ESSAYS

More Info about why to vote “No” on Prop. 38:

PROCESS: California’s initiative process, unlike other countries’ (see books like “California Crackup”) does not allow for multiple entities – like the legislature, NGOs, unions – to work together to prepare a good proposal for the voters. Ironically, given how furious many of us were with Jerry Brown’s compromise that killed the real Millionaires Tax, that was a process that included a couple of entities: the governor and the union backing the Millionaires Tax. Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 proposal is very much from a single very wealthy person.

MOVEMENT IMPACT: Repeated from the Prop 30 write-up:  The Tax-The-Rich movement had an amazing effect. Within the space of a year, Jerry Brown moved from a sales tax increase of 1% (not allowing Schwarzenegger’s increase to end), to 1/2% in January, to 1/4% in March. Also from January to March, his income tax increase doubled on the bracket of $250K individual ($500K couple), and on higher brackets, he went from a top rate increase of 2% to 3%. He would not have done that without the Occupy, student, and Tax-The-Rich movements. We strongly believe that in order to keep the movements going we need to acknowledge and build on our successes, even if they are not perfect!

SHARED SACRIFICE: The fact that Molly Munger starts increasing income tax at just over $7K is outrageous, and then her top rate only goes to 2%, not 3%.

DEDICATED FUNDS OR ENTIRE BUDGET: One of the ongoing problems with the initiative process is called ballot-box budgeting, where voters address pieces of the budget without regard to the whole, inadvertently hurting other areas. For that reason, even before the compromise, the Sacramento-based California Budget Project (CBP) very much favored Jerry Brown’s tax over both the Millionaires Tax and Molly Munger’s tax.

PUBLIC SAFETY: This was needed to address the whole budget picture. As pointed out by CBP and others, Prop 30 necessarily addresses the fact that responsibilities were turned over to the counties, and so some monies needed to be turned over as well.

POSSIBILITIES FOR PASSING A TAX INITIATIVE: What convinced Brown that he needed to compromise were polls that showed people preferred the Millionaires Tax over Brown’s and Molly Munger’s 70% to 62% to 51% respectively. Molly Munger’s was the least preferred (for good reason). There’s trepidation that with more tax initiatives, the more likely voters would say “no” to all, so two rather than three should help. If Prop 30 does not pass, the understanding the public would reach is not likely to be “we need a better tax initiative”; rather it would more likely be that people will never pass tax initiatives. That would hurt, not help, our possibilities for the future.

This is why we recommend a “NO” vote on Molly Munger’s Prop. 38, and a “YES with reservations and a Call to Action” on Prop 30.

——————————————–

Oakland should stand with the Occupy movement

Laura Wells, GPCA spokesperson and Oakland resident

Friday, October 28, 2011

“Mayor Quan must know Oakland has been harmed tremendously by the same 1 percent the occupiers are fighting” – Laura Wells

Maintain and control?

In the Occupy Oakland article, Mayor Jean Quan focused on maintaining safe and sanitary conditions, and controlling vandalism.

Maintain and control? After years in city government, Mayor Quan must know the city has been harmed tremendously by the same 1 percent the occupiers are fighting. City Hall is both strapped for cash and handcuffed by restrictions on the ability to create good budgets.Rather than shut the occupiers down, I wish Quan and every other city official would stand with the 99 percent and let everyone know that voters alone have the power to pass state propositions to keep the good parts of the old Proposition 13 — passed in 1978 to keep people from losing their homes due to rising property taxes — and fix the rotten parts. Prop 13 has enabled billionaires to pay state and local taxes at a lower rate than the lowest income families, and enabled majority Democrats and minority Republicans to blame each other while California sinks.

The mayor could provide portable toilets and Dumpsters — they will cost far less than helicopters and police. Then stand with the 99 percent and stop Prop. 13’s terrible effects: upside-down taxes, centralization of decision-making, and gridlocked and excuse-ridden governments.

- Letter to the Editor by Green Party of California state spokesperson Laura Wells, published  in the Oakland Tribune, October 28, 2011. Wells is pictured above in front of Oakland City Hall at Occupy Oakland,  right after Michael Moore spoke on October 28, 2011

——————————————–

Former Oakland Green Mayor Candidate speaks against the police violence against Occupy Oakland

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Commentary: Using Police In Oakland to Clear Out Occupy Was a Mistake

By Don Macleay, Berkeley Daily Planet

Using the police to clear out Occupy Oakland was exactly the wrong thing to do.

