People, Planet & Peace
The Massachusetts Affiliate of the Green Party of the United States

Winter 2017 minutes

Winter 2017 meeting posted below are REVISION 1 - 3/12/17. 

go Here for Fall 2016 minutes:

http://www.green-rainbow.org/fall_2016_minutes

 

StateCom Meeting of January 28, 2017

Location:  Camelot Co-housing, Berlin, MA

Present:  established quorum at 13

John Andrews – First Boston Metropolitan Region

Angel Ayala – Western Region

Roni Beal – Central Region

Brian Cady – First Boston Metropolitan Region

Charlene DiCalogero – Central Region

Darlene Elias – Western Region

Danny Factor – Middlesex & Worcester District

Ian Jackson – First Boston Metropolitan Region

Joyce Palmer Fortune – Western Region

David Rolde – First Boston Metropolitan Region

Nancy Slator – Western Region

Roger Walton – First Boston Metropolitan Region

Elie Yarden – First Boston Metropolitan Region

 

Parliamentarian:  John Andrews

Timekeeper:  Nancy Slator

Vibes Watcher:  Eli Yarden

Stacker:  Angel Ayala

 

Co-Chair Welcome:

Darlene welcomed StateCom members to the meeting.  She noted that she is still learning about GRP and appreciates everyone’s support.  Darlene provided an overview of Jill Stein campaign.  She attended the NY briefing on Stein campaign and was appointed national co-chair.  She expressed her vision for state party and about a new direction to move forward.  Darlene attended the Women’s March in DC which she described as inspirational to have so many people come together.

 

Darlene noted that it is time to come together and build as a Party.  We are only Party that takes a stance on social justice and the environment.  There isn’t any clear action with other political parties.  These are tenuous times.  The question is how do we come together to be effective and align with other social groups.  We face challenges – lack of resources to build capacity within the party.  We need to go throughout Massachusetts and expose GRP to attract people to take action in the state and national front.  Our task is to build our numbers in the party, recruit and be activists.

 

Four things are optimal:  fundraising to pay staff, political organizer/party director, a fundraiser director, and communications person with staff person.  We need to implement succession planning for treasurer.  Increasing party donations is our number one project.  The Green Party has been noted on the national level, it is time to hire staff on national level and a political organizer.  There is a surplus of $200K in the national account for outreach.  As a committee, we need to prioritize what StateCom will do to identify and bring a fundraiser and a communications person on board.  As money comes in we can hire a staff person.  We hired Jamie who was dedicated to building the Party with $5,000 from the Stein campaign.  Fundraising can help with recruiting people from the Stein campaign.  In order to build an infrastructure, it will take money to rent venues and provide food.  Differentiate what is going on with the party and bring people in and provide outlet for their ideas.  It takes a Green Party training course to interface with the Party.  How we recruit and engage new people.

 

Jill elevated the party to higher degree, raised several million dollars.  The recount effort raised even more funds.  Successes such as gaining ballot across country, fundraising capacity, social-media vital and promoted the Stein campaign.  The recount effort took the party to another level.  There has been fragmentation between Jill and Green Party.  Jill agreed to help with fundraising for GRP with letters for support.  Our first priority is fundraising and outreach, build capacity, and be action oriented in the community.  The next step is returning recount donations and request donations for the Green-Rainbow Party.

 

Darlene reported that she is an action oriented person.  She was nominated to the GPUS International Committee yesterday. Her vision is to be out there.  She noted that Thomas Peak was guest speaker at Pioneer Valley chapter meeting.   Adam Friedman talked about Rank Choice Voting (RCV).  Western MA brings manpower to the RCV effort.  Rank choice voting is a collaborative effort.

 

StateCom members sang inspirational song, ‘Aint’s Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around’

 

Approve Meeting Agenda:

Danny noted some members will leave the meeting early and we need quorum for the afternoon session.  Four members plan to leave early.  Roni verified nine members must be present for quorum.  Minor adjustments were made to the agenda. Due to lack of quorum at the October 1, 2016 StateCom meeting, Charlene noted the minutes were notes.  Strategy go-around and legislative proposal will be addressed before lunch break.  Danny asked to present the Assabet chapter report before leaving at noon.  There was a brief discussion about rearranging agenda for allow time for John’s presentation.

