time using the second choice on the ballot.
One of the write-ins had only a first choice, so that ballot was no longer
The new vote tally was: Nader 69 votes, Gaskin 12, Biafra 5,
and Kovel 5. Biafra, still not having reached the 14% threshold, was
eliminated and the ballots that had Biafra as the first choice were
redistributed to their second choice.
That made the tally: Nader 74, Gaskin 12, and Kovel 5. Then
Kovel was eliminated and those ballots redistributed to the second choice.
The final tally was Nader 78 and Gaskin 13. Having garnered 14.3% of the
vote, and thus exceeding the threshold of 14%, Gaskin was entitled to one
of the delegateís votes at the convention and Nader received the remaining
6 delegatesí votes.
While no voting method is perfect, choice voting is more
democratic than winner-take-all voting. If there had been only one count,
Nader would have gotten all 7 delegates, in spite of the fact that he had
received only 74% of the vote (proportionately, that would equate to 5.25
delegates). With IRV, voters did not have to feel that they were "throwing
their vote away", if they picked, as their first choice, someone who
almost certainly would not get the threshold number of votes. When their
first choices were eliminated, their vote went to their second choice. The
final tally reflected everyoneís first or second choice, not 74% of the
votersí first choice.
by Jim Lowenstern
The D.C. metropolitan area, northern Virginia, and surrounding area of
Maryland was rated, last year, as the second worst congested area in the
nation, measured by driving time lost in commuting. The Los Angeles area
was the worst and greater New York City, including northern New Jersey and
western Connecticut was third worst.
The studyís findings that nearly half of the worst
bottlenecks are in Los Angeles and Washington reinforces the conclusion of
another national study that those two metropolitan areas have the worst
and second-worst congestion in the country. In the second study, the Texas
Transportation Institute reported that "Washington, for the fifth
consecutive year, has the second-most severe traffic, forcing drivers to
waste 76 hours a year in tie-ups. Washington area drivers must squeeze
through four of the countryís 20 worst highway bottlenecks, all of them
along the Capital Beltway, according to a study of traffic choke points on
The worst area, the I-495, I-95 and I-395 convergence in
Springfield, known locally as the mixing bowl, is one of the worst
congested areas on the east coast. It is infamous for multi-vehicle
accidents involving trucks, and for trucks overturning on ramps that are
banked too sharply.
In search of solutions to the problems of congestion, the
2020 Transportation Plan was developed by the Northern Virginia
Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC)--composed of locally elected
officials from northern Virginia.
In responses to the original version of the 2020 Plan,
business leaders faulted the plan, calling it unbalanced and too dependent
on mass transit. "To leave off the table something as fundamental as
bridges is incredible," Robert Chase, the director of the Northern
Virginia Transportation Alliance told the Washington Post. "If you think
about it, the fundamental deficiency is a lack of alternatives. If one guy
decides to stand on a bridge, or one truck tips up on the Beltway, thereís
no place for people to go."
Chase, officials at the Greater Washington Board of Trade
and others said that the plan is too dependent on mass transit. "Adding
new Metro stations and light rail lines to the region will not solve the
areaís gridlock unless there also are new roads and bridges that drivers
can use to cross into Maryland."
Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Katherine K. Hanley
(D), a member of the council, said she supports changing the plan to
reflect the need for new bridges. But she noted that Maryland politicians
have steadfastly opposed new bridges into Maryland. Environmentalists and
others have praised the 2020 Plan because it relies heavily on mass
transit rather than new construction. Stuart Schwartz, director of the
Coalition for Smarter Growth said, "building new bridges would encourage a
new western Beltway bypass," something he opposes. "The Board of Trade and
Mr. Hazel have not veered one iota from their long-term goal of an outer
beltway," Schwartz said. "The bottom line: Studies have shown the western
bypass will not relieve congestion on the Beltway, I-95, I-66 or the
Dulles Toll Road." Schwartz said his group believes that the 2020 Plan
should continue to focus on mass transit, but with greater attention to
the impact that land-use and development decisions can have on
On Dec. 16, 1999, the Executive Committee of the
Transportation Coordinating Committee approved an amended 2020 Plan with
two new bridges connecting to the existing road, Prince William Parkway,
which will be the new outer beltway. A proposal for A third bridge, with A
North River crossing connected to the Fairfax Parkway was not included in
the 2020 plan at this time.
