WInter 2014 minutes

Draft Minutes:  11 Jan Winter 2014 GRP State Committee Meeting, Worcester MA
latest revision: 26 Jan 2014 (version 1)


Full Representatives (at start of meeting)
    1.    Roni Beal
    2.    Dru Tarr
    3.    David Gerry
    4.    David Spanagel
    5.    Mike Heichman
    6.    Dick Vailette
    7.    Cheryl Vailette
    8.    Brian Cady
    9.    Joyce Palmer-Fortune
    10.    Danny Factor
    11.    John Andrews
    12.    Rick Purcell
    13.    Merelice
    14.    Elie Yarden
    15.    Wes Nickerson
    16.    Sean  Connell
    17.    David Rolde
    18.    Ian Jackson
    19.    Dennis Melican
    20.    Scott Laugenour

Alternates and Guests
    1.    Maureen Doyle
    2.    Joanna Herlihy
    3.    Gus Steeves
    4.     Nat Fortune
    5.    Jason P. Lowenthal
    6.    Siggy Meilus

Opening Business

Quorum call: Meeting was called to order at 9:30 am by co-facilitators Joyce Palmer-Fortune and Danny Factor. The facilitators determined that quorum had been established. Merelice and David Spanagel appointed as Parliamentarians. Rick Purcell appointed as timekeeper. Nat Fortune appointed as minutes taker.

Next meeting: The date and provisional location of the Spring 2014 State Committee Meeting was set for Sunday, April 6th, Tent City, Boston MA. Greater Boston Chapter will confirm location and reserve meeting space. Scott Laugenour and David Gerry will serve as meeting facilitators.

Review and Approval of Agenda and Minutes

Agenda accepted by consensus. Later revised to include discussion of appointment of diversity representatives to Ad Com.

Fall 2013 State Committee meeting minutes approved, with the following revisions:
    1.    "Danny Factor presented Merelice's concerns"  to be replaced by written statement of that concern (to be provided by Merelice from her email record)
    2.    Name spellings and typos to be corrected
    3.    all other revisions submitted online prior to today's meeting were approved as written

Seating of Representatives and Appointments to Committees

Seating of Alternates
Alternates Joanna Herlihy, Nat Fortune, and Gus Steeves seated as representatives for this meeting by consensus

Appointing of New Representatives
Jason Lowenthal introduced himself, indicating his desire to be appointed to state committee as a full representative from Norfolk North. He also read a short statement regarding his candidacy for U.S. MA House District 7 (Capuano is the incumbent).
Following a discussion of the relative merits of serving as an alternate or a full representative while running for office, J. P. Lowenthal was appointed as a full representative from Norfolk County to state committee by consensus. Jason had to leave soon afterwords for a interview with the media.

Green Party of the U.S. appointments and approvals

State Committee officially appointed Jill Stein and John Andrews to serve as Observers on the GPUS National Committee.

State Committee appointed Elie Yarden (as a full representative) and  Joanna Herlihy (as an alternate) to the GPUS Platform Committee.

State Committee appointed David Gerry to serve as a full representative on the
GPUS Bylaws, Rules, Policies and Procedures Committee.

State Committee was asked to endorse the appointment of John Andrews to the GPUS Presidential Campaign Support Committee (for 2016). Members asked a series of questions regarding the roles and responsibilities of committee members, the candidate’s purpose in joining the committee, and whether any conflicts of interest existed due to past participation in the 2012 Presidential campaign.  Candidate answered that he was asked to serve on the 2016 Committee to (1) serve as a source of institutional knowledge (because of his experience as part of a past presidential campaign) and to (2) facilitate efforts of party to field and support all candidates for the GPUS nomination.  John Andrews was then appointed by consensus to serve as a full representative on the Presidential Campaign Support Committee.