Questions: 1. Where was the emergency? 2. Is it better now? 3. Was someone saved by this? 4. Is it somehow the fault of the protestors that there is so little trust in government? 5. Is there going to be better trust in government now? 6. Will the relations between Oakland and our police force improve now?

What struck me most was the image of the police tearing up the signs and kicking the Occupy tent people’s stuff all over the plaza. I thought that the Police job was to arrest people and let Public Works clean up the encampment, not to do a violent victory dance over the defeat of those whose politics they oppose.

I stuck my neck out in person, in public and on line telling the protestors to engage, to accept dialog, to back away from any confrontation and to carry ourselves with dignity out of respect for our fellow citizens and out of respect for the righteousness of our cause.

It seems that the same message was needed inside our city government this week. No wonder that they never returned calls. And in the end, the police wracked more violence in a couple hours, destroyed more property and hurt more people that Occupy Oakland did in two weeks. Keep in mind, there was no riot, no emergency, no move made by the protestors other than to refuse to leave. It was the city of Oakland and the police that initiated the violence and chose its time.

Many things could have been done instead, especially since there was no urgent problem. For one they could have given our offer to act as a go between a try. No calls returned. How was that any different from the folk at the General Assembly refusing to speak with the city?

For every protestor arrested this morning, you can figure there are at least 1,000 who supported that cause and at least 100 of their community who will know the person taken away. You can add this number of people to the already existing resentment and distrust. You can add this to the history of bad relations between Oakland Police and Oakland.

We had cops from the suburbs arresting our protestors, destroying poor people’s property, and relishing tearing up our signs and kicking our stuff around. No good will come of this. Maybe they could burn the books from the library tent and make a full show of it.

Yesterday I was at the Snow Park part of the encampment and we donated a tarp and a big blue ball to the kid’s tent. My son picked that ball out for those kids from his own toys. This morning I told him what happened and that all people in the tents, the toys and the big blue ball are now gone, to be trashed by the police. He felt sorry for one of the kids for whom those were most of the toys he had.

A number of the people in both encampments were living there before the protests started. Most of the big problems sited in the city’s memos already existed. Those people will now face jail, inadequate social services and all the situations that made them homeless and living in the Plaza in the first place. Those 6 children who lived in the camp will be badly hurt by all of this in ways that will leave a lasting effect. But in our city, some hippies smoking dope in the park protesting banks is an urgent situation worthy of high spending and violence to quash. The hundreds, maybe thousands of Oakland residents who reside nowhere is obviously not so urgent a problem. Now the two have met the police.

When my 8 year old overheard adults talking about where the protests go from here he said: “what protests? now it is more like a war” and sure enough we have something of a war on the streets of Oakland tonight, a war provoked by unnecessary police intervention. A beautiful thing has been lost. Occupy Oakland had its problems, but it also had its promise. There were workshops, books, a children’s zone and some very good community bridge building going on. The place did not look or feel like a riot, it felt more like a festival. To quote Zennie “it was bone headed to refuse to talk to the city”. Zennie is also right on to say that efforts inside the protest were dealing with the problems that the city was complaining about. All of them, even opening up and inviting the city to come and talk at the General Assembly. Most of the stories in the press were gross exaggerations and half truths. Members of the community were also coming out with everything from port-a-potties, protest marchers and just plane willingness to speak with the protesters and promote solidarity and harmony. Also beautiful and totally justified is the anger expressed towards those who own our economy and the government that serves them and only them.

A beautiful opportunity has also been lost. This Occupy Wall Street movement is a watershed in American politics. Oakland could have been the place where there could have been harmony and cooperation between our local government and this very justified protest movement.

We have every reason in the world to be mad with Wall Street, the big Banks and the corrupt system of lobbyist based politics that Occupy Wall Street is pulling back the curtain on.

Now we have every reason on earth to be mad at our local government.