The D.C. area has a history of fighting against unwanted
roads. A bridge over the Potomac, Three Sisters Bridge, was never built. A
highway, to be located where the C&O Canal runs was stopped. A project
to run Route 95 straight through the District was prevented.
(More information can be obtained from Mark Robinowitz - Stop Outer
Beltways and Y2K web site: http://www.igc.org/icc370)
The outer beltway is a solution to traffic congestion for
some people. The concept is that most trucks will use outer beltway and
the inner beltway will have less traffic. Although a subway/rail line to
Dulles is in preliminary stages, some suggest starting near Leesburg.
Plans for a subway along Rt. 66 to Centreville are being discussed, and
it's been suggested that it should go farther west, to Gainesville. The
newest version 2020 plan includes a subway to Prince William County.
The NOVA Greens and other citizens opposed to the outer
beltway believe there are two arguments that go against this theory. The
first is, build it and they will come. Roads built in congested areas soon
become congested themselves. The second is that new roads bring about
Green space is rapidly declining in the metro area. Mass
transit is a rallying cry for some to stop sprawl. They point out that two
roads that have major congestion, Route 66 and the Leesburg Connector -
Dulles toll and access road - have right-of-ways that could hold a
Some activists working on sprawl issues are against
subway/rail built on the Leesburg Connector-Dulles toll and access road
because of Green space, growth, and density issues. Other citizens say
with the amount of use these roads get and the amount of congestion, these
subway/rail lines should already have been built.
The Iowa Green Party Sees Continued Growth
Green Party activity in Iowa is growing, with locals now
formed in Iowa City and Ames and the beginnings of a state party network
that linking these locals with party members throughout the state.
With the party having formed following the tremendous
interest in Ralph Naderís 1996 campaign, Iowaís Greens are hoping that
this yearís presidential bid will give them a similar spike in growth and
in organizing new members.
In their biggest victory this past year, Steven Kanner
Ėwho walked across the U.S. in the mid-80s as part of the Great Peace
March for Global Nuclear Disarmament-- was elected tot he Iowa City
Council by a two vote margin.
The Ithaca Green Party Wins A City Council
The Green Party in Ithaca, N.Y., won its first City
Council seat with the election of candidate Josh Glasstetter with 54% of
the vote. Glasstetter is also the first under-graduate to ever hold a
council seat there and is the only New York State official elected on the
Green Party line.
Although they failed to win in three other wards, Green
candidates did well despite their youth and meager campaign resources.
The Democratic Party has dominated Ithaca politics for
the past quarter century and this race came down to a struggle between
business friendly Democrats and a coalition of small business advocates
and environmentalists promoting smart growth ideas.
Ralph Running Strong in First Weeks of His
During the first six weeks of this campaign Ralph Nader
has traveled across the country and denounced corporate control of
government from State Capitol buildings in Richmond, Virginia, Phoenix,
Arizona, Des Moines, Iowa, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
University students, faculty and the public have heard
him at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Arizona
State, University of Arizona, University of Minnesota and N.C. State
University,. He has appeared in Santa Cruz and Sacramento, Calif.; Reno,
Nev.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Wilmington, Del.; Princeton, N.J., and Charleston,
He has been quick to take on local examples of corporate
welfare. Here in the Virginia statehouse he reminded Virginians that the
state ranks number two in garbage importation and that its state song
emeritus, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" was now sounding like the
corporate song of Waste Management Inc. He denounced Gov. Jim Gilmore as
rabidly anti-consumer and during his stop at UVa described the governor as
essentially "an accounts receivable clerk."
Of course this is not all. He took the time to urge a
California city council to pass a resolution urging that corporations lose
their dangerous legal identity as persons. He also praised the federal
courtís decision declaring Microsoft in violation of antitrust law, and
spoke on threats to biodiversity in Boston.
On April 16 Nader participated in the Mobilization for
Global Justice in Washington D.C. He received strong support and wild
applause as he addressed a blue-green coalition of more than 5,000 at a
march and rally to protest the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund, whose policies undermine labor standards and environmental
conditions in developing nations.
Nader calls his bid for the White House "a fundamental
Ralph Nader Running 3rd Behind Bush and Gore
A revealing national poll of likely voters, released on
April 10, found Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in third place behind
George W. Bush and Al Gore -- and ahead of prospective Reform candidate
So which alternative-party aspirant appeared all over
national TV the next night? It wasn't Nader.