Appointment of Representatives to Ad Com

A discussion took place regarding whether the approved agenda should be amended amending to appoint diversity representatives to ad com at this meeting.  It was noted that our by-laws indicate that Ad Com (following the election of members at the State Convention) is to identify areas in which Ad Com is lacking in diversity and to put forward nominees for diversity representative for this meeting’s consideration, but these tasks had not yet been completed and no representatives had been put forward for consideration. Committee instructed Ad Com to put recruitment and nomination of diversity reps on their agenda and to bring forward nominees to next meeting of State Com. Committee also resolved to poll State Com members to see if any qualified members would be willing to be appointed at this time. Dru Tarr was put forward as representative who would add youth and geography diversity to Ad Com (North Shore).
A concern was noted for the minutes that he does not add race and gender diversity, two other areas in which Ad Com lacks diversity. Following further discussion, Dru Tarr was appointed by consensus to ad com as a youth and geographic diversity representative to Ad Com.

All currently serving local chapter representatives to Ad Com are assumed to continue serving until locals notify State Com of a change, and were reappointed by consensus.

Electoral Action Working Group report

Overview of work so far

John Andrews listed several benefits were the  state party to win ballot access major "political party" status in the upcoming 2014 General Election. A review of past elections shows this achieving this status can readily be obtained in 2 or 3 way elections for the "lower" statewide constitutional offices — secretary of commonwealth, treasurer, attorney general, auditor — but often has not be attainable in elections for governor. The offices of governor and attorney general require10,000 certified valid signatures. The others require just 5000.

The EAWG currently recommends running candidates for 5000 signature races of treasurer, secretary, and auditor and has two candidates it is putting forward for state committee consideration: Ian Jackson for Treasurer and Daniel Factor for Secretary of Commonwealth. It continues to seek a candidate for auditor.

Next tasks

signature collection
If slate is approved, can collect signatures for all candidates using single petition form
Petitioning occurs spring/summer (referenda petitioning is May/June)
Will also use effort to recruit campaign workers and encourage voter registration
Probably need 10000 raw signatures to ensure 5000 valid signatures
EAWG has developed a  proposal for how to get to 10000 raw signatures

issue campaigns
Candidates are encouraged to pursue issue campaigns ---  “want X? then vote for the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for __” --- and coordinate efforts with local office candidates when and where possible. Some possible topics for slate press releases and campaign issues were presented.

Presentations by candidates
Ian Jackson: Treasurer
    •    Cites polls that most people (even D & Rs) want there to be a 3rd party
    •    Mentions inclusion in early press coverage
    •    Many ways to win, including  letting people know we exist, getting policies you advocated adopted through your electoral pressure
    •    Has a campaign treasurer, wants seed money for website and broader fundraising effort so can continue to maintain campaign and press presence

Danny Factor: Secretary of Commonwealth
    •    1st step in campaign already won: most MA people already agree with our positions
    •    Our task is to get word out that our candidates represent values of voters
    •    listed several key issues and connected these with tasks of the SOC, including state chartering of corporations; oversight of elections, voting rights, and ballot access; and providing public information to residents  
    •    Limited time for campaigning but is committed to being well informed and prepared candidate;  is running to help advance state party by achieving ballot status

Candidate questions and Discussion
There was support for focusing on the 5000 signature races.

Candidates agreed to participate in debates when invited and to seek inclusion in all debates.

In recognition he would have to cut back on party service, candidate for SOC was  asked why he sees this as the best use of his time and if he would be able to continue his responsibilities as party secretary. Candidate answered that for now, yes he would be able to continue, and that for him, party visibility in statewide campaigns and the ballot status that might result are critical to recruiting local candidates, building membership, and getting our message out.

Candidates were asked how their experience relates to the positions they are seeking. Danny Factor (Secretary of Commonwealth): know from background importance of community, has been activist, member of commission on,  disabilities, advocating for equal justice and dignity for ordinary people, serves as attorney
Ian Jackson (Treasurer): software engineer, responsible for church budget as trustee, committed activist

A straw poll of the committee was held regarding its preference: nominate candidates today or defer to a special teleconference meeting in 3 weeks.

MOTION by Mike Heichman: asks State Com to take up both nominations today, and to nominate Danny Factor for Secretary of Commonwealth and Ian Jackson for Treasurer.