 

Set Date and Location for Spring 2017 StateCom Meeting:

Date: April 1 or 22, 2017

Location: Eastern part of the state - Ralph and Brian will search for a venue.

Co-facilitators:  Nancy Slator & John Andrews

 

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes:

July 17, 2016 and October 1, 2016 minutes approved by consensus.

 

Fundraiser Director Steps Down:

Ian reported an issue with appointing an inexperienced person to the fundraiser director position.  He explained why complaints about remarks by the fundraiser were reported late to AdCom.  Ian read the complaints to StateCom members.  Ian noted that the fundraiser did not deny making remarks.  Ian explained the problem with making a complaint as an officer is that he or she represents the Party.  Charlene noted that it is critical to protect the Party, and that harassing remarks both internally and externally are unacceptable.  John agreed that StateCom must take action because it is an ethical issue to use media for harassing remarks.  The fundraiser director was elected by the convention.  He was given an opportunity to step down.  Charlene referred to bylaw 4.3 concerning membership and removing members.  Adcom acted as a fact finding committee and followed the correct process in this case.  Ian referred to bylaw 9.11 that states a vote of StateCom is required for recall.  Ian suggested a request be made for a set of standards about communications and then build a structure we can live with.

 

Danny explained that AdCom could not make a permanent decision, and made a provisional decision.  Steps were taken to remove the Fundraiser Director from all GRP list services and Facebook. Elie asked if the Fundraiser Director was invited to step down.  Roni reported that an email and letter were sent to inform the Fundraiser Director of AdCom’s decision and his rights.  Darlene reported that since notifying the Fundraiser Director, he has not taken steps to keep his position.

 

Charlene called for a vote on whether to remove the current fundraiser as Fundraising Director.

Vote to remove the Manny Pintado as Fundraising Director:

Vote

12 yes votes

0 no votes

0 opposed

 

Vote to remove the Fundraiser from StateCom:

Joyce recommended that Manny remain as a StateCom member.  This item was tabled to be addressed later.  Ian noted that chapter listservs are not managed by GRP.  Local chapters need local autonomy.  If there is a problem, contact AdCom. Closed session adjourned.

 

Danny Factor – Assabet River Valley report – the chapter is working on a project to promote Acton as a sanctuary city.

 

Diversity reps – no action

 

Appointing a member to GPUS – Darlene Elias was appointed to GPUS International Committee at the January 27, 2017 Special StateCom telecon.

 

Darlene Elias and David Gerry spoke with David Rolde regarding his concerns about not appointing Maggie Zhou to GPUS IC.  Maggie does not meet the requirements to be a Green-Rainbow Party GPUS representative.  Darlene reported that Maggie approached Bahram Zandi about being appointed provisionally until StateCom could vote her in. The National Committee has turned over the decision making process to StateCom. Charlene recommended tabling this item until StateCom members have more information to make an educated decision at the April meeting.  Charlene asked if there were any concerns about tabling the approval process.  John noted that Maggie asked StateCom to make a decision.  Angel commented that there is an issue of residency in question.  John noted that she would have to be a member of GRP, but we have experience with Maggie. She is not a member of GRP, but we can recommend she is an experienced representative.  Darlene reported reading Maggie’s email.  She is a MA voter, but she does not list a specific town in MA.  She may vote Absentee.  She may vote as a Swiss Green.  Danny added that Maggie’s admits she does not reside in MA.  Danny noted that he is in favor of change in the bylaw at another time.  The current bylaw states that we should not approve her request.  Danny added that he has a few concerns about some of her postings endorsing conspiracy theories.  Danny supports tabling this item.  He requested that bylaw amendments be referred to AdCom agenda.

Vote was called to table item to April.

John will stand aside.

Elie will stand aside.  He noted that a large number of members to National would be eliminated with current bylaw.

There was a consensus to table Maggie’s appointment to GPUS IC until April StateCom meeting.

 

Officer Reports:

Ian will wait to present treasurer report under budget item.

Co-chair and secretary reports moved to afternoon session.