Although Pat Buchanan has been running for over a year
this time, he received only 3.6 percent support in the new Zogby poll.
Nader, who announced his presidential campaign in February, received 5.7
percent in the poll.
In Western states, Nader received 13 percent support,
compared to Goreís 30 percent. And another recent poll conducted in Ohio
found Nader had the highest personal favorability rating of any 2000
candidate among that stateís voters. Yet public citizen Nader, a widely
respected figure in American life for decades, is generally ignored by the
same national media outlets and pundits that regularly include Buchanan in
their coverage of the presidential race.
However, within only a short time after announcing his
candidacy, and after having spent less money in total than Republican
George W. Bush or Democrat Al Gore have spent on office supplies, Nader is
making a dent in the body politic.
Polls generally rate the veteran consumer activist at the
top of the list of the most broadly respected people in the United States.
Even the New York Times has taken notice, observing that: "This time
(Nader) is serious."
Nader Discusses Endorsement with UAW Union
DETROIT, Mich. - On May 1, Consumer advocate and Green
Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader discussed an endorsement with
leaders of the United Auto Workers union.
Nader said he didn't directly ask for the unionís
backing, and added that it will not endorse a candidate until after a
congressional vote expected this month on providing permanent normal trade
relations with China --which Nader, the UAW and other major labor unions
Instead of asking for endorsements, Nader said: "I just
tell people what we're doing."
The UAW broke with the AFL-CIO last October, when it
endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, and hopes to use its
own endorsement as leverage.
Nader Wants Spot on W.Va.ís Presidential Ballot
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Consumer advocate and Green Party candidate for
president, Ralph Nader told West Virginians during a recent visit,
"out-of-state coal companies are destroying the mountains.
Nader, who declared his candidacy for president on the Green Party
ballot in February, must gather the signatures of about 12,700 registered
voters by Aug. 1 to be placed on West Virginiaís election ballot.
Nader said heís willing to challenge the stateís ballot access laws in
court. His first avenue is to get enough names on a petition. "Weíre going
after 50 states this year," he said. "West Virginia is one of the more
Although Nader talked briefly about ballot access, he
spent most of his news conference at the secretary of stateís office
blasting the coal industryís mountaintop mining practice. "Coal companies
should pay for destruction to the mountains they mine," he said.
Nader to Sue for Right to Be On N.C. Ballot
RALEIGH, N.C. - Consumer advocate and presidential hopeful Ralph
announced May 2 that he plans to sue the state of North Carolina if it
doesn't loosen its "burdensome" requirements for third-party
The announcement came during a press conference Nader held at N.C.
State University, his first stop in the state during his campaign as a
Green Party candidate.
To get his name on the ballot this fall, the state requires Nader to
get 51,324 signatures from supporting citizens by June 1. So far, he said,
he has a couple thousand. "The two major parties have all the power here,"
Nader said. "And they're really just one political body with two heads,
each wearing different makeup."
D.C. Statehood Green Party Growing Rapidly
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Thanks largely to A16 and Earth Day,
the D.C. Statehood Green Party gained over 550 registered voters during
April for a total approaching 4,200 and 1.3 percent of the electorate. At
this rate of growth theyíre in position not only to reach their unofficial
goal of "10,000 in 2000," but by the 2002 elections, they could actually
surpass the Republican Party as the No. 2 party in the District of
by Jim Lowenstern
The Northern Virginia (NOVA) Greens have kept busy lately
participating in three recent demonstrations. One of our members, who has
made it a NOVA project to protest the School of Americas, went down to
Fort Benning, Ga., with another man from our local for the yearly protest
of this notorious institution. He encouraged us to have our monthly
meeting at the local protest and so after doing road clean-up on our adopt
a highway sight, Rt. 236 near NOVA Community Collegeís Annandale Campus,
five of us met and rode the Metro into D.C. for the April 2 protest.
The School of the Americas is run by the U.S. Army. After
returning to their home countries, many of the alumni trained there have
become involved in human rights violations, both as officers in regular
armed forces and as members of the underground death squads of dictator
run governments in Central and South America. Clergy and other innocent
people have been murdered by these U.S. trained forces.
This was the second year of our participation in this
protest but unfortunately it was a chilly day and rain ended the protest
early, with the threat of rain and lightning causing the sound system to
be turned off. The following Sunday, April 8, some of our members went to
Jubilee 2000, a protest seeking to make the IMF and World Bank absolve
Third World Nations of debts from loans from their organizations.