—————

Don Macleay is a former Green Party candidate for Mayor of Oakland www.macleay4mayor.org/

See also: blog.sfgate.com/aallison/2011/10/25/heavy-handed-police-tactics-at-occupy-oakland/ by former Oakland Green City Council canididate Aimee Allison
and blog.sfgate.com/abraham/2011/10/26/occupy-oakland-mayor-jean-quan-in-big-trouble-after-riot/

——————————————–

The Green Party’s Big 9-Month Opportunity

“Carpe Diem”

By Greg Jan

Dear fellow Greens,
.
Over the next 9 months (until approximately September, 2011), I believe that the Green Party will have better organizing opportunities than we’ve had for the past 8 or 9 years — and probably better opportunities than we’ll likely have for at least 2 years following the closing of this window about 9 months from now. Therefore, we should “pull out all of the stops”, and work as hard as we possibly can to make use of the organizing opportunities that we’ll have over these next 9 months!
Please Note: If you’d like to share “practical ideas” for building the Party, please join the special dedicated listserve that we’ve set up, at:
.
.
Our Best Opportunity in Over Eight Years

Why should our organizing opportunities be better now than they have been for the past 8 or 9 years? Mainly for two reasons:

1) Progressives, liberals and even the “general public” are finally realizing that the Democrats (and especially Obama) are not going to prioritize helping “ordinary Americans” — that their priorities continue to be favoring corporations and the wealthy.

2) Progressives and liberals are not currently focused on “supporting the Democrats in order to get rid of the horrible Republicans” — as was their focus during the 8 years when George W. Bush was in office (or on “let’s give Obama a chance”, as has been their mantra from November, 2008 until approximately sometime during 2010 ). Rather, progressives and liberals (and a good portion of the “general public”) are quite confused about where they should put their political support — they are very frustrated with the Democrats, yet they know that the Republicans won’t really help them either — however, they’re also not aware of any “third party” that would be worth supporting, as well.

Thus, this is a “big opportunity” — to publicize ourselves as much as we possibly can, as soon as we can — to get people to see that fundamentally neither of the corporate parties will ever prioritize the interests of the “average Amercan” — and that now is the time to break with the “traditional two-party system” and join the Greens! (Or, for those who are somewhat more skeptical, to at least “seriously consider” (or “re-consider”) the Greens!).

Organizing Strategies and Tactics

Our biggest opportunity might be with those who are now starting to realize that it just might be better to stand up for what you truly believe in, even if it is very difficult — rather than taking the “easy road” of just going along with a “status quo” that you don’t really believe in — and which you now realize is never going to really work for the things that you want.

Now, we can of course make it much easier for people to get involved with us if we give them examples from history where support for a “third party” did result in significant positive change:

  • We can explain that things that are now taken for granted (such as social security and the 8-hour day) were advocated by third parties (“independent parties”) for many years before either of the two “major parties” (the corporate parties) decided to embrace them.
  • We can even point out that it’s possible for our Party to replace one of the two “status quo” parties — as what happened when the Republican Party replaced the Whig Party in 1854-1856 (after first being preceded by the anti-slavery Liberty Party, which then merged into the Free Soil Party in 1848, before it then merged into the Republican Party in 1854).
A Nine Month Window

As we organize, I’m sure that we’ll find plenty of other good ways to get people to shift their support to us. Maybe it will be because of our stance on a particular issue that they care about (such as health care, or jobs, or taxes, or the Iraq and Afghanistan wars), or maybe it will simply be because we’re out in public asking people to “register Green”.

I think that we’ll definitely need to get moving with our outreach ASAP, because it’s very likely that our opportunities will start to narrow within about 9 months. Why? Because September of 2011 (specifically Labor Day) will be the start of the traditional political season — when people’s attention will again start to turn towards the Presidential primaries — when people will start focusing on the usual “Democrats versus Republican” question.

So therefore, it’s vital that we do a lot of organizing well before then — so we can make good use of probably the best organizing opportunities that we’ve had for over 8 years! (This is of course not to say that we should stop organizing 9 months from now, but rather, we’ll be in a far better position then, if we do in fact maximize our organizing over the next 9 months, than if we don’t do anything special between now and then).

It’s Time For Greens to “Seize the Day”!

I urge you to start making plans now as to how you can best help build the Green Party during the next 9 months — especially locally, as well as across your home state. And please do forward this message to other Greens– on listserves and on e-mail lists — to encourage them to also get involved with a “huge increase in our organizing activity“, starting early in 2011.

In addition, to help facilitate the sharing of “practical ideas” for building the Party, we’ve started a listserve at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BuildingTheGreenParty2011 — please join this listserve if you’d like to specifically share ideas for 2011 (or learn about other’s ideas). And please be sure to read the “Description” of the listserve on that webpage — this will be a “hands-on, practical” listserve — for “getting work done” — and NOT for “philosophizing”!
In the words of the (relatively famous) Latin saying “carpe diem” — let us now “seize the day” — and organize, outreach, and build the Green Party, at a pace that we haven’t done for at least the past 8 years!
Go Greens!
Greg Jan
Oakland, CA