Amendment by David Rolde: split nominations for offices of Treasurer and SOC.

vote was as follows:
ABSENT FROM ROOM: Dick Vaillette, Jason Lowenthal (2)
ABSTAIN: Dru Tarr, Danny Factor, Brian Cady, Wes Nickerson, David Gerry (5)
YES: Merelice, David Rolde , David Spanagel, Gus Steeves (4)
NO: remainder of state com representatives (13)
RESULT: Amendment failed

Amendment by David Rolde: defer vote till teleconference in 3 weeks time.
vote was as follows:
ABSENT FROM ROOM: Dick Vaillette, Jason Lowenthal (2)
ABSTAIN: Nat Fortune, Danny Factor, John Andrews, Dru Tarr, Wes Nickerson, Joanna Herlihy, Brian Cady (8)
YES: David Rolde (1)
NO: remainder of state com representatives (13)
RESULT: Amendment failed

Both amendments having failed, State Committee took up the nominations. There was a call for consensus. Consensus was not reached. David Rolde stated a concern that more time was needed to fully consider each candidate. Members with concerns were not willing to stand aside and the matter proceeded to a vote.

vote was as follows:
ABSENT FROM ROOM:  Dick Vaillette, Jason Lowenthal (2)
ABSTAIN: Nat Fortune, Danny Factor, David Gerry (3)
NO: David Rolde (1)
YES: remainder of state com representatives (18)
RESULT: Motion passes by required 2/3 vote.
ACTION TAKEN: Slate of Ian Jackson and Danny Factor for Treasurer and SOC have now been officially nominated by State Committee. Approved 18-1-3 11 Jan  2014.

Discussion followed regarding additional needed actions by state committee on this matter, including (1) need or lack of need (and requirements) for a follow up teleconference should additional candidates be put forward and (2) need or lack of need to continue EAWG as a committee. Teleconference would require minimum of 10 days notice

MOTION by John Andrews: Agree to hold state committee teleconference if needed (see EAWG text)

There was a call for consensus. Consensus was not reached. Scott Laugenour stated a concern that a decision was not needed today and that a special state committee meeting was unnecessary. Members with concerns were asked if they were willing to stand aside; request declined and matter proceeded to a vote.

vote was as follows:
ABSENT FROM ROOM:  Jason Lowenthal (1)
ABSTAIN: Dick Vaillette, Gus Steeves, Merelice, Joanna Herlihy, Elie Yarden, Nat Fortune
NO: Scott Laugenour (1)
YES: remainder of state com representatives (15)
RESULT: Motion passes by required 2/3 vote.

MOTION by John Andrews: Continue work of EAWG to recruit and support slate 
(see EAWG text)

EAWG would continue to search for auditor candidate and would continue to carry out actions needed to put slate on ballot.
RESULT: Motion approved by consensus.



Review of Ad Com’s proposed 2014 budget provided by John Andrews on behalf of treasurer and AdCom. Budget provides guidance from state committee for making and prioritizing disbursements (doesn't spend $ automatically).

Proposed FY14 numbers
$4,185 cash on hand
$10,500 projected for fundraising
$11,056 in expenses

A discussion of the budget categories and proposed allocations followed. Topics raised by one or more members included (1) sending follow up budgets to working committees for input, (2) increasing hours/week for staffing, as there are many unmet state and local needs for which administrative help is needed (3) need for an increase in fundraising to expand staff hours, and that this might be an opportunity for special appeal to donors (4) want to print and distribute more flyers than possible with amount budgeted and (5) want to add category for legal expenses.

Amendment by Merelice:  increase printed literature  line item F3 from $250 to $800.
Amendment approved by consensus.

State Committee now took up the motion to approve the FY2014 budget, as amended.
Motion approved by consensus.

ACTION TAKEN: FY2014 budget approved, as amended.


State com representative district maps

There was a review and discussion of the maps of proposed districts for regional conventions (for  nomination of state committee representatives). Each district is to be composed of an integral number of state senate districts, but not all districts need to consist of the same number of state senate districts. Some districts could consist of 3 state senate districts, others 4, others 5 as long as this is taken into account in proportional representation calculations.  The goal is to make sure divisions are practical for locals. One requirement for  these maps, however drawn, is that  nominations from regional conventions need to be compatible with the once every 4 year direct election of state committee representatives during presidential primaries (which is by senate districts). No decision was made regarding the maps at this time.