Also on the same day, Sharon Williams spoke at the Save
the Soccer Field Rally at the Culmore sight in the Bailey's Crossroads
area. Fairfax County has land zoned commercial that has been used as a
sand lot soccer field for at least 30 years. Itís in the middle of a
working class Hispanic community and Bailey"s Crossroads has little, or
no, open space left. Virginia Senator Leslie Byrne, U.S. Congressman Tom
Davis, and Professional Soccer Players Marco Etcheverry, John Maessner and
others spoke against the building of an Eckards Drug on the field.
Construction was started on around April 20, and on the twenty-fifth a
press conference was held, with Latino activists threatening a national
boycott of JC Penny, which owns Eckard Drugs, continues construction.
Currently the construction has stopped.
by Chris Simmons
People sometimes ask me why I joined the Green Party. I
tell them itís because Iím disappointed Ėdisappointed with the major
political parties in our nation. I think most people will agree with my
I support the Green Party because you can have economic
development and protect the environment at the same time. Iím Green
because government subsidies and tax breaks should not be given to
profit-making corporations. Iím Green because Congress should not allow
corporations to mine or harvest timber from federal parks and forests. Iím
Green because poverty still exists in a land of plenty.
Iím Green because mankindís activities must neither use
resources faster than they can be replaced, nor create effects or products
which cannot be assimilated by the environment. Iím Green because common
interests and long-term solutions should be the focus of our elected
officials, not special interests and quick fixes.
Iím Green because Greens do not accept PAC contributions
and limit individual donors to $100. Thus, Greens are not beholden to
special interests or wealthy contributors. Iím Green because "None of the
Above" should be a choice on election ballots. Iím Green because
Proportional Representation is more democratic than our "winner-take- all"
style of politics. Iím Green because Greens call for the return of local
decision-making so individuals and communities may act in their own best
interests. Iím Green because I see increasingly little difference between
Democrats and Republicans.
Finally, Iím Green because itís the only party that is
still of, by, and for "the people."
U.K. Greens Wins Three Seats to London
LONDON, U.K. - The Green Party in Britain recently won
election of three of its members to the London Assembly in an "historic
day" for the British capital. The three now join Minister to the European
Parliament, Jean Lambert and another London councilor as the partyís only
Green candidate for mayor and one of the successful
Darren Johnson, told a press conference: "I'm absolutely
thrilled about this election. Itís a really historic day for the Green
Party and itís an historic day for London."
He pledged he and his colleagues, Victor Anderson and
Jenny Jones, would "want to get stuck into the decision making process,"
and added: "We arenít just going to be shouting from the sidelines."
Faslane Trident Base Blockaded by Protesters
GARELOCHHEAD, Scotland ó A total of 179 protesters were
arrested Feb. 14, including two politicians, after the biggest
anti-nuclear demonstration in Scotland for 15 years.
More than 400 peace campaigners from across the world
Britainís Trident submarine complex at Faslane naval
base, near Garelochhead, Argyll, in the first major blockade of the base
since a Landmark decision by a Scottish sheriff last October ruled that
Trident submarines were illegal according to international law.
Among the people arrested were Tommy Sheridan, the
Party MSP and Caroline Lucas, Green Party Euro-MP, who
represents south-east England, and eight Church of Scotland ministers.
Four Scottish National Party MSPs, Lloyd Quinan, Dorothy-Grace Elder,
Linda Fabiani and Sandra White, took part in the protest but were not
New Zealand Greens Push for GE Food
BLENHEIM, New Zealand ó The Green Party was pushing for a
Royal Commission of Inquiry into genetic engineering, agriculture
spokesman Ian Ewen-Street told a meeting of Marlborough Federated
"New Zealand had an opportunity to use its clean, green
image as an
advantage in overseas markets because nothing genetically
engineered was actually grown in the country," he said. "It had all been
imported by stealth on to the supermarket shelves," he said. He said he
would accept a decision by the community if it decided it wanted genetic
"The Greens were careful to say New Zealand should not
get into genetically engineered food," Mr. Ewen-Street said. He
acknowledged medical advances using GE could be beneficial. "New Zealandís
clean, green image along with its status as a non-grower of genetically
engineered products offered an opportunity to increase returns," he
Irish Greens Call for End to All Corporate Campaign
DUBLIN, Ireland - Opposition parties have called for a
ban on corporate donations to political parties in the aftermath of
Irelandís own recent campaign finance scandal.