 

Strategy Discussion:

Danny noted that Darlene’s report was on target with current needs.  A Planning Committee is needed to help AdCom with short and long terms status of party.  He would support a proposal at April StateCom to create a Planning Committee.  Darlene agreed that a Planning group is a good idea, but questioned who would do the work.  We should start by looking at working groups as action groups with deliverables.  Darlene noted that she often takes on projects herself.  The question is, what can we do collectively to help with fundraising until someone has been appointed to the position of Fundraiser Director.

 

A recommendation was made to recruit someone to fill the Communications position and to make sure people who help use good judgment.  Darlene noted that it takes a long time to send correspondence out.  It takes 24 to 48 hours to email messages.  John inquired about our capacity and public dialog for making progress with political power.  We need working committees working on projects.  In regard to Communications, we must use volunteers until position is filled.  Ian noted that we have to decide what political structures we want to set up.  A decision must be made if we want to play in the legislative process or build strength.  Focus.  If we had more Communication volunteers, we could devise a system that does not rely on Joyce, Brian, and Ian to do all the work.  Angel suggested organizing come-meet-the-greens activities, make presentations, provide literature, and a video presentation to attract to new people for capacity building.

 

New stacker – Ian (Angel and Darlene left the meeting)

David Rolde arrived around 11:45 am

 

Charlene commented that good ideas were presented.  She pointed out that it is important to remember that it is all about money and control.  Attacks on women, Muslims and agencies that provide services are all a screen for massively collecting public dollars for private concerns.  The Green-Rainbow Party runs candidates and is not controlled by “dark money” (reference to Jane Meyer’s book Dark Money).

 

David Rolde commented that he feels radical activism has left the party.  It is difficult to raise an issue that progressive Democrats have not already addressed.  We should be attracting marginalized people to the party.  He is opposed to the Planning Committee idea, which will most likely languish. 

 

Roger commented that he likes the idea of hiring a staff because answers will come quickly.  It is a step in a positive direction.  Our successes in marginalized communities are still uncertain.  This should be an objective for GRP.

 

Nancy agrees that fundraising is a key component.  Having GRP serve on state level is a good strategy.  

 

Elie commented that if we do not rely on big money, we must rely on people to work on public issues.  Our local structures are inferior to the Democratic Party.  He wants the same rights he had before and he does not want a higher structure to report to.  He wants to be open to others, attend meetings and participate.  He commented that it is easy to talk and that it has to be easier to obtain information.  We need 40 local chapters in the state with 20 people in each local chapter.

 

Lunch break 12:15 pm  

 

Rank Choice Voting (RCV):

Adam Friedman, Greg Dennis and Ben Schattenburg representatives of RCV

 

Presentation by Greg Dennis

A few highlights from Greg’s presentation:

The current voting system does not take in to account the actual will of the people.

Adam Friedman worked with John Andrews in Stein campaign.  Greg and Adam work together with RCV effort.  Greg was a Nader supporter.  More voices, more choices in the race.  The system fails to guarantee majority winners.  The current system discourages candidates from running for office.  RCV means one trip to the voting booth.  There is a series of runoffs in one election – three rounds.  The first voting round are first choices.  No first choices, these are eliminated right away.   Voting is done on paper and ballots are scanned.  There is a cost associated with upgrading voting machines, scan machines, some other additional costs, but it also can save money.  IRV and RCV are top choices of voting systems. RCV has been enacted in Maine.  Portland was the first city to use RCV.  Maine has long history of governors winning with minority of votes. 

 

Elie added that MA would be a problem because of established Democratic Party system.  Fifty percent of winners do not get majority of the vote in MA.  There are benefits to third parties that cover more issues, hold more debates, have more candidates, growth, etc.  RCV can eliminate the primary race which is a cost savings.

 

Adam Friedman presented:

RCV eliminates friction between people running and focuses on issues.  Democrats make up 80% of the statehouse representatives.  RCV will show Democrats they are voting for weaker candidates.  When a Green runs, Democrats are not threatened.  Democrats can capture the GRP vote as 2nd or 3rd vote. 