Progress Report: Member database update

25% of those contacted volunteered email (13 out of 60)
Success rate: 1 email per 46 calls, $15.64 per email in staff time
600 calls made
175 no answer
151 bad numbers
180 answering machine
60 finished calls
17 do not call again

Members stressed that they (1) want to avoid duplication of efforts and encourage everyone to make sure all information is entered into same main database (2) want to avoid overwriting updated address information with outdated information from other sources.

Co-chairs report: ad com has been dealing with many procedural matters (FEC, budgets, allocating projects, staff time). Working committees need fresh volunteers. Our goal should be to double the numbers on each committee.
Treasurer’s report :$1724.06 in federal, $3018.17 in state. Year end report due 1/20/2014. A list of staff expenses and billing hours was distributed. Future treasurers reports will be listed according to budget category, and will list total number and total amount of one-time and recurring donations each quarter.

Secretary's report: there have been no information requests, beyond request for minutes.

Locals reports: Berkshire Greens
Local is currently inactive. Lenox Town committee active, doubled GRP voter registration numbers. Scott Laugenour reallocating time to help with Berkshires local.

Locals reports: Pioneer Valley
Local is currently active. Focused work on Rick Purcell campaign for city council this past November. Jan meeting to focus on Move To Amend film “Legalize Democracy”  on needed corporate personhood and campaign finance reforms.

Locals reports: Nashua River
Local is currently active, but has been unable to meet recently because of severe winter weather.

Locals reports : Assabet Valley
Local is currently active . Local had a large turnout for an event featuring Jill Stein, and is working on building membership.

Locals reports : Greater Boston
Recent events include an art exhibit on prison-industrial complex and various social events at members homes. Local will hold an “advance” (instead of a retreat) Jan 25th.

Locals reports : Quinebaug
Currently in process of being organized

Locals reports : South Shore
Currently in process of being organized. Expects immediate focus of work to be Brayton Point coal plant closure/redevelopment. Plans to meet in Fall River. Seeking alliances with other Fall River activist groups and plans to host visit from Jill Stein.

Scott Laugenour presented a status report from CDLC, including a tally list of those elected/running for re-election, announced, committed, exploring,considering, and not sure. Currently there are 29 candidates on tally list, an increase of 6 from before.

Fundraising report
A written report from the Fundraising Director (who could not attend in person) detailing fundraising plans was distributed.  The budget approved this meeting provides a summary of the party’s fundraising plans for the year. The top three goals are (1) have all current donors sign up as sustaining donors, (2) re-active at least 10% of all former donors, (3) encourage donors to individual campaigns to donate to the party as well. The party currently receives just $103.90/month in recurring donations. Monthly donations can be as small as $5.95/month and are easily arranged through the party website.  Yearly recurring donations of $10 (low income), $25 (individual), and $40 (family) can also be done.

State com members offered suggestions on how to increase the number of recurring donors, including setting up a matching donor program. Note added by minutes taker: if every member of state committee attending this meeting not already signed up for recurring donations were to begin contributing monthly at the minimum $5.95/month level, the amount received by the party per month in recurring donations would more than double!

Membership report
Brian Cady presented a brief report, then opened the floor for discussion. The committee --- which meetings monthly --- would like to have a member from each local chapter, so that the state and locals could better coordinate activities. These chapter liaisons would work with membership to welcome new members and contact supporters who sign up via the website. The committee plans to redo the volunteer sign up page, improve support for tabling at local events, and update the registered voter database.

State Com members reminded Membership that one of its obligations is to provide  a membership growth report at each quarterly meeting of state committee; this will require regular updates from the state Elections Division (for which the party will need to pay). Membership will work with Ad Com and the Treasurer to ensure this happens.

Communications report
Dru Tarr delivered a report. The committee  wants to work with membership on preparing an updated locals handbook and wants to provide more original content on website, which it will then push to Facebook and Twitter. Help needed!

Platform Committee report
The platform committee concentrates on issue research and position papers. It is in the process of reviewing and updating our web published content and printed matter.


Proposal: New Brochure
Joanna Herlihy introduced a proposal to  prepare and print a new brochure (as budgeted); several members volunteered to work on preparing an updated brochure.