The Labour Party is in favour of retaining contributions
individuals, but the Green Party wants an end to
donations of any kind.
Green Party Minister to the Dial (Parliament), Trevor
Sargent, said that both corporate and private donations to political
parties should be banned. Political parties should receive public funding
only, "as a major step towards
regaining public confidence in the political system as
well as leveling the playing field for candidates at election time." He
added: "As long as the culture of donating money to political parties
exists, there will always be doubts about favours sought or given. Irish
politics needs to be cleansed from top to bottom."
Mr. Sargent said that banning corporate donations to
parties while allowing individuals to continue contributing would bring
with it a strong danger of inviting people to bend the
Greens Score First with Energy Law
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- The Greens scored a first in
Parliament yesterday when the Energy Efficiency Bill was passed into
Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons introduced it as a
memberís Bill in 1998, getting a hostile reception from the previous
It was reviewed by that government, and altered by a
select committee, but survived the election and won support from the
The Bill is the first piece of Green Party legislation to
be passed by Parliament and Ms. Fitzsimons said yesterday that it still
contained the central elements she wanted to see included.
It gives a statutory basis to the Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority and confirms and expands its responsibilities. It
establishes a ministerial responsibility for delivering on energy
efficiency and conservation, and requires the development of a national
energy efficiency and conservation strategy. The Minister of Energy will,
for the first time, have the power to set mandatory energy performance
standards for energy-using products such as appliances, equipment and
Energy Minister Pete Hodgson congratulated Ms. Fitzsimons
for her determination to get the Bill through and described it as "the
first true piece of MMP legislation".
He said he accepted the obligations it placed on him and
would implement its requirements.
Former Energy Minister Max Bradford welcomed the Bill,
noting that it had been changed during his term in office.
Scotlandís First GM Sabotage Case Set to
EDINBURGH, Scotland -- Scotlandís first court case over
the alleged destruction of genetically modified crops by conservation
activists was opened in Early may at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Four people are charged with wilfully and recklessly
without good cause, and two with the lesser charge of
obstruction. All the accused have entered pleas of not guilty.
The charges relate to a demonstration against the trial
of genetically modified oil seed rape, planted at Boghall farm, near
Dalkeith, Midlothian. The protest took place in March last year, before
the plants had flowered.
The Scottish Green Party is campaigning against all
testing of genetically modified crops in the open air and argues that
there has been no proper assessment of the potential dangers of the
modified genes spreading from the trials into the surrounding
The Greens have claimed that, once the genetically
modified plants flower, the pollen may cause interbreeding with non-GM
crops in surrounding fields.
One of those arrested, Mr. Mark Ballard, 28, a graphic
designer from Edinburgh, and a member of the Green Party, said: "Our trial
is expected to last for four or five days, due to the complexities of the
case. We are confident that our point of view will be vindicated."
Mr. Robin Harper, Scotlandís Green MSP, whose
constituency includes Boghall farm, said: "It is greatly to be regretted
that people like Mark have had to go to these lengths to stop the genetic
pollution of the countryside.
"The Scottish Parliament's committees have so far been
denied the chance to investigate the implications of releases of GM plants
into Scotland's countryside. I wish the protesters every success in their
Australian Greens' Leader Criticizes Attitude to Island States on Sea
MELBOURNE, Australia ó The leader of the Australian Green
Party, Bob Brown, has criticized the countryís government for excluding
the small island states of the Pacific from a meeting on greenhouse
Thirty countries, including the Melanesian group,
attended the conference in the Western Australian city of Perth during the
last week of April. However, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Niue
were not invited.