 

Charlene commented that RCV offers more choice, but there is no guarantee a Green would vote for a Democrat.  John noted that a favorite candidate endorsed by political establishment discourages stronger candidates from running or to be endorsed. 

 

Adam reported that the recent election and results created a dark cloud.  There is a kickoff strategy movement with action teams.  The list has grown with calls every day.  The movement has grown to over 1k people.  There were over 400 sign-ups at the Women’s march in Boston. Collect data on an issue and do a poll.  Need data.  The goal is to raise $30k.  They have raised $10k so toward a professional poll.  Represent Us is a new group seeking the next big campaign. (Represent Us is located in Florence, MA).  They want to hire a campaign manager.  There is potential growth with local campaigns.  They want to promote IRC with GRP to form a partnership and do fundraising at same time. 

 

Elie requested a form letter from RCI to send to politicians.  Polling is first, then send an RFP to pollsters.  Ian commented that we can decide before April 1 whether to support this movement. He asked that StateCom allow AdCom to call a Special meeting about RCI.

 

Urgent or Old Business:

StateCom was asked to formerly dismiss four StateCom members who have missed three or more consecutive quarterly meetings.  Roni notified Pioneer Valley and Greater Boston Chapter in writing of member status, per bylaws 8.7.2; 8.7.3; and 8.8.4.

 

Result:

Rick Purcell and Dawn Bennett of Pioneer Valley chapter were removed by consensus vote.  Both Rick and Dawn expressed no interest in serving on StateCom.

The remaining two Alternates will be contacted about their interest in serving on StateCom.

David Rolde will contact Arthur Conquest III and follow-up at April StateCom meeting.

Nancy Slator will contact Alan Alcombright and follow-up at April StateCom meeting.

 

 

Proposals:

Downgrade Active Working Committee

The proposal recommends changing the status of certain committees from working to adhoc.  Action, fundraising/finance, platform, and technical committees will be called on for specific projects.  Charlene asked for concerns.  Brian asked for a straw poll vote to identify concerns.  Elie objects because he did not read the proposal.  He inquired about volunteers serving on committees.  David Rolde inquired what it means that a working committee cannot report to StateCom.  John supports the proposal to focus on active working committee.  Active committees should have co-chairs, a note taker and membership.

 

David Rolde expressed concern that it is not right to amend that StateCom members must serve on two of the remaining committees.  Other members should serve on committees in addition to StateCom members. Charlene explained that each StateCom member is required to serve or two current committees or serve on one working committee or one adhoc committee with assigned tasks.  Elie noted that his main concern is that inclusion of new people who have little experience with the party are assigned tasks.  There were no other changes to the bylaw.  Refer to bylaw 10.1 for interpretation of an adhoc bylaw.

 

Amendment:

Charlene offered an amendment that StateCom members choose one working committee and be encouraged to join a second committee or an adhoc committee. 

David Rolde objects to the amendment requiring StateCom members serve on a committee.  Elie commented that focus should be to bring in new young people to the party.

 

Charlene asked if there were any concerns to proposal with amendment.

Vote for amendment

5 yes

4 opposed

 

The proposal will be tabled until April meeting for revisions.  Bylaw 8.4 states that StateCom members will: Serve on either the Administrative Committee, the National Committee, or a Working Committee, unless running as a candidate or chairing a GRP chapter.

 

Ian withdrew his proposal because StateCom must be advised of recount effort from the Green Party perspective.  David Rolde did not review proposals and Elie had a problem obtaining the proposals on GRP website.  As an aside, Ian reported that his son, Frank is moving back to MA and plans to work on the Elections Action Working Group (EAWG).

 

Vote

Brian called for a straw poll vote to table action plan for 2018

Majority votes to table proposals to April 2017 meeting.

 

Budget:

Ian reported that the budget consists of two parts:  Budget and Recount.  He explained that Dr. Stein called the co-chairs and treasurer to raise funds for the recount effort.  The fundraiser was an overwhelming success that included some large donations.  One donation from a former chair of Goldman Sachs who declared self employed.  This donation was quickly returned.  On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Stein campaign declared the recount fundraiser a great success and asked GRP to stop requesting donations.  There is over $44K in the account.  Dr. Stein requested that all remaining money be returned to donors.  AdCom recommended GRP return money and this was an emergency situation and it is in the best interest of the party to return funds.  Ian asked if there were any concerns with returning the money.