Proposal was adopted by consensus (Jason Lowenthal absent)

Proposal: Host Protection Against Foreclosure Meetings in collaboration with Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL)

Merelice introduced a proposal to work with MAAPL to co-host meetings on foreclosures across the state, noting that the Green-Rainbow Party is a founding member of MAAPL and that party members continue to be active in the organization. This particularly proposal is to work with local organizations (who, like the Green-Rainbow party, are members of MAAPL) to build organizational support for those needing protection from foreclosure and assistance dealing with predatory lenders in key areas of the state.

Concerns were raised by John Andrews regarding the nature of the GRP partnership with MAAPL. Stated  concerns included (1)  MAAPL’s emphasis may have shifted to strongly from free-speaking whistle-blowing and local action to legislative lobbying (2) reports that MAAPL’s lead coordinator has actively discouraged those interested in campaigning on foreclosure issues from running as GRP candidates.  A broad discussion of experiences as part of MAAPL ensued. Clarification was provided that this proposal’s goal is to seek support GRP locals in their work with other local organizations to strengthen actions on the ground --- the proposal does not address lobbying or legislation --- and assurance was provided that a discussion will occur among the MAAPL board regarding the need for fair and respectful treatment of all MAAPL member organizations.

All members with concerns were willing to stand aside, and the proposal was
adopted by consensus.  (Nat Fortune and Jason Lowenthal absent)

Proposal: Ballot initiatives

MIke Heichman introduced a proposal to research, recommend, and publish positions  (including no position, where appropriate) on referenda and initiatives that we expect to appear on the November general election ballot. Updates on the current status of each ballot initiative are provided by the Attorney General on the state website.

Concerns were raised as to whether (1) this committed the party to taking positions, (2) was premature, given no initiatives are yet on the ballot and second round of signature collection doesn’t start till May, and (3) whether this causes our party’s focus to be diverted to whatever particular ballot topics happen to be on ballot.  

Proposers were asked to adopt two amendments
    (1)    change ‘will’ to ‘may regarding expenses, in case party choses not to take positions
    (2)    change the date by which group researching and recommending positions reports back to state committee from ‘spring meeting’ to ‘summer meeting’, when party will have a better idea of which measures will be on ballot and where to focus efforts

Proposers agreed to adopt amendments. Steps III, IV, and V in original proposal understood to be contingent upon party actually taking positions on one or more issues. Consensus was not reached on the amended proposals, and state committee proceeded to a vote on both amendments together.

ABSENT: Jason Lowenthal (1)
ABSTAIN: David Gerry, Rick Purcell (2)
NO: none (0)
YES: all remaining members.
RESULT: Amendments adopted

The committee proceeded to consideration of the amended proposal.
The amended proposal was passed by consensus.

Proposal: PassMass Initiative
proposal not taken up due to lack of time.

Meeting Conclusion: Round Robin
    •    Pre-meeting proposal ranking process proved helpful (several voiced this opinion)
    •    Could use better focus, strayed off topic easily
    •    We are nominating candidates too quickly and easily
    •    Prefer volunteer work to business meeting, frustration over over-deliberation
    •    Thanks to facilitators (multiple)
    •    Believe party is in better shape, as evidenced by willingness to act in more timely manner on campaigns and issues
    •    OK to make objections, need to be heard
    •    Would like to make stronger connections with GPUS and more time for updates on activities, issues before GPUS
    •    Would like to allow time for state com  volunteer efforts (campaign support, lit distribution, etc) as part of meeting, worked well at last meeting
    •    Value of remaining calm, not repeating points already made (especially your own)
    •    Hope website can give increased  prominence to candidates & monthly sustainer page
    •    Encourage committee to do as much as can be done ahead of time, because we will alway be pressed for time during the meeting itself
    •    Glad we are acting in more timely manner electorally, need to do same with local candidates (town, city, state rep, state senate)
    •    Thanks for food, but hope we can learn what else is on Belmont Vegetarian menu.
    •    miss introductions to proposals, would like to see these reintroduced
    •    Patience needed, as number of tasks to be done in meeting increases
    •    could use more training in participatory democracy
    •    don't forget about visibility opportunities (parades, etc)
    •    Thanks to all those who helped with meeting: timekeeping, minutes, parliamentarian, etc); remember to help clean up

Meeting Adjourned at 4:40 pm

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