Senator Brown says the Australian government can not be
allowed to keep ignoring the rising sea level issue in the
Welcome New Members
Blue Ridge Greens: Jay Stephens, Billy Warrior, Julie Wimmer, Jane
Donohoe, George Taylor
Central Virginia Greens: Mason Payne, Ben Walter, Michael Green, Dan
Lichtenstein-Boris, Robert Tappan, Peter Welch, Roger Clarke, Van
Lynch,Jeffrey Stricker, Barbara Nordin, Randolph Atkins Jr., Terry &
Jennifer Cashen, Elaine Upton & Carol Woodsong, Todd Leback
Greens of Virginia: Lisa Garner, Heather Scott, Sara Kelley, Mark
Newton, Yasmin Alami, Nicholas Estrada, David DeGaetano, Kate Erickson,
William Estlick, Robert Layne, Don & Betsy Morrison, Michael Jones,
Joshua OíNaghten, Gregorio Knepp, Rick Herrom, Helen Renqvist, Mark
New River Valley Greens: Arthur Ford, Timothy Dennis, Amy Christopher,
Pat Therrien, Edward Boone, Chris LaPlante
NOVA Greens: Robert & Avril Dresdner, Joshua Sloan, Joey
Huennekens, Aurora Evans, Josh Brand, Jeff Lea, Dick & Susan Howlett,
Nancy Diamond, John Montgomery, John Monastra, Robert & Jeannie
Puentes, Joshua Hensley, Paul Fiscella
Rockbridge Greens: Michael May, Tricia Liljequist,
Student Greens of Virginia: Karen Mooney, James Hare, Samantha
Tidewater Greens: Sandra Darling-Roberts, Chris Sliwoski, Justin
Nielsen, Karen Porreca, Osama Agami, Cory Manning, Jeffrey Boghosian
Valley Greens: James Bohland, Linda Peregrino, Nathan Oliver, Douglas
Woodhouse, Laurie Berman, Tom Smith, Nathan Ferrell
Thank You Recent Contributors
Blue Ridge Greens: Chris Barlow, Michael Bentley
Central Virginia Greens: Ben Walter, Jana Cutlip, Michael Green, Jeff
Maurer, Ed Pearson, Diana Abbott, Chris Gensic, Peter Thompson, Aaron
Feldman, Herbert Tucker, Barbara Nordin, Randolph Atkins Jr., Elaine Upton
& Carol Woodsong
Greens of Virginia: Brad Belo, Heather Scott, Chris Barlow, Everett
Heath, Mary Becelia & Clay Calvert, Wendy Ebersberger, Doug Eyde,
Elaine Broadhead, Jim Lowenstern, Mark & Ulla Geduldig-Yatrofsky,
Muriel Grim, Irene Harter, Jeff Maurer, Ed Pearson, David Bugin, Cordelia
Plunkett, David Laibstain, Elena & Donal Day, David Wilson, Chris
Gensic, Cynthia Maahs, Scott McGraw, Michael Bentley, Paul Gagnon, David
Cox, Margaret Rood, Allan Matthews, Susan & Richard Howlett, Tricia
Liljequist, Aaron Feldman, Karen Porreca, Don & Betsy Morrison, Paul
DeMaio, Randolph Atkins Jr., Chris Gensic, Mark Newton, Roger Hopper,
Neelima Chirumamilla, Gregorio Knepp, Helen Renqvist, Mark Forster,
New River Valley Greens: Helen Renqvist
NOVA Greens: Joey Huennekens, Doug Eyde, Jim Lowenstern, Muriel Grim,
Irene Harter, Dale Medearis, David Wilson, Cynthia Maahs, Scott McGraw,
Don Rouse, Paul Gagnon, Margaret Rood, Allan Matthews, Richard & Susan
Howlett, Paul DeMaio, Roger Hopper
Rockbridge Greens: Collette & Michael Barry-Rec, Sandra Stuart,
Fred Baker & Cathy Wells, Lenna & Terry Ojure, Katie & Larry
McNiel, Arvid Christiansen, Elise Sprunt, Nancy Anderson, Dean &
Maxine Foster, Rober Lisle, Phil Hyre & Daphne Raz, John White, Donna
Sheffield, Jane Riegel, Laura Parsons, Shelley Bourdon, Steven Copus,
Steven Gaines, Cathryn & David Harbor, Laura Neale & Chris Wise,
Tricia Liljequist, Adrienne Hall Bodie, Linda Hall, Phil Welch &
Cynthia Atkins, Catherin Bodnar, Michael May, Elisabeth & David
Daystar, Mel Leasure
Tidewater Greens: Mark & Ulla Geduldig-Yatrofsky, David Bugin
Valley Greens: Sherry Stanley, Charles Shelton, Laurie Berman, Bruce
Editor: Aaron Feldman
Layout: Gerry Cervenka
Printing: xhigh graphics
Contributing writers to this
Jana Cutlip, CentVaG
Muriel Grim, NoVaG
Jim Lowenstern, NoVaG
Eric Sheffield, RBG