 

John suggested writing a letter to donors and request how money should be handled using Rank Choice Voting.  Excess money could be used in other projects.   Ian reported that Jill was emphatic that money be returned.  David Rolde commented that Adcom overstepped its bounds by accepting money for the recount.  David pointed out that many Green Party members did not approve of the recount.

 

Ian reported that the treasurer has right by law to accept or reject donations.  He opened a bank account for recount donations.  He reported that Detroit voting machines are held together by duct tape.  There was a link from Jill’s website to GRP and Ohio sites.  Donations up to $10k were accepted.  The decision to accept donations had to be made urgently. 

 

Charlene asked “whose money is it?”  Ian responded that theoretically GRP could spend money.  Ian explained that FEC rules state that money can only be used for a federal election.  The recount money is in a separate account.  Over time, there have been very few recounts and lawyers have managed to use up all the money.  He did ask the FEC if the money can be transferred to regular GRP account.  Ian also checked with FEC about returning the money.  The FEC says we can transfer unlimited funds into GRP account.  The question is do we think we should keep this money.  What fits the GRP values.  Could we find a legal loophole to keep this money.

 

Elie commented that MA is a state, because of one-party-rule, it is easily studied for wrong doing.  Perception is not one to be ignored.  He suggested checking with Chuck Turner for his opinion.  He also suggested that John be consulted about returning the money.  It could represent an opportunity to ask donors what to do with money.  John suggested sending a letter to donors explaining that we have not spent all money and will refund money to you or apply to other projects.   David Rolde objected to John’s suggestion of writing a letter and returning money to donors.  He is okay with asking if GRP can keep money.

 

Ian will call Mel King for advice; from there he knows what to do.  A vote by donors on what GRP should do with money is not advisable.  A better plan is to advise donors what GRP plans to do with the money.

 

Budget

Ian provided a brief overview of the budget. 

$600 has been designated for CDLC.  The state convention is the biggest event of the year.  Other expenses are internet services.  State candidate expenses are paid from the state fund as well as IRV.  Jill has been the only federal candidate.

Ian asked if there was any feedback for the treasurer.  David Rolde commented on NationBuilder corporation collecting private data.  Ian explained that NationBuilder is a conglomeration website for email lists, tracking system for who donates on a certain page.  For example, contributions made to the convention or to regular donation page.  NationBuilder is used by many campaigns.  The Democrats have their own database.  Nat Fortune selected NationBuilder.  We have to decide where our resources are used.  He asked that additional comments about budget be sent directly to him.

 

Round Robin:

Ian – meeting multi headed, need more focus so people can do their homework.

Elie – in the past, Greens in Ma had its own staff of website designers at no cost. 

Nancy – need more structure.  She has difficult time navigating website.

Roger – came to meeting with zero preparation.

David R. – will try to prepare better for next meeting.  He suggested providing proposals via email.  He added that presentation on RCV was a waste of time and not StateCom business.

Brian – meeting was frustrating.

Charlene – difficult to prepare for StateCom this meeting.  We can only accomplish so much in allotted time.  She thought the RCV presentation was educational.  Great to host StateCom meeting.  She was pleased with separate StateCom meeting held for new Greens.  Nashua River annual report and CDLC report will be posted.

Roni – agreed with Brian that the meeting was somewhat frustrating.  She suggested that StateCom meet more often.  There is too much business to conduct in four meetings a year.  She asked StateCom members to think about serving on AdCom.  Roni reported that AdCom met 12 times since October 1 and that as secretary she responded to 33 voice mail and email messages.

John – suggested that StateCom conduct some business via telecon.  He thought the presentation on RCV was timely and he was disappointed an action decision was made.  He asked Ben to contact AdCom about RCV and take action.

Meeting adjourned 4:10 pm

 

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commented 2017-03-31 18:08:43 -0400 · Flag
I sent my additions and suggested changes to the Secretary.
commented 2017-03-13 18:53:56 -0400 · Flag
Correction: There is no Roger Walton. It’s Ralph Walton.